# 34725

CLARK, John; [FRIEND, Charles] [McGINNIS, James] [BICKERDIKE, Ruth] [FRANKS, William]

[TASMANIA; POLICE; CONVICTS] Record of summons for James McGinnes for a charge brought by the Chief District Constable, for allowing a transported female convict to unlawfully remain on his premises. Launceston, June 1836.

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[Hobart Town : s.n.], 1836. Foolscap folio, 335 x 210 mm, letterpress printed recto only on laid paper watermarked ‘Harris & Tremlett 1834’; headed ‘Information. Van Diemen’s Land (To wit.)’ and dated 25 June 1836, the manuscript entries record that on 22 June, at Launceston, Charles Friend, the Chief District Constable, informed John Clark Esq., Justice of the Peace, that James McGinnes of Launceston ‘without lawful excuse or authority did knowingly receive and allow to remain on his premises Ruth Bickerdyke a Transported offender’, the penalty for which is not less than two pounds and not more than 20 pounds (plus costs), and that Friend has asked that McGinnes be summoned to answer the charge; signed by both John Clark and Charles Friend at the foot, and annotated in the lower left margin ‘Plea Not Guilty’; the verso gives the result of the case, and is endorsed ‘July 8 1836. Friend v. McGinnes. Breach of 2nd Sessions Act 6 / 4 / 2. Dismissed. Witnesses Alexander Ranken / Greentree’, along with – in a bolder hand – ‘Dismissed. J. Clark & Wm Franks Esquire / 8 July 1836’; original folds, in fine condition.

John Clark was Keeper of the Bonded Store in Launceston, and at various times Police Magistrate at Hobart, Launceston, George Town and Bothwell. He later took over management of his father William’s estate Cluny, at Bothwell.

Ruth Bickerdike (aka Bickerdyke) (b. 1815) was convicted at the Cambridge Assizes in March 1832 and sentenced to transportation for life. She arrived in Van Diemen’s Land on the convict transport Frances Charlotte on 10 January 1833. She was an inmate in the Launceston Female Factory, which had been opened in 1834 as the first purpose-built institution for convict women in Van Diemen’s Land.

James McGinnes is possibly the convict recorded as James McGinnis, who was sentenced to 7 years transportation at the Surrey Quarter Sessions in June 1819, and arrived in Van Diemen’s Land on the transport Dromedary in January 1820. In his first two years in the penal colony he received some horrific corporal punishments: October 25 1820. Out after hours 25 lashesDecember 23 1820. Lurking about the premises of Mr James at night. 50 lashesOctober 20 1821. Stealing a quantity of paling, the property of the Crown & a quantity of shingle, the property of Timothy Murphy. 50 Lashes. He received his Certificate of Freedom in June 1826. By December 1827 he was in Sydney, where he was appointed as a police constable. In April 1833 McGinnis (recorded as “McGuiness”) was dismissed from the force for being absent from duty. In July the same year, his wife Hester(?) Doyle, who had been transported from Ireland in 1826 for stealing a watch, was awarded her freedom, having served out her sentence. The couple – or McGinnis alone – perhaps returned to Van Diemen’s Land prior to June 1836.

Provenance: Robert Muir Old & Rare Books, Perth (Catalogue 69, 1981, #174); ex Peter Dodds (1929-1980)

Peter Dodds was a notable Australian antiquarian book collector and antique dealer, Melbourne-born but based in Perth from 1949, and later York, Western Australia, from 1976. See: Australian book collectors : some noted Australian book collectors & collections of the nineteenth & twentieth centuries / edited by Charles Stitz, volume 1, pp 97-98 (Bendigo : Bread Street Press, 2010).

In 1981 Robert Muir issued two catalogues (69 and 74) that featured 950 lots comprising the cream of Dodds’ private collection, including much Australian colonial material (books, maps, engravings and ephemera) of major significance. In his introduction to the first of these catalogues Muir wrote: ‘The Dodds Collection was certainly one of the most important, extensive and erudite ever to be assembled and shown in Western Australia. It was catholic in taste and direction, though Peter himself had a great knowledge of, and appreciation for, such areas as maritime and land history and exploration (with a bias to Bligh’s Bounty); the convict era; limited editions; early domestic furniture and appliances; and by no means least, West Australiana … This is the first truly substantial and West Australian based Library ever to be assembled then later catalogued for sale in this state.’