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Convict Ship Royal Sovereign


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Embarked: 170 men
Voyage: 135 days
Deaths: 2
Surgeon's Journal: yes
Previous vessel: Lloyds arrived 18 December 1833
Next vessel: Fairlie arrived 15 February 1834
Master John Henderson
Surgeon Superintendent Peter Leonard
Follow the Irish Convict Ship Trail
Convicts and passengers of the Royal Sovereign identified in the Hunter Valley

The Royal Sovereign was built at Whitby in 1829.[1] She transported convicts to Australia in 1834 (NSW), 1835 (NSW) and in 1838 (VDL).

Surgeon Peter Leonard

On 29th July 1832 surgeon Peter Leonard R.N., arrived back in England after a voyage of twenty months along the west coast Africa on the Dryad. On this voyage there were 300 men under his care and he kept a Journal which was published in 1833 and entitled Records of a Voyage to the Western Coast of Africa, in his Majesty's ship Dryad; and of the Service on that Station for the Suppression of the Slave trade, in the Years 1830, 1831, and 1832.

Peter Leonard was vehemently opposed to the slave trade and altogether spent seven years sailing along the coast of Africa.

Fourteen months after his return to England he was appointed Surgeon-Superintendent to the convict ship Royal Sovereign.


The Royal Sovereign departed Dublin on 6th September 1833.

Illness On The Voyage

Peter Leonard kept a Medical Journal from 16 June 1833 to 4 February 1834 - The convicts were all in good health when sent on board the ship with the exception of a few of those received from the hulk at Kingstown who had concealed their complaints that these might be an obstacle to their departure for the 'New Country', from which they seemed to anticipate great things. The cases of cholera made their appearance before leaving the coast of England and among the Guard only. As in almost all cases of cholera the means used seemed to be of very little service.

.....Case No. 6 was one of low fever arising from mental distress. The patient on first coming on board gave himself up to despondency and sank from the effects which his hopeless situation seemed to produce upon his mind. No treatment could have been of any service. The other cases although demanding considerable care were of common occurrence and scarcely require any observation.

Military Guard

The Guard consisted of 26 rank and file of the 2nd, 4th, 17th, 49th and 63rd regiments accompanied by a woman and child. The guard was under the command of Lieutenant Campbell and Ensign Stowell of the 38th regiment.

Port Jackson

The Royal Sovereign arrived in Port Jackson on 19 January 1834 with 168 male prisoners of the Crown, two having died on the passage out.

One hundred and forty-four prisoners were sent into private service; eleven were assigned to public service (8 to the commissariat, 3 to the mounted police) and the thirteen remaining were un-assigned (2 were too old for assignment; 2 were sent to Port Macquarie as Specials; 5 were sent to the hospital; 3 to the invalid department; and 1 to Carter's barracks.

Departure From Port Jackson

The Royal Sovereign departed Port Jackson in March 1834 in company with the Lady Hayes and the Brothers all bound for India.

Notes and Links

1). Robert Little who arrived on the Royal Sovereign was convicted of bushranging at Invermein in 1835.

2). County of Antrim Assizes - Crown Court - Friday March 15 - Edward Egleston, Dixon Egleston, and Hugh McKee, indicted for stealing at Belfast, a roll of tobacco, the property of Edward Haggarty - Guilty; 7 years transportation. - Belfast Newsletter 19 March 1833

3). Commission - Dublin - Miles Reilly, stealing two bullocks, transportation for life. - Freeman's Journal 11 January 1833

4). Convicts and passengers of the Royal Sovereign identified in the Hunter Valley


[1] Medical Journal of Peter Leonard on the voyage of the Royal Sovereign. UK, Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817-1857 The National Archives. Kew, Richmond, Surrey.

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