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Special issue

Introduction

Introduction
Anne Brunon-Ernst

Résumés

L'introduction présente cinq prisons de forme panoptique, construites au début de l'histoire coloniale, et explique la spécificité du modèle pénitentiaire australien, alternant servitude pénale dans et hors les murs. Le système d'incarcération a été façonné par de nombreuses influences, dont celle de Bentham. Les puristes considèreront que le terme Panoptique est inexact pour décrire ces prisons. Cependant, il est encore utilisé aujourd'hui, indiquant par-là même sa pertinence à décrire l'esprit de la colonie pénitentiaire.

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Introduction

"Thieves and their Keepers, Prisoners and their Jailors, these were to be the whole population" (Samuel Romilly, Speeches of Sir Samuel Romilly in the House of Commons, 2 vols. (London, 1820), vol. 1, p. 269)

  • 1 Pitts, Jennifer, A Turn to Empire: the Rise of Imperial Liberalism in Britain and France (Princeton (...)
  • 2 See Bentham's assessment of the cost of transportation in Jackson, R. V., ‘Luxury in Punishment: Je (...)
  • 3 Australia even created its own species of criminal, the bushranger, who could be an Aboriginal man (...)
  • 4 Another striking coincidence: Van Diemen Land, home to the Separate Prison, had a first governor, D (...)
  • 5 See Redfield, Peter, ‘Foucault in the Tropics: Displacing the Panopticon’, Anthropologies of Modern (...)
  • 6 On the Panopticon, see among other texts by Bentham: Bentham, Jeremy, Panopticon; or the Inspection (...)
  • 7 Gascoigne, John, Enlightenment and the Origins of European Australia (Cambridge, CUP, 2002), pp. 12 (...)

1The settlement of a penal colony in Australia was part of a wider imperial plan to cast away unwanted offenders and to colonize unhospitable far-away lands.1 From the onset, the Australian project was fraught with contradictions, pointed out all through the century by Jeremy Bentham and other penal reformers, such as Samuel Romilly quoted in the epigraph. To avoid setting up and maintaining an expensive system of incarceration at home, convicts were sent at great financial and human costs to the other end of the world.2 Faced with rebellious native inhabitants and re-offending European criminals,3 authorities in the colonies were forced to set up a domestic prison system to deal with them. Influenced by modern penal theories in Europe and in the United-States, prison management authorities built prisons in Australia that shared elements of Bentham's panopticon scheme. The irony will not be lost on Bentham scholars. Indeed, Bentham advocated early on the building of Panopticons in Britain to avoid transportation of convicts.4 Ultimately, Panopticons in the Antipodes5 – buildings whose design maximised visual control and reformation of inmates6 – had to be built in the penal colony to compensate the shortcomings of a convict system unable to police crime.7

Context

  • 8 Harlow, Vincent Todd, The Founding of the Second British Empire 1763–1793, vol. 1 (London, Longmans (...)
  • 9 4 Geo. 1, c. 11. For the background to its enactment, see Ekirch, A. Roger, Bound for America: The (...)
  • 10 Shaw, A.G.L., Convicts and the Colonies: A Study of Penal Transportation from Great Britain and Ire (...)
  • 11 Vamplew, Wray, ed., Australians: Historical Statistics (Sydney, Fairfax, Syme and Weldon, 1987). Of (...)
  • 12 Shaw, Convicts and the Colonies.
  • 13 Shaw, Convicts and the Colonies. For the human side of the statistics, see, among others: Frost, Lu (...)
  • 14 Craig, Winfield Scott, 'Bonds of Empire: The Politics of Penal Colonies in the Founding of America (...)
  • 15 Shaw, Convicts and the Colonies.
  • 16 The concept 'settlerism' designates the ideology which, in the 19th c, legitimised territorial expa (...)

2Convict transportation has a long legal, political and social history. It played a significant role in the building of the British Empire. Indeed, transportation developed as a means of population control, crime regulation and even political dissent management.8 Although transportation had been practiced in Britain since the 17th century, the 1717 Transportation Act9 offered a general legal framework for the large-scale transportation of convicts to the American colonies and then, after the American Revolution, to New South Wales (1788-1840), Van Diemen's Land or Tasmania (1803-1854), and Western Australia (1850-1868).10 Between 1788 and 1868, 160.000 British and Irish convicts were transported to the region.11 While there were some political convicts – probably one thousand – the typical convict remained a male city-dweller from London or another industrial city, sentenced to transportation for theft.12 If the average term was seven years, only 5% returned to Britain after the end of their sentence,13 making transportation an efficient tool for the permanent occupation of Australia. However, the large-scale settlement of free migrants – essential to the expansion of imperial territories – was undermined by the stigma of convicts whose mere presence tainted the morality of the colony.14 Together with the humanitarian concerns raised by the plight of convicts, the rise of available penitentiary options in Britain and the discovery of gold in Victoria (1852), the influx of free settlers caused the demise of the transportation ideology15 and its replacement by settler colonialism.16

  • 17 Stillé, Charles J., 'American Colonies as Penal Settlements', The Pennsylvania Magazine of History (...)
  • 18 Gonner, E. C. K., 'The Settlement of Australia', The English Historical Review (1888).
  • 19 Coghlan, T. A., Labour and Industry in Australia: From the First Settlement in 1788 to the Establis (...)
  • 20 Hirst, John, Convict Society and Its Enemies: A History of Early New South Wales (Sydney, Allen and (...)
  • 21 Maxwell-Stewart, Hamish and Nicholson, Lydia, ‘Penal Transportation, Family History and Convict Tou (...)
  • 22 Armitage, David and Bashford, Alison, eds., Pacific Histories: Ocean, Land, People (Basingstoke, Pa (...)
  • 23 For a discussion on the ethics and rationale for land appropriation in Immanuel Kant and in Bentham (...)
  • 24 Woollacott, Settler Society in the Australian Colonies. See also Margot Finn's chapter in Causer an (...)
  • 25 Woollacott, Settler Society in the Australian Colonies, p. 9.
  • 26 On this point, see Edmonds, Penny, ‘Travelling “Under Concern”: Quakers James Backhouse and George (...)
  • 27 Anderson, Clare, 'Convicts, Carcerality and Cape Colony Connections in the 19th Century', Journal o (...)

3The stigma of transportation has long affected any attempt to uncover Australia's convict past. In the 19th century, Australia was viewed as "ineradicable tainted by crime and villainy".17 This prevailing assessment led many historians to try to minimise Australia's convict history, focusing rather on Britain's geopolitical18 and commercial19 interests of having a colony in the region. With all its flaws, especially in relation to female convicts and Aborigines, the development of social history in the 1960s made it possible to focus on convict lives,20 thus paving the way to a less moralistic approach to family and national identities. This is the reason why Australia has now moved towards protecting and restoring penal colony buildings as heritage sites; the Port Arthur Separate Prison investigated in the special issue by Rachel Hurst is an instance of this trend, which also raises concerns about convict tourism.21 Most recent scholarship understands transportation in the more global context of Empire ideology and politics,22 with a special focus on the effect convict and settler colonisations has had on indigenous lives, such as frontier violence, land grabs23 and forced labour,24 but also cooperation.25 Drawing a parallel with the way in which anti-transportation activists in 19th c. Britain fed on anti-slavery discourses,26 transportation policies and practices are now being reassessed in the light of indigenous containment and unfree labour expropriation.27 In line with this new approach, the plight of Aboriginal prisoners on Rottnest Island is the focus of Glen Stasiuk's paper in the issue.

  • 28 Snyder, Francis and Hay, Douglas, eds., Labour, Law and Crime: An Historical Perspective (London, B (...)
  • 29 Beccaria, Cesare, On Crime and Punishment, and Other Writings, ed. R. Bellamy (Cambridge, CUP, 1764 (...)
  • 30 Howard, John, The State of the Prisons in England and Wales: With Preliminary Observations, and an (...)
  • 31 Eden, William, Principles of Penal Law (London, 1772).
  • 32 Romilly, Samuel, Observations on the Criminal Law of England, as It Related to Capital Punishments: (...)
  • 33 On Tocqueville, see also Welch, Cheryl B., De Tocqueville (Oxford, OUP, 2001); Keslassy, Eric, Le l (...)
  • 34 Beaumont, Gustave et Tocqueville, Alexis, Du système pénitentiaire aux Etats-Unis et de son applica (...)
  • 35 John Haviland (1792-1852) was an American architect who designed notable prisons across the United- (...)
  • 36 Elam Lynds (1784-1855) was an American prison warden who worked at the Auburn and Sing Sing prisons (...)
  • 37 John D. Cray was an American deputy-warden at the Auburn prison. He is remembered for introducing a (...)
  • 38 See for example Lucas, Charles, Du système penitentiaire en Europe et aux Etats-Unis (Paris, 1828) (...)
  • 39 Anderson, 'Convicts, Carcerality and Cape Colony Connections in the 19th Century', p. 439

4The present endeavour to map elements of the panoptic in the Australian penitentiary system is embedded in our contemporary understanding of the circulation of ideas on punishment and penal labour from the metropolitan centre to the colonial outposts, and back.28 Parliamentary commissions contributed to the circulation. John Thomas Bigge is an instance of this circulation. The former judge in Trinidad was first asked to head the inquiry into the judicial establishments of New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land in 1819-1821, before being in charge of the Commission of Eastern Inquiry investigating the governance of the Cape Colony in 1823. Beyond government policies, a whole new penology had emerged during the Enlightenment on the Continent, to be then discussed and refined in the following century. Indeed, in the 19th c., it had become impossible to build a penitentiary without taking that conversation into account. Bentham was not the only thinker in the field. There were many others, including Beccaria,29 Howard,30 Eden,31 Romilly,32 Tocqueville, 33 Beaumont, 34 John Haviland, 35 Elam Lynds36 or John D. Cray,37 etc. Bentham’s Panopticon projects were widely circulated in penal reformist circles and contributed to the debate on how to build an efficient penal system. What information settlers in the Antipodes had access to? What had they read, remembered and discussed regarding penal theories; what books on the topic did they have in their private libraries, or have access to via public or friends’ libraries? Knowledge of Bentham’s ideas could have been acquired directly by reading his books or a review of the same, or indirectly by reading essays on penology that would have fed on Bentham’s ideas with or without crediting him.38 David Llewellyn's work in the special issue addresses the question of the long-lasting influence of Bentham's ideas in Australia. Indeed, his works influenced 19th century penal reformers who in turn contributed to shaping the imperial penal ideology and practice. Alexander Maconochie was one of these influential penal thinkers who contributed to building a colonial penal network by managing the Norfolk Island penal settlement and later making proposals for convicts to undertake harbour improvements in Natal (South Africa).39 Tim Causer's paper investigates Bentham's influence on the inventor of the ‘Mark System’ of reward, widely copied across the Empire.

  • 40 Anderson, Clare, ed., A Global History of Convicts and Penal Colonies (London, Bloomsbury, 2018).
  • 41 Anderson, 'Convicts, Carcerality and Cape Colony Connections in the 19th Century', p. 430
  • 42 Ibid., p. 435
  • 43 Ibid., p. 435

5Pentridge prison in Victoria, Fremantle goal in Western Australia, the penal station in Norfolk Island, Port Arthur penal settlement in Tasmania and Rottnest Island prison in Western Australia had influence over and were influenced by one another and by other incarceration sites in the Empire as convicts and officials experienced, viewed and moved from one to another,40 to such an extent that they were part of a "global repertoire of carcerality".41 Some sites were part of a scale of severity of punishment in the local, regional, and global network of other imperial penal sites,42 as is the case for Norfolk Island and Port Arthur which were secondary sites of punishment for re-offending convicts (called penal stations). Other sites, as the Pentridge prison in Victoria and Fremantle goal in Western Australia stood outside the colonial routes for transported convicts punishment as they catered for local crime. Rottnest Island prison in Western Australia was typical of the incarceration of indigenous people on islands or reservations.43 Therefore, the similarities in design and sometimes discipline, brought about by the emergence of a global penal theory, should not veil their different purposes.

  • 44 Karskens, Grace, The Colony: A History of Early Sydney (Crows Nest, Allen&Unwin, 2010).
  • 45 Ibid.
  • 46 Nicholas, Stephen, ed., Convict Workers: Reinterpreting Australia’s Past (Cambridge, CUP, 1988); Cl (...)
  • 47 Collins, David, An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales (London, 1798), vol. 1, p. 66, (...)
  • 48 On the way the law was implemented in the colony, see Kercher, Bruce, 'Perish or Prosper: The Law a (...)
  • 49 'Letter of Governor King to Lord Hobart', 16 August 1804, in Historical Records of New South Wales, (...)
  • 50 Court of Criminal Jurisdiction, Reports of Prisoners Tried, October 1816-February 1824, SRNSW X725.
  • 51 'Newcastle was not a penitentiary of the panopticon mould. Its punishment regime—emphasising floggi (...)

6New South Wales was founded in 1788 as a penal colony, a place where convicted felons would be transported from Britain to the Antipodes. Contrary to the American transportation scheme, convicts were not stripped of their rights to be sold by ship captains to private masters as indentured servants, but remained in the care of the Governor of New South Wales.44 Unless they were assigned to a private master, convicts worked under a task work system whereby they were expected to complete tasks for the government, before they could go about their own business, growing their own provisions and living in their own homes.45 The transportation system was seen both as a mode of punishment and as a way of supplying free labour to the developing colonies.46 The confinement of convicts in barrack in Sydney was only introduced in 1819. Before, punishment could be meted out by imposing harsher labour, such as unloading ships or chain-gangs on roadways. Moreover, exile and exemplary punishments were consubstantial to the transportation venture as internal relocation to penal stations were established on the outskirts of the colony. Indeed, as early as 1788, Governor Phillip commuted the death sentence of convicts on the First Fleet to transportation to the remote island of Norfolk.47 Sentences of transportation ordered by the New South Wales Court48 to the Newcastle site – established in 1804 with the double aim of extracting primary resources and of relocating convicts49 – increased after the Norfolk Island settlement was temporarily abandoned in 1814. Places of secondary punishment became the privileged tool to manage crime in the colony and the trend increased in the 1820s with the establishment of more stations: in Port Macquarie in New South Wales (1821) and Macquarie Harbour in Van Diemen's Land (1822).50 While some form of discipline was imposed in the Sydney barracks and at the Newcastle site, the absence of confinement altogether or the more traditional building plan made the imposition of a panoptic-type of discipline unworkable in the first decades of the colony.51

  • 52 See Ford and Roberts, 'New South Wales Penal Settlements and the Transformation of Secondary Punish (...)
  • 53 Roberts, David Andrew, '"A Sort of Inland Norfolk Island"?: Isolation, coercion and resistance on t (...)
  • 54 Heinsen, J. L., 'Scandinavian Empires in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries', in Anderson, ed (...)
  • 55 Gascoigne, Enlightenment and the Origins of European Australia, pp. 123-47.
  • 56 Ford, Lisa and Roberts, David Andrew, 'Legal Change, Convict Activism and the Reform of Penal Reloc (...)
  • 57 Bigge, Thomas, 'Directions and Regulations for the Conduct of the New Settlements at Moreton Bay, P (...)

7In the 1820s, under the combined influence of the Colonial Secretary, Lord Bathurst, the conclusions of the Bigge Reports, and the increase in the number of free settlers, concern arose about the need for a clear separation between free settlers and convicts, separation that could only be efficiently carried out if convicts (re-offending or even new entrants) were sent to the periphery of the colony.52 These peripheries were pushed further away from the new settlements: convicts were no longer sent to Newcastle by 1822 or to Port Macquarie by 1826, but instead sentenced to Moreton Bay (1824-42) and again to Norfolk Island (1825-53). Places of punishment were graded according to the harshness of regime. Internal transportation became reserved for the most heinous crimes, a network of local penitentiaries having been set up to cater for lesser crimes (Parramatta Female Factory, Hyde Park Barracks and Sydney Gaol),53 to such an extent that the concept of "carceral constellation" was used to describe these arrangements.54 In these new penal settlements, a disciplinary system based on surveillance, classification and control, labour, punishment and rewards, reformation and education, combined elements of Bentham's panoptic regime in the Antipodes.55 While the new regimes controlled some of the arbitrariness of the previous period, especially the difference in treatment among convicts, they lost a great amount of freedom.56 Thus, Bigge's "Directions for the New Settlements" acted as a blue print for punishment in the next decades, combining the transportation system and the new penitentiary principles.57 All contributions in the present issue reflect the theory and practice of incarceration in Australia from the 1820s, with Emily Lanman's paper investigating an instance of this penitentiary discipline in the new penal regime at the Fremantle goal.

  • 58 See for example Maxwell-Stewart, Hamish, 'The Rise and Fall of John Longworth: Work and Punishment (...)

8Setting the limelight on the Panopticon prisons should not make us forget that there were other competing systems, such as the Pennsylvanian system with its focus on continuous isolation and work in single-prisoner cells under constant supervision, examples of which can be found at the Eastern State Prison in Philadelphia; or such as the Auburnian system which enforced night-time isolation and congregate labour in silence, and which was applied in the Auburn and Sing Sing Prisons. Moreover, it should not blind us to the very imperfect ways in which the panoptic blueprint was followed in the building of the prisons. Indeed, setting aside the issue of the circulation of Bentham's ideas and the way they were appropriated by local prison reformers, real life prison building have always been more complex to build than just drawing an architect's plan. Who commissions the building, who has the upper hand on the design, who sets and implements regulations within prison? Prison systems must accommodate diverging views in stake holders, be they landowners, colonial government representatives, Colonial Office civil servants, local authorities, settlers and to a lesser extent convicts.58 In the Antipodes, the question of available resources in land, hands and monies is key to the architectural and management priorities of prison authorities. Adam Ford's paper in the issue on the archeological digs at the Pentridge prison in Victoria unearths its complex building.

9The aim of the present issue is to investigate the panoptic features of some of the iconic prisons built in 19th c. Australia and identify the specificities of its penal system. The inquiry does not have a claim to be exhaustive, as only five sites were studied. However, the six contributions provide a glimpse of the diverse ways in which Bentham's penal theories and his Panopticon were incorporated in a unique Australian model where a hybrid penal system blended transportation, incarceration and open-air goals.

Summary of papers

10David Llewellyn opens the special issue with a paper on the wider influence of Bentham in Australia. Llewellyn focuses on the influence of Bentham and his followers on the building of Australia from the 19th century onwards, and in doing so he brings to light a connection overlooked by Bentham scholars and academics. Indeed, he traces the influence of Bentham back to the beginning of the colony, when Bentham exposed both its constitutional loopholes – arguably leading to the first rebellion in Australia’s history – and the costs and failures of the transportation system in contrast with the advantages he believed would attend his panopticon. Bentham’s followers continued his legacy in building panoptic penitentiaries in Australia – some of which are discussed in the present issue – and others joined John Stuart Mill, John Roebuck, William Molesworth and Charles Buller in London in advocating for the end of transportation. In an attempt to increase the migration of free settlers, rather than convicts, Edward Gibbon Wakefield suggested to concentrate population thanks to applying a high price for land, thus ensuring higher wages and profits. In his lifetime, Bentham supported Edward Gibbon Wakefield’s plan for the settlement of South Australia by writing a Colonization Society Proposal in 1831. Thus Bentham can be credited by some historian with being one of the founders of the colony. Bentham’s various proposals for democratic reform were also influential on his followers, who were active in the campaign for the Reform Bill of 1832; for the 1838 Charter (especially Benthamites Francis Place, John Roebuck, and William Lovett); and for the Australian colonies (Charles Buller had been appointed as Parliamentary Agent in Westminster to represent the interests of New South Wales colonists and helped draft a constitution for New South Wales). It was not just in London that Benthamites were at work. While in Victoria in 1856, Henry Chapman, wrote the legislation implementing the secret ballot there. In South Australia, the legislation was written by George Kingston, who was an early member of the South Australia Society in London and was among the first who migrated to the new colony in 1836. Following Bentham’s advocacy for women’s rights, the two British colonies founded directly under the Wakefield system, New Zealand (1893) and South Australia (1894) also implemented women’s voting. The paper then moves on to consider the scholarly debates around Australia’s liberalism heritage. Historians point to Australia’s individualistic character and its collectivistic trend, both of which are traced back to Bentham’s influence. This leads Llewellyn, in a last section, to consider the concept of ‘Security Liberalism’, borrowed from Fred Rosen, which would overcome this contradictory assessment of the Australian national character. Discussing another paper by a major Bentham scholar, L.J. Hume on 'Foundations of Populism and Pluralism: Australian Writings on Politics to 1860', Llewellyn concludes that post-convict Australia was effectively born from the coupling of an active state with individual and economic freedoms. Once backdrop of the influence of Bentham on Australian socio-economic identity is set by Llewellyn’s paper, the issue then turns to how Bentham’s panopticons were implemented with greater or lesser accuracy in the penal colony .

11In the next paper entitled ‘All Seeing Archaeology, The Panopticons of Pentridge Prison’, Adam Ford shares his experience of having conducted the excavation of the panopticon-structures at the Pentridge prison site in Victoria. In a well-documented paper, Ford starts with an overview of the penal system in 18th c. Britain, before looking into how the work of reformers influenced the development of prisons in the US, in the UK and in the British Empire. Ford then moves on to explain the specificities of crime management in the newly-created state of Victoria. The gold rush – with the large increase of population and wealth that followed in its wake – created considerable social imbalance conducive to a rise in crime. Victoria found itself in need of its own penitentiary structure as it could not rely exclusively on neighbouring New South Wales. In doing so, the young colony addressed major social challenges while embracing global trends in penal reform influenced by the ‘Silent’ system in the Sing Sing Prison of New York State, and the ‘Separate’ system in the Eastern State Penitentiary of Philadelphia. Both penal systems were influenced partly by Bentham’s penal writings and his panopticon project. Pentridge remains a tribute to the capacity for Victoria to embark on large public projects early in its history. In that respect, it is a key heritage building, showcasing significant elements of Victoria’s social reform, penology, population and criminality in the 19th century. Ford dismisses the title of ‘panopticon’ when applied to the whole of the Pentridge structure, as the radial layout did not allow wardens to oversee the activity of convicts in their cells. However, he believes that the denomination would be fittingly applied to the three airing circular yards, that were under the constant surveillance of the watchtowers and were inspired by the outdoor yards described in Bentham’s panopticon projects. Therefore, three panoptic sites are identified in Division A, Division B and Division C of the Pentridge prison. Ford then devotes a large part of his paper to describe his archeological methodology, work and findings. Indeed, the excavations were substantial, and came with their own logistical issues in a now densely-build suburb of Melbourne. However, the archeology itself was simple, as very few artefacts were found and as the buildings were used for decades with a single occupation and single function. Unusually so for archeological work, much was known about the building before excavation: almost all aspects of the building form, function (including internal spaces) and chronology. The paper provides many of the plans and photographs which help document this archaeological investigation. Notwithstanding this prior knowledge, the excavation made it possible to identify markedly different construction techniques of the three panopticon airing yards. Ford concludes with an appraisal of the Pentridge prison system, stating that ‘the designs of prisons and governing systems developed in the early 19th century and codified by Jebb and instituted in Australia by Champ were revolutionary steps away from punitive medieval punishment and towards a more intelligent, nuanced and enlightened approach to the management of offenders’.

12In a paper entitled 'Establishing a Panoptic Prison: An Examination of Fremantle Gaol, 1831-1841', Emily Lanman presents a detailed comparison of the Fremantle Gaol with Bentham’s panopticon project. In a highly documented study, Lanman looks into the architecture and the regulations of both penitentiaries. According to her, while the Fremantle Gaol held at most 21 prisoners compared to the hundreds or thousands in the panopticon, the architecture of the former mirrors Bentham’s model prison albeit on a much smaller scale. She points to the colonial environment to explain the difference in capacity. Indeed, lack of financial resources, difficult access to building material and skills, and crime rates congruent with the size of a new colony could explain the difference. As she writes ‘the panopticon was to house criminals from a rapidly changing urban England, whereas Fremantle Gaol was to house those whose disobeyed the rules of an infant colony with a small population’. Lanman carries on her investigation by looking into the architectural features of Fremantle Goal, such as visibility of the prison by land and sea, and the centrally placed gaoler’s quarters, all of which echoed the panopticon. She then moves on to study the regulations that structured the jails operations, examining more particularly the 1831 and 1835 rules. It is in these regulations that the panoptic legacy in the Fremantle Gaol is most evident. Lanman carries out a minute examination of these rules and is quick to point the deviations from Bentham’s ideal. She argues that any differences between the two penitentiaries originate in how far apart British institutions in the motherland stood from that of a budding colony in the Antipodes. The main difference, she points out, refers to the hierarchies of power in the prison. In the Fremantle Gaol, local government maintained a level of involvement in the running of the gaol before transitioning over to the magistrates, while in Bentham’s scheme the operations fell on the inspector so as to relieve burden from the magistrates and government. However, other operations of the Fremantle Gaol are strikingly close to the panopticon scheme: labour is central to the reforming of prisoners, and there is a similar stress on the physical health, moral and religious character of the inmates. Lanman concludes that while ‘Fremantle Gaol cannot be classified as a true panopticon, it embodies enough of the principles to be recognised as a colonial response to the model.’

13In the paper entitled ‘Bentham’s Panopticon and Alexander Maconochie’s Norfolk Island Penal Station: A Comparative Study in Penal Theory’, Tim Causer challenges the accepted view that superintendent Alexander Maconochie rejected Bentham’s views on penal reform at the penal settlement in Norfolk Island (1840-1844). Such an indictment relied on Maconochie’s sharp criticism of Bentham in ‘Comparison’. However, Causer shows that Maconochie shared with Bentham the belief that the sensibility of offenders could be altered and that the production of reformed and industrious individuals could be effected by a penal discipline envisaged as a science. Both believed that existing modes of punishment at their times were inadequate. While it is true that Maconochie disagreed with Bentham on fixed-term sentences and on the emphasis on deterrence rather than reformation, Maconochie’s penal practices and his earlier and lesser-cited writings suggest that he was closer to Bentham’s position than the literature suggests. Causer notes also that Maconochie’s attitude shifted over time. Indeed, Maconochie’s changes towards the issue of transportation, from adhering to the Benthamite anti-transportationist line in 1818, to his qualified support for transportation from 1838 onwards can explain the challenges of assessing Bentham’s legacy in Maconochie’s reforms. Maconochie is better remembered for having devised the 'Mark System', a bonus and minus points system that determines the detention comforts and length of sentence, system that share common ideas with Bentham’s penal theories. Moreover, Maconochie’s attempt to implement his reformative system at Norfolk Island, at the heart of which was close surveillance and extensive record-keeping to monitor behaviour and individual progress, echoes Bentham’s panopticon scheme. The final picture that emerges from Causer’s study of Maconochie is that of a man whose penal practice contradicted his principles and written theories, and who was thus criticized by the public, government and the media for his work. However, his positions contributed to reforming prison discipline into a more humane system.

14One of the most (in)famous convict prison is the Port-Arthur penal settlement in Tasmania, and more particularly one of its building, called the Separate Prison. Whether its model is the American Pennsylvanian system, the silent system as implemented in Auburn Prison, or Bentham's Panopticon, it is most likely that the Tasmanian building is a mix of the latest penal architecture and management theories at the time. Architecture academic, Rachel Hurst chose rather to focus on the restoration of this world heritage. The project was overseen by Tonkin Zulaikha Greer architects (TZG) and beautifully illustrated with photographs by architectural photographer Brett Boardman. The opening quote from Richard Flanagan's Gould Book of Fish illustrates aptly the contradictions of site and the difficult task of the restoration brief in the opposition between the 'Commandant's dream' and the 'convict's nightmare'. The natural beauty of the place and the exquisite restoration of the buildings are set in sharp contrast with the dramatic reconstruction of convict lives in small cells drilled by terrible routines, thus creating a tourist experience of the 'terrifying normal' invented by penal bureaucrats.

  • 59 See Reynolds, Henry, The Other Side of the Frontier: Aboriginal Resistance to the European Invasion (...)

15In the last paper, entitled 'Rottnest Island Black Prison', Glen Stasiuk investigates Australia's only prison designed for Aboriginal prisoners. Stasiuk describes the elements of the Aboriginal-built prison, called the Quod, and compares it to the Fremantle goal or Round House on the mainland. However, notwithstanding the recurrent comparisons with the Panopticon in Rottnest historiography, the living conditions were a far-cry from Bentham's humane penal reforms. To understand the extent of the harm done to Aboriginals in detention, Stasiuk explains the Noongar tribes' spirituality and highlights how foreign – thus terrifying – incarceration was in their culture. When the first white free settlers arrived in the Swan River colony, they removed Aboriginals from their lands, exploited them as cheap or free labour and took their children away. As this legal, social and cultural dispossession was met with resistance,59 settlers built the Rottnest Island prison to deal with it. The Aboriginal Panopticon was the logical outcome of settler colonization of Western Australia. In a paper which is both a research piece and a politically-motivated plea, Stasiuk confronts the past of indigenous detention on the island in order to advocate for reconciliation between the Aboriginal communities and white settlers. It can only be achieved if there is first openness about the dehumanizing practices of colonization – the political, judicial and penitentiary institutions being complicit to indigenous dispossession – to make way for a national healing process.

Conclusion

  • 60 See Foucault, Michel, Discipline and Punish (New York, Random House, 1977), Ignatieff, Michael. A J (...)
  • 61 Other notable research in the field include: De Vito, and Lichtenstein, eds., Global Convict Labour (...)
  • 62 Other notable research in the field include: Damousi, Joy, Depraved and Disorderly: Female Convicts (...)

16Current historiography is moving away from Foucault's idea that the prison system replaced all other forms of punishments from the end of the 18th c. onwards,60 Bentham's Panopticon being the embodiment of such a shift. While not challenging the assessment that transportation amounts for a great portion of punishment in the modern era – albeit up to now underrated –, the focus of the special issue on incarcerated modes of punishment and their panoptic features sheds light on multi-modal punishment in the Empire, associating global, regional or local mobility with immobilization. In doing so, it hopes to highlight some of the inspiration, circulation and constraints that led to the building of Panopticons in the Antipodes. While there is need for more detailed investigation in the areas of colonial studies, penal theory, migration studies,61 and race and gender relations,62 the issue offers a preliminary framework to better understand how panoptic architectural and management features have disseminated around the world.

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Notes

1 Pitts, Jennifer, A Turn to Empire: the Rise of Imperial Liberalism in Britain and France (Princeton, PUP, 2005); Muthu, Sankar, ed., Empire and Modern Political Thought (Cambridge, CUP, 2012); Armitage, David, The Ideological Origins of the British Empire (Cambridge, CUP, 2000).

2 See Bentham's assessment of the cost of transportation in Jackson, R. V., ‘Luxury in Punishment: Jeremy Bentham on the Cost of the Convict Colony in New South Wales’, Australian Historical Studies, 23: 90 (1988), pp. 42-59.

3 Australia even created its own species of criminal, the bushranger, who could be an Aboriginal man resisting invasion or an escaped convict hiding in the bush and robbing to survive. See among others: Woollacott, Angela, Settler Society in the Australian Colonies: Self-Government and Imperial Culture (Oxford, Oxford Scholarship Online, 2015), pp. 9-10

4 Another striking coincidence: Van Diemen Land, home to the Separate Prison, had a first governor, David Collins, who met and discussed the Panopticon with Bentham. The former did not have any hand in the building of the Port Arthur (in)famous prison, as he died earlier on. See ‘Letter 1807: Collins to Bentham’, on 4 April 1803, in The Correspondence of Jeremy Bentham, Volume 7: January 1802 to December 1808, ed. J.R. Dinwiddy, in The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham, ed. F. Rosen (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1988, 2006) pp. 219-20.

5 See Redfield, Peter, ‘Foucault in the Tropics: Displacing the Panopticon’, Anthropologies of Modernity: Foucault, Governmentality, and Life Politics, pp.50-79 and Kaplan, Martha, ‘Panopticon in Poona: An Essay on Foucault and Colonialism’, Cultural Anthropology, 10:1 (1995), pp. 85-98.

6 On the Panopticon, see among other texts by Bentham: Bentham, Jeremy, Panopticon; or the Inspection-House in The Works of Jeremy Bentham (Bristol, Thoemmes Press, 1995 [1843]), (henceforth Bowring), at vol. IV, pp. 37–172; Bentham, Jeremy, Outline of a Work entitled Pauper Management Improved, in Bowring, vol. VIII, pp. 369439. For secondary sources, see Miller, J.-A., 'Le despotisme de l’Utile : la machine panoptique de Jeremy Bentham', Ornicar ? Bulletin périodique du Champ freudien, 3 (1975), pp. 3–36; Perrot, M., 'L’inspecteur Bentham', in J. Bentham, Le Panoptique (Paris, Belfond, 1977); Himmerfarb, Gertrude, The Idea of Poverty: England in the Early Industrial Age, (London, Faber, 1985); Bahmueller, Charles, The National Charity Company: Jeremy Bentham’s Silent Revolution (Berkley, University of California Press, 1981); Semple, Janet, 'Bentham’s Haunted House', The Bentham Newsletter, 11 (1987), pp. 35-44; Quinn, Michael, ‘The Fallacy of Non-Interference: the Poor Panopticon and Equality of Opportunity’, The Journal of Bentham Studies, 1 (1997), online publication; Brunon-Ernst, Anne, Le Panoptique des pauvres. Jeremy Bentham et la réforme de l’assistance en Angleterre (Paris, Presses de la Sorbonne Nouvelle, 2007); Schofield, Philip, 'Panopticon', in Bentham. A Guide for the Perplexed (Bodmin, Continuum, 2009), Brunon-Ernst, (ed.), Beyond Foucault. New Perspectives on Bentham’s Panopticon, (Aldershot, Ashgate, 2012).

7 Gascoigne, John, Enlightenment and the Origins of European Australia (Cambridge, CUP, 2002), pp. 123-47.

8 Harlow, Vincent Todd, The Founding of the Second British Empire 1763–1793, vol. 1 (London, Longmans, Green and Co., 1952); Mackay, David, 'Direction and Purpose in British Imperial Policy, 1783–1801', The Historical Journal 17:3 (1974), pp. 487-501; Mackay, David, A Place of Exile: The European Settlement of New South Wales (Melbourne, Oxford University Press, 1985); Colley, Linda, Captives: Britain, Empire and the World, 1600–1850 (New York, Anchor Books, 2005); Darwin, John, After Tamerlane: The Global History of Empire Since 1405 (New York, Allen Lane, 2007); Darwin, John, Unfinished Empire: The Global Expansion of Britain (London, Allen Lane, 2012).

9 4 Geo. 1, c. 11. For the background to its enactment, see Ekirch, A. Roger, Bound for America: The Transportation of British Convicts to America, 1718-1775 (London, Clarendon Press, 1990), 17; Beattie, J. M., Crime and the Courts in England, 1660-1800 (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1986), chap. 9.

10 Shaw, A.G.L., Convicts and the Colonies: A Study of Penal Transportation from Great Britain and Ireland to Australia and Other Parts of the British Empire (New York, Humanities Press, 1966).

11 Vamplew, Wray, ed., Australians: Historical Statistics (Sydney, Fairfax, Syme and Weldon, 1987). Of note, the fact that 150 convicts from the British Caribbean colonies were also transported to Australia between 1821 and 1837 (Paton, Diana, ‘An “Injurious” Population: Caribbean-Australian Penal Transportation 
and Imperial Racial Politics’, Cultural and Social History 5:4 (2008), pp. 449-64; at pp. 449-50).

12 Shaw, Convicts and the Colonies.

13 Shaw, Convicts and the Colonies. For the human side of the statistics, see, among others: Frost, Lucy and Maxwell-Stewart, Hamish, eds., Chain Letters: Narrating Convict Lives (Melbourne, Melbourne University Press, 2001).

14 Craig, Winfield Scott, 'Bonds of Empire: The Politics of Penal Colonies in the Founding of America and Australia', PhD Diss., Florida State University, 2014.

15 Shaw, Convicts and the Colonies.

16 The concept 'settlerism' designates the ideology which, in the 19th c, legitimised territorial expansion and indigenous dispossession, combined to population migration thus creating racially stratified societies. It was coined by Belich, James, Replenishing the Earth: The Settler Revolution and the Rise of the Anglo-World, 1783-1939 (Oxford, OUP, 2009).

17 Stillé, Charles J., 'American Colonies as Penal Settlements', The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 12:4 (1889), p. 458. For contemporary studies on this issue, see Shergold, Christine M., ‘A Note on the Destruction of New South Wales Convict 
Records’, Journal of Australian Colonial History 11 (2009): 220–6; Smith, Babette, Australia’s Birthstain: The Startling Legacy of the Convict Era (Sydney, Allen and Unwin, 2008).

18 Gonner, E. C. K., 'The Settlement of Australia', The English Historical Review (1888).

19 Coghlan, T. A., Labour and Industry in Australia: From the First Settlement in 1788 to the Establishment of the Commonwealth in 1901 (Hong Kong, The Continental Printing Company, 1969), p. 4.

20 Hirst, John, Convict Society and Its Enemies: A History of Early New South Wales (Sydney, Allen and Unwin, 1983); Robson, Leslie L., The Convict Settlers of Australia (Melbourne, Melbourne University Press, 1965); Shaw, Convicts and the Colonies.

21 Maxwell-Stewart, Hamish and Nicholson, Lydia, ‘Penal Transportation, Family History and Convict Tourism’, in eds. Jacqueline Z. Wilson, Sarah Hodgkinson, Justin Piche and Kevin Walby, The Palgrave Handbook of Prison Tourism (Basingstoke, Palgrave, 2017), pp. 713–34.

22 Armitage, David and Bashford, Alison, eds., Pacific Histories: Ocean, Land, People (Basingstoke, Palgrave, 2014); Lester, Alan, ‘Spatial Concepts and the Historical Geographies of British Colonialism’, in A. Thompson, ed., Writing Imperial Histories (Manchester, Manchester University Press, 2013), pp. 118–42; Christopher, Emma, A Merciless Place: The Fate of Britain’s Convicts after the American Revolution (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011); Hofmeyr, Isabel, ‘The Black Atlantic Meets the Indian Ocean: Forging New Paradigms of Transnationalism for the Global South – Literary and Cultural Perspectives’, Social Dynamics: A Journal of African Studies, 33:2 (2007), pp. 3–32; Vink, M.P.M., ‘Indian Ocean Studies and The “New Thalassology”’, Journal of Global History, 2:1 (2007), pp. 41–62; On the Australian context more specifically, see Causer, Tim and Schofield, Philip, eds. Bentham and Australia (London, UCL Press, 2021), to be published.

23 For a discussion on the ethics and rationale for land appropriation in Immanuel Kant and in Bentham, See respectively: Niesen, Peter, 'Colonialism and Hospitality', Politics and Ethics Review, 3:1 (2007), pp. 90–108; and Armitage, David, ‘Globalizing Jeremy Bentham’, History of Political Thought, 32: 1 (2011), pp. 63-82; Chen, C.-K. B, 'Between Wilderness and Garden: On Bentham’s Idea of Civilization', ed. R. Tseng, Empire and International Political Thought (Taipei, Linking Publishing (in Chinese), (forthcoming)); Winch, Donald, 'Bentham on Colonies and Empire', Utilitas, 9: 1 (1997), pp. 147–54; Conway, Stephen, ‘Bentham on Peace and War’, Utilitas, 1:1 (1989), pp. 82-101 and Pitts, Jennifer, 'Legislator of the World? A Rereading of Bentham on Colonies' Political Theory, 31:2 (2003), pp. 200-34.

24 Woollacott, Settler Society in the Australian Colonies. See also Margot Finn's chapter in Causer and Schofield, eds. Bentham and Australia. Harris, Cheryl I., ‘Whiteness as Property’, Harvard Law Review, 106:8 (1993), pp. 1709-91; Moreton-Robinson, Aileen, The White Possessive : Property, Power, and Indigenous Sovereignty (Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 2015), e-book.

25 Woollacott, Settler Society in the Australian Colonies, p. 9.

26 On this point, see Edmonds, Penny, ‘Travelling “Under Concern”: Quakers James Backhouse and George Washington Walker Tour the Antipodean Colonies, 1832–41,’ Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 40: 5 (2012), pp. 769–88; Paisley, Fiona and Lydon, Jane, ‘Australia and Anti-Slavery’, Australian Historical Studies 45:1 (2014): 1-12; Thorsten, Sellin, Slavery and the Penal System (New Orleans, Quid Pro Books, 2016).

27 Anderson, Clare, 'Convicts, Carcerality and Cape Colony Connections in the 19th Century', Journal of Southern African Studies, 42:3 (2016), pp. 429-42, at p. 430.

28 Snyder, Francis and Hay, Douglas, eds., Labour, Law and Crime: An Historical Perspective (London, Blackwell, 1987); Evans, Raymond and Thorpe, William, ‘Power, Punishment and Penal Labour; Convict Workers and Moreton Bay’, Australian Historical Studies 25:98 (1992), pp. 90–111; De Vito, Christian G. and Lichtenstein, Alex, eds., Global Convict Labour (Leiden, Brill, 2015).

29 Beccaria, Cesare, On Crime and Punishment, and Other Writings, ed. R. Bellamy (Cambridge, CUP, 1764, 2012).

30 Howard, John, The State of the Prisons in England and Wales: With Preliminary Observations, and an Account of Some Foreign Prisons (London, 1777).

31 Eden, William, Principles of Penal Law (London, 1772).

32 Romilly, Samuel, Observations on the Criminal Law of England, as It Related to Capital Punishments: And on the Modes in Which It is Administered, 3rd edn. (London, 1813); Tocqueville, Alexis, Ecrits sur le système pénitentiaire en France et à l'étranger, ed. Michelle Perrot, Œuvres complètes (Paris, Gallimard, 1984), vol. 4.

33 On Tocqueville, see also Welch, Cheryl B., De Tocqueville (Oxford, OUP, 2001); Keslassy, Eric, Le libéralisme de Tocqueville à l'épreuve du paupérisme (Paris, L'Harmattan, 2000); and Guellec, Laurence, Tocqueville et les langages de la démocratie (Paris, Honoré Champion, 2004).

34 Beaumont, Gustave et Tocqueville, Alexis, Du système pénitentiaire aux Etats-Unis et de son application en France, 2nd edn. (Paris, 1836).

35 John Haviland (1792-1852) was an American architect who designed notable prisons across the United-States.

36 Elam Lynds (1784-1855) was an American prison warden who worked at the Auburn and Sing Sing prisons. He contributed to the creation of the Auburn system.

37 John D. Cray was an American deputy-warden at the Auburn prison. He is remembered for introducing a strict regimen of silence for convicts.

38 See for example Lucas, Charles, Du système penitentiaire en Europe et aux Etats-Unis (Paris, 1828) where Howard, Bentham and Livingstone are acknowledged as sources of inspiration and see also the circulation of Bentham’s ideas on prison management thanks to Etienne Dumont’s translation, first printed by the Assemblée nationale in 1791 and then published as a chapter in Traités.

39 Anderson, 'Convicts, Carcerality and Cape Colony Connections in the 19th Century', p. 439

40 Anderson, Clare, ed., A Global History of Convicts and Penal Colonies (London, Bloomsbury, 2018).

41 Anderson, 'Convicts, Carcerality and Cape Colony Connections in the 19th Century', p. 430

42 Ibid., p. 435

43 Ibid., p. 435

44 Karskens, Grace, The Colony: A History of Early Sydney (Crows Nest, Allen&Unwin, 2010).

45 Ibid.

46 Nicholas, Stephen, ed., Convict Workers: Reinterpreting Australia’s Past (Cambridge, CUP, 1988); Clare Anderson, ‘Transnational Histories of Penal Transportation: Punishment, Labour and Governance in the British Imperial World, 1787–1939’, Australian Historical Studies, 47:3 (2016), pp. 381–97; Nicholas, Stephen and Shergold, Peter, ‘Transportation as Global Migration’, in Convict Workers: Reinterpreting Australia’s Past, ed. Stephen Nicholas (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1988), pp. 28–61.

47 Collins, David, An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales (London, 1798), vol. 1, p. 66, p. 103.

48 On the way the law was implemented in the colony, see Kercher, Bruce, 'Perish or Prosper: The Law and Convict Transportation in the British Empire, 1700- 1850', Law and History Review, 21:3 (2003), pp. 527- 84.

49 'Letter of Governor King to Lord Hobart', 16 August 1804, in Historical Records of New South Wales, ed. Frank Murcott Bladen (Mona Vale, Lansdown Slattery, 1979), vol. 5, p. 366.

50 Court of Criminal Jurisdiction, Reports of Prisoners Tried, October 1816-February 1824, SRNSW X725.

51 'Newcastle was not a penitentiary of the panopticon mould. Its punishment regime—emphasising flogging rather than solitary reflection—was decidedly early modern and military in nature. Its extractive economy mirrored the labour regimes on the hulks, rather than the more gratuitous labour regimes emerging in metropolitan prisons.' In Ford, Lisa and Roberts, David Andrew, 'New South Wales Penal Settlements and the Transformation of Secondary Punishment in the Nineteenth-Century British Empire', in Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History, 15:3 (2014), ProjectMuse online access.

52 See Ford and Roberts, 'New South Wales Penal Settlements and the Transformation of Secondary Punishment in the Nineteenth-Century British Empire'; and Evans, Raymond, ‘19 June 1822: Creating “An Object of Real Terror”: The Tabling of the First Bigge Report’, in Turning Points in Australian History, eds. Martin Crotty and David Andrew Roberts (Sydney, University of New South Wales Press, 2009).

53 Roberts, David Andrew, '"A Sort of Inland Norfolk Island"?: Isolation, coercion and resistance on the Wellington Convict Station, 1823-26', Journal of Australian Colonial History 2:1 (2000), pp. 50-72.

54 Heinsen, J. L., 'Scandinavian Empires in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries', in Anderson, ed., A Global History of Convicts and Penal Colonies, pp. 97–122.

55 Gascoigne, Enlightenment and the Origins of European Australia, pp. 123-47.

56 Ford, Lisa and Roberts, David Andrew, 'Legal Change, Convict Activism and the Reform of Penal Relocation in Colonial New South Wales: The Port Macquarie Penal Settlement, 1822–26', Australian Historical Studies, 46:2 (2015), pp. 174-190, at p. 175.

57 Bigge, Thomas, 'Directions and Regulations for the Conduct of the New Settlements at Moreton Bay, Port Bowen, and Port Curtis', Report of the Commissioner of Inquiry into the State of the Colony of New South Wales (London, 1822), pp. 180-86; and Ford and Roberts, 'New South Wales Penal Settlements and the Transformation of Secondary Punishment in the Nineteenth-Century British Empire'.

58 See for example Maxwell-Stewart, Hamish, 'The Rise and Fall of John Longworth: Work and Punishment in Early Port Arthur', Tasmanian Historical Studies, 7 (1999), pp. 96-114.

59 See Reynolds, Henry, The Other Side of the Frontier: Aboriginal Resistance to the European Invasion of Australia (Sydney, University of New South Wales Press, 2006).

60 See Foucault, Michel, Discipline and Punish (New York, Random House, 1977), Ignatieff, Michael. A Just Measure of Pain: The Penitentiary in the Industrial Revolution (London, Macmillan, 1978), Morris, Norval and David J. Rothman, eds., The Oxford History of the Prison: The Practice of Punishment in Western Society (New York, NY, Oxford University Press, 1998) and Anderson, ed., A Global History of Convicts and Penal Colonies, p. 10.

61 Other notable research in the field include: De Vito, and Lichtenstein, eds., Global Convict Labour; Oxley, Convict Maids and Nicholas and Shergold, ‘Transportation as Global Migration’.

62 Other notable research in the field include: Damousi, Joy, Depraved and Disorderly: Female Convicts, Sexuality and Gender in Colonial Australia (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1997); Paton, ‘An “Injurious” Population: Caribbean-Australian Penal Transportation 
and Imperial Racial Politics’; Spierenburg, Pieter, The Prison Experience: Disciplinary Institutions and Their Inmates in Early Modern Europe (New Brunswick, NJ, Rutgers University Press, 1991); Evans, Raymond and Thorpe, Bill, ‘Frontier Transgressions: Writing a History of Race, Identity and Convictism in Early Colonial Queensland’, Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies 13:3 (1999), pp. 325–32; Oxley, Deborah, Convict Maids: The Forced Migration of Women to Australia (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1996); Reid, K. M., Gender, Crime and Empire: Convicts, Settlers and the State in Colonial Australia (Manchester, Manchester University Press, 2007).

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Anne Brunon-Ernst, « Introduction », Revue d’études benthamiennes [En ligne], 19 | 2021, mis en ligne le 30 janvier 2021, consulté le 11 mai 2021. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/etudes-benthamiennes/8979 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/etudes-benthamiennes.8979

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Anne Brunon-Ernst

Université Panthéon-Assas

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