Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

The Escape of William and Mary Bryant - 1791

William and Mary Bryant arrived on the First Fleet in 1788. Below are six different accounts of their famous escape from the colony of New South Wales in 1791. Each gives a slightly different account or a little more information. Their escape from the colony is significant for Newcastle as they are believed to be the first Europeans to discover coal in the colony.....

1). A log of His Majesty’s Ship Providence on a 2nd Voyage to the South Sea Under the Command of Captain William Bligh

2). Account of the Escape from Historical Records of New South Wales, Vol., 2 p.800

3). Extract from David Collins' An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales

4) The Memorandums of the convict James Martin

5). Extract from the Historical Magazine

6). Watkin Tench in Literary Magazine and British Review ;

1. A Log of the Proceedings of His Majesty's Ship Providence on a Second Voyage to the South Sea Under The Command of Captain William Bligh

To carry the Breadfruit Plant from the Society Islands to the West Indies, written by himself’, Volume 2, 20 July 1792 – 6 Sep. 1793 (State Library of NSW)

The next interesting piece of News was the arrival of a six oar’d Cutter from Port Jackson with 8 Men, one Woman, and two Children – They had deserted from the settlement the 20th. March 1791 and arrived the 5th. June at Timor –

The Principal, represented himself as Mate of a Whale Fisher that was lost, and in which all but themselves perished, and had written a very ; ingenious account of their misfortunes that gained them protection, untill one of the party informed, through peek at not being taken so much notice of as the rest. – They were all sent to Batavia in the same ship with Capt. Edwards –

The day before I sailed, after being disappointed at having no written account to judge of Capt. Edwards Misfortune, and teazing the Governor to find that which was left, he presented me with a correct journal kept in the Convict Boat, but declared he had no other. –

This Journal was very distinctly kept and titled Rems on a Voyage from Sydney Cove New South Wales to Timor. – It gave a [Page 148] an account of everything as it really happened, and from this the fictitious one was formed. It appears these Wretches had taken away a fishing Boat that with which Governor Phillips had intrusted them with - They had provided themselves with the articles immediately necessary articles both of Food and for the safety of the Boat, and they had a Seine which they frequently hauled with success. Two Musquets were all the Arms they had, and with these they kept the Natives in awe as they coasted along shore from Port Jackson round the northern part of New Holland. – Fish and Cabbages are the general supplies spoken of – I suppose they mean Mountain Cabbage – They had Flour and Pork in the Boat, but the quantity not mentioned – besides a Grapnel and Nails, Bees Wax and Rosin were not forget, and mention is made of repairing the Boat and paying her bottom. –

To the southward they found the Natives armed only with Spears and Shields, but to the northward among the Islands in Endeavor Straits (as I apprehend) they had Bows and Arrows. – In the latd. 32 Dgs. South about 2 leags. from the shore these unhappy People speak of having discovered a shole with only 5 and 6 feet water on it. –

On the 28th. March at 11 pm the Journalist says they sailed from Sydney Cove and stood to the NNE – on March the 30th. after variable Winds and Weather they bore away for a small Creek having the Wind contrary – Here they caught Mullet and repaired the Boat – 'Walking along shore towards the entrance of the Creek we found several large pieces of Coal – seeing so many pieces we thought it was not unlikely to find a Mine, and searching about a little, we found a place where we picked up with an ax as good as good Coals as any in England – took some to the fire and they burned exceedingly well' – On the 31st. March at 6 am they left this place and on the 1st. of April, s say they were in the latd. Of 33° 20’S. – on the afternoon of the 2nd. they saw a fine Harbour which they entered and describes to be superior to 'Sydney' – Hence they ranged along the Coast frequently getting supplies of Fish undergoing many difficulties untill they arrived at Timor – The Woman and Children bore the fatigue wonderfully well and not one person died. – [Page 149] The latitude and distances run is are not regularly kept up so as to ascertain the different places the stopt at, but the Journel in other respects is clear and distinct, and shows the writer must have been a determined and enterprising Man. – I was too ill and the time was too short for me to copy the Journal, I however employed a person about it, but he did not get a fourth part through it. –

The Circumstance of the Coals being found may make the account valuable, but I am sorry I could not ascertain its the exact situation of the Place – Captain Edwards who had sufficient time and leisure I hope has done all this. – The Journalist remarks that it was with difficulty he got the Boat into the creek, there being shoal Water across it, but he backed the Boat in without receiving any damage

2. Historical Records of New South Wales

Public Office, Bow-street 21 July 1792
Wonderful Escape from Botany Bay

On Saturday, James Martin, John Butcher, William Allen, Nathaniel Lilley and Mary Briant (Bryant) were brought by several of Sir Sampson Wright's officers, from on board the Gordon frigate, to this office. They are all that survive of eleven persons who escaped from the settlement at Sydney Cove. This escape was, perhaps, the most hazardous and wonderful effort ever made by nine persons (for two were infants) to regain their liberty, which they declare they should not have ventured on but form the dread of starving, and the certainty that if they did survive the period for which they were transported they should never again see their native country. They said that Governor Phillip used them very well, but that the soil did not return half the quantity of grain which had been sown on it. Their cattle had been destroyed by the natives, and a famine was the consequence. They were reduced to four ounces of flour and four of salt beef per day, half of which was cut off, if, from illness or accident, they were unable to work; they, therefore, seized the first opportunity of throwing themselves upon the mercy of the sea, rather than perish upon this inhospitable shore.

A Dutch schooner, under the command of Captain Smith, brought a small supply of provisions for the colony from Batavia and William Briant, who had married the prisoner, Mary Briant found means to persuade the captain, for a sum of money (for the convicts, not having any use for their money in the colony, had all by them which they took from this country), to let them have a six oared boat, with a lug sail, a quadrant, and a compass. The captain gave them 100 pound weight of rice, and they purchased of the baker of the colony 200 weight of flour, at half a crown and eighteen pence per pound, which, with fourteen pounds of pork they also got from the captain, and ten gallons of water, was all the provisions they had. At ten o'clock at night, on the 28th March 1791, William Bryant, with his wife and two children (one three years, and the other 1 year old), Samuel Bird, William Morton, James Cox, James Martin, John Butcher, William Allen and Nathaniel Lilley, embarked in order to reach the island of Timor.

They were ten weeks but one day on their voyage. The first five weeks they had continual rain, and were wet the whole time. When forced to lie on shore they were in continual danger of being murdered and ate by the savage natives and part of them were obliged to keep a strict watch, while the rest slept.

They discovered an island in latitude 26° 27', where the boat was swamped in going on shore, and they were near losing her and their lives. On this island they found plenty of turtles, but no inhabitants. They dried, and took to sea with them as much turtle as lasted them ten days, which, with a few fish they caught, was all they got while they were out. On the 5th June they all landed at Cupang, a Dutch settlement on the Island of Timor. The Governor, whom they told that they belonged to an English ship which had been wrecked on her passage to New South Wales, treated them very kindly, but happened one day to overhear a conversation among them by which he discovered that they were convicts who had escaped from New South Wales.

On the 29th of August 1791 his Majesty's ship Pandora, in her voyage to New South Wales, was wrecked between that place and New Guinea. The captain, Edward Edwards and those of the crew who survived, took to their boats and got safe to Cupang, when the Governor told Captain Edwards of the people he had got there, and of the conversation he had overheard. Captain Edwards took them with him to Batavia, where William Briant and his eldest child died; from thence the captain hired the Rambang a Dutch ship in which he sailed with the rest for the Cape of Good Hope. On the passage there Bird, William Martin and Cox died. On his arrival at the Cape he found the Gorgon, frigate, bound for England, and gave the survivors of these unfortunate adventurers in charge to Captain Parker, who brought them all to England but Charlotte Briant, the second child of William and Mary Briant.

William Allen is fifty five years old; he was convicted at Norwich, more than six years ago, of stealing some handkerchiefs, the property of Messrs Lewis and Haywood.

John Butcher is fifty years of age; he was convicted of stealing three pigs, the property of John Harbury, five years and a half ago at Shrewsbury.

Nathanial Lilley, thirty nine; he was capitally convicted five years ago last March at Bury St. Edmunds, of stealing a fish net, at watch and two spoons the property of Benjamin Summerset, privately in his dwelling but there being favourable circumstances in his case the Judge reprieved him on his agreeing to go for seven years to Botany Bay.

James Martin of the county of Antrim Ireland thirty, two years of age, was convicted at Exeter, six years and a half ago of stealing some old lead and iron, in the whole about 20lb weight, the property of Lord Courtney.

Mary Briant was convicted by the name of Broad, at the same assizes with Martin, of a street robbery and stealing a cloak, which being a capital offence, she received sentence of death, but was, with two other women who were convicted of the same offence, pardoned on condition of their going for seven years to Botany Bay.

William Briant was convicted of interrupting some revenue officers in the execution of their duty, and immediately on his landing at Botany Bay married the above woman. They were each sentenced to be transported for seven years.

It was remarked by every person present, and by the magistrate, that they never saw people who bore stronger marks of a sincere repentance, and all joined in the wish that their past sufferings may be considered as a sufficient expiation of their crimes. They all declared they would sooner suffer death than return to Botany Bay. They were committed to Newgate.*

*The woman Mary Bryant was pardoned.

3. David Collins, An Account of the English Colony In New South Wales - March 1791

In the course of the night of the 28th, Bryant, whose term of transportation, according to his own account, expired some day in this month, eluded the watch that was kept upon him, and made his escape, together with his wife and two children (one an infant at the breast) and seven other convicts, in the fishing-boat, which, since the accident at the latter end of the last month, he had taken care to keep in excellent order. Their flight was not discovered until they had been some hours without the Heads.

They were traced from Bryant's hut to the Point, and in the path were found a hand-saw, a scale, and four or five pounds of rice, scattered about in different places, which, it was evident, they had dropped in their haste. At the Point, where some of the party must have been taken in, a seine belonging to government was found, which, being too large for Bryant's purpose, he had exchanged for a smaller that he had made for an officer, and which he had from time to time excused himself from completing and sending home.

The names of these desperate adventurers were -
Came in the first fleet,
William Bryant - His sentence was expired. (per Charlotte)
Mary Braud his wife and two children - She had 2 years to serve. (per Charlotte)
James Martin - He had 1 year to serve. (per Charlotte)
James Cox (alias Rolt) - He was transported for life. (per Charlotte)
Samuel Bird (alias John Simms) - He had 1 year and 4 months to serve. (per Alexander)

Came in the second fleet -
William Allen - He was transported for life. (per Scarborough)
Samuel Broom (alias John Butcher) Had 4 years and 4 months to serve. (Returned to the colony free on the Boddingtons in 1793)
Nathaniel Lilly - He was transported for life. (per Scarborough)
William Morton - He had 5 years and 1 month to serve.

So soon as it was known in the settlement that Bryant had got out of reach, we learned that Detmer Smith, the master of the Waaksamheyd, had sold him a compass and a quadrant, and had furnished him with a chart, together with such information as would assist him in his passage to the northward. On searching Bryant's hut, cavities under the boards were found, where he had secured the compass and such other articles as required concealment: and he had contrived his escape with such address, that although he was well known to be about making an attempt, yet how far he was prepared, as well as the time when he meant to go, remained a secret. Most of his companions were connected with women; but if these knew any thing, they were too faithful to those they lived with to reveal it. Had the women been bound to them by any ties of affection, fear for their safety, or the dislike to part, might have induced some of them to have defeated the enterprise; but not having any interest either in their flight, or in their remaining here, they were silent on the subject. For one young woman, Sarah Young, a letter was found the next morning, written by James Cox, and left at a place where he was accustomed to work-in his leisure hours as a cabinet-maker, conjuring her to give over the pursuit of the vices which, he told her, prevailed in the settlement, leaving to her what little property he did not take with him, and assigning as a reason for his flight the severity of his situation, being transported for life, without the prospect of any mitigation, or hope of ever quitting the country, but by the means he was about to adopt. It was conjectured that they would steer for Timor, or Batavia, as their assistance and information were derived from the Dutch snow.

The situation of these people was very different from that of Tarwood and his associates, who were but ill provided for an undertaking so perilous; but Bryant had long availed himself of the opportunities given him by selling fish to collect provisions together, and his boat was a very good one, and in excellent order; so that there was little reason to doubt their reaching Timor, if no dissension prevailed among them, and they had but prudence enough to guard against the natives wherever they might land. William Morton was said to know something of navigation; James Cox had endeavoured to acquire such information on the subject as might serve him whenever a fit occasion should present itself, and Bryant and Bird knew perfectly well how to manage a boat. What story they could invent on their arrival at any port, sufficiently plausible to prevent suspicion of their real characters, it was not easy to imagine.

Information was received by the Calcutta papers of the loss of his Majesty's ship Pandora, Captain Edwards, who had been among the Friendly islands in search of Christian and his piratical crew, fourteen of whom he had secured, and was returning with the purpose of surveying Endeavour Straits pursuant to his instructions, when he unfortunately struck upon a reef in latitude 23 ° S 11 ° only to the northward of this port. By his boats he providentially reached Timor with ninety-nine of his officers and people, being the whole of his ship's company which were saved. At Timor, on his arrival, he found Bryant and his companions, who made their escape from this place in the fishing cutter in the night of the 28th of March 1791. These people had framed and told a plausible tale of distress, of their having been cast away at sea; and this for a time was believed; but they soon, by their language to each other, and by practising the tricks of their former profession, gave room for suspicion; and being taken up, their true characters and the circumstances of their escape were divulged. The Dutch governor of Timor delivered them to Captain Edwards, who took them on with him to Batavia, whence he was to proceed to England. The circumstance of these people having reached Timor confirmed what was suggested immediately after their departure, that the master of the snow Waaksamheyd had furnished Bryant with instructions how to proceed, and with every thing he stood in need of for his voyage; and it must be remembered, that though this man, during his stay in this port, had constantly said that every sort of refreshment was to be procured at Timor, yet when Captain Hunter, while at sea, proposed to steer for that island, he declared that nothing was to be got there, and so prevented that officer from going thither. There cannot be a doubt that, expecting to find his friends at Timor, he did not choose either to endanger them, or risk a discovery of the part he had acted in aiding their escape.

At the Cape of Good Hope Captain Parker had met with Captain Edwards of the Pandora, who delivered to him Mary Braud, the widow of Bryant, who escaped to Timor in the fishing cutter, with one of the children, and only four of the male convicts who accompanied Bryant in his flight. Bryant died at Batavia, with the other child, and two of his companions; one of them, James Cox, was said to be drowned in the Straits of Sunda. On their arrival in England the story of their sufferings in the boat excited much compassion; and, before the Bellona sailed, they had been brought up to the bar of the Old Bailey, and ordered by the court to remain in Newgate until the period of their original sentence of transportation should expire, there to finish their unsuccessful attempts to regain their liberty.

4. Memorandums of the Convict James Martin

Jeremy Bentham and the escaped convicts - The most well-known escape of prisoners transported from England to Australia in the 18th Century has been brought to life, thanks to handwritten accounts by the convicts unearthed in the collections of the philosopher Jeremy Bentham at UCL

The Memorandums of the convict James Martin are the only first-hand account of the famous escape. The document is written in three different hands, potentially of three of the convicts involved, and recounts their fascinating – and, ultimately, tragic – tale in full. -

5. The Historical Magazine or Classical Library of Public Events, Volume IV 1792 - WONDERFUL ESCAPE OF CONVICTS FROM BOTANY BAY.

ON Saturday July 1st, there was an examination at the Public Office, Bow-street, of five convicts who escaped from Botany Bay in March 1791, and who were brought from the Cape of Good Hope in the Gorgon man of war, lately arrived. Their names arc as follow: John Butcher, alias Broom, a native of Kidderminster, (convicted at Shrewsbury assizes about five years ago of stealing pigs from John Harsbury, of Kinlett) William Allen, Nathaniel Lilley, Mary Briant, and James Martin, convicts from Exeter, etc. ice.

Captain Edwards deposed, that he left England in the Pandora frigate of twenty guns, of which he was the commander, On his arriving off the coast of New South Wales, she struck on a reef of rocks, and went to pieces: previous to which, they hoisted out their two boats, and, taking what provisions they could save out of the wreck, committed themselves to the mercy of the sea; and after various hardships and fatigue, arrived at Timor, in the island of Batavia, on the 29th of August 1791; the boat which the rest of his crew embarked in, it is imagined, went to the bottom, as they have heard no tidings of them since they left each other on the coast of New South Wales.

On his landing, the governor gave him to understand he had in custody upon the island, eight men convicts, one woman,' and two children, and suggested to him as having escaped from the colony at Botany Bay, and arrived in his territories in June 1791, very much distressed, in an open six-oared boat: their narrative to him (the governor) was, that they had been shipwrecked on board a vessel on the coast of New Holland, of which they were part of the crew; the others they daily expected in another boat. On the 6th of October following, captain Edwards took passage in a Dutch vessel from Batavia to the Cape of Good Hope, having previously paid to the governor of Timor the expenses incurred by the maintenance and support of the convicts whilst on the island, and taking them under his care to bring them to England. On his arrival at the Cape, he delivered them into the custody of captain Parker, of the Gorgon man of war, then about to sail for England.

The following died on their passage from Batavia to the Cape of Good Hope, via. Samuel Bird, William Martin, William Briant, James Cox (this man fell overboard and perished), and two children belonging to the prisoner Mary Briant. The account the prisoners gave was, that seeing no chance of their ever regaining their liberty, or again visiting their native country, even after the expiration of the term for which they were transported, and being in great danger of starving having at times but four ounces of flour, and four of salt beef, with a very small quantity of rice, allowed them per day, and one half that quantity if, from illness, or other causes, they were unable to work - they Chose rather to risk their lives on the sea, than to starve in this desolate place, which being a barren sandy soil, and having no manure to enrich it, did not produce even half the quantity of grain that was sown on it—the cabbage-tree and turnips being almost the only things that would grow there, and even the latter did not apple well. Fish of all sorts was very scarce, and the young kangaroos were almost the only fresh provisions of which they tasted, and even these very seldom; for the governor had properly prohibited the prisoners or others from going up the country to shoot them, on account of the natives, who not only killed, but those to the northward of the settlement would eat the people, as appeared from the fate of Lieutenant Hill, of the Ceres, a promising young officer, who was universally beloved and regretted, who was killed by the natives, and no remains of him were to be found; from the account of a girl and boy (natives) which the governor afterwards seized, he was ate up; they declaring they had ate a part of him.

These considerations determined them to attempt an escape, let the risk be what it might, and Briant was throughout the principal in this undertaking. A Dutch schooner, under the command of a captain Smyth, having brought a small supply of provisions, Briant purchased a quadrant and compasses of the captain for fifteen dollars {it should be noticed, that the convicts having no use for their money on the settlement, had all by them that they took out from this country}; and he procured the six-oared boat belonging to the vessel, with an old lug main-sail and fore-sail, but without any covering ; and then communicated his success to the above four men, and to Samuel Bird, William Martin, and James Cox. - Captain Smyth gave Briant 100lb. weight of rice, and among them they bought of Robert Siddaway, (a transport) who was appointed baker to the colony, 100lb. weight of flour, at the rate of as. 6d. and is. 6d. per pound; which, with fourteen pounds of pork, that they believe was given to Briant by captain Smyth, and ten gallons of water, was all the provisions they had to undertake a voyage to Timor, which at the shortest was a run of one thousand three hundred miles, but by the course which they were forced to take, was upwards of five thousand. This captain also supplied them with two musquets, a small quantity of powder, and a few pieces of old lead.

Everything being ready, Briant acquainted his wife with his determination; and she resolved, with her two infant children, to risque their lives with her husband; and at ten o'clock at night, on the 28th of March 1791, these eleven wretched people embarked on board the six oared boat. To add to the horrors that were before them, the wind was against them - the monsoon was now set in - they had five weeks incessant rain, out of the ten weeks all but one day which they were on their passage, and had not a dry thread on them; for all the cloaths, except those they had on, which they had taken with them, they were forced to throw overboard, in order to lighten the boat. They were forced to keep along the coast, and occasionally to land, for the purpose of procuring fresh water; and on all these occasions the natives came towards them in a hostile manner in great multitudes; then they discharged their musquets, loaded with powder only, and the natives immediately disappeared; but if they even slept on shore, they were forced to keep a very strict watch.

In three degrees to the northward of Sydney Cove, they found great Quantities of remarkable fine coal; in latitude 26° and 27° they discovered a small island, which we do not find in any chart we have seen: it was uninhabited, and they here found a great quantity of turtles, some of which they dried, and took as much to sea with them as lasted ten days. Here, in landing, their boat was swamped, and they very nearly lost her and their lives together; but Providence protected them, and they all landed safe, hauling the boat high and dry after them : - they were at one time eight days out of sight of land. To enumerate the sufferings of these poor creatures would shock the feelings of even the most obdurate. On the 5th of June following, they landed at Cupang, a Dutch settlement on the island of Timor, where they told the governor they belonged to an English vessel, bound for New South Wales', which had been wrecked; they were here kindly treated. What followed will be found by the testimony of captain Edwards. These poor creatures spoke in very high terms of governor Phillips; and added, that had they not been in danger of starving, and seen any probability of returning (at the expiration of their sentence) to England, they would not have escaped.

Captain Edwards took all these poor creatures with him to Batavia, where Briant, and his son Emanuel Briant, died; from Batavia he took a passage with them in a Dutch ship, called the Rambang, to the Cape of Good Hope. In the passage Bird, Martin, and Cox died. The survivors he delivered to Captain Parker of the Gorgon, who brought them home, but in the passage Charlotte Briant died. To the credit of captains Edwards and Parker, these ill-fated people were never treated as prisoners, but mustered with the crews of the vessels they were in. The sufferings of these poor creatures almost drew tears from those who saw them, and heard their talk; and Mr. Bond declared, that in the course of his long practice, he never had a case before him which affected him so much: he lamented that he was obliged to do his duty by committing them to Newgate, where they now remain. The woman, they all acknowledge, preserved her spirits throughout much better than the men, whom she encouraged by her own example.

6. Watkin Tench in the Literary Magazine and British Review, Volume 11

Capt. Tench mentions the elopement of eleven convicts in the governor's cutter, and his meeting with six of them at the Cape of Good Hope, in his return to England....

It was my fate to fall in again with part of this little, band of adventurers.

In March 1792, when I arrived in the Gorgon, at the Cape of Good Hope, six of these people, including the woman and one child, were put on board of us, to be carried to England: four had died, and one had jumped overboard at Batavia. The particulars of their voyage were briefly as follows. They coasted the shore of New Holland, putting occasionally into different harbours which they found in going along.

One of these harbours, in the latitude of 30 ° south, they described to be of superior excellence and capacity. Here they hauled their bark ashore, paid her seams with tallow, and repaired her. But it was with difficulty they could keep off the attacks of the Indians. These people continued to harass them so much, that they quitted the main land, and retreated to a, small island in the harbour, where they completed their design.

Between the latitude of 26° and 27 °, they were driven by a current thirty leagues from the shore, among some islands, where they sound plenty of large turtles. Soon after they closed again with the continent, when the boat got entangled in the surf, and was driven on shore, and they had all well nigh perished.

They passed through the Straits of Endeavour, and beyond the gulf of Carpentaria sound a large fresh water river, this they entered, and filled from it their empty casks.

Until they reached the gulf of Carpentaria, they saw no natives, or canoes, differing from those about Port Jackson. But now they were chased by large canoes, fitted with sails and fighting stages, and capable of holding thirty men each. They escaped by dint of rowing to windward. On the 5th of June, 1791, they reached Timor, and pretended that they had belonged to a ship, which, on her passage from Port Jackson to India, had foundered; and that they only had escaped.

The Dutch received them with kindness, and treated them with hospitality; But their behaviour giving rile to suspicion, they were watched ; and one of them at last, in a moment of intoxication, betrayed the secret. They were immediately secured, and committed to prison. Soon after, Capt. Edwards, of the Pandora, who had been wrecked near Endeavour Straits, arrived at Timor, and they were delivered up to him, by which means they became passengers in the Gorgon.

I confess that I never looked at these people, without pity and astonishment. They had miscarried in a heroic struggle for liberty; after having combated every hardship, and conquered every difficulty. The woman, and one of the men, had gone out to Port Jackson in the ship which had transported me thither. They had both of them been always distinguished for good behaviour. And I could not but reflect with admiration, at the strange combination of circumstances which had again brought us together, to baffle human foresight, and confound human speculation.

Notes and Links

1). The following passengers arrived in England in the Gorgon in 1792:
Major Ross,
Captain Campbell,
Captain Meredith,
Captain Tench,
Lieutenant Johnstone,
Lieutenant Keilo,
Lieutenant Dawes,
Adjutant Long Quarter Master of Marines

Captain Edwards of the Pandora, which was lost.

Upwards of 100 men, women and children belonging to the marine corps;

Ten of the mutineers late of the Bounty;

And the seven Escapees from Jackson's Bay to Batavia.

('Botany Bay.' Times [London, England] 21 June 1792: 3. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 9 Mar. 2013. )

2). From the Historical Records of NSW, Vol.2, p. 4 -

'John Butcher was one of the convicts who escaped to Timor in March 1791. Apparently he is identical with the convict whose name Collins gives as Samuel Broom.

He wrote to The right Hon. Henry Dundas from Newgate prison on 23rd January 1793....It ill becomes a person in the low sphere I move in to address a person of your exalted character, nor should I have presumed to have taken that liberty but for the following reason: Having been brought up in the thorough knowledge of all kinds of land an capable of bringing indifferent lands to perfection, I had an offer some time ago of going to Botany Bay to endeavour to make that land more fertile than it has ever appeared to be... It is impossible to say which of the two names was an alias. Butcher was subsequently allowed to enlist in the New South Wales Corps and in September 1795 received a grant of 25 acres

3). Historical Records of New South Wales Vol., 2 p. 809

23 May 1793....
His Majesty has been graciously pleased to grant a free person to Mary Bryant, who, accompanied by several male convicts, escaped from Botany Bay, and traversed upwards of three thousand miles by sea in an open boat, exposed to tempestuous weather

30 May 1793....
The female convict who made her escape from Botany Bay and suffered the greatest hardships during a voyage of three thousand leagues, and who was afterwards retaken and condemned to death, has been pardoned, and released from Newgate. In the story of this woman there is something extremely singular. A gentleman of high rank in the Army visited her in Newgate, heard the detail of her life, and for that time departed. The next day he returned, and told the old gentleman who keeps the prison that he had procured her pardon, which he shewed him, at the same time requesting that she should not be apprised of the circumstance. the next day he returned with his carriage and took off the poor woman, who almost expired with the excess of gratitude. (Reprinted in the Dublin Chronicle 23 May 1793 and Dublin Chronicle 4th June 1793)

4). This article in The Courier Mail the tells the story of Mary Bryant being released by a man by the name of Captain Charles Stuart of the Royal Navy. - Courier Mail 12 March 1938. A Captain Charles Stuart of the Royal Navy died in Upper Baker Street, Portman Square, London in 1814 aged 50. His estate was left to his brother and sisters.

5). On 12th August 1813 Nathaniel Lilley was sentenced to transportation for life at St. Bury Edmonds for house breaking. He was received on to the Captivity hulk at Portsmouth on 22 September 1813 and given a free pardon on 4 November 1820. He was 54 years of age. - Source Information UK, Prison Hulk Registers and Letter Books, 1802-1849 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010.


1. D. Collins, An Account of the English Colony in NSW, from its First Settlement, in January 1788, to August 1801: with Remarks on the Dispositions, Customs, Manners, Etc of the Native Inhabitants of that Country, London, 1802, Vol. 1

2. The Historical Magazine or Classical Library of Public Events Volume IV 1792