GRACE, James




1st Transportation 1826

Crime: Insurrection (Irish Rebel)

According to the Oxford Dictionary, Insurrection is:

          … a violent uprising against an authority or government.

Considering the circumstances of the Irish in Ireland at the time, under British rule, it is not surprising that James Grace, and no doubt many like him, was found guilty of this crime and suffered Transportation.

In Ireland in the late 1700’s Catholics were banned from holding any official position. This led to crusades and protests against this inequality which quickly mutated into an undisguised anti-Protestant campaign. James was Catholic and would have been subjected to laws passed that included Catholics being banned from holding many positions in government offices or municipal organisations. The decrease in the size of farms, larger families, the circumstance of famine, food shortages, low wages and domination of a Protestant control of all aspects of Irish life created great unrest resulting in continued rebellion.

It is not hard to imagine what James’ life was like, and the difficulty he would have faced in trying to provide for his wife and 6 children. Like many other Irishmen, James would have longed for, and obviously fought for, the deliverance of Ireland’s Catholic preponderance. Hence, the probable reason for his arrest for ‘Insurrection’ and transportation for 7 years.

James gained his Ticket of Leave for the Illawarra on 27.12.1830, and his Certificate of Freedom on 07.05.1832 which then allowed him to return home.

2nd Transportation 1838

Crime: Pig Stealing

It is not known when James managed to return to Ireland, but given this political environment and the social ramifications he would no doubt have had some difficulty re-settling.  The Catholic Relief Act of 1829 saw minor but encouraging progress towards Irish Catholics achieving some level of social and legal parity. Even so, life for James, as a returning transportee, would not have been easy. Kilkenny, his native area and one of the southern counties, was also implicated in the Tithe War of the mid 1830’s and again, James would have found it almost impossible to earn a living sufficient to support his family. It is not surprising that he soon found himself, once again, in front of the courts, this time on a charge of ‘pig stealing’.

James was, for the second time, sentenced to 7 years transportation and was carried on the ELPHINSTONE landing in the colony on 29.12.1838.

There is no other mention of James Grace in the available records except that of his 2nd Ticket of leave, again for the Illawarra, on 03.02.1843.