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1-182 (Text)

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author,male,Broadside,un addressee
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Ingleton, 1988
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It is notorious that the female convicts on board the transports, often lead dissolute lives with the seamen on the passage hither from England, but no case before has shown such flagrant deriliction of Duty on the part of the Captain, as well as his Officers, as that of the female convict ship, Janus.
The ship Janus, commanded by Captain Thomas J. Mowatt, arrived at Sydney on the 3d. of May, 1820, with 104 Female Convicts from England and Ireland; Mr. Creagh, Royal Navy, having been the Surgeon Superintendent, but who died at Sea when off Van Diemen's Land. Some weeks after these females were landed, and either distributed amongst the respectable Married Settlers, or placed in the Government Factory at Parramatta, it appeared that most of them were in a state of Pregnancy, through having lived in Prostitution with the Captain, Officers and Crew.
It has transpired that two convict women, Lydia Esden and Mary Long, were sent to Nicholas Bayly, Esquire, of Bayly Park, but they pretended they were unable to work, and tried to return to Sydney, in order, as they said, to get some recompense from the Captain and First Mate, for their Prostitution while on board the Janus. Mary Long, who cannot write, said she lived with the Captain during the passage, while Lydia Esden lived with the First Mate John Hedges. Both are pregnant. Lydia Esden sent the following letter to her Master, who had refused them a pass, being contrary to the Government Orders.  
His Excellency the Governor deemed it necessary that such circumstances should be duly investigated by a full Bench of Magistrates, which was accordingly undertaken on the 24th of June, 1820, before Jno. Wylde, Esqr. the Honbie the Judge Advocate; Will'm Minchin, Esqr., J.P.; John Thomas Campbell, Esqr., J.P.; Simeon Lord, Esq., J.P.; John Piper, Esqr., J.P.
The Reverend Philip Connolly and the Revd. Joseph Therry, Roman Catholic Chaplains, with the permission of the Government had come Out as passengers in the Janus, and gave evidence as follows: - REVD. PHILIP CONNOLLY, being duly sworn stated
"I took my passage on board the Ship Janus. About three weeks after I had been on board, I had reason to suspect some improper intercourse was going on between the female Convicts and the Sailors; my reasons for so doing were in consequence of some Conversation between the Surgeon and Captain. The intercourse appeared to me to be general; I have reason to believe there were two or three Women often, indeed Constantly, in the Captain's Cabin - Lydia Esden was one, Mary Long was also one - She endeavoured to get in of a night. They were in the sleeping Births, both day and night.
I felt it my Duty to have some conversation with the Captain in the course of a Month after we sailed. I did so frequently nearly the whole Voyage, but there was a time I ceased to do it, Convinced it was useless. These things were frequently talked over publicly in the Cabin. Captain Mowatt seemed by his words to wish to prevent it, but not by his Actions, I have reason to believe, as to the Sailors, each took their partner from the Prison-room.
The Ship went into Rio, and a letter was sent to the Commodore Bowles, respecting the Mal-practices on board. The Captain and Surgeon in Consequence of this went on Shore, and some bolts and bars were sent on board to keep the Prison secure and to prevent Prostitution. They were shortly removed by the Sailors; it was generally talked of in the Ship, and I knew of two or three women who visited the Captain after the bolts were removed. Prostitution seemed to prevail more than before, and I have seen women come from the Sailor's Birth.
The Captain knew of the Prostitution being carried on, and he took means to prevent it, but not sufficient means. The Sailors seemed determined to have the women. The Hatches were removed as regularly as they were fastened, and the Captain's remonstrances had no effect, nor could it be expected they would, in consequence of his own example and Conduct, - I mean bad example. I am sure it was the Sailors, who removed the bars, not with the Captain's permission, but there was no means taken to punish those that removed them. The locks were bad, but if they had been good, the grating could be moved away from under the bars, which were loose They had means on board to fasten them, and, had I been Master, I should have had them fastened."
REVD. JOHN JOSEPH THERRY, duly sworn, gave similar evidence to that of the Revd. Connolly; he stated: "I did form an opinion as to what was going on in the Ship - the utmost prevalence of Vice, in respect to illicit intercourse, prevailed. I mean with all the men it was general, and I do believe there was general criminal intercourse between the Sailors and the female Convicts. I expostulated with the Officers and Captain frequently, but finding my expostulations of no use, I discontinued them."
MARY LONG, being duly sworn, stated: "When I have not been confined in the Prison during the night, I have passed my time in the Captain's Cabin. I believe I am at this time in a pregnant Condition. I charge Captain Mowatt with the cause of my being in this Condition. I washed and mended for Captain Mowatt. I constantly had occasion to go down for those purposes. Mary Hoare, Isabella Irvin used to wash for the Priests; Ellen Molloy cooked for them, and they had frequent occasions to go to the Priests' Cabin."
LYDIA ESDEN, duly sworn, stated: "I wrote a Letter to Mr. Bayly, whose Government Servant I am. I was particularly urgent with him to come down to Sydney to see one of the Officers of the Ship. I complained to him that I was pregnant by the Chief Mate of the Ship, John Hedges. I passed much of my time in his Cabin during the Voyage. The Surgeon knew of my going up and down, and of the other women too, and did not peremptorily order us to our Prison, but only to be more Circumspect, and not to do it openly, lest the Priests should know of it; for that his living depended on his Character. He said he would have a woman in his Cabin, if it was not for the Priests."
The Bench of Magistrates, after due consideration, found that Prostitution did prevail to a great degree on board the Janus, throughout the Voyage from England to this Territory, and that due exertions were not made on the part of the Captain and Officers to repress and prevent the same; and that the charges against Captain Mowatt and his Officers, individually were true and well founded in fact.