(TRANSPORTATION ACT). ~ An Act for the effectual Transportation of Felons and other Offenders; and to authorize the Removal of Prisoners in certain Cases; and for other Purposes therein mentioned. London: printed by Charles Eyre and William Strahan, 1784.
Small folio (308 × 192 mm), pp. , 907-919, , including general title with woodcut arms, black letter text. Recent paper spine. An excellent copy.
First edition. To relieve prison overcrowding, Lord Sydney favoured finding an alternative place of transportation, rather than the penitentiaries advocated by the prominent social reformer, Jeremy Bentham. In 1784, he sponsored the Transportation Act. Though New South Wales is not mentioned as a destination, it was favoured by Sydney after consulting the testimonies of both Joseph Banks and the mariner Joseph Matra. Initially ruled out on the grounds of its extreme remoteness, in 1786 the British cabinet came to accept Sydney’s recommendation that convicts be transported there. The Act has come to be regarded as the primary document for the British settlement of Australia.
Though separately published with a general title for a complete sitting of Parliament, individual Acts of Parliament were paginated to be bound together in yearly volumes hence the pagination 907-919 here. ESTC N58442 (Lincoln’s Inn and State Library of New South Wales only though copies are under-recorded since they are often catalogued within volumes and sets of the Acts of Parliament.); Ferguson, Bibliography of Australia 3.