Return… for a Copy of the Record of Conviction of Joseph Sudds and Patrick Thompson, Privates of the 57th Regiment…. Governor Ralph DARLING.

Return… for a Copy of the Record of Conviction of Joseph Sudds and Patrick Thompson…
Return… for a Copy of the Record of Conviction of Joseph Sudds and Patrick Thompson, Privates of the 57th Regiment…

London: House of Commons, 14 July, 1828.

Tall quarto, 10 pp. and docket title sheet; unfolded.

Governor Darling roasted over the coals

Fascinating collection of published correspondence from Governor Darling to British Parliament concerning the dramatic punishment of troops dodging their service in the New South Wales 57th Regiment. Darling established his authoritarian reputation through disciplinary measures such as these 'in order that soldiers who wantonly sacrifice their character may not deceive themselves by a groundless hope of escaping punishment.'

Fascinating collection of published correspondence from Governor Darling to British Parliament concerning the dramatic punishment of troops dodging their service in the New South Wales 57th Regiment. Darling established his authoritarian reputation through disciplinary measures such as these 'in order that soldiers who wantonly sacrifice their character may not deceive themselves by a groundless hope of escaping punishment.'

The first dispatch reveals seven recent cases of soldiers of the 57th maiming themselves or committing brazen crimes to escape the full term of their service (further transportation being preferable to time in the army). Darling made an example of two of the soldiers caught stealing cloth in broad daylight with no attempt at concealment, ordering that Joseph Sudds and Patrick Thompson 'be immediately stripped of their uniform in presence of the troops, and be dressed in felons clothing; that they be put in chains, and delivered in charge to the overseers of the "chain gangs," in order to their being removed to the interior, and worked on the mountain roads, being drummed, as rogues, out of the garrison.'

Ordinarily this punishment and spectacular reversal of roles would not have warranted the concern of the Colonial Secretary. However, Joseph Sudds died shortly after starting work and Darling was attacked by the editor of the Australian for his callous treatment. Darling defends his actions in this correspondence, stressing that although chains are 'designated instruments of torture' those fitted to Sudds and Thompson weighed just over 13 pounds. Sudds was suffering from dropsy at the time of his arrest and his decease may have not have been the direct result of heavy labour.

Unlike many of his contemporaries in the Colonial service, Darling is an engaging writer and his correspondence makes arresting reading while providing some insight into service conditions for the 57th Regiment.

Ferguson, 1193.

Condition Report: A fine copy.

Price (AUD): $1,000.00

US$751.24   Other currencies

Ref: #4205919

Condition Report