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The Sydney Morning Herald, Mon 5 Sep 1842 1 



    Before Captain Browne and J Campbell, Esq, Justices of the Peace.

    POLICE BUSINESS. Their worships the Aldermen have of late been so much occupied in attending on his worship the Mayor, that the police business has been somewhat neglected to the no great advantage of the citizens, whom their worships have been engaged in rating. On Saturday, however, nearly all the business which had accumulated on the lists was disposed of.

    John Solomon, an Indian, and William Williams were committed to take their trials for an unnatural offence;

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The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Tue 6 Sep 1842 2    

    COMMITTALS.—The following prisoners were committed for trial on Saturday last, namely, William Tallis and William King, for uttering a forged pound note. Michael McCabe, (a Norfolk Island expiree) for stealing a pair of boots from a soldier of the 80th regiment. John Solomon and William Williams, for an unnatural offence,

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Depositions for Solomon John 15 Oct 1842 and William Williams 10 Oct 1842 Sydney trials 3

    John Ryan Brenan
    c. 3 September 1842

Roger Therry, Attorney General
My dear Therry
    The witness Price was questioned by me as to the fact of penetration, and he can prove it effectually and did give it in evidence on the 1st examination although it was not taken down at the time – he will be in atten[dance] on the trial and the case can be effectually proved by the witnesses –  I send back the depositions.
[Signed] John Ryan Brenan JP

Recognizance for Solomon John and William Williams, 3 September 1842


Solomon (his X mark) Deane [or O=Dean] Resident of Sussex Street, Sydney ,40.


new south wales
to wit.               }                  Be It Remembered, that the above-named

Persons acknowledge themselves bound to Our Sovereign Lady the Queen, Her Heirs

and Successors, in the Penal Sums expressed against each of their respective Names, 

Conditioned, if the above named persons do appear at such Court 

of criminal jurisdiction to be assembled at Sydney as etc, etc attorney general may direct there to 

give evidence on a charge of Sodomy, "Regina v. William Williams and Solomon John" 

then this Recognizance to be null and void, otherwise to remain in Force and Virtue in Law. 

Taken and acknowledged before me, one of Her Majesty=s Justices of the Peace 

for the Colony of New South Wales, at Sydney 

in the said Colony, this 3rd Day of September 

One thousand eight hundred and forty two 

[Signed] John Ryan Brenan



Solomon John
William Williams

    Mr John Price Assistant Chief Constable sworn states on oath at 10 o’clock last night I went into Stewards Public House in George Street in company with Inspector Higgins. I saw the two prisoners standing at the bar (and knowing Williams to have been tied up some years back for on a charge of something unnatural) they went out we followed them, and saw them go along George Street past the Old Toll bar and turn into a paddock on a line with the Botany Road – where they then stopped – in a few minutes I saw Williams unbutton his breeches, and stoop down. I saw the Black man stand in the rear of of Williams they were in that position


for about 5 seconds before I ran up to them, when I got close to them I saw that the Prisoners were committing an unnatural Crime. I pulled asunder and saw the Penis of the blackfellow erect. I called Inspector Higgins to examine them which he did – we then took them into custody.
[Signed] John Price.

Sworn Police Office Sydney, 31 August 1842 1st September 1842 before,
[Signed] John Ryan Brenan JP


3 September 1842
    The parties now before the Court are the same parties I alluded to. I can swear that the black fellow was penetrating the other. Neither of the parties was drunk.
[Signed] John Price

Sworn Police Office
Sydney 3 September 1842
Before John Ryan Brenan JP


    Mr Jeremiah Higgins. Inspector. Sworn states on oath:– Last night about 10 o’clock I went into Stewards Public House in George Street the two prisoners were standing at the bar. They went out & we followed them. We saw them go along George Street past the Old Toll bar and turn into a paddock in a line with the Botany Road where they stood both together; in a short time after Mr Price ran towards the prisoners. I followed. They were standing together. I saw the prisoner Williams in a stooping position with his coat tail over his Breeches, and his trowsers down. Mr Price had then the prisoner John in charge. I saw him standing close to William’s back – his Trowsers were down – and his penis


erect. We confined the prisoners.

The parties before the Court are the parties alluded to.
[Signed] J Higgins

Sworn Police Office
Sydney 3 September 1842
Before John Ryan Brenan JP


    John O’Dean interpreter for Solomon John, states on oath:– That on four o’clock in the evening he was drinking, and did not know what he had been doing. Says he has no questions to ask the witness.
[Signature illegible]

Sworn Police Office
Sydney 3 Sept 1842
Before John Ryan Brenan JP

    Both Committed for trial
[Signed] John Ryan Brenan JP

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[On the depositions’ cover sheet is the following]

3rd September
Sydney (?)
Solomon John
William Williams

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The Sydney Morning Herald, Mon 10 Oct 1842 4


The Criminal Sessions of the Supreme Court commences its sittings this day. The following is the calendar exhibiting the names of the prisoners, with the charges for which each has been indicted. There are in all twenty-three indictments and thirty-five prisoner[s], including those on bail, and the eight men daily expected from Norfolk Island:
    1.      Sarah Turton, perjury.
    2.      Stephen Brennan, murder, from Norfolk Island.
    3.      John Jones, Thomas Walmner, George Bearor, Henry Sears, Nicolas Lewis, John Berry, James Woolff alias Mordecai, all from Norfolk Island, for murder.
    4.      William Pullinger, fraudulent insolvency.
    5.      Whitmore Murphy, forgery.
    6.      William Brown, forgery.
    7.      Solomon John, and William Williams, unnatural crime.
    8.      William Tallis and Phillip King, forgery.
    9.      Hugh McKay, forgery.
    10.    Richard Allum, forgery.
    11.    Honorah Fitzgerald, forgery.
    12.    James Russell, forgery.
    13.    Matthew Mathews, forgery.
    14.    James Harrigan, alias Haddigaddy, horse-stealing.
    15.    Patrick Killoney, stabbing with intent.
    16.    James Stanaway and John Chown, arson.
    17.    Matthew James Everington, on bail, horse-stealing.
    18.    Elizabeth Hunter and Joseph Hyams, robbery.
    19.    Thomas McEncroe, Patrick Birch, and Edward Mulrian, robbery, being armed.
    20.    John Burt, on bail, fraudulent insolvency.
    21.    Casper Marks, on bail, fraudulent insolvency.
    22.    James William Mooney, on bail, fraudulent insolvency.
    23.    William Robson, on bail, assault.

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Justice J Dowling’s Notebook 5


[10 October 1842]
Regina v William Williams – Buggery on 31 August 1842 Solomon John – at Sydney.

    Attorney General Therry. Prisoner noticed in (high ?) of George Street – Price – (senior ?) (Inspector ?) (police ?)

    John Price. I am assistant Chief Constable of Sydney. About the (evening ?) of 31st August I was in company with Inspector Higgins in George Street. We went to Steward’s Public House Woolpack on Brickfield Hill. I went


to apprehend a man named (Pipe ?) – against whom I had a warrant. In going into the house I saw the prisoner in company with a coloured man. They were standing at the bar together. The coloured man & prisoner went out together. This was about 10 pm – 9 or 10. They went in the direction towards the old Toll Bar, & we followed them. They went forth till they came on to the old Botany Road. They then went into a paddock against the old Botany Road. They walked a little way, about 100 yards into the paddock & stopt. Higgins & I followed them into the paddock. We got within about 5 yards of them. They were standing talking to each other. Prisoner I saw unbutton his trowsers. He [Williams] then put himself in a stooping position & threw his coat tails over his shirt.


    The coloured man then came round to the rear of him & unbuttoned his trowsers – & commenced having connexion with the prisoner. Higgins & I remained there for about 2 minutes, 5 yards from them – & we pounced on them. I pulled the coloured man asunder from Williams. I am confident they were committing an unnatural offence because I took the coloured man’s privates from the prisoner’s fundament. I am quite sure – I swear I took his privates from the prisoner – His penis was then erected – I swear from the state of his private parts that he had penetrated his fundament. Higgins (bound ?) Williams & I the coloured man. We let them button


up their trowsers. After that Williams said “I have plenty of money at home”. We then took them both to the watch house & kept them in separate cells – It was a darkish night but with lamps & gas on the road. I could distinguish what was going on very plainly. I knew Williams before. The coloured man was close to Williams – in his rear. I had to separate them.

    Cross-examined. Light from (?) & Tooth’s Brewery – They went down the road 20 or 30 yards. The paddock was on the right hand side. There are several houses there inside the paddock at back of brewery – Williams told me he lived there. It was not cold. I did not say to anyone I had my eye on him for 15 years.

    I have known him for last 15 years – I never said I have been looking for him, whenever I saw him


in company I should have suspicion of him (according ?) to his character. They were in the paddock 5 minutes. They could not see us – we were down on our bellies. The lights from Parramatta Road could be seen quite plain in paddock. The lights were behind us – & they before us – Their faces were turned from the light. I was near them 2 minutes – might be more, might be less – It must have been more than 5 seconds. It was a short time – They were 5 minutes in the paddock all together – They were talking a short time – after we got in the paddock we went on our bellies. They were 20 or 30 yards from the paddock where we took them. They were standing face to face at first – as close as could be. The discourse was short. They had some conversation on the road opposite Carter’s barracks.


    They stopt there 4 or 5 minutes – we stopt on the other side of way. I know that penetration was necessary – I know what constitutes the offence – & said that they perpetrated the act – that I caught them actually in the fact – I said I put my hand down & took black man’s penis out of Williams. I knew that was a material point. I (insisted ?) Williams saying he had plenty of money at home. When we started up, we made no noise. We made a rush at them. We were within 5 yards. It was a piece of open ground. Williams was stooping down with his hands & knees. I got up first – & Higgins in an instant. I laid hold of black man first & Higgins of Williams. He took hold of blackfellow’s privates. The blackfellow struggled. Williams buttoned up his trowsers quite unconcerned.


    Re-examined. I have spoken about him. He has been (town’s ?) talk. I (reach ?) 15 years (in ?) (Goulburn ?) (?) (?) 4 years in Newcastle (gaol ?). I had a (warrant ?) to (apprehend ?). This is the 4th time I (?). This came to my knowledge as a PO [Police Officer ?] We (couldn’t ?) hear what they talked about – I could not make out the words. The crime had commenced before I got up to them.

    Jeremiah Higgins. I am Inspector in (Sydney ?) Police. I was at Steward’s House on August 31, George Street – I saw prisoner & a coloured man. I accompanied Price. I went into Steward’s House & I saw prisoner & a coloured man standing at the counter. We had not been in more than 4 or 5 minutes, when the prisoner & the coloured man left the House. They went along George Street & we following them – passed the old


toll bar. They turned into a paddock off the Parramatta Road & turned into a paddock on a line with the old Botany Road (commonly ?) called Major Druit’s paddock. They went a considerable distance down the paddock – we followed them. I saw them both stand up together in the paddock. I went on my hands & knees & walked in that manner, till I came within 5 yards of them. I then stood up & ran towards them – up to them. When I came up Price had hold of the coloured man – Williams was (standing ?) in front of the coloured man in a stooping position – his shirt & (coat’s ?) tails thrown on his back. His trowsers opened & hung down. The coloured man was facing the back of the prisoner. He was close. He was (touching ?) him. I caught


hold of Williams & held him. Price had hold of the coloured man. They were standing there very close together. Price called my attention to the coloured man’s penis – I caught hold of him. It was quite stiff at the time – & I took him in custody. The coloured man’s penis was then (towards ?) the (coloured ?) man [sic]. I had not to separate them. I came up close after Price. Price was up to them before me – Price accused them of having connexion one with another & Williams denied it. I did not see him within Williams’ body. They were sufficiently close before Price (bound ?) him to have penetrated. His private parts were close to Williams.

    Cross-examined. Price might have said


but not then, that he had been looking after Williams for some years – I don’t recollect he did.

    We stood a few minutes on knees & hands – & (remained ?) 4 or 5 minutes before getting on our legs.

    I won’t swear the penis of black man penetrated Williams – Price was up long enough to have them separated them [sic], before I went up – supposing there was penetration. Price was going one way towards them, & I another – we (circled ?) the paddock together. There was no fence. Paddock open (?). They had gone into the paddock as far as from (?) Pitt Street – they passed houses before they came to where they stood – I was 5 or 6 yards from Price. He was closer to them than I was. Price rushed on them before I did. I was about 6 yards rather behind Price.


Rushing up made little noise – ground soft & (sandy ?). The (rushing ?) made no noise. Price was about 4 yards from them when he rushed. I was 5 or 6 yards from them. There is no gas there at all. It was rather dark. It was not very cold then – not as warm as now. They were both stooping. The coloured man was inclined towards Williams – as close as they could stand.

    Re-examined. We separated in the paddock. Price had opportunity more than I of seeing. They were close jammed together.
6 >>> Windeyer. 2 (?)
1. Inspector has (?) & (?). & Attorney General (contented ?) – no (absence ? abrogation ?) of (?).
2nd – Inspector charges William Williams had (?) in & (?) Johns –


(?) 97 – (name ?) must be (proved ?) as laid – as that only known – cold man.
    (Attorney General ?) (Rear ?) (Res ?) (This & Res ?) 136
    Windeyer – case of (?) before (?) – u –
None of (?) seemed to have (?) – If (?) (?) after (?) having been there –
(?) power
Arbitrary power – discretion
(?) in when the (?) laid – (parties’ ?) life in danger


(?) point.

    Price – called up. I was in court when a man named Solomon John was put to the bar. That is the man. That’s the name he gave in – Solomon John.

    George Pownall. I am one of the Clerks of the Superior Court. I am (acting ?) as clerk of (arraignments ?). I have (arraigned ?) – The (?) he was (arraigned ?) – a coloured man – This information – His name announced & held up his hand – by the name of Solomon John.

    Price. That is the same man.


    Windeyer. (?) satisfied – that it is his name – & strictly proved – existence – strictly proved & laid – by which usually proven – a usual (custom ?) not proved by one instance.
The name admitted. What is his name – who knows a man better than himself –
Credibility of his (story ?)
Zeal of Price.

    Price’s deposition received. They were in that position. In about that position 5 seconds – I pulled asunder & saw the penis erect.


    Attorney General’s reply. (?) not (taken ?) down.

    Evan Thomas – I am a landholder. I live at (?) (?), near the Waterloo Mills – about 200 yards from me. Williams is a (tenant ?) of mine – 2 (?).

    Cross-examined. He has been my (tenant ?) for 2 years. <<<

Attorney General’s reply. Lengthy, not taken down.
Jury retired.

Verdict Guilty.

Sentence of death passed on Williams & John (the latter convicted before Burton J.) on 15 October 1842.

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Australasian Chronicle, Tue 11 Oct 1842 7

(Before His Honor the Chief Justice.)

    William Williams was indicted for an unnatural offence on the 31st of August last.

    Mr Windeyer appeared for the defence.

    The Attorney General in opening the case called the serious attention of the jury to it, the crime for which the prisoner was indicted being, as he observed, one of the few which the law yet punished with death; and if the case was made out against the prisoner as it appeared before him upon the depositions, he did not see anything which could prevent the law from taking full effect.

    The learned gentleman then called his witnesses, but the case is one of so disgusting a nature as t be unfit for publication.

    The jury after a short consultation returned a verdict of guilty, and the prisoner was remanded for sentence.

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The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Tue 11 Oct 1842 8

Supreme Court — Criminal Side
(Before His Honor the Chief Justice.) [Sir James Dowling]

    William Williams was indicted for committing an unnatural offence with a man of color, named John Solomon, and the charge having been clearly established against him, he was found guilty, and remanded for sentence. The evidence in this case was of a nature totally unfit for publication.

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The Sydney Morning Herald, Tue 11 Oct 1842 9

SUPREME COURT.— Criminal Session.

    Sir James Dowling, Chief Justice, and Mr Justice Stephen took their seats at 10 o’clock yesterday, in the Supreme Court.

    After the Jury list had been called over, and a Jury empanelled, Mr Justice Stephen retired to the eastern side of the Court, and the following cases were disposed of, before His Honor the Chief Justice.


    William Williams was indicted for an unnatural offence.

    The prisoner was defended by Mr Windeyer.

    The Attorney General [Roger Therry] opened the case, calling the serious attention of the Jury to the case, as it was one of the few crimes still punishable by death; and if the circumstances of the case were made out as they appeared before him, he did not know of any thing which could prevent the law taking effect.

    The case is unfit for publication.

    The prisoner was found guilty, and remanded for sentence.

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The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Thu 13 Oct 1842 10

Supreme Court – Criminal Side.
(Before His Honor Mr Justice Burton.) 11

    Soloman [sic] John, an East Indian, was indicted for an unnatural offence, and the charge having been clearly proved, he was found guilty and remanded for sentence. The evidence was of a nature unfit for publication.

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The Australian, Fri 14 Oct 1842 12


    Before his Honor the Chief Justice, and a Common Jury.      

    MONDAY, October 10. – The jury list having been called over and a jury sworn.

    William Williams was placed at the bar, charged with an offence against the order of nature.
    Mr Windeyer appeared for the defence.
    The prisoner was found Guilty, and remanded for sentence.

    TUESDAY.– Before Mr Justice Burton.

    Solomon Johen [sic] was indicted for having committed an offence against the order of nature. Guilty; remanded for sentence.

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The Australian, Mon 24 Oct 1842 13

Before Their Honors the three Judges.

    Solomon John and William Williams convicted of an unnatural offence before his Honor were placed at the bar to receive the sentence of the Court. Proclamation to keep profound silence having been made, the Judge placed the black cap upon his head, and addressed the prisoners on the diabolical nature of the crime of which they had been found guilty; a crime which was one of the few which in the ameliorated state of the criminal law was still punishable by death. Nor was it to be wondered at that so detestable a crime—one not to be mentioned among christians—should in this civilized age be thus severely visited. It was a crime which had called down the signal and miraculous vengeance of the Almighty on whole cities, from which it had in all countries, civilized and savage, since derived its name. He would not pollute the atmosphere of the Court with again recounting the disgusting and abhorrent details which had so clearly brought conviction home to them. He could only call upon them to cast aside all worldly considerations, and to seek for that aid which could now alone be servicable [sic] to them, and in seeking which, they would be allowed the consolatory ministration in their last hours, of such clergy as they might desire. His Honor then passed sentence of death upon the prisoners in the usual form.

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The Sydney Morning Herald, Mon 24 Oct 1842 14

SUPREME COURT.—Criminal Side.

BEFORE the Three Judges.

    William Williams and Solomon John, who had been convicted of an unnatural offence, were afterwards placed at the bar, when his Honor the Chief Justice, before whom Solomon John had been convicted, passed sentence of death on each of them, but previous to doing so, addressed them as follows:—

    William Williams and Solomon John, the diabolical act of which you two unnatural monsters have been convicted, is one of the very few offences for which the ameliorated state of the criminal law, still awards the dreadful sentence of death. Not even to be “named amongst Christians,” it is not to be wondered that the enlightened spirit of the age in which we live should forbear to modify the denunciations of the law, for a crime which we know from Sacred History, had involved the dread vengeance of Heaven upon whole cities, whose infamous practices have given the very appellation by which it is known amongst nations, savage and civilized. Hidden as such offences generally are, in darkness and secrecy, detection is of infrequent occurrence. The infamous notoriety of one of you for practices, which on more than two occasions have drawn upon you the severe castigation of public justice, attracted the attention of the police to your suspicious association with your guilty companion, and they became spectators of the atrocity, which now holds you both up to the scorn of mankind, and invokes expiation by forfeiture of life with ignominy. Never was a case of this kind more satisfactorily proved. It is unnecessary again to sully the atmosphere of this Court, or shock the ear, by a recapitulation of the circumstances of your case. Each of you had a separate trial by a different jury, and after the most guarded caution against the natural horror of your crime, inseparable from human nature, you were severally found guilty, upon the clearest evidence, as voluntary participators in the same abomination. But one course is now left for this Court to pursue, which is, solemnly to warn you of the necessity of suitable preparation for eternity, in which, if you are so minded, you may have the assistance of religious instruction during the remaining portion of your earthly pilgrimage. The fearful sentence of the law is, that, you William Williams, and you Solomon John, be severally taken hence to the prison from whence you came, and you be taken thence to a place of public execution on such a day as the Governor shall direct and appoint, that you be then and there severally hanged by the neck until your bodies are dead, and may God Almighty have mercy on your immortal spirits.

    After Williams and John had been removed from the dock, the Attorney-General proceeded to go over the calendar as follows.—

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Enclosures A6 and A7 to NSW Executive Council Minute No. 24, 1842 15

Enclosure A, 6, to Minute No. 24, of 1842

    The prisoners named in the margin (The Queen v. William Williams and Solomon Johns) were tried before me on the 10th [October] Instant for committing Sodomy with each other, at Sydney, on the 31 August last.

    The prisoner Williams had been twice or thrice convicted before, and punished for attempting to commit the like offence; The Prisoner Johns was a Coloured Native of Calcutta. The scene of their abominations (Williams being passive, and Johns active) was in a Paddock near the old Turnpike House, in Sydney, and they were taken in the Act, by two Constables, who suspected their proceedings, and laid in wait for their detection. The Jury found the Prisoners Guilty, and I awarded Sentence of Death.

(Signed) James Dowling CJ
26th October 1842.

Enclosure A, 7, to Minute No. 24, of 1842

Francis LS Merewether Esq    
Clerk of Council                }    

George Street, Sydney
    Monday 24th October 1842

    I have the honor to enclose a copy of a letter from Judge Donnithorne, [aka Donithorne] which I beg you will be so good as to lay before the Governor and the Executive Council in the case of “Solomon Johns”.

    I trust I may not seem wanting in due respect to His Excellency and the Council when venturing to submit the question “whether public punishments for such offences do not impair the Public Morals?” I mean in such cases as are dragged forward under similar circumstances to the present.

    No doubt the practised perpetrator of this revolting crime should be placed beyond the possibility of its perpetration, not should the crime be suffered to escape condign punishment, but in the case of the Indian now doomed to death for that which this communication from an Indian Judge vouches as not being an offence in his


Country, nor unpractised at the very Courts of his Princes, in this case of Solomon Johns whilst concurring in the imperative duty imposed on our Judges, I yet would submit there is such a difference as to claim and justify the exercise of Mercy. This same case gives ample grounds of objection of the Natives of India being imported here, but being here, some allowance should be made for their ignorance and preconceived opinions.

    I would in conclusion respectfully submit that there is a wide difference between the cases of these two men – the one seems to have been an habitual offender, and an Englishman, – the other, not only not charged before, but acting in ignorance of our Laws, with an opinion doubtless, that he was committing no crime against his own. Would then His Excellency and the Council visit with the same irrevocable punishment the two cases, differing though they thus do from each other?

I have the honor to be, etc.,
(Signed) John Dillon

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Copy of letter referred to

    John Dillon Esq
    etc., etc., etc.
    Thursday 13 October 1842

Dear Sir
    Permit me to thank you for the communication of this Evening which in a hurry I reply to. The wretched man John Solomon, (should be Solomon Johns) I found an excellent Servant, hardworking, sober, and ever attentive to his duty.

    He is either a Native of Madras, or the Southern part of Bengal where, I regret to say, the crime of which he has been convicted is not looked upon in that detestable light, as in other parts of the Globe; it is a well known fact that even the Eastern Courts are not free from the abominable vice.

    After a residence of 43 years in India a Member of the Civil Service I may perhaps be pardoned stating the above circumstance in favor of the unfortunate man, for the merciful consideration of the Court.

I remain, etc.,
(Signed) James Donithorne

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Visiting Magistrate, Sydney Gaol letters 16


Reporting Solomon John under sentence of death having attempted to cut his throat

    Joseph Long Innes, Visiting Magistrate
    HM Gaol Darlinghurst
    25th October 1842

Edward Deas Tompson, Colonial Secretary
    I do myself the honor for the information of His Excellency the Governor to inform you that the culprit named in the margin (Solomon John per Elizabeth) now in the condemned cell under sentence of Death last night attempted to commit suicide. He wrenched one of the iron hoops from the urinal in his cell with part of which he endeavoured to cut his throat but fortunately without success the wound being but very slight.

    He is now in no danger whatever and every possible precaution shall be taken to prevent another attempt.
    I have the honor to be
    Your most obedient servant.
[Signed] J Long Innes JP, V[isiting] M[agistrate].

~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Recommending the Pewter Vessels be supplied to condemned cells

    Joseph Long Innes, Visiting Magistrate
    HM Gaol Darlinghurst
    27th October 1842

Edward Deas Tompson, Colonial Secretary
    Referring to my report of the culprit name in the margin (Solomon John per Elizabeth) having attempted to commit suicide and as it has not been the first of a similar kind, I would respectfully suggest that the cells in which men under sentence of death are confined should in future be supplied with pewter urinals and vessels for water of the same metal 17 as so long as the present description of vessels are allowed then men under these circumstances can now be considered safe. The Expenditure would be but small and it might contribute materially to prevent the ends of justice being defeated.

    For the present twelve urinals with covers and twelve large pewter water jugs would be sufficient and should His Excellency approve of it I would respectfully request that instruction be given for their supply without delay.
    I have the honor to be
    Your most obedient servant.
[Signed] J Long Innes JP, VM.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

NSW Executive Council Minute, 2 Nov 1842 18


Minute No. 24

    Council Chamber Sydney
    2 November 1842

    His Excellency the Governor [Sir George Gipps]
    His Excellency the Commander of the Forces [Sir Maurice Charles O’Connell]
    The Hon the Colonial Secretary [Edward Deas Thomson]
The Hon the Colonial Treasurer [Campbell Drummond Riddell]

    The Council having met pursuant to summons His Excellency the Governor laid before them a letter from the Chief Justice, transmitting a Report 19 of the cases of the undermentioned capital convicts tried before His Honor at the late criminal session of the Supreme Court, and lying under sentence of death in Sydney Gaol.


    3.    William Williams and Solomon John convicted of Sodomy.

    His Excellency also laid before the Council a letter from Mr John Dillon Solicitor on behalf of Solomon Johns [sic]
    The Chief Justice being in attendance was then introduced and explained the circumstances attendant


on the several cases.


    The Council after mature and attentive consideration of the several cases advised as follows:–


    3.    William Williams and Solomon John convicted of Sodomy and sentenced to death. That the sentence passed upon them be commuted to Transportation for life.


    The Council then adjourned sine die.

    [Signed] Francis LS Merewether
    Clerk of Council

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Joseph Long Innes, Visiting Magistrate letter, 10 Nov 1842 20


Relative to the disposal of Jas Woolfe, Thos Whelan & William Williams

Joseph Long Innes, visiting Magistrate
HM Gaol Darlinghurst
10th November 1842

    Edward Deas Tompson, Colonial Secretary
    I have the honor to request that instructions may be given to me for the disposal of the prisoners named in the margin 21 at present confined here under sentence of Transportation for life; with reference to the two first (Woolfe and Whelan) I would respectfully suggest that they be forwarded to Cockatoo Island, there to remain until an opportunity is afforded of sending them to Port Arthur.

    In the case of the last prisoner (Williams) whose unnatural propensity are so notorious and who I believe to be quite incorrigible I would beg leave to recommend that he be detained here – where he can be accommodated with a cell to himself.
    I have the honor to be
    Your most obedient servant.
[Signed] J Long Innes JP, VM.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Joseph Long Innes, visiting Magistrate
HM Gaol Darlinghurst
17th November 1842

Respecting the disposal of 22 J Woolfe, T Whelan & W Williams

Edward Deas Tompson, Colonial Secretary
    I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 16th instant 42/296 authorising the removal of the prisoners named in the margin from this Establishment to Cockatoo Island and in reply I beg leave to report for the information of His Excellency the Governor that Whelan has been remanded by order of the Sheriff at the recommendation of the visiting surgeon to the General Hospital for medical treatment and that I have taken upon myself to detain Williams here for the present, until the completion of the cells at Cockatoo Island will enable me to keep him separate at night, as for his fearful character I am very unwilling to allow him to sleep in a ward with other men.

    I trust this arrangement will meet with His Excellency’s approbation.
    I have the honor to be
    Your most obedient servant.
[Signed] J Long Innes JP, VM.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

John McLean letter, 12 Nov 1842 23


John McLean
Principal Superintendent of Convicts Office
12th November 1842

No. 43/195

Reporting Solomon John under sentence of Transportation having arrived free

    Edward Deas Tompson, Colonial Secretary
    I have the honor to acquaint you, for the information and commands of His Excellency the Governor, that the man named in the margin  now under sentence of Transportation, was received at this office and identified, as having arrived from china free, in the Elizabeth in March 1837.
    I have the honor to be
    Your most obedient servant.
[Signed] J McLean

1  The Sydney Morning Herald, Mon 5 Sep 1842, p. 2.

2  The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Tue 6 Sep 1842, p. 3. Emphasis added.

3  SRNSW: NRS880, [9/6325], Supreme Court, Papers and depositions, Sydney, 1842. Emphasis added.

4  The Sydney Morning Herald, Mon 10 Oct 1842, p. 2. Emphasis added.

5  SRNSW: NRS5869, [2/3379], Judiciary, J Dowling, CJ. Notebooks Proceedings of the Supreme Court of NSW, 1828-44, p. 112-26. Emphasis added.

6  Section above between >>> and below <<< almost indecipherable in many places. Appears to include a great deal of legal terminology and reference to other documents.

7  Australasian Chronicle, Tue 11 Oct 1842, p. 2.

8  The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Tue 11 Oct 1842, p. 2.

9  The Sydney Morning Herald, Tue 11 Oct 1842, p. 2.

10 The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Thu 13 Oct 1842, p. 2.

11 Justice WW Burton’s notes for this period could not be located at SRNSW. 

12 The Australian, Fri 14 Oct 1842, p. 2. 

13 The Australian, Mon 24 Oct 1842, p. 2. 

14 The Sydney Morning Herald, Mon 24 Oct 1842, p. 2. 

15 SRNSW: NRS4234, [4/1447], Executive Council, Appendices to minutes, 1825-48, pp. 571-2.

16 SRNSW: NRS905, [4/2591.1] (42/7991), Col Sec, Letters received, 1826-1982. 

17 Mn: Approved Immediate Oct 27

18 SRNSW: NRS4232, [4/1521], Executive Council, Minute books, Minute 24, 2 Nov 1842, pp. 111-5, 119, R2437. 

19 Mn: Summary A. Chief Justice’s Report on cases of capital convicts sentenced to death at the last Criminal Session ... 3. William Williams & Solomon John for Sodomy

20 SRNSW: NRS905, [4/2591.1] (42/8587), Col Sec, Letters received, 1826-1982.

21 Mn: James Woolfe per William Miles [1828] to VDL. Thomas Whelan per Waverly. William Williams per Glory [1818]. They must go to Cockatoo Island [initial illegible] Nov 13.

22  Mn: James Woolfe per William Miles [1828]. Thomas Whelan per Waverly. William Williams per Glory [1818]. Approved [initial illegible] Nov 20.

23 SRNSW: NRS905, [4/2567.2] (42/8500), Col Sec, Letters received, 1826-1982. 

24  Mn: Prisoner for transportation to Van Diemen’s Land by the Contract Vessel Waterlily sailing in a few days tomorrow. Indent for His Excellency’s signature. 1 December Indent sent to Col Sec, Solomon John