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government clearing-gangs, and to distribute them among the colonists. The Australian Agricultural Company alone have taken one hundred and twenty, which were all that could be supplied, and they will gladly receive more into their employ whenever they can get them.
Such being the demand for the labour of these people, it is to be hoped that the public will, hereafter, be relieved from any further expense on account of the convicts, except that of sending them out, which appears to be on an average about 301.
head, Whatever arguments may be advanced, as to the dubious policy of transporting felons, one thing is at least certain that in so far as their own condition is concerned, it is incomparably better, morally and physically, than the lot of those offenders who are condemned to work out their time in the hulks. The former, when the term of their servitude is over, if their conduct has been good, mix at once in the mass of the people, and rise, according to their own subsequent efforts and merits, in the scale of society; but where shall the latter find a place to subsist in, with a blasted character, among a superabundant population, a great part of whose honest labourers cannot find employment? 'Every rogue,' says Mr. Cunningham, whom you retain at home to labour, takes the bread out of the mouth of an honest man; as long, therefore, as England cannot keep her honest poor, so long will it be her interest to turn all her roguish poor out from her bosom, to thieve or work elsewhere.'. In the present state of the country, the soundness of this doctrine will not, we think, be denied. The main question seems to be this: whether it is better to get rid of a convicted felon, for life, at the expense of 301., or, after extorting from him a forced labour of a few years, at the cost of half that sum every year, to turn him loose again on society, to find his way, in all probability, either to the gallows or to the workhouse? It is a question well deserving the serious consideration of the government. There are, at this moment, upwards of four thousand convicts on board the hulks, employed in the dock-yards and on other public works, at an annual expense of at least 60,000l., the whole of whom, we believe, must be turned loose on society within the short period of seven years.
Besides, if, according to our author's doctrine, these four thousandrogues' take the bread out of the mouths of four thousand honest poor,' another 60,000l. must be required for the support of the latter from parish funds.
To send them out to New South Wales, where, like their predecessors, they would, many of them at least, become good citizens, might cost the public about twice that sum, but there all further expense would cease.
The two colonies of New South Wales and Van Dieman's Land would, it appears certain, at once absorb this number of fresh convicts. If the two great agricultural companies, and the ordinary settlers, could not receive the whole, the remainder might usefully be employed in clearing and preparing the ground at the new settlements of King George's Sound, Port Western, and Moreton Bay. Encouragement to good conduct might be given by assigning grants of land, in these new and distant settlements, to such of the convicts as might be deemed deserving of superior indulgence. A practice prevails in the colony which enables a poor man to stock his little farm at a cheap rate; let him only be able to purchase a cow or two, and a few ewes, he has the advantage of putting them out to graze with some extensive landholder, who requires only one-third of their produce for the care and food bestowed on them. Such a regulation is particularly advantageous to the convicts, few of whom, we learn from Mr. Cunningham, are sent out without money or money's worth—the unholy products of their illegal practices; and even those who have nothing to look to but what they earn from their labour, or the saving of their rations, may soon be in a situation to purchase a few sheep and horned cattle, which, at the expiration of their term of servitude, will be found sufficiently increased to stock the little farm allotted to them.
In point of fact, the emancipated convicts have, in many respects, the advantage of the poorer class of emigrants. Many of them actually do save a little money by labouring for the settlers at task and job work; they are acquainted with the people and their
way of life; inured to the climate and the soil; know where to select the most productive spots ; while the new settler, after spending a great part of his little property in implements, furniture, and passage money, has to consult persons in Sydney, generally not of the first character, who have no scruple, it would seem, about taking advantage of the ignorance or the simplicity of the new comer, so that a great part of his money is gone before he gets possession of the grant of land on which he is to be located. Mr. Cunningham recommends the co-operation of three or more individuals : thus six individuals, for instance, with 100l. each in their pockets on arrival, willing and able to work, would soon form a comfortable asylum for themselves; while the same persons, each acting separately with his own hundred pounds, would make but a bad hand of it. By the regulations of granting land, the joint-stock capital of 500l. would procure a square mile, or 640 acres. Mr. Cunningham gives an amusing account of what a new settler is likely to encounter in his search for a suit
able place of location, which, as it affords a favourable specimen of the writer's style and manner, we hesitate not to extract, for the amusement of our readers :
' A horse, with canvas bags for changes of clothes, &c. slung over ehind the saddle, with a blanket under to wrap yourself up in at night, and a light cord round the horse's neck to tether him by, furnish your personal equipment while upon this quest; and if pushing into a country at a distance from settlers, a pack-horse with provisions ought to accompany you. A steady white man who is a good bush-ranger, and a black native, complete your train. The note of the bell-bird, tinkling like a dull sheep-bell, announces in our drouthy wilds the welcome presence of water (a very useful thing to know); and toward this sound you may confidently proceed.
• The settlers are generally hospitably disposed, and in these jaunts you are always welcome to such fare and such accommodation as they have it in their power to give. A tinder-box, or powder-flask, conjures up a fire when you bivouac in the forest; while a few slips of bark, peeled from a tree, shelter you from the cold and wet;—and with a good fire at your feet, and a tin of hot tea before retiring to rest, you may sleep comfortably enough. Your muskets will furnish you with birds of various kinds ;-and with a brace of good grayhounds you will never lack kangaroos and emus; so that your bush-fare is a true sportman's feast. You meet with some adventures probably both to astonish and alarm you, but these mostly end in your amusement. If you should hear a coach-whip crack behind, you may instinctively start aside to let the mail pass; but quickly find it is only our native coachman with his spread-out fan-tail and perked-up crest, whistling and cracking out his whiplike notes as he hops sprucely from branch to branch. Neither must you be astonished on hearing the razor-grinder ply his vocation in the very depths of our solitudes; for here he is a flying instead of a walking animal, and consequently can very readily shift his station. On seating yourself comfortably by the fire of one of our backwoodsmen, your attention may probably be arrested by a heavy foot-tread approaching the door, followed by the heavier souse of a load tossed down at the entrance; and pricking up your ear at the observation of “Good Lord! what a whapper! where did you meet with that old fellow ?" you hear a gruff grumbling voice reply,“ Why I had a tightish job on't wi' the ould boy; he took a good many thumps on the head before I could do for'un.' Confounded at the meaning of this conversation, you bend your eyes with anxious gaze towards the door, which slowly opening, 'a desperate-looking ruffian, habited in a huge hairy cap and shaggy kangaroo-skin jacket, dappled thickly with blood, stalks solemnly across the floor, casting a grunting sort of recognition to each person around, and while teasing out the tobaccoleaf to charge his pipe, relates with the most cool, villanous indifference that he has been fortunate enough to kill an old man as he came along, whose hind quarters he had just brought with him to make steaks of for supper ! ending his horrible recital with a significant glance at you,
while drawling out through his husky throat, “ It will be a treat to the gemman, as he is a new comer!" You begin to fancy you have got into a den of cannibals, and that you are doomed to join in their horrible repast, or perhaps be broiled yourself in event of refusal! To your great relief, however, the “ old man” turns out to possess the appendage of a tail, and is in fact no other than one of our old acquaintances, the kangaroos !'-vol.ii. p. 157-160.
The kangaroo is one of the principal objects of the several hunts, and if there be a pond or river, he never fails betaking himself to it, as the only place in which he can successfully give battle to the dogs.
• From the great length of their hind legs and tail, they are enabled to stand on the firm bottom, while the dogs are obliged to swim, and in this way a fight between a large kangaroo and a pack of dogs affords a most amusing spectacle. The kangaroo stands gravely upright, with his fore-paws spread out before him, wheeling round and round, to ward off his assailants, and whenever one arrives within reach, he pounces his paws upon him, and sousing him suddenly under, holds him fast in this position, gazing all the while around with the most solemn simpleton sort of aspect, heedless of the kicking and sprawling of his victim, whom he quickly puts an end to, if some courageous colleague does not in good time advance to aid, and force the kangarvo to let his half-drowned antagonist bob above water again, who paddles forthwith toward shore, shaking his ears and looking most piteously, with no inclination to venture in a second time, notwithstanding all the halloos and cheerings with which you urge him.'-vol. i.
pp. 314, 315. Of this singular quadruped, peculiar, as most other living beings are, man not excepted, nor the vegetable creation neither, to New Holland and Van Dieman's Land, Mr. Cunningham mentions seven different known species or varieties; the forest kangaroo, the red kangaroo, the wallaroo, all of the largest kind : then, as next in point of size, there is the wallabee and the paddymalla; the two smallest being the kangaroo-rat and the rock kangaroo. These singular creatures have now disappeared from the neighbourhood of Sydney, but they abound in all the interior parts of the country. At Sir John Jameson's, on the Hawkesbury, is a tame one, of which our author gives the following amusing account:
One of the largest tame kangaroos I have seen in the country is domiciliated here, and a mischievous wag he is, creeping and snuffing cautiously towards a stranger, with such an innocently expressive countenance, that roguery could never be surmised to exist under it,-when, having obtained, as he thinks, a sufficient introduction, he claps his forepaws on your shoulders (as if to caress you), and raising himself suddenly upon his tail, administers such a well-put
push with his hind legs, that it is two to one but he drives
heels over head!
This is all done in what he considers facetious play, with a view of giving you a hint to examine your pockets, and see what bon bons you have got for him, as he munches cakes and comfits with epicurean gout; and if the door is ajar, he will gravely take his station behind your chair at meal-time, like a lackey, giving you an admonitory kick every now and then, if you fail to help him as well as yourself.'-vol. i. p. 104.
A word or two on the original 'natives of New South Wales, and we have done. That these poor creatures are among the lowest, if not the very lowest, in the scale of human beings, the simple facts of their having no fixed habitation, no domestic animal of any description for food, and of their never having planted a tree or put a seed into the ground, are quite decisive. The Hottentot and the Kaffer have cattle in abundance, build for themselves comfortable huts, and scatter a few seeds of gourds and millet in the ground. The New Zealander does the same. The Eskimaux have their huts, and storehouses, in which they lay up provisions for the long, dark, and dreary winter months. The negro supports himself by agriculture; but the Australian native makes no provision for a future day: he trusts to his spear for the support of himself and his family, whether it be to procure fish or kangaroos, and when these fail he has recourse to oysters, limpets, and other shell-fish on the coast, or the bitter roots of fern and other vegetables. Such precariousness of subsistence will sufficiently account for the scanty population on the sea-coasts of this great country, and, as far as discoveries have yet gone, it is still more scanty in the interior. Yet, degraded as they are, it is agreed on all hands that these aborigines are a shrewd, intelligent race of men, capable of being instructed in mental acquirements, and in arts that require manual dexterity. It would appear, therefore, but a bad compliment to the colonists, for we see no indication of an intractable or invincible brutality on the part of these savages,--that they are found, in the thirty-eighth year, prowling about the streets of Sydney, stark naked, or lying drunk in corners, or stopping strangers as they pass along, teasing, and begging from them money, spirits, or tobacco, and, if refused, insulting and abusing them in language more gross than the grossest Billingsgate. No doubt it happens here as everywhere else, that the poor savage, whose happiness consists in excitement, becomes an easy prey to the debasing and destructive effects of spirituous liquors and tobacco, the excessive indulgence in which leads, in the end, to the extirpation of his race; and while this state of things continues, we appre