An Act for punishing Offences committed by Transports kept to labour in the Colonies; and better regulating the Powers of Justices of the Peace in New South Wales. (Cap. LXIX). IRISH FAMINE, PARLIAMENT OF GREAT BRITAIN.

An Act for punishing Offences committed by Transports…
An Act for punishing Offences committed by Transports kept to labour in the Colonies; and better regulating the Powers of Justices of the Peace in New South Wales. (Cap. LXIX).

London: George Eyre and Andrew Strahan, 1825.

Printed bifolium, pp. [593]-595, last blank, armorial letterhead, fine.

An Act to facilitate the transportation of convicts from Ireland.

An Act to facilitate the transportation of convicts from Ireland.

This act enforces the uniform and standardised punishment of all subjects throughout the British empire with regard to the legal status of persons transported to Australia. Accordingly, the Act ensures that any person transported from any part of the British empire to New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land is subject to the same laws and regulations as convicts transported directly from Britain. Significantly, it annuls differences between English and Irish penal law with regards to transportation. In 1825 the potato crop failed with dire consequences for the rural poor of Ireland and some counties were effectively placed under martial law. Between 1822 and 1825 persons caught breaking the curfew could be transported (although juries were often reluctant to endorse this severe punishment). Transportation was used as a powerful tool for suppressing agitators and removing them far from Irish shores.

Although Ireland is not specified, this legislation was clearly motivated by the widespread English fear of a general insurrection and the extensive power then exerted by the 'White-Boy' nationalist movement. Ferguson notes the Act was soon after published in Dublin, doubtless for distribution to magistrates presiding in Irish courts.

Ferguson, 1016.

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