‘on British Felony the Sun Never Sets’

Narratives of Political Prisoners in New South Wales and van Diemen's Land, 1838–53

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Abstract:

This article examines the narratives of three political prisoners transported to New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land: the French-Canadian Fran├žois-Xavier Prieur, the American Linus Miller, and the Irishman John Mitchel. It shows that the three ‘politicals’ sought to portray the suffering of political convicts as greater than that of the convict majority, from which they distanced themselves in terms of class, piety and honour. It also demonstrates how the three men critiqued the British Empire and the convict system in Australia, how they wrote (in some instances, re-wrote) their lives for their audience, and how they defined themselves in the convict colonies.

Keywords: AUSTRALIA; CONVICT; NARRATIVE; POLITICAL

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2752/147800408X341631

Affiliations: Menzies Centre for Australian Studies, King's College London, 4th Floor Australia Centre, Cnr Strand and Melbourne Place, London, WC2B 4LG;, Email: timcauser@yahoo.com

Publication date: December 1, 2008

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