… on landing we were drafted to Hyde Park Barracks, which formed the general depot at that time for receiving prisoners. The assignment or hiring-out system had then come into operation, and myself together with eighteen or nineteen of my companions in misery, were forwarded to different masters …
… we find ‘The Block’ thronged with this Botany Bay aristocracy, whose insufferable pretentions would be unbearable in the bluest blood to be found in ‘Debrett’, one cannot help reminding these gaudy tulips that they spring from very dirty roots.
The sly dexterity of the pickpocket; the brutal ferocity of the footpad; the more elevated career of the highwayman; and the deadly purpose of the midnight ruffian, is each strictly appropriate in the terms which distinguish and characterise it.
James Henry Vaux, despite being born in a respectable family and receiving a decent education which endowed him with his writing skills, appears to have had an almost a fatal attraction to crime.
Romany, a secret language used by the Gypsies on their arrival in England at the beginning of the sixteenth-century may have catalysed the popularity and adoption of the thieves’ cant.
…he was so indifferent about being punished with death that he used to declare if they should scrag him he would quiz them all, and show them some gig at the nubbing-cheat before he was turned off…
Considered vulgar and morally reprehensible by officers responsible for the colony’s administration, there is documented evidence of expressed intent for supressing or restricting its use.
The vocabulary landed in Australia along with some of the convicts from the First Fleet in early 1788.
Historical evidences indicate widespread use of the language within the convict population in the early days of the colony.
The sardonic, levelling humour that Australians still like to think their own was born of the convicts who, for instance, ironically appropriated the name "legitimate" for themselves.