A Deep Sense Of Wrong: The Treason, Trials and Transportation to New South Wales of Lower Canadian Rebels after the 1838 Rebellion

by Beverley Boissery, Independant Scholar. Published with Dundurn Press 1995.

In 1839, 58 men left Montreal for the penal colony of New South Wales. They were unimportant men outside their own parishes, ordinary people caught up in political events. Civilians, they were tried by court martial.Convicted of treason, their properties forfeited to the crown, they and their families paid a heavy price for rebellion. As convicts in Australia, they were the lowest of the low. But during their years there, they came to be respected by Sydney’s citizens. They are the only convicts sent to Australia who kept daily records of their experiences in 1840’s Sydney. A Deep Sense of Wrong shows the degradation of prison life and the triumph of the human spirit over overwhelming odds. Although the book offers serious analysis of the legal manipulations in the court martial, it is written for the non-expert who is interested in treason law or Quebec or Australian history.

Reviews of A Deep Sense Of Wrong: The Treason, Trials and Transportation to New South Wales of Lower Canadian Rebels after the 1838 Rebellion

Beverley Boissery’s retelling of this dramatic, perhaps even tragic tale of revenge and exile is effective and largely convincing.  Roger Hall, The Globe and Mail, February 17, 1996, p. C17.
Until now, the story of the exiled patriotes had never been fully told. A new book titled A Deep Sense of Wrong fills a surprising void.  Mark Abley, The Gazette (Montreal), February 12, 1996, p. A1.
A Deep Sense of Wrong is an intriguing account of an obscure episode which links two of the oldest members of the Commonwealth, as well as being a tribute to the hardihood and integrity of those simple souls who survived their clash with an alien authority. No facile read, this, but well worth the effort. David Wadham, Queensland Regional Chronicle, June 4, 1996.

Reviews have also appeared in the following publications:

  • Thomas D. Isern, American Review of Canadian Studies, Vol 28, 1998, p. 549.
  • Stephen Kenny, Canadian Historical Review, Vol 79, 1998, p. 156.
  • Jamie Benidickson, Ottawa Law Review, Vol 28, 1997, p. 460.
  • Gerry Turcotte, Law Text Culture, Vol 3, 1996, p. 261.
  • Mark Abley, Canadian Press NewsWire, 20 February 1996.
  • Mark Abley, Kingston Whig-Standard, 2 March 1996, p. 4.
  • Mark Abley, The Windsor Star, 29 February 1996, p. D12.
  • William Christian, The Toronto Star, 3 February 1996, p. L12.
  • B.M. Gough, Choice, Vol 30, 1996, p. 1710.
  • John Kalbfleisch, The Gazette (Montreal), 15 April 1996, p. A4.
  • Joseph Leydon, Canadian Book Review Annual, 1995, p. 271.
  • Stewart Muir, The Vancouver Sun, 13 April 1996, p. D16.
  • Chris Raible, The Beaver, Vol 76, 1996, p. 46.