This is a personal petition written directly by the prisoner George Hey who admits being guilty of embezzlement [theft from his workplace] in 1 January, 1845, Catalogue ref: HO18/149/41
1st January 1845
Right Honourable Sir James Graham Bar.t.
Her Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State
For the Home Department
The Humble Petition of George Hey,
That your Petitioner having unfortunately been induced [forced] to make use of certain sums of money, amounting to one hundred and seventy pounds, (£170.) the property of his employers, an underwriter at Lloyds’, was, on the 16th Sept. last, at the Central Criminal Court, sentenced to ten years transportation.
That your Petitioner was, on the 1st October following removed from Newgate to Millbank, and from thence on the 2nd November to Pentonville Prison.
That your Petitioner in his late employment, having been always accustomed to active, out-of-door duty, suffers much, both bodily and mentally from his present close confinement, which is rendered doubly painful, by constant and unavoidable reflection on his degraded position, and the situation in which his aged mother, (of whom he was the sole support,) is placed by his misconduct [behaviour].
That your Petitioner much fears, under these circumstanced, that long continued confinement, will seriously injure, if not ruin his constitution [health].
That your petitioner therefore prays that his case may be taken into consideration, and that the Right Honourable, the Secretary of State, will mercifully be pleased to grant, his most humble yet earnest petition, that his sentence of transportation across the seas, may be carried into effect, with as little delay, as to him may see fit.
And your Petitioner will ever pray.
Official’s notes on petition:
George Hey – 21
Central Criminal Court
Embezzlement [stealing money from a business]
10 Years Transportation
Goal Report – Character Unknown
Refer to the Governor of Pentonville for their opinion on the condition of the prisoner’s health & Mind. MGG
The prisoner complains of the injurious effect of close confinement & prays for immediate transportation.
Task Source 3
- What is different or similar about the style and format of this personal petition compared to Sources 1 and 2 (a)?
- George Hey admits to theft and does not ask for a pardon. What is the aim of his petition?
- What does this source tell you about the prisoner’s views on imprisonment versus criminal transportation to Australia?
- What do the official’s notes written on the side of the petition reveal about how the document were recorded by the Home Office?
- How could the official’s notes be useful to a historian?
- How important was the health of the prisoner considered? What action was taken as a result of this petition?