Petition from Mary Daniels, 12 Sep 1804 1
To His Excellency Governor King, &c, &c, &c
The Petition of Mary Daniels–
Most dutifully shewith
That your Excellency’s humble Petitioner is induced to look up to your Excellency, as Supreme Magistrate, and the Guardian and Protector of your People, imploring permission to state one of the most serious Grievances that an unfortunate Female could possibly labour under, and which, until graciously (relieved ?) by your Excellency’s high Interference, threatens not only to involve your Petitioner in present misery and wretchedness, but utterly to blast her future prospect in life, and cut them off from every claim to thecontinuance of society.
Deluded at the early age of Thirteen (an unhappy orphan) into the commission of error, offended justice [tried at Essex Gaol Delivery, 22 July 1801] demanded that your Petitioner should expiate her crime by Banishment from her Friends and country and it was your Petitioner’s humble hope and at the same time a source of consolation to her that her future conduct throughout life would entitle her one day to be restored to that Community, the laws of which she had thoughtlessly transgressed, but for which her punishment had atoned.
Your Petitioner arrived in [Sydney, 24 June 1804] this Country in the Experiment under the protection of Captain [FJ] Withers, with whom your Petitioner has continued
to reside, and on whose Goodness, and her own rectitude of conduct, she places her Chief dependance [sic].
And here your Excellency’s humble Petitioner confesses herself at a loss in what manner to explain with becoming decency the cause of her presuming to make this application to your Excellency unless the dread of hearing her self publickly [sic] charged with a crime, at which humanity shudders will be her excuse for such a deviation from delicasy. [sic]
The person to whom your petitioner has been able to trace this vile and infamous report, is David Batty, who has given out that your Petitioner has been detected by some person in the act of Bestiality with a dog and the report gaining strengths by industrious and malicious circulation, has now become so general that your Petitioner is fearful of being branded with the Ignominy such a crime would merit, if she had not the power and the means of assenting and of proving her innocence.
To your Excellency’s exalted goodness and benevolence your Petitioner therefore presumes to appeal, humble hoping that your Excellency will graciously deign to direct an enquiry to be made into the case, that the author of so infamous a charge may be detected, and dealt with as justice requires.
And Your Excellency’s Petitioner will ever dutifully pray &s
[Signed] Mary Daniels
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[On the petition’s cover sheet is the following]
His Honor the Lieut Govr – Judge Advocate Bench of Magistrates at Sydney are required to investigate into the written complaint
September 12, 1804
[Initialled Governor] PGK [King]
Bench of Magistrates
September 12, 1804
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The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Sun 16 Sep 1804 2
BEFORE THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR
Thursday Sept 13.
A charge of defamation was set up by a young woman [Mary Daniels] lately arrived, against David Batty; and she being a prisoner, had submitted her complaint by Memorial to HIS EXCELLENCY, who requested the cognizance of a Bench of Magistrates of the merits of the case. It was one of the most flagitious calumnies that could possibly have been uttered, and every attention was paid by the Bench to the object of tracing it to its source.—After a very minute investigation the libel appeared to have been propagated by the person above accused, but was in part indebted for its existence to the inventive powers of Mary Razely and Mary Morgan, who were her fellow prisoners on the passage, and upon whom Batty endeavoured industriously to affix the censure likely to be incurred.
The whole of the evidence being heard, the Court cleared, and upon re-opening, the JUDGE ADVOCATE addressed the accused parties, and informed the two women that the Court found them highly culpable in having uttered groundless to the prejudice of another person; but that as they were already prisoners, and inexperienced in the necessary local observance, the Court had though proper to liberate them.
Then upon the conduct of David Batty the Judge Advocate remarked pointedly, reminding him that the offence upon which he had been brought forward was villanous [sic] and unmanly; that he had endeavoured to affix and eternal odium to a young creature, whose circumstance in the Colony claimed the protection of its Officers; that it appeared upon a very minute scrutiny, that the libel was as false as it was infamous;—and, therefore, the Court had thought proper to impose on him a fine of One Month’s imprisonment, Five Pounds sterling to the Orphans, and the necessity of a public Acknowledgement satisfactory to the complainant.
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Petition for mitigation of sentence, 12 Feb 1810 3
Sydney 12 February 1810
To His Excellency Lachlan Macquarie
Esquire Captain General & Governor in
Chief &c., &c., &c., &c.
The humble Memorial of a Mary Daniel Most respectfully sets forth
That she was put in Gaol at the early age of 11 years for a crime of which she was scarcely conscious of the guilt, where she remained for 2 years before she was brought to trial; that she was then found guilty of the same, and condemned to die; but was subsequently reprieved.
That you Memorialist remains still in Gaol for 5 years longer when she was sent to this Colony in the Ship Experiment & has been here for near 6 years.
That upon a representation of the above circumstances, Your Memorialist obtained from the late Lieutenant Governor, an emancipation which in obedience to Your Excellency General order, Memorialist most respectfully delivers up. That Memorialist has aged parents and relatives in England, from whom she has a considerable expectations; That during the time she has been in this Colony she has borne an upright & honest character; Therefore bags leave most humbly to implore. That Your Excellency will be graciously pleased totake her case into consideration, and that from the circumstance
above related, particularly her having served so long a sentence. Your Excellency may be induced to grant her an absolute Pardon that she may be enabled to return to her aged Parents, to be some comfort to them in their old age and for such human favor Memorialist will ever prove herself grateful and at all times pray.
The undersigned beg leave most
respectfully to recommend this
Memorialist to your Excellency
as deserving of mercy.
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Mary Daniels free pardon, 25 May 1810 4
By what ship
Date when granted
Where tried and for what term sentenced
Essex gaol delivery
22nd July 1801
25th May 1810 [No.] 62
1 SRNSW: NRS3397, [SZ768], Proceedings, Judge Advocate’s Bench, 24 Mar 1800-29 Nov 1805, pp. 497-9, R656. Emphasis added
2 The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Sun 16 Sep 1804, p. 2. Emphasis added.
3 SRNSW: NRS900, [4/1846], Petitions to the Governor from convicts for mitigation of sentences, 1810-26, pp. 60-1, Fiche 3164, R1227.
4 SRNSW: NRS12208, [4/4427], Registers of certificates of freedom, p. 280, COD18, R601.