Horrors of Transportation

 The accounts given by our brethren who have been restored to their country and families - (thanks to the cowardice of our Whig ministry, who possessed of the cruelty and inhumanity to punish the unconsciously-offending peasant, had not the moral courage to prosecute the intentionally-guilty prince, and were thus compelled to perform an act of justice in spite of themselves) - of the conduct of the colonial government, and its baneful effects upon that society over which it rules, affords a melancholy picture, and one which calls loudly for improvement; of which however, there is but little hope, until the onward progress of public opinion has swept away both those heartless and unprincipled factions that now contend for supremacy in the government, sacrificing the interests of the nation in their disputes, and their places occupied by practical, enlightened, and benevolent men, whose sole aim and object would be the advancing the interests and happiness of the whole people, independent of class or party.
Some objections having been made to the term 'Dorchester Labourers', as generally applied to these 'Victims of Whiggery', I take this opportunity of saying, that the men having lived in the neighbourhood of, and having been tried at the assizes held in, the town of Dorchester, the committee thought that the title of 'Dorchester Labourers' would be both necessary and appropriate to distinguish them from the unfortunate Dorsetshire labourers who were transported under the Special Commissions of the 'liberal and enlightened' government of Earl Grey, in 1830.
R. Hartwell Sec. of the Dorchester Committee
STATEMENT OF JOHN STANDFIELD
My Uncle, George Loveless, having, in his pamphlet recently published, presented to the public a detailed statement of the causes that led to the formation of the Friendly Society of Agricultural Labourers at Tolpuddle, our subsequent unjust apprehension and committal to prison, and the circumstances connected with our mock trial and harsh sentence, it is unnecessary for me here to repeat them: I shall therefore commence my short statement from the period when we left Dorchester Castle for the hulks.
Dorchester Castle , March 27, 1834 . - We received orders early this morning to prepare ourselves for the coach bound to Portsmouth . After we were ironed together the coach drove up to the castle door and we mounted: the officer in charge was a Mr. Glenister. We arrived at Portsmouth about eight o'clock in the evening, and were instantly conveyed to the York hulk; the irons that we wore from Dorchester being struck off, and fresh ones put on. We remained there until the 29th, in No. 9 ward. In the morning all hands were ordered on deck, and after an examination there were 100 men chosen. After dressing, another pair of irons were put on, and we were taken in a lighter on board the ship Surrey , at Spithead , where another hundred men were brought from the Leviathan to join us. On the 31st we set sail for Plymouth , and arrived there on the 2nd of April, and took sixty men from the Captivity. I then addressed a letter to my mother and received an answer two hours before we set sail. On the 11th April we weighed anchor and bore away for New South Wales .
I then began to feel the misery of transportation. - confined down with a number of the most degraded and wretched criminals, each man having to contend with his fellow or be trodden under foot. The rations, which were served out daily, were of the worst quality, and very deficient in quantity, owing to the peculations indulged in by those officers whose duty it is to attend that department. In addition to this, the crowded state of the vessel, rendering it impossible for the prisoners to lie down at full length to sleep, the noxious state of the atmosphere, and the badness and saltness of the provisions, induced disease and suffering which it is impossible to describe. Added to all this, in the case of myself and brethren, the agonizing reflection that we had done nothing deserving this punishment, and the consciousness that our families, thus suddenly deprived of their protectors, and a stigma affixed to their names, would probably be thrown unpitied and friendless upon the world.
After a voyage of 111 days we arrived at Sydney on the 17th of August, and on the 4th of September were conveyed on shore, and marched four a-breast to Hyde Park Barracks, where we found about 300 (what they called) old hands - men, if possible, worse than those with whom we had already been associated.
We had all been assigned to our respective masters previous to coming on shore, and we had not been in the barracks more than three hours when James Brine was called for by the messenger to proceed to his master. On the 5th James Loveless and my father, Thomas Standfield, were called for the same purpose, and as I ran to bid my father farewell, my little bundle of necessaries was stolen from me. On the 6th James Hammett was called, and on the 8th I was sent for. I went to the clerk's office, and after much entreaty he gave me directions where I might find my father. I was then forwarded to my master, Mr. Jones, M.C., in Sydney, in which place I remained five days, when he sent me on board the Sophia Jane steam-boat, to proceed to one of his farms on the Hunter's River, called Bawarra, about 150 miles from Sydney; and on the following day I arrived at my journey's end, being a farm three miles from the rising town of Maitland.
When I had been there about three weeks, I got liberty from the overseer to go and see my father. This was on a Sunday. I went to his master, a Mr. Nowlan, three miles distant from where I resided, and was informed by some of the men that he was in the bush with a flock of sheep.* I went in search of him, however trusting to Providence for finding my way back. After some time I found him in great distress, ........................download full text below 
John Standfield

STATEMENT OF JAMES LOVELESS
We landed at Sydney , September 4th, and were placed in Hyde Park Barracks. On the 6th I left the barracks and travelled on foot to Strathallan, the place of my assignment, about 300 miles distant from Sydney , in the new country, carrying with me my blanket and rations, which consisted of flour and raw beef. I was fourteen days on the road, and at night slept under a gum-tree. On the 20th I arrived at my master's farm, in the county of St. Vincent , and in his service I remained nineteen months. In November 1835 a letter was sent to my master to know how I had behaved myself since living with him, and in the following February he received notice to send me up to Sydney . When I arrived there I was examined by the Superintendent of the Barracks as to the reason of my coming. I told him I could not say further than that my master received an order to forward me to Sydney . He then said that I must remain in the barracks until called for; and I remained there three months, not knowing what they were going to do with me, for I was informed the order was not to let me out of the barracks. After some time I was called to the superintendent's office, when he told me the governor wished to know if I would agree to have my wife and family brought out to me. I said I could not agree under present circumstances - not while I was a prisoner. “I believe,” said he, “that the governor will grant you a free pardon as soon as your family arrives.” I replied that I should like to be in possession of my pardon first. Mr. Brennen, the superintendent, then said that he would give me two days to consider of the proposal. On the expiration of that time he sent for me to know my decision. I informed him that I had considered the subject, and could not consent, as it was my intention to return to England whenever I obtained my liberty. “Well, Loveless,” said he, “what is the reason you are not willing to stop in this country? I think you could do better than at home.” - “I think not , sir,” said I; “I have seen nothing but misery in the colony.” - ........................................download full text below
James Loveless


STATEMENT OF JAMES BRINE
On September the 4th we landed in Sydney , and I was assigned to Dr. Mitchell, Surgeon of the Government Hospital , and in a short time proceeded to the farm of Robert Scott, Esq., at Glindon, Hunter's River. I went on board the steam-boat, and reached the green hills the following day. I had then about thirty miles to travel on land before reaching the place of my destination. My master had given me at starting, a small bed and blanket to take with me, and one shilling to bear my expenses, besides a suit of new slops. On landing, being weary and fatigued, I laid down to take rest under a gum-tree. During the night the bushrangers came upon me and robbed me of all I possessed, excepting the old clothes I had on, which were given me at Portsmouth . On Sept. 7th I arrived at the farm at Glindon, exhausted from want of food, having had but one meal for three days.
I was instantly taken by the overseer to the master, who asked me where my slops and bedding were. I told him the bushrangers had robbed me; but he swore that I was a liar, and said that he would give me a “D d good flogging” in the morning. “You are one of the Dorsetshire machine-breakers,” said he; “but you are caught at last.” He gave me nothing to eat until the following day. In the morning I was employed to dig post-holes, and during the day he came and asked how I was getting on. I told him I was doing as well as I could, but was unable to do much through weakness, and that having walked so far without shoes, my feet were so cut and sore I could not put them to the spade. “If you utter another word of complaint,” said he, “I will put you in the lock-up; and if you ask me for another article for six months to come, or if you do not do your work like another man, or do not attend to the overseer's orders, whatever they may be, I will send you up to Mr. Moody, where no mercy shall be shown to you.” I afterwards got a piece of an iron hoop and wrapped it round my foot to tread upon, and for for six months, until I became due, I went without shoes, clothes, or bedding, and lay on the bare ground at night. Shortly afterwards I was sent to the pool to wash sheep, and for seventeen days was working up to my breast in water. I thus caught a severe cold, and having told my master that I was very ill, asked him if he would be so good as to give me something to cover me at night, if it were only a piece of horsecloth. “No,” said he, “I will give you nothing until you are due for it What would your masters in England have to cover them if you had not been sent here? I understand it was your intention to have murdered, burnt, and destroyed everything before you, and you are sent over here to be severely punished, and no mercy shall be shown you. If you ask me for anything before the six months is expired, I will flog you as often as I like.” He then asked me to explain to him the designs of the Union , and said if I would tell him it would be a good thing for me, as he would try to get me a ticket of indulgence. I told him that I knew nothing of what he was talking, and that the Unions had no idea of murdering, burning, or destroying. “You know all about it, “ said he, “and it will be better for you to tell me.” ............................................................................................ download full text below
James Brine

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