Citation:

The Transportation Act (24 Geo. III c. 56) (1784) in JAM. Bennett and Alex C. Castles, A Source Book of Australian Legal History: Source Materials from the Eighteenth to the Twentieth Centuries (Sydney: The Law Book Company Limited, 1979), pp. 3-5


An Act for the effectual transportation of felons and other offenders; and to authorize the removal of prisoners in certain cases.

[Text abridged]

Whereas it is expedient to impower His Majesty, with the advice of His Privy Council, to appoint certain places, as well out of His Majesty's dominions as within the same, to which felons and other offenders may be transported, and to make other regulations for the more effectual transportation of such offenders; May it therefore please Your Majesty that it may be enacted; and be it enacted by the King's, Most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, That from and after the passing of this Act, when any person or persons, at any session of Oyer and Terminer, or Gaol Delivery, or at any Quarter or other General Session of the Peace, to be holden for any county, riding, division, city, town, borough, liberty or place, within that part of Great Britain called England, or at any Great Session to be holden for the County Palatine of Chester, or within the Principality of Wales, shall be lawfully convicted of grand or petit larceny, or any other offence for which such person or persons shall be liable by the laws of this realm to be transported, it shall and may be lawful for the court before which any such person or persons shall be so convicted as aforesaid, or any subsequent court holden at any place for the same county, [et cetera] . . . respectively with like authority, to order and adjudge that such person or persons so convicted as aforesaid shall be transported beyond the seas, for any term of years not exceeding the number of years or term for which such person or persons is or are, or shall be liable by any law to be transported; and in every such case, it shall and may be lawful for His Majesty, by and with the advice of His Privy Council, to declare and appoint to what place or places, part or parts beyond the seas, either within His Majesty's dominions, or elsewhere out of His Majesty's dominions, such felons or other offenders shall be conveyed or transported; and such court as aforesaid is hereby authorized and impowered to order such offenders to be transferred to the use of any person or persons, and his or their assigns, who shall contract for the due performance of such transportation; And when His Majesty shall be pleased to extend mercy to any offender who hath been or shall be convicted of any crime for which he is or shall be by law excluded from the benefit of clergy, upon condition of transportation to any places or parts beyond the seas, either for term of life, or any number of years, and such intention of mercy shall be signified by one of His Majesty's principal Secretaries of State, it shall be lawful for any court, having proper authority to allow such offender the benefit of a conditional pardon and to order the transfer of such offender to any person who shall contract for the due performance of such transportation, for such and the same term of years for which any such offender shall have been ordered to be transported, or for such term of life or years as shall be specified in such condition of transportation as aforesaid, and such person so contracting, by virtue of such order of transfer, shall have a property in the service of such offender for such terms respectively; and when any offender bath been or shall be convicted of any crime for which he is by law excluded the benefit of clergy, the Judge before whom such offender shall be convicted, or any Justice of the King's Bench, Common Pleas or Baron of the Exchequer of the degree of the coif, in case the said offender shall have been tried at any Court of Oyer and Terminer, or Gaol Delivery, in England, or any Justice of Chester or Wales, in case the said offender shall be tried and convicted within any of their respective jurisdictions, may, on such intention of mercy as aforesaid being signified to him by one of the said principal Secretaries of State, make an order for the immediate transportation of such offender in the same manner as if such intention of mercy had been signified by one of the principal Secretaries of State during the continuance of the Assizes or Sessions at which such offender was condemned; and such order shall be considered as an order made at such Assizes or Sessions and shall be effectual and have all the same consequences as any order for the transportation of any offender made by any Justice of Oyer and Terminer, Great Sessions or Gaol Delivery, for any county, city, liberty, borough or place during the continuance of the Assizes or Sessions.