Imatges de pÓgina

a single horse and cart in making the road to Bathurst Plains. Was such labour worth five pounds ? And is it to be understood, that liberty is to be restored to any man who will do five pounds' worth of work in Australasia ? Is this comment upon transportation to be circulated in the cells of Newgate, or in the haunts of those persons who are doomed to inhabit them ?

• Another principle by which Governor Macquarrie has been guided in bestowing pardons and indulgences, is that of considering them as rewards for any particular labour or enterprise. It was upon this principle, that the men who were employed in working upon the Bathurst Road, in the year 1815, and those who contributed to that operation by the loan of their own carts and horses, or of those that they procured, obtained pardons, emancipations, and tickets of leave. To 39 men who were employed as labourers in this work, three free pardons were given, one ticket of leave, and 35 emancipations; and two of them only had held tickets of leave before they commenced their labour. Seven convicts received emancipations for supplying horses and carts for the carriage of provisions and stores as the party was proceeding ; six out of this number having previously held tickets of leave.

• Eight other convicts (four of whom held tickets of leave) received emancipations for assisting with carts, and one horse to each, in the transport of provisions and baggage for the use of Governor Macquarrie and his suite, on their journey from the river Nepean to Bathurst, in the year 1816; a service that did not extend beyond the period of five weeks, and was attended with no risk, and very little exertion.

• Between the months of January, 1816, and June, 1818, nine convicts, of whom six held tickets of leave, obtained emancipations for sending carts and horses to convey provisions and baggage from Paramatta to Bathurst, for the use of Mr. Oxley, the surveyor-general, in his two expeditions into the interior of the country And in the same period, 23 convict labourers and mechanics obtained emancipations for labour and service performed at Bathurst.

• The nature of the services performed by these convicts, and the inanner in which some of them were recommended, excited much surprise in the colony, as well as great suspicion of the purity of the channels through which the recommendations passed.' – Report, pp. 122, 123.

If we are to judge from the number of jobs detected by Mr. Bigge, Botany Bay seems very likely to do justice to the mother-country from whence it sprang. Mr. Redfern, surgeon, seems to use the public rhubarb for his private practice. Mr. Hutchinson, superintendent, makes a very comfortable thing of the assignment of convicts. Major Druit was found selling their own cabbages to Government in a very profitable manner; and many comfortable little practices of this nature are noticed by Mr. Bigge.

Among other sources of profit, the superintendent of convicts was the banker; two occupations which seem to be eminently compatible with each other, inasmuch as they afford to the superintendent the opportunity of evincing his impartiality, and loading with equal labour every convict, without reference to their banking accounts, to the profit they afford, or the trouble they create. It

appears, however (very strangely), from the Report, that the money of convicts was not always recovered with the same readiness it was received.

Mr. Richard Fitzgerald, in September, 1819, was comptroller of provisions in Emu Plains, storekeeper at Windsor, and superintendent of Government works at the same place. He was also a proprietor of land and stock in the neighbourhood, and kept a public house in Windsor, of which an emancipated Jew was the ostensible manager, upon whom f'itzgerald gave orders for goods and spirits in payment for labour on the public works. These two places are fifteen miles distant from each other, and convicts are to be watched and managed at both. It cannot be imagined that the convicts are slow in observing or following these laudable examples; and their conduct will add another instance of the vigilance of Macquarrie's government.

• The stores and materials used in the different buildings at Sydney are kept in a magazine in the lumber yard, and are distributed according to the written requisitions of the different overseers that are made during the day, and that are addressed to the storekeeper in the lumber yard. They are conveyed from thence to the buildings by the convict mechanics ; and no

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account of the expenditure or employment of the stores is kept by the overseers, or rendered to the storekeeper. It was only in the early part of the year 1820 that an account was opened by him of the different materials used in each work or building ; and in February, 1821, this account was considerably in arrear. The temptation, therefore, that is afforded to the convict mechanics who work in the lumber yard, in secreting tools, stores, and implements, and to those who work at the different buildings, is very great, and the loss to Government is considerable. The tools, moreover, have not latterly been mustered as they used to be once a month, except where one of the convicts is removed from Sydney to another station.'- Report, pp. 36, 37.

If it were right to build fine houses in a new colony, common sense seems to point out a control upon

the expenditure, with such a description of workmen. What must become of that country where the buildings are useless, the Governor not wise, the public the paymaster, the accounts not in existence, and all the artisans thieves ?

A horrid practice prevailed, of the convicts accepting a sum of money from the captain, in their voyage out, in lieu of their regular ration of provisions. This ought to be restrained by the severest penalties.

What is it that can be urged for Governor Macquarrie, after the following picture of the Hospital at Paramatta ? It not only justifies his recall, but seems to require (if there are means of reaching such neglect) his severe punishment.

The women, who had become most profligate and hardened by habit, were associated in their daily tasks with those who had very lately arrived, to whom the customs and practices of the colony were yet unknown, and who might have escaped the consequences of such pernicious lessons, if a little care, and a small portion of expense, had been spared in providing them with a separate apartment during the hours of labour. place of employment, the factory at Paramatta was not only very defective, but very prejudicial. The insufficient accommodation that it afforded to those females who might be well disposed, presented an early incitement, if not an excuse for, their resorting to indiscriminate prostitution; and on the evening of

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their arrival at Paramatta, those who were not deploring their state of abandonment and distress, were traversing the streets in search of the guilty means of future support. The state in which the place itself was kept, and the state of disgusting filth in which I found it, both on an early visit after my arrival, and on one preceding my departure; the disordered, unruly, and licentious appearance of the women, manifested the little degree of control in which the female convicts were kept, and the little attention that was paid to any thing beyond the mere performance of a certain portion of labour.' Report, p. 70.

It might naturally be supposed, that any man sent across the globe with a good salary, for the express purpose of governing, and, if possible, of reforming convicts, would have preferred the morals of his convicts to the accommodation of his horses. Let Mr. Bigge, a very discreet and moderate man, be heard upon these points.

Having observed, in Governor Macquarrie's answer to Mr. Marsden, that he justified the delay that occurred, and was still to take place, in the construction of a proper place of reception for the female convicts, by the want of any specific instructions from your Lordship to undertake such a building, and which he states that he solicited at an early period of his government, and considered indispensable, I felt it to be my duty to call to the recollection of Governor Macquarrie, that he had undertaken several buildings of much less urgent necessity than the factory at Paramatta, without waiting for any such indispensable authority; and I now find that the construction of it was announced by him to your Lordship in the year 1817, as then in his contemplation, without making any specific allusion to the evils which the want of it had so long occasioned; that the contract for building it was announced to the public on the 21st May, 1818, and that your Lordship's approval of it was not signified until the 24th August, 1818, and could not have reached Governor Macquarrie's hands until nearly a year after the work had been undertaken. It appears, therefore, that if want of authority had been the sole cause of the delay in building the factory at Paramatta, that cause would not only have operated in the month of March, 1818, but it would have continued to operate until the want of authority had been formally supplied. Governor Macquarrie, however, must be conscious, that after he had stated to Mr. Marsden in the year 1815, and with an appearance of regret, that the want of authority prevented him from undertaking the construction of a building of such undeniable necessity and importance as the factory at Paramatta, he had undertaken several buildings, which, though useful in themselves, were of less comparative importance; and had commenced, in the month of August, 1817, the laborious and expensive construction of his own stables at Sydney, to which I have already alluded, without any previous communication to your Lordship, and in direct opposition to an instruction that must have then reached him, and that forcibly warned him of the consequences.' Report, p. 71.

It is the fashion very much among the Tories of the House of Commons, and all those who love the effects of public liberty, without knowing or caring how it is preserved, to attack every person who complains of abuses, and to accuse him of gross exaggeration. No sooner is the name of any public thief, or of any tormentor, or oppressor, mentioned in that Honourable House, than out bursts the spirit of jobbing eulogium, and there is not a virtue under heaven which is not ascribed to the delinquent in question, and vouched for by the most irrefragable testimony. If Mr. Bennet or Sir Francis Burdett had attacked them, and they had now been living, how many honourable members would have vouched for the honesty of Dudley and Empson, the gentleness of Jeffries, or the genius of Blackmore? What human virtue did not Aris and the governor of Ilchester gaol possess? Who was not ready to come forward to vouch for the attentive humanity of Governor Macquarrie? What scorn and wit would it have produced from the Treasury Bench, if Mr. Bennet had stated the superior advantages of the horses over the convicts ?and all the horrors and immoralities, the filth and wretchedness, of the female prison of Paramatta ? Such a case, proved, as this now is, beyond the power of contradiction, ought to convince the most hardy and profligate scoffers, that there is really a great deal of occasional neglect and oppression in the conduct of public servants; and that, in spite of all the official praise, which is ever ready for the perpetrators of crime, there is a great deal of real malversation which should

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