John Capper was a staid, dependable functionary in the Home Office when, in 1815, he was appointed Superintendent of the Hulk Establishment. He had done some deskwork in connection with the reactivation of Dartmoor and was considered something of an expert on imprisonment. The consummate bureaucrat, Capper avoided, at all costs, moving forward with initiatives that might not be pleasing to his patrons in Parliament or others of the ruling class. And yet, in the beginning, he actually made some noteworthy improvements. Soon enough he was to run out of ideas and energy. Like all monolithic prison establishments, the hulks system had a life of its own. John Capper allowed it to rock along, undisturbed by him during the last twenty years of his thirty year tenure. In the meantime, the convicts continued to suffer the usual degradation and misery.