Poet on the Eliza

Further evidence has recently come to light which suggests that MacNamara's conduct during the trial may have resulted in a more severe sentence than he would otherwise have received. James Gordon, an officer on the Eliza, was evidently impressed by the poet's talents but believed that he had used them to his own detriment. On 18 June 1832, when the Eliza was about four weeks out of Cove, Gordon recorded in his log:

Today gave MacNamara (one of the convicts) 2 dozen [lashes] for bad conduct. This fellow is a sad scamp and yet far above the common herd in some respects. He has considerable abilities, has written some very palpable lines on his trial and sentence since he came on board and has a very extensive knowledge of the Scriptures. He it appears was tried for a very slight offence but his conduct on his trial was so bad that he was transported for 7 years. He recited a mock heroic poem of his own composing in which he ridiculed judge jury and other officers of the Court that had tried him. This of course enhanced his offence and added to his punishment.

We also know from the journal of Thomas Bell, surgeon and superintendent of convicts, that Frank MacNamara was treated three times for constipation during the voyage and that he was listed as one of the Protestant convicts to whom religious tracts were distributed.

Bob Reece, Exiles from Erin, 1991, p. 157