The Economics of Body and Soul
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In 1789 a young unmarried Colchester woman called Martha Brown, with apparently no occupation, became the first English woman to be transported to the new colony of Australia. She was convicted of petty larceny.1 Her crime was stealing and carrying away a quantity of wheat and a threshing cloth from a butcher. It was September and these were Thomas Bennall’s gleanings. On 5 October she was tried for a second crime. Along with two brothers she was convicted of stealing carpentry equipment from the workshop of Nathaniel Barlow and Sons, Upholsterers. The news that Martha was being made an example of and transported to Botany Bay for seven years appeared on posters all over Colchester. Increasing numbers of lawless, unemployed poor women was one of the problems of late eighteenth-century urban life.
KeywordsEighteenth Century Single Woman Family Allowance Male Wage Family Budget
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