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www.corpun.com   :  Archive   :  Up to 1975   :  AU Illicit Jul 1849

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AUSTRALIA
Illicit CP - July 1849



Corpun file 22730

The Perth Gazette and Independent Journal of Politics and News, 27 July 1849

South Australia.

Flogging females on board the "Ramilies".


Click to enlarge

WE have seen and heard complaints of the treatment of the sailors and passengers on board the above vessel, which however we did not notice, as it was understood, steps were to be taken by the parties concerned. Disagreements so frequently arise on a voyage that they attract little attention until legal redress is sought. But the present case assuming a very important character, and no charge having been as yet preferred, we have felt it our duty to make close enquiries.

As to the general treatment of the passengers we receive various accounts: but this is not the object of our present notice. All are agreed in the fact that four female emigrants were flogged during the passage. Their names are Catherine Morgan, Phoebe Spooner, Jane Downey, and Margaret Mack. Of their conduct we hear conflicting accounts, but this is of no material consequence. The fact is certain that fully grown girls -- seventeen or eighteen years old -- were flogged by the surgeon with his own hand, a rope's end being the instrument of torture used. Besides the surgeon and captain we cannot learn that any persons were present but two men who acted as constables or surgeons assistants.

The particulars of what passed in the "Chamber of the Question" we cannot give, but we have spoken with several, both male and female, -- one a married, and apparently respectable woman who examined the girl's backs and found them scored with wails of red and blue as large as the finger, and one was bleeding. The mind can hardly dwell on the revolting idea of men holding a half naked girl and flogging her till the blood starts from her skin. We read of such horrors in Russian dungeons, but scarcely give them credit. Of all the charges made against the slave system, the flogging of women was perhaps the most popular. Exertions are yearly making in Parliament, and are seconded by almost every paper, to abolish flogging in the army and navy. Yet in 1849, in a ship sailing under Government guarantee, is the system commenced in its very worst form. -- South Australian.

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