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James Stuart

James Stuart, one of 260 convicts transported on the Henry Porcher, 29 August 1834

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: James Stuart
Aliases: Long Jim, English Jim, William Stevens
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1816
Occupation: Weaver
Date of Death: 9th July, 1851
Age: 35 years

Life Span

Life span

Male median life span was 51 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to Life

Crime: Pickpocket
Convicted at: Herts. Assizes
Sentence term: Life
Ship: Henry Porcher
Departure date: 29th August, 1834
Arrival date: 1st January, 1835
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 260 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 90, Class and Piece Number HO11/9, Page Number 422
Source description: 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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Community Contributions

greg petersen on 16th September, 2017 wrote:

Native of Brighton, England, sentenced to life transportation for forgery of a £ 1 note. In 1848 he left NSW for the California Gold Rush, joined by other ex convicts from NSW & VDL he was the leader of a criminal gang Known as the “Sydney Coves”. In 1851 he was captured by a group of armed citizens known as the “Vigilance Committee” formed by citizens after a series of fires in San Francisco. After being positively identified by his former business partner and a member of the “Vigilance Committee”, John Sullivan, he was lynched by a mob in the streets of San Francisco.

greg petersen on 16th September, 2017 wrote:

After serving 6 years he was granted a Ticket Of Leave. He then made his way to South Australia and from there to Panama in South America.
Contemporary records describe him in his adult years as:
Tall, well built with a scar on right cheek & damaged middle finger on Rt hand

Heather Stevens on 8th January, 2019 wrote:

Is he the James Stuart, who was lynched 1851 in San Francisco?

The book ‘Australian Desperadoes’ by Terry Smyth, pub. Penguin Random House Australia 2018, p144: ‘Stuart tells his captors he was born in Brighton, England, and at 16 was convicted of forgery and sentenced to transportation to New South Wales for life.’ This accords with his confession of July 8 in Papers of the San Francisco Committee of Vigilance of 1851 by Mary Floyd Williams, Publication date 1919, page 225. See https://archive.org/details/paperssanfranci00willgoog/page/n162

However on pages 10 and 33 of ‘Australian Desperadoes’ Smyth writes that this James Stuart had attempted to pass a counterfeit one pound banknote, and after his conviction was in the hulk Fortitude and transported in the barque Henry Porcher. Smyth does not elaborate as to why he thinks the James Stuart pickpocket born Paisley, convict on the Henry Porcher is the same as the James Stuart, born Brighton, forger.

Strangely, in the Committee of Vigilance papers there is an earlier confession (July 2) with his alias William Stephens where he says he was born in Brighton 3 March 1819, apprenticed to a tailor at Brighton for 4 years, but after 3 years his master died, and his parents and 11 siblings migrated to Canada. A newspaper report added that they left London on the ‘Sophia’ in 1835 and they lived at Montreal. [Papers of the San Francisco Committee of Vigilance of 1851 by Mary Floyd Williams, Publication date 1919, pages 137,138.]

Another witness testified that he told him he was from Adelaide (Williams p.168) and another said he was a tall fair complexioned man (Williams p.169).

Presumably he lied in his first confession to the Vigilance Committee- telling them he migrated with his family to Canada rather than his conviction and transportation to Sydney - to hide his connection to the Sydney Coves gang. But why lie about his place of birth and his crime in England?

Heather Stevens on 8th January, 2019 wrote:

Place of birth: Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland (Renfrewshire in indent; Paisley in the Sydney Gaol entrance book 1836)

Crime: in the indent for the ‘Henry Porcher’, the crime was ‘picking pockets’; in the Criminal Register ‘Larceny from a person’; and in the hulk register ‘stealing a purse containing £1.7.6.’

‘Archibald Thompson and James Stuart were indicted for feloniously stealing from the person of Catherine Norwood, at Hempel Hempsted on the 9th of January last, a purse containing a sovereign, and 7s, 6d. in silver, her property. The prosecutrix was standing a a stall in Hempel Hempsted Market’. Witnesses saw Thompson steal her purse from her pocket and pass it to Stuart, who was pursued and caught 3 miles away on the road to St Albans. [County Chronicle, Surrey Herald and Weekly Advertiser for Kent 4 March 1834]

Trial: Archibald Thompson and James Stuart, Hertfordshire Assizes, 26 February 1834 found guilty and sentenced to transportation for life.

Hulk: Fortitude Moored at Chatham: James Stuart Age 18, Date Received: 13 Mar 1834, transferred for transportation to NSW 25 Aug 1834

Convict transport: the barque ‘Henry Porcher’ arrived 1 January 1835 Port Jackson

Printed Indent: 19, cannot read or write, Protestant, single, native place Renfrewshire, weaver, tried Hertfordshire Assizes 26 Feb 1834, picking pockets, 5 ft 9 in, ruddy and freckled, brown hair, hazel eyes, three small moles back of lower right arm, scar knuckle of fore finger of left hand, scar on each shin

1836 September 14: admitted Sydney Gaol. Entrance book has James Stewart H.Porcher ‘1824’ native place Paisley, Presbyterian, iron founder, Sydney Police trial, Iron’d Gang to Berrima 28 Nov 1836. Sydney Gaol Description Book has James Stewart H.Porcher 1834, year of birth 1816, height 6 ft 0 in, slender, pale, brown hair, grey eyes. Sydney Morning Herald 7 November 1836 reports Sydney Quarter Sessions: James Stewart stealing, two years in an ironed gang

1837 muster: he is listed twice: James Stewart age 20 Henry Porcher 1834: John Cheers Sydney, and Gaol Sydney

20 July 1844, obtains a Ticket of Leave, no place mentioned on butt

Convict Changes History

greg petersen on 16th September, 2017 made the following changes:

date of birth: 1816 (prev. 0000), date of death: 9th July, 1851 (prev. 0000), gender: m, crime

greg petersen on 16th September, 2017 made the following changes:

alias1: Long Jim, alias2: English Jim

greg petersen on 16th September, 2017 made the following changes:

alias3: William Stevens

Heather Stevens on 8th January, 2019 made the following changes:


Heather Stevens on 8th January, 2019 made the following changes:


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