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Robert Gray, one of 156 convicts transported on the Speke, 13 December 1820
Name, Aliases & Gender
Birth, Occupation & Death
|Date of Birth:
|Date of Death:
life span was 61 years*
* Median life span based on contributions
Conviction & Transportation
Sentenced to Life
||Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 88, Class and Piece Number HO11/3, Page Number 427 (215)
||This record is one of the entries in the British convict transportation registers 1787-1867 database compiled by State Library of Queensland from British Home Office (HO) records which are available on microfilm as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project.
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Peter on 10th August, 2014 wrote:
GRAY, as an assigned servant, moved with his master’s family to VDL.
He is found in the VDL Muster of 1823.
In 1837 he was a houseguest of Yorkshire Rebel William RICE (arr VDL per “Lady Ridley”), and wrote a letter to his co-offenders in Sydney.
Not known what became of him after that.
Maureen Withey on 22nd November, 2019 wrote:
HOUSE OF COMMONS, MARCH 18.—
Mr. Wallace, enquired of the Lord Advocate for Scotland, if anything had been done by His Majesty’s Government on behalf of the eighteen unfortunate men who had been convicted in Scotland in the year 1820, of what was called in those times, treasonable practices, whose names were as follow :— John Barr, William Clarkson, James Cleland, Andrew Dawson, Robert Gray, Alexander Latimer, Thomas M’Culloch, Thomas M’Farlane, John M’Millan, Benjamin Moir, Allan Murchie, Thomas Pike, William Smith, David Thomson, Andrew White, and James Wright. The Lord Advocate was happy to inform the Hon., Member for Greenock, that His Majesty had been graciously pleased to pardon the whole of these men, and instructions to that effect had been sent to New South Wales.
The True Colonist (Hobart), 7 Oct 1836
The Radical War, also known as the Scottish Insurrection of 1820, was a week of strikes and unrest, a culmination of Radical demands for reform in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland which had become prominent in the early years of the French Revolution but had then been repressed during the long Napoleonic Wars..
An economic downturn after the wars ended brought increasing unrest. Artisan workers, particularly weavers in Scotland, sought action to reform an uncaring government. Gentry fearing revolutionary horrors recruited militia and the government deployed an apparatus of spies, informers and agents provocateurs to stamp out the movement.
A Committee of Organisation for Forming a Provisional Government put placards around the streets of Glasgow late on Saturday 1 April, calling for an immediate national strike. On Monday 3 April work stopped in a wide area of central Scotland and in a swirl of disorderly events a small group marched towards the Carron Company Ironworks to seize weapons, but while stopped at Bonnymuir they were attacked by Hussars. Another small group from Strathaven marched to meet a rumoured larger force, but were warned of an ambush and dispersed. Militia taking prisoners to Greenock jail were attacked by local people and the prisoners released. James Wilson of Strathaven was singled out as a leader of the march there, and at Glasgow was executed by hanging, then decapitated. Of those seized by the British Army at Bonnymuir, John Baird and Andrew Hardie were similarly executed at Stirling after making short defiant speeches. Twenty other Radicals were sentenced to penal transportation.
It became evident that government agents had actively fomented the unrest to bring radicals into the open. The insurrection was largely forgotten as attention focussed on better publicised Radical events in England. Two years later, enthusiasm for the visit of King George IV to Scotland successfully boosted loyalist sentiment, ushering in a new-found Scottish national identity.
In various towns a total of 88 men were charged with treason.
James Wilson was hanged and beheaded on 30 August watched by some 20,000 people, first remarking to the executioner “Did you ever see such a crowd, Thomas?”.
On 8 September Hardie and Baird were executed in Stirling, watched by a crowd of 2,000.
Thomas McCulloch, John Barr, William Smith, Benjamin Moir, Allan Murchie, Alexander Latimer, Andrew White, David Thomson, James Wright, William Clackson / William Clarkson, Thomas Pike/Thomas Pink, Robert Gray, James Clelland, Alexander Hart, Thomas McFarlane, John Anderson, Andrew Dawson, John McMillan and the 15-year-old Alexander Johnstone were in due course transported to the penal colonies in New South Wales or Tasmania. Peter Mackenzie, a Glasgow journalist, campaigned unsuccessfully to have them pardoned, and published a small book: The Spy System, including the exploits of Mr Alex. Richmond, the notorious Government Spy of Sidmouth and Castlereagh.
Eventually, on 10 August 1835 an absolute pardon was granted.
Convict Changes History
Peter on 10th August, 2014 made the following changes: