men Voyage: 113 days Deaths 0 Surgeon's Journal: no
Bensley arrived 10 March 1817 Next vessel:
Shipley arrived 24
April 1817 Captain Robert R. Brown Surgeon
The Morley was built on
the Thames in 1811. This was the first of four voyages
bringing convicts to New South Wales, the others
1829. She also transported convicts to Van Diemen's
Land in 1820 and
The Morley was the next convict ship to leave
England for New South Wales after the departure of the
William Bensley and the
Some of the prisoners who were under
sentence of transportation were held in Newgate prison in
October 1816. Six of the men masterminded a daring outbreak
in that month. They cut through the roof of their cells at
the top of the gaol and tying their blankets together formed
a rope to let themselves down in the space between the walls
of Newgate and the Physicians College. Five of them got
clear away despite a desperate pursuit.
The sixth was
Maurice Healy who had been imprisoned for burglary. He was
detained by an old woman who locked him into a small yard
from which there was no possibility of escape.(1) He was
captured and sent off to the Bellerophon hulk on
28th October with several other prisoners - Francis Ross,
William Lewis, John Copsey, Richard Mincing, Bernard Levy
and Isaac Greenslade to await transportation.
large Vessel in the centre is the Captivity, this
was formerly the Bellerophon to which ship, when
commanded by Captain Maitland, and cruising in Basque Roads,
off Rochefort, the Emperor Bonaparte surrendered himself,
about six o'clock A.M. on the 15th of July, 1815.* Near the
margin, on the left, is the Sheer-hulk, used for fixing the
masts and rigging of the vessels in the harbour. The
Bellerophon was paid off and converted to a prison ship
in 1815, and was renamed Captivity in 1824 to free the name
for another ship. Moved to Plymouth in 1826, she continued
in service until 1834, when the last convicts left. The
Admiralty ordered her to be sold in 1836, and she was broken
Charles Dupin visited the Bellepheron
hulk in 1816 and made the following observations......I
visited the famous ship the Bellerophon, which lay near the
arsenal, transformed into a hulk for convicts,
who, instead of being sent to Botany Bay, are
employed on those works.
the conduct and arrangement of this hulk, everything has
been adopted that the most refined humanity could suggest to
render a floating prison supportable and even comfortable to
its inmates. The convicts are lodged in little cabins,
having large port-holes, closed with iron-gratings, which
admit a sufficient quantity of air. The partitions of the
chambers or cabins are formed of iron railings, at
intervals, and are covered with simple curtains, which are
drawn aside at certain times of the day to let a free air
through the different apartments. To each chamber is
attached a privy, constructed beyond the side of the vessel,
and yet so built as to prevent all possibility of escaping
by it. Let not these details disgust our false delicacy. I
appeal to those who have languished in ordinary prisons, to
decide on what renders existence in them supportable or
insupportable. On Sundays and holidays the convicts are
collected together in a neat chapel, constructed at the foot
of the mizen-mast, where it occupies the space between deck.
Prisoners on the Bellepheron were
transferred to the Morley on 18th November 1817.
Some prisoners on other hulks had already been embarked -
those who were on the Retribution hulk were
transferred to the ship on the 21st October 1816.
The Guard consisted of a detachment of the 46th regiment
under the command of Lieutenant Purcell.
Amos came as a free passenger and a few discharged soldiers
also came as free passengers.
The Morley departed England on 18th
December 1816, reached the Cape on 18th February and sailed
from there for Port Jackson on the 25th February 1817. She
arrived at Port Jackson on Thursday 10 April 1817.
One hundred and seventy five prisoners were transported on
the Morley. There were no deaths on the voyage.
The indents reveal the name, age, when and where
convicted, term, native place, calling and physical
This was Robert Espie's first voyage as surgeon
superintendent on a convict ship. The medical journal for
this voyage does not seem to have survived however in the
journals of the voyages of the male convict ships from
Shipley in 1818 and the
Castle in 1834, Robert Espie's treatment of male
convicts is revealed.
He believed in having them
released from their irons and giving them access to the deck
whenever possible as well as every indulgence available. He
was less tolerant of female prisoners in his care especially
by the time of his last appointment to the
Robert Espie was employed as Surgeon-Superintendent
on the convict ships Morley in 1817, Shipley
in 1818, Dorothy
Lord Sidmouth in 1823, Lady
Rowena in 1826, Mary in 1830(VDL) Roslin Castle
in 1834 and the Elizabeth in 1836. Only eight convicts
died under his care in all eight voyages. He returned to
England via Batavia on the Morley in May 1817.
Select here to read Commissioner J.T. Bigge's report on
the duties of surgeons.
The prisoners were landed
on 18th April 1817 and assigned to government service or
settlers at Parramatta, Windsor, Liverpool in Bringelly soon
Select here to find out more about the procedure of
mustering and disembarking the prisoners.
Morley and the Sir William Bensley departed
for Europe by way of Batavia on 18th May 1817.
Notes and Links:
1). John Matthews,
soldier of the 102nd and 73rd regiment came a free passenger
on the Morley
Select here to find out more
about Bushranger William Baker who arrived on the Morley
4). Number of prisoners, date and place of
Conviction and sentences - Parliamentary Papers, House of
Commons and Command, Volume 16 By Great Britain. Parliament.
House of Commons - Morley 1817
5). Return of Convicts of the Morley assigned between 1st January 1832 and 31st March
1832 (Sydney Gazette 14 June 1832; 21 June 1832).....
Weaver assigned to William
Johnston at Bathurst
Fruiterer assigned to John
Randall at Nepean
(1) "Breaking Prison."
Times [London, England] 29 Oct. 1816: 3. The Times Digital
Archive. Web. 11 Mar. 2013.
(2) Brief Account of the First Journey in
England in 1816 made by M. Charles Dupin, for the purpose of
visiting the British Ports, Docks and other Public Works.
Extracted from his Memoire, presented to the Academy of
Sciences of the French Institute in 1818.