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Decisions of the Nineteenth Century Tasmanian Superior Courts

R. v. Landsall [1829]

stealing, cattle - crown mercy - Jericho

Supreme Court of Van Diemen's Land
Pedder C.J., 2 May 1829
Source: Colonial Times, 8 May 1829 [1]

In the Supreme Court, on Saturday last, a person named John Lansdall, was found guilty of stealing one head of cattle, the property of Mrs. Sarah Smith, of the Tea-tree Brush. -- This man, it seems came free to the Colony about seven years ago, and was subsequently found guilty of sheep-stealing, and transported to Macquarie Harbour. Some time after this, it appears, his wife (who is of highly respectable connexions in England) with four young children, arrived in the Colony. This female, finding her husband in such a miserable situation, instead of a comfortable home, as she of course expected, applied to the Lieutenant Governor, to crave his liberation, in order to the support and protection of herself and family. His Excellency, feeling for her helpless situation, humanely pardoned Lansdall, and he returned to Hobart Town. He then took his wife and family into the interior, and has since been residing near Jericho. We do not take this opportunity to advance these facts with a view to prejudice the minds of the Authorities, in whose hands the life of this unfortunate man now is placed - quite the contrary, for we do most sincerely hope, for the sake of his family that they will not have the reproach of his coming to an untimely end, added to their present misfortune and distress, left as they are in this Colony, without friends or means of support. This man has left them no property whatever, as the farm they reside upon is not their own. Mrs. Lansdall, independent of her four helpless children, is far advanced in a state of pregnancy, which adds to her present distress. Under these circumstances, we should hope that the Lieutenant Governor will cause her innocent children to be placed in the Orphan Schools; and we would recommend to the Police Magistrate, Mr. ANSTEY, in whose district she resides, to afford her ever[y] assistance in his power towards sending herself and famil[y] t[o] Hobart Town; where, we are persuaded, her most distressing case will be taken into consideration, and some provision made for her by many respectable and humane persons. We are convinced to our own knowledge, that many persons would willingly contribute were they appealed to on her behalf. We have known some cases of the kind, without half those claims for commiseration, meet with promote and liberal relief in Hobart Town. We believe this to be a case of real distress, otherwise we would not urge it so pressingly on the Lieutenant Governor, and on our fellow Colonists; and we trust that Mr. Anstey will do every thing in his power towards so desirable an object.


[1] The Hobart Town Courier, 2 May 1829, reported this as follows: "John Lansdell was convicted of stealing one steer, value 4l. the property of Sarah Smith." On that day, the Courier published many brief notes of criminal cases like this, as it often did. Lansdall was sentenced to 7 years transportation to Macquarie Harbour, AOT MM 71/7, p. 505.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University and the School of History and Classics, University of Tasmania