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Details for the convict James Daniels (1822)

Convict Name:James Daniels
Trial Place:Madras
Trial Date:1821
Arrival Details
Ship:Medway (2)
Arrival Year:1822
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There are currently 3 researchers who have claimed James Daniels

  • Researcher (508)
  • Researcher (Nigel Butterfield)
  • Researcher (Julie Saunders)
Claimed convict


Part2 ..... Saturday 28 April last, the Commanding Officer of the Regiment and the Fort Adjutant applied to the Cutwall at Cannanore and gave a list of names with descriptions and that in consequence thereof the Cutwall sent five police Colkers to search and ascertain whether the European soldiers were within the limits of Cannanore, and that as soon as they discovered them, they should communicate it in order that a military guard of Europeans should be sent out to apprehend them.Accordingly, the Colkers by order of the Cutwall went out to search for them and on Sunday 29th April found two of them, viz Sergeant Daniels and Crawford Kilday at a toddy shop- having asked the Corker Peons where they were going - they told them they were sent to look out for the deserters, upon which the prisoner Sergeant Daniels and his companion voluntarily said they would return with them to Cannanore and accordingly they set out in front, the Colkers following them at some distance, and when they had got a short distance from the toddy shop they crossed a rivulet that led into a lane, and then Sergeant Daniels came back towards the Pions, drew his sword and stabbed Ibrahim Cawna as he was in the act of retreating from him: of which stab he instantly died.The two Europeans immediately fled towards the barracks at Cannanore, were taken in consequence of the alarm given that night, and Sergeant Daniels was identified before Mr Wilson the magistrate the next day by four of the police Colkers as the person who gave the stab of which the police Colker died.A very diligent and meritorious inquiry appears to have been instituted by Mr Wilson the magistrate, and very much at large , into the circumstances, and he was very desirous that the surgeon of the Regiment should open the body of the deceased, which he was prevented from doing by friends of the deceased as contrary to the uses and customs of the Mahomidans - but as it appears the deceased died on the spot and as four witnesses positively identify Sergeant Daniels as the person who gave the stab , the Jury will have no difficulty in concluding that the wound he received was the cause of hid death, nor will the inquiry into the dress he wore become very material if the Grand Jury believe the four witnesses who have identified him. Thus killing with a deadly weapon without any apparent provocation, seemed to him to be murder aggravated by the circumstances that the Police Colker was an officer of the law, who conceived he was acting in obedience to the duty reposed in him by his superior officer at the Cutwall, and had given no sort of provocation to the prisoner , found in the act of deserting for the outrage he had committed. ….…….. The Grand Jury found bills against the following prisoners ….. James Daniels. James Daniels was sentenced by the Grand Jury to be executed Relief however was at hand, and it appears that for whatever reason, perhaps his previous good army record , and exemplary conduct , or perhaps for political expediancy ( avoiding the repercussions of executing a european for murdering a native!), it appears that the trial jury made a recommendation for mercy and the sentence of death was commuted to transportation for life to Australia. It seems that such commutation was facilitated and indeed encouraged by an 1800 Act of Parliament (see below). A Letter from Chief Secretary, Fort St George, dated May 1822 (Copy in Media files) confirms that the death sentence passed on James Daniels in July 1821 has been commuted to Transportation as a Convict to Australia for life. “To the Chief Secretary to Government Fort St GeorgeSirI have the honour to enclose a copy of the orders made by the Chief Justice for the Transportation for Life of James Daniels and James Duke otherwise called James Dinitt on whom sentence of Death was passed at the last Session of Oyer and Terminer but has since been commuted. Sadly there is a lot more but insufficient room!!
Submitted by Researcher (Nigel Butterfield) on 8 February 2020

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