THE CAUSES OF THE COMPARATIVE FAILURE
IN THE AUSTRALIAN COLONIES:
FOR ENSURING ITS FUTURE EFFICIENCY IN SUBSERVIENCY
TO EXTENSIVE COLONIZATION.
BY JOHN DUNMORE LANG, D.D.
PRINCIPAL OF THE AUSTRALIAN COLLEGE, AND SENIOR MINISTER OF THE
CHURCH OF SCOTLAND IN NEW SOUTH WALES.
A. J. VALPY, RED LION COURT, FLEET STREET;
BELL AND BRADFUTE, EDINBURGH.
PRINTED BY A. J. VALPY,
RED LION COURT, FLEET STREET.
The following work was written at sea, in the course of the Author's last voyage from New South Wales to London, towards the close of the year 1836. Its main object is to point out to His Majesty's government, to members of parliament, and to the British public generally, the absolute necessity of some immediate and extensive change in the regulation and management of the transportation system in the Australian colonies, as also the means of effecting such a change without entailing any additional expense on the mother country, through the judicious application of the land-revenues of these colonies to the purpose for which they were originally destined; viz. in promoting an immediate and extensive emigration of virtuous and industrious families and individuals from Great Britain and Ireland to the colonial territories. Such an emigration would prove a seasonable relief at the present moment to those districts of the mother country, of which the inhabitants (as, for instance, those of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland) are at present suffering extreme destitution, from the want of employment and the want of subsistence. But it would also prove a measure of the soundest policy, both in regard to the future efficiency of transportation as a species of punishment, and to the moral welfare of the free inhabitants of the Australian colonies. And when such a measure can be carried into effect, entirely with colonial funds and without increasing the public burdens of the nation, it is earnestly to be desired that the vigour and decision which alone are requisite on the part of His Majesty's government to carry it into operation may not be a wanting. For nothing less than a speedy, or rather an immediate, and extensive emigration of virtuous and industrious families and individuals from the mother country to the Australian colonies can possibly relieve these colonies from the baneful effects of past mismanagement, in regard to the treatment of transported criminals; or ensure to them a reputable moral character and a healthy tone of society for the future.
In regard to the particular part of the mother country, from which it would be desirable to effect an extensive emigration to the Australian colonies, with the view of exerting a salutary moral influence on the present colonial population, as well as of improving the condition of the emigrants themselves, it should be borne in mind, that as all convicts from Ireland,—of whom ninety-five per cent are uniformly Roman Catholics, and consequently from the southern parts of that island,—have hitherto been sent exclusively to New South Wales, an extensive emigration from that portion of the united kingdom to the Australian colonies would infallibly give so decided a preponderance to the " and " elements of their actual population, as might hereafter most injuriously affect the peace and prosperity of the colonies. For as the leading Roman Catholics of New South Wales inform us that their communion already comprises not less than one-third of the whole colonial population, and as it is notorious that at least nineteen-twentieths of the Roman Catholics of that colony consist of convicts and emancipated convicts and their children—chiefly from the southern parts of Ireland;—it is evident that New South Wales, as a British colony, stands peculiarly in need of a free emigrant population of such a character as to neutralize and counteract, and not to increase and aggravate, the peculiar tendencies and characteristics of the south of Ireland population. There are other British colonies, to which the superabundance of that population may be sent with great benefit to all parties and with entire safety; but every intelligent person will surely allow that it ought not to be sent to that colony in particular which has been the general and exclusive receptacle for all the expatriated "Terry Alt and Whiteboyism" of Ireland for the last forty years.
A free emigrant population of such a character as that of the Highlanders and Islanders of Scotland is, both morally and politically speaking, the sort of population which is peculiarly required in the present circumstances and condition of the colony of New South Wales. And surely it would be no act of injustice in itself, as it would decidedly be an act of justice as well as of the best policy towards the colony, to appropriate a large portion of the available colonial funds in carrying out as many thousands of the virtuous and industrious inhabitants of that part of the united kingdom to New South Wales, as would equal in number the thousands of convicts that have been already carried out to that colony, entirely at the cost of the British public, from the southern parts of Ireland.
As a large portion, therefore, of the inhabitants of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland are at present supplicating for relief under the pressure of alarming destitution, and as the friends and well-wishers of that interesting portion of the inhabitants of the united kingdom uniformly point to emigration as the only means of permanent relief; it is earnestly to be desired that His Majesty's government will act in the matter with all the vigour and decision which the case so imperatively requires; as in so doing, they will infallibly promote the best interests of the Australian colonies, as well as those of the mother country.
- London, 24th March, 1837.
|Sketch of the origin and history of the Transportation system||1|
|Statement of some of the advantages of Transportation, as a species of punishment||17|
|Transportation to the American colonies before the War of Independence, contrasted with the system pursued in the Australian settlements||35|
|First cause of the comparative failure of the Transportation system in the Australian colonies,—the want of a sufficiently numerous free emigrant population||56|
|Second cause of the comparative failure of the Transportation system,—the unlimited importation and consumption of ardent spirits in the Australian colonies||76|
|Third cause of the comparative failure of the Transportation system,—the gradual relaxation of penal discipline||89|
|Fourth cause of the comparative failure of the Transportation system,—the facilities for acquiring wealth and influence enjoyed by emancipated convicts in the Australian colonies||97|
|Fifth cause of the comparative failure of the Transportation system in the Australian colonies,—the transportation of educated convicts||101 |
|Suggestions for ensuring the future efficiency of Transportation as a species of punishment.—Changes in the system to be effected in England||115|
|The discontinuance of the assignment system expedient and practicable||124|
|The practicability of obtaining free labour from the mother country, to the full extent required in New South Wales||135|
|The practicability of employing transported convicts at government labour exclusively, without increasing the expense of Transportation to the mother country||156|
|Illustration of the facility with which a large number of convicts could be permanently and profitably employed in forming locations for free emigrant settlers||168|
|A third mode of employing convicts at government labour on the Australian continent||194|
|Officers required for carrying into effect the new system of management proposed||203|
|The extent to which emigration to New South Wales is at present practicable under the land-selling system, with remarks on the value of that system to the mother country as well as to the colony||210|