‘The impassable gulph’

Stories of transportation
by
August 2021, no. 434
Buy this book

Condemned: The transported men, women and children who built Britain’s empire by Graham Seal

Yale University Press, $24.95 pb, 295 pp

‘The impassable gulph’

Stories of transportation
by
August 2021, no. 434

The convict Thomas Brooks was transported to Sydney in 1818. He had been sentenced to seven years but would serve twenty-seven, with stints in some of Australia’s most brutal penal settlements. His life became a cycle of escape attempts, recapture, and punishment. Each grab for freedom made his chains heavier, the floggings ever more severe. Eventually the penal system broke him, his spirit and will to escape crushed. When Brooks was finally released, he went bush, content to live in a humpy, drink, and ponder his past. He wondered how Britain could see fit to abolish slavery and yet maintain the convict system. ‘For our slavery there was no balm. Those who believed in the freedom of men had cast us out; and those who were incapable of reflection must have seen the impassable gulph between the stains of our bondage and the free position of honest liberty.’

Seumas Spark reviews 'Condemned: The transported men, women and children who built Britain’s empire' by Graham Seal

Condemned: The transported men, women and children who built Britain’s empire

by Graham Seal

Yale University Press, $24.95 pb, 295 pp

Buy this book

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