An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, Volume 1 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 866 pages of information about An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, Volume 1.

It might have been supposed, that the severity of the punishments which had been ordered by the criminal court on offenders convicted of robbing gardens would have deterred others from committing that offence; but while there was a vegetable to steal, there were those who would steal it, wholly regardless as to the injustice done to the person they robbed, and of the consequences that might ensue to themselves.  For this sort of robbery the criminal court was twice assembled in the present month.  The clergyman had taken a convict in his garden in the act of stealing potatoes.  Example was necessary, and the court that tried him, finding that the severity of former courts did not prevent the commission of the same offence, instead of the great weight of corporal punishment which had marked their former sentences, directed this prisoner to receive three hundred lashes, his ration of flour to be stopped for six months, and himself to be chained for that time to two public delinquents who had been detected in the fact of robbing the governor’s garden, and who had been ordered by the justices to work for a certain time in irons.

This sentence was carried into execution; but the governor remitted, after some days trial, that part of it which respected the prisoner’s ration of flour, without which he could not long have existed.

The governor’s garden had been the object of frequent depredation; scarcely a night passed that it was not robbed, notwithstanding that many received vegetables from it by his excellency’s order.  Two convicts had been taken up, who confessed that within the space of a month they had robbed it seven or eight times, and that they had killed a hog belonging to an officer.  These were the people who were ordered by the justices to work in irons.  A soldier, a man of infamous character, had been detected robbing the garden while sentinel in the neighbourhood of it, and, being tried by a court-martial for quitting his post, was sentenced and received five hundred lashes.  Yet all this was not sufficient:  on the evening of the 26th, a seaman belonging to the Sirius got into the governor’s garden, and was fired at by a watchman who had been stationed there for some nights past, and wounded, as it afterwards appeared, but so slightly as not to prevent his effecting his escape; leaving, however, a bag behind him, filled with vegetables.  On close examination it was fixed upon him, and, being brought before a criminal court, he was sentenced to receive five hundred lashes; but at the same time was recommended to the governor’s clemency, on account of a good character which had been given him in court.  The governor, as it was his garden that was robbed, attended to the recommendation, remitting four out of the five hundred lashes which had been ordered him*.  Being, after this, villain enough to accuse some of his shipmates of crimes which he acknowledged existed only in his own malicious mind, he received, by order of the justices, a further punishment of fifty lashes.

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An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, Volume 1 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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