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NOTWITHSTANDING the terrible severity with which convicts were punished, crimes of every description were fearfully on the increase, in New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land, as the reader will perceive by consulting Sir William Molesworth’s Report of the Select Committee on



Transportation,' from pages 24 to 30, which contain tables of the various offences. “It would be difficult, indeed, to form a conception of the frightful degree of crime which the above tables express; suffice it to say, that they show that, in proportion to the respective population of the two countries, the number of convictions for highway robbery (including bush-ranging) in New South Wales, exceeds the total number of convictions for all offences in England; that rapes, murders, and attempts at murders are as common in the former, as petty larcenies in the latter country. In short, in order to give an idea of the amount of crime in New South Wales, let it be supposed that the 17,000 offenders, who last year were tried and convicted in this country for various offences, before the several courts of assize and quarter sessions, had all of them been condemned for capital crimes; that 7000 of them had been executed, and the remainder transported for life that in addition, 120,000 other offenders had been convicted of the minor offences of forgery, sheep




stealing and the like, then, in proportion to their respective populations, the state of crime and punishment in England and her Australian colonies would have been precisely the same.

It appeared, as Judge Burton observed, as if the main business of the community were either the commission or the punishment of crime; and as if the whole colony were in motion towards the several courts of justice.

Unnatural crimes were at this time fearfully on the increase, so much so that Captain Maconochie proposed that the “convict married women, whose husbands refused, after a given time, to join them, should become free to form new connexions." Captain Maconochie said he could prove “the expediency. of this proposition” by statements that would make the “ blood curdle."

One reason for the abolition, or rather suspension of transportation, which took place after the publication of the Report of the Molesworth Committee, was the great expense of the former system of transportation. Next to a hand on his

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throat, an Englishman feels a hand in his pocket; nor does it signify much whether it be the hand of the “Artful Dodger,” or the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

The cost of transportation from 1786 to 1837, was £848,519. The number of convicts transported to New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land, to the end of 1836, were 96,558. Their conveyance to those colonies

cost €28 head on an average ; and the expenses of their residence and punishment £54 a head; making a total of £82 a head.

The expenditure in the convict service, for the


year 1836-7, for New South Wales and Van

Diemen's Land, amounted to £488,013, but as the number of convicts increased, the cost per head decreased. There were 60,000 convicts in the colonies in 1836, and the cost that year, per head, was £6. 16s. There were 5475 persons transported the same year, at the cost of £13. 68.

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a head.

The Molesworth Report on Transportation con



cludes by recommending a discontinuance of the system of transportation which prevailed up to 1836. It makes special mention of the practice of assigning convicts to settlers; and says that as a punishment, it had the inherent defect of being as uncertain as the characters, tempers, and positions of employers could render it. The best-informed witnesses, examined by the committee, recommended that the male convicts should be chiefly employed in making roads, under the inspection of Government.

The consequence of the Report of the Select Committee on Transportation, published in 1838, was the abolition of transportation to New South Wales, by an Order of Council, bearing date the 20th May, 1840.

There can be little doubt that Archbishop Whately's speech in the House of Lords, had some effect in bringing about the abolition of transportation to New South Wales.

“Let it be remembered,” said Dr. Whately, that more than fifty years ago, when the schemes

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