Criminal Transport: George Barrington and the Colonial Cure

By Benis, ToR. | Australian Literary Studies, May 2002 | Go to article overview

Criminal Transport: George Barrington and the Colonial Cure

Benis, ToR., Australian Literary Studies

GEORGE Barrington's celebrity during the 1780s and 1790s was, according to his most recent editor, `without precedent' in his time, making him `one of the eighteenth century's most talked-about lawbreakers' (Rickard 3, 4). An Irish thief of legendary skill, he gained access to the best society by assuming an elegant alias (his birth name was apparently Waldron) and posing as a gentleman, earning him the nickname `the prince of pickpockets'. Barrington's long criminal career was widely followed by the press and his exploits inspired memoirs, broadsheets and other unofficial histories. After being transported to Botany Bay in 1791 for stealing a gentleman's watch, Barrington was credited with writing the wildly successful Voyage to Botany Bay, an account probably edited heavily by London publishers. Later in the decade A Voyage to Botany Bay Part II, as well as a History of New South Wales, were also attributed to him. Critics of Australian literature generally agree that Barrington himself had little, if anything, to do with these later productions, which were probably written by hacks trading on his notoriety. Largely forgotten by literary scholars today, A Voyage and its sequel were `two of the most popular books--if one can judge by the number of contemporary editions--among readers at the very end of the eighteenth century'; editions appeared in London, Manchester, Dublin, Cork, Paris, New York, and Philadelphia (Walker i).

Critics concerned with A Voyage to Botany Bay have tended to focus either on Barrington's sensational life history or on differentiating what was actually written by Barrington from what was plagiarised or added by others. My interest, however, lies in mapping the ways in which this remarkable document speaks to one of the galvanising fears of its era: how Britain could cleanse itself of a convict population whose ranks were swollen by the economic fallout of wars against American colonists and France. (1) After American independence ended transatlantic transportation, a backlog of convicts in the 1780s overcrowded gaols in which disease and alarms over prisoner uprisings were endemic. The solution for disposing of the criminals created by economic and political crisis, who were often viewed as irrevocably minted, became the Australian colonies. Speaking of the earliest Australian transportees, historian Frank McLynn notes, `Some were veterans of the Woolwich hulks like George Barrington, who had fulfilled the direst prophecies about future recidivism by graduating from petty pickpocketing to the more skilled variety at racetracks' (293). What is most striking about Barrington's narrative, however, is the ways in which it unequivocally contradicts the `direst prophecies' about convict rehabilitation McLynn gestures toward. Refuting the commonplace that a convict could never be fully reintegrated into respectable British society, A Voyage to Botany Bay seizes on transportation's new colonial context at the geographical antipodes to critique the assumption that convicts, damned at home, could only hope to regain society's trust after years of punishing hardship in exile. For some, the convict mint can be purged or `cured' through the experience of transportation itself. This essay contends that Barrington's Voyage is, therefore, a significant response to the popular anxiety that convicts are carriers of social contamination and physical disease, as well as the implicit association that was made between criminals and colonial subjects, who needed to be physically segregated from Britain in order to maintain the stability of the domestic order.

Barrington's stunning success in infiltrating fashionable society confirmed popular fears that criminals were successfully violating crucial social and economic boundaries. But his narrative aims to demonstrate that the voyage to the penal colony could offer the genteel criminal the chance to purify his reputation. Transportation is represented as a process that brings opportunities to delineate the boundaries between loyalty and mutiny, innocence and guilt, and health and illness, re-establishing social, moral and medical divisions that authorities believed criminals jeopardised in Britain. During the journey, Barrington's suppression of a convict mutiny rehabilitates his reputation in the eyes of the authorities and other observers. This `purification' of his criminal character subsequently serves as a sort of inoculation that uniquely equips Barrington to confront the challenges of colonising Australia. Transformed by his experience first as a sufferer, and then as a convalescent, from the convict stigma, he emerges at the end of his memoir with a kind of symbolic immunity to the consequences of the crossings between cultures and classes that can prove dangerous, even fatal, to others in the new colony.

By the time he was transported, George Barrington had become notorious for traversing boundaries, particularly those of class, with astonishing success. The early stages of his criminal career reinforced the most extreme popular fears about the fragility of barriers between the criminal classes and their respectable prey, for Barrington made his name not only by stealing, but also by acting convincingly like a gentleman. There were other so-called gentleman pickpockets in the late eighteenth century, but none enjoyed Barrington's success in dressing, behaving, and speaking like a well-bred man. (2) As a result, he was admitted into good society for some time after most knew his real profession; he repeatedly evaded punishment by the courts, even when his guilt seemed clear; and when convicted, he was invariably charged with less severe penalties than those he could have been accused of. Essential to acting his part were Barrington's practices of staying at good inns, buying expensive clothes, and living in `singular splendour', though he had no independent income (Barrington 8). In this, he was little different than other British gentlemen whom the new credit economy enabled to live far beyond their means; such men could continue to live a brilliant existence though they were technically bankrupt. (3) Barrington himself was said to have made this point in one of his eloquent trial defences:

   Sovereigns seize on the territories of neighbouring princes whenever they 
   think doing so suits their purposes, without scruple or remorse; people of 
   fashion run in debt and never pay their creditors; bankers and brokers are 
   seldom restrained by conscience in the interest they take, or the charges 
   which they make; merchants, and traders of all kinds, are not more 
   scrupulous in the profits which they exact of their unwary customers; and 
   as for lawyers of every denomination, their boundless rapacity is 
   proverbial. The mode then of appropriating property to oneself, and not the 
   act of doing so, is the sole difference between the most noted pickpocket 
   and the most powerful prince or the most opulent merchant. (Memoirs 24) 

Eventually, however, Barrington's pose wore thin; lawmen came to know him by sight, and repeated appearances in the dock meant that even he began to feel the touch of the convict stain. His society acquaintances gradually deserted him, and his isolation from respectability was completed by a 1777 conviction which led to a term in the Thames prison Hulks. In accounts of his subsequent defences at various trials, Barrington repeatedly lashes out against the bias instilled in juries by his now criminal reputation. At his final trial in 1790, he pointedly replied to the judge who lamented that such a talented man could turn out so badly. Convicts like him found it impossible to secure legitimate work, he argued, not because they were predisposed to crime, but because they were viewed as irrevocably contaminated: `the world should also consider that the greatest abilities may be so obstructed by the ill-nature of some unfeeling minds, as to render them nearly useless to the possessor' (Barrington 18). (4)

Representations of Barrington after this point increasingly designate him as a social and even a political menace. A parody of the London Times appearing on 6 September 1794 compares him to political reformers transported for sedition when it places him at the `British national convention' for reform held two years earlier in Edinburgh. There, the parody alleges, `Citizen Barrington' picked the pocket of the convention president on `principles of equality'. Barrington himself sarcastically makes comparisons between his own crimes and far more serious offences. During his voyage to Botany Bay, he writes to a friend that he forgives a world that has denied him opportunities for honest work. He then adds:

   You, virtuous Europeans, I hope, will not be less generous than a poor 
   banished sinner; you will pardon me, I trust, the many ruffianly deeds I 
   have done, the many friends I have betrayed, the many houses I have fired, 
   the many murders I have committed, and the many treasons I have conspired 
   against my sovereign and the nation. To be serious, Sir, I left England and 
   Europe without a spark of malevolence in my mind against any creature 
   whatever ... (Bladen 783) 

Such self-justification is familiar in convict correspondence, but Barrington's explicit connection between his own situation and the turbulent 1790s gives this passage a particularly political edge. In a decade when authorities came to see the lower orders in general as being poised to move against their betters and duplicate the French revolutionary experiment at home, (5) the convict stain confounded important distinctions between crimes and made the offender a scapegoat for whatever anxieties were foremost in the nation's consciousness. A simple pickpocket could find his crimes against property equated with the treason that authorities feared was overtaking Britain.

Richard Lambert recounts that Barrington's 1777 stay on the Thames prison ships was said to have mined his health as surely as it mined his reputation. He arrived during the worst years of the prison ships, when bad sanitation and overcrowding coupled with a complete lack of government oversight meant that typhus (`gaol fever') and other illnesses raged among inmates. Debbie Lee and Alan Bewell have recently demonstrated the ways in which fevers and other illnesses were connected to the colonial experience in the British Romantic imagination. Lee points out that yellow fever, in particular, was associated with the West Indies slave trade, in which the contagion decimated seamen and colonists, but was believed to spare the Africans who were shipped as cargo. Examining medical and literary descriptions of slavery and tropical illness, Lee shows the ways in which these accounts represent the repressed side of the colonial project. The repressed returned to plague British attempts to segregate European bodies, and culture, from an empire whose negative effects in the form of disease refused to stay overseas. Medical accounts of yellow fever, in contrast, sought to reinstate proper boundaries between colonised and coloniser, boundaries that were eroded by the slave traders' susceptibility to tropical pathogens.

Convicts, who were often referred to as slaves by the authorities and in pamphlet literature, (6) were likewise perceived as being in need of segregation from the populace at large. This helps explain why transportation was revived in the late 1780s, despite the cost and difficulties of establishing a penal colony from scratch at the other end of the world: exile was a way of shoring up divisions (which offenders like Barrington so daringly challenged) between respectable subjects and criminals, who were certainly tainted morally and might be infected physically. As McLynn observes, the first fleets contained many `prisoners who had been in limbo since 1784, men not dangerous enough to hang but too much of a social menace to pardon' (293). Medical fears about convicts in particular became acute after transportation was suspended in the 1780s and typhus reached crisis proportions in overflowing British gaols. Robert Hughes notes that by 1790, the Thames Hulks were taking in roughly 1000 convicts per year: `Not only had the problem of security become acute, but typhus was by then endemic and the prospect of general infection terrified free citizens outside' (42). (7)

Ultimately, the penalty of exile was designed to segregate respectable Britons from individuals who were already often viewed in colonial terms. Though the criminals were British, to the authorities who sentenced them and the public who read about them, most convicts were already perceived in some sense as foreigners. An urban area famed for its criminal inhabitants such as London's East End seemed like an undesirable colonial possession, leading Hughes to describe it as `a foreign country of crime'; sending its denizens to Australia seemed `like sending them from one disagreeably fabled land to another' (25). William Paley implies a fundamental similarity between the convict and the alien when he criticises transportation's effectiveness as a penalty. Such a sentence could be no real punishment to individuals already cut off from meaningful social and moral ties in Britain: `exile is in reality a slight punishment to those, who have neither property, nor friends, nor reputation, nor regular means of subsistence at home; and ... their situation becomes little worse by their crime, than it was before they committed it' (Paley 543). The fact that Barrington actually came from a notoriously troublesome possession, Ireland, would make him a potent focus for this point of view. At various points in his criminal career, Barrington was shipped back to Ireland by the authorities only to inevitably find his way back to London through England's porous border. In Barrington's time, the ultimate proof of Ireland's ineluctable foreignness within the empire would come during the 1798 rebellion when Catholic forces, with French help, took control of several western counties before being brutally suppressed by British militia.

Transportation itself was represented as a symbolic process that could safeguard the rest of the British nation from the dangers, the illnesses and the sheer difference of criminal and convict life. To some degree, Barrington's A Voyage to Botany Bay concurs with this assessment. The opening scene describing the procession from Newgate prison to the transport ship casts other convicts as debased savages: they are `scarce a degree above the brute creation, intoxicated with liquor, and shocking the ears of those they passed with blasphemy, oaths and songs, the most offensive to modesty' (Barrington 20). But from the beginning, Barrington makes it clear that he is among those shocked, and the events of his transportation enable him to emphasise the refined, virtuous part of his nature and to downplay his ignoble past. Through the intervention of a `particular friend', he is allowed to walk above deck unchained. He sleeps and eats with the boatswain, while the other convicts are stowed in the hold. The efforts of this mysterious, but powerful, benefactor set up the rehabilitation of Barrington's reputation. At least one influential observer believes that this particular convict is not a virtual foreigner, hopelessly beyond the reach of amendment. The most important consequence of this belief is Barrington's spatial segregation from the illnesses and conspiracies that fester below deck.

The fact that Barrington lives above deck with the crew from the outset of the voyage means that he is exempt from the physical debilitation that strikes other convicts. When the ship arrives at Rio, Barrington notes in passing that the death rate has been low; only five convicts have died, in spite of `their confined state, change of climate, and unwholesomeness of living so long entirely on salt provisions' (31). The prince of pickpockets, in contrast, can walk the deck freely and receives mealtime presents of fresh meat from the captain. Barrington's accommodation also ensures his insulation from another kind of contamination, the animosity toward authority that is fermenting among other convicts. Soon after his ship, the `Albemarle', is out of port, a group of prisoners unsuccessfully stages a mutiny.

   Two of [the convicts], Americans, who had some knowledge of navigation, 
   prevailed upon the majority of their comrades to attempt seizing the ship, 
   impressing them with the idea that it would be easily effected, and that 
   they would carry her to America, where every man would not only attain his 
   liberty, but receive a tract of land from Congress, besides a share of the 
   money arising from the sale of the ship and cargo. (23) 

In Barrington's version of this uprising, he and the helmsman are alone on deck when the other convicts execute their plan and rush out of the hold; he single-handedly contains the mutineers until the captain and officers appear and drive the convicts back below deck. (8) By choosing loyalty over mutiny and refusing to help steal the ship, Barrington emphatically throws his lot in with the authorities and begins to purge himself of his reputation as a thief. The captain subsequently credits him with `saving the ship' (25). The separateness of the categories that had, in accounts of Barrington's life, been endangered in England--gentleman versus scoundrel, health versus infection--become clarified during the events of his transportation. On one hand, this trajectory would seem to conform to the official view in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries that `transportation. a punishment itself in the actual voyage, followed by years of honest hard labour. would have the potential to reform even the most incorrigible' (Rickard 23). But to cast Barrington's narrative in this light is to miss its key deviations from this model. Not only is Barrington's `cure' effected with unprecedented speed, on the voyage out; A Voyage also argues that he never merited punishment at all. and that what has really been reformed are official perceptions of him, while the man himself remains in essentials much as he ever was.

Once he arrives in Australia, Barrington's rehabilitation or cure is completed. Virtually from the moment of his arrival Barrington is singled out by Phillip. who does what no one in England will: trust him. Phillip makes him superintendent of convicts at the settlement of Parramatta on the strength of his behaviour during the voyage out. The prisoners under his supervision are notified that his orders are to be obeyed as if `they proceeded from the governor himself', and although he fears that others may recognise him, most of them don't and those that do behave `in the most respectful manner' (52, 53). Barrington's unofficial activities, however, may provide the best evidence for his induction into respectability. When making the rounds of settlers' cottages, he pointedly remarks that kangaroos are `about the size of a common deer' (Barrington 56). He adds, `Having had several young native dogs given me from time to time, I take great delight in kangaroo hunting; it is not only an agreeable exercise, but produces a dish for the table, nearly as good as mutton' and. in the present dearth of live stock, is not an unacceptable present' (57). This description positions the pickpocket as just another English gentleman, out with his `dogs' (dingos) and hunting his `deer' (kangaroo) or butchering his `sheep'. That Barrington hunts for pleasure as much as for food--it is `agreeable exercise'--further identifies him with the genteel sportsman of the British countryside rather than his criminal counterpart, the poacher, who hunted without the property qualification and by the late eighteenth century might sell his game for profit.

Barrington's personal history as a re-formed subject is particularly important because Australia turns out to be a land where, as in Britain, basic boundaries are liable to blur. Silversmith William Noah, transported for life in 1798 for theft, struggles to articulate the strangeness of life in the southern hemisphere; he explains that all is quite

   opposite to England & Every thing in Nature plainly appears so even the 
   Moon is Top side Turvy your Summer our Winter & no settled Weather fine one 
   hour the next with Thunder and Lightning Shocking to Hear with Heavy Rains. 
   Still its remarkable Healthful Woman that never had Children in England 
   gets familys & I have not seen a Deformed Child. (qtd. in Martin 113) 

Basic sources of orientation--the weather, the stars--exhibit themselves in unfamiliar form, white Europeans labour in chains while black Aborigines move about freely. Such inversions of what Britons regarded as the natural order are further proved by Noah's observations about fertility, since what is sterile in England grows at the antipodes: the very criminal class officials seek to control through transportation gains new vitality over the seas. In this way, the convicts who in Britain threatened social divisions and physical health can, in the topsy-turvy world of New South Wales, challenge the establishment anew: their social and economic successes in a place where basic realities are reversed argue that environment, not intrinsic moral failings, drove them to crime in Britain. The most essential divide of all, between the innocent and the guilty, consequently is called into question.

That Phillip appoints convicts like Barrington to positions of power would seem to further confound the line between criminal and gaoler. (9) But Barrington claims that rehabilitated convicts like himself are incapable of making the shift from virtue back to vice, and he consequently offers himself as the perfect overseer. A colony of criminals requires stabilising elements to rein in disorder and ensure placid relations with the natives. Barrington's special status as a certifiably `cured' convict, possessed of official responsibilities and privileges, precludes any danger of recidivism once he has been established at Parramatta. His convict past grants him what we might call an inoculation against the `infection' of criminality in an environment which constantly brings criminals and their keepers together.

Precisely because he has been `cured', Barrington represents himself as possessing a special cultural authority to engage a crucial constituency for the British colonial project: the Aborigines. The last portion of A Voyage is taken up with descriptions of early encounters between the colonists and various groups of natives. Governor Phillip believed that good relations with the Aborigines were crucial to the colony's success: he sought to secure their friendship by making cultural `go-betweens' out of natives whom he ordered to be kidnapped and then trained in English language and customs. The accounts of this course of action, in A Voyage and other documents, show the repeated failure of this attempt to assimilate Aborigines to British values and culture. Barrington's status as a `cured' convict, however, enables him to also occupy a marginal position between the colonists and indigenes. He consequently becomes the ideal cultural negotiator whom neither the Aborigines nor the British have been able to provide or train. Barrington's history of successfully crossing social and moral boundaries allows him to make allies of the Aborigines, even as his newly renovated and stabilised character prevents encounters with the natives from contaminating his sense of loyalty to the British.

His meeting with the Aboriginal woman Yeariana is a kind of allegory of this process. Barrington encounters Yeariana after losing his way on one of his kangaroo hunts; she is nursing her brother, who has fallen ill. Barrington's serving boy urges him to abandon the couple, sensing danger. Barrington ignores this advice, however, responding to `the imperative call of humanity' that crosses racial and geographic divides (115). With Barrington's help, the brother survives, and like Phillip, Barrington moves to seal a connection with these natives through gifts from the west:

   The next morning I set him on his way home, giving him a hatchet for 
   himself, and string of beads for his sister, whose image had made a strong 
   impression on my mind, being the most interesting I ever saw; with a form 
   that might serve as a perfect model for the most scrupulous statuary; her 
   face and hair unlike any thing I had ever seen in this country; the first 
   of a perfect oval, or Grecian shape ... the latter long, and of a shining 
   black; she was likewise of a much lighter colour than any of her 
   countrywomen, and might easily have been taken for a beautiful Oriental 
   Creole. (117) 

Yeariana is presented as a cultural hybrid, a woman who incarnates the very opposites of east and west, savage and civilised, that white authorities have been unsuccessfully trying to cross-breed. (10) Barrington discovers, recognises, and befriends her without losing sight of his duty to the colony or to the political and cultural values of Europe. The episode subsequently blossoms into romance between the Aboriginal woman and the gentleman-convict. This vignette, coupled with Phillip's departure from the colony and return to England, closes Barrington's narrative. However, the very conjunction of these two events--Barrington's budding romance and Phillip's return home--sets up Barrington as the governor's heir in pursuing a policy of enlightened engagement with the natives. The difference between the two is that Barrington looks likely to succeed where Phillip failed. The exchange first of trinkets and tools, and later (Barrington implies) of Yeariana herself in a romantic liaison, will `cement that friendship which had just taken root' (119) between Yeariana's band of natives and Barrington's own settlement.

A Voyage to Botany Bay emerged within a variety of literary contexts and traditions. A.W. Baker has situated narratives like Barrington's within the history of true crime biography in the eighteenth century: (11) Australian convict accounts differ from those written in Britain in that the latter emphasise the criminal's daring and skill, while Australian texts replace this tone with `a notable sourness and sullenness' (7). Paul Carter offers a more theoretical paradigm for understanding the earliest Australian convict stories, contrasting them with the official narratives of Phillip, Tench, Collins and Hunter in the convicts' persistent attempts to imagine the colony as a space which could not be completely mapped by official rhetoric, and which consequently offered opportunities for escape. Barrington's Voyage is noteworthy for the ways in which it eludes the terms of either Baker's or Carter's discussions. Unlike the convicts who form Carter's focus, Barrington allies himself during the voyage, and even more so after his landing, with representatives of British authority. He seeks not escape, but official recognition of his talents and respectability. Barrington's text similarly fails to conform to the oppositions established in Baker's analysis: it is silent on the fabled ingenuity of its subject, and ultimately treats transportation less as a punishment than as an opportunity. Consequently, it is not surprising that Baker skips over A Voyage to Botany Bay to identify the 1817 Memoirs of James Hardy Vaux as the first truly Australian convict text. The literary tradition Baker cites does help explain the phenomenal popularity of Barrington's books, as does the proliferation in the late eighteenth century of travelogues about the south Pacific, including accounts of the notorious mutiny on the Bounty. (12) But for a more thorough understanding of A Voyage's revelations about a particular moment in British society and in the history of transportation, we must turn to the author and text. Barrington fits as uneasily into existing models of early Australian discourse as he did into the society from which he was expelled.

A Voyage to Botany Bay sets out a process of rehabilitation that few of Barrington's countrymen considered possible, a process dependent on the experience and consequences of transportation to the antipodes. The author's journey takes him to Britain's most foreign colony yet, a world where the seasons, along with assumptions about guilt and innocence, are reversed. Perceived as more incurable than typhus, the stigma of a convict past can be vanquished after all, a recognition that benefits Britain's leaders abroad as they search for methods and personnel to establish the struggling colony. A convict regarded as a foreigner at home can become a true Briton abroad, reinforcing British cultural and political hegemony ironically by deploying an identity partly indebted to the very reputation that rendered him unfit to live as a free British subject.

(1) A considerably shorter version of this text, titled An Impartial and Circumstantial Narrative of the Present State of Botany Bay, in New South Wales, appeared in late 1793 or 1794, and this is the text recently edited by Rickard. In contrast, the work I am considering was published in 1795 and deals more fully with the issues under discussion here. It is virtually impossible to determine conclusively what parts of A Voyage Barrington wrote and what was added by other writers. While Barrington may have been involved in the productions attributed to him after A Voyage to Botany Bay, scholars agree that his connection with them was minimal. For discussions of Barrington's actual involvement in publications attributed to him, see Suzanne Rickard (32-40), H.M. Green (21); and the Australian Dictionary of Biography (62-3). J.A. Ferguson offers a complete list of works citing Barrington as an author (51-80).

(2) Barrington's unparalleled success as a kind of social cross-dresser was central to his lasting fame during the nineteenth century. John Lang recounts an anecdote wherein Barrington fools a Sydney woman into thinking he is a gentleman through his good manners and elegant conversation. At the same time, he mintages to divest her of her keys, her thimble, her pencil-case, and the earrings in her ears. The story ends with Barrington, again through his sheer charm, convincing his genteel victim not to turn him in after he reveals his deception and returns the pilfered items.

(3) Such characters recur in the period's fiction: for example, Willoughby in Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility; Mr Harrell in Frances Burney's Cecilia; and several of Maria Edgeworth's characters, including all of the men of Castle Rackrent, and Mr Vincent, the gambler in Belinda.

(4) The conservative theologian William Paley, no friend to convicts, concedes this same point. Since `... no one will receive a man or woman out of a jail, into any service or employment whatever,' he argues that the state is obliged to offer ex-convicts legitimate employment, perhaps on public works projects (545).

(5) For a summary of measures taken against political reformers during the nineties, see Clive Emsley. In 1794, Habeas Corpus had been suspended to enable the government's campaign against working class political organisers; in 1795, after a physical assault on the King's carriage, the government outlawed most forms of political protest and broadened the criteria for sedition.

(6) Rickard states that `arguments that equated transportation with slavery were ... confidently rejected' by the authorities, but literature in support of this comparison is substantial (24). See, for example, Thomas Fyshe Palmer's A Narrative of the Sufferings of T.F. Palmer and W. Skirving during a Voyage to New South Wales, 1794 on board the Surprise Transport (Cambridge, 1797); George Thompson's Slavery and Famine, Punishments for Sedition; or, An Account of New South Wales, and of the Miserable State of the Convicts (London, 1794); and Thomas Watling's Letters from an Exile At Botany Bay, To His Aunt in Dumfries. 1794. Introduction by George Mackaness (Sydney: D.S. Ford, 1945). Robert Hughes argues that Arthur Phillip thought of the first convicts as slaves, `by their own fallen nature if not in the strict terms of the law' (68).

(7) See also Chapter Three of Lambert for a detailed discussion of conditions in the early days of the Hulks.

(8) Lambert points out that Barrington's account of his decisive involvement is not borne out by other versions of the mutiny, which do not mention him at all. His contribution to suppressing the mutiny, if it happened at all, was probably minimal (198-99).

(9) Lambert notes that Barrington's duties in the colony, which included conducting night watches, arresting suspects, and generally maintaining order among the military as well as convicts, were `analogous to those of the Bow Street Runners in London' (231).

(10) In her mix of seemingly incompatible qualities, Yeariana is presented by Barrington as typical of her environment. Commenting on how native animals bizarrely combine a variety of traits from other species, he remarks, `One would almost conclude from the great resemblance of the different quadrepeds [sic] found here, that there is a promiscuous intercourse between the different sexes of all those various animals' (62). Andrew Taylor observes that much nineteenth-century Australian literature identifies Aboriginal women with a secular natural world, vulnerable to colonial seizure and exploitation.

(11) The first Newgate Calendar chronicling the careers and trials of famous criminals appeared in 1728; there were subsequent editions in 1773 and 1809, and at least eight more editions appeared after that.

(12) Cook's expeditions and the incidents aboard the `Bounty' helped fuel British interest in travel narratives about the south Pacific; see Neil Rennie (141-80).


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TOBY R. BENIS is an Assistant Professor of English at Saint Louis University and the author of Romanticism on the Road: The Marginal Gains of Wordsworth's Homeless (St. Martin's, 2000). She is currently working on the relationships between gender, race and nationality in Romantic representations of exile.

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Criminal Transport: George Barrington and the Colonial Cure


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