An Act for the further Preventing Robbery, Burglary, and other Felonies, and for the more effectual Transportation of Felons…. TRANSPORTATION ACT, Parliament GREAT BRITAIN.
An Act for the further Preventing Robbery, Burglary, and other Felonies, and for the more effectual Transportation of Felons…

An Act for the further Preventing Robbery, Burglary, and other Felonies…
An Act for the further Preventing Robbery, Burglary, and other Felonies, and for the more effectual Transportation of Felons…

London: John Baskett by order of Parliament, 1718.

Foolscap, 8 pp. including armorial title-page, text pp. 183-188, very good; disbound, original stitch-sewing still present.

The First Transportation Act of 1718, which allowed courts to sentence convicts to seven years in America in order 'to deter criminals and to supply the colonies with labour' (Shaw, Convicts and the Colonies, p. 25). This Act, which first formally involved the British Government in the practice of transportation, was discontinued with the War of Independence in 1776, but lay at the heart of the renewal of the practice in the mid-1780s when the colony in New South Wales was being planned. As a result, this Act should be considered central to the pre-history of Botany Bay.

The First Transportation Act of 1718, which allowed courts to sentence convicts to seven years in America in order 'to deter criminals and to supply the colonies with labour' (Shaw, Convicts and the Colonies, p. 25). This Act, which first formally involved the British Government in the practice of transportation, was discontinued with the War of Independence in 1776, but lay at the heart of the renewal of the practice in the mid-1780s when the colony in New South Wales was being planned. As a result, this Act should be considered central to the pre-history of Botany Bay.

The Act begins lamenting the present state of affairs, where thieves sent to the West Indies regularly return to crime with a high incidence of capital punishment for such reprobates. This dire situation is contrasted with a significant labour shortage: 'in many of His Majesty's colonies and plantations in America, there is a great want of servants, who by their labour and industry might be the means of improving and making the said colonies and plantations more useful to this nation.' Although now formalised as government policy, this Act would still rely on private merchants who could, moreover, profit from the sale of the convicts once they had arrived in the New World.

As a result, the Act promotes transportation to America for a term of seven years as an alternative to the usual punishments for larceny - flogging, branding of the hands or confinement in workhouses and other penitentiaries. Significantly, it notes that those found guilty of crimes previously punished by death (specifically the purchase and resale of stolen goods) could now be eligible for transportation and labour for a period of fourteen years. Of additional interest are clauses stipulating the terms and conditions of return to the United Kingdom upon completion of the transportation sentence, including costs to be incurred by the ex-convict. Not surprisingly, those convicted of piracy are denied the exemptions and mercies extended to regular felons through this transportation act.

Condition Report: Very good.

Price (AUD): $2,250.00

US$1,739.59   Other currencies

Ref: #4011273

Condition Report