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238

ARCHBISHOP WHATELY'S SPEECH.

measure.

of a penal colony were first set on foot, the illustrious Howard most earnestly deprecated the

He was not a man whom anyone would call an inexperienced speculator, setting up a theory in place of experience; yet it was in defiance of his deliberate judgment, of his solemn remonstrance, that the plan was adopted.” The Archbishop also referred to the authority of Lord Bacon, who gave his opinion against transportation in his time. “It is a shameless and unblessed thing, to take the scum of the people, and wicked condemned men, to be the people with whom you plant; and not only so, but it spoileth the plantation, for they will ever live like rogues, and not fall to work, but be lazy, and do mischief, and spend victuals."

This does not necessarily follow; and as they must live somewhere, the colonies, where labour is required, are best suited for them.

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The reader will bear in mind that by the Order of Council, dated May 20th, 1840, transportation was abolished in New South Wales only, and not in Van Diemen's Land.

But in this latter colony many important changes were introduced, which are fully described in Lord Stanley's despatch of the 25th of November, 1842. The following are the principal :

240

NEW CONVICT REGULATIONS.

1st. Prisoners convicted of the heaviest offences

to be sent to Norfolk Island.

2nd. Probation gangs to be sent to Van Die

men's Land.

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3rd. Probation passes to be divided into three classes, conferring different degrees of privileges.

4th. Tickets-of-leave in the colony.
5th. Pardons, conditional and absolute.

We learn from the despatch that “a course of meritorious or blameless conduct, in any one stage, should entitle the convict, in any future stage of punishment, to such a relaxation of the severity of his condition, as might be compatible with his continuance in it.

But, notwithstanding these improvements, arranged for in Lord Stanley's despatch of November, 1842, the accounts received from Hobart Town in 1846, of the degradation of the convicts, were anything but encouraging-indeed, so discouraging, that Mr. Gladstone, on the 7th of May, 1846, gave instructions to the Governor of New South Wales to provide a

TRANSPORTATION STOPPED.

241

new colony for convicts. We had swamped Van Diemen's Land with the number of convicts who had poured into it. In the five years from 1841 to 1845, we sent them an annual average of 3527 males, and 684 females-that is, 4211 convicts each year. The Governor of Van Diemen's Land reports in 1844, “ the difficulty of getting the pass-holders into service,” that they must, for want of labour, “either starve or

" steal.” For such a state of things there was but one effectual remedy-to stop transportation, at least for a time, to Van Diemen's Land.

The remedy was adopted by Sir George Grey. No convicts were transported there between February, 1848, and March, 1850. It appeared doubtful, at this time, whether transportation should be resumed ; and arrangements were made by Sir Joshua Jebb, for the probable contingency of reforming and absorbing our own criminal population.

But trausportation had to be resumed

after the end of two years.

VOL. II.

R

242

TRANSPORTATION RESUMED.

It appears from the following extract of a letter from Dr. Geddes, Surgeon-Superintendent of the Cornwall, convict ship, that there was anything but unanimity among the colonists of Van Diemen's Land, regarding the wisdom or necessity of sending convicts to that colony :

“On the 11th June, 1851, the Cornwall anchored off Hobart Town. We soon learned that petitions, to be forwarded to Her Majesty's government, praying that no further importation of convicts into the colony should take place, at that time being prepared. Some doubts were therefore entertained as to the kind of reception that might be experienced by the

men just arrived in the Cornwall.

“In the course of a few days from this date, an advertisement was inserted in the public papers, stating that the ticket-of-leave men on board the Cornwall, would, on a certain day, be ready to be hired by persons who might require their services.

were

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