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Convict Ship Indian 1810


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Convict Ship Indian 1810

Embarked 200 men
Voyage: 151 days
Deaths: 8
Surgeon's Journal: no
Previous vessel: Canada arrived 8 September 1810
Next vessel: Providence arrived 7 February 1811
Captain Andrew Barclay.
Surgeon Mr. Maine
Convicts and passengers of the Indian identified in the Hunter Valley region

The Indian was a new ship having been built at Whitby in 1809. She had two decks and was sheathed in copper.

The Convicts

The prisoners to be embarked on the Indian came from counties throughout England and Scotland - York, Warwick, Somerset, Huntingdon, Suffolk, Surry, Chester, Lancaster, Southampton, Essex, Essex, Middlesex, Northampton, Kent, Oxford, Worcester, Cornwall, Stafford, Bucks, Wiltshire, London, Surrey, Lincoln, Bristol, Bedford, Devon, Cumberland,Nottingham, Salop, Gloucester, Cambridge Dumfries, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Perth.

There were also those who had been court-martialled at Grenada, Gibraltar, The Agincourt, Fermoy, Messina, Malta, Belfast and Dublin.

Their crimes varied from larceny to robbery, burglary, house breaking and stealing horses or sheep. Several were convicted of possessing forged bank notes and another was transported for stealing from bleachings. There were several soldiers on board who had deserted their posts; they were mostly given life sentences.

Around one hundred and thirty-eight prisoners had been given sentences of transportation for life and another thirty-five were transported for 14 years.

Prison Hulks

After conviction they were transferred to Woolwich or Portsmouth where they worked and lived in the prison hulks.

Some of the prisoners who were being held in the Retribution hulk moored at Woolwich were transferred from the hulk to the Indian on 22nd June 1810; those on the Captivity hulk were sent on 27th June. Two men Barnabus Rex and William Mills were returned to the Captivity hulk from the Indian on 1st July 1810, perhaps too ill to make the voyage. Rex was later sent on the Admiral Gambier.

Having embarked her complement of convicts from the hulks moored in the Thames, the Indian departed London for Portsmouth to embark the remainder of the men who were held in the Perseus Hulk. Those men included John Dewhust, John Barker, Charles Booth and Francis Beattie, James Flloyd, John Wilson William Pearce, Thomas Winchurch, William Makepeace, Francis Murphy ,John Gregory, John Broadway, George Nevill, Isaac Howorth, James Rill, John entwistle, Thomas Lawson, Patrick Heard, James Irwin alias Garvin, John Neild and James Sidebottom.

A Row of prison hulks in Portsmouth Harbour. Artist/Maker Garneray, Ambrose-Louis - National Maritime MuseumA Row of prison hulks in Portsmouth Harbour. c. 1806 - 1814. Artist/Maker Garneray, Ambrose-Louis - National Maritime Museum

Military Guard

The guard consisted Lieutenant Richard Lundin of the 73rd and 28 Privates, one Corporal and one Sergeant with seven women and five children of the 73rd regiment. One of the soldiers, David McKay deserted at Rio on 27th September 1810. [5]

Detachments of the 73rd arrived on the Dromedary, Indefatigable, Guildford, Hindostan, Indian, Archduke Charles, Ann, Fortune 1813, Providence 1811 and Admiral Gambier 1811

Free Passengers

Mary Evans, the wife of William Evans ship's surgeon on the Indispensable in 1809, was granted permission to join her husband in the colony and was given a free passage on the Indian. [4]

The Lion and the Chichester

There were two other ships at Portsmouth making preparation to sail at the same time the Indian was embarking her human cargo - H.M. Lion, 64 guns under Captain Heathcote, and the store ship H.M. Chichester, Captain William McKirby. The Lion was taking on board all the necessary items to make comfortable the Ambassador of Persia Mirza A'bul Hasan who was returning to his homeland accompanied by Sir Gore Ouseley, England's Ambassador to Persia.

Some of the items loaded onto the Lion included gifts of cabinetry presented by Her Majesty Queen Charlotte to the Ambassador when he formally took leave of her at the Queen's Palace on 11th July 1810. His Excellency the Ambassador and Sir Gore Ouseley arrived at the palace in the midst of one of the greatest storms of the times. Their arrival and the following ceremonies at the Palace were described in the Morning Post......

His Excellency came to the Palace in the King's carriage, drawn by six beautiful black horses, with the servants in their full State liveries. He was dressed in yellow and gold, of a similar manufacture to the costly shawls, and a red turban. He was accompanied by Sir Gore Ouseley in the carriage, which was preceded by the carriage of Sir Stephen Cotterel, the Master of the Ceremonies. They were received at the door of the Palace by Colonel Desbrow, and a number of their Majesties attendants.

His Excellency was conducted into the presence of his Majesty King George by Sir Stephen Cotteril, and presented by the Marquis Wellesley; when his Majesty was graciously pleased to present him with a Dirk, the handle of which was most elegantly mounted with diamonds, which he placed on his side and then took leave of his Majesty. His Excellency was then conducted by Sir .S. Cotterel to Her Majesty's Drawing room where he was presented by Col. Debrow, the Queen's Vice Chamberlain. He was graciously received, and her Majesty presented him with several valuable presents for himself and the King of Persia

Later in the evening Sir Gore Ouseley was presented to His Majesty King George at a Levee at the Palace [6]. This was just a few months before King George III became dangerously ill. The Regency Act was passed in 1811 and the Prince of Wales acted as Regent for the remainder of King George's life as he had became permanently incapacitated and lived in seclusion at Windsor Castle until his death.

After all the festivities and formalities were over the Persian Ambassador accompanied by Sir Gore Ouseley departed London by carriage for Portsmouth arriving there on 15th July. The Lion was ready for their arrival, all preparations complete, and the two dignitaries with their respective suites boarded the Lion at Spithead on the 16th July 1810. [7].

In a Journal kept by William Price, Assistant Secretary to Sir Gore Ouseley, the first part of the voyage of the Indian, after departure from Spithead is noted (the Indian was called Indiana in the journal however is identified as a Botany Bay ship).

Departure from Spithead

Map of Portsmouth and Spithead

The Indian departed Spithead on 18 July 1810 in convoy with the Chichester and H.M.Lion. The three ships sailed from Spithead together however the Indian sailing badlythe Chichester and the Lion sailed on ahead........

On 29th July the Lion had a good view of the Island or Porto Eranto and reached the bay of Funchal in the Island of Madeira and anchored there at noon. The Indian soon reached Madeira also and together the three ships, the Lion, Chichester and Indian sailed from Madeira on 1st August.

They passed by Palma one of the Canary Islands on the 3rd August and on the 4th August the Lion once again lost sight of the Indian.

Rio De Janeiro

When the Lion reach Rio de Janeiro on 12th September they were astonished to find the Indian had arrived at Rio three days previously and had given notice of the forthcoming arrival of the Lion! [2]

While at Rio the Ambassador and his suite were guests of the Regent of Portugal. They passed a fortnight in the various employments of public visits and dinners and examination of the town and its environs. [3] On 26th September the Ambassador embarked on the Lion in order to continue the voyage but owing to light tides they were three days in getting fairly to sea having been obliged to anchor three times at the entrance of the harbour.

The three ships departed Rio in company and on the 18th October they passed by the three islands of Tristan da Acuna, the largest alone which is called Tristan d'Acunha which was capped with snow and then Inaccessible Island and Nightingale Island which was almost covered with gulls and albatross and other sea birds.[3]

This was the last mention of the Indian in William Price's journal, so it is not known when the ships once more parted company.

Port Jackson

The Indian arrived in Port Jackson on 16 December 1810 with 192 male prisoners.
Seven men died of disease and one man accidentally drowned on the passage out.

Governor Macquarie wrote in a dispatch to Lord Liverpool in October 1811 - 'I have to inform your Lordship that I have, on all arrivals of convicts ships, ordered a muster to be immediately taken of the convicts on ship board by my Secretary and the Acting Commissary, and I afterwards take a muster of them myself so soon as landed, in order to ascertain the manner they have been treated during the voyage, and whether they have any complaints to prefer against the commander or surgeon of the ship in which they came. By the previous muster I also acquire a knowledge of the trades or professions of the convicts, which enables me to appropriate them afterwards in the most advantageous way for Government, and at the same time most easy for themselves. I have much satisfaction in reporting to your Lordship that the convicts arrived by the four ships Indian, Providence, Admiral Gambier and Friends were in general in good health, having been well treated on board, and had no complaints to make against either the commanders or the surgeons. The male convicts arrived in those ships proved a very seasonable and acceptable supply for the colony, the settlers in general having been in great want of labourers to carry on their agricultural and grazing concerns.[1]

Convict Indents

The convict indents of the Indian include the name, date and place of conviction and sentence with occasional information about tickets of leave and pardons.


Some of the seamen who arrived on the Indian later applied for discharge from the vessel and to remain in New South Wales as settlers or to join colonial vessels as crew - they included George Wilkinson (gunner), Thomas Bunn (ship's steward), Richard Atkinson (seaman), James Delaney (seaman), Jacob Gardner (seaman) and John Gilbert (seaman).


The Indian also brought a valuable cargo. - 30 Hogsheads and Casks of Porter, 4 Cases of Noyua, 12 Barrels of Tar, 3 Casks of Paint, 100 Jugs of Turpentine and Paint Oil, 4 Cases of Hats, 12 Cases of Pickles, 5 Cases of Stationary and Sadlery, 2 Boxes of Pins and Umbrellas, 3 Cases of Perfumery, &c, 2 Bales of Cloth, 3 Rolls of painted Floor Cloth, 19 Casks of Dutch Cheese and Nails, 10 Packages of Shoes and Hardware, 3 Chests of Hyson Tea, 12 Casks of Coffee, 3 Casks of Sugar, and 80 Rolls of Tobacco.[8]

Departure from Port Jackson and the Voyage Home

Captain Barclay gave notice of his intention to sail the Indian to Bengal in January 1811. The Indian departed Port Jackson bound for Bengal in February 1811. Her General Cargo on the return to Bengal included 50 tons of coals and 45 tons of elephant (seal) oil. Captain Barclay had requested to be allowed to import Bengal Rum to the colony however this contract seems to have been awarded to others.

Those intending to sail on the Indian in February 1811 included Thomas Jones, John Kennedy, Timothy Webb, John Davies, Ralph Williams Jackson and Robert Wroughton.

On 5th October 1811, the Sydney Gazette reported: From a Gentleman who went from hence in the Indian, Captain Barclay, on the 24th of last February, and returns in the Ruby, we learn that the Indian had a remarkably fine passage hence by the western route being only 26 days from Port Jackson to Cape Chatham and 50 to the Equator. On the 2nd May 1811 fell in with a convoy of ships with their top gallant masts struck, and jib booms in. Spoke His Majesty's ship Thaeron. who informed them that they had experienced a very heavy gale of wind and that they had sailed from Madras the last day of April but that fortunately the fleet had sustained no damage whatever. On 3rd May at day light fell in with the Vancouver of Boston, Captain Gardiner, who informed Captain Barclay that he had been blown out to Madras Road the preceding evening with the loss of his anchors and cables in a hurricane. That his sails were torn from the yards, which was the means of saving his vessel but that her lumber port being open when the hurricane came on she was near foundering before he could get closed. Captain Barclay supplied them with an anchor and water. The same day the Indian passed by Madras Roads and beheld the most dismal spectacle that could be conceived being persuaded that out of 50 or 60 vessels the Vancouver must have been the only one saved. The Dover was perceived with her stern under water and at a distance 49 wrecks were counted along shore. The Dover's and Chichester's crews only 3 men and a boy were loft, but that unhappily out of 49 sail of country craft not a mast was saved. The Fleet fallen in with by the Indian was the second division of the armament with between 3000 and 4000 troops on board which sailing from Madras two days before the hurricane happily escaped that most dreadful calamity.

The following Letter from Captain Andrew Barclay of the ship Indian, published in the Sydney Gazette in October 1811 and addressed to the Marine Board at Fort William, was published for general information in the public papers by order of His Excellency the Vice President in Council........

'The southern passage round Van Diemen's Land on the South Cape of New Holland being considered impracticable from the strong westerly winds which prevail in the high southern latitudes to this country, I beg leave to forward you the Indian's track, having succeeded in making that passage fully to my satisfaction, being only 56 days to the line. Had the usual winds prevailed at this season of the year, from that I should have made my passage in 65 days to Calcutta. I therefore should advise all vessels which are well fitted to come that route in preference to the Eastern passage. I always found, when the winds blew strong from the W.S.W. or S.W. for 48 hours, that it generally came round to W.N.W. or N.W. which enabled me to make my westing on the starboard tack. Should I ever come the same voyage, I should not hesitate at any season of the year to come the same route". [9]

Notes and Links

1). One of Australia's most famous convicts James Hardy Vaux was transported for the second time on the Indian. He later wrote his Memoirs while serving a sentence at Newcastle Penal settlement.

2). Other prisoners arriving on the Indian included Francis Beattie, Edward Edwards, and Isaac Elliott and James Sidebottom (alias Gentleman John Smith)

3). More about innkeeper Francis Beattie

4). Thomas Johnson arrived free as boatswain on the Indian. He was convicted of theft and sent to Newcastle penal settlement for 3 years in 1811.

5). Convicts and passengers of the Indian identified in the Hunter Valley region

6). Three convict ships arrived in the colony in 1810 - Indian, Anne and Canada

7). Dumfries April 1826 - From the Word on the Street - Michael Donnelly and James Duffy, late weavers in Carlisle, accused of forgery. The Jury, by a plurality of voices, found the libel proven against James Duffy; and they by the plurality of voices, found the libel not proven against Donnelly who was dismissed from the Bar. James Duffy was sentenced to be executed on Wednesday 31st May 1809, however was reprieved..... James Duffy had a curious notation against his entry in the convict indents - Sentenced to transportation for life, The Contractor to have his services 5 July 1810.

8). Other prisoners tried in Scotland included: Thomas Howard (who also had the same notation on his indent), Glasgow; John Macintyre, Edinburgh; Thomas Neilson, Edinburgh; Andrew Stewart, Edinburgh; Robert Thompson, Perth.

9). Lieutenant Durie with his pregnant wife together with Lieutenant Richard Lundin of the 73rd(who arrived on the Indian) and a detachment of Royal Marines received permission to to embark on the Isabella for England in November 1812. Others on the Isabella included Sir Henry Browne Hayes, Captain Brooks and General Joseph Holt. They were shipwrecked in February 1813. Select here to read more about their ordeal in the Memoir of the late Captain Peter Heywood, R. N. By Edward Tagart

10). John Pearce arrived on the Indian. He was one of four convicts who seized the Speedwell at Newcastle settlement in 1814 and were never heard from again. The other convict pirates were Joseph Burridge per General Hewitt, Edward Scarr per Admiral Gambier and Herbert Stiles per Eagle. Find out more here

11). Notes about the identity of the Captain of the Indian......

Captain Barclay of the Indian is in some records referred to as the same man as Captain Andrew Barclay of the Providence. However the Indian, departed NSW in February 1811 bound for Bengal. The Providence departed England bound for NSW in January 1811, therefore there were two different men both called Captain Barclay in the colony in 1810/1811

The Indian was referred to by William Price as the Indiana. The Indiana is on a list of Merchant Vessels of Bengal in 1810 and owned at the time by M and A Lackersteen. A man by the name of Andrew Barclay, mariner, is listed as a European Inhabitant of Bengal in the East India Register and Directory of 1819. East India Register and Directory 1819.

There is no mention in the 8-page There is no mention in the 8-page biography The Life of Captain Andrew Barclay, Captain of the Providence in 1811 and settler of VDL, of his also being Captain of the Indian the previous year.

12). Prisoners who had been court-martialed included:

Benjamin Grimshaw and John Scott were court-martialled on the Agincourt in 1809 and sentenced to transportation for life (See Boys at Sea: Sodomy, Indecency, and Courts Martial in Nelson's Navy By B. Burg to find out more about the court-martial). John Scott spent the rest of his life in service; he was in and out of iron gangs and gaols for the next thirty years. He was serving in an iron gang at Newcastle when he died in 1840 age 56 and was buried in Christ church burial ground. Benjamin Grimshaw was also sent to Newcastle although perhaps not as punishment. He was employed by government for the next 10 years and when he applied for a ticket of leave and later a grant of land he was recommended as a reliable, industrious and steady man.

Felix McCanna, court-martialled at Fermoy,

Matthias Muller, at Messina;

Francis Murphy, at La Valette;

Felice Pace, at Messina;

Dominco Papalio, at La Valette;

Carmino Reago, at Messina;

David Thompson, at Belfast;

Richard Walsh, at Halifax;

George Watford, at Dublin.

David Robinson was tried at Gibraltar.

13). Statement of the number of soldiers court-martialed sentenced to transportation 1809, 1810, 1811

14). Convicts and passengers of the Indian identified in the Hunter Valley region:

Thomas Acton,
Joseph Ogle
Richard Baker
Francis Beattie
Anthony Best
Joseph Bonham
William Bradley
Edmund, Redmond or Costello
Robert Chifney
Thomas Copian or Copain;
John Dobson
Edward Edwards
Isaac Elliott
Joseph Fearney or Fernee;
George Fry
John Gregory
Benjamin Grimshaw
William Holden or Holding
Joel Joseph
Thomas Lawson
James Lowe or Vaux
Robert Luck
Felix McCanna
John Neild
Felix Patcho
John Pearce
Samuel Price
Carmen Reago
William Ryder
David Robinson
John Scott
Charles Sleaford
John Smith
Thomas Smith
Charles Taylor
David Thompson
Thomas Wright

15). Resources used to create Convict Ship pages


[1] HR NSW Vol. VII, p. 388

[2] Journal of the British embassy to Persia; Travels Through Persia, Armenia and Asia By William Price, 1825

[3] A second journey through Persia, Armenia, and Asia minor, to Constantinople ... By Morier, James

[4] HRA, Series 1, Vol. VII, p. 332

[5] Colonial Secretary's Correspondence Reel 6042; 4/1725 p.232

[6] The Morning Post 12 July 1810

[7] Morning Chronicle 18 July 1810

[8] HRA, Series 1, Vol. VII, p. 428

[9] Sydney Gazette 5 October 1811

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