Samuel Peyton, convict, for having on the evening of the King’s birth-day broke open an officer’s marquee, with an intent to commit robbery, of which he was fully convicted, had sentence of death passed on him at the same time as Corbet; and on the following day they were both executed, confessing the justness of their fate, and imploring the forgiveness of those whom they had injured. Peyton, at the time of his suffering, was but twenty years of age, the greatest part of which had been invariably passed in the commission of crimes, that at length terminated in his ignominious end. The following letter, written by a fellow convict to the sufferer’s unhappy mother, I shall make no apology for presenting to the reader; it affords a melancholy proof, that not the ignorant and untaught only have provoked the justice of their country to banish them to this remote region.
Sydney Cove, Port Jackson,
New South Wales, 24th June, 1788.
“My dear and honoured mother!
“With a heart oppressed by the keenest sense of anguish, and too much agitated by the idea of my very melancholy condition, to express my own sentiments, I have prevailed on the goodness of a commiserating friend, to do me the last sad office of acquainting you with the dreadful fate that awaits me.
“My dear mother! with what agony of soul do I dedicate the few last moments of my life, to bid you an eternal adieu! my doom being irrevocably fixed, and ere this hour to-morrow I shall have quitted this vale of wretchedness, to enter into an unknown and endless eternity. I will not distress your tender maternal feelings by any long comment on the cause of my present misfortune. Let it therefore suffice to say, that impelled by that strong propensity to evil, which neither the virtuous precepts nor example of the best of parents could eradicate, I have at length fallen an unhappy, though just, victim to my own follies.
“Too late I regret my inattention to your admonitions, and feel myself sensibly affected by the remembrance of the many anxious moments you have passed on my account. For these, and all my other transgressions, however great, I supplicate the Divine forgiveness; and encouraged by the promises of that Saviour who died for us all, I trust to receive that mercy in the world to come, which my offences have deprived