The Emancipation Act: An Act for enabling... Governor... to remit the Sentences…
An Act for enabling His Majesty to authorize His Governor or Lieutenant Governor of such Places beyond the Seas, to which Felons or other Offenders may be transported, to remit the sentences of such Offenders. (30 Geo. III c.47)

London: Eyre and Strahan, 1790.

Folio; 4pp, modern wrappers.

Governor Phillip's Emancipation Act

The second most important legal document for establishing the colony of New South Wales: the act (30 Geo III c. 47) authorising the pardoning of transported convicts. Governor Phillip had quickly realised that he had plenty of sticks but few carrots, and would need the power to emancipate in order to adequately govern and to be able to grant rewards for good behaviour. In March 1787, shortly before the First Fleet sailed, Phillip had written to Under Secretary Nepean, with one of his requests being that particular attention be given to providing him with the power to emancipate. In 1791 John Irvine became the first convict to be emancipated in New South Wales, and Phillip could write to Lord Grenville that he "had been bred to surgery and merited from his exemplary conduct what has been done for him; he acts as an assistant to the surgeons, who find him a very useful man. He is inclined to remain in the country, For him some allowance will be necessary". Irvine was soon appointed as assistant surgeon for Norfolk Island and his case was often cited to demonstrate the wisdom of the Act.

The second most important legal document for establishing the colony of New South Wales: the act (30 Geo III c. 47) authorising the pardoning of transported convicts. Governor Phillip had quickly realised that he had plenty of sticks but few carrots, and would need the power to emancipate in order to adequately govern and to be able to grant rewards for good behaviour. In March 1787, shortly before the First Fleet sailed, Phillip had written to Under Secretary Nepean, with one of his requests being that particular attention be given to providing him with the power to emancipate. In 1791 John Irvine became the first convict to be emancipated in New South Wales, and Phillip could write to Lord Grenville that he "had been bred to surgery and merited from his exemplary conduct what has been done for him; he acts as an assistant to the surgeons, who find him a very useful man. He is inclined to remain in the country, For him some allowance will be necessary". Irvine was soon appointed as assistant surgeon for Norfolk Island and his case was often cited to demonstrate the wisdom of the Act.
The Transportation Act 1790 (30 Geo. 3 c. 47) officially enacted the previous orders in council into law, stating "his Majesty hath declared and appointed...that the eastern coast of New South Wales, and the islands thereunto adjacent, should be the place or places beyond the seas to which certain felons, and other offenders, should be conveyed and transported;"...or other places. The act also gave "authority to remit or shorten the time or term" of the sentence "in cases where it shall appear that such felons, or other offenders, are proper objects of the royal mercy".

Provenance: Private collection (Sydney).

Ferguson (Appendix), 81a.

Price (AUD): $1,400.00  other currencies     Ref: #4504566