Sentenced to Death

The Salisbury and Winchester Journal, dated Saturday 6 March 1819, reported on the Assizes held the previous Tuesday when the ‘awful sentence of Death was passed ‘ on sixteen prisoners. One of the sixteen was George BREADMAN who was found guilty of ‘breaking into and robbing the house of Francis Bastin of East Woodhay.’

This sentence must have been changed to transportation as George BREADMAN sailed from Woolwich on the convict ship Recovery on 31 July 1819 arriving in New South Wales on 18 December the same year.

In his book ‘Two Years in New South Wales’ Vol. II (1827) Peter Cunningham, the Surgeon on the Recovery, wrote this about George BREADMAN:
“Of all those I ever heard of, who have manifested the ‘ruling passion strong in death,’ George Breadman proved one of the staunchest. He was a poor yokel, foisted upon me in the last stage of consumption, and who remained bedridden until our arrival in the colony. He fell away so fast that I never expected to land him alive, and certainly it required the most anxious attention to retain the glimmering spark. I fortunately, however, possessed a very facetious fellow among the batch, to whom this poor dying creature became strongly attached, never being a day happy whereon his friend neglected to visit him, and often begging me to send this man to him for company, which I gladly did, seeing it invariably put him in good spirits. Wondering what could be the cause of this extraordinary liking, I inquired, and found that Breadman had been a great pig-stealer in his day, which being considered a very vulgar calling among the professional classes, (particularly among the townies,) he could get no one to listen to his adventures except this joker, who would laugh with and quiz him on the particular subjects of his achievements; praise the wonderful expertness with which he had done the farmers out of their grunters, and propose a partnership concern on reaching the colony, if the pigs there were found to be worth stealing! —I really believe the poor creature was kept in existence a full month solely by the exhilarating conversation of his companion.
On anchoring at Sydney no time was lost in conveying Breadman ashore, he being so weak that he could not even sit up without fainting: yet, in this pitiable state, supporting himself round the hospital-man's neck while the latter was drawing on his trowsers for him, the expiring wretch mustered strength enough to stretch out his pale trembling hand toward the other's waistcoat-pocket, and pick it of a pocket-comb and pen-knife! Next morning he was a corpse, thus dying as he had lived. Yet, during his whole illness, this man would regularly request some of the sober-minded rogues to read the Scriptures to him, and pray by his bed-side! Indeed, ill practices become ultimately so habitual with many, as to be no longer deemed such: and hence, no wonder we so often see religion and knavery intimately blended”

George was almost certainly the third child (of 13) and oldest son of James BREADMAN and his wife Hannah AVERY. He was born about 1795 and baptised at Highclere, Hampshire, in November of that year.

Andrew Young - - © Margaret and Andrew Young
Breadmore One-Name Study - Sentenced to Death -