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James Wright (1786–1825)

FRIDAY, MAY 27.—James Wright was indicted for the wilful murder of his wife, Mary Ann Wright, in the district of the Hawkesbury, on the 5th of February last. It appeared in evidence, that the improper conduct of the deceased had been a constant source of disquiet to the unfortunate man; and was eventually the cause of his committing the dreadful act, for which he stood his trial. He confessed to the Magistrate, after he was apprehended, that having had reason to suspect the deceased of an adulterous intercourse with a man named Cavanagh, he spoke to her on the subject, when she told him that—"he knew she had been common both before and since he married her, and that she would be so to any man she pleased"—in the unguarded impulse of the moment, he seized an axe which was at hand, and committed the dreadful act, which deprived the wretched victim of existence. He declared, that he had no desire to escape from justice, and only absconded for the purpose of gaining time to pray to God for forgiveness.—He was described by William Cox, Esq. a Magistrate at Windsor, who had known him for some years, to have been a quiet industrious man, somewhat irritable in temper, and of quick and sensitive feelings.–No defence being set up, the Jury returned a verdict, without retiring, of guilty.—Sentenced to die on Monday; on which day the unhappy but penitent man expiated his direful offence by the untimely forfeiture of his life. May such awful exits be attended with lasting benefits to that society which crime has thus ignominiously deprived of another member!

Original publication

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Wright, James (1786–1825)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 21 April 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]




23 May, 1825 (aged ~ 39)
Parramatta, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death


Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

Passenger Ship
Social Issues
Convict Record

Crime: unknown
Sentence: life