View Full Version : Convict Pardoned 1843
17-10-2009, 10:05 AM
I have a Peter Parkinson aged 18 convicted on 5 July 1839 in Cambridge and sentanced to 7 year Transportation, I assume to Australia.
He appears on the Stirling Castle Convict Hulk off Devonport in the 1841 census.
Have now found he was Pardoned on 6 July 1843, exactly 4 years after his sentance. On what grounds was a Pardon likely?, good behaviour for 4 years as I am sure it wasn't likely to now be not guilty verdict.
Was a Pardon a common event? On the rtegister of the Stirling Castle looks like several prisoners were pardoned.
He married a couple of years later in Bury St Edmunds so clearly was never transported to Australia.
Not sure if this is the right forum to post this query but grateful for any help.
17-10-2009, 10:15 AM
I have moved this over to the Black Sheep forum. :)
Have now found he was Pardoned on 6 July 1843, exactly 4 years after his sentance. What was the source of this discovery?
17-10-2009, 10:25 AM
Thank you for placing thread in Black Sheep, probably Greyish Sheep might be more appropriate!
Source of information is The National Archives reference PCOM 2/134. This is a Register of Prisoners : Hulks, Stirling Castle 1837-1849.
The Western Australian Genealogical Society have PCOM 2 on film as does the Mitchell Library in Sydney.
I am interested to know how frequent a pardon was given to those with a Tranportation sentance. Was 4 years good conduct of a 7 years sentance a common pardon event?
17-10-2009, 10:49 AM
I have had a bit of a gander round google and discovered that the number of convicts transported began to drop in the 1840s. Transportation to New South Wales ended in 1840, to Van Diemens Land in 1853 and the last convict ship sailed to Western Australia in 1868.
There was also quite a discussion in Parliament about the cost of transporting criminals - £85 each was considered too expensive!
I am therefore wondering if those committed for a less serious crime were awarded either conditional or full pardons in a bid to reduce the numbers. What was your chap's crime?
17-10-2009, 10:55 AM
Peter Parkinsons crime only appears as Larceny on Court Records and Stealing ?? (not clear) on PCOM 2/134.
17-10-2009, 11:10 AM
I don't think I'm wrong in saying that for various reasons (some outlined above) transportable offences became more serious in the later years of transportation. This was certainly true of my two convict ancestors eg. stealing from the person (pickpocketing) was not the same as housebreaking. I'd guess the more premeditation involved the more serious the offence. I have no reference for these statements but someone surely will. This is perhaps why your man wasn't transported. Cost was a big factor but so was the hope that Australia would stop taking crims (as had happened in the 1700s in America).
28-01-2010, 2:35 PM
Pardons were often given on the King's Birthday
28-01-2010, 2:57 PM
Also, just to add, that one of the reasons why transportation to Tasmania ceased in 1853, was because of the Gold Rush in Australia (around 1851?) - i.e. transportation to Australia was becoming less of a deterrent! :p
28-01-2010, 5:11 PM
Was a Pardon a common event?
Pardons and commutation of sentence were both quite common. They were sometimes issued in response to petitions from family members or other supporters, though these were usually handled within a few months of the conviction, rather than taking four years. But if you can find a petition, or even some background correspondence to the pardon, it can be a goldmine of information.
The relevant documents are at the National Archives, Kew. Have a look at this Research Guide (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/catalogue/rdleaflet.asp?sLeafletID=253) and scroll down to the listings in the HO series, particularly HO 13 and HO 18 (the latter is indexed in HO 19).
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