British Colonial Developments, 1774-1834

By Vincent Harlow; Frederick Madden | Go to book overview

of their return, are evils long and much lamented. Here is an asylum open that will considerably reduce the first, and for ever prevent the latter. . . .


24
EVAN NEPEAN: EVIDENCE BEFORE A COMMITTEE OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS ON TRANSPORTATION, 9 May 17851

. . Mr. Nepean being further examined,2 acquainted the Committee that these convicts consisted of five different classes;--1st. Persons sentenced originally to America;--2dly. Prisoners who have been capitally convicted, and respited on condition of transportation to America;--3dly. Persons who have been sentenced to places beyond the seas generally, the place of transportation being left for the King to fix by a subsequent Order of Council;--that the 4th class consists of those who have been sentenced specially to Africa;--and the 5th, of persons capitally convicted, and who have accepted of pardon, on the condition of transportation to Africa.--Mr. Nepean further acquainted the Committee that a plan has been suggested, for the transportation of convicts to the island of Lemane, about 400 miles up the River Gambia--That many other places have been submitted to the Secretary of State, but in his opinion this is the plan which Government will prefer, the African Company having refused to take any more into their forts and settlements; and that he knows of no other regular plan offered, with regard to Africa. . . . Mr. Nepean further added that the reason why the persons first named are to be sent to Africa, is, that they are notorious felons, who are every day expected to break prison, some of them having already made attempts to do so, and are a class of people too dangerous to remain in this country; and it is thought there is no proper place in America to transport them to, at least within the King's dominions.--Being further examined, whether the plan respecting the island of Lemane is finally determined on, Mr. Nepean acquainted the Committee that it is under the contemplation of Government, and preferred to every other plan, though not finally resolved on.--And he further added that if the season was not so far advanced, the plan would have been determined on, and carried into execution.--Being further examined, as to particulars, he said, that 200 were to be sent to Lemane, not in a King's vessel, but in a transport or two, chartered for that purpose, under the direction of Mr. Calvert--That the transports could go up the Gambia,

____________________
1

Journals of the House of Commons, vol. xl, pp. 955-6. The Committee under Lord Beauchamp had been appointed to report on measures necessary to make the 1784 Act on transportation effective.

2
He had reported the hulks to be overcrowded.

-431-

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