Jane McManus: The Maid Freed From The Gallows

By Michaela Ann Cameron

supported by a Royal Australian Historical Society Heritage Grant – St. John’s First Fleeters

Hangman, hangman!  Slack your line!  Slack it just a while…[1]  For, though condemned to be hanged by the neck until she was dead, sixteen-year-old Jane Poole was given a reprieve. ‘Some favorable [sic] Circumstances’ had appeared on her behalf during her trial held in the City of Wells, Somerset on 19 August 1786,[2] thus sparing the maiden from a speedy delivery to the gallows. Nevertheless, Jane’s life—if not her actual body—continued to hang in the balance for over a week while his ‘most Excellent Majesty’ the King evaluated, at his ‘Majesty’s Royal Will and pleasure,’ whether she was indeed a ‘proper Object of His Royal Mercy and Compassion.’[3] Housebreaking in the village of Bishop’s Hull to steal ‘a silver watch and other goods to the value of £2, 15 shillings’ was Jane’s hangable offence.[4]

Unbeknown to Jane, the day before her trial an historic decision had been made in a Cabinet meeting that was to have far-reaching consequences for innumerable souls, including her own: Botany Bay was chosen as the location for a new British settlement. The ink had barely dried on a letter to the Treasury from Lord Sydney, the Secretary of State for the Home Office, requesting supplies for the expedition when Jane appeared in court to face her criminal charges.[5]

NPG D9961; Thomas Townshend, 1st Viscount Sydney by James Sayers, published by  James Bretherton

Thomas Townshend, 1st Viscount Sydney by James Sayers, published by James Bretherton etching, published 14 July 1784 NPG D9961 © National Portrait Gallery, London

As Jane’s original death sentence proved, in her native land where there was a miserably ‘high degree of populousness,’[6] she was just another insupportable and, thus, disposable English person. But in a new colony, a healthy young woman of childbearing age could contribute to the strength and growth of ‘His Majesty’s’ dominion as a forced labourer and a mother.[7] And so, the larger global forces that directly or indirectly drove the Botany Bay decision also influenced whether this particular felonious country lass lived or died. Nine days after her trial, on 28 August 1786, word was finally sent from Whitehall, London via Lord Sydney: ‘His Majesty’ the King was ‘graciously pleased to extend his Royal Mercy unto’ Jane on the condition that she would instead be transported ‘beyond the Seas for seven years.’[8]

A Floating Prison: Dunkirk

But before Jane was transported, she became one of approximately 1300 prisoners incarcerated in the damp, confined, disease-ridden world of floating prisons, known as ‘hulks,’ where scenes ‘of vice and profligacy too shocking to relate’[9] were commonplace.

The hulks in operation at the time—Justitia, Censor, Ceres, La Fortunee and Dunkirk—were naval vessels that, upon retirement due to old age or unseaworthiness, were appropriated as prisons for future transportees beyond the seas. Repurposing ships as prisons had been the British practice ever since the American Declaration of Independence brought an abrupt end to Britain’s long history of treating America as

‘a sinke to drayen England of her filth and scum,’

otherwise known as ‘surplus Englishmen.’[10] Though the hulks were initially considered merely a temporary solution to the problem of what to do with transportees until ‘tranquility was restored to America,’[11] even at the close of the American Revolutionary War in 1783 the newly independent United States remained unwilling to receive English felons as servants. Thus, the intended temporary two-year solution the hulks offered extended to a decade before the alternative destination of Botany Bay was selected as the new ‘sink’ for England’s riff raff. By then, the hulks had proven to be such an integral part of the British prison system that they continued to be used throughout the era of convict transportation.

Already on board the Dunkirk hulk lying in the Hamoaze, Plymouth when Jane arrived in 1786 were convicts who had done some exceptional things or were about to. There were, for example, mutineers from the Swift in 1783 and the Mercury in 1784, including Thomas Barrett, William Blatherhorn, James Martin and James Cox. Other notable cons aboard Dunkirk included James Ruse, who was then less than three years away from being the first emancipist to apply for and ultimately receive a land grant in Australia on the site of Parramatta’s Experiment Farm, future brewer James Squire, Cornish highwaywoman Mary Broad, William Bryant, and John Herbert.[12]

While awaiting transportation the Dunkirk’s convicts, numbering 239 men and 52 women by November 1786,[13] laboured long and hard each day and existed on a diet of salt provisions. We get a sense of what life on the hulks was like from convict Joseph Morrell who was sentenced to transportation in 1784. Morrell spent years on one of the hulks and reported in 1789, ‘I suffered such hardships, that I made my escape.’ When recaptured, he said before the judge at the Old Bailey,

‘I hope I shall not go on board any more hulks; I accept my sentence very freely, only not to send me on board the hulks.’[14]

By March 1787, the First Fleet was actively preparing for the voyage to Botany Bay. Violent, gale-force winds on 10 March, however, prolonged the Dunkirk prisoners’ long and wretched confinement on the hulk one day more than the authorities had planned. When a break in the inclement weather came the following day, Jane and some of her Dunkirk inmates emerged from their floating prison to be swiftly relocated to another one with a deceptively pretty, feminine name.[15]

Charlotte

charlotte-medal

The Charlotte Medal: a 74mm wide silver medallion depicting the voyage of the Charlotte, with the First Fleet, to Botany Bay, Australia. (1788) © National Museum of Australia via Wikimedia Commons.

This new floating prison was not stationary like the last one; it was one of the First Fleet’s six transport ships responsible for delivering Jane and her fellow convicts to the significantly larger, more permanent prison of solid earth known as the penal colony of New South Wales. The colony’s extreme isolation from the motherland ensured it would be a permanent prison even for those, like Jane, who did not have life sentences, as few of the First Fleet convicts would ever be able to cross the vast seas and stand on their native soil again.

Once on board Charlotte, the men and women were ‘placed in the different apartments allotted for them; all secured in irons, except the women.’[16] The men remained fettered for two months, until the end of the first week of the eight-month voyage.

A little over a month into the expedition, which had begun in the early hours of 13 May 1787, the fleet approached the equator. There, ‘the weather became exceedingly dark, warm, and close, with heavy rain…distant peals of thunder’ and ‘the most vivid flashes of lightning’ Charlottes surgeon, John White, could ‘ever remember.’[17]

Jane and the other 23 or so convict women on board Charlotte at the time probably never got to see those vivid lightning flashes for themselves since it was the surgeon’s practice to keep the convicts below deck when it rained, ‘as they had neither linen nor clothing sufficient to make themselves dry and comfortable after getting wet.’[18] But what Jane and the other women did experience to the full whilst cramped together in the darkness below deck was the ‘immoderately hot’ weather. Wild as they were, those English roses wilted fast in the intense equatorial heat: ‘The…female convicts, perfectly overcome by it, frequently fainted away; and these faintings generally terminated in fits,’[19] Surgeon White noted in his journal on 23 June 1787. Yet, ‘notwithstanding the enervating effects of the atmospheric heat, and the inconveniences they suffered from it,’ continued Surgeon White,

‘so predominant was the warmth of their constitutions, or the depravity of their hearts, that the hatches over the place where they were confined could not be suffered to lay off, during the night, without a promiscuous intercourse immediately taking place between them and the seamen and marines.’[20]

With so few female convicts on board, it is unlikely Jane politely excused herself from these nocturnal activities. In spite of this waywardness, though, she must have been considered one of the decently behaved female convicts on board; because when the opportunity arose for Charlotte to be divested of six of her most troublesome women in exchange for six well-behaved females from the Friendship at Rio on 11 August 1787, Jane was not among the six whose conduct was deemed ‘totally abandoned and obdurate.’[21]

Charlotte reached Botany Bay on 19 January and entered Port Jackson on 26 January 1788. The colony’s first settlement, however, would not be Jane Poole’s last.

Norfolk Islander

Soon after the fleet arrived, a small party set sail to establish a second settlement at Norfolk Island ‘with a view to the cultivation of the flax plant,’ [22] which was known to grow there ‘most luxuriantly.’[23] Lieutenant Philip Gidley King, Surgeon Thomas Jamison, petty officer James Cunningham, ‘two private soldiers, two persons who pretended to some knowledge of flax-dressing, and nine male and six female convicts, mostly volunteers’[24] all sailed to the island for this purpose via the Supply on 14 February 1788.[25] Over the next three years the Supply lived up to its name, making many voyages from Sydney Cove to the Norfolk Island settlement with all the necessary supplies including stores, provisions, and a steady stream of convicts to provide the labour requisite for the establishment of a new settlement. And at daylight on 3 December 1789, Jane, along with seven other female convicts and six male convicts, was one of those human ‘supplies.’[26]

By 1791 the Norfolk Island settlement, which was intended to support the people on the mainland by growing and supplying vegetables and grain, was running dangerously low on provisions itself. ‘What their situation might have been but for the providential supply of birds…known by the name of the Puffin,’ wrote David Collins, ‘it was impossible to say; to themselves it was too distressing to be contemplated.’[27] Worse still, the hazardous nature of landing in Sydney Bay compromised the safe delivery of the sorely needed provisions and even robbed some people of their lives. Such incidents must have made this outpost of an already isolated colony feel all the more isolated to Jane and the others trying to survive there.[28]

In October 1791, one ship bound for the hazardous port of Norfolk Island, called Atlantic, was about to safely deliver something other than provisions — a husband for Jane.[29] James McManus I was 21 years old and had sailed with the First Fleet on the Sirius as a member of the Royal Marines 59th Company. It is thought the marriage of Jane Poole and James McManus I was part of a flurry of matrimonial ceremonies Reverend Johnson officiated during his brief visit to the island settlement in November 1791 to save the settlement from the depravity of cohabitation. Nine months later, in August 1792, James, Jane, and a child named Margaret were making their return voyage to Port Jackson on the Atlantic together.[30] Perhaps having to care for an infant made the mainland seem preferable to the uncertainty of life on Norfolk Island for the young settler family; a family that soon grew with the arrival of Sarah, born 1793 (she died the same year, aged five months), James the younger, born 1794, and John, born 1797.

‘Settlers and Sufferers’ on the Hawkesbury

Nine years had passed since Jane’s incarceration on the hulk at Plymouth. In the interim, Jane’s seven-year sentence had expired. Her fellow Dunkirk prisoner James Ruse had likewise been emancipated, passed his agricultural test at Parramatta’s Experiment Farm, sold the farm to Dr. John Harris and, with the resulting funds, had set himself up as one of the first settlers to settle the fertile land along the Hawkesbury River — blazing a trail for many others to come. The plentiful crops Ruse and other early settlers produced in the Hawkesbury proved that the region would play a vital role in the fledgling colony’s endeavour to become self-supporting. Subsequently, those entitled to receive land were increasingly allocated allotments in that most useful location. As a free settler, Jane’s husband, James McManus I, was one such entitled individual; in May 1797, he was granted 65 acres at Mulgrave Place (present-day Agnes Banks)[31] and a second, larger grant of 160 acres was promised upon his re-enlistment in the New South Wales Corps. Thus the young McManus family joined the Hawkesbury’s fast-growing settler community.

Less than a year after receiving the first grant, however, Jane’s 28-year-old husband was dead and buried in the Old Sydney Burial Ground.[32] Due to the army’s policy of providing for the families of its men, Jane, a female ex-convict, stood to acquire the second, large 160-acre grant promised to her husband in his place. Some creative problem solving allowed James’s ex-con widow to do so on his behalf ‘as provision for herself and family,’ on the following conditions; it was ‘to descend to McManus’ [sic] issue,’ that is, the couple’s children, and it was ‘not to be disposed of without the express approbation by the governor or the officer in command of the colony.’[33] Though evidently no mean feat in itself, acquiring land was one thing; working it successfully was quite another.

As Jane and her fellow settlers soon discovered, those who work the land cannot always expect to reap what they have industriously sown. Between 1798 and 1799, Jane—the newly widowed mother of three infants—and the other ‘settlers and sufferers on the South Creek Hawkesbury’[34] had to contend with ‘an uncommon and tedious drought, attended with very sultry weather.’[35] Crops failed everywhere, fires raged, and supplies of all kinds were lacking throughout the colony as no new supplies had been received since late 1796. The Hawkesbury settlers’ wheat, at least, ‘had attained strength to repel [the drought’s] effects, the crop was thin and light.’[36] Indeed, ‘If it had been spared us,’ the settlers would later write, ‘we should in Gratitude have blessed our God.’

But the settlers’ suffering had barely begun.

In early March 1799, ‘before the wheat was thrashed, or the Corn gathered,’[37] the flooding rains came to destroy what little the Hawkesbury settlers had managed to cultivate during the drought. The deluge caught them ‘unprepared’ and ‘all or the greatest part of [their] Grain, stock and Homestalls were destroyed.’ ‘[C]heered by the aid of friends,’ however, ‘next season’ the settlers ‘resumed the same labour, deligence [sic] and expense as before, under a hope that the Almighty would be merciful and spare…the next crop.’[38] In March 1800, though, ‘the Floods came again greater than before’ leaving the settlers ‘helpless spectators only of [their] stacks, Barns, Houses and stock swimming down the current.’

Already under pressure from their creditors, the settlers relied heavily upon the next season’s crop, ‘but just as our wheat wore a promising aspect,’ they expressed, ‘the flood again laid wash a great part of it.’ ‘Seeing no prospect’ of paying their debts, they planted their corn once more.

‘No sooner was it up and gathering strength than (in the middle of the Harvest too) another deluge succeeded which again destroyed almost all the Grains we had left. These tho’ great, were not all the calamities we have suffered…’[39]

The ‘succession of ill-fortune’[40] experienced by these hardworking individuals year upon year meant they were unable to pay their creditors and, in sheer desperation, Jane and the others petitioned then Governor Phillip Gidley King in January 1801 to ‘exercise [his] Authority in preventing the sale of [their] Farms, the imprisonment of [their] persons, and the consequent total ruin and distress of [them]selves and families.’[41]

Perhaps these hardships hastened the fusion of the lives and landholdings of the widow Jane and the former cross-cove Richard Ridge. Caught prigging some toggery, that is, ‘feloniously and burglariously breaking and entering the dwelling house of Susannah Dewell,…and burglariously stealing therein’ a range of wearing apparel, Ridge was 21 years old when he was sentenced to seven years transportation on 9 September 1789 at the Old Bailey.[42] Jane and her common-law husband Ridge were never officially joined together in holy matrimony, but they did combine their Hawkesbury land grants to a total of 250 acres by 1802, had a child together by 1803 named Martha Poole—thus bringing Jane’s brood to a total of four living children—and, by 1806, the couple had 305 acres, as well as a horse, two oxen, 20 hogs, and five convict servants between them.[43] However successful their partnership appeared, it was not to last. In November 1809, Ridge married a currency lass named Margaret Forrester and established a large family with her at Windsor.[44]

At 39 years old, Jane the long-suffering, unsettled settler was on the move once more.

A Final Resting Place: Parramatta

Sydney, Norfolk Island, the Hawkesbury — Parramatta was the next major settlement in the colony in which the widow, sometimes calling herself ‘Mrs. Jane Poole,’ endeavoured to make a life for herself. Mrs. Jane Poole. The name she used most often in this period was a curious mixture of her maiden and married selves. What possessed Jane to retain the title ‘Mrs.’ and her status as a ‘widow’ in musters whilst publicly denying her connection, by name, to James McManus I even though this meant favouring her crime-stained maiden name? Perhaps it was because after all she had experienced and overcome Jane sensed that she really was making a life for herself independently of anyone else and was, apparently, doing it rather well.[45]

From 1809, Jane lived in ‘a good substantial…well-fenced…dwelling house’ on ‘an extensive allotment’ granted to her on the south side of George Street, Parramatta on the block between present-day Barrack Lane and Charles Street.[46] Despite being a Parramattan, Jane must have continued to maintain a farm in the Hawkesbury region, too, because in September 1815, ‘Mrs. Jane Poole’ was one of only two women to appear on ‘A LIST of Persons…AT PARRAMATTA…who have tendered SUPPLIES of FRESH MEAT for the Use of His Majesty’s Stores.’[47] Also on the list were affluent landowners like John Blaxland, Sir John Jamison, Thomas Barber, and future owner of the Woolpack Inn, Andrew Nash, to name just a few, which gives a good indication of how much Jane’s life had changed.

If Jane thought then that her improved circumstances meant her days of being shifted from one place to another were finally over, though, she would have been wrong.

As part of Governor Macquarie’s major improvements to public buildings and roads, construction began in 1820 on a new ‘Prisoners Barracks’ and lumberyard on Macquarie Street, directly behind Jane’s George Street residence of fifteen years. Eventually the government saw fit to reclaim Jane’s allotment, with her consent, ‘for the purpose of Converting the same into a Garden for the area of the Prisoners Barracks.’ In what appeared to be a fair agreement drawn up by Deputy Surveyor General James Meehan and witnessed by Richard Rouse Superintendent, ‘Government engaged on their part to give an adequate alotment [sic] of Land – and to put up such Buildings and make such Improvements as had been done on the alotment of Land so given up to Government.’

The third Wesleyan Methodist Church at Macquarie Street is located next to the site of Jane's 1820s allotment, a site currently occupied by

The third Wesleyan Methodist Church at Macquarie Street is located next to the site of Jane McManus’s 1820s allotment, a site currently occupied by “The Strand.” Photo by Michaela Ann Cameron (2015)

Having been displaced by Governor Macquarie, it was only right that Jane was subsequently given a new allotment of 39 ½ perches of land on the street bearing his name in Parramatta, ‘adjoining the Market Place’[50] (present-day Centenary Square) on the site adjacent to the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel and known today as The Strand.[51]

Yet, something was amiss. Though Jane received the new allotment, she had ‘every reason to suppose’ that the agreement made on 16 September 1820 was ‘either lost or mislaid’; for eighteen months later she was still waiting for the dwelling owed to her.[52] An understandably anxious Jane petitioned Governor Macquarie on 2 January 1821 to gently remind him of the agreement so that it could be honoured before ‘His late Excellency Governor Macquarie…quit the Colony for Europe’[53] — but it was to no avail. To add to her woes, six months later Jane suffered the loss of Martha Poole, her 18-year-old daughter by Richard Ridge, who passed away on 17 June 1821.[54]

In March 1824, ‘although nearly 5 years ha[d] elapsed’ the government had still taken ‘no notice’ of the part of the agreement, which held that ‘either the same materials,’ that is, the dwelling on the original allotment, ‘or others that shall be equally good and Capacious’ be ‘Re-erected at the expense of the Crown’[55] at her new address. Jane, now 54-years-old, must have felt like her 16-year-old self once more; at the mercy of the powers that be, unable to do anything but wait for them to make a decision about her life at their own ‘will and pleasure.’[56] In December 1824, Jane finally received compensation ‘for the premises in the rear of the Prisoners Barracks given up by her to Government for a garden.’[57]

Less than two years later, on 26 November 1826, Jane quit this life, aged 56.[58] An ‘inhabitant of the Colony since the first foundation’ who had supported ‘an honest character,’[59] Jane was laid to rest two days later alongside her young daughter Martha in St. John’s Cemetery, Parramatta.[60] Her epitaph reads,

The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away blefsed be The name of the Lord.

It is a fitting memorial for an individual who, at 16 years of age, was given a second chance to live a full life with all the gains and losses that such a life entails.

It is doubtful, though, that she rested in peace. For if ever a person had an ‘unquiet grave’[61] it was Jane

Click here to discover WHY.

Jane McManus - St. John's Cemetery

Jane McManus’s grave at St. John’s Cemetery, Parramatta, Section I, Row N, No.7. Photo by Michaela Ann Cameron (22 December 2015)

CITE THIS:

Michaela Ann Cameron, “Jane McManus: The Maid Freed From The Gallows,” St. John’s Cemetery Project (2016), https://stjohnscemeteryparramatta.org/bio/jane-poole-mcmanus/, accessed [insert current date]

References

Jan Barkley-Jack, Hawkesbury Settlement Revealed: A new look at Australia’s third mainland settlement 1793-1802, (Kenthurst, NSW: Rosenberg Publishing, 2009)

Michaela Ann Cameron, “Charlotte,Dictionary of Sydney, (2015)

David Collins, An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, Vol. I (London, 1798)

David Collins, An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, Vol. II (London, 1802)

Judith Dunn, The Parramatta Cemeteries: St. John’s, (Parramatta, NSW: Parramatta and District Historical Society, 1991).

J. C. H. Gill, The Hawkesbury River Floods of 1801, 1806, and 1809: Their Effect on the Economy of the Colony of New South Wales, (26 June 1969)

Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: a biographical dictionary of the First Fleet, (Sydney: Library of Australian History, 1989).

National Portrait Gallery, London (http://www.npg.org.uk/)

Gary L Sturgess, First Fleet, Dictionary of Sydney (2015)

Trove (http://trove.nla.gov.au/)

John White, Journal of a Voyage to New South Wales: With Sixty-Five Plates of Non Descript Animals, Birds, Lizards, Serpents, Curious Cones of Trees and Other Natural Productions (London: J. Debrett, 1790)

Notes

[1] For centuries, people across northern and southern Europe have sung, in many different tongues, variants of a tale in which a maiden condemned to die pleads for her life to be spared. Typically, the maiden’s own parents and siblings forsake her, because the cost of saving her is either more than they possess or exceeds what they deem to be her weight in gold. They promise only to come to see her “swinging high from the hangman’s tree.” With each refusal to pay the fee, the maiden grows more fearful of her impending doom but, ultimately, at the last moment, someone — usually her “sweetheart”— knows her true value and is willing to pay her would-be executioner any sum so that she may live. Known as Child Ballad number 95 in Francis James Child’s collection of The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, “The Maid Freed from the Gallows,” also known as “Gallows Pole,” has been recorded by balladeer John Jacob Niles, as well as Lead Belly, Odetta, and Led Zeppelin. Francis James Child (ed.), “Child Ballad number 95 / Roud Folk Song Index number 44: The Maid Freed from the Gallows / The Gallis Pole / Gallows Pole,” The English and Scottish Popular Ballads in Five Volumes: Volume II, Part II, (Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company: The Riverside Press, Cambridge, 1882), pp.346-355, viewed 23 January 2016; John Jacob Niles, Track 3 “The Maid Freed From the Gallows,” My Precarious Life in the Public Domain, CD (Rev-Ola, 2006).

[2] “Jane Poole,” 24 August 1786, Series HO47, Piece Number 5, Home Office: Judges’ Reports on Criminals, 1784-1830 – correspondence,” (Home Office, Kew: The National Archives, 2016).

[3] “Jane Poole,” 24 August 1786, Series HO47, Piece Number 5, Home Office: Judges’ Reports on Criminals, 1784-1830 – correspondence,” (Home Office, Kew: The National Archives, 2016).

[4] “Jane (Poole) McManus,” Fellowship of First Fleeters, http://www.fellowshipfirstfleeters.org.au/janemcmanus.htm accessed 24 January 2016.

[5] P[ublic] R[ecord] O[ffice, T I/639, fos. 142-6 cited in Mollie Gillen, “The Botany Bay Decision, 1786: Convicts, Not Empire,” English Historical Review, Vol. 97, No. 385 (Oct., 1982): 740.

[6] James Madison to Thomas Jefferson regarding France’s state of overpopulation, which also applied to the English case; see Julian P. Boyd (ed.), The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, (18 vols., Princeton, 1950), Vol. IX, pp.659-60 cited in Edmund S. Morgan, “Slavery and Freedom: The American Paradox,” Journal of American History, Vol. 59, No. 1 (Jun., 1972): 12, 14.

[7] Gary L. Sturgess notes, “historians have long debated whether the new settlement was merely a dumping ground for convicts or part of some larger imperial plan. There is no direct evidence that it was anything other than a response to overcrowded gaols, but Alan Frost has argued that the decision must be viewed against a background of British expansion into the Indian and Pacific Oceans.” Gary L. Sturgess, “First Fleet,” Dictionary of Sydney, viewed 5 February 2015. See Mollie Gillen, “The Botany Bay Decision, 1786: Convicts, Not Empire,” English Historical Review, Vol. 97, No. 385 (Oct., 1982): 740-66 for an example of the alternative argument. The author concurs with Frost and Sturgess; overpopulation is, after all, perhaps the best reason and strongest motivation for expansion.

[8] “Jane Poole,” 28 August 1786, Series HO13, Piece Number 4, Home Office: Criminal Entry Books, 1782-1871, (Home Office, Kew: The National Archives, 2016), pp.179-81.

[9] Whitehall Evening Post, 5-8 August 1786 cited in Mollie Gillen, “The Botany Bay Decision, 1786: Convicts, Not Empire,” English Historical Review, Vol. 97, No. 385 (Oct., 1982): 743, 753. The statistic of 1300 prisoners on hulks is based on the number reported in August 1786, the same month Jane was tried and convicted.

[10] Nicholas Spencer to Lord Culpeper, 6 August 1676, Coventry Papers Longleat House, American Council of Learned Societies British Mss. project, reel 63 (Library of Congress), 170 cited in Edmund S. Morgan, “Slavery and Freedom: The American Paradox,” Journal of American History, Vol. 59, No. 1 (Jun., 1972): 21. For “surplus Englishmen,” also see Edmund S. Morgan, p.16.

[11] P[arliamentary[ R[egister] iv. 106 cited in Mollie Gillen, “The Botany Bay Decision, 1786: Convicts, Not Empire,” English Historical Review, Vol. 97, No. 385 (Oct., 1982): 742. The Act passed in mid-1776 was for two years. See Mollie Gillen, “The Botany Bay Decision, 1786: Convicts, Not Empire,” English Historical Review, Vol. 97, No. 385 (Oct., 1982): 742; Cassandra Pybus, Black Founders: The unknown story of Australia’s first black settlers, (Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, 2006), p.57.

[12] After being a ringleader in the Mercury mutiny, Thomas Barrett was “in general tolerably well behaved but troublesome at times” on the hulk and went on to create Australia’s first colonial work of art, the Charlotte Medal, only to become the first man executed in Australia on 27 February 1788 for stealing beef and peas. William Blatherhorn was also a mutineer, having mutinied on both the Swift and the Mercury. He was, predictably, “troublesome” during his incarceration on the Dunkirk. Mary Broad, her future husband William Bryant, and other mutineers held on the Dunkirk such as James Martin and James Cox, became the first convicts to successfully escape the colony and return to England. Michaela Ann Cameron, “Charlotte,” Dictionary of Sydney, (2015)  viewed 02 February 2016.

[13] “Home News: The Lady’s Magazine; For November, 1786,” in The Lady’s Magazine; Or Entertaining Companion for the Fair Sex, appropriated Solely to their Use and Amusement, Volume 17, (London: Robinson and Roberts, 1786) p.613.

[14] Joseph Morrell, 9 September 1789, Old Bailey Proceedings Online, www.oldbaileyonline.org, viewed 13 February 2016. Morrell ended up being transported for life on the Scarborough, which arrived in June 1790.

[15] Charlotte was named after the wife of the ship’s merchant owner, William Matthews.

[16] John White, Journal of a Voyage to New South Wales: With Sixty-Five Plates of Non Descript Animals, Birds, Lizards, Serpents, Curious Cones of Trees and Other Natural Productions (London: J. Debrett, 1790) accessed 31 December 2014

[17] John White, Journal of a Voyage to New South Wales: With Sixty-Five Plates of Non Descript Animals, Birds, Lizards, Serpents, Curious Cones of Trees and Other Natural Productions (London: J. Debrett, 1790) accessed 5 February 2016

[18] John White, Journal of a Voyage to New South Wales: With Sixty-Five Plates of Non Descript Animals, Birds, Lizards, Serpents, Curious Cones of Trees and Other Natural Productions (London: J. Debrett, 1790) accessed 5 February 2016

[19] John White, Journal of a Voyage to New South Wales: With Sixty-Five Plates of Non Descript Animals, Birds, Lizards, Serpents, Curious Cones of Trees and Other Natural Productions (London: J. Debrett, 1790) accessed 5 February 2016

[20] John White, Journal of a Voyage to New South Wales: With Sixty-Five Plates of Non Descript Animals, Birds, Lizards, Serpents, Curious Cones of Trees and Other Natural Productions (London: J. Debrett, 1790) accessed 5 February 2016

[21] Nonetheless, even with a grating cut according to Captain Arthur Phillip’s orders ‘so as to admit a small wind sail being let down among [the women]’ instead of leaving the hatches open, and despite the concentration of the better sort of female convicts on Charlotte, licentiousness clearly persisted in the small hours. Just two days after the prisoner-swap at Rio, a private in the marines named Cornelius Connell received his punishment of ‘a hundred lashes…according to the sentence of a court martial,’ for ‘improper intercourse’ with multiple, unidentified female convicts, ‘contrary to orders.’ Other marines on board the Charlotte were accused of the same, but insufficient evidence saved them from the flogging Connell suffered. John White, Journal of a Voyage to New South Wales: With Sixty-Five Plates of Non Descript Animals, Birds, Lizards, Serpents, Curious Cones of Trees and Other Natural Productions (London: J. Debrett, 1790) accessed 5 February 2016

[22] David Collins, “Chapter I,” An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, Vol. I, accessed 7 February 2016

[23] David Collins, “Chapter I,” An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, Vol. I, accessed 7 February 2016

[24] David Collins, “Chapter I,” An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, Book I, accessed 7 February 2016

[25] David Morgan, “HMS Supply,” Dictionary of Sydney, (2015)  accessed 7 February 2016

[26] “On the 11th [of November 1789] the Supply sailed for Norfolk Island, having on board provisions and six male and eight female convicts for that colony. She was to stop at Lord Howe Island, to endeavor to procure turtle for this settlement; a supply of which, in its present situation, would have been welcomed, not as a luxury, but as a necessary of life.” David Collins, “Chapter VIII,” An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, Book I, accessed 7 February 2016; John Hunter, “Chapter XI,” A Voyage to Norfolk Island, February 1788 to April 1788,” An Historical Journal of the Transactions at Port Jackson and Norfolk Island, (London: John Stockdale, Picadilly, 1793) accessed 7 February 2016; Philip Gidley King, The Journal of Philip Gidley King, (Sydney: University of Sydney Library, 2003), p.184, accessed 7 February 2016

[27] David Collins, “Chapter XII,” An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, Vol. I, accessed 7 February 2016

[28] David Collins, “Chapter XII,” An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, Vol. I, accessed 7 February 2016

[29] The Atlantic had been a convict transport ship in the Third Fleet that arrived mid-1791. It’s ultimate destination when it set sail for Norfolk Island on 26 October 1791 was Calcutta; there, naval agent Lieutenant Bowen was to procure “a cargo of flour and peas.”

[30] As there are no birth records for Norfolk Island in this period, Margaret’s birth year and the identity of her father is not confirmed. However, it is possible that James McManus was her father as her first appearance in the historical record occurred nine months after James McManus I’s arrival on Norfolk Island and his probable marriage date of November 1791.

[31] Jan Barkley-Jack, Hawkesbury Settlement Revealed: A new look at Australia’s third mainland settlement 1793-1802, (Kenthurst, NSW: Rosenberg Publishing, 2009) plate.19.

[32] Buried 15 April 1798. Ceremony performed at St. Philip, at Sydney by St. Philip’s Church of Sydney. “James McManus,” NSW Births, Deaths and Marriages, Number 875 Vol. 4 Burials (15 April 1798); “James McManus, Volume Number V1798875 4 / V17981383 2A,” Ancestry.com, Australia, Death Index, 1787-1985 [database on-line] (Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010) Part of the Old Sydney Burial Ground is preserved beneath the Sydney Town Hall. Some of the remains were exhumed and moved to a mass grave at Rookwood Necropolis when the Town Hall was being constructed in 1869, others remained in situ and the building was built over the top of them.

[33] “Grant made in the name of [James McManus’s] widow, Jane McManus,” New South Wales Government, Main series of letters received, 1788-1825, Series 897, Rees 6041-6064, 6071-6072, (Kingswood, NSW: State Records Authority of New South Wales), p.115; Ancestry.com, New South Wales, Australia, Colonial Secretary’s Papers, 1788-1856, [database on-line], (Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010). See also Jan Barkley-Jack, Hawkesbury Settlement Revealed: A new look at Australia’s third mainland settlement 1793-1802, (Kenthurst, NSW: Rosenberg Publishing, 2009).

[34] Jane McManus: signatory to petition from settlers of the Hawkesbury; Ancestry.com, New South Wales, Australia, Colonial Secretary’s Papers, 1788-1856 [database online], (Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 2010).

[35] Hunter to Duke of Portland, 25 September 1798 cited in J. C. H. Gill, The Hawkesbury River Floods of 1801, 1806, and 1809: Their Effect on the Economy of the Colony of New South Wales, (26 June 1969) p.717, accessed 11 February 2016

[36] New South Wales Government, Special Bundles, 1794-1825, Series 898, Reels 6020-6040, 6070; Fiche 3260-3312. (State Records Authority of New South Wales. Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia)

[37] New South Wales Government, Special Bundles, 1794-1825, Series 898, Reels 6020-6040, 6070; Fiche 3260-3312. (State Records Authority of New South Wales. Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia)

[38] New South Wales Government, Special Bundles, 1794-1825, Series 898, Reels 6020-6040, 6070; Fiche 3260-3312. (State Records Authority of New South Wales. Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia)

[39] New South Wales Government, Special Bundles, 1794-1825, Series 898, Reels 6020-6040, 6070; Fiche 3260-3312. (State Records Authority of New South Wales. Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia)

[40] Hunter in David Collins, “Chapter XXIII, An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, Vol. II, (London, 1802), accessed 14 February 2016

[41] New South Wales Government, Special Bundles, 1794-1825, Series 898, Reels 6020-6040, 6070; Fiche 3260-3312. (State Records Authority of New South Wales. Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia)

[42] In an interesting bit of happenstance, the ship that transported Ridge from England to the colony of New South Wales, the Atlantic (arrived 20 August 1791), was the same ship that sailed for Norfolk Island with James McManus I aboard in late October that year and, subsequently, went on to transport James, his new wife, and babe back to the mainland the following August. Twice, then, the Atlantic had been the vessel responsible for bringing significant men into Jane’s life. Trial of Richard Ridge, Gilbert Baker, William Lloyd, William Shaw, and James M’Cauley, 9 September 1789, Old Bailey Proceedings Online, www.oldbaileyonline.org, accessed 14 February 2016, (t17890909-10)

[43] “Richard Ridge,” Home Office: Settlers and Convicts, New South Wales and Tasmania; (The National Archives Microfilm Publication HO10, Pieces 5, 19-20, 32-51); The National Archives of the UK (TNA), Kew, Surrey, England.

[44] “Margaret Ridge,” Home Office: Settlers and Convicts, New South Wales and Tasmania; (The National Archives Microfilm Publication HO10, Pieces 5, 19-20, 32-51); The National Archives of the UK (TNA), Kew, Surrey, England.

[45] Whatever Jane’s reasons were for choosing the name “Mrs. Jane Poole,” they seem to have been passed on to her children and grandchildren, too. Martha, Jane’s child with Richard Ridge, used the surname Poole rather than Ridge. Jane’s eldest child, 20-year-old Margaret, gave birth to a child of her own in Parramatta on 21 August 1810, she called her “Harriett Poole,” and when Margaret herself was married three years later, she did so as “Margaret Poole.” Later, Jane’s son James McManus II would also be called “James Pool” under very different circumstances. See “James McManus II: The Wrath of a Madman” for more information.

[46] New South Wales Government, Main series of letters received, 1788-1825, Series 897, Reels 6041-6064, 6071-6072, State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia.

[47] Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW: 1803-1842), Saturday 9 September 1815, p.1

[48] New South Wales Government, Main series of letters received, 1788-1825, Series 897, Reels 6041-6064, 6071-6072, State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia.

[49] New South Wales Government, Main series of letters received, 1788-1825, Series 897, Reels 6041-6064, 6071-6072, State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia.

[50] New South Wales Government, Main series of letters received, 1788-1825, Series 897, Reels 6041-6064, 6071-6072, State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia.

[51] The first Wesleyan chapel was demolished in 1839 when a second church was built on the same site. The church that currently stands at what is now 119 Macquarie Street, Parramatta is a third church built on the site in 1885. “Parramatta Mission,” accessed 14 February 2016. Personal correspondence with Sonnia Ryan, a descendant of Jane McManus, has confirmed that Jane’s Macquarie St. allotment was on the site of what is now “The Strand.”

[52] New South Wales Government, Main series of letters received, 1788-1825, Series 897, Reels 6041-6064, 6071-6072, State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia.

[53] New South Wales Government, Main series of letters received, 1788-1825, Series 897, Reels 6041-6064, 6071-6072, State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia.

[54] Martha Poole, Section I, Row N, No.6 at St. John’s Cemetery, Parramatta. “Sacred to the memory of MARTHA POOLE who departed this life June the 17 1821, Aged 18 years,” in Judith Dunn, The Parramatta Cemeteries: St. John’s, (Parramatta, NSW: Parramatta and District Historical Society, 1991), p.76.

[55] New South Wales Government, Main series of letters received, 1788-1825, Series 897, Reels 6041-6064, 6071-6072, State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia.

[56] “Jane Poole,” 24 August 1786, Series HO47, Piece Number 5, Home Office: Judges’ Reports on Criminals, 1784-1830 – correspondence,” (Home Office, Kew: The National Archives, 2016).

[57] New South Wales Government, Special Bundles, 1794-1825. Series 898, Reels 6020-6040, 6070; Fiche 3260-3312, State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia

[58] Parish Burial Registers (1826-1834) Textual records, St. John’s Anglican Church Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia. “Jane McManis,” Section 1 Row N, No.7 at St. John’s Cemetery, Parramatta. See Judith Dunn, The Parramatta Cemeteries: St. John’s, (Parramatta, NSW: Parramatta and District Historical Society, 1991), p.76.

[59] New South Wales Government, Main series of letters received, 1788-1825, Series 897, Reels 6041-6064, 6071-6072, State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia

[60] “Jane McManis,” Section 1 Row N, No.7 at St. John’s Cemetery, Parramatta. “Sacred to the memory of JANE McMANIS Who departed this life November 26th 1826, Aged 56 years. The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away blefsed be The name of the Lord. First Fleeters’ plaque: Jane McManis, Arrived First Fleeter 26-1-1788, Fellowship of First Fleeters 1984 in Judith Dunn, The Parramatta Cemeteries: St. John’s, (Parramatta, NSW: Parramatta and District Historical Society, 1991), p.76; Parish Burial Registers (1826-1834) Textual records, St. John’s Anglican Church Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia.

[61] Francis James Child (ed.), “Child Ballad number 78: The Unquiet Grave,” The English and Scottish Popular Ballads in Five Volumes: Volume II, Part I, (Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company: The Riverside Press, Cambridge, 1882).

© Copyright 2016 Michaela Ann Cameron