The transportation of English convicts to the American colonies in the eighteenth century was a judicial, cultural and social phenomenon. This study examines the way that thousands of convicts were sent from the regions when circuit judges and county authorities adopted the penalty after 1718. As transportation became more common, so did the necessity of organizing regular shipments to America. Every region developed a transatlantic traffic in convicts, thus creating a criminal Atlantic alongside that of slaves and servants. The print culture of the eighteenth century, particularly the exchange of news stories about crime, produced a common knowledge of convicts on both sides of the Atlantic. As some convicts escaped from the colonies and returned, so the myths and narratives of the failure of transportation grew. At the end of the colonial period, Americans railed against the British, their criminals, and the criminal behaviour of their politicians, while the British showed their contempt for the American 'race of convicts'.

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