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III.

As for Tracey's 1839 record, here it is as full as the books give it. There are no “sentences on view” included, and he must have had his full share of them. You will not fail to notice the dreadfully heinous character of the recorded crimes.




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DATE OFFENCE PUNISHMENT
1839. 
Jan. 8.  Loitering on the road to and from his work.  To sleep in gaol one night. 
Feb. 13.  Going to the hospital twice this day under false pretences, and incorrigible.  To gaol until further orders. 
March 18.  Absent without leave and present at a fight.  To sleep in gaol one night. 
March 22.  Assaulting and striking a fellow-prisoner.  Handcuffs all day. 
March 23.  Refusing to join his gang when ordered by overseer.  Two days in gaol. 
March 25.  Going to hospital without sufficient cause.  One month in gaol. 
April 10.  Attending hospital on false pretences.  25 lashes. 
April 13.  Attending hospital and subsequently refusing to work.  Gaol, on bread and water, till he goes to work. 
May 4.  Refusing to work.  14 days' gaol, bread and water. 
May 21.  Neglect of work.  Reprimanded conditionally. 
May 27.  Absconding with three others, breaking open and entering the dwelling of Coxswain Segsworth, putting the inmates in fear, and resisting and wounding several constables and others to apprehend him.  300 lashes. 
June 10.  Refusing to work.  50 lashes and bread and water till he goes to work. 
June 14.  Refusing to work.  Gaol, on bread and water, as before stated. 
June 26.  Refusing to work.  To receive only half ration of animal food. 
Aug. 8.  Refusing to work.  50 lashes and bread and water till he goes to work. 



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Sept. 4. 
Going to hospital on false pretences.  25 lashes and bread and water till he goes to work. 
Oct. 9.  Refusing to work.  Reprimanded conditionally. 
Nov. 9.  Making noise in gaol.  Three days' solitary confinement on bread and water. 
Nov. 29.  Refusing to go to work, stating he was not able.  Bread and water till he is able. 

At the end of 1839, with a double-life conviction over him, Tobias was exactly 53 years distant from freedom. But in February of the succeeding year Captain Maconochie arrived, and, to the amazement of the well-informed officers of the System as before established, almost immediately chose that prime rascal by the John (3) for special experiment. As soon as the new Super. was possessed of Tobias Tracey's police record, he ordered the man's irons to be struck off. Now, Major Bunbury, the previous commandant, had never dared approach Tobias except under the escort of two soldiers.

But the amazement of the staff was nothing to the surprise of the notorious fellow himself.

“Lord! what a fool the new 'un is if he thinks as he's got a softy to deal wi'.” Thus he laughed


  ― 10 ―
with a coarse mockery, as he passed into the Super.'s presence.

The Superintendent's tall and erect form filled the doorway of the Grass Hut where he was holding a preliminary inspection. In a few weeks he would turn the hut into a school and a Catholic chapel, but at present he proposed to use it as a court-house. “Why?” The old officials asked the question—and cackled hilariously when they received the answer. So that prisoners for trial, who might have been in the local court before, might not be unpleasantly reminded of their past misdeeds! “I want to start every man with a clean sheet as far as possible.” Laugh! Of course they laughed.

The Overseer in temporary charge of Convict Tracey saluted, and presented that ruffian. “Transport Tracey, Tobias. No. 33-149, y'r Honour—bad k'racter—3 B's,note sir—suspected——”

“Of unnatural crimes—one murder—three burglaries—an' a heap t'other things, Super.—same ol' list,” concluded the convict himself. “One o' th' worst men on th' Island, y'r Honour, now they've turned orf Westwood. There ain't a —— crime on the list, Super., that I ain't committed, 'cept those I'm goin' to commit. An' now yer know all, ol' cove! Give


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us my five hunderd quick an' 'a done wi' it. Look slippy now, Ol' King-o'-th'-lags!”

Accustomed as the penal officials comprising Captain Maconochie's little suite were to outbursts of reckless speech from the more hardened “old hands,”note they scarcely expected Tracey to uncoil himself in this fashion, and they gazed curiously at Maconochie to note the effect of the speech upon him.

Two—three minutes elapsed before the Superintendent spoke. Tracey himself had expected an instant order for his removal to the triangles, and stood doggedly waiting for the command—which did not come.

All they saw was that Maconochie drew his handkerchief from his tail-pocket and blew his nose. Then—

“Let it be understood, Overseer—are you Overseer or Warder?”

“Overseer, sir—of the gaol-gang—Tuff, sir.”

“Very well, Overseer Tuff—let it be understood, if you please, that you are never to report a man's police-history till it is asked for by me directly.”




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“Yes, sir!” answered the sub-official, with a sullen respectfulness. “But 'twas the Majors reg'lashun, sir, wi' all transports, 'specially desp'rate ones!”

“Ho, ho! I be a desp'rate one, be I, Mr. Tuff?” grinned the transport. “Well, I know I be—an' 'ere's to keep up th' k'racter.” With a mighty cuff he struck Tuff to the ground. “There, Super. Macwot's-yer-name, give me my five hunderd lashes, an' 'a done wi' it, as I said afore!”

The ex-private secretary to noble Sir John Franklin answered the appeal. He stepped into the school-room, and called to the transport to follow him. Some of the officials who had looked on the incident just described would have entered likewise, but the Captain quietly waved them back.

“I would prefer to be alone with this poor fellow, gentlemen. Excuse me for a few minutes,” he said.

“But, sir—the danger!” remonstrated A. D. C. G. Shanks.

The Captain smiled—not as, a few years later, John Price was wont to smile, with a lofty affectation of indifference to any possible danger that could threaten him—but pleasantly, as though he held an amulet bestowed by some good genius against evil.

Captain Maconochie might be a “crank”; but, certainly, he was no coward.

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