Page 18 - Irish Convicts Abandoned on Cape Breton's Shore, 1788
ISSUE : Issue 72
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1997/6/1
the transportation of Convicts to His Majesty's Colonies in North America is in many respects so objectionable...[that] by the Act of the 26th of His present Majesty, You are not to direct or authorize the Transportation of Of? fenders to the Colonies...or to any other part of His Majesty's Dominions [other] than the Coast of New South Wales.'' These instructions were a direct result of Captain Debonham's brutal act on the coast of Cape Breton seven months earher, and ended the practice of convict transportation to North America. George Moore, Esq., an Irishman and naval officer in Sydney, echoed the sentiments of the Home Secretary in a letter pub? lished in a Dublin newspaper the same month. He wrote: Eighty miserable wretches (our compati'iots) landed [here] the distance of twelve miles from any inhabited place; some drowned in the landing, and many [were] frostbitten before they could receive any assistance. Surely hu? manity must shudder at the manner in which convicts are disposed of and to remedy this evil is certainly a measure highly deserving the interference of the legislature. [To which the editor added] that such ill-fated wretches [were better]...hanged at home, sooner than face the lingering death of fa? mine in the inclement wilds of America.''' In the end, the convicts went their separate ways, drawn to places by opportunity or circumstance. Of the 126 Irish men, women, and boys who boarded the Providence that October 18, 1788, 46 died crossing the Atlantic, one man was killed during the landing, six died of exposure the first night, and one was murdered. In the following months three died in hospital, one woman died en route to the hospital and one man froze to death carrying supplies. Little is known about the remaining sixty-seven convicts. Two murderers escaped from prison and disappeared. The govern- w' uome Tor me summer, '.' stay for the fall colours • '"' vou are welcome to . C< Brunswick Newfoundland VICTORIA COUNTY Cape L Breton /,edwardl."'J'*'?"<' Atlantic Ocean you O VICTORIA COUNTY Make Victoria County tiie centre of your stay in '' .' Cape Breton. Hiking, swimming and golfing, motels or camping, music and dance, museunis' and craftspeople • Victoria County is a world to explore. And it's an excellenj' base from which to reach all other parts of the Island' '; ??''''e ??>.. ''"OX Cove Keltic Lodge Capa Smokey "CIAD MILE FAILTE" One Hundred Thousand Welcomes from VICTORIA COUNTY'S Warden, Councillors, & Residents Take time to meet our people! Victoria County is a Year 'Round Joy! Whether it's a Summer sailing regatta, Winter Alpine and cross-country skiing, or driving and hiking through the Autumn • we invite you to join us, and ... Enjoy Victoria County • We Do! SOME SUMMER '97 events Reflections '97 Festival Cabot Landing Provincial Park: JUNE 28 to JULY 1 Centre Bras d'Or Festival of the Arts| Baddeck: JULY 1 to OCTOBER 31 Nova Scotia Gaelic Mod Gaelic College, St. Ann's: JULY 18 to 20 Fishing Derby & Crab Supper Bay St. Lawrence: JULY 19 to 20 Highland Village Day lona: AUGUST 2 Regatta Week Bras d'Or Yacht Club, Baddeck: AUGUST 3 to 9 Pork Chop Barbecue & Fun Day Ross Ferry: AUGUST 9 Fishing Boat Races Jersey Cove: AUGUST 16 Linger by the Sea Festival Neil's Harbour: AUGUST 17 to 24 Cape Breton Fiddlers' Festival Gaelic College, St. Ann's: AUGUST 23 to 24 Feis Chladaich a Tuath North Shore Gaelic Festival: SEPTEMBER 27 to 28 AND MUCH MORE, SUMMER & WINTER! Victoria County Recreation Dept.: (902) 295-3231 or e-mail: [email protected]
Cape Breton's Magazine