Monday, August 16, 2010

George Massey, gentleman convict

On August 1795, the Saunders Newsletter in Dublin published a letter written by convict George Massey. In it, Massey wrote that "tea, of the quality sold [in Dublin] for 6 shillings per pound, sells [in Sydney] at a guinea, sugar 2 shillings per pound, soap 4 shillings, and bad rum 28 shillings per gallon."

Massey was a former Bank of Ireland employee who'd been convicted of embezzlement. The explanation given for his crime was that he'd recently married and launched he and his wife into a style of living they could ill afford. He tried to cover up his crime by saying she was an heiress, but the truth about him cooking the books soon became clear.

Massey was sentenced to transportation for life and arrived aboard the Sugar Cane in 1793. Read more about him in A Nimble Fingered Tribe by Barbara Hall, available through Irish Wattle.

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