American Citizens, British Slaves : Yankee Political Prisoners in an Australian Penal Colony, 1839-1850
We hardly had our feet on the soil, when almost the first objects that greeted our vision were gibbets, and men toiling in the most abject misery, looking more degraded even than so many dumb beasts. Such sights, and the supposition that such might be our fate, served to sink the iron still deeper in our souls. American Citizens, British Slaves tells the strange story of almost a hundred United States citizens who were transported to Van Diemen's Land in 1839-40. As members of the Patriot Army that had conducted border raids into the colony of Upper Canada in 1838, they saw themselves as courageous republican activists. Instead of heroic liberators, they became political prisoners of Her Majesty's government. Sent to Van Diemen's Land by Lieutenant-Governor Arthur, the Patriot exiles endured years of harsh treatment before they were eventually pardoned. Not being British subjects, their transportation was almost certainly illegal. This vivid and intimate story of political exile and punishment provides a window into the everyday life of the many thousands of forgotten men and women who endured the calculated cruelties of penal transportation.
- Paperback | 300 pages
- 04 Aug 1998
- Melbourne University Press
- Carlton, Australia
About Cassandra Pybus
Cassandra Pybus is ARC Senior Fellow in History and Classics at the University of Tasmania. Her previous books include Gross Moral Turpitude and The Devil and James McAuley. Hamish Maxwell-Stewart is a lecturer in the School of History and Classics at the University of Tasmania. He has published many influential articles on convict history and with Lucy Frost he edited Chain Letters: Narrating Convict Lives (MUP 2001).