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Decisions of the Superior Courts of New South Wales, 1788-1899

R. v. Williams [1797] NSWKR 2; [1797] NSWSupC 2

vagrancy - Aborigines, cohabiting with - convict escape

Court of Criminal Judicature

Atkins J.A., 9 or 10 August 1797

Source: Court of Criminal Jurisdiction, Minutes of Proceedings, April 1795 to December 1797, State Records N.S.W., 5/1147B[1]

[303] Moses Williams alias Long Tom was brought before the court for that his being an incorrigible rogue and vagabond a person of evil disposition and without any visible means of honest subsistence at various times but more particularly on or about the fifteenth day of February in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety seven and in the thirty seventh year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord George the third now King of Great Britain and did absent himself from his duty as a convict wandering at large to the terror of all well disposed persons, to the evil example of all others in like cases offending and against the statute in that case and made provided and against the prisoner Tom.

            The prisoner in this arraignment plead not guilty.

William Yardley being duly sworn deposes that he is acquainted with the prisoner, that he saw the prisoner wandering at large in the woods, that himself and ten men were sent by Governor to take him, that he endeavoured to escape but was taken, that he always considered him as a vagrant wandering with the natives.

            Mr Wallins being duly sworn says that he went with William Yardley for the purpose of taking the prisoner, that he met the prisoner in the woods, that he was in the water, that the prisoner desired Yardley next to him for that he would surrender himself up.

            The prisoner throws himself on the mercy of the court.

Guilty, seven years transportation.


[1] We are indebted to Lynette Hitchell for transcribing this case record.


Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University