The Convict Ship “Mandarin”
The convict ship Mandarin sailed from Spithead Pourtsmouth on 25th February 1840 bound for Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania). On board were the Chartist leaders John Frost, Zephaniah Williams and William Jones whose death sentences for High Treason had been commuted to transportation after a public outcry. The Mandarin was a 425 ton S-rigged sailing ship built by Horton in 1834 captained by James Muddle. Altogether there were 212 convicts were on board , being transported for offences ranging from attempted theft of handkerchiefs to manslaughter. According to many sources transportation was considered a very severe punishment for many of the prisoners who by today’s standards had committed relatively minor offences.
CLICK HERE TO SEE DETAILS OF ALL THE CONVICTS ABOARD THE MANDARIN INCLUDING JOHN FROST ZEPHANIAH WILLIAMS AND WILLIAM JONES (alphabetical order)
John Frost later wrote about his experiences on board the Mandarin: “By degrees I gained strength, and with an increase of strength came an increase of resolution to bear my sufferings with patience and firmness. One day, when the ship was tossing about, I had before me a pretty tough piece of convict beef ; had hold of the partition with one hand, and I was attempting to cut the beef with the other, when I heard a chuckling above me. I looked up and saw the old boatswain laughing at me, ‘ Ah, Mr. Frost,’ said he, ‘ this voyage will be worth a thousand a-year to you; it will teach you something of life.’
On a previous voyage, 14 deaths occurred on the Mandarin caused by suffocation, exhaustion from sea sickness, apoplexy, phrenitis and convulsions, so the job of Alexander McKechnie, the ship’s surgeon, was an important one in keeping the convicts alive during the voyage, and on this trip, however, only one person died. Dr. McKechnie.kept detailed medical notes about the convicts illnesses:-
Joseph Hudson, aged 26, convict; haemoptysis. Put on sick list 4 March. Discharged 12 March
James Williams, aged 30, soldier 51st Regiment; febris. Put on sick list 8 April. Died 10 April
Thomas Connall, aged 22, soldier 96th Regiment; colica spasmod. Put on sick list, 15 April -Discharged 25 April
Thomas Bush, aged 22, convict; scurvey. Put on sick list, 18 April – Discharged 24 April .
John Gallop, aged 28, convict; scurvey. Put on sick list, 24 April – Discharged 24 April..
John House, aged 27, convict; scurvey. Put on sick list, 26 April 1840. Discharged 30 April
George Coe, aged 33, convict; scurvey. Put on sick list, 7 May 1840. Discharged 4 June .
Richard Cass, aged 22, convict; scurvey. Put on sick list, 25 May 1840. Discharged 9 June.
Thomas Mole, aged 23, convict; scurvey and catarrh. Put on sick list, 25 May 1840. Discharged 6 July 1840 to the Colonial Hospital.
Thomas Evans, aged 19, convict; scurvey. Put on sick list, 27 May 1840. Discharged 2 June.
Walter Duke, aged 33, convict; purpura. Put on sick list, 8 June 1840. Died 10 June 1840.
William Bolden, aged 52, convict; purpura. Put on sick list, 11 June 1840. Discharged 6 July 1840 to the Colonial Hospital.
Charles Baker, aged 30, convict; scurvey. Put on sick list, 12 June 1840. Discharged 23 June.
John Morton, aged 24, convict; purpura. Put on sick list, 24 June 1840. Discharged 29 June.
Francis Rogers, aged 20, convict; catarrh. Put on sick list, 28 June 1840. Discharged 1 July 1840 to the Colonial Hospital.
Jean Jacques Courbean, aged 62, convict; atrophia. Put on sick list, 29 June 1840. Discharged 1 July 1840 to the Colonial Hospital.
John Williams, aged 25, convict; hernia. Put on sick list, 2 July 1840. Discharged 2 July 1840 and supplied with a truss.
More information can be found about the conversations of Dr. Alex McKechnie on board the Mandarin can be found in Les James’ book, “Render the Chartists Defenceless”.
After 126 days at sea on board the Mandarin, the convicts reached their destination of the penal colony at Port Arthur, Tasmania, after a journey of over 12,000 nautical miles, arriving on 30th June 1840.
CLICK HERE TO SEE INFORMATION ABOUT THE PENAL COLONY AT PORT ARTHUR – “a machine to grind rogues honest”.
|OTHER CONVICT SHIPS ARRIVING AUSTRALIA IN 1840|
|SHIP||MASTER||SURGEON||DEPARTED||ARRIVED||MALE CONVICTS||FEMALE CONVICTS|
|Muddle, Jas||McKechnie, Alex||Spithead||Hobart||212||0|
|Maitland 1840?||Baker, Jn.||Toms, Plp.||Sheerness||Sydney||310||0|
|Margaret 1840?||Canney, Ed.||Browning, Col. A.||Dublin||Sydney||0||133|
|Pekoe 1840?||Keen, Sampson||Bower, Rbt.||Dublin||Sydney||184||0|
|Eden 1840?||Naylor, Hy. J.||Forman, Geo. E.||Sheerness||Sydney||270||0|
|Egyptian 1840?||Skelton, Jn||Kidd, Jn||Dublin||Hobart||170||0|
|Augusta Jessie 1840||Sparke, J.S.||Dunn, Thos.||Dublin||Norfolk Is. Sydney||161||0|
|Mangles 1840?||Carr, Wm.||Nisbett, Alex.||Plymouth||Norfolk Is. Sydney||290||0|
|Canton 1840?||Mordaunt, Jn||Irvine, Jn||Spithead||Hobart||240||0|
|Middlesex 1840?||Munro, Chas.||Baird, Jn.||Dublin||Sydney||200||0|
|Woodbridge 1840?||Dobson, Wm. B.||Moxey, Geo. T.||London||Sydney||230||0|
|Runnymede 1840?||Forward, W||Fisher, Ptr||London||Hobart||200||0|
|Gilbert Henderson 1840?||Tweedie, J||Hamett, Sir Jn||London||Hobart||0||185|
|Surrey 1840?||Sinclair, Geo.||Leah, Ed.||Downs||Sydney||0||213|
|Isabella 1840?||McAusland, Alex.||Mahon, Hy. W.||Dublin||Sydney||0||119|
|Asia 1840?||Fawcett, Jas||Johnston, J||Sheerness||Hobart||276||0|
|King William 1840?||Thomas, Geo.||France, Campbell||Dublin||Sydney||180||0|
|Nautilus 1840?||Alloway, H.||McClure, Geo.||Dublin||Norfolk Is. Sydney||200||0|
Between 1788 and 1852, a total of about 1,800 Welsh convicts were transported to Australia – about 1.2% of the total number of convicts transported there by that time.