Maria Matthews

Convict woman incarcerated at the Parramatta Female Factory.

Police Reports

JOHN SLADE and MARIA MATTHEWS, the former the assigned servant of the REV. RALPH MANSFIELD, the latter a free subject, were put to the bar on the complaint of the Rev. Gentleman, who stated, that for some time back he had been in the habit of missing money from his desk, although he was in the uniform practice of locking it when he left it, and of finding it locked when he returned, that some time ago he had been informed that his servant SLADE had false keys in his possession, and has no doubt he is the aggressor; that he is often drunk and out after hours, and is not aware of any honest means he can have of getting drunk; that last night, after family service, deponent sat down as usual, and read about an hour, after which he found no examination that the widow [window] shutters of the parlour were not fastened, although deponent believes the prisoner, whose duty it was to fasten them, reported that all was right; this excited deponent’s suspicion, so he walked cautiously towards the kitchen, when he heard his servant engaged in conversation with the female prisoner; this was about eleven o’clock last night; that deponent walked immediately to the watchhouse, and on returning with constables, found his servant and the female apparently in the act of leaving the premises, when he gave them both in charge; after this deponent went into the kitchen and found a man lying on his servant’s bed, who, on being questioned, answered that having been out rather late, and being apprehensive of the constables seizing him on the way should he return to the house of MR. COOPER, his master, he thought it most advisable to stop with his friend, JOHN SLADE; deponent then went for a constable, but on returning found that the man had made his escape; deponent then proceeded to examine the kitchen, and found a number of eggs roasting by the fire, a jug of porter or beer, and a bottle of wine which had been abstracted from deponent’s stores; fearing that some fellows might return during the night, deponent desired his female servant to sleep in the kitchen; he then proceeded to examine the doors, when, to his astonishment, he found two of the screws drawn of the lock of one of the rooms; in this apartment deponent had a box containing tea, sugar, rum, and other household stores; this, deponent found to be unlocked, although the prisoner had the same evening been at it for candles, and returned the key to deponent as if he had locked it; two cash boxes, one of which deponent had sealed with the impression of his pencil-case which he always carried in his pocket, the seal, however, he found defaced, and the impression of a seal which always lay openly in deponent’s study substituted, and on examining the box this morning, deponent found 2 pound 15 s. missing; that he, deponent, has lost upwards of ten pounds since prisoner has been in his service; deponent further stated, that when he is going to walk out with MRS. MANSFIELD, he is in the habit of locking up his keys in the study, the key of which he puts in his pocket, but last night he discovered that the key of the back door fitted the lock of the study, by which means the prisoner had complete access to all his master’s property; deponent further stated, that he had been informed this prisoner had threatened personal violence to the deponent should he get him turned into barracks; this, from the daring ferocity of prisoner’s temper when intoxicated, deponent had no doubt would be attempted. As the atrocity of the prisoner BLADE was distinctly proved, the Bench sentenced him to 3 years transportation to such place as His Excellency should think fit to direct; and Mistress MATTHEWS, as a common prostitute and vagabond, 6 months to No. 3 Class in the Factory.

See Original:Police Reports. SYDNEY,” Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW: 1803 – 1842), Wednesday 15 November 1826, p.3


# Convict

# Second Female Factory

# Year: 1826

# Third Class