Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Solomon, Isaac (Ikey) (1787–1850)

by R. C. Sharman

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 2, (MUP), 1967

Isaac (Ikey) Solomon (1787?-1850), convict and dealer, was born one of a family of nine children in Gravel Lane, Houndsditch, London. He married Ann, daughter of Moses Julian, coachmaster, of Aldgate. Solomon first had a shop at Brighton, but later opened what was ostensibly a jeweller's shop in Bell Lane, London, where he carried on business as a receiver of stolen goods.

In 1810 he was arrested for picking pockets, tried at the Old Bailey in conjunction with Joel Joseph and sentenced to transportation for life. Solomon went no farther than the hulks, where after three or four years he managed to escape from the hulk Zetland. He continued his business as a fence and achieved such notoriety that, when again arrested, three pamphlets containing highly exaggerated accounts of his criminal activity were published about him. At his arrest on 25 April 1827 he was charged with theft and receiving, the goods involved being 6 watches, 3½ yards (1.4 m) of woollen cloth, 17 shawls, 12 pieces of Valentia cloth, lace, bobbinet, caps and other articles. He was committed for trial and lodged in Newgate prison. On a writ of habeas corpus he was taken to the Court of King's Bench, but the application failed and he was led to a hackney coach to be conveyed back to Newgate. Unknown to his captors the coach was driven by Solomon's father-in-law, whom the turnkeys permitted to make a detour through Petticoat Lane. At a prearranged place some of Solomon's friends overpowered the guard and released him.

Solomon fled the country, going first to Denmark and then to the United States. A reward was offered for his capture and his wife was arrested for receiving stolen goods. Ann Solomon was sentenced to transportation for fourteen years. She had two grown-up sons, John and Moses, two younger sons aged 9 and 3, and two daughters aged 7 and 5. Ann was transported in the ship Mermaid and arrived at Hobart Town in June 1828 with her four youngest children. She was assigned as a servant to Richard Newman, an officer of police; her sons John and Moses migrated to Van Diemen's Land to live with her.

Solomon meanwhile moved to Rio de Janeiro whence he sailed in the Coronet to Hobart, travelling under the assumed name of Slowman. However, Hobart was the enforced home of many of his old colleagues and customers and he was soon recognized. He bought real estate in Hobart and opened a shop. Quarrels broke out in the Newman household, Mrs Solomon's assignment was revoked and she was placed in the Female House of Correction. Isaac applied to have his wife assigned to him. It was notorious that Solomon was a fugitive from justice, but Lieutenant-Governor (Sir) George Arthur could then do nothing to apprehend him because he had no warrant, although on 17 October 1828 he had written to the Colonial Office asking for one. After repeated requests had been made for Ann Solomon's release, Isaac entered into a £1000 bond to guarantee that she would not escape from the colony, and a number of local publicans and merchants, including John Pascoe Fawkner entered into sureties of £100 or £200 each. Arthur relented and allowed Mrs Solomon to be assigned to her husband.

When the Lady of the Lake arrived in Hobart in November 1829 it brought warrants for Solomon's arrest, and these were immediately executed. Solomon's counsel, however, had him brought before the court on a writ of habeas corpus and, because of a technical fault in the warrants from London, the application for his release was sustained by the Court. The judge fixed bail at £2000, with four sureties of £500, and Solomon's friends found it difficult to raise so much money. Arthur was in a dilemma, and finally issued a warrant in his own name against Solomon and had him placed in the Prince Regent for England.

Sydney and Hobart newspapers denounced the governor's refusal to abide by the principles of habeas corpus. Thomas Capon, the chief constable, was put in charge of his special prisoner because the master of the ship had refused to guarantee his safe arrival.

Solomon was tried at the Old Bailey on eight charges of receiving stolen goods, found guilty on two, and sentenced to transportation for fourteen years. He arrived at Hobart in the William Glen Anderson in November 1831 and was sent to Richmond gaol, where in 1832 he became a javelin man. In 1834 he was transferred to Port Arthur and in 1835 was granted a ticket-of-leave on condition that he lived at least twenty miles (32 km) from Hobart. He took up residence at New Norfolk and was reunited with his family, although the two elder sons seem to have left Van Diemen's Land by that time. His family had now become estranged from him and there were violent quarrels. Most of the children took their mother's part and he turned them out of his house. Mrs Solomon was sent to the Female House of Correction again as a result of some of these altercations, and her daughter Ann had to write numerous petitions before her mother was released in September 1835. The elder Ann Solomon was granted a ticket-of-leave in November 1835 and a conditional pardon in May 1840. Isaac lived apart from his wife after this, remaining in New Norfolk till 1838; he was living at New Town when in 1840 he was granted a conditional pardon. He received the certificate of his freedom in 1844.

Solomon died in September 1850 and was buried on the 3rd of that month. His estate did not exceed £70.

Select Bibliography

  • GO 2/5, 33/5-7 (Archives Office of Tasmania)
  • Executive Council 2/1 (Archives Office of Tasmania)
  • CSO 1/354/8078, 1/430/9642, 1/849/17494, 5/131/3131 (Archives Office of Tasmania)
  • convict records 31/39, 40/9 (Archives Office of Tasmania).

Citation details

R. C. Sharman, 'Solomon, Isaac (Ikey) (1787–1850)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/solomon-isaac-ikey-2678/text3743, published in hardcopy 1967, accessed online 26 July 2014.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 2, (MUP), 1967

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2014

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Slowman, Isaac
Birth

1787
London, England

Death

September 1850

Cultural Heritage
Occupation