Exile or emigrant? Female ex-prisoners who left Ireland 1850-1921

Pauline M. Prior

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In the popular mind, the concept of 'emigration' usually refers to people voluntarily leaving one country to go to another in search of a new and better life. It presupposes some degree of choice, although it is accepted that for many emigrants, such as those who left Ireland during the nineteenth century, there were few incentives to stay at home. Current scholarship on voluntary and forced movements of people demonstrates that the distinction between the categories of 'voluntary emigrant' and 'forced exile' is often blurred. Orm Overland's study of refugee communities in the United States highlights the fact that, although the differences between the 'emigrant' and the 'exile' may be clear in extreme cases, this is not always true, as there may be 'pressing political or economic reasons behind a decision to emigrate'. Migration scholars Jan Lucassen and Leo Lucassen also question the adequacy of conceptual models of migration based on what Lindsay Proudfoot and Dianne Hall refer to as the 'straightforward binarism between free and unfree emigration'. The questions raised by these scholars are very relevant to the study of Irish people who left their country during the second half of the nineteenth century immediately after they had been discharged from prison or from Dundrum. Their stories are discussed here against a background of substantial scholarship on emigration from Ireland and on the criminal justice system within Ireland. According to David Fitzpatrick, at least eight million men, women and children emigrated from Ireland between 1801 and 1921. This large-scale movement of people was generally characterised by the voluntary emigration of individuals who funded their own passages. However, it also included schemes of assisted emigration, funded variously by governments, landlords, the poor law authorities, earlier emigrants, and philanthropists. In addition, it included people who were transported from Ireland by means of the criminal justice system a practice that had originated in the seventeenth century. What is less well known is that after the end of transportation from Ireland to eastern Australia in 1853, to Bermuda in 1863 and to Western Australia in 1868, Irish convicts continued to be channelled towards emigration by being offered early release if they agreed to leave Ireland. These people, and especially the women among them, are the subject of this article.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-47
Number of pages18
JournalAustralasian Journal of Irish Studies
Volume8
Issue numbernull
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2009

Fingerprint

Prisoners
Ireland
Exile
Emigrants
Emigration
Criminal Justice
Authority
Bermuda
Economics
Convicts
Government
Philanthropists
Adequacy
Prison
Refugees
Proudfoot
Incentives
Conceptual Model
Poor Law
Landlords

Keywords

  • emigration
  • USA
  • Australia
  • convict, prison
  • infanticide, child killing
  • Ireland, mental health services, history

Cite this

@article{28237ec9a6d144329b43c11a4fe3e1e5,
title = "Exile or emigrant? Female ex-prisoners who left Ireland 1850-1921",
abstract = "In the popular mind, the concept of 'emigration' usually refers to people voluntarily leaving one country to go to another in search of a new and better life. It presupposes some degree of choice, although it is accepted that for many emigrants, such as those who left Ireland during the nineteenth century, there were few incentives to stay at home. Current scholarship on voluntary and forced movements of people demonstrates that the distinction between the categories of 'voluntary emigrant' and 'forced exile' is often blurred. Orm Overland's study of refugee communities in the United States highlights the fact that, although the differences between the 'emigrant' and the 'exile' may be clear in extreme cases, this is not always true, as there may be 'pressing political or economic reasons behind a decision to emigrate'. Migration scholars Jan Lucassen and Leo Lucassen also question the adequacy of conceptual models of migration based on what Lindsay Proudfoot and Dianne Hall refer to as the 'straightforward binarism between free and unfree emigration'. The questions raised by these scholars are very relevant to the study of Irish people who left their country during the second half of the nineteenth century immediately after they had been discharged from prison or from Dundrum. Their stories are discussed here against a background of substantial scholarship on emigration from Ireland and on the criminal justice system within Ireland. According to David Fitzpatrick, at least eight million men, women and children emigrated from Ireland between 1801 and 1921. This large-scale movement of people was generally characterised by the voluntary emigration of individuals who funded their own passages. However, it also included schemes of assisted emigration, funded variously by governments, landlords, the poor law authorities, earlier emigrants, and philanthropists. In addition, it included people who were transported from Ireland by means of the criminal justice system a practice that had originated in the seventeenth century. What is less well known is that after the end of transportation from Ireland to eastern Australia in 1853, to Bermuda in 1863 and to Western Australia in 1868, Irish convicts continued to be channelled towards emigration by being offered early release if they agreed to leave Ireland. These people, and especially the women among them, are the subject of this article.",
keywords = "emigration, USA, Australia, convict, prison, infanticide, child killing, Ireland, mental health services, history",
author = "Prior, {Pauline M.}",
year = "2009",
month = "9",
language = "English",
volume = "8",
pages = "30--47",
journal = "Australasian Journal of Irish Studies",
issn = "1837-1094",
number = "null",

}

Exile or emigrant? Female ex-prisoners who left Ireland 1850-1921. / Prior, Pauline M.

In: Australasian Journal of Irish Studies, Vol. 8, No. null, 09.2009, p. 30-47.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Exile or emigrant? Female ex-prisoners who left Ireland 1850-1921

AU - Prior, Pauline M.

PY - 2009/9

Y1 - 2009/9

N2 - In the popular mind, the concept of 'emigration' usually refers to people voluntarily leaving one country to go to another in search of a new and better life. It presupposes some degree of choice, although it is accepted that for many emigrants, such as those who left Ireland during the nineteenth century, there were few incentives to stay at home. Current scholarship on voluntary and forced movements of people demonstrates that the distinction between the categories of 'voluntary emigrant' and 'forced exile' is often blurred. Orm Overland's study of refugee communities in the United States highlights the fact that, although the differences between the 'emigrant' and the 'exile' may be clear in extreme cases, this is not always true, as there may be 'pressing political or economic reasons behind a decision to emigrate'. Migration scholars Jan Lucassen and Leo Lucassen also question the adequacy of conceptual models of migration based on what Lindsay Proudfoot and Dianne Hall refer to as the 'straightforward binarism between free and unfree emigration'. The questions raised by these scholars are very relevant to the study of Irish people who left their country during the second half of the nineteenth century immediately after they had been discharged from prison or from Dundrum. Their stories are discussed here against a background of substantial scholarship on emigration from Ireland and on the criminal justice system within Ireland. According to David Fitzpatrick, at least eight million men, women and children emigrated from Ireland between 1801 and 1921. This large-scale movement of people was generally characterised by the voluntary emigration of individuals who funded their own passages. However, it also included schemes of assisted emigration, funded variously by governments, landlords, the poor law authorities, earlier emigrants, and philanthropists. In addition, it included people who were transported from Ireland by means of the criminal justice system a practice that had originated in the seventeenth century. What is less well known is that after the end of transportation from Ireland to eastern Australia in 1853, to Bermuda in 1863 and to Western Australia in 1868, Irish convicts continued to be channelled towards emigration by being offered early release if they agreed to leave Ireland. These people, and especially the women among them, are the subject of this article.

AB - In the popular mind, the concept of 'emigration' usually refers to people voluntarily leaving one country to go to another in search of a new and better life. It presupposes some degree of choice, although it is accepted that for many emigrants, such as those who left Ireland during the nineteenth century, there were few incentives to stay at home. Current scholarship on voluntary and forced movements of people demonstrates that the distinction between the categories of 'voluntary emigrant' and 'forced exile' is often blurred. Orm Overland's study of refugee communities in the United States highlights the fact that, although the differences between the 'emigrant' and the 'exile' may be clear in extreme cases, this is not always true, as there may be 'pressing political or economic reasons behind a decision to emigrate'. Migration scholars Jan Lucassen and Leo Lucassen also question the adequacy of conceptual models of migration based on what Lindsay Proudfoot and Dianne Hall refer to as the 'straightforward binarism between free and unfree emigration'. The questions raised by these scholars are very relevant to the study of Irish people who left their country during the second half of the nineteenth century immediately after they had been discharged from prison or from Dundrum. Their stories are discussed here against a background of substantial scholarship on emigration from Ireland and on the criminal justice system within Ireland. According to David Fitzpatrick, at least eight million men, women and children emigrated from Ireland between 1801 and 1921. This large-scale movement of people was generally characterised by the voluntary emigration of individuals who funded their own passages. However, it also included schemes of assisted emigration, funded variously by governments, landlords, the poor law authorities, earlier emigrants, and philanthropists. In addition, it included people who were transported from Ireland by means of the criminal justice system a practice that had originated in the seventeenth century. What is less well known is that after the end of transportation from Ireland to eastern Australia in 1853, to Bermuda in 1863 and to Western Australia in 1868, Irish convicts continued to be channelled towards emigration by being offered early release if they agreed to leave Ireland. These people, and especially the women among them, are the subject of this article.

KW - emigration

KW - USA

KW - Australia

KW - convict, prison

KW - infanticide, child killing

KW - Ireland, mental health services, history

M3 - Article

VL - 8

SP - 30

EP - 47

JO - Australasian Journal of Irish Studies

JF - Australasian Journal of Irish Studies

SN - 1837-1094

IS - null

ER -