I have been looking in old newspapers, dating back to 1842, and found mention of the quarter sessions held in court in Hobart. My great-great-grandfather, Samuel Moses, had reason to take an employee to court over the theft of one shilling and sixpence. It seemed so harsh to us that this man when found guilty was sentenced to hard labour, but it could have been worse for him. Life was tough and cruel then, but it seems Samuel wanted the man to be treated justly and spoke up on his behalf.
Here is an expanded account of the report I shared a few days ago:
ADJOURNED QUARTER SESSIONS
Before J.Howe, Esq., Chairman, and W. Moriarty, W. Seccombe, and J. P. Poynter, Esqrs., Justices of the Peace.
MONDAY, JULY 4.
- Mary Ann Forest, indicted for stealing a bonnet and a shawl. the property of Catherine McCoy, was found guilty, and sentenced to six months’ imprisonment with hard labour. Thomas Dolphin was acquitted of the charge of stealing a jacket., valued at 15s., belonging to James Dogharty.
- Thomas Marsden, convicted of having, on the 23rd ult., robbed Alexander Mayne of a handkerchief, of the value 2s., was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment with hard labour
- Thomas Wright was next placed in the dock, charged with embezzling 1s. 6d., the property of his employer, Mr Samuel Moses. It appeared that the prosecutor had, on the day in question, given Wright two dollars, with which to purchase a bushel of Indian corn. The latter went to Mr. J. Anderson’s and bought only three pecks, for which he paid, and took the change. On returning home he accounted to his master, by the change, as having purchased a bushel. Mr. Anderson not having before known Mr. Moses to send for less than a bushel, suspected that there was something wrong, and in consequence of the surmise, called on the prosecutor, who investigated the matter, and finally gave Wright in custody.
- Verdict,”Guilty ;” but, in consequence of his master’s recommendation that the mercy of the Court should be extended to him, as he had received a good character from his last employer, and had never before known any-thing to his prejudice, the sentence was limited to twelve months’ imprisonment with hard labour.
- Mary Burton, a very garrulous old lady, was found guilty of stealing a black and while striped shawl, the property of Priscilla Clare. The evidence on the side of the prosecution was confined to what was elicited from the prosecutrlx, who stated that a neighbour of her’s went into her house to borrow a pair of scissors, and was soon after followed by the prisoner, who, after a lapse of about fire minutes, left the premises in company with the other woman. The latter soon after returned, saying that Mary Burton had told her that she had obtained posses-sion of a shawl, which she had lost some time before. The prosecutrix, on looking behind the door, where she had hung her shawl, perceived that it was missing, and shortly after seeing it in the hands of the prisoner, gave her to charge.
- The old woman managed her case with some tact, and had a man brought over from the jail, where he was detained on a charge of felony, to prove that she had, whilst living al North West Bay, been in the habit of wearing a shawl of that description ; and also called Mr. Caldwell, from whom she stated that the article had been purchased; the latter, however, could not call to his recollection the sale of a shawl, though he had had some of the same kind, and had frequently effected sales to the woman’s husband. Sentenced to transportation for seven years.
- James Dogherty was convicted of stealing three ducks, of the value of 9s., and nine ducks, valued at 20s., the property of Bernard Mackintyre, and received the sentence of two years’ imprisonment with hard labour.
- William Lawrence, charged with having, on the 10th of April, stolen a watch, of the value of £20, belonging to Mrs. J. White, and William Sutherland with having received the same, knowing it to have been stolen, were both found Guilty, and sentenced, the former to seven years, and the latter to fourteen years’ transportation, with a recommendation that they should be sent to Port Arthur as speedily as possible.
- Patrick Parkinson appeared to his bail to answer an indictment for assault on the person of Catherine Harvey, under particular circumstances, of which the details, better omitted in these columns, kept the risible muscles of (the audience in unceasing play. The jury returned a verdict of “Not Guilty.”