Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship Francis and Eliza - 1815

Embarked: Men 54; women 69
Voyage: 246 days
Surgeon's Journal: no
Previous vessel: Canada arrived 5 August 1815
Next vessel: Baring arrived 7 September 1815
Master William Harrison
Surgeon Major West
Follow the Female Convict Ship Trail
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Convicts and passengers of the Francis and Eliza identified in Hunter Valley

The Francis and Eliza was built on the Thames in 1782 and was used for transporting troops during the Napoleonic War. In November 1813, under Captain William Harrison and as part of a fleet under the Jalouse she transported injured troops and some French prisoners from St. Andero back to England. [5]

The Francis and Eliza was one of two convict ships bringing female prisoners to New South Wales in 1815, the other being the Northampton. A total of 171 female prisoners arrived in the colony in 1815. The Francis and Eliza was the last of the convict ships to carry both male and female prisoners.

Cove of Cork

On 11th August 1814 it was reported that the Francis and Eliza had arrived at Portsmouth from the Downs and was in preparation for the voyage to Botany Bay.[6] The Francis and Eliza then proceeded to the Cove of Cork to embark her prisoners. Fifty-four male convicts and 69 female convicts were embarked in Cork.

Free Passengers

Newly appointed Crown Solicitor Frederick Garling and his family took their passage by this vessel.

From The Australian Dictionary of Biography....In February 1814 Frederick Garling and William Moore, were selected to go to Sydney to conduct cases before the Court of Criminal Jurisdiction and the newly-established Supreme Court and Governor's Court. William Moore sailed on the Marquis of Wellington. On 20 October 1814 Frederick Garling embarked on the Francis and Eliza with his wife Elizabeth and children Frederick 18, Nicholas 16, Caroline, 21 and Sophia 20. Elizabeth Garling kept a diary while on the voyage to Australia.

The Historical Records of Australia contains a despatch by Earl Bathurst informing Governor Macquarie Moore and Garling's expected arrival....

Downing Street, 5 July, 1814.
Mr. Bent will have delivered to you my Letter No. 29, which informed you that two respectable Solicitors had been selected to proceed to New South Wales by an early opportunity, and' that a Salary of 300 pounds per ann. to each of them was to be defrayed out of the Colonial Revenue, and to commence from the 1st Day of Feb. of this year. I am now to acquaint you that these Gentlemen, with their families, will sail in the Ships at present under Dispatch, Mr. Garling in The Francis and Eliza, and Mr. Moore in The Marquis of Wellington; and I beg leave to recommend both of them to your Notice and Protection. These Gentlemen are to be allowed every Privilege and Indulgence, which has hitherto been extended to the Civil Colonial officers of the higher Classes, and I flatter myself that they will be found not only useful to the Colony individually in their own Profession, but that the Procedure in the Courts of Judicature, which have been recently established, will be carried on in a manner which will in a great degree do away all the Inconveniences and Objections, which of the had been found to attend the Administration of Justice under that part of the Old Patent, which His Royal Highness The Prince Regent has been pleased to revoke. I have, etc.
, [3]


The Francis and Eliza and the Canada were the next convict ships to depart Ireland bound for New South Wales after the departure of the Archduke Charles in May 1812. They departed Cork in convoy on 5 December 1814.


On 4th January 1815 off the Coast of Madeira the Francis and Eliza having parted from the convoy in a storm, was taken by the Warrior privateer. She was plundered before being given up and allowed to continue on the journey.

In correspondence written from Santa Cruz dated 13th January 1815, and printed in the Caledonia Mercury on 27 February 1815 some of the details were revealed.....The case of the convict ship Francis and Eliza affords a new proof of the total disregard in which the Americans hold the rights and usages of civilized nations, while in a state of hostility with one another. Their conduct towards the above-mentioned vessel would disgrace a Barbary corsair, and violates every principle of international faith, generosity, and forbearance which their magnanimous President so clamorously affects to advocate. The Francis and Eliza was captured on the 4th instant off Madeira, by the American privateer Warrior, of New York, Captain Champlin, and instantly stripped of all her arms, rigging, provisions, medicines, charts, stores, and in short of everything necessary for pursuing her voyage to NSW.

These marauders even plundered the Captain and passengers of their clothes. They then put on board the master and crew of the brig Hope, Robert Pringle, from Greenock to Buenos Ayres, and, after setting the convicts at liberty, and throwing their irons into the sea, left the Francis and Eliza to her fate. The scenes of horror that ensued, it would be impossible to describe. They were everything that depravity, desperation and inebriety could produce. The Captain's life was repeatedly attempted, and conspiracies to scuttle and blow up the ship and to set her on fire, were happily discovered and frustrated

The Sydney Gazette later reported - Captain Harrison was removed on board the privateer, and detained many hours but was afterwards liberated and restored to his own ship. His private losses were very severe, as are those also of Mr. West, the ship's Surgeon, from whom an investment of a thousand pounds value was wholly taken, together with most of his wearing apparel, surgical instruments, and the ship's medicine chest, which latter loss, but for the favour of Providence, might have been followed by the most fatal consequences to the numerous persons on board. Having also taken out all the arms and ammunition, they left her to her fate. The prisoners no longer submitted to the restraints, but nevertheless conducted themselves with the most exemplary propriety, dividing themselves into watches, and performing the duty of the vessel at a time when we are sorry to say the ship's company themselves had to an alarming number become refractory and insubordinate.

The spirits and other liquors were treated as common plunder, and the most dreadful scene of riot and intemperance prevailed, until their arrival at Santa Cruz, in the island of Teneriffe, on the 10th of January and the ship having been several times set on fire. Here the Captain received every friendly attention from Mr. Duplex, Chief consul, who thought it prudent to impose a ten days quarantine upon the vessel, but took the necessary means to restore good order, which was the better accomplished by the transfer of the most disorderly of the crew to a King's ship then lying there. At Teneriffe she re-joined the Canada, which had had the better fortune to escape the vigilance of the American cruisers and under convoy of the Ulysses frigate went with her to Senegal next to Goree and afterwards to Sierra Leone
. [1]

It was reported later that the surgeon of the Warrior had deprived Major West of a valuable electrifying machine as well as his other medical supplies. The above version was refuted in the American newspapers. The Nile Weekly Register printed the following article....

An article, copied from a London paper of February 27, is running the rounds of the American prints, containing the most flagrant falsehoods, respecting the capture of the English ship Francis and Eliza, on the 4th of January last, by captain Champlin of the privateer Warrior. Captain Champlin assures us, that so far from releasing the convicts, (as there stated) he found them in a state of mutiny and insurrection, and supplied the captain with a guard to suppress it. He also put a crew on board of her, (of British prisoners he had captured) which made her number of seamen superior to that of the convicts. No plunder, whatever, was permitted, and she was left with a bountiful supply of everything, proper for a three months' voyage, with Madeira only 50 miles to leeward, where any succours could have been procured.(Nile Weekly Register, p. 173)

Map of the voyage of the Francis and Eliza........

Map of the voyage of the Francis and Eliza in 1815

In May 1816 Sir Charles Thomas Jones, Commander of the sloop Harrier, and Officers and Crew, made a claim for salvage of the Francis and Eliza in rescuing her from the possession of convicts and mutinous crew and soldiers aboard her. The claim was denied in court but the evidence of Commander Jones adds a little more to the story of the ship's detention at Santa Cruiz.... He states, 'that on the 11th day of January last, whilst proceeding with his sloop into the roads of Santa Cruz in the island of Teneriffe, he received a letter, dated on the same day, from John Duplan Esquire, the British vice-consul at Santa Cruz, acquainting him that the above convict ship, the Francis and Eliza, had arrived there on the preceding day in a state of revolt, and had been put under quarantine, and requesting the appearer's assistance to restore subordination and order on board; that in consequence of the said letter, the appearer, for the purpose of affording the assistance required, ordered the said sloop to come to an anchor, which was accordingly done at about a quarter of a mile from her; and the appearer, having learnt that there were no sick on board the said vessel, waited upon the governor of Santa Cruz to solicit her liberation from quarantine, in order that he might render the assistance that had been required of him more speedily and effectually; but being unable to obtain the assent of the governor to such liberation, he resolved to place his own ship also under quarantine; and having so done, and brought his said sloop close under the stern of the said ship, he dispatched gun boats to row round her; that at day-light on the following morning, the appearer having received a letter from William Harrison the master, containing a statement of the circumstances under which the vessel had come to Teneriffe, of his being deprived of all authority, of the convicts being at liberty, of the misconduct of the people on board, as well as of the soldiers (who had been sent to maintain order, as is usual in ships of that description), in being perpetually drunk, and plundering and destroying the stores and provisions, and the said letter also requesting the appearer's assistance to enable him, the said William Harrison, to recover him his command, he immediately boarded the vessel with three of his officers, and a party of marines, when he found the ship in the full possession of the convicts, and every thing in the greatest disorder and confusion; that upon the representation of the master of the violent and disorderly conduct of the chief mate and four of the seamen, corroborated by Ensign Steadman of His Majesty's 46th regiment, who was in command of the soldiers on board, as well as by Mr. Garling, the first advocate to the crown at New South Wales, and by the other passengers, the appearer removed the said five persons from the said ship to his own sloop, and ordered a court-martial upon such of the soldiers as had been most guilty of mutinous and unsoldierlike conduct, and which court-martial awarded a severe punishment, which they accordingly underwent; that the appearer afterwards ordered a survey of the stores and provisions which remained on board, and which belonged to His Majesty's government, and having procured wood from the shore by the assistance of the British consul, he dispatched the carpenters of the Harrier to put up the bulk-heads, which had been broken down during the said revolt, and to furnish other necessaries, for the purpose of confining the convicts, which they accordingly performed; and the appearer having succeeded in restoring order, and in confining the convicts, put the master into possession, who accordingly resumed the command, by which means she was shortly afterwards enabled to prosecute and did prosecute her voyage. This is the account given by Sir Charles Jones, and he is fully borne out in his statement by the several letters from the master and others annexed to his affidavit. It is upon these acts, in themselves laudable and meritorious, that the claim to salvage is founded...Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the High Court of Admiralty [4]

Sierra Leone

Captain Harrison later reported that while the ship lay at Sierra Leone in the month of March, a terrible fever raged at that settlement, occasioning a mortality most dreadful. A week prior to the Frances and Eliza arrival there it was reported that the ship Wilding, Captain Gibson, who with most of his crew had perished within a month. There was a funeral of some inhabitants of repute every day. The Royal African Corps which was stationed there had only one officer capable of doing duty, his associates having fallen victim to the contagion or remaining under a lingering illness.

Military Guard

The military guard on board consisted of a detachment of the Royal African corps, commanded by Ensign Alt.

Cape of Good Hope

The Francis and Eliza and Canada sailed from Sierra Leone bound for the Cape of Good Hope, where they arrived the 12th May and remained three weeks to refresh.

Port Jackson

Fifty-two male prisoners and sixty-five female prisoners arrived in Port Jackson on the Francis and Eliza on 8th August 1815. Several people were landed sick and special provisions of meat and vegetables were purchased by Government for their consumption.

Because the ship was delayed Frederick Garling did not reach Sydney until 8 August 1815, seven months after William Moore. Garling was thus the second free solicitor to arrive in the colony and the second solicitor admitted to practise by and before any court in New South Wales. [2]

Convict Assignment

After disembarking the male prisoners of the Francis and Eliza and Canada together with their luggage were conveyed in carts hired from Mr. Oakes and Richard Grimshaw to Windsor and Liverpool.

The following women were sent to the Female Factory at Parramatta on 14 August 1815 where they were to be employed in the usual ways or be assigned to settlers.

Elisabeth Connolly, Catherine Armstrong, Honora Barrett, Mary Kean, Margaret Murphy, Bridget Conway, Catherine Smith, Mary Brown, Susan Thompson, Priscilla Neville, Ann Bryan, Mary Stephens, Catherine Kingsmill, Margaret Stafford, Jane Thompson, Ann Curran, Matilda Walker, Isabella Graham, Catherine Burns, Jane Maxwell, Margaret Campbell, Ann Burns, Margaret Burns, Bridget Burke, Margaret Rowe, Mary Butler, Ann Graham, Catherine Pugh, Elizabeth Healey, Mary Harrington, Mary Thorpe, Bridget White, Catherine Boyle, Ann Kinnaphan, Mary Flannaghan, Catherine Cavanagh, Honora Rooney, Mary Barry, Mary Connor, Mary Ryan, Mary Carden, Fanny Wood, Bridget Rourke, Mary O'Hara, Elizabeth Smith, Bridget Welsh, Rose Read, Charlotte McConnell, Rose McLaughlin, Bridget Bun, Margaret Mitchell, Mary Candler. (Colonial Secretary's Correspondence Series: NRS 937; Reel or Fiche Numbers: Reels 6004-6016)

Departure from the Colony

In October 1815 several people advertised their intention to depart the colony on the Francis and Eliza - William Cannandy, Richard Turner, Francis Mitchell, John Brown, William Barnes and Lucy Roberts.

Notes and Links

1). Catherine Sheridan absconded from the female factory at Parramatta in September 1819 (Sydney Gazette). In 1823 at Newcastle she applied to marry Kerry Lyne a constable who had arrived on the Archduke Charles in 1813 and had been granted 50 acres of land as reward for capturing a bushranger.

2). Bartholomew Teeling absconded in 1823. He had been employed as a town constable at Windsor and was free by servitude. He allowed a bushranger in his charge to escape custody and then absconded from employment himself. His description was given as 5ft 6 1/2 in, stout made, bleary eyed, rather sandy complexion, of downcast countenance. Lately resided in Bunbury Curran and formerly employed in the King's Store at Sydney

3). Sunday evening, the Sheriffs of Londonderry received a respite of the sentence of death given to Robert Aull and Bernard Doogan, the other prisoners who were convicted at last assizes, of passing forged notes. We understand the sentence has been commuted to Transportation for life - Belfast Newsletter 17 September 1813

4). Dublin City Quarter Sessions Tuesday August 16 - Catherine Boyle, indicted for feloniously stealing a bank note for one pound, and a handkerchief the property of John McDonnell. The prosecutor swore he knew the prisoners. She robbed him of a one pound note and a handkerchief. Took it from him when he was asleep in a public house. The note was produced and identified by the prosecutor. The note had been found on the prisoner, who was convicted. To be transported for seven years. Recorder - 'You too have been in custody before. '........... William Coffey for stealing sixty yards of linen and twenty yards of calico, the property of Francis Meehan. John Fahey examined - Knows the prisoner; does business for Mr. Meehan in Church Street. Got the linen from the prisoner, who had taken it out of the shop and when the witness discovered him said he was going to purchase it. The prisoner was not in liquor although he appeared to be so. He was striving to hide the linen but it was too large. The prisoner was convicted and sentenced to 7 years transportation.- Freeman's Journal 21 June 1814

5). Hoax by a convict of the Francis and Eliza

6). Insurrection on the Francis and Eliza 1815

7). Six convict ships arrived in New South Wales in 1815 - Marquis of Wellington, Indefatigable, Northampton, Canada, Francis and Eliza and the Baring..

8). State Library of NSW - Manuscripts etc - Garling family

9). Souvenir Booklet of the  anniversary of the arrival of the Garling family in Australia

10). List of convicts of the Francis and Eliza at Peter Mayberry's Irish Convicts to New South Wales

11). Oil Painting, The Privateer Brig Warrior Capturing The Schooner Hope - National Museum of American History

12). From the New London County Historical Society 'Guy R. Champlin (1785-1817) was born in New London, the son of Captain Lodowick Champlain and Mary Richards, who married George Avery of Groton after Captain Champlain died in 1786. He received a protection certificate as Guy R. Champlain at age 18 in 1803. By 1806 he was second mate in the ship Marshall from Leghorn to New Orleans (George Coggeshall was first mate). He commanded the New York privateer General Armstrong on a voyage to the South American coast, 1812-13. Thinking it was a well-armed British merchant ship, the privateers attacked a Royal Navy frigate. Wounded in the battle and sent below, Champlin threatened to blow up the General Armstrong if his officers surrendered. When they returned to New York, Champlin received a sword from the owners. After he recovered from his wound he commanded the New York privateer Warrior during a successful cruise in the eastern Atlantic, 1814-15. Following the war he apparently settled at New Orleans as a ship chandler and was involved with the Lafitte brothers at New Orleans and the Mexican revolutionary privateering port of Galveston. Commanding a 6-gun privateer (pirate?) schooner against Spanish vessels, he captured several slavers. Preparing to land several hundred slaves in the Atchafalaya River, he drowned in 1817 when his boat swamped'.

13). 'At the entrance of Bayou Lake, in the Attacapas, in this State, was drowned, on the 1st of October, Captain Guy Champlin. He was a native of New-London, in the Stale of Connecticut. During the late war he commanded the- private armed schooner General Armstrong, and the brig Warrior. In both vessels he had several severe engagements, in one of which he received a musket ball through his shoulder; but always come off conqueror' The American Monthly Magazine and Critical Review, Volume 2 p.228

14). Freemans Journal 22 August 1815 p. 4....Though the guard (of the Francis and Eliza) afforded every facility of escape for the convicts, and set themselves the worst example, by staving in the heads of the casks of liquor and committing other excesses (for which they were afterwards put on board a King's ship for trial), John Connor, the late messenger of the Post Office, whose sentence of death was mitigated into transportation by Lord Whitworth, succeeded with the aid of a few of his unfortunate companions in keeping down the mutiny of the other prisoners, until a King's ship came to their assistance and put on board a part of the Royal African corps, with whom the transport arrived at the Cape of Good Hope.

15). The Bicentennial celebrations of the arrival of Frederick and Elizabeth Garling on the Francis and Eliza was held at Longueville, Sydney in August 2015. Members of the family transcribed Elizabeth Garling's Diary of the voyage to Australia (the original of which resides in the Mitchell Library). A Commemorative Souvenir book was later published including the transcription of Elizabeth Garling's diary.

16). Convict John Connor - Sydney Living Museums


[1] Sydney Gazette 12 August 1815

[2] The Australian Dictionary of Biography

[3] HRA., Series 1, vol. V111, p. 268

[4] Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the High Court of Admiralty

[5] Trewman's Exeter Flying Post or Plymouth and Cornish Advertiser (Exeter, England), Thursday, November 11, 1813

[6] The Morning Chronicle (London, England), Saturday, August 13, 1814

[7] Caledonian Mercury (Edinburgh, Scotland), Monday, February 27, 1815