Petition from Joseph Harris to Robert Peel, Secretary of State, 7 July 1828 (HO 17/40 pt.3 f.18)
To the Right Honourable Robert Peel M.P. His Majesty’s Secretary of State for the Home Department.
The Humble Petition of Joseph Harris aged 19, a convict now confined in H.M. Gaol Newgate.
That your Petitioner was tried at the Sessions held at the Old Bailey, in July 1829 for having stolen three Ducks, the property of Thomas Bray for which offence your Petitioner received the judgement of the Court in being sentenced to Transportation for the term of seven years.
Your Petitioner begs to submit that he is by profession a Fisherman that the above offence in the first for which he has ever been placed in a criminal point of view, in and that having an aged Mother of whom your Petitioner since the decease of his father, has been the whole support, doth Right Honourable Sir, from his former good character in Life as will be testified by the undernamed respectable individuals, implore that your Petitioner through your human influence may be permitted to go to the Penitentiary [prison] in Lieu of being banished from his native country and relatives, when your Petitioner begs with submission to Say that his whole line of conduct shall be marked by that propriety which shall evince [prove] his gratitude for the Indulgence he herein implores, and as in duty bound your Petitioner will ever pray to it.
Joseph X [cross as signature] Harris
We the undersigned beg to recommend the Petitioner’s prayer