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Title: The Felonry of New South Wales
Author: James Mudie
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Language: English
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Title: The Felonry of New South Wales
Author: James Mudie
















Printed for the Author, by Whaley and Co., Holywell St.,
and sold by all booksellers.




To all Members of both Houses of Parliament, of upright and honourable
feelings and principles, and of whatsoever political party, this Work is
most respectfully inscribed, by


London, 28th Feb., 1837.



THE object of the writer of the following pages is to lay before the
British public, and more especially the legislature and the government,
a faithful picture of the present state of New South Wales, as regards
its social, moral, and political condition, particularly considering it
as a penal settlement; with the tendency of the line of policy
pursued by its present governor, Major-general Sir Richard Bourke, as to
the treatment of the convict population and the entire felonry
of the colony, and the mighty influence, either for good or evil, which
the mode of treating the convicts must necessarily exercise over the
interests and welfare of the free and reputable settlers,--over the
morals of the entire community,--over the tranquillity of the colonial
society,--and, emphatically, over the state of crime in Great Britain
herself, whose criminals must be either emboldened or discouraged in
proportion as they view transportation to a penal settlement as a
punishment more or less severe.

The author has ventured to coin the word felonry, as the appellative
of an order or class of persons in New South Wales,--an order which
happily exists in no other country in the world. The major part of the
inhabitants of the colony are felons now undergoing or felons who have
already undergone their sentences. They occupy not only the station of
the peasantry and labourers in other civilized communities, but
many--very many--of them are also, as respects their wealth or their
pursuits, in the condition of gentry, or of dealers, manufacturers,
merchants, and lawyers or other members of the liberal professions.
Hitherto there was no single term that could be employed to designate
these various descriptions of persons, who now bear the denominations of
"convicts" and "ticket-of-leave-men;" as also, "emancipists," (as they
are absurdly enough called), who again are subdivided into
"conditionally pardoned convicts," "fully pardoned convicts," and
"expirees," or transported felons whose sentences have expired; together
with "runaway convicts," subdivided into "absentees," (a name foolish
for its mildness), and "bushrangers." The single term, the felonry
(which comprehends all these descriptions of the criminal population),
though new, is evidently a legitimate member of the tribe of
appellatives distinguished by the same termination, as peasantry,
tenantry, yeomanry, gentry, cavalry, chivalry, &c. The author has the
honour of especially presenting it to the gentlemen emancipists,
alias, the emancipated felons of the colony, by whom he has no doubt it
will be received with most peculiar approbation and delight, inasmuch as
it not only expresses--and elegantly expresses--their place in society,
but as it raises their caste (with all the beauty and fashion of the
felonry of New South Wales, whether sparkling in silks and jewels at
the theatre and the ball, or dashing four-in-hand to the races at
Parramatta, or over the glittering and crowded "drive" to Bellevue
Point, on the South Head Road, not more romantic by the magnificence of
its natural scenery than by the living splendours of its rich and
animated felonry), to the dignity of an order in the commonwealth.

In gratulating himself, as well as the colony, on this felicitous
invention, the author, before the fervor of critical accuracy and
fastidiousness subsides, begs leave to record his protest against the
abuse of language in the misapplication in the terms emancipists and
absentees to two portions of the colonial felonry. An emancipist
could not be understood to mean the emancipated, but the emancipator.
Mr. Wilberforce may be honoured with the title of emancipist; but it is
as absurd to give the same appellation to the emancipated felons of New
South Wales as it would be to bestow it upon the emancipated negroes of
the West Indies.

The ludicrous and affected philanthropy of the present governor of the
colony, in advertising runaway convicts under the soft and gentle name
of absentees,(4) really unaccountable, unless we suppose it possible
that his excellency, as a native of Ireland, and as having a strong and
well-grounded Hibernian antipathy to his absentee countrymen, uses the
term as one expressive both of the criminality of the absentee, and of
his own abhorrence of the crime. To be serious, however, the calling
runaway convicts, who must necessarily resort to the most desperate
crimes,--always to robbery, and often to murder,--the calling these
ruffians by the name which is used to designate the nonresident nobility
and gentry of Ireland, is much worse than merely ridiculous. It can
serve but one good end; and that is, to prepare the reader for the
exposure of the convict-propensities of the present colonial government,
which it is the principal design of this volume to accomplish.




IT is notorious, that, during the administration of several successive
governors of New South Wales, transportation to that colony was so far
from being regarded as a severe punishment by the major part of the
criminals in England, that numerous avowals have been made by convicts
of their having actually committed the crimes for which they were tried,
for the express purpose of being sent out to a land of promise, in
which the transported felon is assured of abundant subsistence for the
exertion, and even without the exertion, of easy toil, and in which it
is no uncommon thing for him rapidly to acquire even great wealth, or to
find himself in easy and independent circumstances, long before the
expiry of the time prescribed by sentence of the law for the duration of
his punishment.

Nothing, certainly, can be more subversive of the original design of the
British government in founding the penal settlement of New South Wales,
than the prevalence of such an idea as that which has just been stated.

During the wise and vigorous, though temperate as well as just
government of General Sir Ralph Darling, and also during a portion of
the regenerating government of General Sir Thomas Brisbane, it is true
that so mischievous a notion of the state of penal discipline in the
colony, was in some degree eradicated from the minds of the criminals of
Great Britain.

From the new measures and principles of government, however, which are
acted upon by the present Governor, Major General Bourke, and which are
advocated and maintained, and legally enforced, by the chief justice of
the colony, by a portion of the Governor's council, and by a servile
police magistracy, there is, more than ever, reason to dread that the
penalty of transportation to New South Wales will altogether cease to
operate as a preventive of crime in the mother country, as the same
principles and measures have already loosened the bonds of subordination
within the colony itself, and have inflamed the malignant feelings of
the convicts against the laws and the peaceful settlers who are their
immediate employers, and against all that is praiseworthy, independent,
and virtuous, in the land which is doomed to be the scene of the
difficult and dangerous experiment of their mingled punishment and

The writer of these pages emigrated with his family to New South Wales
in 1822, and remained in the colony till March, 1836. It is after a
residence of fourteen years, therefore, in a colony established within
the last half century, that he presumes himself competent to throw some
light upon its internal polity and management. It is after having
established and successfully conducted one of the largest agricultural
concerns in the country, under all the trying difficulties and
incalculable disadvantages of the first settlers on the river Hunter, at
a distance of one hundred and forty miles from, and with more than one
hundred miles of the trackless bush or forest wild interposed between
his allotted dwelling-place and the seat of the colonial government,
that he thinks he is capable of advising the measures best calculated to
insure the security and promote the prosperity of the free settlers, and
consequently to facilitate the accomplishment of all the objects and
purposes for which the colony was founded. It is after having been one
of the most extensive employers of convict labourers in the colony, and
after having been in the commission of the peace during several years as
a magistrate for the territory, that he considers he is bound to state
his knowledge of the nature and character of the convict population, and
fearlessly to express his opinions as to the treatment to which they
should be subjected, with the view of accomplishing the threefold object
of their transportation, namely: a sufficient degree of strictness of
discipline (if severity be too harsh a word) to render the sentence of
transportation rather a punishment than a reward for the perpetration of
the crimes of which they have been convicted; a sufficient degree of
subjection to the will and power of their immediate masters, and of the
laws, to enable them to be coerced to the performance of an amount of
labour adequate to their own maintenance, and to a reasonable profit upon
their employment, for the benefit of their employers and of the colony
at large; and, a sufficient amount of moral restraint and religious
impression to afford a prospect of reclaiming them from the depraved
appetites and vicious courses, the indulgence and pursuit of which are
the sole causes of their being subjected to the extraordinary
circumstances in which they are placed. It is after having suffered most
seriously in his own pecuniary interests, and after having been deeply
wounded as an employer of convicts, as a magistrate for the colony, and
as a gentleman, through the mistaken views and fatal acts and measures
of the present colonial government as affecting the convict population,
and its oppression of the independent magistrates who dared to differ
from its ruinous and anarchical policy, that the author has returned to
England not alone to complain at the bar of public opinion of his own
wrongs and grievances, but to denounce to the British people, the
parliament, and the king, with a warning and prophetic voice, the
anti-penal, anti-social, and anti-political system now practised in New
South Wales, and which, if persisted in, must inevitably reduce that
valuable and important colony to the wretchedness of unbridled crime and
lawless anarchy, and result, sooner or later, in its violent and
sanguinary separation from the empire.

While the author is fully convinced of the certainty of the grounds on
which these opinions are formed, and feels assured that he is able to
establish them by the statement of facts and the production of
documentary and other evidence in his possession, he nevertheless
approaches his subject with a full sense of the delicacy and caution
necessary to be observed in commencing its discussion.

The population of New South Wales, in its constituent parts, forms a
community essentially differing, morally, legally, and politically, from
any other community in the world. The principles, therefore, which are
applicable to the government of any other civilized community, are
not applicable to the government of this colony. Although the
population is entirely British in its numerical and physical
construction, yet is more than one moiety of it un-British in social
and civilized spirit, and in moral feeling and character. A very large
proportion of the population, indeed, consists of branches lopped for
their rottenness from the tree of British freedom, venerable for its
grandeur and its antiquity, whom the outraged soil of England,
shuddering at their crimes, has expelled, and whom she has with just
abhorrence cast forth from her shores, to expiate, upon the waste of
waters, and in the toils of creating a new world for their posterity,
those offences which placed the very lives of the majority of them at
her mercy, and which they are only permitted to enjoy through her

The question, therefore, of the principles upon which the government of
New South Wales should be conducted, is not one of ordinary polity. It
cannot be investigated or determined by any admitted rules or
established laws. The community of England, though composed of persons
of different degrees of rank, constitutes, nevertheless, but one
society,--one community,--in which all the members, with the
exception of a few privileges conferred upon the highest order, enjoy
equal rights and advantages, none of which can be wrested from them but
as forfeitures for the commission of crime. The peculiar privileges of
the aristocracy are accurately defined by the law. They are of such a
nature, too, that, though they give authority and consideration in the
state, they confer upon them no power or advantages over the persons or
the property of their compatriotes, as individuals and as their fellow
subjects. The law exerts itself equally for the protection, and for the
punishment, of all. The meanest individual is as secure in his
possessions as is the monarch of his crown. That which is a crime in the
poorest and most humble subject, is also a crime in the proudest and
most powerful peer of the realm. The law knows no distinctions, and is
equally dealt out to all ranks. The enlargement of civil rights in such
a community is, therefore, an enlargement of the civil rights of the
entire people,--in which all the people are entitled to expect and to
demand equal participation, because of their unity as a people, and
of their equality in the eye of the law.

Another and very different state of society, it is true, arose in the
West India colonies of England, in each of which there existed two
castes, viz. a caste of English freemen, and a caste of negro
slaves,--the latter being entirely dependent upon, and their very
persons the property of the former. But this condition of things, so
incongruous with the genius of British liberty, was avowedly founded in
injustice, and maintained only by oppression and force. It was the
authority of the strong over the weak. The rights assumed and exercised
by the whites were the rights of conquest and of the sword,--or, still
worse, the rights of secret and treacherous, or of open and undisguised
robbery and rapine. The negroes had forfeited no allegiance to the crown
of England,--had violated no British law to which they were
amenable,--had given no provocation which could afford even the pretext
of just vengeance in palliation of their enthralment.

In their violated persons the common rights of human nature and the
plainest principles and most manifest dictates of justice, had been
lawlessly trampled under foot. These facts formed the rock upon which
the advocates for the abolition of negro slavery founded their arguments
and claim,--the rock which assured them of and obtained for their their
ultimate triumph. To the unfortunate negroes nothing was granted but
strict justice,--nothing but the restoration of rights of which they had
been unjustly deprived. Their condition had been an anomaly in the
phenomena of the British empire. Their emancipation renders the society
of the West India colonies, as far as it is now possible, or at least
practicable, analogous to the society of England,--an analogous
condition which ought always to have existed, and which could continue
to be withheld only by the continuance of injustice.

In the colony of New South Wales, there are also two castes:--

First, a caste of free emigrant settlers, voluntarily seeking therein
the advancement of their own views and interests,--by the exertion of
their enterprise and capital promoting the interests of the colony at
large,--and entitled, as free and untainted British subjects, to all the
rights, privileges, and immunities which can be conferred upon them
consistently with the accomplishment of the peculiar purposes for which
this colony was founded and is maintained, and consistently with its
well-being and its security as a dependency of Great Britain. As
voluntary exiles to the country of their adoption, to which they have
not been compulsorily sent, but to which they have freely gone,
even they are bound to modify their expectations, and their rights are
necessarily restrained and limited, by the considerations which have
just been stated.

It is incumbent upon both the governors and the governed continually to
remember and take into account the peculiarities of the social
constitution of the colony. If there be any thing inherent in that
constitution which necessarily involves a state of things repugnant to
their preconceived notions of government, on the one hand, or of the
rights of British subjects, on the other, they should remember that
things which would be unconstitutional in England, are strictly,
essentially, and inevitably constitutional in the colony. They ought
not, therefore, either to undertake the government of such a colony, or
to become subject to its regulations and laws, without first adapting
their inclinations, principles, and maxims, to its constitutional and
unalterable peculiarities. If those peculiarities give birth to
political combinations that jar with their own preconceived opinions and
habitual feelings, they must be told that it is a maxim of law, that he
who seeks the nuisance is not entitled to require its abatement.

The second caste of the society of New South Wales consists of convicts
who have been sent thither from England, by sentence of the law, for
crimes committed,--sent thither, not as colonists,--not as retaining
the attributes of British subjects,--not for the purpose of bettering
their social condition,--but as felons,--as men whom the violated law
has divested of their natural and legal rights,--sent thither, in short,
as to a place of punishment,--where they are not only to remain divested
of the protection of the ordinary laws of the realm, but where they are
to be subjected to new laws, having for their object both their
punishment and their reformation, but regarding their punishment
as a means of deterring other persons in England from the commission of
similar crimes, and therefore justifying the prolongation of the
punishment, even in cases in which the reformation may already have
been accomplished.

It is quite evident that there is nothing in the condition of this
society which is analogous to that of society in England, or in any
other civilized community, or even to that condition of society which
existed or now exists in the West India colonies.

The inequalities in the society of New South Wales are so far from being
founded in injustice, or from being maintained in violation of law, that
the inequalities have been constituted by the administration of justice,
and can only be altered by defeating the very object and spirit of that
British law, by which they have been created.

Besides the original inequality,--the just and legal inequality, between
the transported convicts and the free and untainted emigrants, another
inequality, incidental to the existence of the former caste, has arisen,
and that inequality consists of those convicts, who, having undergone
their periods of punishment, have thereby become entitled,--not,
certainly, to the rights of colonists--of voluntary emigrants to New
South Wales, but simply to the privilege, if they think fit to exercise
it, of quitting the country to a residence more or less protracted in
which they were doomed by their sentences. They are so far from being
placed, by the mere expiry of their sentences, on a footing with the
voluntary emigrants, that the law, if it had seen fit, or the
legislature even yet if it shall think fit, might direct their forcible
removal from the colony after the expiry of the sentences, and either
that they should be brought back to the mother country, or turned loose
in any other part of the globe.

Conviction of felony renders a man for ever infamous in
England,--infamous in law,--and attaches to him for life certain
disabilities, which incapacitate him for exercising some of the rights
and duties of citizenship.

It is not enough that the felon pay the immediate penalty which the law
awards to his crime. Other consequences, both legal and moral, flow from
the fact of the conviction. So accordant is all this with the spirit and
feeling of the British people, as well as with the genius of British
institutions, that there is not, perhaps, in all England, a public body
of any description,--not even a single benefit society,--or even a
convivial club,--in which the conviction of a member for felony is not
instantly followed by the expulsion of the member so convicted from the
society to which he belongs, and that by an express regulation, or
law, of all such societies,--thereby declaring the universal feeling
of the entire British people, that a convicted felon is unworthy both of
future trust and of mingling with and participating in the provident
arrangements or the social enjoyments of his former associates and
fellow subjects.

No absurdity, then, can be greater,--nothing can be more anti-British,
either as to the spirit of British law, or as to the tone of British
feeling and morals, than to suppose that the emancipated convicts of New
South Wales are entitled to claim the same consideration in society, or
the same rights and immunities, as those claimed by or granted to the
free and respectable settlers.

As even those settlers are bound to modify their expectations and to
limit their demands, by the peculiar circumstances of the colony, how
much more are the emancipated convicts, the entire felonry of the
colony, both by the peculiar circumstances of the colony, and by the
infamy attaching to themselves, bound to rest satisfied with being
allowed to become settlers in the colony, and to waive all those high
pretensions which at one time certainly became them as Englishmen, but
for which, according to the universal judgment of the English nation,
they have rendered themselves unfit.

Enough, perhaps, has been said, to shew that the internal polity of New
South Wales is not a question of ordinary or party politics. That
country, in short, is not merely a colony of British freemen, but a
penal settlement or place of punishment,--a huge penitentiary, or house
of correction,--in which the laws and regulations must be framed
expressly for the nature and quality of the inhabitants, and also for
the purpose of operating as a prevention of crime in the parent state.

How desirable soever it may be, therefore, that the present disposition
to the enlargement of popular rights and privileges should be allowed to
manifest itself under ordinary circumstances, no high-minded and
honourable man, whatever may be his political party, will maintain that
he should view a criminal prison population with the same feelings as
those with which he regards the inhabitants at large of a free country.


PREVIOUS to the issue of the American war of independence, it had been
the practice of England to transport her convicted felons to her
settlements in North America. Afterwards the British government resolved
on forming a new penal settlement in some remote and secure situation;
and the part of New South Wales which had been described by Sir Joseph
Banks, and named Botany Bay, was at length fixed upon.

The frigate Sirius, Captain John Hunter, the armed tender, Supply,
Lieutenant Ball, together with three store ships, and six transports,
having on board six hundred male and two hundred and fifty female
convicts, with a guard of one major commandant and three captains of
marines, twelve subalterns, twenty-four non-commissioned officers, and
one hundred and sixty-eight privates, besides forty women, wives of the
marines, and their children, accordingly set sail from Portsmouth for
the new and far-distant home of the convict exiles, on the 13th of May,

This fleet, which also carried out Captain Arthur Phillip, R. N. as
governor of the projected colony, arrived in Botany Bay in the end of
January, 1788.

Botany Bay, however, was immediately discovered to be an insecure
harbour; and, although the season was about midsummer in that part of
the southern hemisphere, the lands on the border of the bay were
ascertained to be little else than unproductive swamps and barren sands.

Captain Phillip accordingly went with three boats in search of a more
eligible landing place, and discovered Port Jackson, a few leagues
northward of Botany Bay, "one of the finest harbours, whether for extent
or security, in the world." To Port Jackson the fleet was immediately
removed; and the new settlement was formed on the twenty-sixth of
January, 1788, at the head of Sydney Cove.

Such was the origin, only forty-nine years ago, of a colony which
already contains a British population estimated at eighty thousand
souls, and comprehending its handsome, enterprising, and flourishing
capital, Sydney, with a population of twenty thousand, and several other
towns,--a colony which has already become of great and increasing
commercial importance to Great Britain, and which, if not retarded in
its growth by misgovernment, must speedily become by far the most
valuable possession of the British crown.

It is not necessary, for the purposes of the present work, to detail the
early difficulties, disappointments, privations, and perils, including
the danger of famine, encountered by the colony during the first few
years of its existence.

By an almost unaccountable oversight, on the part of the government at
home, the infant colony was unfurnished with either agriculturists or
mechanics sufficiently skilful or capable of instructing and training
the promiscuous herd of felons transported from London and the towns of
England, in those regular and productive efforts of labour, in the field
and in the workshop, requisite even for the self-supply of the colony
with the principal necessaries of life. So deplorable, indeed, was the
deficiency in this respect, that there was but one individual in the
colony who could either instruct the convicts in agriculture, or
successfully manage them in other respects; and these qualities were the
chance possession of a man whom Governor Phillip had hired in England as
his body servant! Even of this valuable person the colony was deprived
by death so early as in 1791.

By another strange mistake of the home government, not only were no free
settlers sent out with the convicts, but it was for a long time its
policy not to permit free emigrants to proceed to and settle in the

When the transported felons of England used to be poured into Virginia
in North America, they were immediately dispersed amongst and absorbed
into the numerous, industrious, and moral population of that country.
They were a valuable supply of labourers, much wanted by the American
planters. Their numbers, compared to those of the settled and orderly
population, were insignificant. They were therefore easily constrained,
by the numerical superiority of the people amongst whom they were cast,
and by the united force of the law and of example, both to habits of
industry and to moral observances in their conduct; and thus two of the
objects of their transportation were accomplished by the very nature of
the circumstances in which they were placed.

Governor Phillip was soon sensible of the bad consequences of the very
different circumstances which awaited and attended his infant charge. He
accordingly urged the British Government to give every facility and
encouragement to the emigration of numerous, industrious, and virtuous
families to the new country committed to his guidance. It was not,
however, until 1796, that several families of free emigrants were
conveyed to the colony at the public expense, where they had grants of
land assigned to them, and free rations allowed from the government
stores for eighteen months.

The convict population, meantime, necessarily became exceedingly
depraved; and their submission to any kind of law or government at all,
can of course only be attributed to the presence of the military force
at the governor's disposal. Every endeavour, however, in spite of the
discouragements existing, was made, by giving to the better behaved of
the convicts, either pardons and small grants of land, or grants of land
after the expiration of their sentences, to create an orderly and
industrious class, as an example and counterbalance to the general bad
habits and character of the convict population.

During the administration of several successive governors, the colony,
consisting wholly, or almost wholly, of convicts undergoing their
sentences, or of convicts become free either by pardons or the expiry of
their sentences, the colonial government had no other materials than the
felonry, out of which to endeavour to form the elements of a future
orderly and moral people! Hard and forbidding, if not impossible task!
So very limited, indeed, was the number of free emigrants, that the
first governors had no choice, but that of appointing convicts having
some of the requisite qualifications, to be the clerks in the government
offices, and to hold other situations and appointments of trust under
the government.

Amongst the inevitable results of this employment of convicts and
emancipated convicts in the offices of the government, the colonial
government itself was in every way deceived, defrauded, and plundered.

In the office of the colonial secretary, in particular, in which the
records were kept, even recorded sentences were surreptitiously altered;
tickets of leave and conditional pardons were obtained in the most
corrupt way; and grants of land were procured for some of the very worst
characters in the settlement;--the motives for all this, on the part of
the convict government employees, being either a pecuniary bribe, or
a spirit of favouritism for some socius criminis, or criminal
confederate, while in England.

The author of this work received an account of the manner in which a
conditional pardon had been obtained, from the mouth of the emancipated
convict himself. The fellow is still, after the lapse of so many years,
far from being morally reformed; as he lives by the keeping of a very
improper house in Parramatta, and the selling of ardent spirits to the
lowest class of the population.

Having understood, he said, that a conditional pardon might be obtained
for money, he applied to a convict government clerk, who undertook to
procure the pardon for the consideration of twenty pounds. As soon as he
was ready to comply with the pecuniary condition, he wrote to his friend
the government clerk at Sydney, requesting him to procure the pardon.
The letter was entrusted to a convict proceeding to Sydney, who, having
characteristically opened the packet to ascertain its contents, thought
fit to suppress it, and give information of the job to another
convict clerk of government, a friend of his own. The latter being thus
"put upon the scent," wrote to the applicant, and offered to procure him
a conditional pardon for ten pounds. The convict of course allowed
the first negociation to drop, and, for the smaller bribe, was shortly
afterwards gratified with the object of his wish.

That there was ever a necessity for resorting to the employment of
convicts as clerks, overseers, or other officers, for doing the business
of the colony, cannot be sufficiently deplored. The peculiar
circumstances of the colony, however, in its early infancy, sufficiently
account for the introduction of the practice, and amply justify the
first governors for having done that, through necessity, which some of
their successors, and particularly the present governor, have continued
from taste, and persevered in with infatuation.

In short, as may readily be supposed, every species of falsification of
documents, and of treachery, fraud, and plunder, was of constant

The lumber-yard, as it was called, was an establishment containing
workshops for convict mechanics of various descriptions, in the employ
of government, and was also a depot for materials and stores used in the
carrying on of the government works. The mechanics (of course all
convicts) employed by far the greater portion of their time in working,
not for the government, but for the felon overseers and clerks of the

The robbery thus practised upon the government was not confined to the
misappropriation of labour, but extended to every description of
materials; and so great and audacious were the depredations, that every
overseer or clerk, immediately on coming into office, even commenced
building houses with the labour and the materials of government thus
subject to his disposal. The secresy as well as co-operation of the
convict mechanics was secured by means of rum and other gratifications;
and so closely were the plunderers bound together, that detection seldom
ensued. Large fortunes, now enjoyed by many of the felonry or their
descendants, were thus originated.

The government was not more secure in its pastoral operations. Owing to
the scarcity of cattle, large herds on government account were formed in
different parts of the settlement. The overseers and stockmen (again of
course) were felons. After a time, there were frequent allegations that
the herds were plundered. To ascertain the truth, an order was issued,
directing that on certain days specified, the cattle at the different
stations should be successively mustered and counted. This was done;
and, to the surprise of the informants, the different stocks of cattle
were found to be numerically entire.

The suspicion that some deception had been practised, was unavoidable;
and a second muster was ordered to take place; when some functionary,
more sagacious than the rest, suggested that the muster should take
place at all the stations on one day. An enormous deficiency was now

On the first occasion, the guilty overseers and stockmen had played to
each others' hands, by secretly driving, from station to station, the
requisite number of cattle to make a show of the stock being complete at
each place successively.

Thus were laid the foundations of fortunes for another portion of the
colonial felonry.

These,--the then convict and plundering clerks, overseers, and stockmen,
in every branch of the government service, the enumeration of whose
misdeeds would be at once unnecessary and tiresome,--these very men now
form, under Mr. Wentworth, Sir John Jamison, and a few others of the
colonial Patriotic Association men, the most influential portion of
the patriots of New South Wales, already madly permitted to officiate
as jurymen, and at present clamouring for a house of assembly, or
colonial parliament, that they may receive the further and higher as
well as more unwise and dangerous distinction of endowment with the
elective and representative franchises!

Captain Phillip resigned the government and embarked for England in
December, 1792.

       *       *       *       *       *

Captain John Hunter, R. N., was the governor after Captain Phillip; but
he did not arrive in the colony till August, 1795. The government,
meanwhile, had been conducted, first by Major Grose, and afterwards by
Captain Patterson, both of the New South Wales corps, a military force
specially raised in and sent from England to be the colonial garrison.

The evils inherent in the constitution and population of the colony,
greatly aggravated by the sordid and in other respects highly improper,
as well as rebellious proceedings of the officers of the New South Wales
corps, who had usurped a monopoly of the sale of rum, which they
employed for the two-fold purpose of still further debauching the
population and enriching themselves, became so great, that Governor
Hunter at length embarked for England in September, 1800, to make a
personal representation of the state of the colony to the government at
home. He did not return to New South Wales.

       *       *       *       *       *

The third governor of New South Wales was Captain Phillip Gidley King,
R. N.

Captain King assumed the government in September, 1800. Under his
administration, it has been said, "the colony consisted chiefly of those
who sold rum, and those who drank it."

The turbulent, immoral, and avaricious officers of the New South Wales
corps carried things with so high a hand, that Governor King was
frequently apprehensive of being put under arrest by them; and so
flagrant did the misconduct of the government officers, both military
and civil, become, that on the governor sending a gentleman to England
with a written complaint against an officer of the corps, it was found,
when the box which had contained the complaint and his excellency's
dispatches, was opened in Downing-street, that its lock had been picked
in the colony, rifled of its contents, and a harmless parcel of old
newspapers put in their place.

This incident alone should have given the home government a pretty
striking specimen and proof of the habits of the convict officers of the
government who were suffered to be about the person of the governor, and
to pollute the public offices and employments of the colony.

As a counterbalance to the mutinous officers and soldiery, Governor King
was driven to seek favour in the eyes of the convicts; and, by the
liberality with which he granted to numbers of them licenses to sell
rum, the vice and immorality with which the whole colony was more or
less infected, became still more inveterate. The dissolution of morals
was general. Marriage was not even thought of in the colony. Virtuous
industry was neither encouraged nor protected. "Bands of bush-rangers,
or runaway convicts, traversed the country in all directions; and,
entering the houses of the defenceless settlers in open day, committed
fearful atrocities." Several hundred convicts at a government
agricultural establishment twenty miles westward of Sydney, even took
the field in insurrection, and, armed with pikes and such other weapons
as they could lay hold of, marched upon the capital. They were, however,
encountered by the military under Major Johnston, a few miles from
Parramatta, where several of them having been shot, and others
immediately taken and executed, the rest returned to their work.

       *       *       *       *       *

Captain Bligh, R. N., succeeded Governor King, in August, 1806.

Governor Bligh exerted himself, but in vain, to bridle the rapacious New
South Wales corps, and especially to destroy their monopoly in the sale
of ardent spirits. There being now a few free settlers in the colony, he
also did every thing in his power to promote their interests. He
received their agricultural produce into the public stores at a fixed
and liberal price, furnishing them, beforehand, and while their crops
were still growing, with whatsoever articles they required for the
consumption of their families, at charges very greatly below those at
which they could obtain them from the dealers in those commodities in
the colony, whose prices, in consideration of the credit they gave the
distressed settlers, were most exorbitantly high.

These judicious and humane proceedings of the governor of course highly
exasperated both the military and civil monopolists, the latter of whom
were, with scarce an exception, the public plunderers who had been
enriching themselves in the manner already noticed, and all of whom had
hitherto absorbed the whole surplus produce of the colony, preying upon
its very vitals, and by their confederacy preventing fair competition;
and at length the New South Wales corps was marched by its colonel and
the other officers to government house, where in open rebellion they
deposed the governor from his authority, made him prisoner, and
eventually forced him to quit the colony.

As this work is not a history of the colony, and as the circumstances
attending the revolt of the New South Wales corps have been fully
discussed by different Australian writers, suffice it to say that a
whole year elapsed before Colonel Johnston was deposed from his usurped
authority, during which period all the evils of the colony were
frightfully augmented; and particularly by the granting of portions of
land to inordinate numbers of the convicts, in order to strengthen the
hands of the usurpation.

There was a change of ministers before the arrival of Governor Bligh in
England; and the new ministry were so perfectly indifferent as to the
colony of New South Wales, that it is thought Colonel Johnston would
have escaped with a reprimand from his military superiors, had not he
himself demanded a court-martial, by which he was accordingly tried and

The author is chiefly indebted for these sketches of the governments of
the predecessors of General Macquarie, to Dr. Lang's Historical and
Statistical Account of New South Wales.

       *       *       *       *       *

The author is chiefly indebted for these sketches of the governments of
the predecessors of General Macquarie, to Dr. Lang's Historical and
Statistical Account of New South Wales.


LIEUTENANT Colonel Lachlan Macquarie, afterwards Major General, arrived
in New South Wales as governor, in December, 1809.

The home government annulled all the acts of Colonel Johnston's
usurpation, but considerately empowered Governor Macquarie to re-enact
such of them as he should approve,--a discretion which he in almost
every instance exercised affirmatively.

Governor Macquarie conducted the affairs of the colony during the long
period of twelve years.

His government has been much eulogized by the felonry, to whom he was
supposed to be favourable and indulgent.

Like his predecessors in the very arduous and difficult post of
conducting the government of such a settlement, the early errors and
faults of which are in a great measure fairly attributable to the
singular apathy of the government at home, Governor Macquarie had
scarcely any other choice than that of making the best he could of the
convict population under his sway.

He was, moreover, a man of mild and humane disposition and feelings, of
exemplary morality in his own conduct, and imbued with religious

Impressed with the idea, which had all along influenced the government
at home, that the colony should be regarded only as a penal
settlement,--the theatre of a great experiment upon the criminal
outcasts of the mother country,--it was natural for Governor Macquarie,
in conformity with his own humane feelings and religious principles, as
well as with what he conceived to be the intention of the British
cabinet, to endeavour to reclaim the emancipated and convict population
by favour and indulgence. He was, consequently, a great favourite with
that class of the inhabitants, who still speak of the good old times of
Governor Macquarie. Unhappily the very features of his own character
which were the most amiable,--his good nature and his piety,--rendered
him liable to be imposed upon by the crafty and the hypocritical; and
his favour, consequently, was sometimes conferred upon unworthy objects.

Certain it is, that though the colony progressed in wealth under his
administration, it was far from being improved in its morale. The
bane of the colony, the employment of convicts and emancipists in
government offices, continued; and the felonry as a body, from the great
wealth acquired by many of them, and the consequence attendant upon
the mere possession of wealth in such a country, became more and more
audacious in their pretensions and unreasonable in their demands.

It is not intended to attribute these vices in the constitution of the
colony to the personal character of Governor Macquarie. They were the
natural growth of the whole system of the policy that had been observed
towards the settlement from its first formation. The effectual
counterpoise to the felon population, or rather the only basis on which
any governor could found an effective anti-convict policy,--that is, the
influx of free emigrants of good character, and of enterprise and
capital, had not yet sufficiently taken place. The colony, however, was
indebted to Governor Macquarie for the formation of valuable and
extensive lines of road, and for other public works of utility and
spirit, which have been found of great value to its internal prosperity.

It is to be lamented that so worthy a man as Governor Macquarie, who had
devoted his whole faculties to the improvement of the colony,--and that,
too, not only with all the energy and zeal of a military man engaged in
a great, difficult, and glorious enterprise, but with a solicitude equal
to that of a father labouring for the advancement of his own
children,--it is deeply to be deplored that this great and good man did
not escape the shafts of private malice, nor the poison of political

Towards the close of his government, Mr Bigg [Bigge] was sent out as a
commissioner to enquire into the general condition of the colony, and to
report upon its state to the government at home. In so far as this
proceeding was an indication that the growing importance of New South
Wales had begun to attract some portion of the attention of the home
government, it boded well for the colony.

Governor Macquarie, however, felt mortified at the appointment of the
commission; and Mr. Commissioner Bigg, as is well known, busied himself
infinitely more in pointing out and sanctioning trumped-up charges
against the governor, than in ascertaining the actual condition of the
colony, which was the proper object of his mission. Governor Macquarie
being a mild and unassuming man, Mr. Bigg presumed so far upon this
feature in his character, as to take every uncandid and unfair
advantage; while the vipers and unprincipled men who had fattened under
the governor's administration, in the wane of his excellency's power,
and in proof of their readiness to court the rising sun, filled the ear
of the commissioner with every thing that slander could invent or
misrepresentation fashion into imputation upon the venerable
representative of their sovereign.

The commission, therefore, instead of being an enquiry into the state of
the colony, was engaged in getting hold of every thing that could in any
way degrade or affect the good name of the governor.

To accomplish this unworthy purpose, every stratagem was resorted to. A
Mr. Scott, who had been a wine merchant, but who went out as clerk to
the commission, was employed and encouraged to collect the materials
with which the governor was to be assailed. The clerk could condescend
to practices from which the dignity of the commissioner must have
shrunk; and with so much alacrity did he perform the work assigned to
him, that there was no lack of either pretences from which to fabricate
something like charges against the governor, or of ready volunteers to
support them.

Shortly after the return of General Macquarie to England, his health
rapidly declined; and his death soon afterwards was in great measure
attributed, by those who best knew him, to the impression made upon his
spirits by the calumnies of his enemies.

His eulogium was pronounced in the House of Commons by his friend Sir
Charles Forbes, Bart., whose own eminent virtues and princely
benevolence form a guarantee of the worth of every man honoured with his
friendship, and whose intimate knowledge of Indian and colonial affairs
gave the weight of authoritative decision to his opinion of Governor
Macquarie's official conduct.

So many disgraceful things have occurred with regard to New South Wales,
that it is absolutely painful to record them. Earl Bathurst, deceived by
the report of the Bigg commission, and thinking Scott, the
commissioner's clerk, entitled to reward for his drudgery, created an
ecclesiastical dignity in the colony for the lucky ex-wine merchant,
and transformed him into Archdeacon of New South Wales, with a living
of two thousand pounds per annum! This was certainly one of the most
scandalous of the scandalous jobs by which the colony has under all
changes of the home government been oppressed and plundered.

Scott might with equal propriety have been made a lord chancellor or an
astronomer-royal, as an ecclesiastic and the supreme dignitary of the
colonial church. His conduct soon showed his total unfitness for the
post improperly created for him, and to which he was most improperly

By one of the manifestations of unchristian and uncharitable
feelings,--one capricious exercise of ecclesiastical tyranny, he did so
much injury to the character of the church in the opinion of a portion
of the colonial public, and more especially as showing the sort of men
to whose malice General Macquarie may be said to have fallen a victim,
that it merits record.

From a personal dislike to a pew renter in the church of St. James's, in
Sydney, a gentleman punctual in his attendance with his six motherless
daughters upon the services of the church, and of strict religious
principles, Mr. Archdeacon Scott unjustly resolved on depriving him of
his well situated pew, and accordingly caused it to be intimated to him,
on a frivolous pretext of projected alterations, that he must relinquish
his pew, and on the ensuing Sunday take possession of another pew,
situated as remotely as possible from the pulpit, and in a cold and
comfortless part of the church.

The pew renter, who held his pew from year to year at a rent of four
pounds, and who had been thirteen months in possession of it, refused to
acquiesce in this arbitrary deprivation of his property. He signified
this refusal, and his resolution to resume his sitting with his family
in his own pew, on the next and all ensuing Sundays.

In reply he was peremptorily told that any attempt on his part to enter
the pew would be resisted, and that police constables would be in
attendance to keep the peace,--that is, to carry a peaceable parishioner
off to the watchhouse, in the event of any noise occurring through his
endeavours to exercise his civil right of entering his own pew.

Unfortunately for the archdeacon, the gentleman with whom he entered
into this rash and unseemly squabble, is one of the most resolute men in
the colony. He was infinitely better versed both in ecclesiastical and
civil law, and even in divinity, than the arrogant archdeacon himself.
He held, moreover, in his hands, the powerful engine of the press, being
the proprietor and editor of one of the colonial newspapers,--an engine
which he naturally employed, and with equal tact and power, in giving
public interest to his defensive warfare against the tyranny of the
archdeacon. He took his measures, too, with imperturbable coolness, but
with resolute and inflexible determination. For many successive Sundays,
the sanctity of the church was violated, and the congregation
scandalized, by the spectacle of police constables with their staves
opposing the progress of a respectable and religious father, with his
numerous family of young females, to their accustomed place of worship.
The door of his own pew was locked against him,--his name torn from
it,--and the inscription "for civil officers" put in its place. A police
constable stood by with the key, admitting into the pew young fellows,
such as clerks and mates of ships, and locking them in one after the
other, while the Pere de Famille stood in the aisle, and the delicate
females his daughters sat on the cold stone steps of the altar-piece.

On more than one occasion, the man thus persecuted succeeded in eluding
the vigilance of the archdeacon's watchmen, and, "leaping with the
agility of a kangaroo," to use his own expression, into his pew, lifted
in his daughters after him.

The church, on every day of public worship, was successively filled with
indignant crowds, to witness the disgraceful conflict waged by the
archdeacon against an unoffending member of his church. The latter
cautiously abstained from doing any thing that could be made a pretext
for charging him with a breach of the peace; and the archdeacon, finding
that the adversary he had created for himself would stand out the
contest for an indefinite length of time in the aisle, at length caused
the disputed pew to be covered in, or decked over, with boards, secured
in their places by strong iron bars and screws!

The archdeacon himself, however, eventually had the worst of it. The
appeals to the public, by the injured party, were made with equal force
of argument, equanimity of temper, and spirit. As a specimen of the
ridicule employed: the parishioner, speaking of the dreary pew, the
nursery of rheumatism, to which the archdeacon wished to condemn him and
his daughters, called it a "swampy corner," and in cutting irony he
recommended the archdeacon to turn principal grave-digger, so that he
might consign the remains of those of his parishioners towards whom he
entertained personal dislike, to the "swampy corners" of the burying

But the defender in the conflict was not content with kindling the
public indignation against his persecutor. He appealed to the bishop of
Calcutta, the archbishop of Canterbury, and the home government. He
appealed also to the law, and eventually obtained damages for having
been illegally dispossessed of his pew.

The archdeacon, on the contrary, became so obnoxious, through his
intemperance on this occasion, and for other petty and vexatious acts of
oppression, founded in personal spite or political motives, that he felt
it necessary at last to renounce his rich appointment, quit the colony,
and return to England.


MAJOR General Sir Thomas Brisbane, K. C. B., entered upon the government
of New South Wales in December, 1821.

The first really great and remarkable impulse to the prosperity of the
colony was given by the tide of free emigration which had now steadily
set in, and which continued to increase throughout the whole period of
his excellency's administration.

The emigrants, too, were of a much higher grade, as to their
circumstances and former respectability in life, than those of their
countrymen seeking new homes in the United States, or in any other of
the British colonies. The superiority of the emigrants to New South
Wales, in this respect, was partly owing to the great expense of the
passage out, and still more to the peculiar colonial regulations as to
grants of land. Under those regulations, lands were only granted in
proportion to the means of the emigrant applicant to give employment and
maintenance to specified numbers of convicts. If he could satisfy the
government that he was able, and entered into a bond obliging himself,
to give subsistence to five convicts for a certain number of years, he
received a grant of five hundred acres of land, and also rations for his
family and his convict servants for six months, together with a breeding
cow for each convict--the cows to be repaid by an equal number of cows
after a specified term of years. If he could maintain ten convict
servants, he had a grant of one thousand acres of land, with rations,
and the loan of ten cows. If he could provide for twenty convicts, his
grant was two thousand acres, with twenty cows and rations for a certain
portion of his convict servants, and so on. So respectable were the
emigrants generally as to their circumstances, that the grants of land
were for the most part of two thousand acres,--implying that the
grantees possessed the means, severally, of employing and maintaining
twenty convict servants; and, so numerous was the influx of settlers of
this description, that the convicts eventually became scarce; and though
great multitudes were annually transported from England, numbers of free
emigrants were obliged to wait, with great inconvenience, for convict
servants with whose labour to cultivate their lands.

The influx of emigrants enabled Governor Brisbane, with the active and
indefatigable exertions of his colonial secretary, Major Goulburn, a
gentleman the first to hold that appointment, who had acquired much
useful experience during twelve months in which he was under General
Macquarie, to introduce several reforms into the treatment and
management of the felon population. In as far as was possible or
practicable, convicts ceased to be employed in government offices, or as
clerks and overseers in the carrying on of public works. Even in
Governor Brisbane's time, however, the free and untainted population did
not furnish a sufficient number of persons for all those purposes,
because the great majority of the emigrants of course went out with the
view of becoming agricultural landowners, or of settling in the towns,
and carrying on business in them, on their own accounts.

The system introduced by Sir Thomas Brisbane and his talented colonial
secretary, however, not only as regarded the treatment of the convicts,
but in all the public departments, worked well for several years.

But, at the latter end of Sir Thomas's government, certain intriguing
characters contrived to sow dissensions between the governor and Major
Goulburn,--or, "the impenetrable Major," as he was called in some of
the journals,--an epithet which, in such a colony as New South Wales,
was perhaps the highest compliment that could have been paid to any
public functionary, or to any individual directly or indirectly
concerned in the administration of the government.

Major Goulburn, indeed, was a man of such high honour and integrity,
that, when he had established his measures (as far as such measures were
practicable,) for rendering the colony really a penal
settlement,--that is, really a place of punishment and reclamation
for all classes of criminals, which it ought always to have been, no
species of favouritism, no exertions of private influence or interest,
no applications or recommendations from any individuals, however
respectable, could ever induce him to swerve in any degree or in any way
whatever, from what was the real design, or what he conceived to be the
real design, of the British government in originally giving birth to the
colony. It may be mentioned, also, to the great honour of Major
Goulburn, that though, at the time now referred to, there was no land
board for the settlement of applications for grants of land or the
assignment of convict servants,--no collector of internal revenue, at
least not until very near the termination of the major's official
duties, when he found it necessary that one should be appointed,--and no
custom house,--yet the very onerous duties of all these departments were
performed, under his unwearied superintendance, in the colonial office;
and that with so much order, regularity, and dispatch, that instead of
settlers, merchants, or other applicants waiting, as they have since
been obliged to do, for days, nay even weeks and months, for replies to
their applications, every thing was prompt, and all applications were
immediately attended to, under the vigilant and indefatigible, as well
as the "impenetrable" Major, who literally made business vanish under
his hands, to the full satisfaction of all parties with whom he had
business to transact.

On the unhappy dissension, however, arising between the governor and
Major Goulburn, Sir Thomas, unfortunately for the colony and for his own
government, issued an order directing certain official communications to
be addressed to Major Ovens. Major Ovens was a highly honourable man as
a military officer, but was perfectly unacquainted with the routine of a
public office; and Major Goulburn, as the natural consequence of the
slight which the governor had thus put upon him, ceased to act at all,
unless under special official orders from his excellency, to the very
great detriment of the best interests of the colony. Delay and confusion
of course pervaded every department of the government,--a state of
things which was only terminated by the recall of both Sir Thomas
Brisbane and Major Goulburn from New South Wales. Justice requires it to
be added, that Sir Thomas Brisbane was a man of mild and gentlemanly
feelings and conduct; and that no one who ever held the reins of
government in the colony was more esteemed and beloved for his personal
qualities, and particularly for the equal courtesy of his demeanour to
all parties who had access to his presence.


LIEUTENANT General Sir Ralph Darling succeeded Sir Thomas Brisbane in
the government of the colony, in December, 1825; and Mr. McLeay was
appointed colonial secretary, in the room of Major Goulburn.

Perhaps no governor ever arrived in any colony, more anxious and
determined to exercise his authority with strict impartiality, or with
greater regard for the well-being of the interests committed to his
charge, than General Darling.

Unfortunately for his excellency, however, confusion prevailed in every
department, through the unhappy dissensions which, as has been stated,
arose between his predecessor and the late colonial secretary.

The new governor's first task, therefore, in which he was ably seconded
by his colonial secretary, Mr McLeay, (a gentleman of long and great
experience in official business,) was to reform and reorganize all the
departments and public offices, which he also still further purged of
convict employes than his predecessor had done, or had been able to

The colony, however, was then so circumstanced, that the reorganizing of
the departments gave great offence to many individuals; and this laid
the foundation for a rancorous opposition to the measures of Sir Ralph
Darling's government.

He was assailed with severe animadversions and scurrilous slanders in
the opposition newspapers,--so virulent and so vile, indeed, that his
excellency, a highly honourable man, and keenly sensitive to unjust
aspersions, was provoked by them into a warfare with the press. A series
of libel cases were accordingly got up and prosecuted; which only
aggravated and embittered the hostility they were intended to crush.

Together with the reformation of the public offices, Governor Darling
also introduced a strict administration of public affairs. He altered
and strengthened the laws for the management of the felon population,
discountenancing all men, however rich, who had rendered themselves
infamous by their past crimes, or by the nefarious means employed by
them in the acquisition of their wealth.

What was called the anti-convict system was introduced, and a
commencement of real penal discipline made, amidst great outcry. The
labour of the convicts was applied to the formation of roads and other
public works; and, to complete this branch of the administration, the
bushrangers were vigilantly sought out, and were soon put down by the
vigour of the governor.

But while the colony, under his excellency's administration, was reaping
the benefit of his improved measures, and was rapidly progressing in
prosperity, it was afflicted for three years with the calamitous
visitation of "the dry seasons," and during the distress which
accompanied that visitation, and the scarcity of food, it became
indispensably necessary to reduce the rations of the convicts,--a
circumstance of which an opposition newspaper took advantage to excite
very violent discontents.

The colonial government, however, relaxed not in the performance of its
duty. Discipline was maintained with a firm hand; and, when the distress
had passed away, and plenty was restored to the colony, the governor
issued a regulation with regard to the food and clothing of the
convicts, which gave general satisfaction, and obtained the praises even
of the opposition.

That his excellency, so conducting himself and the public affairs,
should have ever had a single enemy out of the class of persons whom it
was his special duty to coerce, and who were naturally exasperated at
being ruled by a hand capable of making them feel its power, is matter
of equal surprise and regret. There were, however, some persons in
hostility with this public benefactor; because, the very fact of his
faithfully and energetically discharging his duty created him enemies.

Through the exertions of the convict faction, headed by Mr. Wentworth
and Sir John Jamison, and through the disaffection of some of his own
functionaries, whose convict propensities are fully established in the
succeeding pages of this work, he was loudly accused (though most
unjustly) of exercising tyranny and oppression in his government.

Of his excellency's enemies the most dangerous, both from his position
and from his secresy and insidiousness, was the chief justice, to whom
his excellency gave mortal offence, by restricting him to his proper
sphere, and not allowing him to have any share in the government.

In spite, however, of the habitual sobriety as well as caution of the
chief justice, he sometimes allowed the mask to drop. At a dinner at Dr.
Wardell's, under the excitement of wine, he fully betrayed both his
republican principles and his hostility to the government, and went so
far as to stigmatize Sir George Murray, then his Majesty's principal
secretary of state for the colonies, as "the rascally secretary of
state." His honour next day apologised, it is true, and attributed his
intemperance to the doctor's champagne: in vino Veritas.

On another occasion, at an official dinner at government house, news of
the passing of the reform bill having arrived, Mr. Chief Justice Forbes
accompanied the expression of his satisfaction with the exulting
exclamation, "This is another great blow to the monarchical system!"--"a
pretty speech (as was said by Colonel Mackenzie, who heard it), to be
uttered by a chief justice of one of his Majesty's colonies, while
seated between the governor of the colony, representing the King's
person, and the colonel of the King's Own!"

A Bermudian by birth, and educated in an American college, Mr. Chief
Justice Forbes is a known republican, of which, indeed, he makes no
secret, but rather expresses himself proud.

The chief justice, therefore, from the first, assumed and performed the
part of patron or protector of the felonry. During the government of
General Brisbane, his excellency's measures, and the reforms introduced
by Major Goulburn, were constantly thwarted in the supreme court, in
which the chief justice presides: and General Darling was peculiarly
counteracted in the same way, on account of his still more determined
anti-convict system, and because he had given personal umbrage to the
chief justice; while the then attorney-general for the colony, like all
his predecessors, was incompetent to counterbalance a man of the
craftiness, subtlety, and tact, for which the chief justice is
remarkable; and who in fact exercised the power claimed by the Stuarts,
of dispensing with acts of parliament,--a power which, even if wielded
by English judges, would be bad enough, and which, wielded by fiery
politicians like the colonial judges, is altogether intolerable.

As a member of the legislative council, the chief justice was, or it was
in his power to be, the very tyrant of the colony, inasmuch as he
exercised the power of deciding, that, unless he certified that a
proposition for a law was not contrary to the law of England, the
proposition could not be entertained by the legislative council, and as
the supreme court also assumed the power of declaring what laws of
England are in force within the colony, and what are not. The fatal
effects of such power, wielded by such hands, were soon perceptible. It
has generated evils frightful in their extent, and utterly destructive
in their tendency.

A single instance will suffice at once to show the arrogance of Chief
Justice Forbes, his leaning to the felonry, the unsoundness of his law,
and his hostility to Governor Darling, and to the unpaid magistrates who
endeavoured to support the governor in his judicious measures.

General Darling had reclaimed a convict servant who had been lent,
not assigned, to a free emigrant in Sydney. The emigrant refused to give
up the convict, on the ground that his having been lent was equivalent
to his having been assigned, and that the governor had no power to
withdraw or recal from any emigrant or settler a convict servant who had
once been assigned to him. The magistrates, being of a different
opinion, gave the necessary authority to the constables; and the convict
was apprehended in the contumacious emigrant's premises, and delivered
over to the government. The emigrant was also brought before the bench;
and, the fact of his having retained in his service a convict who had
been reclaimed by the government, being a harbouring of a convict
unlawfully at large, he was consequently fined. The emigrant, persisting
in his own view of the case, carried it, in order to try the question,
before the supreme court, when the chief justice not only gave it as his
law, that the governor had no legal power to recal the convict in
question, but, with the plausibility peculiar to his honour, and for
which, when an if or a but is required, he is so celebrated,
rebuked the magistrates under whose authority the recapture of the
convict had been made. The matter was now referred by the colonial
government to the government at home, and being by it submitted to the
law officers of the crown in England, they decided that the colonial
governors have the power of reclaiming even assigned convicts, and
consequently that the law of the chief justice was wrong.

The supreme court, in short, under the presidency of Mr. Forbes, has
always leaned to the convicts, while its tendency has been invariably
and strongly against any magistrate who has been so unlucky as to get
into it. That the Chief Justice Forbes, in addition to the traits of his
character which have been touched upon, is also tainted with that spirit
of duplicity and treachery so characteristic of his political
co-partisans in New South Wales, appears from his final conduct to
General Darling; for, although he had not only thwarted his measures,
but had secretly joined in making misrepresentations and charges,
calling his excellency's government "the reign of terror," and in other
respects betraying hostility, in an underhand way, against his
government; yet on the occasion of General Darling quitting the colony,
when it became evident that he would not only depart with eclat from
all the respectable inhabitants, but would most likely stand well at
home, then the honourable and consistent Mr. Chief Justice Forbes,
thinking it possible that his own past misdoings might be forgotten, was
the very first, as a member of the legislative council, to sign the
following address to his Excellency, eulogizing his government to the
skies. But the address speaks for itself. It will be found, with other
documents, at the end of this chapter.

It is really matter both of surprise and regret, that the British
government should send out to any of the colonies, and particularly to
New South Wales, men holding republican principles. With respect to this
colony in particular, it is not the question whether republicanism be
good or bad. England is a monarchy; and the duty of her statesmen is to
mould the colonies as nearly as possible upon the model of the mother
country. A republican, consequently, granting him to be an honest and
conscientious man, is a most unfit person to be chief justice of a
British colony, which, besides being a penal settlement, is progressing
in wealth, population, and importance, and is apparently destined to
become a mighty nation, which, for the interests as well as the glory of
Britain, it is most desirable should be distinguished by a British
spirit and character; as well as by the British language.

That the author of this work is not singular in the view he has taken of
the danger of mixing the judicial and legislative functions, appears by
the following extract from the Sydney Herald of 10th December,

"We do not like to see a judge placed in a situation where he must of
necessity become a politician. We object to a political chief justice.
We would have the judicial and legislative functions perfectly

"The foregoing passage is taken from an article in a recent number of
the Morning Herald, and refers to the appointment of the Lord Chief
Justice of England (Lord Denman) to the Speakership of the House of
Lords. In reference to this alone, however, it would be of little
interest to the colonists; but our readers must all remember that the
principle which has been thus advanced by the English Journalist, is one
which we have frequently endeavoured to enforce when we have had
occasion to advert to the constitution of our local legislature.

"Every man of common sense must admit that the union of legislative and
judicial functions in one individual is an unnatural union--even if it
were not, as it is, repugnant to the spirit of the British
constitution--but if such an union be thought worthy of denunciation in
the mother country, by what terms of reprehension ought it to be
designated here? There is no cause from which so much evil to society
may accrue as from the ambitious prejudices of a political judge; and we
fearlessly assert, that in no part of the British dominions have the
consequences of such prejudices been more severely felt than in New
South Wales."

And again, the same paper, which continues, with unabated zeal, and with
great talent, to advocate the best interests of the colony, says:--

"From general principles and particular instances, let us look at the
present divided state of the colony, and ask whether it is not mainly,
if not altogether, attributable to the acts of a political judge? Who
originated--who forced the ever infamous Summary Punishment Bill on the
colonists? A political judge! Who instituted and caused to be passed
into a law, the abominable Jury Act, which is reprobated by all save the
rabble of the colony? A political judge!! Who has been the main
instrument whereby Sir Richard Bourke has lost the confidence of every
really respectable and independent man in the colony? A political
judge!!! Are we not fully justified, therefore, in expressing our
cordial concurrence in the opinion of our English contemporary, that a
judge ought not to be "placed in a situation where he must of necessity
become a politician?" The effects of the Summary Punishment Bill become
so alarming, that the government has been at length compelled to
institute an enquiry into the state of the police of the colony, and
other matters arising out of that obnoxious measure; and it is now said,
that the parent of the still more obnoxious Jury Act begins to feel
alarmed at the frightful enormities which his bantling has engendered
and fostered. He, we understand, begins to be aware, that the measure he
has adopted is not legal, because it is not necessary; and that of the
power which only necessity justifies, no more ought to be admitted than
necessity obtrudes. We are glad to hear that our "learned friend" is at
length coming to his senses; but we "freely confess" that some
considerable time must elapse before we can altogether forget that, at
one period, he appeared doubtful of the fate of posterity, if New South
Wales did not take its jurymen from a jail!

Still, though we are credibly informed that a locus penitentice
exists "in the proper quarter," we are not quite certain of escaping
unscathed for thus publicly proclaiming the fact. We, however, are
prepared, "come what come may." We do not favour the government party,
for we think it vile; neither do we fear it, for we think it weak."

The governor's laudable strictness with his own subordinate officers
made him no favourite with them; and his convict discipline, besides
inspiring awe into the convicts, and exciting the dislike of nearly the
whole of the felonry, furnished the demagogues who courted the felon
population for the sake of a really guilty as well as most despicable
popularity, with constant opportunities and pretexts for fabricating
charges of tyranny and oppression. The opposition press was incessant
and most rancorous in its attacks; and, while the malignity was at its
height, an unfortunate event occurred, which furnished the enemies of
the governor with subject for vituperation and annoyance during all the
rest of his administration.

As the facts of the case are related by the Rev. Dr. Lang with great
candour and impartiality, although, to quote his own words (vol. 1., p.
181, of his work on New South Wales), he "can scarcely be suspected of
partiality" for a governor, from whom, he says, "I cannot charge my
recollection with having received any personal favours;" but who, on the
contrary, by "his ungracious refusal to attend to certain suggestions
which I had done myself the honour to submit to him, with a view to
promote the interest of education and religion in the colony, occasioned
me the inconvenience and the hardship of a voyage to England, besides
exposing me incidentally to much personal suffering,"--as the
unfortunate event referred to is narrated by Dr. Lang with much candour,
notwithstanding the reasons for presuming him to be rather unfriendly to
Sir Ralph Darling than otherwise, which he himself has stated, it has
been deemed advisable here to insert the reverend gentleman's narrative
at large. It is as follows:--

"About a year after his excellency (General Darling) arrived in the
colony, a worthless soldier of the 57th regiment, of the name of
Thompson, wishing, it seems, to get quit of the service, and conceiving
that the situation of a convict in New South Wales was in some respects
superior to his own, persuaded another soldier of the same regiment, of
the name of Sudds,--a peaceable well-behaved man, but unfortunately not
of sufficient firmness to resist the insidious influence of his
comrade's bad advice, to join with him in the commission of a felony,
for the express purpose of being put out of the regiment. They
accordingly went in company to the shop of a dealer in Sydney, on
pretence of intending to purchase some article, and contrived to steal a
piece of cloth, which they immediately cut in two, each secreting a part
of it about his person. But the theft was designedly so very awkwardly
managed, that its perpetrators were instantly detected and delivered
over to the civil power. They were accordingly tried, convicted, and
sentenced to transportation to a penal settlement,--Moreton Bay or
Norfolk Island,--for seven years.

"In the course of the trial the object and design of the theft were
ascertained beyond the possibility of doubt, and the case accordingly
assumed in the eye of the governor a very different character from that
of a common case of theft. The thieves were soldiers in his Majesty's
service, and they had taken up the intolerable and highly dangerous idea
that the situation of a soldier is worse than that of a convict or
transported felon. Nay, acting on this idea, they had not only deserted
his Majesty's service, which they were paid, and maintained, and sworn
to uphold; but had actually made common cause and even identified
themselves with those very disturbers of the public peace from whose
vicious propensities or actual violence they were bound to protect his
Majesty's subjects. In short, their example, in so far as it was likely
to be contagious, was evidently highly dangerous to the peace and good
government of the colony; and the governor, therefore, who, in common
with all other governors of British colonies, is authorized to provide
for all such extreme cases as involve the very existence of the
government to the best of his judgment, conceived this was just such a
case. Whether his excellency may not have attached too much importance
to the case, or whether he may not have magnified the danger that was
likely to accrue from it, if treated in the ordinary way, it is
unnecessary to inquire.

"With a view, therefore, to obviate the evils apprehended, his
excellency, in his capacity of lieutenant-general and commander of the
forces, issued a general order, in virtue of which the two soldiers were
taken out of the hands of the civil power, and brought on a day
appointed to the barrack-square in Sydney, where their crime was
publicly announced to all the other soldiers in garrison; their sentence
of transportation to a penal settlement for seven years was declared to
be commuted into that of hard labour in irons on the roads of the colony
for the same period,--doubtless that they might be occasionally seen by
other soldiers in going to and from their places of detachment in the
interior,--and it was formally announced to the culprits, that at the
expiration of their period of sentence they should return to the
regiment and serve in the ranks as before. Immediately, therefore, they
were publicly stripped of their uniform and arrayed in the dress of
convicts; iron collars of considerable weight, prepared expressly for
the purpose, with projecting iron spikes, and chains of the same metal
attached to the legs,--such, it seems, as are used in the Isle of France
or the West Indies for the punishment or confinement of runaway
negroes,--were affixed to their necks; and they were drummed out of the
regiment with the 'rogues' march' to the common gaol.

"All this procedure, in so far as it was evidently an interference with
the due course of law, was, according to all the approved maxims of
British jurisprudence, undoubtedly illegal and indefensible. Whether
there was a case of urgent necessity to justify it on any
ground,--whether the peace and good government of the colony would have
been endangered by adopting the ordinary course of procedure,--that is
the question; and it is one on which there was room for a difference of
opinion. For my own part, even although there had actually been such a
case as I have shown the governor supposed there was, I should have been
disposed to say, "Let the law have its due course." At the same time, as
punishment is intended not merely for the correction of the offender,
but as a means of deterring others from imitating his pernicious
example, it was the part of a good governor to consider how he could
render the punishment of the two culprits in the case in question
effectual, in the most extensive manner, in preventing the recurrence of
their crime. And if, in doing so, he made the punishment extremely
degrading on the one hand, and cruelly severe on the other, such a
result could only have arisen from an error of judgment; for it was
absolutely incredible that in such a case a personal feeling could
exist, or that the governor could have had any other object in view than
the public good. This was indeed so generally acknowledged throughout
the colony when the circumstance occurred, that if no extraordinary and
unexpected result had ensued, the anomalous character of the punishment
would neither have been discovered nor complained of; for even the able
opposition paper of the day admitted that the offence of the soldiers
was a serious and dangerous offence, and 'one that required
extraordinary treatment.'

"The man Sudds, however, was labouring at the time under chronic
affection of the liver, which had been unfortunately overlooked, through
inattention, I believe, on the part of the medical officer of the gaol,
and which, if reported to the governor beforehand, would in all
probability have prevented the man's exposure to the scenes of the
barrack-square. But the public disgrace to which he had been subjected
in the presence of all his former comrades, and his exposure in a state
of bodily illness to the heat of a burning sun,--the utter
disappointment of the hopes which his wicked associate had led him to
entertain,--and the miserable prospect which lay before him,--all these
circumstances, operating in conjunction with his hepatic affection, and
doubtless considerably aggravated by the action of his iron
collar,--immediately plunged the wretched man into a state of hopeless
despondency, in which he was at length removed from the gaol to the
general hospital, where he died in a few days.

"This was a most unfortunate and a most unlooked-for termination of the
case of the two soldiers. Still, however, as it was evident to all
parties that there was no ground whatever for the imputation of improper
motives, if a fair statement of the case, such as I have attempted to
give, had been indirectly given on the part of the
government,--admitting the error of judgment, which evil-disposed
persons were now beginning to discover, and lamenting the unfortunate
and unforeseen issue of the affair,--the matter would very soon have
been forgotten, and disaffection itself would have been entirely

"General Darling, however, was peculiarly unfortunate in having a
supporter, forsooth, in the person of the late Mr. Robert Howe, editor
of the Sydney Gazette. This redoubtable champion of the colonial
government, in a spirit of infatuation which I have never seen equalled
in the whole course of my life, listened with the utmost eagerness to
the first murmurs of disapprobation, and not only commenced a regular
defence of the measures adopted by the colonial government in the case
of the two soldiers, and held them forth to the colony as highly proper
and praiseworthy, but ever and anon launched forth whole paragraphs of
the most provoking and unprovoked personal vituperation at the heads of
all and sundry who presumed to think or write or speak otherwise."

So far Dr. Lang. With every feeling of respect for the reverend
gentleman's talents and character, it is deferentially submitted that
Governor Darling acted perfectly right in disdaining to make any
explanation of his conduct upon the occasion in question, or to
apologize for "an error of judgment," which he had not committed. Mr.
Robert Howe was fully justifiable, and did no more than his duty as a
public writer, in "listening to the first murmurs of disapprobation,"
and repelling with the utmost scorn the imputations attempted to be cast
upon the governor for having faithfully and judiciously performed his
duty to the sovereign whose representative he was, and to the people of
England, as well as to the inhabitants and the best interests of the
colony committed to his charge. Dr. Lang, in the latter part of his
narrative of the affair, seems to have forgotten his own statements and
admissions in its preceding part; for he himself has frankly admitted
that "it was evident to all parties that there was no ground whatever
for the imputation of improper motives,"--that the "issue of the affair"
was altogether "unfortunate and unforeseen,"--that the two soldiers "had
taken up the intolerable and highly dangerous idea that the situation of
a soldier was worse than that of a convict or transported felon"--that
for these and other reasons, "the governor, who, in common with all
other governors of British colonies, is authorized to provide for all
such extreme cases as involve the very existence of the government, to
the best of his own judgment, conceived this was just such a case;" that
"as a punishment is intended not merely for the correction of the
offender, but as a means of deterring others from imitating his
pernicious example, it was the part of a good governor to consider how
he could render the punishment of the two culprits in the case in
question, effectual, in the most extensive manner, for preventing the
recurrence of their crime;"--that "it was generally acknowledged,
throughout the colony," that "it was absolutely incredible that in such
a case a personal feeling could exist, or that the governor could have
had any other object in view than the public good;"--and that even "the
able opposition paper of the day admitted that the offence of the
soldiers was a serious and dangerous one, and one that required
extraordinary treatment!"

Where, then, was there any "error in judgment?"

If there was any error at all, it was the error of the surgeon of the
gaol, who, according to Dr. Lang, either knew not that Sudds was
labouring under a chronic hepatic affection, or neglected to inform
Governor Darling of that fact, which, according to Dr. Lang, would have
preserved Sudds from the scenes at the barrack-square!

Where was the cruelty?

The governor merely commuted the sentence of transportation for seven
years to a penal settlement, to a sentence of working on the roads for
seven years, with no other additional severity to the ordinary sentence
to an iron-gang, than that of bearing irons alleged to be somewhat
heavier than usual, and which never could have injured the man (if the
irons really did injure him, which is by no means proved) had he been in
a good state of health, as was supposed at the time by the governor and
all other persons concerned in his punishment.

Had the governor, indeed, ordered the men guilty of so very serious a
crime to be first flogged, and then put in irons and marched to gaol,
there might have been some shadow of pretence for a charge of
cruelty,--although even then the punishment might have been justified as
being only proportionate in severity to the enormity of the crime and
the urgency of the reasons requiring that its punishment should be

But, instead of cruelty, the punishment inflicted by his excellency was
in reality not more severe than that of the sentence which had been
passed upon the culprits by the civil power, and was not so severe, as,
under the authority of the original sentence, the commandant of a
subsidiary penal settlement, to which the offenders were to have been
transported, might, if he thought proper, and if he properly discharged
his duty in such a case, have rendered it.

The commutation of the original sentence was made, not for the sake of
adding to its severity, but only for the sake of changing its
form into one more impressive in a military sense,--and more
likely to influence the soldiery upon whom it was intended to operate as
an example.

It was therefore done with great military parade, and with as much of
imposing ceremonial and form as circumstances would admit; and the
better to impress upon the military spectators the hopelessness of their
ever escaping from their military obligation by the perpetration of
crime, it was judiciously announced that the prisoners, after the expiry
of their seven years' sentence, should be compelled again to serve in
the ranks, which it was their object to desert.

Nothing, in short, could have been more judicious or better calculated
to effect its purposes, than the change of sentence made by the
governor,--a change ordered by "judgment with mercy" towards culprits,
who, by the articles of war, had forfeited their very lives, if the case
had been thought to require that sacrifice.

It must be borne in mind, too, that the military part of the offence,
that is, the commission of a crime for the purpose of escaping from
their military obligation, was only discovered "during the trial" of
the criminals before the civil power. Had that intention been known
sooner, it is probable that the offenders would have been tried in the
first instance by court-martial,--when, considering the peculiar nature
of their offence, in a country so peculiarly circumstanced as New South
Wales is, and in which their crime was so peculiarly flagrant and
dangerous, no infliction of military punishment would have been deemed
too severe, or too great for the enormity of the offence, and for the
necessity of making an example calculated to prevent its repetition.

As for the twaddle about Governor Darling having improperly interfered
with the due course of law, it is very properly stated by Dr. Lang that
his excellency was empowered to treat any extraordinary case according
to his own judgment and discretion; and that, as he did consider the
case both extraordinary and dangerous, and even the "able opposition
paper of the day admitted that the offence of the soldiers was a serious
and dangerous offence, and one that required extraordinary
treatment," it follows that there was no interference with the due
course of law; for his duty required, and the law authorized, his
excellency to act as he did; and it was therefore "the part of a good
governor to consider how he could render the punishment

In short, the case altogether admits not of one moment of doubt in any
impartial and unprejudiced mind. The fatal result as to the prisoner
Sudds was "unfortunate and unforeseen," and was caused, not by his
punishment, but by the long-standing disease of his liver, chronic
affections of which, though they are aggravated by mental depression,
are often unknown to the patients themselves, and appear, in Sudds's
case, to have escaped the notice even of the surgeon of the gaol.

But, although General Darling's conduct in this affair was not only
blameless, but highly praiseworthy,--although it was sanctioned by the
law officers of the crown,--although he was honourably acquitted by the
home government and by a rigorous parliamentary inquest, and was
honoured with the dignity of knighthood by the King,--yet was the death
of Sudds basely employed by the unprincipled demagogues of the colony as
a means of inflicting incessant annoyance and mental torture upon his
excellency throughout the ensuing years of his administration.

Independently of the virulence of the editors of the opposition papers,
and of the systematic hostility of Mr. Wentworth and his confederate
leaders of the convict and emancipist faction, two individuals made
themselves particularly obnoxious by the injustice and the virulence of
their attacks upon his excellency.

These were Mr. John Stephens (of whom further mention is made in a
subsequent portion of this work), and Captain Robertson, of the veteran
corps, the husband of Stephens's sister. Robertson wholly devoted
himself to Stephens's views, and appeared to make it his entire study to
find means of annoying the governor.

As to Sudds's case, though the irons,--which he wore only for a very few
days, and that, too, not at labour, but in the gaol, and from which he
was freed as soon as it was reported he was ill,--though the irons were
in reality very little heavier than those usually put upon convicts
sentenced to iron-gangs, and only so much heavier as their peculiar
construction required,--Robertson, for the sake of giving stage effect
to his workings upon the popular feeling, actually had the irons put
upon himself; and then made the most exaggerated declarations as to
their weight, and their effect upon the constitution and health of any
man who should be doomed to wear them.

Robertson continued his very reprehensible misconduct so violently and
so long, that at last he actually drove the governor to bring him before
a court-martial, by which he was cashiered.

Sir Ralph Darling, in short, was assailed in every possible way; and, to
crown the whole, the chief leader of the colonial liberals, Mr.
Wentworth, being a lawyer, drew up what he called a formal "impeachment"
of his excellency! This he caused to be delivered by an attorney, with
mock legal formality and ludicrous solemnity, at
government-house--boasting that he would never lose sight of the
governor,--that he would follow him to England,--would there drag him to
the bar of the House of Commons,--and would finally bring upon him an
ignominious death! It is not enough to say that these ungentlemanly
expressions and threats, uttered against a man of General Darling's high
character and upright public conduct, were disgusting:--they were
absolutely atrocious, and were more befitting an assassin than a
political adversary.

The result of the investigation into the governor's conduct, which
ensued, was, however, so completely exculpatory, that Lord Howick, the
then under secretary of state for the colonies, and himself, as the
reader is aware, a whig and an advocate of reform, declared in the House
of Commons, that the accusations against General Darling had not been
supported by the slightest shadow of evidence. A committee of the House,
after a long and searching investigation and examination of witnesses,
pronounced a similar judgment of acquittal. And, His Majesty, to confirm
the whole, and as a mark of the royal approbation of his services, was
pleased to confer upon his excellency the honour of knighthood.

General Darling was thus most honourably exculpated by the home
government and the legislature, and was rewarded with distinction by the
King, although Mr. Wentworth and others had strained every nerve to
attempt making out a case against him.

The utter failure of the endeavours of his enemies, either to sully his
reputation, or to substantiate a single charge against his excellency,
after all the virulence of invective and the atrociousness of the
calumnies with which they had assailed and sought to overwhelm him,
forms one amongst many other convincing proofs of the systematic course
of misrepresentation and falsehood constantly resorted to by the
worthless faction in New South Wales, for the furtherance of their
detestable and dangerous views.

In England it would be difficult to conceive the brutal ferocity of some
of the soi-disant liberal faction of New South Wales.

On the embarkation of the lady of General Darling and her family, at
Sydney, for England, the day before his excellency himself made his
public departure, a portion of Mr. Wentworth's gang attended her with
savage yells and other violent manifestations of malignity, and, with a
bullock's head mounted on a pole, a boat filled with these miscreants
even followed her to the ship, and hoisting the revolting spectacle of
the bullock's head at the cabin windows of the vessel, there renewed
their hideous and unmanly vociferations.

The lady, who was the object of the shocking ferocity of these wretches,
was only known for her amiable and mild virtues, her private
benevolence, and her zealous patronage and active promotion of all works
of public charity and melioration.

The ruffians who bore or accompanied the bullock's head had come direct
from the house of Mr. Wentworth, distant two or three miles from Sydney,
where, in celebration of General Darling being superseded as governor,
Mr. Wentworth had caused a bullock to be roasted entire, with which, and
an approprite deluge of rum, he regaled a multitude of his gang. They
became so uproarious and turbulent, that even Mr. Wentworth was under
the necessity of barricading himself within a portion of his own house,
which some of his patriotic friends and supporters took the
opportunity of robbing of a quantity of plate and other property, while
another division of his adherents, seizing upon the ghastly head of the
roasted ox, reeled to Sydney, and perpetrated the disgraceful outrage
upon manly feeling and public decorum which has been narrated.

And how did Mr. Wentworth, the great colonial patriot and patron of the
felonry, follow up his empty boastings and his insolent threats? His
abortive "impeachment" was submitted to the law officers of the crown,
and fell, still-born, to the ground. General Darling was applauded, and
rewarded with honours from the hand of his sovereign, instead of being
condemned; while Mr. Wentworth, after all his noise and vaunting,
contented himself with remaining snug in Sydney, where he is now a
justice of the peace, and the bosom friend of the real darling of his
convict faction and of the felonry, his present excellency the governor,
Major-General Sir Richard Bourke!

The author resided in the colony not only during the whole of Sir Ralph
Darling's government, but also during the whole of that of his
predecessor, Sir Thomas Brisbane, and also during that of his successor,
Sir Richard Bourke, down to the month of April in 1836. It is therefore
as an eye-witness, and, as he conscientiously believes, as impartial and
unprejudiced a witness as he is now a non-interested one, that he feels
no hesitation in stating his belief, that no individual ever held the
reins of government in the colony, who was so well qualified in every
respect for his important office, as General Sir Ralph Darling. It is
only to be regretted that he himself sensitively felt the calumnies of
his degraded enemies, and that he did not treat them with the utter
contempt they deserved.

Of his having well performed his duty, as governor of New South Wales,
there cannot be a stronger or more gratifying proof than the feeling he
has left behind him in the breasts of all the reputable inhabitants of
the colony. After his honourable acquittal from the charges preferred
against him, all the free emigrants of respectability, with scarcely an
exception, and including the legislative and executive councils, the
clergy, and the magistracy, sent him an address of congratulation. A
subscription was also entered into for his portrait, for which he was
requested to sit, in order that it may be placed in a public building in
Sydney, as a memorial of his meritorious government, and of the place he
holds in the affection and esteem of the grateful colonists who had the
happiness to live under his vigorous and enlightened sway.

Indeed the results of his excellency's measures at length extorted
admiration and applause even from many of his former enemies,--as a
striking instance of which it may be mentioned that the very newspaper
which had been the most virulent in its opposition, was at length, and
some time previously to his excellency's departure from the colony,
constrained to award him the meed of great honour and praise for the
measures of his government, and particularly as regarded their
application to the felonry, the whole of which he reduced, in military
phrase, to a complete state of discipline; and now General Darling's
government is the watch-word used in censuring the measures of Governor

What has been stated in the present chapter being the opinion and
feeling of every person of high standing and honourable principles in
the colony, the few credulous members of parliament who have from time
to time taken up the gross misrepresentations,--the deceitful and
fraudulent pretences and pretensions of the demagogues and their felon
partizans,--must at length become sensible of the little attention that
should ever have been given to the statements of the enemies of convict
subordination and good government, and of the true interests of New
South Wales, whether regarded as a British colony, or as a penal
settlement for the reception, punishment, employment, and reclamation of
transported felons.

The author ventures respectfully to add, that were the home government
to re-appoint Sir Ralph Darling to the government of the colony, and
were that distinguished and gallant person to resume a post the duties
of which he so ably discharged, it would be one of the greatest boons
that could be conferred upon New South Wales, and would be therein
hailed as a happy omen and secure pledge of its future peace,
prosperity, and happiness.


To His Excellency Lieut-General Ralph Darling.



We, the members of the legislative council in New South Wales, are
anxious, on the conclusion of your excellency's administration, to offer
a sincere and unanimous expression of the sentiments which we entertain
towards you, as the representative of our most gracious sovereign.

The cordiality and good-feeling which have subsisted between your
excellency and the legislative body, we attribute, in a great degree, to
the freedom from interference with which we have been permitted to
deliberate upon every measure which, under a sense of public duty, your
excellency has brought before us, for the benefit and security of the
colony. Whatever may be the character and effect of those measures, we
are sensible that this council, by adopting them, has taken upon itself
an equal share of the responsibility which attaches to them. If we were
to particularize any of the acts, which will most permanently mark the
period of your excellency's presiding over us, we should refer to those
by which great progress has been made towards the general establishment
of trial by jury, to the control which the legislative authority has,
for the first time, exercised over the duties hitherto levied by
proclamation; and to those coercive measures of the last session, which
we are sensible that nothing but the penal character of this settlement,
and the disturbed state of the country at that time, could have
justified; but the expediency of which acts of vigour has in the event
been proved by the restoration of general tranquillity.

It cannot but be a source of lasting pride and satisfaction to your
excellency to reflect, that you leave the colony in this state of
internal security; that, notwithstanding a continuance of disastrous
seasons, its natural resources have been gradually and strikingly
developed; and that its increasing foreign commerce is testified by the
daily accession of vessels to our ports, and the extension of all our
mercantile relations.

We trust that your excellency's successor will have the gratification of
witnessing an increase of that prosperity, the groundwork of which is
already securely laid; and we request you, in vacating the government,
to accept our congratulations on the prospects under which he will
assume it. We desire to express, collectively and individually, our
unabated esteem for your excellency; and that, after a safe return to
your native country, you may, together with your family, enjoy many
years of health, happiness, and prosperity, is, we beg to assure you,
the unfeigned prayer of,


Your Excellency's Most obedient and very humble Servants,


FRANCIS FORBES, Chief Justice.
ALEXANDER McLEAY, Colonial Secretary.
JOHN KINCHELA, Attorney-General.
BURMAN LAUGA, Chief Officer of Customs.
WILLIAM LITHGOW, Auditor General of Colonial Accounts.


To the Members of the Legislative Council.


It is, I assure you, very gratifying to me, to receive at this moment,
on the eve of my separation from you, this testimony of your sentiments
and regard.

I thank you unfeignedly for the able assistance, which, on all
occasions, you have so cordially afforded me in perfecting the various
important measures, which it has been my duty to bring under your
consideration. I have no claim to any merit for having abstained from
endeavouring to control your discussions: I knew that the object of His
Majesty's government--the true interests of the colony--would be best
promoted by leaving you to the free exercise of your own judgment. As to
one of the measures to which you more immediately allude, it was
calculated to meet the exigency of the times, and the result is happily
exemplified by the security which the inhabitants throughout the colony
now enjoy in their persons and property.

It affords me, indeed, peculiar satisfaction, after the long continuance
of disastrous seasons with which the colony has been visited, and the
consequences resulting from such a calamity, to be enabled to transfer
my charge in the improved and gratifying state which you have described.
The character of my successor is the best promise, that the internal
resources of the colony will be cultivated to the utmost; and that its
agriculture and commerce will be fostered and extended by every possible

Feeling, gentlemen, as I sincerely do, an anxious desire for the
prosperity of your adopted country, I cannot be indifferent to yours;
and I beg you will believe, that individually, as well as in your
collective capacity, forming the legislative body of this colony, I
shall ever take a lively interest in your happiness and success; and I
ardently hope, that the tranquillity which the colony now enjoys may
meet with no interruption; that the bright prospects which the improved
state of your commerce and the late seasons have opened to you, may be
confirmed; and that your families may long continue to feel the benign
influence of these great blessings.

With sentiments of sincere regard, I remain,
Your faithful friend and Servant,

(Signed)    RA. DARLING.

Government House, }
14th October, 1831, }



On the occasion of his retiring from the Government of the Colony.

To his Excellency Lieut.-General RALPH DARLING,
Governor in Chief of the Territory of New South Wales, &c. &c.


The undersigned civil officers of New South Wales request permission to
approach your excellency upon the occasion of your retiring from the
government of the colony; and to tender the assurance of their respect
at a moment when their sincerity cannot be questioned, or their motives
for avowing it mistaken.

To offer an opinion upon your excellency's administration, would be
unbecoming in those who have been entrusted with the execution of its
measures, but they cannot refrain from respectfully bidding you
farewell; and from offering to your excellency their sincere good wishes
for the uninterrupted enjoyment of health and happiness; whether again
engaged in the service of your sovereign, or in the calmer pursuits of
private life.

They have the honour to subscribe themselves,


Your Excellency's

Most obedient and faithful Servants,

T. MACQUOID, Sheriff and Chairman.
M. C. COTTON, Collector of Customs by B. L.
BURMAN LAUGA, Controller of Customs.
F. ROSSI, Principal Superintendent of Police.
CHARLES WINDEYER, Assistant Police Magistrate.
C. D. RIDDELL, Colonial Treasurer.
JAMES DOWLING, an Assistant Judge of the Supreme Court.
JOHN KINCHELA, Attorney-General.
ROGER THERRY, Commissioner Court Requests.
J. BOWMAN, Inspector of Colonial Hospitals.
M. ANDERSON, Surgeon Parramatta Hospital.
W. RICHARDSON, Windsor Hospital by J. B.
J. MITCHELL, Surgeon Sydney Hospital.
PATRICK HILL, Surgeon Liverpool Hospital.
C. T. SMEATHMAN, Coroner.
JOHN BUSBY, Mineral Surveyor.
GEORGE BUSBY, Assistant Surgeon Bathurst Hospital by J. B.
WM. LITHGOW, Auditor-General.
JOHN EDYE MANNING, Registrar Supreme Court.
WM. CARTER, Master of the Supreme Court.
JOHN GURNER, Chief Clerk of the Supreme Court.
E. DEAS THOMPSON, Clerk of Council.
F. A. HELY, Principal Superintendent of Convicts.
SAMUEL WRIGHT, Police Magistrate Parramatta by F. H.
CHARLES WILSON, C. E. Director of Public Works.
S. A. PERRY, Deputy Surveyor-General.
JAMES RAYMOND, Postmaster of the Territory.
WILLIAM MACPHERSON, Collector of Internal Revenue.
T. C. HARRINGTON, Assistant Colonial Secretary.
J. NICHOLSON, Master Attendant.

Sydney, New South Wales,
October 10, 1831.

of the Civil Government of New South Wales.


I am very sensible, I assure, you of the kind feeling by which you have
been influenced on this occasion, and I shall ever bear it in grateful

The expression of your good wishes is all I could desire, and nothing
could be more agreeable or acceptable to me.

As to the measures of my administration, they must speak for themselves;
but I will bear testimony to your zeal and exertions. The duties of your
offices in general have been arduous and laborious in the extreme, as
they always must be in a colony of this description.

I thank you, gentlemen, for the services you have so readily rendered in
your several situations, and the assistance you have so cheerfully and
kindly afforded me; and I beg you to be assured of my best wishes for
your success, and the happiness of your families.

I remain,


With unfeigned regard,

Your faithful friend and servant,

(Signed) R.A. DARLING.

Government House, 15th October, 1831.

Lieut-General Ralph Darling.


1. Being now assembled in Council, on the last occasion of your
excellency's presiding over our deliberations, we cannot separate
without requesting you to permit us to declare the sentiments with which
we review our past official intercourse.

2. We are sensible that, under our circumstances, it would not become us
to specify, for the purpose of commendation, any in particular of those
public measures, which, having been adopted with our concurrence and
advice, must to a certain extent be regarded as our own.

3. Nevertheless, as our connection with the executive has afforded us
the best opportunity of correctly appreciating the general character of
your excellency's administration, so the termination of that connection
enables us, without suspicion of any sinister motive, to express the
opinion we have formed.

4. We deem it, therefore, but an act of justice to declare, for the
periods during which we have respectively sat in this council, that we
consider your excellency, in the discharge of your high office, to have
manifested an example of integrity unsullied and unimpeachable.

5. We have seen you devote yourself to the duties of your station, with
an indefatigable perseverance, which left you scarcely those intervals
of rest and opportunities of relaxation which are essential to health.

6. We feel ourselves bound to testify, that the utmost humanity and
forbearance which the public safety would admit, have been shewn by you
on those occasions, when the ends of justice called for examples of
severity; no less than when individuals connected with the public
service, have, by misconduct, exposed themselves to necessary

7. We are persuaded that the governing object of your policy has been,
the security and improvement of the colony; and that you have proposed
no measure, which had not a designed reference to this end, or was not
in your opinion qualified to promote it.

8. We have stated the reasons why we must leave to others the task of
pronouncing a decision upon separate acts of administration. But,
looking only to the general result, if success be any criterion of
ability, your excellency may confidently appeal to the improved and
improving state of the colony, and to the efficacy of the laws in
maintaining its internal security, for a proof, that while you have duly
upheld the dignity of his majesty's crown, you have not mistaken or
compromised the interests of any class of his subjects.

9. We beg, in respectfully taking leave of your excellency, to thank
you, on our own behalf, and on behalf of the public, for the readiness
of access which you have at all times afforded us; for the urbanity and
attention which our suggestions have in all instances received; and for
the candid construction you have been pleased to put upon every
representation which we may at any time have felt it our duty to offer;
and, with the warmest expression of our personal esteem, we have the
honour to express a hope that you will receive the approbation of your
sovereign, and enjoy a continuance of every blessing and happiness on
your return to your native country.


W. G. BROUGHTON, Archdeacon.

ALEX. McLEAY, Colonial Secretary.

P. LINDESAY, Colonel.

Executive Council Chamber, 18th October, 1831.


We, the undersigned clergy, magistrates, landholders, and merchants of
New South Wales, beg to approach your excellency, on the occasion of
your departure from this colony, with sentiments of unfeigned respect,
and with our sincere acknowledgments for the ability and unwearied
exertions which have marked your excellency's administration of this

Your excellency's arrival among us occurred at a period when the colony
had begun to emerge from the state of a penal settlement, and to assume
the character of a commercial and agricultural community. Formerly our
imports were paid for by treasury bills, drawn on account of the
government expenditure, by which the affairs of the colonists were
entirely regulated. During your excellency's administration,
notwithstanding a great increase in the prison population, there has
been a very great diminution of British expenditure, as well as a
considerable increase of colonial revenue.

It would be unreasonable to suppose that such a fundamental change in
the whole circumstances of the colony could have been effected in so
short a time, without occasioning considerable temporary embarrassment,
both to the agricultural and commercial bodies, which, to the former,
has unfortunately been aggravated by unfavourable seasons, and a
depreciation in the value of stock.

The agriculture and commerce of the colony have, however, extended to a
fourfold degree, so that its exports form an important item in the
markets of the mother country.

These results entitle your excellency to our grateful acknowledgments,
and to the best thanks of the home government, as affording a pledge,
that if judicious measures be persevered in, our colony will soon be
capable of supporting herself on her own resources.

When the actual condition of the colony is contrasted with what it was
on your excellency's arrival, its absolute increase of substantial
wealth will form the eulogium on your excellency's administration. We
cannot also but advert to the advantages which the colony has derived
from the organization of an efficient body of police, whereby a more
effectual security has been afforded to persons and property, as well in
the interior districts as in our towns; from the establishment of
improved regulations for the control and management of the prison
population; and also from the judicious change in the system of
punishment for colonial offences, by which the public roads have been
greatly advanced.

Although the general feeling of the colonists is adverse to the recent
land regulations, we acquit your excellency of all participation in
their recommendation. These regulations, if carried into effect, would
not only fail in their proposed object, but prove ruinous to the colony,
injurious to the mother country, and would operate as a tax on
emigration. We therefore trust that your excellency will become the warm
advocate of more healthful measures on your return to your native land.

In taking leave of your excellency, it gives us great pleasure to
acknowledge how much our community has been indebted to you, for the
high moral example which has been invariably held up to imitation by
yourself and family, and by the encouragement you have afforded to the
cultivation of social and domestic virtues.

We should not do justice to our feelings did we omit to notice the
important part which Mrs. Darling has taken in every act which could
contribute to the religious and moral improvement of our community. We
are not ignorant that under circumstances of no ordinary suffering, in
sickness and in affliction, her unwearied efforts have been exerted to
promote those important objects; and we trust, that the institutions she
has been so instrumental in establishing for the instruction of female
children, and others over which she has presided with great interest and
anxiety, may justify her hopes for the benefit they will confer on

We beg that your excellency will accept our unaffected and ardent wishes
for your health and happiness, and that whether engaged in the active
service of your country, or placed in the retirement of private life,
you may enjoy those blessings we ardently desire for yourself and

W. E. PARRY......................J. BOWMAN
George Street................A.B. SPARK
RUPERT KIRK..................A.J. ROSS, M.D.
JAMES HORTON.................W.G. WOODWARD
A. C. INNES..................JAMES CHISHOLM
W. MORGAN....................JOHN ROWELL
C. W. WALL...................JOHN WOOD
Hunter's River......................GEORGE TOWNSEND
GEORGE BUNN..................E. LOCKYER
HENRY BROOKS.................W.F. FORSTER
A.W. SCOTT...................JAMES B. BETTINGTON
T.U. RYDER...................EDWARD JONES



Nothing could be more gratifying to me, on this occasion, than the view
you have so kindly taken of my administration.

Your testimony of its success renders it unnecessary for me to enter on
the subject of the measures which you have reviewed with so much
indulgence. The acknowledgments of those for whose benefit my exertions
have been intended, is all I could have desired; but they are amply
repaid by the proofs you have given of their having been gratefully

You may be assured, that the regulations recently established for the
disposal of land, to which you have alluded, were adopted under an
impression that the system would ultimately lead to the benefit of the
colony. I should be wanting both in duty and justice to his Majesty's
government, did I not distinctly assure you, that the governing
principle, the sole and only object of its views, as evinced by all the
instructions I have received, as well with regard to the disposal of
land as to the encouragement of emigration, has been to promote the true
interests and prosperity of the colony. With this paternal disposition
on the part of his majesty's government, your cause requires no
advocate; but whenever I can serve you, my exertions shall be as
zealous, as my desire to do so is sincere.

The tribute which you have so kindly paid to Mrs. Darling's exertions,
is indeed peculiarly gratifying to me; and will, I am sure, be rendered
doubly acceptable to her, as an earnest of your perseverance in
supporting the institution for the education of female children, which,
with your assistance, has been so successfully established.

In taking leave of you, gentlemen, I beg you will believe that we shall
ever retain a grateful recollection of your kindness, and that the
remembrance of the many estimable friends whom we leave behind, will be
cherished with feelings of affectionate regard.

I remain, &c.



Government House, 20th October, 1831,


His Excellency Major General Sir Richard Bourke, the present governor of
New South Wales, succeeded Lieutenant General Sir Ralph Darling as
governor, in December, 1831.

As the chief object of the present work is to arraign, at the bar of
public opinion, the conduct of his Excellency General Sir Richard
Bourke, and that of several of his functionaries in the government of
New South Wales, and particularly as regards his and their spirit of
favouritism towards the convicts,--it may even be politically said,
criminal colusion with convicts,--it is necessary to treat this
principal part of the subject at considerable length.

When General Bourke set off for his government, the principles of reform
had gained the ascendancy in his Majesty's councils, and a large portion
of the British people were enthusiastically engaged in obtaining the
extension of their popular rights, and the reconstruction of their
popular institutions.

General Bourke, imbued with the same spirit, unfortunately carried his
political feelings to a colony, the composition of whose society
necessarily required the application of very different principles from
those which might be deemed best adapted to the government of the mother

Under the influence of such principles, he readily fell into the arms of
Mr. Chief Justice Forbes, Mr. Wentworth, and other politically dangerous
men in the colony, including the Scotch outlaw and most infamous English
convict, William Watt, who became his excellency's literary champion,
and also Watt's ally and confederate, Mr. Commissioner Therry!

General Bourke, in the very outset of his government, evinced a spirit
rather too congenial with that of the party in the colony to which he
attached himself; for the following document (to be found in the Sydney
Herald of 29th August, 1833), with the use he made of it, proves that he
also resorted to concealment and trickery, when resorting to these
unworthy means could serve his purposes.

(Copy) No. 78,

"Downing-street, 24th March, 1838.


"Having received a dispatch from General Darling, of which the enclosed
is an extract, I consider that I should be acting with a want of
fairness towards that officer, did I not at once endeavour to remove the
very important misapprehension under which he seems to have laboured, in
regard to the circumstances under which it was decided that his
government of the Australian colonies should be brought to a close.

"I do not feel that I am called upon to make any comment on the
correspondence which seems to have taken place between Mr. Hume and the
Editor of the Sydney Monitor, excepting to express my regret that any
one of the daily journals of New South Wales should be written with so
vindictive a spirit as is displayed by Mr. Hall in such of his papers as
have been brought under my notice, and to add my anxious hope that a
better tone than that which has prevailed hitherto will be found, in
general, amongst the publications which issue from the colonial press.

"In regard, however, to the particular grievance of which General
Darling complains, I feel myself bound to observe (not only for your
information, but with a view to your giving the utmost publicity to
the statement) that the change of the government which has recently
taken place, was in no degree whatever produced by any
representation which might have been made to this department by any
of those persons in England who were inclined to disapprove of the mode
in which its affairs had been administered by General Darling; and that
nothing could be more erroneous than the supposition that any
observations contained in any intemperate newspaper, or any suggestions
from those at home who might think fit to espouse the cause and adopt
the language employed in such a publication, could have any influence
whatever with his Majesty's government in deciding upon a measure of so
much importance as that of a change of the government of a distant
colony, whether such a step be regarded with reference to the public
interests, or to those of the officer whom such a decision would more
immediately affect.

"I am, Sir, &c.


"Major General Bourke, Sec. &c. &c."

The foregoing dispatch was written by his Majesty's principal secretary
of state to General Bourke, not only for the purpose of exculpating
General Bourke's honourable and distinguished predecessor, but "with
a view to your (General Bourke) giving the utmost publicity to the

Will it be believed that General Bourke, however, was guilty of the
meanness towards his predecessor, General Darling, as well as of the
disobedience to his Majesty's government, and of the failure of his duty
to the colonial public, of treacherously suppressing this very dispatch?

He did so suppress it, nevertheless! Friends of General Bourke, "Call
you this honest? Is it fair?"

The author, viewing the suppression of Lord Goderiche's dispatch with
the feelings of a military man, is quite at a loss for terms
sufficiently strong to characterise the delinquency, without resorting
to unbecoming language. As an officer and a gentleman, General Bourke,
instead of suppressing the exculpation of General Darling, should have
been eager to avail himself even of the most trivial
circumstance,--almost, indeed, of any plausible pretext,--that could be
turned in favour of a brother officer, his predecessor in his own high
office, of whose character he might, therefore, be considered as the
proper guardian,--a character which had been so unjustly and so falsely
slandered, and which General Darling himself was no longer present to
defend. The turpitude of suppressing the dispatch is therefore, perhaps,
unprecedented. It fills the mind with astonishment and the heart with
melancholy. But for the actual reality and presence, as it were, of the
fact, it would be pronounced incredible. No wonder that a talented and
highly gifted literary friend* of the author, having heard something of
the felonry of New South Wales while this work was in the press,
ironically remarked, that the present colonial government might with
greater propriety be called the felonial government of the colony.

*A Lady.

In further illustration of Governor Bourke's feelings and dishonourable
policy as regarded the character of General Darling, in proportion as
any individual had made himself conspicuous by by the bitterness of his
abuse and the vileness of his slanders against General Darling, so sure
was he of meeting favour in the sight of Governor Bourke, and of
experiencing protection and advancement at his hands,--no matter whether
the traducer held the honourable station of a ticket-of-leave man, or
whether he bore the rank of a colonial judge.

With all Mr. Wentworth's eagerness to gain popularity by hollow
pretension to convictism and emancipistism, he on one occasion
betrayed his real feelings and sentiments regarding the convict
population, and regarding his own rights and superiority as an assignee
master of convict servants.

General Bourke had thought fit to grant a ticket-of-leave to one of Mr.
Wentworth's convict servants, not only without Mr. Wentworth's
recommendation as the assignee master of the man, (which is usually
required), but even without his knowledge.

All Mr. Wentworth's theories in favour of convictism gave way
before their practical application by the governor, in such a way as
to touch his (Mr. Wentworth's) own interests and his pride!

His indignation at the private wrong was too strong for his
acquiescence under his own public principle. He wrote an ironical
letter to Governor Bourke, telling him, as he had thought fit to grant,
without his approbation or knowledge, a ticket-of-leave to the worst
behaved man in his service, that there were several well-behaved men
remaining under him, and that he thought he (the governor) had better
grant tickets-of-leave to his (Mr. Wentworth's) whole establishment!

Mr. Wentworth continued for some time to manifest a hostile feeling to
General Bourke's government; but as he also continued to vilify General
Darling, and as his views required him to smother his resentment at
Governor Bourke's very improper, impolitic, and anti-subordinate
proceeding with regard to Mr. Wentworth's assigned servant, he acquired
high favour at government-house, and was eventually put in the
commission of the peace!

This last mark of favour was matter of astonishment even to Mr.
Wentworth himself. He is a barrister, and, as he well knew, it is not
consistent with the practice of the mother country to place lawyers on
the list of the unpaid magistrates. Mr. Wentworth, too, had taken a part
in colonial politics, so very violent and peculiar, besides that
there were other circumstances regarding him to which it is unnecessary
to advert, that he was the very last free man in the colony who should
have been put in the commission of the peace. It was what he himself, in
his wildest imaginings, could never have dreamt of. It was, moreover,
practically, highly injudicious and improper. It gave to this
hot-brained and intemperate political partisan a right to interfere
still more than he had yet done in the affairs of the colony, and
particularly with the proceedings of the magistracy, amongst whom the
introduction of an individual in the threefold capacity of a trained
lawyer, a practised orator, and a political partisan, could not fail to
be felt both as an annoyance and a vexatious obstruction to business.

General Darling was and is a distinguished member of military clubs.

Without knowing whether Governor Bourke is or is not on the same social
and friendly terms with his military brethren, it may be put to military
men whether General Bourke's treatment of General Darling, and marked
partiality for his personal and political enemies and slanderers,
including his favouritism towards a ruffian prisoner of the crown who
even boasted of the favour shown to him at private audiences of his
excellency within the walls of government-house, was conduct quite
"becoming an officer and a gentleman?"

That conduct is divisible into two distinct branches of culpability,
1st. Concealment from the public of the exculpation of General Darling
by the home government, including a highly culpable act of disobedience
to that government, on the part of General Bourke:--2nd. The lending of
a greedy ear by General Bourke to the calumnies uttered against his
brother general officer and senior, General Darling, and the favouring,
associating with, and promoting of the calumniators.

If the records of military courts-martial were to be examined, how many
unfortunate officers, on charges of ungentlemanlike conduct,--conduct
trifling in itself compared to these acts on the part of a general
officer and a representative of the King,--would be found to have been
dismissed the service!

As a wind-up to this part of the subject, a somewhat ludicrous piece of
coquetry, on the part of Governor Bourke and his friend Mr. Wentworth,
may be stated.

Governor Bourke had visited his friend Mr. Wentworth at his residence
near Sydney, and having remained there from about three o'clock in the
afternoon till eleven at night, it was stated in the newspapers, as a
morsel of "court news," that on such a day the governor had dined with
Mr. Wentworth.

Mr. Wentworth (why, he himself can best explain) thought it necessary to
contradict the statement, and alleged that the governor had been at his
house, not to dine, but merely to "inspect" his improvements!

This gave occasion to much jest and merriment amongst the wags of the
colony. A newspaper in which the contradiction appeared with Mr.
Wentworth's signature, led the way, by asking, "what was the meaning of
all this?" Was Mr. Wentworth ashamed of his friend the governor having
dined with him sans ceremonie? Or, was the governor ashamed of having
dined with his friend Mr. Wentworth?

The general opinion was, that the governor, conscious of the impropriety
of his connection with Mr. Wentworth, was the party who did not wish it
to be believed that he had condescended so far as to sit down at Mr.
Wentworth's table!


MR. Dudley Perceval, third son of the late Right Hon. Spenser Perceval
(the hapless prime minister of George III., who was murdered by
Bellingham in the lobby of the House of Commons), and son-in-law to
General Bourke, has, in his eagerness to defend the conduct and
character of his gallant relative the governor of New South Wales,
unwittingly furnished a point on which to append the proofs of his
Excellency General Bourke's incompetency, as well as the delinquency of
some of his functionaries, and of his and their convict faction, by the
publication of a letter in the Times newspaper, in October, 1836, of
which the following is a copy:--


"Sir--In the absence from England of any nearer relation or connexion of
Sir Richard Bourke than myself, I feel it my duty to remonstrate with
you on the hasty judgment you have passed on his conduct in the
government of New South Wales, and on the severe and sarcastic, if not
acrimonious, tone in which that judgment is expressed. I wish also to
furnish you (so far as it happens to be in my power) with the means of
correcting that judgment, of which I cannot doubt that you, Sir, as a
candid and conscientious guide of public opinion, will readily avail

"When I tell you that the several items of your description of General
Bourke's tendencies to action, viz., "as a military officer," "not
finding much pleasure in a state of affairs which gave little or no
exercise to his warlike habits," "as a stirring Irishman," to whom "life
could not be at all supportable in the absence of agitation," "as a
candidate for Whig-Radical favour," incapable of "abstaining from
revolutionary practices," are all so utterly and ludicrously at variance
with the General's real character and disposition, that it is impossible
for a friend of his to read them without hearty laughter (in spite of
the annoyance of seeing a most worthy man, and a most faithful and
laborious servant of the Crown, absurdly misrepresented to the public),
I think it will induce you to receive with a little more caution the
statements of those persons (whosoever they may be) who have contrived
to engage your powerful support on the side of their own colonial
partizanship; and who, starting from the undeniable facts of Sir Richard
Bourke being a soldier, an Irishman, and a Whig, have so far abused your
confidence as to make you fancy that the metaphorical sketch of "a
gallant roysterer, determined to treat himself to a sort of colonial
Donnybrook fair--in short, to have "a regular Irish row of it," was, in
any kind or degree of similitude, a likeness of the present Governor of
New South Wales, either in his individual or official capacity.

"The charges against General Bourke, which have appeared in your paper,
first, in two letters signed "Australianus," and, secondly, in this
article of the 27th (which I think I may regard as the result of those
letters), resolve themselves into three heads:--The first, and most
serious, that of culpably relaxing the laws enforcing convict discipline
in the colony; the second, that of admitting to familiar society, and
otherwise favouring and promoting, individual convicts, and, in
particular, one James Watt, whom General Bourke is alleged to have made
editor of the "Sydney Government Gazette;" the third, that of dismissing
several magistrates without reason assigned.

"The first charge involves a question most interesting indeed to the
public at large, but one far too extensive for me to venture upon it in
a letter. It is true that General Bourke, shortly after his arrival at
Sydney, passed an act to consolidate and amend the laws relating to
convict discipline. It is true that the new code did in some degree
diminish the powers of the magistrates when acting singly. It is true
that a limited portion of the community were so much displeased at this
that they got up a petition (at a private meeting, however), complaining
of the governors's conduct. And now I send you herewith a copy of a
pamphlet, "by an unpaid magistrate," published at Sydney, in answer to
the allegations of that petition. I call upon you, in common justice to
General Bourke and to the public, to peruse it; and great indeed will be
my surprise if you are not satisfied, by that perusal, that this first
charge against him is most unreasonable, and unwarranted by facts.

As to the second charge, that "his excellency has lavished upon
transported felons the token of peculiar favour and fellowship," given
such persons "the entree of the government-house of Sydney," and "made
them pets and poodles about his table," I take upon myself to assert
that it is a gross calumny; and I call upon your anonymous
correspondent, who has done you the injustice to palm such an infamous
untruth upon your credulity, to come forward in his own name and
substantiate it, if he can. It is well known that so long ago as in
Governor Macquarie's time, the question as to the reception into society
of convicts, the terms of whose penal banishment had expired (nay, of
their children and descendants), had become the subject of much
difficulty and dispute, many of them having risen to affluence and
respectability; and it remains one of delicate management enough, and
must remain so for some time to come. That some few of this class may
have been admitted to government-house I am not prepared to deny; but
that any person who could properly, at the present time, be designated a
"transported felon," was ever received as a guest by Sir Richard Bourke,
I will stake my existence is an utter falsehood.

"So also, as to the convict James Watt. It is impossible that he could
have been "promoted by the governor to the editorship of the Sydney
Gazette," for no such office exists in the governor's gift. The
Sydney Gazette is just as independent of the government there as The
Times here. If it prints the government notices, orders,
proclamations, &c., it does so by contract or tender. There is no
government gazette, properly so called, at Sydney.

"James Watt appears, by Australianus's letter, to have been a convict
holding a ticket-of-leave; by virtue of which his services were at his
own disposal: and if he chanced to be hired as sub-editor (which I
believe was the case) by the proprietors of the Sydney Gazette, the
governor had no more to say to it than he would have had if they had
hired the man to black their shoes.

"The third charge, that of excluding the names of certain magistrates
from a new commission of the peace without reason assigned, in the
absence of detailed information I am unable to discuss. That the
governor has the power, and consequently, that it is his duty, to
select, continue, or remove those functionaries, is quite clear. That he
has recently exercised the power of removal, is clear also. That the
gentlemen displaced, their friends and partisans, should be very much
dissatisfied, is only natural. But it neither follows that there were
not very proper grounds for their removal, nor yet that the governor may
not have exercised a very sound discretion (nay, possibly, and from
General Bourke's character I would say probably, a kind forbearance) in
declining to state those grounds, except to the secretary of state.

"In conclusion, allow me to suggest one general maxim. Beware of the
statements of colonial partisans. If in any case, in these especially
the maxim audi alteram partem should be religiously observed; and
time and opportunity should be awaited for this purpose. Great injustice
will hardly fail to be the result, if judgments are passed on exparte
allegations, which perhaps cannot receive their authentic contradiction
for the space of a twelvemonth. I have seen something of colonies
myself, and I know that in direct proportion to the trivial and
insignificant, and often merely personal, nature of the questions and
interests which agitate those small societies, is the bitterness, the
prejudice, and exaggerated violence, with which they are canvassed and
taken up by the local press and local parties. Whatever comes from such
quarters should be taken cum grano salis. For New South Wales and Sir
Richard Bourke, the real question is this:--"Has the colony
prospered--does 'Australia advance,' under his administration?" And I
defy "Australianus" himself whoever he may be, to quit his incognito, to
show his face, and, answer no!

"I have the honor to be, Sir, your obedient humble servant,


"Wold, near Northampton, Sept. 28, 1836."

The above letter was provoked by the masterly style in which the
Times had previously animadverted upon the very improper policy
pursued by Sir Richard Bourke in his government of New South Wales; and
the author of the present work will now submit certain documents and
other facts, in triumphant proof of the soundness of the conclusions to
which the Times had come upon this important subject, even in the
absence of that full knowledge of the affairs of the colony which it is
to be presumed could only be acquired by persons who have been resident
in it during a long course of years.

Mr. Perceval seems to have been well aware that one of the very many
grave charges against Sir Richard Bourke, is, that he has exhibited an
undue, an unwise, an impolitic, and a dangerous leniency towards the
convict portion of the population of the colony, and that he has not
only manifested this disgraceful propensity in the acts of his
government, but that he has taken into his special grace and favour the
well-known apologists and advocates of the convicts, while he has
averted his countenance from the disciplinarians who have presumed to
oppose his frantic experiments or to remonstrate against the lax and
demoralizing tendency of his system.

The very earnestness with which Mr. Perceval, in his belief that Sir
Richard Bourke is incapable of such conduct, denies the possibility of
his having been guilty of it, and the very haughtiness with which he
challenges Sir Richard's accusers to produce their proofs, is evidence
of the great importance which even the dearest and nearest friends and
connections of Sir Richard attach to the accusation.

If it be really true, therefore, in spite of Mr. Perceval's incredulity,
that Sir Richard Bourke is culpable to the extent charged against him,
even Mr. Perceval must admit that such culpability is
indefensible,--even Mr. Perceval must, however reluctantly, confess,
from the solemnity and importance with which he himself has invested the
question, that the person convicted of a degree of misconduct too great
to be believed but upon evidence amounting to demonstration, is
altogether unfit for the exercise of the public functions with which he
is invested, and that he ought forthwith to be removed from the high
office he at present holds.

The pamphlet by "an unpaid magistrate," which Mr. Perceval transmitted
to the editor of The Times, and upon which he vainly relied for a
vindication of Sir Richard Bourke, was written, not by an unpaid
magistrate, as it falsely pretends to have been, but by a personage
(formerly a reporter for the London newspapers) whose present style,
occupations, and payments, are, and were at the time when the
pamphlet was written, "Roger Therry, Esquire, commissioner of the
court of requests for the territory of New South Wales, with a salary of
eight hundred pounds per annum, and a further allowance of two hundred
pounds per annum for travelling expences;--also, a commissioner in the
court of claims for grants of land in the territory, yielding him
further emoluments to the amount of about five hundreds pounds per
annum,--and also, a barrister before the supreme court of the colony, in
which capacity he is indulgently permitted to practise, to the notorious
neglect and delay of his own official duties, and from which indulgence
he reaps further emoluments to an unknown amount!

And, this paid,--this well-paid,--this doubly, triply paid,
commissioner, magistrate, and judge,--this fat civil
pluralist of New South Wales,--this public servant, indulged, like
a ticket-of-leave man, with permission to absent himself from the public
work, in order, poor man! that he may practise as a barrister on
his own account, and thus eke out, with his miserable pittance of
fifteen hundred pounds a year, the subsistence of his family,--this
pure, disinterested, and unpaid champion of Governor Bourke, who is
so indignant at its being supposed that the governor could by
possibility have any bias in favour of convicts, is himself (as is
evident from his own handwriting and his own signature, subjoined)--is
himself the avowed abettor of the convict Watt,--the friend,
associate, correspondent, and complotter of the quondam convict
O'Shaughnessy, transported as a convict from Dublin,--assigned as a
convict servant to the Sydney Gazette office,--employed in that
office, and allowed to write in the Sydney Gazette, during his
convict servitude,--openly made editor of the Gazette after the
expiry of his sentence,--and shortly afterwards associated in that
editorship with the infamous and atrocious convict Watt, in order
that the full measure of this "mystery of iniquity," as it has been
termed, might be rendered complete, and in order that the stream of
pollutions, flowing from the confluence of these two pestilent
sources and their poisonous correspondents, might be poured forth
upon the devoted colony, and deluge it with one destroying and
overwhelming flood!

Yes:--while the marks of the fetters were still fresh upon the ancles of
the new editor of the Gazette,--within a very few weeks after the
expiry of his sentence,--Mr. well-paid commissioner Therry (calling
himself an "unpaid magistrate,") addresses the felon O'Shaughnessy in
the following terms,--terms only to be used by an old friend,--an old
correspondent,--and therefore proving that this honourable intimacy
and confederacy, between a civil dignitary of the government and a
felon transported by the law, had its origin long antecedent even to the
date of the extraordinary autographs which so clearly prove the high
sense of honour, and the nice and punctilious regard for
decorum and for truth, as well as the affability and
condescension, of the public functionary who is one of the "high
contracting parties" to the alliance!

"Hunter Street, Monday.

"MY Dear SIR,

"I don't know your arrangements as to publication, which will explain to
you why I do not send you a few remarks on the attempt of the Herald
and Monitor, to cushion the letter of the 'Unpaid Magistrate'* by
their taking no notice of it. They are silent, because they know they
cannot confute. Therefore the faction feel that the best and safest
way with which they can deal with the letter, is to take no notice of
it. This shows they dare not approach the subject,--and so far the
'Unpaid Magistrate' reaps a triumph.

"Very truly yours,

(Signed) "R. THERRY."

"To E. O'Shaughnessy, Esq."

* The Pamphlet sent to the 'Times' and 'Morning Chronicle' by Mr. Dudley

How short-lived was the so-so and imaginary triumph of the exulting
"Unpaid," appears from his next note to his "dear" confidential. It
is as follows:--

"Hunter-street, Friday Evening.

"MY Dear SIR,

"I have seen, with no great dismay, the attack in the Herald of
yesterday. It abounds in insolence and mistatement; and the writer
appears throughout to have [been] in a very passionate and even frantic
mood when he wrote it. 'Tis better wait until this letter be concluded,
before the 'Unpaid Magistrate' notices this splenetic production, if
he should deem it requisite to do so. For the present, perhaps, the most
judicious course will be to remind the writer that there is a rod
in pickle for him.

"I am quite satisfied you are correct as to the writer. I have no doubt
but it is the notorious O. P. Q.,--a good epithet, which will
serve as the retort-courteous for the epithet applied to the
author of Humanitas.

"Very truly yours,


"To E. O'Shaughnessy, Esq."

Gracious heaven! The champion, then, of Governor Bourke, draws up an
anonymous libel upon the whole body of the independent territorial
magistrates of the colony,--an anonymous vindication of his
patron--which has its very origin in profligate deceit and audacious
falsehood, bearing a LIE, little less than if not really and absolutely
treasonable, upon its very front! Though he is himself one of the
paid functionaries of the government,--one of the judges of the
colony,--appointed, too, not by the colonial governor, but by the King's
ministers, and sent out invested with his judicial character by the
government at home, yet he has the duplicity to assume the character of
an "unpaid magistrate" of the colony; and he has the treasonable
audacity to deceive and mislead, or to attempt to deceive and mislead,
the British government, by which he was sent out, by daring to address
his calumnious libel on the magistrates, and his weak and flippant
though sophistical defence of Sir Richard Bourke, as "A Letter to the
Right Hon. G. Stanley, Principal Secretary of State for the Colonial
Department. By an Unpaid Magistrate!!!"

Did Sir Richard Bourke officially forward the pamphlet of his champion
to Downing-street? Did he, or did he not, (whether he forwarded it or
not), apprise his Majesty's principal secretary of state for the
colonies that the pretended "unpaid magistrate" was really no other than
Mr. Therry, whom the home government had made a well-paid judge, and
whom the governor had further made a well-paid lands commissioner; and
therefore, that his representations, though they were against the
detested colonial magistrates, and though they were in his (General
Bourke's) favour, were altogether unworthy of credit? Did Governor
Bourke, it is again asked, apprise the home government of this fact? Was
it not imperatively his duty to do so? By concealing that fact, was he a
party to the deceit and delusion practised upon his Majesty's
government? And, if a party to it, was there not a conspiracy to
deceive and mislead the government by its own functionaries?

The criminal daring of such an act, by any individual in the actual
service of government, is only equalled by the baseness of the treachery
and the deepness of the guilt. If that individual was aided and abetted
in his deception, then there was a conspiracy to deceive and mislead
his Majesty's government; and what other than a treasonable
conspiracy could such a conspiracy be termed?

It is, however, for the attorney-general to say what is the nature of
such a conspiracy in the eye of the law; and it manifestly seems to be
his duty to prosecute it, and to bring the party or parties concerned in
this flagitious affair to condign punishment.

Whether there was or was not a treasonable conspiracy to deceive the
government, it is evident, from the precious letters of the
soi-disant "unpaid magistrate" to dear O'Shaughnessy
(esquire!), that there was an infamous and criminal conspiracy
between a functionary of the government and a confederacy of convicts
and other individuals of the felonry, whose objects were to deceive and
mislead the colonial public, and to employ the colonial press as an
engine of libel and threat against the public-spirited and
respectable colonists, and as an implement for defending, at the
self-same time (strange and portentous conjunction!) the atrocities of
convicts and those measures of the colonial government which were
obnoxious to the virtuous and reputable portion of the
colony,--obnoxious, because of their dangerous and disgraceful spirit
of favouritism for the felonry.

In this conspiracy, and between a confederacy of the felonry and the
colonial government, Mr. Commissioner Therry stands bound in fetters of
adamant,--rivetted by his own hand,--fixed and branded by his own
letters,--as the connecting link. There is for him neither escape
nor hope, but by bidding "a long farewell to all his greatness." When
his letters are published in the colony, no respectable man will return
his greeting. He will be shunned, by all but the felonry, as a pest.

And it is, as is proved by the same letters, by this atrocious
confederacy of convict and government conspirators, that the
independent magistrates and the respectable colonists, alarmed at
the manifest existence of such a conspiracy, and at the ruin and infamy
with which it threatened and still threatens to overwhelm the
colony,--it is by this dominant conspiracy of convicts and public
functionaries, assisted by the strenuous efforts of the convict and
government press, that the free colonists are attempted to be
stigmatized as a "faction!"

Mr. Commissioner Therry, who practises falsehood upon the home
government, under the assumed character of an "unpaid magistrate,"
instructs his freed convict associate O'Shaughnessy, in pursuance of
their system of falsehood and delusion, to lie to the public, by
directing him to say that there is a rod in pickle for an
honourable antagonist to the unpaid magistrate, though he acknowledges
in the same sentence that it is even questionable "if he should deem
it requisite" again to face that antagonist at all!

There it is,--in the second letter to O'Shaughnessy,--the unblushing
avowal that the publication of that falsehood will for the present be
"the most judicious course!"

The falsehood could do no harm to the cause of falsehood; and,
it might have had the effect of frightening a champion of the
opposite cause from any further disclosures of the truth.

And, in the same letter to his freed-man O'Shaughnessy, Mr. Commissioner
Therry instructs him to stigmatize one of the most talented and
respectable men in the colony with the epithet of "the notorious
O.P.Q.,"--"a good retort-courteous!" (exclaims Mr. Commissioner
Therry, in the pride of his genius and of his imaginary triumph,)
which will serve as a set-off to the epithet applied to our
co-associate and brother conspirator; "the author of Humanitas!"

And who was this co-conspirator and author?--Why, no other than that
most infamous Scotch outlaw and English convict, William Watt, then
living in open violation--and protected by authority in the open
violation of the laws of the colony, and then also, and nevertheless,
associated with dear O'Shaughnessy, esquire, in the editorship of
the Sydney Gazette!

Mr. Dudley Perceval affects to believe that Governor Bourke had nothing
more to do with the employment of a ticket-of-leave man as an editor of
the Gazette, than with his employment as a shoeblack.

But would a shoeblack ticket-of-leave man have been protected in open
violation of the colonial laws? Or would Watt, as a ticket-of-leave
editor, if he had dared to write an article in condemnation of Governor
Bourke's policy, have been so protected, and left at liberty to
blacken gentlemen's characters instead of brightening their shoes?

No, as a ticket-of-leave man, subject to forfeiture of his ticket, not
only for any criminal offence, but for any immorality,--for any
irregularity of conduct of any kind,--for any mark of personal
disrespect to a magistrate, or even to any respectable colonist,--in
short, for improper conduct of any sort,--if the outlaw and convict Watt
had dared to write against the colonial government, he would have
been instantly punished with the cat-o'-nine tails, and sentenced to an
iron gang, for his presumption.--"Shame! Where is thy blush?"

To add one more shade of darkness to this black affair, it may here
be stated, that Watt, alarmed at the indignation which the publication
of Humanitas had excited, suborned a man who had recently returned to
Sydney from transportation to a penal settlement, for a felony committed
in the colony, to make affidavit that he (this freed colonial
convict, or expiree), was the author of Humanitas.

The man was known to be obviously incapable of writing the production,
of which he assumed the parentage upon oath. Mr. Commissioner Therry
well knew that Watt was the real author; and yet he connived at the
perjury and subornation of perjury perpetrated by these his
confederates! Even should Mr. Therry deny his knowledge of Watt being
the author (a denial which not a man in the colony would believe), he is
welcome to his only alternative. He is on the horns of a dilemma; for,
if he had not known that the British convict Watt was the author, he had
the declaration upon oath that it was the colonial convict Halden who
was the author; and therefore it was, in either case, for the benefit of
a member of his convict confederacy, that he instructed his
confederate O'Shaughnessy to practise falsehood and delusion upon the
public, and to utter a libellous epithet upon a gentleman, as a
retort-courteous for an epithet that had been bestowed upon one of their
criminal and atrocious fraternity!

Of the sensation excited in the colony by the infamous association of
government functionaries with the convicts, the following extract from
the Sydney Herald of 10th December, 1831, may give some idea:--

"HUMANITAS.--The Sydney Gazette of Saturday the 21st ultimo contains
an article headed 'HUMANITAS,' which appears to be the production of Mr.
Roger Therry. Our readers will, doubtless, feel somewhat surprised at
our assertion; but that surprise will subside when we inform them that,
independently of internal evidence furnished by the article to
which we allude, we are in a condition to prove that Mr. Roger Therry
has not only been a pamphlet writer, but also occasionally a newspaper
writer, during the last two years! Quem Deus vult perdere prius
dementat. Mr. Therry is surely insane, or, knowing how he stands, he
never would have dared the fate which awaits him, by becoming the
instrument of the publication of such an article as that to which our
attention has been directed.

"Assuming that the extract from the letter 'to an official gentleman
here,' is no fabrication, it is some satisfaction to learn that
'Governor Bourke will be applied to for further information as to the
proceedings.' His excellency, of course, as an honourable man, will tell
'the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth;' and as the
'real Simon Pure' and his abettors will then be made manifest, we, too,
may expect 'warm work in parliament.' We are told that the 'Secretary
(Lord Aberdeen) seems acquainted with the author.' Not a bit of it. His
lordship cannot know that the author is a convict (William Watt) under
sentence from England--lately tried for felony in this colony, and
though acquitted (!) since sent to a distant settlement. No; Lord
Aberdeen cannot know this, and still less can suspect that the
governor knows it; and that a civil officer of the government not only
knows these things, but, in secret, obtained and perused a copy of
the infamous phamphlet, and in secret actually furnished matter for
it--which, however, from circumstances, was not used. These things he
did, knowing that the author was a mischievous convict--and the
medium of communication being also through another convict, a clerk in
the office of a certain lawyer! It shall be our care, however, to
disabuse the home government and the people of England, with reference
to the villainous author of "HUMANITAS," and the infamous falsehood and
gross malice with which his production abounds."

Does Mr. Dudley Perceval call for further proofs? He must
admit, that it is clear that there has been an infamous intimacy,--a
criminal collusion,--for most atrocious purposes, between an
important government functionary and the convicts and their advocates.
He may, however, say, that it is not proved that Governor Bourke
was cognizant of these or of any other criminal and unworthy doings!

That Governor Bourke was cognizant of such sort of doings is well
known in the colony. The fact is of public notoriety and undeniable;
but, amongst other documents in the author's possession, there is one
other short letter which lifts the curtain once again, and proves the
criminal favouritism shewn to convicts,--aye, even to runaway
convicts,--within the walls of government-house itself.

An assigned convict who had taken to the bush by absconding from his
master (the author), travelled one hundred and forty miles, and, assured
of a gracious reception, presented himself at government-house with a
petition to the governor, charging his master with some alleged act of

Instead of this fellow being immediately taken into custody, and
transmitted to the nearest magistrate for commitment to take his trial
as a bush-ranger, he is listened to, comforted, and advised by
Mr. Richard Bourke, the private secretary to the governor, and his
excellency's son!

In legal construction, as well as in common sense, this conduct can be
regarded as neither more nor less than an unlawful and criminal
harbouring of the bushranger! By an act of council, a reward is
offered for the apprehension of any bush-ranger, and a penalty is
inflicted upon any settler for receiving a bush-ranger under his roof.
Every inhabitant of the colony is bound to apprehend a bush-ranger,
wheresoever he finds him. Dr. Wardell, a gentleman who accidentally came
upon three bush-rangers, and whom, though he was unattended, he called
upon to surrender to him, was, for thus intrepidly endeavouring to
perform the duty he owed to the colony, inhumanly murdered by the
villains on the spot. There is not even one of the black natives of the
territory who would fail to apprehend a bush-ranger if he could, and to
convey him prisoner to the nearest magistrate.

The bush-ranger whom the governor himself received under his roof, and
whom, instead of apprehending him, as he was bound to do by law, he
comforted and advised, was a convict runaway from an estate employing
about one hundred convict and free labourers, of all of whom, by the
way, the runaway in question was notorious as the greatest ruffian.

The spirit of disaffection and insubordination which the previous
impolitic proceedings and laxity of the colonial government and of some
of its functionaries had generated, was inflamed to such an extent by
the courteous treatment this bushranger experienced at government-house,
that it broke out into actual mutiny on the estate from which he had

In the temporary absence of its two proprietors, the mutineers took
possession of the house, which, after deliberating on whether or not
they should assassinate its mistress, they rifled of arms, ammunition,
food, clothing, plate, and horses, and then took to the bush. They
sought out and fell in with one of their masters, whom they were
preparing to flog to death with a cat-o'-nine-tails, when he plunged
into a river, and effected his escape by swimming amidst a shower of
shot from the assassins. Six of these men were taken and tried, and five
of them were hanged for these crimes,--crimes which would have been
prevented, and the consequent appalling execution spared, had Governor
Bourke done his duty by at once giving up the runaway who had visited
him, to the punishment of the law.

It is true, that the master of the runaway, to whom the governor's
private secretary had made him the bearer of an apologetic letter,
immediately delivered him over to a bench of magistrates, by whom he was
punished as a bushranger and condemned to an iron-gang, in conformity
with law.

But the impression made upon the minds of the convicts by the reception
he had experienced at government-house, had worked its mischief. Its
effect upon the convicts, throughout the colony, was electrical. The
governor had proved himself to be the convicts' friend; and the
very efforts of their employers and of the magistrates to counteract the
poison, only served to exasperate the malignity it was intended to

These are astounding facts! Mr. Dudley Perceval will not believe that
his gallant relative can have been so culpable, because the degree of
the culpability is so monstrous, that he thinks it impossible to have

Well, then, here is the letter of the honourable relative of Mr. Dudley
Perceval to the master of the comforted and distinguished bush-ranger,
and which letter inclosed the petition of the bushranger to the
governor. The bush-ranger, however, was a better judge than his friend
the governor as to the expediency of permitting the allegations of the
petition to meet the eye of his master; and he accordingly broke the
seal and abstracted the petition, before he delivered the letter:--


"The bearer of this is an assigned servant of yours, who has
absconded from your place with a petition. Of course this is not the
proper quarter to bring a memorial of the nature of his, and I have
therefore returned it to him, and advised him (!!) to proceed
without delay to his work (!!!), by which means you perhaps would
look over his fault (!!!) If the man's character is not otherwise
bad (!!!), he seems sorry for his misconduct, in this instance
(!!!) and will, perhaps, mend (!!!)

"Very sincerely yours,

(Signed) "R. BOURKE."

"To James Mudie, Esq., Castle Forbes."

"If the man's character is not otherwise bad!"--Otherwise bad!
Why, he was a transported felon,--sent to Governor Bourke for the
purpose of being punished! And, he stood confessed a convict
runaway and colonial bush-ranger!

It was not the province, either of the governor, or of his private
secretary, or of the bush-ranger's master, to suppose or surmise
any thing about the culprit's character. It was not their province
to judge whether of not he seemed sorry for his misconduct. It was
not their province to advise him in any way. It was not their
province to calculate that he might or might not, perhaps, mend his

They,--collectively and severally,--had but one duty to perform. They
were bound, not even to listen to him; but instantly to deliver
him up to the tribunal appointed by the law to take cognizance of his
present heinous and most dangerous offence.

Mr. Dudley Perceval may doubt the genuineness of the documents
accompanying this statement.

The documents, happily, are not in the colony, but in London. The
hand-writing and signatures of both Mr. Richard Bourke and Mr.
Commissioner Therry are known in Downing-street; and, if Mr. Dudley
Perceval wishes, he may make an appointment for the purpose of having
the documents produced and verified at the colonial office.

As the last, and perhaps a superfluous, addition to this chain of
evidence, it may be stated, that when the trial of the mutineers and
bush-rangers above referred to took place, who should appear as their
counsel but Mr. Commissioner Therry! The culprits had no means whatever
of retaining counsel; but the great "unpaid magistrate,"--this colonial
judge,--who has been fully proved to have been in infamous and
criminal conspiracy with the convicts, was himself so imprudent as to
let it out that he had received, from some quarter, a fee of twenty
guineas for the defence.

Now, mark:--the counsel for the prisoners (Mr. Commissioner Therry)
endeavoured to justify them by alleging that they had been provoked
to the commission of the crimes, by acts of tyranny and oppression on
the part of their master!

The solicitor-general for the colony, much to his honour, indignantly
put Mr. Therry down; and he made the startling remark, in open and
public court, that the line of defence adopted by the counsel for the
prisoners made him (the solicitor-general) suspect that there was some
great unknown behind the curtain, by whom counsel had been prompted
to take the extraordinary course upon which he had ventured!

The author will not presume to say, whatever he may think, to what
quarter this startling remark applied.

Nothing, certainly, could have been more agreeable to the colonial
government, at a time when the colony and the colonial office resounded
with complaints that the insubordination of the convicts was owing to
the laxity and impolicy of the colonial government, than to make out a
case of insubordination and crime caused by the cruelties and
oppressions of an emigrant, and that emigrant one of the territorial

Accordingly, after the trial, the governor appointed the
solicitor-general and the principal superintendant of convicts to hold a
court of inquiry at the court-house, Patrick's Plains, near the estate
in question, on the "charges" of oppression, &c., alleged against the
master of the bush-rangers.

A most searching investigation, occupying seven days, was therefore
instituted; and the result was the complete exculpation of the aspersed
party, whose character, instead of being tarnished, was established by
the severe ordeal to which it had been subjected,--so much so, that even
Sir Richard Bourke himself was constrained to declare officially, that
the conduct of the accused towards his assigned servants "had not been
marked by harshness or oppression!"

"Well," Mr. Dudley Perceval may say, "here are still no positive
proofs of Governor Bourke having actual cognizance of, or having
culpably connived at, the protection by authority of the convict Watt,
while he lived in open violation, as is alleged, of the laws of the

Mr. Dudley Perceval, while he is filled with just indignation at the
criminal connection of Commissioner Therry with the felon O'Shaughnessy
and at his manifest confederacy with the convict Watt and with the
convict cause, still sees nothing further proved against his gallant
relative the governor, than that he had shewn a degree of good-nature,
certainly amounting to weakness, towards the runaway convict whom he
kindly advised to return to his work,--a degree of weakness doubtless
quite inexcusable in any public functionary, and particularly in a
military man, who ought to know that one such act must necessarily be
subversive of all subordination and discipline. Were a soldier to
abscond from his regiment at York, and to present himself at the
horse-guards in London, with a petition to the commander-in-chief
against his colonel, and were the commander-in-chief, instead of
ordering the man to be instantly apprehended as a deserter, to clap him
on the shoulder,--say he believed he was a good fellow,--advise him
to go back to his regiment,--and give him a letter to his colonel,
hoping the colonel would look over his fault, &c., &c,--the two cases
would be perfectly parallel! The commander-in-chief might be only
good-natured and weak;--but, unless the good-natured commander-in-chief
were instantly tried by court-martial and cashiered, or pronounced
insane, there would be an end to all subordination and discipline in the
British army,--as surely as an end has been put to the subordination of
the felons of New South Wales, by the good-natured and amiable
Governor Bourke, who ought instantly to have been superseded in his
government for the act of insanity he had committed.

Or (Mr. Dudley Perceval may even yet think), if there be any thing more
than weakness or incapacity chargeable against Governor Bourke, it
is merely that he seems to have been rather culpably ignorant of such
things going on within his government as those which have just been

But then, (Mr. Dudley Perceval may say,) all men are liable to be
deceived; and General Bourke, a man of high honour and upright feelings
and principles himself, could have no conception that either
Commissioner Therry, or any other public functionary near his person,
and participating in the administration of the government, could be
guilty of such infamous conduct as it is now undeniable they have

Like Mr. Dudley Perceval himself, who, in his innocence, cannot believe
it possible that Governor Bourke can in any degree be guilty of the
charges brought against him,--so also General Bourke, in his
simplicity, could not believe it possible that the men of honour, the
functionaries of his government, could by possibility be guilty of any
heinous improprieties and irregularities on their part;--and, when
complaints of the existence of such irregularities, both loud and deep,
reached his ears, he contented himself with believing, like his
honourable relative in England, that such complaints could not by
possibility be well-grounded!

Now, let us, as one instance of the governor's cognizance of and
connivance at improper doings, fairly state and candidly consider the
case of the infamous convict and ticket-of-leave man, Watt.

Watt was originally a clerk in the office of a writer to the signet in
Scotland; and having been charged with some serious delinquencies there,
he fled from justice to England, and was consequently proclaimed an
outlaw by the law of Scotland.

Being, however, a young man of plausible address, and the cause of his
flight from Scotland not being generally known in London, he succeeded
in getting into the employment of the great commercial house of Todd,
Morrison, and Co., in Fore Street; and he was eventually promoted by
that house to a confidential situation in their service, with a liberal
salary, sufficient to support him rather as a gentleman than as a
respectable clerk. In gratitude for this confidence and kindness, so
little to be expected by him after his villainies in Scotland, he at
different times purloined such large sums of money from Messrs. Todd and
Co., that on his eventual detection and consequent flight a second time
from justice, a reward of some hundreds of pounds was offered for his

By the sagacity and extraordinary perseverance of an officer of one of
the London police offices, who for weeks watched the movements of a
female with whom it became known Watt had cohabited, he was at length
traced to Edinburgh, where his pursuer apprehended him in a public
street, though not till after a very desperate resistance.

He was then brought prisoner to London, and committed to take his trial
at the Old Bailey, previous to which it was ascertained that he had been
leading a very profligate and abandoned life while he was in the service
of Messrs. Todd & Co., and while he was perpetrating his robberies of
their property.

Having been found guilty of the offences charged in his indictment, he
was sentenced to transportation for fourteen years, and was sent out to
Botany Bay with an export of felons in the Marquis of Hastings

After having been some time in the colony, the same plausibility of
address and manners which had gained his admission into Messrs. Todd &
Morrison's, procured for Watt a recommendation to the colonial
government as a fit person to receive the indulgence of a
ticket-of-leave, which was accordingly granted to him.

The favour shown to him, however, did not stop here, unworthy as he was
of even this amount of favour, as is amply proved by his own subsequent

In pursuance of the lax and unwise policy of the government, in
continuing to employ convicts and emancipated felons, even after there
were in the colony abundant persons of unblemished character from whom
the government could have selected all its own officers and servants,
Watt was for a length of time employed to bring up the accounts of some
of the public offices which had fallen into arrears.

He was afterwards translated into the Sydney Gazette office, in which
he was associated in the editorship with the emancipated convict

With the imprudence and recklessness so characteristic of the class of
degraded persons to which Watt belongs, he availed himself of his new
situation to broach doctrines calculated to excite the minds and to
inflame the passions of the felonry, and utterly subversive of convict
discipline and subordination.

These doctrines were accompanied by atrocious libels on many of the most
upright and independent magistrates in the territory and other reputable
colonists, and by the manifestation of a spirit of malignant hatred of
every thing virtuous and respectable in the colonial society.

But, they were also accompanied by articles of most fulsome adulation of
the governor, and by thick-and-thin advocacy of all and sundry the acts
of his government.

Governor Bourke, innocent soul! remained ignorant of all this, did he?

Why, the colony was thrown into a ferment by the infamous and libellous
writings of this scoundrel and his associates, O'Shaughnessy and Therry.
The whole territory resounded with cries of "shame" at the governor for
permitting it to go on. The columns of the colonial newspapers attached
to the cause of good order and public decency, were loaded with accounts
of the crimes and immoralities of the wretch, and with the complaints of
the respectable inhabitants against the government for suffering him, as
a ticket-of-leave man, to continue his career of iniquity. The editors
of the independent newspapers denounced his connection with the colonial
press, not only as being an act in itself highly immoral and
disgraceful, but as entailing infamy upon their order in particular, as
well as generally upon the government and upon the colonial public at

Watt, however, was not to be driven from his lucrative post by the voice
of thunder in which the indignation and horror of the public were
expressed; nor was the governor to be moved to the exertion of his
authority for the suppression of a public nuisance, which, how offensive
soever it might be to the respectable portion of the colony, presented
to his excellency only the sweet odour of adulation.

Commissioner Therry furnished the Sydney Gazette with
"retorts-courteous" to the epithets applied to his convict associates
and fellow labourers in the cause of misrule and insubordination, and by
his "Letter of an Unpaid Magistrate," and other writings, at once
assisted to vilify and bespatter the respectable free colonists, and to
vindicate and eulogize, even to nausea, every thing that was
unprincipled, unwise, and unjust, in the conduct and proceedings of the
colonial government.

More than one of the gentlemen who had become marks at which Watt shot
his venom, and whom he endeavoured to besmear with the disgusting slime
of his malignant calumnies, finding that neither the governor nor the
paid police magistrates of Sydney, were likely to perform their duty by
curbing the licentiousness of Watt as a ticket-of-leave man, resolved to
free the colony from the disgrace of his being connected with its press,
by bringing him to justice for the habitual violation of the colonial
laws in which he lived.

But these gentlemen "reckoned without their host," when they relied on
the law for the punishment of an offender; for, an appeal to the law, in
the case of this notorious offender, was authoritatively denied them;
and they soon found, that the governor and his paid functionaries not
only silently connived at Watt's misconduct, but that they were resolved
upon openly protecting him in its perpetration!

By the colonial law, a convict only holds his ticket-of-leave during
"good behaviour." For any irregular, immoral, or unlawful conduct, his
ticket-of-leave ought to be taken from him, and he is subjected to such
further punishment as the summary tribunal before which he is tried may
apportion to his offence.

Independently of the gross public immorality and indecency of Watt being
at all connected with the Sydney Gazette, and independently of the
infamous purposes to which he prostituted that government journal, he
was at the time living in open contempt of a colonial regulation whereby
he was bound to attend a general muster of all the ticket-of-leave men,
at stated periods, within the district of Sydney; he was at the same
time leading a life of profligacy; he was known to be habitually a liar
in private, as he was a traducer and a libeller in public; he was living
in open adultery with a female runaway convict, transported for life,
who bore two children to him, and whom he had the audacity to send to
the factory, that her lyings-in might be defrayed at the public expence;
and that the offspring of his adulterous, and (in other respects by the
colonial law) peculiarly criminal intercourse, might be maintained at
the expense of the same public, whom he was daily demoralizing and
endangering by his pestilent and atrocious writings.


MR. George Cavanagh, of Sydney, one of the gentlemen who had resolved on
bringing the wretch Watt to justice, addressed the following
application, for that purpose, to Mr. Hely, the principal superintendent
of convicts:--

"Sydney, 7th January, 1835.


"I do myself the honor to inform you that I am desirous of preferring
charges of grossly immoral conduct against the convict named in the
margin (William Watt, per Marquis Hastings,) who at present is
employed in the Gazette office, and holds the indulgence of a

"I may perhaps as well state now, that these charges consist principally
of this man cohabiting with a female prisoner of the crown for life,
named Mary Chapman, now assigned to Mr. Shepherd of South Creek.

"As the case will be investigated without delay, I forbear for the
present entering into further particulars.

(Signed) "GEO. CAVANAGH."

The Principal Superintendent of Convicts, Mr. Hely, well knowing that
Watt, whom he himself (Mr. Hely) should have punished for contempt of
the regulation requiring his attendance at the general musters of
ticket-of-leave men,--Mr. Hely, remembering that Watt was now a public
character,--a political writer,--a champion of the
governor,--high in favour with some of the authorities,--while he
could not, dared not say, that the charges preferred against Watt
by Mr. Cavanagh should not be investigated,--very naturally, if not
wisely, endeavoured to shift the performance of a duty which he had
reason to think would not be quite agreeable to his superiors, from
himself to some other authority; and he accordingly replied to Mr.
Cavanagh, as follows:--

"Principal Superintendant of Convicts' Office, "35--5.

"January 8th, 1835.


"Referring to your letter of yesterday's date, stating your desire of
preferring certain charges against the convict named in the margin
(William Watt, Marquis Hastings T. of L.,) I have to inform you that
the magistrates sit on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, at the police
office in Hyde Park Barrack, and to suggest your bringing the case
before them.

"I am,


"Your Obedient Servant,

"F. A. HELY."

"Mr. Cavangah."

But the bench of magistrates at Hyde Park Barrack, consisting partly of
paid police magistrates, and partly of territorial magistrates holding
lucrative appointments under the governor, were as well aware as Mr.
Hely that Mr. Cavanagh's charges were preferred against a man of
consequence; and therefore they, in the case of a criminal complaint
against a felon holding a ticket-of-leave, refused to interfere,
unless they had a special order to do so from the governor himself!

Surely it will not be denied that this conduct of the Hyde Park Barrack
bench was utterly subversive of law and discipline; and surely there is
no man so blind as not to perceive the motive which induced these
magistrates to desert their duty, and to betray the interests of that
justice they were appointed to conserve.

Mr. Cavanagh reports their reception of him, and perseveringly returns
to the charge upon Mr. Chief Superintendent Hely, in his next
application to that functionary, as follows:--

"To F. A. Hely, Esq.


"In obedience to the suggestion contained in your letter of date the 8th
instant, respecting my preferring charges against the convict named in
the margin (William Watt, per Marquis Hastings), I do myself the
honour to inform you that I waited on the bench of magistrates, at Hyde
Park Barrack, this morning, with a view of obtaining summonses for
witnesses necessary for the prosecution, and that the magistrates
refused to investigate the matter without an order from the governor,
stating you to be fully competent to adjudicate; and, further, advising
me, under the circumstances, to lay the business before Col. Wilson.

"Having, however, made the original charge before you, I beg to request
that you will entertain the case, and appoint an early day for its
investigation, as I find the ends of justice are likely to be defeated
through the witnesses being tampered with.

"I beg, further, to be informed how I am to obtain summonses for the
witnesses I require for the prosecution.

"I have the honour to be, &c. &c.,

(Signed) "GEO. CAVANAGH."

From the next document, addressed by Mr. Cavanagh to his Excellency the
Governor himself, it appears that Mr. Hely was driven to a non-plus,
and that he had resolved on getting rid of the affair by silence:--


"I beg leave respectfully to lay the following statements under your
notice, merely that your excellency may direct the charges I wish to
prefer against the convict named in the margin (William Watt, per Lord
Hastings) to be investigated, which your excellency will see,
notwithstanding my application in the proper quarter, has seemingly been

"On the 7th January last I wrote a letter to the superintendent of
convicts, expressing my desire to prefer charges of grossly immoral
conduct again the prisoner named in the margin, who holds a
ticket-of-leave, and is at present employed as a clerk in the Gazette

"Mr. Hely, in his reply, which is dated 8th January, referred me to the
bench of magistrates, at Hyde Park barrack, as the proper place for
charges against prisoners of this class to be entertained.

"I accordingly made application to that bench, who refused to interfere,
unless especially ordered to do so by your excellency; and further
stated that 'it was Mr. Hely's duty to investigate all charges, if
brought before him, against convicts holding tickets-of-leave.'

"I immediately wrote a second letter to Mr. Hely, dated 18th January,
stating as above, and urging the necessity of his allowing the matter to
be brought before him, to which I have not received an answer.

"My object in bringing this under your excellency's notice, is, that
your excellency will be pleased to direct either Mr. Hely or the bench
at Hyde Park barrack to enquire into the case with as little delay as
possible, as the persons who will be produced as witnesses against the
accused have been already tampered with by that individual, with a view
of defeating the ends of justice, and sheltering himself through their

I have the honour, &c.


His Excellency Governor Bourke is thus made directly cognizant, not only
of the peculiarly illegal conduct and criminal profligacy of Watt, but
also of the fact, that his excellency's subordinate functionaries had
rejected an application for the ordinary administration of the law, in
its usual course.

Governor Bourke, however, instead of forthwith ordering the
investigation of the charges, and reprimanding the functionaries whose
culpable conduct had rendered an appeal to his excellency at all
necessary, follows the example of Mr. Hely, and treats Mr. Cavanagh's
application with silence, as is seen from the next of the documents:--

"To the Hon. Alexander Macleay, &c. &c.

"New Town, 11th February, 1835.


"I beg leave to inform you, that, about the beginning of this month, I
wrote to his excellency the governor, direct, the following letter; but,
as perhaps the proper channel of communication by letter to the governor
is through you, I do myself the honour to enclose a verbatim copy of
that letter, that you may lay the same before his excellency, my not
having been favoured with a reply to which has led me to believe the
cause to be its irregular delivery, though my servant, by whom I sent
it, states most positively that he put the letter into the post office.
I will further add, that I am most anxious to have the matter
investigated with as little delay as possible, as it is not my intention
to lose sight of the case till justice has been satisfied.

[Here follows the letter to the governor above quoted.]

"Trusting you will lose no time in laying the letter before his
excellency the governor, I have the honour to be, &c.,

(Signed) "GEO. CAVANAGH."

Mr. McLeay of course laid the above letter before his excellency; but
silence was still the only order of the day!

The indefatigable Mr. Cavanagh, however, was not thus to be repulsed;
and accordingly, after having been "driven from pillar to post," and
after having ineffectually consumed between two and three months in
attempting to get his just and reasonable complaint heard, he at length
adopted the decisive expedient of appearing before his excellency in
person, and of thus extorting from him a reply of some sort to his

What success attended this last effort of Mr. Cavanagh appears from the
next document, which is an affidavit, sworn by him before a magistrate,
after Mr. Windeyer, a police magistrate, had, in consistency with the
system, refused to swear him to the same effect.

"Sydney, N. S. W., to wit.

"George Cavanagh, of Sydney, in the colony of New South Wales,
gentleman, maketh oath, and saith, that on the 7th January, 1835, he
wrote officially to the principal superintendent of convicts, stating
his desire to prefer charges of grossly immoral conduct against a
prisoner of the crown named William Watt (per Marquis Hastings), then
employed in the Gazette office: deponent further saith, that the
grossly immoral conduct he was desirous of exhibiting to the government
consisted of the said convict William Watt living in a state of
adulterous intercourse (openly) with a runaway convict named Jemima
alias Mary Chapman: deponent further saith, that after a fruitless
attempt to obtain a hearing, to prove the charge aforesaid (having
repeatedly written to the principal superintendent of convicts, to the
colonial secretary, and lastly, to his excellency Governor Bourke, on
the subject, which occupied three months), deponent was induced to wait
personally on his excellency the governor, at Parramatta, for the
purpose of stating the charges against the said convict William Watt,
and to know the reason why deponent had been refused a hearing of the
case: deponent further saith, that at the interview with his excellency,
as aforesaid, he stated his anxiety that his excellency should order the
charges to be investigated at his earliest convenience, as deponent was
quite prepared to prove that the said William Watt, and the said Mary
(alias Jemima) Chapman, did cohabit together for years, and had issue,
and were cohabiting together at the time deponent preferred the charge,
in the first instance, to the principal superintendent of convicts:
deponent further states, that his excellency's reply was in substance as
follows, viz., 'That he did not think it a case that called for his
interference, it being a matter purely between the said convict Watt and
the deponent, with which the public had nothing to do:' deponent further
states that he (the deponent) urged respectfully but firmly his
conviction that it was a case which called for his excellency's notice,
for the sake of convict discipline and example; and in reply to a
question from his excellency, deponent stated that he was induced to
prefer the charges against the said convict William Watt in consequence
of the said Watt having falsely slandered the deponent: deponent further
swears, that his excellency the governor refused to order an
investigation into the case, notwithstanding deponent gave his
excellency to understand that deponent had no evidence of his own to
give in support of the charges against the said convict Watt, but would
have to substantiate the charges against the said convict Watt by most
unwilling testimony of persons who were trying all in their power to
screen the said Watt: deponent further swears that the said convict
William Watt was in the Gazette office part of the time he was so
cohabiting with the said Mary (alias Jemima) Chapman, and the whole of
the time the deponent was preferring the said charge against the said
convict Watt: deponent further states, that the said convict Watt had
the virtual controul of the Sydney Gazette at the time deponent was
preferring the charges aforesaid, and that that paper was a staunch
supporter of his excellency the governor at the time aforesaid.

(Signed) "GEO. CAVANAGH.

"Sworn before me, at Sydney, this 29th day of March, 1836.

(Signed) "M. S. MOORE, J. P."

The governor "did not think it a case that called for his interference!"
but that "it was a matter purely between the said convict Watt and this
deponent, with which the public had nothing to do!" and "his excellency
the governor refused to order an investigation into the case!!"

1st, It was a case that called for the governor's interference;
because a bench of magistrates had refused to interfere unless they had
his excellency's order to do so.

This was special reason for the interference of the governor, which
should have aroused his indignation at the impediments which had been
placed before the administration of justice, and at the shield which had
been interposed by magisterial authority between an infamous offender
and the outraged laws of the colony.

2d, It was not a case between the deponent Cavanagh and the accused
convict Watt, with which the public had nothing to do; but between that
convict and the law,--and consequently between that convict and the
public,--between the convict and the government of the colony; and yet
by the government of the colony, and by its functionaries, was the
application of Mr. Cavanagh, one of the public, for the investigation of
the charges, at first covertly and at last openly refused, and the
culprit authoritatively protected in his violation of the law and his
outrages upon the public!

By the laws of the colony, the mere fact of harbouring a runaway convict
is most properly visited with the infliction of a heavy penalty; and
here was a case in which a female runaway convict was harboured by a
male convict, who cohabited with her in open adultry and in open
violation of the colonial law, and who shamelessly and audaciously even
sent her to the factory to ly-in at the public expense; and yet the
governor,--his Excellency General Sir Richard Bourke, tells Mr. Cavanagh
that this was a case with which the public had nothing to do, and which
did not call for his (the governor's) interference!

It was so far from being a case with which the public had nothing to do,
that an improper cohabitation by a ticket-of-leave man is always held to
be a very high offence, and is always a sufficient reason for taking
away a ticket-of-leave; and nothing is more common (even under General
Bourke's own government) than the forfeiture of tickets-of-leave for
this very reason.

On reference to the Sydney Government Gazette, it will be seen how
very frequently tickets-of-leave are forfeited for this offence.

So very seriously, indeed, is the offence regarded, that during the
administration of General Darling, it having been represented that Mr.
John Stephens, a gentleman of great respectability as regarded his
connections and his station in the colony, son to one of the colonial
judges, and cousin to an under secretary of state for the colonial
department, and himself holding the office of registrar of the supreme
court,--it having been represented that this gentleman was engaged in an
amatory intercourse with a female convict, an investigation into the
affair was ordered; and, upon the fact being proved, Mr. Stephens was
deprived of his office of registrar, and removed from the commission of
the peace.

This act of impartial justice on the part of Governor Darling, converted
Mr. Stephens into one of his excellency's most implacable enemies. He
was the same Mr. John Stephens, who, in conjunction with his
brother-in-law Captain Robertson, so greatly annoyed the governor, and
who, on his return to England, prompted members of parliament to make
attacks upon his excellency for pretended acts of oppression, but really
for having visited Mr. Stephens with the just and proper consequences of
his own misconduct.

Ticket-of-leave men, as has already been mentioned, are very frequently
deprived of their tickets for cohabiting with female convicts; and Mr.
John Stephens was deprived of his appointment for a similar offence.

But, the convict William Watt, living in adulterous cohabitation with a
runaway female convict,--himself a transported felon for fourteen
years, and his lewd companion (an Amazonian who had been convicted in
England of the unfeminine crime of highway robbery) a transport for
life,--the convict William Watt, committing the same offence under these
and other highly aggravating circumstances, is not only not punished,
but is protected in his evil deeds by the very hands to which the
impartial administration of justice had been unfortunately confided; and
the governor refuses to allow the law to take its ordinary course
against him! Why?

Why,--Mr. Cavanagh concludes his affidavit with the significant
declaration, "that the said convict Watt had the controul of the Sydney
Gazette at the time deponent was preferring the charges aforesaid,
and that that paper was a staunch supporter of his excellency the
governor at the time aforesaid!"

The date of Mr. Cavanagh's first application to Mr. Hely, relative to
Watt, was 7th January, 1835; and, a document published in the Sydney
Monitor of September 12, 1835, certifies, in in the usual way, that
Jemima Chapman was delivered of a female child in the factory, on the
17th of April, 1834, and that the said child was the offspring of her
(the said Jemima Chapman, a convict), and of William Watt, also a

This certificate is of the birth of the first of the children born by
Chapman to Watt; and Mr. Cavanagh, in his charges, and also in his
affidavit, declares that Watt and Chapman were actually cohabiting
together at the time that his (Mr. Cavanagh's) charges were
prefered, and that they had been so cohabiting together for
years, and had issue!

These dates are very important; for, about six months afterwards, when
the author of this work, then a justice of the peace, at length
succeeded in bringing Watt before a bench of magistrates, justice was
again defeated,--and one of the pretexts for defeating justice was,
that the alleged offence of the cohabitation had taken place so long
ago, that it was not fit that it should now be entertained!

The circumstances attending the second ineffectual attempt to bring Watt
to justice are still more extraordinary than those which have just been

Watt had been put on his trial before the supreme court for having
instigated another ticket-of-leave man named Hay, a workman in the
Herald newspaper office, to steal a proof impression of an article
strongly stigmatizing the emancipated convict Halden, the fellow who had
falsely assumed the parentage of Humanitas, and for having
feloniously received the said proof copy, well knowing the same to have
been stolen.

In the very purpose of the perpetration of this theft, there were the
usual characteristics--the baseness and treacherous want of
principle--distinguishing all the proceedings of Watt and his conspiracy
of convicts and public functionaries.

For, the article, of which the proof copy was stolen, had been set up in
type, with a view to its publication. On second thoughts, however, it
was deemed by the proprietors and the editor to be libellous. They,
therefore, prudently resolved that it should be suppressed; but Watt
caused the proof copy to be stolen, and became the receiver of it,
for the purpose of still furnishing Halden with a pretence for bringing
an action for libel. The proof copy was accordingly transmitted to
Halden through the post office,--that being in law a sufficient
publication of a libel on which an action may be raised,--and an
action for libel was accordingly brought against the proprietors of the
newspaper, from the office of which the proof copy had been stolen
for this very purpose! This led to the discovery of the theft, and to
the detection of Watt's share in that dishonest and infamous

Watt, with the usual good luck which has attended his atrocities in
New South Wales, was acquitted by his jury, consisting partly of his own
caste, viz. emancipated convicts, although Judge Burton, who tried
him, had, in his summing up, evidently no doubt of a verdict of guilty
being found against him, and although Watt himself was so far from
feeling certain of an acquittal, that in a long speech in mitigation of
his offence, he indulged in the most malignant and false aspersions upon
the character of the author of this work, who was in no way connected
with the case, but who, Watt said, had, by causing him to be dismissed
from an employment he had held in the Monitor newspaper office,
driven him to desperation.

The author, upon finding himself thus aspersed, indignant at the
calumnies of the scoundrel who had maligned him, immediately, and in his
character and capacity of a territorial magistrate, had Watt brought
before the bench of magistrates at the police office, Sydney, where he
charged him, with being a man of infamous character and a habitual liar,
living in a state of adultery with a female runaway convict, and with
having falsely slandered the complainant during his defence before the
supreme court, on which occasion he not only attributed his own
situation to the persecutions of the complainant, but even alleged that
the complainant had been guilty of murdering his convict servants.

In another part of this work, it will be seen how utterly groundless
were the aspersions cast upon the author by this ruffian. At this place,
it is unnecessary either to examine or to refute them,--the present
object being to show the pertinacity with which Watt was defended and
protected in all his misdoings.

For the mere utterance of these slanders alone, without being allowed
either to explain them or to attempt their justification, Watt should
have been deprived of his ticket-of-leave, as "disrespectful behaviour
to any magistrate" is one of the understood grounds upon which
tickets-of-leave are forfeited.

By the laws of the colony, the offences with which Watt was now charged,
were to be tried before a summary tribunal; and, if proved, were to be
visited with a summary punishment.

Several magistrates for the territory joined their brethren the paid
police magistrates of Sydney, on the bench, probably with the view of
seeing that justice should be impartially administered.

The proceeding, however, again failed. Such was the pertinacity of the
prisoner, and such were the interruptions and the irrelevant discussions
he was permitted to introduce and prolong, and such were the quibbles
raised by some of the paid police magistrates, in his favour, that the
summary tribunal was occupied ten days with this summary
process; and there was every appearance that it would have continued to
be occupied ten months, had not the territorial magistrates given up
the case in sheer disgust,--in fatigue and despair,--and abandoned it
and the future disposal of the prisoner, to decision of the governor!

Mr. Commissioner Therry, of course, did not fail to appear on behalf of
his friend and confederate Watt; but on the suggestion of the
complainant, it was decided by the bench that counsel should not be
allowed either for the prosecution or the defence.

Mr. Therry then took his seat on the bench as a magistrate; but his
interference as a magistrate was objected to by the prosecutor, on such
sufficient grounds, that even Mr. Therry himself admitted his sitting as
a magistrate would be improper; and he declared that he should attend
only as a spectator.

As to the charge of Watt having slandered the prosecutor in his defence
before the supreme court, it was objected that the bench of magistrates
had no jurisdiction in a case of words spoken before a superior
tribunal; thus holding that convict prisoners before the supreme court
may utter the most atrocious calumnies and libels with impunity. The
police magistrates, afraid, excellent men! of overstraining their
authority by a hair's-breadth in the case of so notorious an offender,
thought the objection insurmountable. The summary tribunal was arrested
in its career by a legal quibble. The question was referred to the
attorney-general, who held the objection to be valid; and, though the
law authorized the magistrates to adjudicate upon the fact, and to
punish the offence without regard to the place in which it might
be committed; yet was the place of its perpetration held to
sanctify the crime!

A counsel may be sued by civil action, either in England or in the
colony, for slanderous words spoken in any court; but in the colony
there is no redress for slanderous words spoken by a felon, since the
only tribunal before which he can be brought is declared and has
declared itself to have no jurisdiction over the offence!

With regard to the charge of Watt being a habitual liar, though it was
established by the testimony of several of the most respectable men in
the colony, with whom, as well as with the governor, the prisoner had
boasted of being on terms of intimacy and friendship, and who also upon
their oaths expressed their abhorrence of the infamous and atrocious
character of the prisoner; yet Mr. Justice Windeyer, and others of his
advocates on the bench, with unparalleled ingenuity and refinement in
the cause of falsehood, pronounced that the lies of which the prisoner
was clearly convicted were only "lies of vanity," and therefore that it
would be cruel and unjust to visit them with punishment.

"Lies of vanity!" They were lies of such a nature that they excited the
scorn and indignation of all the gentlemen (excepting only the
governor), whose honour and characters they involved, as they themselves
declared upon their oaths!

They were lies of such a nature that they were calculated, if believed,
to put the finishing hand to the work of demoralization and
insubordination which had so long been going on, and to eradicate all
moral sense from the public mind, and level every distinction of right
and wrong, in the colony, with the dust.

They were lies, in short, of such a nature, that they involved slander
and disrespect towards the parties to whom they referred, and were
therefore punishable in a ticket-of-leave-man on that account alone.

But, they originated, it was said by the sapient Mr. Justice Windeyer,
in mere vanity; and, as vanity was the motive, they were not to be
punished, however mischievous and wicked they might be in their tendency
and effect!

They were of such a nature, that for the utterance of any one of them
any other ticket-of-leave man than Watt would have been severely

The "lie of vanity" has been a melancholy subject for jest, in the
colony, ever since; and will go down to the latest posterity in
conjunction with the name of Mr. Justice Windeyer, the ingenious
inventor of a new name for falsehood, and the refined apologist for the
infamy with which the convicted liar had sought to tarnish the
reputation of respectable men!

With regard to the charge of the unlawful cohabitation with the female
runaway convict Jemima, alias Mary Chapman, though that was fully
proved,--and proved, too, to have been carried on in the most shameless
and profligate manner, so that even the Gazette Office, to the
scandal of even Mr. O'Shaughnessy himself, was polluted by the criminal
intercourse taking place within its walls, where Chapman was known to
sleep with Watt,--with regard to this charge (the investigation of which
had been refused while Watt and Chapman were actually living openly
together), Colonel Wilson and others of the police magistrates now
contended that the offence was of too old a date, and pleaded
prescription in favour of the criminal.

It was believed that the cohabitation was still going on; and, with a
view of getting at the truth, the female was ordered to be produced; but
Watt and his friends took care to smuggle her out of the way; and,
though the emancipist Halden, a witness for Watt, who prevaricated
grossly in his evidence, was reluctantly made to confess that he had
seen her "last night," yet the police either could not or would not find
her out!

The prevarications of Halden afforded another opportunity for luminous
display to Mr. Justice Windeyer; for, a motion having been made to
commit the witness for gross prevarication, his worship declared that
"every allowance ought to be made for a witness's embarrassment while
giving his evidence and being cross-questioned, before so numerous a
bench, particularly if that witness should happen to be a timid and
inexperienced young man!" Halden's timidity and inexperience! a villain
of the deepest dye!--twice already convicted in the colony, and
transported to a penal settlement,--a fellow the grossest effrontery,
and already notoriously perjured on the subject of Humanitas,--with
"villain" so legibly stamped upon his countenance, that, to quote a
vulgar expression, "his very looks would hang him!"--a fate,
indeed, predicted for him to his face, even by the captain of the ship
who carried him out to the colony.

In the investigation of this case, the culpable and disgraceful
connection of some of the public functionaries, and even of the
government, with Watt, was made apparent.

Dr. Neilson stated, in his evidence, that Watt had told him that he was
a particular friend of Colonel Wilson's; and on one occasion he (Watt)
had shown witness a small note, signed "H. C. W.," which he said he
had received from Colonel Wilson; "the contents of that note was
concerning a woman that Watt had been keeping. Colonel Wilson said in
the note, that he had seen the Governor respecting the charge
[this refers to the charge ineffectually brought by Mr. Cavanagh against
Watt],--that it arose from some vindictive spleen on the part of
Cavanagh,--and that it (the charge) would not be entertained!"
"Watt was then in the Gazette office, and a prisoner of the crown."

In answer to questions put to him by Colonel Wilson, Dr. Neilson further
stated that the note shown to him by Watt as having come from the
Colonel, was about the size of a half sheet of post paper. It was not
a memorandum made on the corner of a sheet of paper. He thought it
began with "sir."

Colonel Wilson (one of the police magistrates then sitting on the bench)
being next sworn, stated, that "if Watt ever said he was a particular
friend of his, he said what was not true. If he stated he had ever
received a note from him, such as had been described by Dr. Neilson,
it was a lie. But he thought it necessary to state, that he
remembered having received a communication from Watt; that he made a
memorandum upon a letter of his, upon a turned-down corner, which he
returned to the prisoner Watt open. He received letters from all sorts
of persons; and where an answer was required, he usually gave one. He
sent it by a constable; it would pass through many hands before it got
to him. Was quite sure he never wrote to Watt respecting a woman.
Could hardly then bring it to his recollection what was the object of
the prisoner's application, but believed his answer was, that it was
a case he knew nothing about, or something to that effect. It was
exactly such an answer as he would make to-morrow, to any one who
addressed him in a respectful manner. Watt must have been guilty of
forgery, if he produced such a letter as Dr. Neilson had described, and
showed it as his."

Here was a sufficiently flat and peremptory denial of Colonel Wilson
having ever written such as letter as that which the prisoner had shown,
and which Colonel Wilson pronounced must have been a forgery!

Colonel Wilson, however, on being further interrogated by Mr. Lamb, one
of the unpaid magistrates sitting on the bench, went on to state, that
he "thought the governor's name was mentioned [in the memorandum]. He
thought it was in this way,--something respecting an application to
the governor. He thought the governor's name was mentioned in the
memorandum. It was nothing improper; nothing which he thought to be
secret; could not recollect the precise form of the answer; he did not
know that he was called upon to state his official communications with
the governor, but this he knew, that the governor never authorized him
to deal differently with Watt from any other prisoner. Watt wrote to him
respecting something that had occurred one or two years before; he
thought he (Colonel W.) asked the governor if there was any complaint
against the prisoner. It was usual for him (Colonel W.) to speak to the
governor upon different subjects. Had no communication with the
governor upon the complaint in question. Did not recollect the
complaint. He thought it was respecting something which had
occurred one or two years before. He believed he said that no such
communication had reached the governor,--not that the governor had heard
any thing of it. If Watt spoke of any other letter than what he had
written on in the corner, he had said what was false; but he might with
truth show his own letter, in which he (Col. Wilson) had written. He
denied that the subject of his letter had reference to any woman. He
denied both the shape and the matter of the letter spoken of by Dr.

Edward O'Shaughnessy being now called as a witness, the prisoner said,
"he would save the time of the court, if such witnesses were to be
brought against him."

O'Shaughnessy being sworn, stated that, "he knew the prisoner at the
bar. Remembered seeing a note purporting to be from Colonel Wilson. The
prisoner showed it to him himself. It was relative to some charge that
was to be brought against the prisoner. It stated that Colonel Wilson
had seen the governor, and the charge was not to be entertained. It was
respecting a female, who lived with Watt at the time! Was told that
this charge was going to be brought." "The charge had made a good deal
of noise, as likely to come on at the quarter sessions. To the best of
his belief, the note was written on the inside page. The front page was
written on. He thought it was in answer to a note which had been written
by Watt."

Cross-examined by Colonel: "Had a clear recollection the note had
reference to a woman."

By Watt.--"Saw the note in the Gazette office. Was not living there
now. Remembered a young woman coming after Watt very often at the
Gazette office. Did not know that a young woman had run away with
some of his clothes."

Watt now said, "he would plead guilty to all the charges, if that was
the nature of the evidence to be brought against him. Some of the
occurrences which they were raking up took place three years back."

Watt, however, was advised to retract his plea, and the court adjourned
till Thursday.

On Thursday, the court having been formed, and the prisoner placed at
the bar, and cautioned not to interrupt the proceedings,

The Colonel addressed his brother magistrates:--"He would like to state
the result of his taxing further his recollection and memory respecting
the letter. It would enable him to add something to his testimony,
which, in its present state, he considered incomplete."

Colonel Wilson, having sworn himself, then said, "the letter alluded to
yesterday came to him on the bench at quarter sessions. He had been
previously applied to by Watt, to represent his case to the governor. It
was respecting a charge of some intrigue, or cohabitation; was not sure
which. He mentioned it to the governor. His (Colonel Wilson's)
impression was, that the charges were not such as ought to come before
the bench. His excellency was pleased to say, he agreed with him!
He had made every enquiry, and found that no complaint had been made
there. The request was made in the usual way, that he would intercede
for Watt! It was Watt himself that made the request, but whether by
letter, or petition, he did not now recollect. Did not know whether it
was an apprehended charge, or one that had been preferred, nor whether
it was a complaint to him, or to the governor."

After the court had been again opened on Friday,

Mr. Lamb said, "If the bench would permit him, he wished to put two or
three questions to Colonel Wilson."

This being assented to,

Colonel Wilson was sworn and interrogated. "He received the letter from
Watt, whilst sitting at quarter sessions. The letter was answered,
he thought, in the usual way; but whether on the corner of the
letter, or on the other side, he could not say. He thought it might be
one or two days after he saw the governor that the answer was returned.
When he saw the governor, he spoke of Watt as he would of any other
prisoner. He told him (the governor) it had reference to some
disorderly conduct, which had occurred two or three years
before! There had been a previous application from Watt himself. He
(Colonel Wilson) thought that if a statement was made to a magistrate of
disorderly conduct, that magistrate was bound to entertain it; and
(if a crime) even if it had occurred twenty years before, it ought to
be entertained. But he thought if charges of immorality of two or
three years' standing were to be investigated, they would require a much
larger bench of magistrates than they had at present. Could not
recollect how many months ago it was that the application was made, but
knew it had reference to a transaction of two or three years'
standing. The application was couched in language superior to what he
was in the habit of receiving. Did not know prisoner was an author. Did
not know then that he was."

Mr. Lamb (addressing Colonel Wilson) said, "An impression was
entertained that through his (Colonel Wilson's) having so applied to the
governor, a charge which was then about to be brought forward against
the prisoner was abandoned."

Colonel Wilson.--"If it had been sworn that he mentioned in his note
that the charge was malicious, and that it would not be entertained, it
was false. He would not entertain any charge of three or four years'
standing. That was his answer. The reason why he gave the explanation
yesterday was to make his evidence more complete."

Examined by the complainant.--"The letter said something about a
complaint; but he did not know what it was. Did not recollect any
such charge being made either before or since. He knew nothing of the
man, except seeing him upon business respecting the assigned servants
belonging to the Gazette office. Prisoner never visited him at his
private residence."

The complainant.--"You say he was never at your private

Colonel Wilson.--"He was ONCE brought by a constable!"

The complainant.--"He was in custody, I presume?"

Colonel Wilson.--"I do not know that he was in custody,
exactly. I sent a constable for him."

The complainant.--"You sent a constable--merely as a messenger, I

Colonel Wilson.--"As a messenger."

The complainant.--"Then, in fact, he was not in custody! In point of
fact, you sent a constable to say you wanted to see him, in the same way
as you would send to any body else."

Colonel Wilson.--"I sent for him in the same way I would send for any
other prisoner of the crown."

Examination continued.--"It was on the same day that Major Mudie had
told him prisoner had been boasting of being upon intimate terms with
him. Had no hint then given of any such charge being about to be

The complainant.--"Then this matter was decided by you upon the
prisoner's own statement, merely?"

Colonel Wilson.--"I told the prisoner that if the case was such as he
described, I would not entertain it!"

The complainant.--"Then you took it for granted his statement was

Colonel Wilson.--"I did not take it for granted the prisoner's
statement was correct."

The complainant.--"You said you had been with the governor, and the
charge would not be entertained!"

Colonel Wilson.--"I did.--I did not then know he was at the
Gazette office. I will repeat, that I am not the friend, nor
enemy, of that man (pointing to the prisoner.)"

O'Shaughnessy was again called and sworn, and deposed that "about
twelve months ago, a female was in the habit of coming to the
Gazette office, and of sleeping there with the prisoner. She had
sometimes stopped to breakfast. This was before the communication from
Colonel Wilson to the prisoner. He believed this to be the identical
woman alluded to in the correspondence."

Robert Popple, assigned to the Gazette office. "Knew the prisoner:
used to attend upon him. A woman used to come to the office. Her name
was Mary. Remembers O'Shaughnessy refusing to breakfast with Watt, on
account of Mary being there. Mary used to visit Watt sometimes, both on
Sundays and during the week. She came one night and wanted to see Watt;
he was not in then, but she said she must see him. Did not know then
that she was a prisoner of the crown. He left Watt and her together in
his (Popples) room; when he returned he found they had left. He enquired
of Mr. Jelf where they had gone. Jelf said, he supposed to Watt's own
room. Had repeatedly seen this female with Watt in the Gazette
office, as late as eleven o'clock at night, and also at breakfast in the
mornings. She was well dressed, and wore a veil and parasol."

There were other witnesses as to the cohabitation of the prisoner with
the same female, in Kent-street, and as to her being a runaway convict.
Amongst these witnesses was:

George Jelf (reporter for the Sydney Gazette), who deposed that "He
once paid a visit to Watt in Sydney; was living then with Mr. Cox. Watt
was then living with Pegg. Slept there that night. There was a great
row; was sleeping in Macintosh's room. Got up and dressed himself, and
told Pegg he was sorry there should be any occasion for constables to
come whilst he was there. Knew Mary Chapman well. Saw her on the
occasion of his visit. That was not the first time that he saw her. The
first time he saw her was at Morris's, in presence of Watt, who then
said Chapman was his (Watt's) better half. Morris lived on the
Brickfield Hill. Watt was lodging there. Only visited Watt once at
Morris's. Had some refreshment. Chapman served it up, and partook of it
with them. She then seemed prominent in the family way. The next time he
saw Chapman was in October of last year. Remembers, while living at the
Gazette office, Chapman visited Watt two or three times. She had some
meals with them in the front room. Remembers hearing at that time there
was a complaint about to be made respecting Watt and Chapman. Had some
consultation with Watt about it. Watt showed him a letter respecting

Watt objected to this evidence.

The complainant appealed to the bench whether it was not perfectly

Mr. Lamb said he thought it was competent for them to have the question

Colonel Wilson asked, if he would swear that he had seen several letters
written by him to Watt?

This question was objected to by the bench.

Colonel Wilson.--"If the witness swears that I have written several
letters to Watt, let it be taken down."

Mr. Stewart "objected to any question being taken down, which did not
apply to Watt."

Colonel Wilson "wished all the evidence to be taken down which made
against himself. He had not the least objection to be then put upon his

Jelf continued,--"To the best of his recollection, the letter which he
saw, went on to say, that Colonel Wilson had seen the governor, and
that the charge would not be entertained."

Colonel Wilson--"What charge?"

Jelf--"A charge concerning Watt and a woman, which was talked about
generally. It was about the time Mr. Cavanagh left, sometime last

Colonel Wilson observed, "he did not call it a letter. Witness might
call it what he pleased."

Jelf.--"It was from the letter he saw in January, that he understood the
charge spoken of before would not be entertained. He had thought for
some time there might be a disturbance about it; and for two or three
months did not consider Watt out of danger. The letter he alluded to was
on the third page of a note, which had been sent by Watt to Colonel
Wilson. Did not read Watt's note to the colonel; but understood from
what had been talked of in the office, it had reference to the woman
Chapman. Never saw any other correspondence from Colonel Wilson to Watt.
That was the only instance."

By Mr. Lamb.--"The answer in the note was about Mary Chapman, the woman
whom he had seen at various times with Watt." "At Morris's, no person
but Mary brought in refreshments. In the presence of Watt, Mrs. Morris
called her Mrs. Watt."

Mr. Jilks, chief constable, stated "that he knew Watt; but had not
supposed him to be a ticket-of-leave man, as he had never attended the
general musters of his fellows."

On Monday, September 7, the court having again resumed,

Mr. Lamb, addressing Colonel Wilson, said, "he did not consider that the
explanation given by him (Colonel Wilson) respecting the transaction
which gave occasion for his writing a note to Watt, was sufficiently
clear, and thought it would be better for Colonel Wilson to state the
particulars of the charge which was at that time to have been brought
against the prisoner."

Colonel Wilson said, "he did not recollect any charge, further than that
Watt himself had stated he apprehended a complaint was about to be made
against him, by some servant who had been dismissed from the Gazette

Mr. Windeyer "objected to such a course of proceeding."

Watt said, that "such evidence could not be received, the case for the
prosecution having been closed on Friday."

Mr. Lamb "considered that at such a stage of the proceedings, it as
fully competent for him to move that the Colonel should be sworn, to
explain former evidence."

The bench decided that Colonel Wilson should be sworn.

Mr. Lamb said, "he wished to know, from Colonel Wilson, that, as he had
believed the transaction was then of two or three years'
standing, from whom he derived that impression?"

Colonel Wilson (being sworn), said he received the information from
Watt himself! The nature of the communication (from Watt) was such as
to impress him with the belief that the case had been got up by
discharged servants from the Gazette office; and upon that ground,
he declined to hear it! His impression was, the charge was
too slight to be entertained! It had been said that he (Colonel
Wilson) consulted the governor; but he denied consulting the
governor as to the mode of proceeding. It was through what the
prisoner told him, he had shaped his course."

Watt said, "Colonel Wilson might have spoken to the governor, without
having received any communication from him."

Colonel Wilson to Watt.--"I mentioned it to the governor, because you
had so stated it! And my impression then was, that you stated it
occurred two or three years before! But I cannot state exactly the
precise words you used."

The complainant.--"Pray, Colonel Wilson, is it customary for you, sir,
as the principal police magistrate, to anticipate the result of
complaints coming against convicts, and to decide upon them upon the
representations of the parties charged, and to take the opinion of his
excellency the governor whether they are complaints fit to be

Colonel Wilson.--"Why,--I can't say I exactly consulted the
governor.--The impression on my mind is, that--that I,--merely on
leaving the room, asked his excellency if he had heard of such a
complaint. His excellency said, he thought it ought not to be

To the preceding extracts from the voluminous minutes of this summary
proceeding it is proper to add the following document, being an
affidavit sworn in March of the present year, by Dr. Neilson, the first
witness whose evidence has been noticed above:--

"Sydney, March 28th, 1836.

"Cumberland to wit.

"John Neilson, surgeon, residing in Hunter-street, Sydney, maketh oath,
and says, that he frequently attended the people of the Gazette
office in his professional capacity, by the orders of William Watt,
holding a ticket of leave, and who, this deponent believes, managed the
establishment of that newspaper office, the Sydney Gazette; this
deponent further saith, that he has heard the said William Watt declare
and boast of having private interviews with his Excellency the
Major-General Bourke,--and has seen a communication from the chief
police magistrate, Henry Croasdale Wilson, Esq., stating that he had
seen the governor, and would not entertain some charge about to be
preferred by one Cavanagh: this deponent further states, that he heard
the said William Watt declare that if Major Mudie was the means of
sending him to Port Macquarie, he would blow his brains out.


"Sworn before me this twenty-ninth day of March, 1836.

(Signed) "RICHARD JONES, J. P."

Mr. Dudley Perceval himself might be asked, if it is possible to
conceive anything more profligate and disgusting than the picture
presented to him by the preceding extracts and documents.

On dispassionately reviewing the whole affair, it is difficult to decide
whether the beastly immorality of Watt, or the corrupt and shameless
baseness of the colonial government, and some of its functionaries, is
the more revolting and disgraceful! Mr. Cavanagh's charge against Watt,
it is proved, was stifled by the authority of the governor himself, who
had been spoken to about it, at Watt's request, by Colonel Wilson, as
Colonel Wilson himself admits, whose own duty it was, as the chief
police magistrate of Sydney, to have punished Watt long before, and
to have deprived him of his ticket-of-leave for not attending the
general musters of the district, as well as for harbouring and
cohabiting with a female runaway convict, and even for daring to pollute
the public press of the colony by his atrocious writings.

And what a contemptible figure does Colonel Wilson cut during the
examination! At first, when he thought there was no other witness than
Dr. Neilson, he swears boldly that he never wrote any letter to Watt at
all, but only made some memorandum on some letter of Watt's, about
something he had forgotten,--but certainly, not about any woman, and
not about any thing that had passed between him and the governor! If
Watt had ever said he had received such a letter from him, "it was a
lie" and if he had produced any such letter as purporting to be from
him, "it was a forgery!"

Finding, however, that there were more witnesses than one, Colonel
Wilson, on the following day, thinks it convenient to remember that the
correspondence with Watt was about "some intrigue," or
"cohabitation," and also that "he had mentioned it to the governor,"
and had told him that "the charges were not such as ought to come
before the bench," and that "his excellency was pleased to say he
agreed with him!" And then, on the third day of the investigation,
Colonel Wilson's memory is so much refreshed, that he admits that the
letter of Watt was answered by him, he though, "in the usual way," but
"whether on the corner of the letter, or on the other side, he could not
say!" And at last it all comes fairly out that he really did write to
Watt, apprizing him that he had spoken to the governor in his
behalf, and that the charges against him were "not to be

But then, Colonel Wilson plumply swore that he "knew the charge had
reference to a transaction of two or three years' standing;" and that
was his reason for getting the governor to agree with him that the
charge should not be entertained; yet, when he is further questioned by
Mr. Lamb about how he knew that the charge had reference to something
that had occurred two or three years before, he admits that he knew
nothing about it except what Watt himself had told him! Turning to Watt,
he says, with the most innocent naivete, "I mentioned it to the
governor, because you had so stated it! and my impression then
was that you stated it occurred two or three years before!"

Mr. Cavanagh, in his meritorious and persevering attempts to get his
charge against Watt heard, uniformly alleged that he was prepared to
prove, even by unwilling witnesses, that Watt was, at the time of the
charge being preferred, cohabiting with a female runaway convict.

But it mattered not what Mr. Cavanagh offered to prove. Watt
told his friend Colonel Wilson that it was "an intrigue" in which he
had been concerned two or three years ago; and upon this high and
unquestionable authority Colonel Wilson told the governor that it was an
old story, maliciously got up by the prisoner's enemies (poor
fellow!) and upon the same authority Colonel Wilson swore, in giving
his unwilling testimony, that he knew it was an old
story, about a transaction that had occurred two or three years ago!

His excellency the governor, too, who had so amiably concurred in
Colonel Wilson's opinion that old stories should not be raked up
against his own champion Watt, seems to have forgotten that argument
when Mr. Cavanagh extorted from him a personal reply to his application;
for the governor had by this time discovered, not that it was an old
story, but simply that it was an affair between Mr. Cavanagh and
Watt alone, with which neither the public, nor he, the governor,
had anything to do!

But, in casting a glance at the pitiful figure of the governor himself
in this disgraceful affair, the writhings of the wretched Colonel must
not be lost sight of!

He swears positively that the prisoner was never at his private

On perceiving, however, that the author, one of his interrogators,
evidently knew something, somehow or other, of at least one interview at
the private residence, the colonel suddenly recollects that the prisoner
was once there, but then he was brought there by a constable!

"Brought by a constable!" exclaims the astonished querist, "was he
in custody then?"

"No! O dear, no!" replies the colonel, "not in custody, exactly!"

"What then," asks the merciless interrogator, "did you send a constable
to say you wished to see the prisoner,--Did you send a constable for
him, as an ordinary messenger?"

"Yes, yes," answers the colonel, "I sent the constable, as a

And this is the explanation of what the colonel had just sworn of the
prisoner having been brought to his private residence by a constable,
and after he had just positively sworn that the prisoner had never been
at his private residence at all!!

Colonel Wilson, further, positively swore, that he did not know the
prisoner was at the Gazette office, or was an author, when he spoke
to the governor about him!

Did not know he was at the Gazette office, and an author! Why, the
whole colony, long before that time, was in a ferment in consequence of
this very prisoner's connection with the Gazette, and in consequence
of his infamous writings! The author will not quote the colonel's own
words to tell him this statement of his upon his oath was "a lie!" but
he refers to the colonel's own evidence upon his oath, in another part
of the proceedings, in which the colonel himself swears that he only
knew the prisoner by seeing him upon business relative to the assigned
servants of the Gazette office, so that, in fact, Colonel Wilson
himself admits that he only knew the prisoner as being the manager of
that establishment!

It is impossible to read all this, and not to feel, that the bench of
magistrates did not do their duty, in not committing Colonel Wilson,
although he was one of their own body, for gross prevarication and

But Dr. Neilson further affirms, in his affidavit of the 28th March,
1836, that he "heard the said William Watt declare, that if Major Mudie
was the means of sending him to Port Macquarie, he would blow his brains

This has reference to the summary investigation of August and
September, 1835.

Did Dr. Neilson keep his knowledge of this atrocious threat to himself,
until March, 1836?

By no means. Dr. Neilson immediately apprized the author of the threat,
who reported it to Colonel Wilson, as the chief police magistrate of

Even Colonel Wilson officially reported this matter to Mr. McLeay, the
colonial secretary, for the information of the governor.

Mr. McLeay deemed the threat so important, or so audacious, that he
sent an official communication to the governor respecting it, at

And what did the governor do? Why, nothing! This was no old story.
Prescription could not be pleaded for this threatened
assassination, by one of the greatest ruffians ever sent to the
colony,--a threat, too, intended to deter a prosecutor and a justice of
the peace from continuing his appeal to the law. But the governor
treated it as an affair between the prosecutor and Mister Watt, with
which neither the public, nor he (the governor) had anything to
do; for the governor magnanimously imitated the conduct of the
prosecutor, by treating the audacious and murderous threat only with

It has been stated that the whole proceeding against Watt fell to the
ground, through the sheer disgust of the territorial magistrates, and
their hopelessness of seeing justice administered upon him, and that
they therefore left the disposal of Watt to the governor, in the hope,
certainly, that, after the investigation that had taken place, the
governor could not avoid dealing with Watt according to his deserts.

No wonder the territorial magistrates were driven to this acquiescence;
for, after the ten days already consumed by the summary process,
Watt announced his determination to call and examine five hundred
witnesses (of his own stamp of course) in his favour,--which
he assuredly would have done; and, the sapient Mr. Justice
Windeyer, the witty and ingenious inventor of "the lie of vanity,"
declared his intention to sit and hear them, during whatever number of
months the summary process might be prolonged!!!

The case, therefore, went to the governor, who never pronounced any
judgment upon it, nor punished the prisoner! The governor, however, had
previously received a representation from Judge Burton, before whom Watt
had just been tried and acquitted by a convict jury, in the supreme
court. In this representation, he reported Watt as an improper and
dangerous character.

The governor, then, must do something with Watt! Yes, he did make
a show of doing something; but, he did not punish Watt! Instead of
punishing him, he merely changed his ticket-of-leave from the district
of Sydney to the district of Port Macquarie, where Watt could still
write for the Gazette, and perform the duties of the office of
champion of the press for the humane and amiable governor!

Watt accordingly embarked in the steam-boat for Port Macquarie, taking
with him his two saddle horses, and, along with his chargers, a suitable
retinue of servants! At Macquarie he took possession of an estate
belonging to Mrs. Ann Howe, the widow proprietrix of the Sydney

Mrs. Ann Howe, with another suitable retinue of servants, shortly
followed her editor-in-chief to his place of honourable exile!

With the blushing consent of the blooming widow, whose connubial
exploits, according to common fame in Sydney, partook so much of the
heroical, that few men but a "bold buccaneer" could have had the courage
to aspire to her hand, an application was soon afterwards made to his
excellency Governor Bourke, for his gracious permission to have the
ordinance of marriage duly solemnized between the talented felon Mr.
William Watt and the rich and engaging widow, Mrs. Ann Howe!

This application was opposed by the author,--then an ex-magistrate, on
the ground that Watt had been sent to the colony as a married man, and
that he was so entered in the books, as the convict William Watt, a
married man, having a wife and one child!

Watt, fertile in expedients where so trifling a matter as an oath or
two is concerned, now got some of his old chums to swear that they had
reason to believe that he (Watt) was not a married man! To be sure, Watt
himself told them, and he no doubt told Mrs. Ann Howe, that he was not a
married man! and it must be admitted that they had as good a right to
know, upon such authority, that he was not a married man, as the
good-natured and credulous Colonel Wilson had a right to know, or the
same authority, that Mr. Cavanagh's charges against Watt had reference
to an old story of two or three years' standing!

But the reader, considering how serious a thing bigamy is, morally,
ecclesiastically, legally, and politically, no doubt anticipates that
both Watt's allegations and the "reasons to believe" of his friends,
went, in this case at least, for nothing!

It must be admitted, certainly, that the colonial authorities are
usually sufficiently rigid in requiring proofs of the death of wives or
husbands left in England, before permission is granted to transported
felons to marry again in the colony. Instead of "reasons to believe,"
documents in proof are invariably required to be procured from home. And
even after all these precautions, if the slightest reason to
disbelieve still exists, permission to marry again is withheld,--not
through harshness or caprice, but because it has occurred, that
documents of this kind have been forged in the colony, have then been
sent to England, and have again been returned to the colony, with all
the appearance of genuineness and authenticity which the English
post-mark could confer upon the forgeries.

The reader will have a still stronger idea now of Watt's influence over
Governor Bourke, when he is told that all these obstacles at once gave
way before his application for leave to marry Mrs. Howe.

Surely the authorities in London, who sent him out to the colony, had
"reasons to believe" that he was a married man, before they so marked
him in the indents, and so represented him to the governor to whom he
was transmitted for punishment; and surely their "reasons to believe"
the affirmative were worth a thousand even of positive oaths in favour
of the negative! Besides, there was Watt's own signature in support
of his being actually a married man.

When he was apprehended in Edinburgh, he was living under the name of
Captain Williams. The female, whose journey from London to Edinburgh had
enabled him to be traced, was seen to receive a letter from the
post-office there. That letter, in Watt's hand-writing, was afterwards
found upon her. It contained instructions for her to come to him at the
lodgings he occupied, and charged her to be careful that she was not
watched. The letter concluded thus, "Your affectionate husband,
Williams." By the law of Scotland, the mere acknowledgment of a marriage
makes a marriage. Whether this female, therefore, was or was not his
wife previously, he, by his own hand-writing, as there was proof of the
previous cohabitation, made her his wife,--his wife both in fact and
in law,--and such marriages, so established by the law of Scotland, are
held to be valid in England, and in all the possessions and dependencies
of the British Crown. Many persons living recollect the famous case of
an English gentleman of rank and Miss Gordon, in which the marriage was
proved by the letters of the gentleman.

All this was duly represented to Governor Bourke, who was also furnished
with a newspaper containing an account of Watt's trial at the Old
Bailey, and containing a copy of the very letter (produced on the trial)
in which Watt acknowledged himself to be a married man!

No matter! The good will and pleasure and the interests of Mr. Editor
Watt were concerned; and therefore, neither law nor fact, nor reason nor
religion, were regarded.

The governor never condescended to state whether or not he "had
reasons to believe" that Watt was not a married man; but (perhaps
thinking any previous marriage was an affair merely between Mr. Watt and
the ladies, with which the public had nothing to do) he granted
permission to consummate the felicity of Mr William Watt and Mrs. Anne
How; and the happy pair were married accordingly!

Watt, supported by the governor, esteemed by Commissioner Therry,
complimented by Mr. Justice Windeyer and Colonel Wilson, admired by his
lady, and applauded by the felonry, is now a real gentleman,
living upon his own estate, and the proprietor as well as director of
the Sydney Gazette.

The fellow's history is quite a romance! Guilty of crimes in England,
for one of which he was sentenced to fourteen years' transportation, he
was, on his arrival in the colony, instead of being really punished, sent
to Wellington Valley, a sort of Botany Bay elysium for the reception of
gentlemen convicts. There he was employed by the district
superintendant of convicts, Mr. Maxwell, to keep his books for him, and
act as his factotum, as if there were not men of integrity in the
colony better deserving of and equally or more competent to such an

Mr. Maxwell, an easy good-natured Scotchman, knowing nothing of the ways
of the world, and having never, indeed, mixed in intelligent society,
was soon so far duped by Watt, that he recommended him,--a criminal,
who, in the opinion of the English judge who had tried him, deserved a
punishment of fourteen years,--that in a very short time Mr. Maxwell
recommended this same criminal, who had as yet undergone no punishment
at all, as a fit person to receive the indulgence of a
ticket-of-leave,--that is, instead of punishment, to be empowered to do
as well as he could for himself, and indeed to be placed in this respect
on a footing with the free emigrants, with this advantage, that his
expensive passage out had been paid by the British people as a reward
for his having so often violated their laws!

The ticket-of-leave was granted to him, as a matter of course!

He was then employed and well paid for bringing up the accounts of some
of the public offices in Sydney, including that of the archdeacon's
court,--again as if there were no honest men in the colony either
willing to perform or capable of performing such duties!

He tried his hand at writing for the press, and was, when his
official duties were concluded, employed on the newspapers!

Although he utterly disregarded and openly violated the laws of the
colony under which he held the unmerited indulgence of a
ticket-of-leave, yet he took care, while he was disseminating the most
dangerous doctrines amongst the convicts and emancipated convicts, and
was calumniating and libelling the territorial magistrates and
respectable settlers,--yet he took care, while he was so engaged, to
eulogise the governor, and all the acts of his government; and the
governor, His Excellency Major General Bourke,--was and is so prone
to flattery as to accept it greedily even from hands upon which he
himself should have fixed the manacles of an iron-gang!

What followed has been faithfully related to the reader,--with so little
disposition to exaggerate, even, that it has till now been omitted to
mention, that, through the medium of the Sydney Gazette, and through
his secret connection with functionaries of the government, Watt
actually ruled the colony. He has been heard to boast that it was
by his means, and through his influence, that no less than thirty-three
of the independent territorial magistrates were at one swoop omitted
from the commission of the peace, because they had dared to attempt
preserving themselves and the colony from being literally

Be this as it may, these pages have made it evident that a most corrupt,
profligate, criminal, disgraceful, and dangerous correspondence and
conspiracy existed between this ruffian and functionaries of the
colonial government!

And, it is as undeniable as it is notorious, that Governor Bourke has,
for Watt's sake,--for the sake of screening him from the operation of
the law and from punishment, suffered the whole colony to be thrown into
an unprecedented state of ferment, from the excitement of which it has
not yet begun to subside!

How often has Mr. Dudley Perceval, while reading the foregoing simple
detail of facts, indulged in "bursts of hearty laughter," at the
ludicrousness of the charges alleged against the government of his
gallant relative, his Excellency General Bourke?

Peals of appalling laughter are sometimes heard, indeed, to ring through
the cell of the maniac,--but the scorching glow of conscious shame,--and
the groan of the convict's agony,--are more appropriate to the feelings
of men thus indelibly stamped with the guilt of public delinquency, and
held up to derision, contempt, and scorn, for their mental incapacity
and folly.

Let the public of England, and particularly her merchants and other
persons employing confidential servants, ponder upon the picture which
has just been presented to them. They see the rewards likely to be
reaped by servants who rob them. Let them say whether New South Wales
is properly governed as a penal settlement,--is so governed as that the
fate of the criminals sent there for punishment, affords the remotest
chance of operating as a means for the prevention of crime in England!


THE British public can have no idea of the inequalities of the
punishment which attend the sentence of transportation from this

These inequalities are not, as it would be reasonable to suppose,
proportioned to the different degrees of turpitude in the crimes for
which the same sentence has originally been passed, nor even according
to the former characters of the culprits. Quite the contrary.

A common labourer, or industrious mechanic, whom want of work and
distress may have driven into the temporary commission of crime, is as
liable and as likely to be transported, as the most expert thief and
experienced depredator in London.

Every convict ship takes out to the colony men of the above description,
as well as desperate and practised burglars, habitual and experienced
receivers of stolen goods, artful and designing swindlers, skilful
forgers robbers of banks and mail coaches, and a sprinkling of all sorts
of the villains denominated the swell mob.

On the arrival of this motley assemblage of criminals at the port of
Sydney, lists of the convicts are made out,--applications for their
assignment are put in by those of the settlers who are entitled to
convict servants,--and in the course of about eight days the new comers
are landed and assigned.

The simple labourers and ordinary mechanics, having nothing to recommend
them but their former industry,--the misfortunes which drove them to
crime,--and perhaps a remaining disposition still to behave well, are
sure to undergo the full measure of their sentence.

They are at once assigned to agricultural settlers or other suitable
masters; and, in proportion as they are well-behaved and industrious,
they have not unfrequently the less chance of obtaining either
tickets-of-leave or conditional pardons. They are of too ordinary a
character and too common a class either to attract the notice or to
excite the sympathy of the convict-loving philanthropists of Sydney.

As for the masters to whom they are assigned, however humane and
respectable they may be, it is of course natural that they should look
for labour from men both able to labour, and sent to the colony for the
purpose of being punished by labour.

To labour, therefore, they are put.

In proportion as they are laborious, it is not the interest of their
assignee masters to facilitate their obtaining tickets-of-leave; nor are
the convicts of this description likely themselves to obtain indulgences
of that kind by stratagem and deceit.

They usually, therefore, as has been stated, undergo the full measure of
their sentences; or, if after the term of years prescribed as
probationary, they at length obtain tickets-of-leave, they are obliged
to continue still at labour somewhere, as a means of providing for their

On the other hand, those of the convicts who have something of the "look
of a gentleman,"--clerks, for example, such as Watt, who have robbed
masters by whom they were confidentally trusted and liberally
paid,--robbed them of large sums, not through want or necessity, but for
the sake of gratifying their profligate tastes and depraved desires,--or
swindlers who have for years preyed upon the public by obtaining all
kinds of goods and money by every species of false pretences,--if they
be gentlemen convicts, they are treated as gentlemen, and are either
removed to the elysium of Port Macquarie, or assigned to masters whose
employments for them and their accompanying treatment are redolent of
ease and comfort instead of punishment.

By some plausible tale they excite sympathy; and if for some time they
take the trouble of acting a part, they soon get recommended for
tickets-of-leave or conditional pardons, which, if they do not serve as
passports to employment in the government offices, are sure to be
followed by their obtaining comfortable berths of some kind, or getting
into some way of dealing, by means of which, with a very small share of
diligence and attention, and a large stock of roguery, they are sure to
get on well,--to become rich and luxurious citizens,--and to hold up
their heads with the best and proudest in the colony.

Indeed, the more knowing ones,--that is, the very worst characters
amongst the convicts,--seldom undergo any real punishment at all.

Whether thieves, burglars, receivers, forgers, swindlers, or mail coach
robbers, if they are "well up to the trick," they bring out with them
letters to some of the "old hands" in the colony, so as to ensure their
being applied for as assigned servants by persons of the right

If they have secured a portion of the plunder they had acquired in
England, they easily make themselves comfortable; for in that case they
enter into copartnery, under the rose, with some one or other of the
emancipated felonry, who, being enabled by the funds of their convict
partners to take houses or enter into business, apply to have their
partners assigned to them as servants, and the gentlemen convicts
fall upon a bed of roses at once!

If a wife has been left in England with the charge of the spoil, she
follows her husband in the first ship;--on her arrival she takes a
house, and then petitions the Governor to have her husband,--the father
of her children,--assigned to her as her servant,--in which petition her
husband of course joins. If she has no children of her own, three or
four brats are easily borrowed in Sydney for the purpose of stage
effect; and off she sets for government-house, where the sight of the
afflicted lady and her little ones of course has a wonderful
influence over the sympathetic Governor Bourke.122

In short, having brought with her a supply of the "swag," as the
convicts call their ill-gotten cash, a wife seldom fails of having her
husband assigned to her, in which case the transported felon finds
himself his own master, in possession of all the present wealth his past
nefarious courses may have procured for him,--and on the road to future

For the very worst characters who are transported, therefore, it appears
that New South Wales is not any punishment at all, or at least that it
is easy for them, owing to the careless laxity and childish leniency of
the colonial authorities, to evade the punishment which their crimes
have merited.

One case, characteristic of the facility with which Governor Bourke is
practised upon by any scoundrel who seeks his favour, deserves to be

A London cooper, named Robinson, or Robertson, was transported for some
felony. The wife of this fellow followed with the swag, but was
unsuccessful in her first application to have her husband assigned to

This was a sad blow, and the cooper seemed to have nothing for it but
submission to the fate to which the law had doomed him.

But being an ingenious fellow, and hearing that vanity was the
governor's weak side, he wrote a letter to his excellency, telling him
he had discovered a new species of hard-wood, admirably adapted to the
making of casks, and that he had called it Bourke-wood!

The clever cooper by this device fairly caught the governor in his hoop.
He was assigned to his wife; and he now struts through the streets of
Sydney with spurs to his boots six inches long,--while Bourke-wood will
be the subject of a standing joke as long as casks are made in the

To such a pitch has this system arrived, that the streets of Sydney are
literally almost as crowded with carriages of every class, as Cheapside
or the Strand in London,--carriages not only conveying, but being the
property of emancipists and convicts assigned to their wives.

A London thief of any notoriety, after having been a short time in
Sydney, would scorn to place himself or his assignee wife in so mean a
vehicle as a gig:--nothing less than a carriage and pair is commensurate
with the rank in felonry to which they have arisen in Australia.

A better idea of the effect of all this upon a stranger cannot be
conveyed than by the following anecdote of an officer who visited New
South Wales on leave of absence from his regiment in India.

Having gone with a friend, in a gig, from Sydney to the races at
Parramatta, they were passed on the road by many genteel equipages,
including close carriages, curricles, and landaus.

In answer to the stranger's questions, his companion informed him that
one brilliant set-out belonged to Sam such-a-one, who had been a
convict, but was now a free man and a man of fortune,--that another was
the property of a convict who kept a draper's shop in Sydney, but was
assigned to his wife, who had brought out with her a large sum of
money,--that a third belonged to a ticket-of-leave man, who had obtained
that indulgence almost immediately after his arrival in the colony;--and
so on.

At the race-course, where "all the beauty and fashion" of felonry was
assembled, the stranger's astonishment was complete at the number of
instances in which he obtained similar answers.

After some graver reflections on so singular an exhibition, he
ironically remarked that he thought he had better return as soon as
possible to India, for the purpose of there committing some crime that
should subject him to a short sentence of transportation; for it really
seemed to him that that was the best way of getting on in the world!

Many readers may remember the case of Luke Dillon, a young Irishman, of
very respectable connections, who was, some years ago, transported for
life, from Dublin.

The offence of Dillon was one of such peculiar atrocity, that it is
difficult to account for the sentence having been commuted from that of
death to transportation for life, except by attributing it to the great
influence and interest exerted for him by his friends.

He had for some time paid his addresses, with professions of honour, to
a beautiful and accomplished young lady, also of very respectable
connections, by whom he was received and treated as her acknowledged
lover. He had no other view, however, than that of adding this amiable
and confiding female to others of her sex whom he had already made his
victims;--and he was but too well practised in the arts of seduction and
in the perpetration of crime for the gratification of his passions.

Having prepared his measures for the accomplishment of his present
villainy, he took advantage of a shower of rain occurring one day, while
he was walking with the young lady in Dublin, to prevail on his fair
companion to take shelter with him in a house, from the rain.

In this house, the occupants of which he had previously prepared to
forward his criminal purposes, he administered to the ill-fated girl a
potion which reduced her to a state of insensibility, and then basely
perpetrated the crime he had so long meditated.

The poor victim, besides being dishonoured, was so deeply injured in her
health, by the united effects of the drug administered to her, and the
mental anguish consequent upon Dillon's brutality, that she died a short
time afterwards.

Dillon was tried for the crime; and, the indictment against him being
proved, he was sentenced to be hanged.

The case excited universal public sympathy and universal horror of the
ruffian, at the time,--so much so, that there was a general feeling of
indignation at his not being executed in pursuance of his sentence.

On the arrival of this caitiff in the colony,--where it was certainly
intended by the home government that he should be punished,--else why
commute his sentence of death to transportation for life,--he, as a
gentleman convict, was not punished at all! Having money in his
pocket, he was allowed to walk about Sydney, at his own discretion, for
several weeks, during which time he was even noticed as a friend and a
gentleman by some of his countrymen holding high rank in the colony.

After this, he was sent to Port Macquarie, where, having sufficient
funds, he indulged himself as he best pleased, and where, the
circumstances of the country being considered, he was as much his own
master as if he had been at any watering-place in England!

In as short a time as possible he received a conditional pardon, which
makes a convict in every respect a free man, excepting only, that he
cannot leave the colony.

He is now living luxuriously in Sydney, where he plays the part of a
regular Bond Street lounger, or Australian exquisite, daily exhibiting
himself in the streets,--a regular frequenter of the billiard rooms, the
theatre, and other places of amusement.

It is but the other day since a seaman, rather advanced in years, and
known to be not very sound in his intellect, was convicted at the Old
Bailey of having administered a drug to a young female employed by his
wife as a needlewoman.

There can be no doubt of the fellow's intent in giving the potion to
the young woman; but his purpose, whatever it was, failed, and the
meditated crime was not accomplished.

For the mere intent, however, or the misdemeanour, as it was called
in the indictment, he was sentenced to two years' hard labour in the
house of correction.

This was really a severe punishment, though not more severe than the
fellow deserved.

But, when the severity of his punishment, for the mere attempt at
committing a crime which Dillon had fully perpetrated under
circumstances of the greatest aggravation and atrocity,--which utterly
destroyed a young, innocent, and lovely female,--consigning her, with a
tortured mind and a broken heart, to a premature grave,--when the old
sailor's real punishment is compared with the pretended punishment of
Luke Dillon, it is no wonder that the sentence of transportation, as
appears by the following instance, amongst thousands of others, has in a
great degree lost its terrors:--

"JACOBS' LADDER.--Crime, it is said, is decreasing in England. If
punishment tend to the repression of crime, we fear the joy which this
intelligence is calculated to inspire will be of short duration. One
mode of punishment, at least--transportation to Botany Bay--has lost its
terrors. Thanks to the governor, Botany Bay is no longer a penal
settlement, but the land of promise--the El Dorado--of the dissolute,
the idle, and the desperate. To the numerous candidates for this
desirable retreat who have recently preferred their claims at the
police-offices and the Old Bailey, is to be added the following

"A young man was charged at the Mansion-house, on Monday last, with
having snatched at the watch-chain of a passenger at the gate of that
edifice and wrenched it from the ring. Upon being taken into custody, he
said he committed the offence in order to be transported. He had made no
attempt to escape, but accompanied the policeman into the justice-room
with alacrity. Being asked by the magistrate whether he could not get
out of the country by other means, he said that something in his bosom
prompted him to take that course. He had drunk himself out of place, out
of character, out of money, and out of friends; and the name he gave,
Charles Jacobs, was a fictitious one; for his friends were respectable,
and he was determined not to disgrace them. He was then remanded until
Friday next, and walked quietly out of the room with the policeman; but
the moment they got into the street he made a snatch at the chain and
seals of a gentleman who was passing, and wrenched them from the ring of
the watch. Upon being brought back into the justice-room he repeated his
determination of being sent out of the country, and that, fearing the
first case might prove to be too weak, he resolved to fortify it by
another, that there might be no mistake.

"Cases of "Determined suicide" are frequently found in the public press;
"Determined suicide" is, indeed, become a familiar phrase with
reporters. "Determined candidates for Botany Bay" will probably soon
become equally familiar. Mr. Jacobs has discovered a sure way to that
colony, and all those who are ambitious of the honour will not doubt be
induced to use "Jacobs' Ladder."--Weekly Post, Nov. 13, 1836.

The convicts, as may be readily supposed, are generally profligate,
treacherous, dishonest, and mutinous. It is a fearful thing for an
agricultural settler to be placed in the midst of from twenty to fifty
such labourers and household servants,--prejudicially operating, by
their atrocious example, their disgusting manners, and horrid language,
upon his family,--and continually engaged, more or less, in plundering
him and his neighbours. Even when divine service was performed at the
establishment of the author, which he procured being done as often as
circumstances would permit, many of his convict servants falsely excused
their non-attendance on the plea of their being Roman Catholics. Their
object was, to go upon predatory excursions while the family and the
rest of the establishment were engaged in the ordinances of religion.
This purpose, however, as soon as discovered, was defeated, by
compelling all the real and pretended Roman Catholics to muster outside
the building, and to remain there during the time of worship. Their
conversion to Protestantism was miraculous, none of them withstanding
this test act more than twice or thrice,--but all successively
taking their places in the congregation.

From the lenity of the colonial government in the treatment of these
ruffians, not only are they insubordinate and mutinous, but they are
even full of high notions of their own dignity!

Masters have been reproved for speaking with too little respect to
the gentry assigned to them as servants!

The language and oaths of the convicts are too horrid for repetition;
but should an execration or two occasionally escape the lips of a master
almost maddened by the misconduct of his convict labourers, he may
expect a complaint to be preferred against him to the governor, and
think himself fortunate if he escape without a court of inquiry being
appointed to rake together all the slander and falsehood to which the
malignity of his ruffians may give utterance.

General Darling, by an official notice, prohibited the convicts from
directly addressing themselves, on any pretence, to the government, and
confined them, in making their complaints, or other applications, to the
course prescribed by law,--that is, to apply to the nearest bench of
magistrates, by whom the applications were forwarded to the principal
superintendant of convicts; and in all instances of deviation from this
course, the complaints were transmitted by the government to the masters
of the convicts, who were obliged to make a report upon the allegations
of the complainers.

General Bourke, on the other hand, encourages the correspondence of
convicts with himself and his functionaries, receives the secret
accusations of any of the ruffians of the colony against their masters,
and even comforts and advises runaways who repair to him for

So high-minded, indeed, under this childishly-foolish system, have the
felon population become, that convicts of the very worst and lowest
grade are quite indignant at being called convicts, and insolently deny
the right of any one to treat them with disrespect.

An old man and a young fellow were once assigned to the author together.
The aged man made his appearance first; and, on being asked for his
companion, replied, "What! the young gentleman who came along with
me! He is behind a little way. The young gentleman is foot-sore, and
couldn't get on. He hasn't been accustomed to walk much, and it doesn't
agree with him!" The "young gentleman" was a young London thief of the
most depraved description, and used to entertain his fellow-servants,
after his arrival, with accounts of his exploits, from his early
childhood, when he was put into premises through windows, &c., and lay
concealed till night, and then opened the doors to his gang. He boasted
that he had been a regularly trained and educated thief. Though so
young, he was indeed quite master of his profession; and, amongst his
other accomplishments, could give imitations of many of the leading
counsel, as well as of the judges, of London, in the trying of

The author, who never withheld from his convict servants any reasonable
or proper indulgence, would not submit, nevertheless, either to their
folly and caprices, or to their insolence and tyranny. He, as well as
one other settler on the Hunter, not only kept his convicts in their
proper place, and at their proper distance, and compelled them to wear
the regular convict dress, but he had the dress of each branded with a
number, and with his own name as the assignee master.

The laxity of the government, and of great numbers of the settlers, with
regard to the dress of the convicts, is productive of very great evils.
Being allowed to wear clothes which they have acquired by robberies, or
with the fruits of robberies committed in the colony, they are, of
course, not distinguishable from free men, a circumstance which
facilitates their commission of new crimes. Every convict should,
without exception, be compelled to wear a uniform convict dress, branded
with a number and his master's name; and every ticket-of-leave man,
without exception, should be forced to wear a badge, openly exposed, on
pain of forfeiting his indulgence.

As to the treatment of gentlemen convicts, it is obvious to common
sense, and to the ordinary feelings of justice, that they should be
punished in the same way as the other felons transported to the colony.

If there be any distinctions admitted as to the modes of treatment and
punishment, it is quite clear that the distinctions should be
proportioned, not to the finer coats, the more plausible manners, or the
heavier purses of some of the criminals, but to the degree of good or
bad character distinguishing each, and to the greater or less amount of
turpitude in the crimes for which they severally received sentence of

Upon all convicts, without exception, the sentence of transportation
should really be made to operate as a punishment; or the sentence, as a
means of prevention of crime in England, must become altogether
inoperative, if it has not become so already.


IF the male convicts are depraved and profligate, the female convicts
are even still more so, notwithstanding the efforts of Mrs. Fry and the
other amiable lady philanthropists who visit them in Newgate, and there
attempt the hopeless task of their reform, by benevolent exhortations,
and by furnishing them with religious tracts, and with little
necessaries and comforts for their voyage to the colony.

Extraordinary as it may appear, it is nevertheless true, that the very
women who have most attracted the attention of these excellent ladies
(so that Mrs. Fry has specially mentioned them favourably) generally
turn out the very worst characters.

Some of them, indeed, keep up the deception throughout the voyage, and
even arrive in the colony with pretensions to religious character and
pious attainments; but on their being assigned as servants, and
dispersed amongst the settlers, they almost invariably show themselves
to be the most vicious and abandoned of their sex.

The assignment of the female convicts, like that of the males, usually
takes place eight or ten days after their arrival in Sydney; and, when
the applicants have been supplied, the remaining females (if any) are
forwarded to what is called the Factory, at Parramatta.

In that extensive establishment, capable of containing, and usually
containing, many hundreds of female convicts, the females are divided
into three classes; viz., a first class, consisting of female convicts
who have never been assigned, and also of females who have been
assigned, but who have been returned to the Factory without any charge
or complaint having been alleged against them. The second class consists
of females who have been in the third class, which must therefore be
next described, in order that the nature of the second class may be
understood. The third class, then, consists of women who have been
assigned as servants, but who, in consequence of their bad dispositions,
or insubordination, have been returned upon the hands of government; and
also of female convicts who, having committed some offence not
punishable with transportation, have been sentenced by magistrates to
imprisonment in the Factory for periods of from one month, rarely, if
ever, extending to more than twelve months. The second class consists of
those of the third class who have undergone the periods of their
sentences; and, after some further probation in the second class, they
are again transferred to the first class, as being deemed fit for a new
experiment of assigning them as servants.

The factory cannot properly be regarded as a place of punishment. The
females are well fed, having, in addition to abundance of animal food,
flour, bread, and vegetables, the indulgence of tea and sugar. They are
not put to any labour; and though they are certainly and necessarily cut
off from external intercourse, they have the range of an extensive
garden, in which they are permitted to walk.

There is indeed some trifling difference as to the food given to the
third class. With this exception, the factory at Parramatta is by no
means an unpleasant asylum, in which the females pass their time in
sufficient merriment, relating to each other their former
histories,--their amours and debaucheries,--the thefts in which they
have been concerned,--and the crimes for which they respectively
received sentence of transportation!

So agreeable a retreat, indeed, is the factory, that it is quite a
common thing for female assigned servants to demand of their masters
and mistresses to send them there, and flatly, and with fearful oaths,
to disobey orders, for the purpose of securing the accomplishment of
their wish!

In the factory, too, there is a good chance of getting married; for
the convict swains scattered amongst the settlers, when they obtain the
consent of their masters, or choose, when they become free, to enter
into the connubial state, usually apply for permission to go to the
factory in quest of a fair helpmate, with the full knowledge that it is
more likely to be for worse than for better that they make their

On the arrival of one of these at the abode of the recluses, the
unmarried frail ones are drawn up in line for the inspection of the
amorous and adventurous votary, who, fixing his eye on a vestal to his
taste, with his finger beckons her to step forth from the rank. If,
after a short conference, they are mutually agreeable, the two are
married in due time and form. If, on the contrary, either the
Macheath or the Polly prove distasteful to the other, the resolute
amateur continues his inspection along the line, till he hits upon a
Lucy more complying, or more suitable to his mind!

Not that either party is likely to be very fastidious on such occasions.

A young fellow who had just become free, and had got himself established
on thirty acres of land, with a few pigs, &c., set off for the factory
in search of a wife.

On his way, he had to pass the estate of the writer of this work. In
conversation with the wife of the porter at the gate, he mentioned the
object of his journey. The porter's wife advised him to pay his
addresses to one of her master's convict female servants, whom she
recommended as being both sober and industrious, whereby he would at
once gain a good wife, and spare himself an additional journey of a
hundred and forty miles.

At the request of this Celebs of Australia, the damsel was sent for,
and the bargain struck on the instant, provided the necessary consent of
the lady's assignee master could be obtained, which she herself
undertook to solicit.

Entering the breakfast room of her master with an unusually engaging
aspect, and having made her obeisance in her best style, the following
dialogue ensued:--

Marianne.--I wish to ask you a favour, your honour.

His Honour.--Why, Marianne, you have no great reason to expect
particular indulgence; but what is it?

Marianne (curtsying and looking still more interesting.) I hope your
honour will allow me to get married.

His Honour.--Married! To whom?

Marianne (rather embarrassed.)--To a young man, your honour.

His Honour.--To a young man! What is he?

Marianne (her embarrassment increasing.)--I really don't know!

His Honour.--What is his name?

Marianne.--I can't tell.

His Honour.--Where does he live?

Marianne.--I don't know, your honour.

His Honour.--You don't know his name, nor what he is, nor where he
lives! Pray how long have you known him?

Marianne (her confusion by no means over).--Really, to tell your honour
the truth, I never saw him till just now. Mrs. Parsons sent for me to
speak to him; and so,--we agreed to be married, if your honour will give
us leave. It's a good chance for me. Do, your honour, give me leave!

His Honour.--Love at first sight, eh! Send the young man here.

[Exit Marianne.

Enter Celebs.]

His Honour.--Well, young man, I am told you wish to marry Marianne, one
of my convict servants.

Celebs (grinning.)--That's as you please, your honour.

His Honour.--As I please--Why, have you observed the situation the young
woman is in? (Marianne being "in the way ladies wish to be who love
their lords.")

Celebs (grinning broadly.)--Why, your honour, as to that, you know, in a
country like this, where women are scarce, a man shouldn't be too
"greedy!" I'm told the young woman's very sober,--and that's the main
chance with me. If I go to the factory, why,--your honour knows I might
get one in the same way without knowing it,--and that, you know, might
be cause of words hereafter,--and she might be a drunken vagabond
besides! As to the pickaninny, if it should happen to be a boy, you
know, your honour, it will soon be useful, and do to look after the

The author having afterwards satisfied himself as to the man's
condition, and as to his being free, gave his consent to the match; and
the enamoured pair were of course united in the holy bond of matrimony.

The object in giving the above sketch, is to convey to the reader, at
once, some idea of the nature of rustic courtship in New South Wales,
and of the relations towards each other of the two sexes of the felon
population, as well as of the charming prospect attendant upon a convict

Such scenes as the above are of constant occurrence; and the writer has
deemed it best to present one of them, without embellishment, as it
actually took place.

The sketch is as slight as may be, yet it images a state of things
difficult to be conceived in England, and certainly unparalleled in any
civilized country.

But to return to the system on which the female convicts are
treated:--Nothing can be more impolitic, or more unlike punishment, from
the first hour of their embarkation in England.

Each convict ship carries out a herd of females of all ages, and of
every gradation in vice, including a large proportion of prostitutes of
all grades, from the veriest trull to the fine madam who displayed her
attractions in the theatres.

All who can, carry with them the whole paraphernalia of the toilette,
with trunks and boxes stuffed with every kind of female dress and
decoration they can come at.

In the ship, they have unlimited freedom of intercourse amongst
themselves, both in the prison-room, and during the day, on a prescribed
portion of the deck, which completes the corruption of the younger and
least profligate.

The ship-surgeon is entrusted with the discipline of the female convicts
on board ship. Though the regulations may sometimes prevent improper
intercourse between the convicts and the crew, yet there are too many
and almost always exceptions which ought not to take place.

Those few of the females who are appointed nurses to the sick, have
privileges; and, it does happen that the surgeon sometimes appoints an
attractive or favourite lady to the post. At other times he admits
ladies on the sick list, and to the indulgences of the hospital.

This is a practice which should at once be abolished.

As it is an object of government to send out respectable females to the
colony, they could not do better than appoint a sufficient number of
matrons to every female convict ship, to act as superintendants and
nurses; and also (the absence of which is at present productive of much
mischief) to employ the female convicts, during the voyage, partly by
means of a school, and partly at some kind of work.

Many respectable and competent females would be glad to go out to the
colony for a free passage and some trifle in name of salary, merely that
they might not be altogether without resources on their first arrival.

Such a measure as this would be attended with little or no expense; it
would be productive of incalculable good as to the character of the
female convicts before their landing; and it would be a means, as far as
it went, of insuring an influx of really reputable and virtuous female
emigrants into the colony.

With regard to the question of expense, it may here be mentioned, that,
on the certificate of the surgeon of each ship, that the master of the
vessel has rendered him (the surgeon) all necessary assistance for the
preservation of decorum amongst the convicts, and between the crew and
the convicts, the master is rewarded with an extra douceur of fifty
pounds;--the chief officer, on receiving a similar certificate, becomes
entitled to a douceur of twenty pounds; and the second and third mates,
by virtue of similar certificates, receive fifteen pounds each.

These sums, amounting in the aggregate to one hundred pounds per ship,
would, if better applied, be found sufficient for the salaries of six or
eight matrons, who (backed, of course, by the authority of the nautical
officers), would be of more real service, not only in enforcing decorum
amongst the women, but in training them to some useful occupation or
employment on board ship, than could ever be accomplished by all the
surgeons and masters and mates of vessels in the commercial navy of

Things are very differently managed now, and, when a female
transport-ship arrives at Sydney, all the madams on board occupy the few
days which elapse before their landing, in preparing to produce the most
dazzling effect at their descent upon the Australian shore.

With rich silk dresses,--bonnets a-la-mode,--ear pendents three
inches long,--gorgeous shawls and splendid veils,--silk stockings, kid
gloves, and parasols in hand, dispensing sweet odours from their
profusely perfumed forms, they disembark, and are assigned as
servants, and distributed to the expectant settlers.

On the very road to their respective places of assignment, the women are
told of the easy retirement of the factory, and advised to get
themselves sent there, where they will be allowed to marry, without
having to obtain the consent of an assignee master.

Offers of marriage are made to some of them from the waysides; and, at
their new habitations, they are besieged by suitors.

The hapless settler, who expected a servant, able, or at least
willing, to act, perhaps, both as house and dairy-maid, finds he has
received quite a princess!

Her highness, with her gloved and delicate fingers, can do no sort
of work!

Attempts are made to break her in,--but in vain.

"If you don't like me, send me to the factory," is the constant retort;
and the master, having no alternative, takes her before a bench of
magistrates, by whom she is returned to government, and consigned to the
factory accordingly.

The author, amongst the favours of this kind that have been conferred
upon himself, once received a dulcinea who, in addition to her other
finery, brought such a cargo of hair, tooth, and nail brushes, Macassar
and other hair oils, otto of roses and botanical creams, cosmetics and
scented soaps, that she might have commenced as a dealer in perfumery.
She would have spent half her time at her toilette, and the rest in
playing off the airs of a fine lady! She was quite indignant at not
being allowed an exclusive dressing room; and the more so, as the
dear doctor, during the passage, had considered her much too delicate
to endure any sort of hardship, and had been so kind and considerate as
to insist upon her using two kinds of tooth brushes, lest the hardness
of that first applied should injure the enamel of her teeth!

So much for the fine-lady convicts.

As for the coarser portion of the sex, when equally depraved with their
more showy companions, their language, manners, and conduct, are
infinitely too dreadful for public description.

Their language, disgusting when heard even by profligate men, would
pollute the eyes cast upon it in writing. Their open and shameless vices
must not be told. Their fierce and untameable audacity would not be
believed. They are the pest and gangrene of the colonial society,--a
reproach to human nature,--and, lower than the brutes, a disgrace to all
animal existence.

But enough.--Were the veil raised, and the appalling spectacle exhibited
as it really is, the picture would be too horrid for affrighted humanity
to look upon.

It is evident that if radical reform be required any where, it is in the
whole system of the treatment of the female convicts. It has already
been suggested, that they should be employed in some way, under the
charge of respectable matrons, while on board ship. On their arrival in
Sydney, instead of the dulcineas and princesses being allowed to land in
their dazzling attire, all the female convicts should be furnished
with an uniform prison dress.

As it is certainly desirable, however, on considerations not only of
policy, but of morality and religion, that these females should become
married women, it may be quite proper that their dress, though plain,
should be neat and becoming, and such as would bespeak, indeed, a purer
taste and a better tone of feeling, than perhaps any of these
wretched creatures actually possess.

Still, the habit of being obliged to wear the semblance of decency, as
is well known to moralists, sometimes produces the virtue of which it
was at first only the symbol.

At any rate, in appearance the women would, as far as dress goes, be on
an equality; and, as these poor creatures of course habitually consider
themselves as objects of sale, they might, in the competition for the
best matches, be induced to cultivate decency of behaviour as an
addition to their other attractions, instead of relying upon the
"fineness of their feathers to make them the finer birds."

It should be inculcated upon them from the very first, that they should
receive no indulgence whatever,--not even that of being allowed to
marry, but as the reward of good behaviour. No female convict should be
allowed to marry from the factory, but only with the consent of an
assigned master, or of a bench of magistrates, after a specified term of
good conduct, or after having obtained a ticket-of-leave, or having
become free by pardon or by the expiry of the term of sentence.

At present, the servitude under one master for the short term of two
years, entitles a female convict to a ticket-of-leave; and yet the
charms of the factory are so much more seductive than even this slight
probation or noviciate, that all the worst women prefer the chance of
the factory to the certainty of good behaviour.

The factory, therefore, as now managed, is, like all the rest of the
system, a premium for the continuance of crime and contumacy, rather
than a preventive, or punishment.

Instead of this, the ticket-of-leave after two years of servitude to one
master (implying good behaviour) should be the only premium, and the
factory, as an alternative, should be really and indeed a punishment.

Not only, however, is the factory at Parramatta not a place of
punishment. It is, even regarded as an asylum, very far from being well
managed. It is very extensive, and the frail inmates are, as has already
been mentioned, always very numerous. Yet it is abandoned to the
management of an uneducated and in other respects very incompetent
woman, a Mrs. Gordon, the wife of a serjeant.

It is true, that the police magistrates of Parramatta and some others of
the magistracy, are a visiting committee; but these gentlemen give
themselves very little trouble about the matter.

Mrs. Gordon is, de facto, as well as ostensibly, the governess of the
establishment. How fit she is, under the dignified title of the
matron, for so truly delicate and difficult a task, may be inferred
from the fact, that she has living with her two dashing daughters, not
the most perfect examples of virtue to the numerous females under her

Indeed, as if to prove the rankness of the corruption which pervades the
whole system of the management of the convicts, and all the branches of
Sir Richard Bourke's government to its very core, one of the Misses
Gordon, while she was a resident with her mother at the
factory, bore a child to the son of the governor, which son was
then the governor's private secretary; and the offspring of this
disgraceful, peculiarly improper, and disorderly amour, was duly
christened "Richard Bourke!"

The governor, it it well known, was aware of the intimacy subsisting
between his private secretary and Miss Gordon. It is not insinuated,
that, as a father, his excellency approved of such an intercourse; but
how deplorably lax does this affair (when taken in connection with all
the other facts) prove that system to be, under which such an
intercourse could take place, and under which the matron of the factory
is still retained in her situation!

Not only is confinement in the factory not a punishment; but it is a
subject of loud complaint in the colony that its inmates are not even
employed. They should be compelled to labour; and, while their
food should be sufficiently nutritious, it should be ordinary and plain.

Protracted confinement in the factory, for insubordination, refusing to
work, or other misconduct, and the withholding of permission to marry
until after two years of good behaviour from the time of leaving the
factory, would afford some, and perhaps an effectual, chance of

One pretty obvious means of improvement would be to send from this
country, as the governor of the factory at Paramatta, a married man who
has been accustomed, and successfully, to discipline female prisoners,
and to make them work, in some or other of the houses of correction and
jails in England.

The female overseers under such a man should not be convicts, but
competent women selected in this country, to take the places of the
subordinates whom Mrs. Gordon now appoints from amongst the convict
inmates of the factory. Her selected females, it has been observed,
are pretty much employed in doing for Mrs. Gordon herself, either in
arranging and keeping in order her own spacious and well-furnished
apartments in the building, or in needle-work for the family; and it is
perhaps more for their qualifications in those respects, than as being
fit persons to restrain their vicious companions, that they are
appointed to the situations of overseers.

These, however, are the very qualifications which would render them most
desirable servants to the settlers; and they should therefore be
assigned at once for the benefit of the public, instead of being
detained in the factory, for the benefit of Mrs. Gordon.

To this account of the factory, it is perhaps only necessary to add,
that of the five or six hundred females usually within its precincts,
from one to two hundreds are mothers of illegitimate children,--all
maintained in great comfort and lazy idleness at the expense of the
colonial public. A weekly report of the numbers, both of the mothers and
of their offspring, may be seen in the Sydney Government Gazette.


IN due keeping with all the rest of the system in New South Wales, is
the composition of the police or paid magistracy.

Police magistrates were at first confined to Sydney; and none but the
territorial or unpaid magistrates acted throughout the rest of the

Gradually, however, paid police magistrates were appointed to the more
populous districts; and this evil (for the thing, as it is managed, is
really a very serious evil), has greatly increased during the government
of Sir Richard Bourke.

There are now upwards of sixty district police magistrates. They are
nearly all, and most improperly so, officers of the regiments doing duty
in the colony, receiving three hundred pounds* a year each of salary as
magistrates, besides their full pay, as officers, and leave of absence
from their military duties.

* It is thought that some of the police magistrates in remote districts
only receive 200 a year salary.

It is difficult to say whether this composition of the police magistracy
is more injurious to the discipline of the troops, or to the
administration of justice, and to the best interests of the colony.

The gentlemen thus withdrawn from their military duties form a very
large portion of the officers of their respective regiments, and really
cannot be spared with any degree of propriety from military duty.

So far as to the military branch of the grievance.

As to the magisterial or judicial branch, it is self-evident, that
military officers, some of them ensigns,--mere boys, who had but just
joined their regiments,--appointed, perhaps, very soon after their
arrival in the colony, to the magistracy, are amongst the most unfit
persons that could be selected for such a purpose.

They are all of them necessarily entirely ignorant of the condition of
the agricultural settlers and of their convict servants.

The very terms employed in subjects of dispute or complaint between the
colonists and their labourers, are utterly unknown to their military

In general, they know as little of agricultural and pastoral affairs, as
they do of the laws of the colony or of the mother country.

Worse than all: as they are appointed by the governor, and their
magisterial posts are, to most military men, of great pecuniary
importance, of which the governor can at pleasure deprive them without
its being even expected that he should assign a reason, they are of
course the paid and ready instruments and tools of any system which for
the time being may have the ascendancy at government-house.

Magistrates of such a description cannot indeed be expected to act from
their own knowledge, or from an understanding of the spirit of the law:
they receive, as military men, their cue from the head of the government
and commander of the forces; and according as either laxity or severity
of discipline chances to be the order of the day at head quarters, so do
they adapt their magisterial conduct to the temper of the time.

In a political sense, the constitution of the police magistracy is at
least as objectionable as it is when considered either in a military or
judicial one.

It is to them, and not to the territorial magistrates, that Governor
Bourke applies when he wants a report on the state of crime in the
colony,--on the subordination of the convicts,--or on the working of his
own measures and system.

It was from the reports of these military police magistrates,--reports
required and obtained for the very purpose,--that Mr. Commissioner
Therry, under the falsely assumed name of an "Unpaid Magistrate," quoted
his authorities, in proof of the excellence of General Bourke's
administration, in his pamphlet in vindication of his excellency
Governor Bourke's measures!

The pamphlet of an Unpaid Magistrate, therefore, was written by a
well-paid government functionary, and rested for support upon the ready
testimony of the well-paid military justices.

After what has been shown as to the conduct of Commissioner Therry
himself, and of Colonel Wilson, the chief police magistrate of Sydney,
the reader will not be surprised at being told that district police
magistrates have been heard, before they received the governor's
circular requiring them to make a report,--have been heard to ridicule
the lax and absurd system of the colonial government, and to express
their astonishment that the territorial magistrates, who were
independent of the government, did not make a decided effort to check a
system so subversive of convict discipline and subordination.

The author, if it be necessary, can prove that language of this kind has
been uttered by police magistrates, and that, notwithstanding, reports
were made by these police magistrates, eulogizing in writing that very
system which they had previously orally condemned!

When such baseness as this is practised even by military men, who are
presumed to be peculiarly influenced by principles and feelings of
honour, "as officers and gentlemen," some idea may be formed of the
demoralizing tendency of the entire system now practised in New South
Wales, under the government of General Sir Richard Bourke.

The enormities of the officers of the New South Wales regiment, before
as well as during and after the government of Captain Bligh, are proofs
of the utter unsoundness with which a whole body of officers may become
infected under a vicious or lax system of government.

It is curious to notice, en passant, that in their anxiety to
constitute juries of emancipated felons, the government and its
advocates did not fail to make a great outcry against military
juries,--the colonial juries, previous to the present jury law, having
been composed of military officers;--yet this same colonial government
appoints none but military officers as paid police magistrates, though a
magistrate, having to act summarily, should be well versed in the nature
of all the cases likely to be brought before him; whereas a juror has
little else to do than to decide upon a fact, carefully investigated
before him, with all the niceness of legal subtlety, and supported or
assailed by all the evidence and explanation that can be brought for its
establishment or contradiction.

In order to give a more distinct idea of the unfitness of mere military
men to act as magistrates, the author will here relate one or two
instances of what has occurred while he himself sat upon the bench with
police magistrates who were military officers.

On one occasion, before the bench at Patrick's Plains, to which a
captain of the 17th had just been appointed at the usual salary, a
convict servant was charged by his master with having neglected his duty
as a shepherd, and with having thereby caused the loss of a great number
of valuable sheep from the flock entrusted to his charge.

On the case being clearly proved, and the prisoner asked what he had to
say in his defence, he told a long story of the flock having been too
numerous for any man to be able to take charge of it.

The new military magistrate new nothing, of course, as to the care of
sheep, nor whether a man was capable of taking charge of twelve sheep,
or twelve hundred.

A territorial or unpaid magistrate would have been not in the least at a
loss. His own knowledge would have rendered evidence upon that point
unnecessary, or would have supplied the want of it.

The military police magistrate, on the other hand, if no territorial
magistrate had happened to be on the bench with him, must have cut a
very ridiculous figure, and in short would have been utterly unable to
decide the case.

The author (who was the other magistrate on the bench) was applied to by
the new magistrate for information; and, as his experience was not be
imposed upon, he of course stated that the prisoner had made a false
defence, for the mere purpose of evasion, as the flock under his charge,
instead of having been too large, had not consisted of even so many as
the usual number.

On the same day a settler complained against one of his convict servants
for not having done a sufficient day's work in ploughing.

The military justice was of course as ignorant of ploughing, as he was
of sheep-shearing, and again had recourse to his more experienced
brother magistrate.

These are merely samples. The military justices are equally ignorant on
all subjects of magisterial supervision. And what makes this evil wear
the character of one that is interminable and incurable, is, that, as
the regiments forming the garrison of the colony are only, as it were,
halted there on their way to India, no sooner do the military justices
acquire some practical knowledge as magistrates, through the patience
and preseverance of their territorial brethren on the bench, than they
are ordered to head-quarters, and move on to India with their regiments;
and another set of "Johnny Newcomes," take their place.

Indeed the military routine of the garrison of New South Wales is so
peculiar, as to merit being stated. The garrison for some time past has
consisted of three regiments of foot; and those regiments are sent out
in detachments, as follows:--

Every transport carrying out male convicts to New South Wales has a
military guard of about thirty men, under the command of a subaltern
officer. These guards are successively taken from a regiment under
orders for New South Wales, as a step towards going on to India.
Detachment after detachment accordingly leaves this country, as the
transports with male convicts are successively prepared for them; and
about the time of the last detachment leaving England, the senior
regiment in New South Wales, that is, the regiment that has been longest
there, embarks for India, carrying along with it, of course, the
new-fledged police magistrates of the colony,--spoiled for soldiers,
after their comfortable quarters and well-feathered nests in Australia,
which they reluctantly leave behind them for the new favourites of the
Major General and Governor his Excellency Sir Richard Bourke.

Another circumstance, curious in a military point of view, as to this
"relief of guard," is this, that the commanding officer of a regiment
under orders for New South Wales, usually goes out with the last, or one
of the last detachments; and it is not a little singular that the
military guard of the ship on that occasion generally consists only of
the band.

The band, it is true, is, besides its regimental duty, an understood
appendage upon the rank and person of the commanding officer.

The government at home, it is to be presumed from motives of laudable
economy, makes the band which accompanies the commanding officer act
as the guard of soldiers on board the convict ship.

The author of this work knows, that, as the band of any regiment
cannot at all be relied upon, and indeed never would be employed by any
officer as rank and file, very serious apprehensions have on such
occasions been entertained for the safety of the ship.

The author is not aware whether or not anything untoward has as yet
arisen from this very unmilitary proceeding. If nothing very bad has
happened, it has been, as an old saying has it, more owing to "good luck
than good guiding." Sure he is, that so unmilitary a proceeding can
never have been represented at the Horse Guards; for it is impossible to
believe that the paltry economy involved could ever induce the safety of
a ship and crew, and of the military detachment on board, including the
commanding officer and other officers of a regiment of the line, to be
so foolishly committed.

What makes this military error the more glaring, is, that in fine
weather, these poor fellows (the band) are actually employed in their
proper capacity, as a band, to entertain the colonel and his
officers; exposing the ship to the risk,--evidently to the very imminent
risk,--of the convicts then making a rush, and overpowering their

The territorial magistrates, with the exception of a few expectant
sycophants of the government, have become so heartily disgusted with the
Bourke system, and so weary of the endless task of instructing the
military birds of passage, who are thrust upon them as justices, that
they have almost ceased to take any interest in magisterial business,
and have abandoned it to the government tools, until the evil shall work
its own cure.

If the magisterial duty of the colony is to be performed by paid
functionaries, it is evident, and the author respectfully submits, that
the home government should send out a sufficient number of properly
qualified men, for that purpose, from this country.

These gentlemen should be instructed as to the object and spirit of the
administration of the laws of the colony, considered both as a penal
settlement, and as a progressive British community, and should be
perfectly independent of the colonial government, excepting that they
might be liable to be suspended by the governor, in any case of flagrant
misconduct, or upon any occasion of great public emergency.

Being removeable only by the government at home, they would be freed
from all unworthy fears of giving offence to the colonial government.
After a residence of some time in their respective districts, they would
become thoroughly imbued with the local knowledge indispensable to them
as magistrates, as well as fully conversant with the colonial law.

The author hesitates not to admit, and he ventures to make such an
admission for the territorial magistrates and the respectable settlers
at large, that such a body of magistrates would even be preferable to a
magistracy composed of the gentlemen of the colony.

It would take from their shoulders the performance of an arduous and
painful duty, which, although they have no disposition to shrink from
it, they have felt to be both onerous and unthankful.

They are so far from being a grasping and ambitious faction, as
Messrs. Chief Justice Forbes, Commissioner Therry, and the rest of their
convict faction attempt to represent them, that they have no other
wish,--a wish obviously dictated by a regard for their own best
interests,--than that the public affairs should be so administered as to
promote the general welfare of the colony,--keeping in view a proper
tone of morals, and the due discipline and subordination of the
convicts, as indispensable features of the public welfare; and therefore
they would hail the appointment of a competent and independent
magistracy by the home government,--though it would confine themselves
to the performance of the ordinary duties of peaceful citizens and loyal
subjects,--as one of the greatest boons his Majesty's government could
confer upon New South Wales.


AFTER what has been stated in Chapter I. as to the peculiar construction
of society in New South Wales, and as to the legal and unalterable
infamy of the convict population, regarded as a caste, it must excite no
slight degree of astonishment that the admission of freed convicts,
whether by pardon or expiry of their sentences, to the same social and
civil rights and immunities as the emigrants, is not only a subject of
discussion, but of bitter and well-grounded complaint.

Trial by jury was first introduced into the colony, only as an
experiment, and with an avowed determination either to modify or abolish
it, as circumstances and the working of the institution might hereafter

If it was not self-evident that this experiment should never have
comprehended the admission of the whole body of the freed convict
portion of the population to the right of acting as jurors, the progress
of the experiment has proved, to the most sceptical, that nothing can be
more unwise or disgraceful than its continuance.

Indeed, it is difficult to conceive how any men having pretensions to
legal knowledge or to statesman-like experience or sagacity, could for a
moment entertain the idea that felons, who had themselves been found
guilty of the highest and most heinous infractions of the law, could
possibly be ever afterwards entrusted with any share whatever in the
administration of that law they themselves had so often violated.

If in England a convicted felon be deemed unworthy of remaining a member
of even a benefit society, surely he cannot be deemed worthy of being
associated in the jury-box with persons whom the law has appointed to
represent the whole society of the country, and to express its voice in
the administration of justice.

If in England such a proposition would be considered too preposterous
for serious consideration, how infinitely more preposterous, and how
highly objectionable and dangerous, is its adoption in New South Wales,
where the freed convicts, over and above their legal and moral infamy,
are, by their numbers, likely always to sit as jurors on the trials of
their own former friends and criminal confederates, and to give their
verdicts in cases involving the prosperity or the characters of their
former assignee masters, to whom they themselves had been assigned as
convict servants, and by whom they had probably been brought before
benches of magistrates for misconduct, and punished, on their complaint,
either by the cat-o'-nine tails, or by sentence to an iron-gang, or
transportation to a penal settlement.

The idea of forming juries of such materials as these, is really so
preposterous, that it is amazing that it could ever for one moment be
entertained, even experimentally; and it is inconceivable that its
practical adoption is still persisted in, after the experiment has been
tried, and has signally failed.

Innumerable are the instances in which the ends of justice have been
defeated by the perversity of the jurors of New South Wales.

So infamous, indeed, is the composition of the juries, that but few of
the respectable free settlers can be brought, even by the consideration
of their own interests and of the general well-being of the colony, to
submit to the degradation of being impannelled in the same jury-box with
an equal or greater number of emancipated convicts.

It would fatigue the reader to cite many instances of the brutal and
criminal pertinacity with which these convict jurors have often set the
law, as well as the dictates of common sense and common justice, at open
and most profligate defiance.

It is, indeed, quite impossible that either the government or the public
of the mother country, can form an adequate conception of the frightful,
the atrocious working, of the jury system experimentally adopted in the
colony, and which forms one of the subjects of complaint and of proposed
enquiry and reformation stated in the petition of the members of
council, magistrates, &c., as given in a succeeding chapter.

Let an honest upright English juryman imagine the case of two notorious
felons, found guilty by his own verdict, and sent out to Botany
Bay,--for punishment, as he supposed when he delivered his verdict,--one
for seven years, and the other perhaps for fourteen years, or for life.

Let him further imagine that in a few months, nay weeks, after their
arrival in the colony, one of these ruffians is concerned in a new crime
of the greatest turpitude and guilt,--robbery, incendiarism, or even
murder!--that the colonial government, besides offering a reward for the
discovery of the perpetrators, also offers a conditional pardon to any
accomplice giving such evidence as shall convict his associates in the

Let him suppose the colonial government to go even further, and to offer
a full pardon, and a free passage to England, which sometimes occurs if
the case be one of more than ordinary atrocity even for the appalling
atrocities of Botany Bay.

Let the English juryman suppose that in either case the caitiff turning
king's evidence remains in the colony (if conditionally pardoned, he
must remain till the expiry of his original sentence,--if fully
pardoned, he may remain if he thinks fit.)

Let him suppose that this ruffian, who, amidst the thronging thousands
of similar persons, is immediately lost sight of, in a short time
becomes a dealer, a rum seller, or, in any other way, a householder of
30 per annum rent.

What must be the indignation and astonishment of the English juror on
being told that this thief,--this swindler,--this murderer, perhaps,--on
the proper officers going round to take the lists of persons qualified
to act as jurors, and on his stating himself to them to be "a free man,"
is duly entered on the lists, and summoned to serve on a jury?

How is it possible that justice can be administered under any
circumstances by such a man?

But, if it should occur,--as it has occurred,--that such a juror should
sit in charge of one of his own confederates, what else can be expected
than that which has often taken place, namely, that justice should be
altogether defeated, and crime, including murder itself, rescued from
conviction and punishment in the teeth of the clearest evidence?

Let an English juryman suppose further, that one of his own convicts is
re-transported from Sydney to a subsidiary penal settlement for a fresh
crime committed in the colony, and that he thus serves out the term of
his original sentence of seven years.

The culprit of course returns to Sydney, and is now "a free man."

In a short time he becomes a householder.

He is called as a juryman. He stands out for the acquittal, and succeeds
in gaining the acquital, of an old friend, or even of a stranger whom he
admires for his dexterity in thieving, or for his boldness in the
execution of a more daring offence!

Or, to his inexpressible joy, he finds himself entrusted with the
character and life of a former enemy,--of the assignee master, perhaps,
to whom he had been assigned as a convict servant,--who may have brought
him to punishment,--to be flogged,--or to be sent to an iron-gang,--or
even transported to the penal settlement from which he has but recently

Here is an opportunity for vengeance to a spirit only to be
restrained by the terror of the gallows! He may now even shed the blood
of his victim by the arm of that very law which should be stretched
forth only for his defence.

Well may the petition already referred to state that such a jury system,
"in its operation as regards innocent persons, might be such as
the petitioners tremble to think of!"

These things are not all mere possibilities. They have actually taken
place,--not merely now and then, or rarely,--but often,--very
often,--so often, that the reader will see in another page that the
attorney general declared he could not go on with a case of cattle
stealing, because experience had taught him the melancholy fact, that
the administration of justice could not be entrusted to a jury composed
chiefly of emancipated felons!

These are things which would occur every day, if juries were sitting
daily;--and they are of daily occurrence during the sittings of the
court,--and the felon population of New South Wales take care that these
sittings are both frequent and long-continued.

The universal depravity of morals, especially in Sydney,--caused, no
doubt, chiefly by the very nature of the colony as a receptacle for the
convicts of England,--but aggravated,--unnecessarily and frightfully
aggravated,--by the lax policy of the colonial government,--by its
liberalism towards the convicts and ticket-of-leave men,--by its
employment of or connivance at the employment of felons to conduct a
corrupt and profligate felon press,--and by its frantic experiment of
felon juries, is of course truly deplorable.

On such a subject, a jest would not only be in bad taste, but highly
reprehensible. There is, however, an anecdote which, though somewhat
ludicrous, is, at the same time, so characteristic of the moral
condition of Sydney, and of the felon population in general, that its
insertion may be permitted.

A negro had come to the colony as some gentleman's servant. Associating
with such characters as Sydney abounds with to overflowing, Jaccho soon
received the taint which forms the curse of the colony. He had been many
years in the service of his master, by whom, for his good conduct and
tried honesty, he was entrusted with the keys of his wardrobe and even
of his desk.

But, after his acquaintance with some of the jurymen of New South
Wales, he robbed this very master, by whom he had been esteemed and
confided in as a faithful servant.

Jaccho was accordingly brought to trial before a court of quarter

After the evidence against him had been gone through, the presiding
magistrate called upon him for his defence, and asked him if he had any
witnesses to produce as to his character.

Jaccho (shaking his head mournfully) replied, "No, Massa! Poor Jaccho
hab no character now! When Jaccho come a Tidney, Jaccho berry good man.
But Jaccho dam rogue now! All dam rogue in Tidney. By-by, Massa be dam
rogue too!"

Poor Jaccho, indeed! His simple and unpremeditated speech told the too
true tale that he had fallen a victim to the corruption with which he
had been brought in contact,--a corruption so irresistibly contagious,
in his imagination, that he thought escape from it impossible, and
therefore predicted that the very judge before whom he stood, if he
ventured longer to breathe the pestilential atmosphere of the capital of
Australia, must necessarily, and "by-by,"--soon--become "dam rogue too."

But to return to the jury system. Of the numberless instances of its
villainous bad working, one or two will be sufficient for expressing
to the reader the character of the whole.

A convict charged with having murdered his wife, was put upon his trial.
The evidence was conclusive. The prisoner, however, had the benefit
of a New South Wales jury. They retired to consider of their verdict.
The foreman was a magistrate; and a few others of the jury were men of
respectability. The rest were emancipists.

The judge, in his summing-up, had considered the case so clear, that he
almost told the jury that they must find the prisoner guilty.

But when the foreman asked the jurors for their opinions, one of them,
an emancipated felon, immediately exclaimed, with horrid oaths, that
"he would not find the prisoner guilty;--in his mind, the woman
desarved what she had got!" Pulling off one of his shoes, and
repeating "he'd be d--d if he'd find him guilty," he declared his
resolution to subsist upon his shoe leather, if the rest of the jury had
a mind to test their consciences by the process of starvation.

The jury returned more than once into court, to appeal to the judge
under the circumstances in which they found themselves placed.

The judge, unfortunately, could render them no assistance.

Reason and remonstrance with the ruffian juror were of course vain, how
perseveringly soever they were tried!

The case ended in the acquittal of the prisoner,--an acquittal so
wrong and culpable in the estimation of the judge, that he ordered the
prisoner to be taken back to Bathurst, whence he had been brought, and
to be there delivered to a bench of magistrates, to be dealt with in a
summary way, not, of course, on the charge of murder, but on some other
charge, to be framed from the circumstances accompanying the commission
of the crime.

An emancipated felon was arraigned before the supreme court. The jurors,
one after another, were perfectly to "his mind;" for they were brethren
of the felonry. At length, a gentleman was called whom the prisoner

The gentleman who was objected to is one of the most amiable men in the
colony; he possesses large property, and was at the time in the
commission of the peace; his appearance and demeanour correspond with
his station and his mental and moral qualities.

The objection to him as a juror seemed so unaccountable, that the
prisoner was asked to state the reason for his challenge.

The fellow looked a little confused. "He didn't know, exactly;--the
gentleman was quite unknown to him;--but the fact was, he didn't like
his appearance!"

He looked too respectable,--too upright,--too intelligent, to be
trusted,--by the prisoner! He was not one of the right sort
for an acquittal!

The petition of the members of council and other reputable colonists
states that "one of the obvious and natural effects" of the present jury
system, "is to encourage crime, by the facility it affords to the guilty
to devise plans for insuring acquittal;" and one of the most
obvious of those plans is, for prisoners to challenge every juryman they
know or suspect not to be one of their own caste!

In a court of quarter sessions at Maitland, a prisoner was acquitted
against evidence.

The foreman of the jury, after delivering the verdict which acquitted
the prisoner, complained that the jury were driven to that verdict by
the obstinacy of one of their own body (an emancipated felon), who had
said, that in the morning before he came to the court, he had taken
an oath not to find any prisoner guilty, in the event of his being
impannelled on a jury!

The court of course removed this fellow from the jury box, and another
was called in his place.

In the case before the supreme court, of Hay for stealing a proof
from the Herald Office, and of Watt for receiving it, almost all
the jurors were members of the felonry; and both Watt and Hay were
ticket-of-leave men.

Mr. Justice Therry was of course counsel for the prisoners; and the
prisoners were, of course, acquitted.

The case is referred to at present merely for the purpose of still
further shewing the nature of a New South Wales jury; for, when some of
the jurors were afterwards separately asked why they had given a verdict
of Not Guilty, one replied,

"He was no schollard, and did not understand the thing!"

Another, a publican, candidly said, "he was doing a good stroke of
business, and could not afford to make himself a marked man in the
eyes of his best or only customers!"

A third said "the prisoners were but young men; and he thought he would
give them another chance for it," &c. &c.

In the true spirit of felonry, Hay himself afterwards made a full
acknowledgment of his guilt, and of the share Watt had in the crime; and
in the fervour of his real or pretended penitence, he even made an
affidavit of the facts before a magistrate!

The affidavit was published in the Sydney papers of the time; and it
appeared from it that Watt had instigated Hay to commit the theft, and
had rewarded him with five shillings when the stolen proof was delivered
to him.

The whole affair is quite characteristic of Australia.

When their periods of sentence have expired, both Watt and Hay will be
qualified to act as jurors!

And, should a house of assembly be created and filled by popular
election, it is probable enough that Watt might be returned as one of
the legislators of the colony, and of course a distinguished advocate
of colonial liberal principles!

At the time these observations are in course of being written in London
(October 1836) the author has received by an arrival from New South
Wales, the Sydney Herald of May 9th and 16th, from which the
following passages are extracted:--

CATTLE STEALERS.--The number of cases of cattle stealing for trial at
the present criminal sessions almost exceeds belief; but our attention
has been particularly called to the fact by a circumstance which
powerfully exhibits the working of that jury system which is so much
lauded by Mr. Wentworth and the Patriotic Association. A man, named
Lewis Soloman, recently convicted of this offence, was actually
one of the jury at the last sessions, upon a trial for cattle
stealing (he himself being at the time out on bail on a charge of
horse stealing), and stood out for an acquittal in the face of the
clearest evidence. Thus it is, as we often said,--a fellow feeling
makes us wondrous kind! But oh! such a jury system, in virtue of which
such men may be jurors!"--Sydney Herald, May 9th, 1836.

In the same paper of May the 16th it is recorded that Mr. Plunkett, the
attorney general, after a jury had been impannelled to try a case of
cattle stealing, on the 12th of May, addressed the court as follows:--

"In the absence of almost all the special jurors, he would not go on
with the case of the Deans for stealing cattle. The names that had been
called were almost all publicans (that is, emancipated convicts); and in
the absence of the merchants, he would not risk the administration of
justice in their hands!"

When the experiment of this strange jury system was first tried, a
summoning officer returned two of the summonses with most characteristic

On the back of one of them was written, that the man intended to be
summoned as a juror was "hanged" at such a time.

On the back of the other, that the expected juryman had been
"transported for life" to a penal settlement in the colony.

The petition of members of council, &c. states that by the jury law
"persons of bad repute and low standing in society have been set upon a
footing with magistrates and colonists of the highest respectability."

The above, unfortunately, is not the whole extent of the evil; for, as
magistrates and other respectable colonists will not voluntarily consent
to being put on an equal footing so repulsive to to their feelings, they
choose rather to pay the fines for non-attendance, than to degrade
themselves by sitting as co-jurors with the characters who must occupy
the jury-box along with them; and the felonry, consequently, too often
"have it all their own way."

It being impossible for Governor Bourke or Mr. Chief Justice Forbes to
shut their eyes to the enormous evils attendant upon the working of one
of their most favourite measures, they attempted, with ill-disguised
duplicity and unavailing cunning, to shift the obloquy from themselves.

A circular letter from the governor to the magistrates was accordingly
concocted, in which blame was, by implication, attempted to be cast upon
the magistrates for permitting improper characters to be summoned as
jurors, by affecting to caution them to be more circumspect for the

Blame the magistrates for the past, and instruct them to be more
circumspect for the future! Why this is literally directing the
magistrates to pack the juries by authority, and speaks volumes as to
the pseudo liberalism of the colonial government.

The fault is in the law and no where else. The law is, that housekeepers
of a certain rate are eligible to be jurors. It is for the authorities
who summon the jurors to summon them indiscriminately, and for the
parties in a trial to challenge such jurors as they may respectively
deem objectionable.

Though the governor's circular was laughed at, yet, as it contained a
rebuke, a full meeting of magistrates was held upon the subject, when
amongst other reasons it was shown, that, as the colonial law stands, a
magistrate might, if he complied with the sinister advice of the
governor, subject himself to an unlimited number of civil actions for
implied defamation of character.


THE independent free settlers and territorial magistrates, who were at
first favourable to the idea of the colony obtaining a house of
assembly, soon become aware of the impracticability of instituting, in
the present state of the colony, a representative legislature.

Even if Mr. Wentworth, Sir John Jamison, and the convict faction, had
not so palpably betrayed their dangerous and subversive doctrines and
projects, the infamous working of the new jury law clearly proved that
the society of New South Wales is so essentially dissimilar from that of
Great Britain, as to render it, while the same degree of dissimilarity
continues, quite unfit for enjoying and properly exercising all the
rights and immunities of British institutions.

The experiment of a representative house of assembly, they now
distinctly foresee and solemnly predict, would be attended with utter

If the qualification as to voters and candidates is to be confined to
free emigrants and untainted natives of the colony, of certain property
(and that the qualification should be so restricted must be admitted by
every unprejudiced and impartial man at all acquainted with the social,
moral, and political vices and condition of the colony), the
heart-burnings and jealousies which now distract the colony, would be
fearfully aggravated.

The reputable free settlers, therefore, as on the question of the
magistracy, being actuated by no motives but those connected with a
sincere desire for the real welfare and interests of the colony, would
rather forego the prospect of personal distinction which the formation
of a house of assembly would hold out to themselves, than purchase that
distinction at the risk of further compromising the public peace and

If, on the other hand, the popular principle of representation were to
be so far extended as to admit the emancipated felonry equally with the
untainted emigrants and natives of the colony, to the elective and
representative franchises, no man acquainted with the colony, nor even
any many who has read this work, can be of any other opinion than that
the convict faction would gain the ascendency, and that, if the colony
did not speedily become a scene of bankruptcy and bloodshed, it would at
least be utterly and for ever ruined both as a penal settlement
cooperating with the laws of the mother country for the repression of
crime, and as an infant society destined to become a people imbued with
a British spirit, and governed by British law.

Even the mutual jealousies and heartburnings which now disturb the
colony, would be much more frightfully aggravated by the indiscriminate
admission of the free emigrants and the emancipated felonry to the
exercise of the elective and representative franchises than they would
be by the franchises being restricted to the untainted population alone.

Experience has proved, not only that the great body of the emancipated
felonry are entirely unworthy of being admitted to the privilege of
sitting as jurors, but also, that the emigrants and emancipists cannot
possibly act as jurors together, and that the experiment of their doing
so has not only failed, but has been productive of very great and
serious evils.

Experiment would soon also prove that the great body of the emancipated
felons are still less worthy of being endowed with either the elective
or the representative franchise,--that it would be still more impossible
for the untainted colonists and any portion of the felonry to act
together as either electors or elected,--and that the making of such an
experiment could be productive only of calamities, before which all the
other evils of the colonial society would sink into absolute

It is true, that the present legislative council is very viciously
constructed, and that it neither represents the opinions and feelings of
the colonists, nor works well as an instrument of government.

It is, in fact, a mere tool of the governor, or rather of the governor
and the chief justice.

If the governor and the chief justice chance to pull together, then,
indeed, the governor and chief justice might as well issue their avowed
vice-regal proclamations and ordinances, as profess to pass them off
upon the colony as being the decisions and acts of a deliberative

If, on the other hand, the governor and the chief justice do not pull
together, then the council is rendered nugatory even as an instrument of
government; for the chief justice can prevent the passing of any law, by
refusing to certify that it is in conformity with the laws of England.

The legislative council at present consists of the governor, the chief
justice, the attorney general, and other members, whereof four more are
government functionaries, and the remaining seven members are private

The council is so constituted by act of parliament.

It is evident that in such a council, the governor, when the chief
justice agrees with him, necessarily exercises an overwhelming
preponderance; so that the council, in fact, forms no check either upon
negligence or tyranny, or upon pecuniary extravagance.

The government functionaries of course always pull together; and it is
at least certain that a portion of the other members of council pull
together with the governor. This is a necessary consequence of the
expectations and positions of those members, subject to all the
influence of the governor, personally present and presiding over them in
council, and with the chief justice at his elbow practising upon them
with all the finesse of legal subtlety, and confounding them with
authoritative assurances, which he has the power of enforcing, that the
measures before them are or are not in conformity with the law of
England; and therefore that they must or must not be passed as laws for
the colony.

Even if the governor's influence and authority did not thus predominate
in the council, some of those of the members who may be supposed to have
been appointed with the view of their being a sort of check upon him,
are altogether incompetent for such a purpose.

Mr. Blaxland for example, certainly a very worthy and reputable, as well
as a portly and good-natured man, was originally a yeoman in the county
of Kent. He was an early settler in the colony, and by dint of
praiseworthy enterprise and assiduity, and particularly by means of a
salt manufactory which he established, has risen to opulence and to the
possession of valuable land and stock.

This is all very well, and reflects much honour upon Mr. Blaxland as a
private colonist.

But the idea of making this English yeoman,--this worthy "man of Kent,"
a legislator, is as preposterous as it would be to make him archbishop
of Australia, or poet laureate to his Excellency Governor Bourke.

On one occasion, indeed, he did present to the council a protest against
a pension of 700 a year voted to the colonial secretary; but it was at
once manifest that the document was not of the worthy member of
council's own drawing up. It was so replete with legal technicalities,
and was so studiously worded and rounded, "clause on clause," that any
one not knowing the ostensible author of the protest, would have
supposed him to be a man of practised subtlety and erudition.

It soon became known in the colony that in this affair Mr. Blaxland had
been made a "cat's-paw" by the chief justice, who, having a private
reason for objecting to Mr. McLeay's pension, which he did not wish to
avow in the council, had drawn up the protest in the name of a gentleman
who must have had it several times read over to him and explained,
before he could be considered capable of even presenting it.

This protest, however, obtained a good deal of celebrity, and was much
talked of at the time, the complaint that the colony was saddled with a
pension of 700 a year for services rendered by the grantee in England,
to the government at home, being too justly founded not to excite

Another anecdote of Mr. Blaxland may suffice to show his unfitness to
exercise the functions of a legislator. It is still a subject of much

Being a proprietor in a bank, the shares of which were at a very high
premium, and receiving from 17 to 20 per cent. of annual dividend, it is
suspected that the Chief Justice, for the sake of the joke, advised Mr.
Blaxland to sell out, and gravely to assign as his reason for doing so,
that he did not think a bank investment safe, inasmuch as on the first
war with America any American privateer might possibly take Sydney, levy
a contribution on the town, and carry off the money in the banks!

It is seriously intended to fortify Sydney, not, indeed, for fear of any
danger from a privateer to a town containing twenty thousand inhabitants
and a strong garrison; but as a precaution against possible danger, in
the event of a war, not only from the ordinary operations of an enemy,
but from the effect the appearance of an enemy might have on the felon
population. Mr. Blaxland, however, actually sold out.

But to return to the legislative council;--though it must be admitted to
be extremely imperfect, it might be so improved as to answer, in the
best manner, all the present puposes of a legislature for the colony.

In making this improvement, however, not only should the numbers of what
may be called the independent members be increased, and several of the
public functionaries be withdrawn from it, but the governor himself, and
above all, the chief justice, should have no seat in the council. The
proceedings, in short, should be as independent as possible of the
governor, while they should be subject to the controul of public
opinion, by the discussions being made public.

It is sufficiently self-evident that the chief justice should not be at
once the most influential member of the legislature, and the dispenser
and interpreter of laws framed by himself, and only of laws of his own
framing. The presence of the attorney or solicitor-general in the
council, as a member, would be quite sufficient for giving it the
benefit of legal instruction on subjects involving legal difficulties,
without the impropriety of the chief judge of the colony sitting as a
legislator, particularly in conjunction with the governor, so as by the
weight and influence of the one, and the sophistry of the other, to
carry any or all measures they think fit.

The chief justice settles some questions by declaring the propositions
to be inconsistent with the laws of England. Constituted as the
legislative council now is, it would be contrary to a law of human
nature, if, after the governor has made a proposition, and the chief
justice has moulded it into form by his legal aptitude, and afterwards
gilt the pill with his sophistry, it should not be swallowed by the
knowing functionaries and some of the expectant simple ones of the
present legislative council.

Should the home government and parliament deem it right to re-model the
legislative council of New South Wales, so as to make it virtually
represent (though not by popular election), the property and public
opinion of the free untainted colonists, it may be deemed right that the
governor, as the king's representative, should have the power of
recommending measures to the consideration of the legislative body by
his message, and also that he should wield the further prerogative of
the royalty he represents, by having a veto upon the acts of the

It may be also expedient that the colonial secretary should have a seat
in the legislature, as the organ through which the views of the governor
may be pronounced, and by means of which those views may be examined and

Beyond this, the governor's interference with, or influence or controul
over the legislative body, should not be permitted.

It is but justice to add that several of the independent members of the
present legislative council are equally distinguished by their virtues,
their intelligence, and their public spirit.


MUCH injury has been done to the colony from the incapacity of all the
individuals who have been sent out as law officers of the crown, with
the exception only of Mr. Plunkett, the present solicitor-general. All
the rest have been destitute of talent, and have been rather deficient
even in ordinary respectability.

Mr. Bannister, who was the first attorney-general, under the government
of Sir Thomas Brisbane, was a very respectable private character,--and a
very honourable man. He had, however, been a captain in the army,--and
consequently had had little or no experience to qualify him for the
situation of attorney-general in such a colony. Hence the differences
that arose between Mr. Bannister and the late Governor Sir Ralph

Mr. Baxter, who succeeded Mr. Bannister as attorney-general, was a man
of very intemperate habits,--and, being scarcely ever sober, left his
business to be done for him by a convict clerk, who had been a lawyer of
some sort previous to his transportation from England.

Even in this, the culpable folly of employing convicts in any situations
of public trust, or of such a nature as to involve the public interests,
was apparent; for, the drawing of indictments being left by Mr. Baxter
to his felon coadjutor, the latter frequently, either from feelings of
favour, or in consideration of a bribe, so framed the indictments as to
leave flaws for the benefit of the prisoners, and yet so artfully, as to
make it impossible to decide that the flaws were intentional. In this
way several atrocious criminals escaped conviction.

Mr. Kinchela, the present attorney general, instead of possessing any
superiority over his two learned predecessors, is inferior to them in
every respect. Deficient in legal knowledge, he has not even the address
or manners, or the language of a gentleman. His utterance is bad, and
strongly tinctured with the brogue of Kilkenny, and, to crown the whole,
he is excessively deaf,--a defect necessarily subjecting him to the most
mischievous or the most ludicrous mistakes.

On one occasion, when he was conducting the prosecution of a man for
stealing a bull, a witness was examined as to the identity of the stolen
animal. The witness said that several bulls had been shewn to him, that
it might be ascertained if he could pitch upon the right one; and he
stated that he was certain he had done so; for the bull was called
Peter, and on his calling out, "Peter! Peter!" the animal had turned
round to him.

The poor deaf attorney general, hearing only something about calling
"Peter," and fancying the witness was detailing a conversation with some
man of that name, resumed the interrogative in the usual pompous way of
a counsel, by addressing the witness with, "well sir, and what did Peter
say?" The effect upon the whole court, the chief justice included,
especially considering that the subject was a bull, and the attorney
general an Emerald Islander, may be conceived, but cannot be

What will the reader think, when he is now informed that, for the time
being, this Mr. attorney general (deaf as he is), is at present
exercising the functions of a judge? Yet so it is! The departure of Mr.
Chief Justice Forbes for England, rendered several new law arrangements
necessary during his absence. Mr. Justice Dowling accordingly sits as
chief justice, and Mr. Attorney General Kinchela as junior judge; Mr.
Solicitor General Plunkett of course fills, and fills worthily, the post
of attorney general; while for Mr. Commissioner Therry, with his usual
good luck, and per special favour of Governor Bourke, who
certainly owed him as much for his famous "letter of an Unpaid
Magistrate," there has been invented the office of assistant crown
prosecutor, as an additional morsel to his pickings as commissioner
of the court of requests, commissioner of the land board, barrister in
the supreme court, &c.!

Perhaps there is no part of the civilized world, particularly any
appendage of the British crown, in which such abuses have existed, and
continue to exist, as in the law courts of New South Wales.

Some fifteen years ago, there were only four lawyers besides the judge
of the supreme court and the judge advocate, in the colony,--two of whom
had been sent out by the home government, with salaries of three hundred
pounds a year each.

Now, there are from forty to fifty cormorants of the law, of different
grades as to rank and emolument but with an equality as to the voracity
of most of these harpies, quite in keeping with the character of their
race. Notwithstanding the numerousness of the flock, New South Wales,
however, offers a very good field for a few really respectable
barristers; for, since the murder of Dr. Wardell, the practice has been
chiefly in the hands of Mr. Foster, Mr. Wentworth, and Mr. Commissioner

Of these, the reader is of course aware that the respectable emigrants
would rather dispense with the legal assistance of Mr. Therry, and even
of Mr Wentworth.

The rest of the practising lawyers, with the exception of Mr. Norton,
are of such a stamp, that they would be briefless in England, but are
employed because the colonists have no choice.

Mr. Norton, as an attorney, stands alone, in point of respectability.

A few years ago, when abuses were at their height, the whole squad of
barristers and attorneys acted both as solicitors and counsel; and, this
arrangement rendering it unnecessary for attorneys to advance fees to
counsel, there was little or no restraint upon the spirit of litigation.
Actions of the most frivolous description were accordingly got up for
the mere purpose of making business,--until even Mr. Chief Justice
Forbes was scandalized at the flagrant enormity of the system, and made
what was called a division of the bar,--that is, insisted on his legal
brethren confining themselves respectively to one or other of the
branches of the profession,--a reform which had a very happy effect on
the interests of the public, though it was much exclaimed against by the
fraternity whom it more immediately affected.

Many notorious convicts have been barristers or attorneys at home, but
have been transported for forgeries, altering of wills, or the
commission of other infamous frauds. These ruffians, instead of being
sent to Norfolk Island, worked in irons on the roads, or assigned as
labourers to settlers, are at once assigned to their brother lawyers in
the colony, and generally to such of these as are remarkably deficient
in legal knowledge or talent of their own. The imported legal scoundrels
being generally clever, or at least versed in every species of quirk,
manoeuvre, and quibble, whatever attorney is so lucky as to obtain one
of them as an assigned servant, is almost sure of gaining much business
in what is called "the emancipist connection"--the convicts and
emancipists having not only a fellow-feeling with the lawyer's convict
clerk, but a pretty strong assurance that the latter will stick at no
roguery to serve a client, particularly if even a trifling douceur be
given to himself.

The convict clerks are often entrusted by their masters with the entire
conducting of their business.

The scoundrels have access to the jails, in which they make themselves
masters of the cases of the prisoners. They tamper with the witnesses.
Where hard swearing is required, it is not difficult in such a place as
New South Wales, to find men who will swear to any thing. Instances have
even been known, while trials have been going on, of convict clerks
going out of court, and making bargains with fellows, perhaps for half a
pint of rum, to give prisoners a character, though these rum witnesses,
may never even have seen the prisoners, till they behold them in the

One of these convict clerks, perhaps as great a ruffian as ever was
transported, is named Williams. He had been an attorney in Liverpool. He
altered or forged a will affecting the inheritance of a considerable
property, with so much dexterity, that it was long before the fraud was
discovered. As usual, however, detection came at last. He was tried at
Lancaster, and the case was found to be so atrocious, that, upon
conviction, he was sentenced to be transported for life. On his
arrival in Sydney, he was assigned to a young attorney, named Nichol
Allen. Allen had been previously destitute of business; but Williams
proved for him a happy windfall. From that day, practice poured in upon
him. The convict clerk managed well, and, behind the curtain, both
represented his employer and conducted his business. Soon after his
arrival, he got out his wife, who took a house; and the transported
felon, instead of being punished, is more prosperous than he was in
England, enjoying every comfort of life, and all the substantial
advantages, in reality, of a free emigrant.

Williams became the bosom friend and counsellor of the infamous convict
Watt, whom he is reported to have assisted in the authorship of the
atrocious pamphlet by Humanitas. When Watt was tried before the
supreme court for receiving the stolen proof sheet, Mr. Nichol Allen was
of course the ostensible attorney for the prisoner. With Williams,
however, for the real solicitor,--Commissioner Therry for his
counsel,--and a jury of emancipists for his judges, it would have been
strange indeed if Watt had not escaped.

Mr. Justice Burton, who has not yet been named, is perhaps the only man
of strict honour and integrity, exercising judicial functions, with whom
New South Wales has as yet been blessed. No greater benefit could be
conferred upon the colony than the appointment of this upright and
independent judge to the station of chief justice.

The reader, from the faithful though faint description that has been
laid before him, may form some idea of what a sink of corruption and
iniquity, detestable profligacy and disgusting filth, is presented by
the whole system of the law courts and the actual state of the legal
profession, in New South Wales. There is perhaps no man so competent to
cleanse this augean stable as Mr. Justice Burton. He has already done
good service to the colony,--none greater, perhaps, than by his address
to the jury at the close of the sittings of the supreme court, on the
18th of November, 1835, which is given below.

It is only matter, if not of reproach to him, at least of surprise,
that, knowing as he does the crying evils attending the assignment of
convict clerks to the legal profession, he has not yet taken effectual
steps for having the whole crew of these ruffians swept out of Sydney.

Charge delivered by his honour Judge Burton, to the Jury, at the close
of the Sessions of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, for the year

Sydney, 18th November, 1835.

Mr. Justice Burton, addressing the jury, said:--It was now his duty to
discharge them from any further attendance this session; but before he
did so, he must make to them a few observations, which they might carry
with them into their homes, and there give them a calm and serious
consideration. His own mind was seriously impressed with their
importance, otherwise he should not introduce them to their attention.
It had been his lot to preside alternately with his brother judges in
that Court, he might say for three years; since with the present
Sessions the judicial business of the Court would end for the present
year, and the Court would not meet again in the exercise of its ordinary
jurisdiction before the first of January.

It was a period at which, as a judge, he might himself well pause and
enquire what he had been doing during that period--what had been the
effect of his labours--and especially, considering the number of capital
convictions which had taken place before him, and the number of
sentences past, it was fitting that he should ask himself the question,
what has been the effect of those sentences in the way of example? and
he felt that they were equally interested in the same question. He
would, therefore, before they separated, lay before them the conclusions
and views to which his own mind had arrived.

It was customary for the judges at home, when on a circuit, to address
the grand juries of the respective counties upon the state of the
calender presented to them. No such opportunity presented itself to the
judges in this colony; instead of meeting a grand jury, those gentlemen
who would constitute that class, and those who would belong to the petty
jury, were alike on the panel. He deemed, therefore, the observations
which it would be his duty to make, if he had the opportunity of
addressing a grand jury in this colony, might properly be made to them;
and it had been his practice, in the colony from which he was removed to
this, where the same constitution in this respect prevailed, to take an
opportunity, before he separated from the jury, of making such
observations as occurred to him on the state of crime within their
respective districts.

He had requested a return to be made out by the Chief Clerk of the
Court, of all the capital convictions that had taken place during the
last three years, and he thought when he stated the number of them, they
would feel he was fully justified in the course of observations he was
about to make:--

1833, there had been one hundred and thirty-five capital convictions; on
sixty-nine sentence of death had been passed; forty-five of those
capital convictions, and fifteen of these sentences of death, had taken
place upon his judicial responsibility.

In 1834, one hundred and forty-eight capital convictions, on eighty-
three of which sentence of death had been passed; forty-eight of which
convictions, and thirty-six of which sentences, had been before himself.

In 1835, one hundred and sixteen capital convictions, and seventy-one
sentences to suffer death; fifty-six of which convictions had taken
place before him, and twenty-eight of which sentences he had passed. In
addition to which sentences there are thirty-three prisoners who have
been capitally convicted, waiting for sentences. Whether death might be
recorded or passed upon them, the number of capital convictions was a
feature sufficiently striking in the administration of justice in this
colony; for it was to be remarked, that capital punishment had been
taken away from several offences, such as forgery, cattle stealing,
stealing in a dwelling house above the value of 5. (those fruitful
sources of capital convictions in former times), ever since the first of
August, 1833, so that those which had taken place since that time, were
all for crimes of violence, murder, rape, robbery, burglary, maliciously
stabbing, shooting and wounding, and offences of similar character.

He then stated, that the calender for the present Sessions, presenting
the following facts, had been furnished to him by the Crown Solicitor:--

There had been convicted for murder, two; stabbing with intent, &c.,
shooting at with intent to kill, cutting and maiming, assault with
intent to do bodily harm, six; manslaughter, two; arson, one: piracy and
burglary, eight; housebreaking, ten; highway robbery, seven; receiving,
one; forgery, two; larceny on the high seas, one; larceny, four; cattle
stealing, one; piracy only, one; robbery, eight; total, fifty-four.

Prisoners in jail on the 18th November, 1835, who had been in custody
previous to the 2nd November, 1835, viz:--

For trial on the 18th, seven; Quarter Sessions, 6th December, thirty;
stand for next Criminal Sessions, thirteen; for discharge, three;
consideration, nineteen; total, seventy-two. Tried on the 18th, seven;
convicted of cattle stealing, two; robbery and receiving, death
recorded, four; acquited, one; total, fourteen.

He further stated, that there were still in the jail untried, the number
of seventy-four prisoners, from various causes of delay, as to which it
was not now his business to inquire. They were, however, neither unknown
nor unheeded. With respect to the causes of this state of crime, he had
nothing to do with what others had to assign--he had formed his own
conclusion as to them, which he would lay before the Gentlemen of the
jury, and beg them carefully to weigh and examine them and judge for
themselves; he had thought the number of capital convictions alone
enough to point out his own and their attention to it, as an indication
of the state of the country as to crime; he had not thought it
necessary, with so prominent a feature before him, to mention the number
of convictions before the Supreme Court during the same period, for
offences not capital; he would only briefly refer to them, and to all
those offences which were tried before the several Courts of Quarter
Sessions throughout the colony, in the exercise of their summary
jurisdiction, and by juries; the mass of offences which were summarily
disposed of by the magistrates, and at several Police Offices throughout
the colony, and, added to all these, the numerous undiscovered crimes,
which every man who heard him, or to whom the report of those words
should come, would admit to have occurred in his own circle of
knowledge; and then the picture presented to their minds would be one of
the most painful reflection; it would appear to one who could look down
upon the community, as if the main business of us all were the
commission of crime and the punishment of it; as if the whole colony
were continually in motion towards the several courts of justice; and
the most painful reflection of all must be, that so many capital
sentences, and the execution of them, have not had the effect of
preventing crime by way of example.

In his opinion one grand cause of such a state of things, was an
overwhelming defect of regligous principle in this community; a principle
which he considered as the polar star to guide a man in all his conduct,
and without which none other would prevent him from crime.

But that he might not be said to make so grave a charge upon light
foundations, he would instance the crimes of violence,--murders,--the
manslaughters in drunken revels,--the perjuries,--the false witnesses
from motives of revenge or reward, which in the proceedings before him
had been brought to light. These were indeed of so atrocious a
character, which had occurred before him, that he would briefly instance
some of them which the time that had elapsed might have caused to pass
away from their memory; and he mentioned the case of Mullaly and his
wife, who were convicted of stealing from the person of Patrick Sherry,
by means of some deleterious drug administered to him, which for a time
deprived him of sense, and perhaps only the quantity administered
prevented the loss of his life; and the case of Armstrong, an overseer,
who was acquitted upon a false charge brought against him by a convict
under his superintendance, of shooting at him with intent to murder.

He referred to the case of Cowan and his wife, who were acquitted of the
murder of a man named Kerr, as embodying in itself a picture of those
evils with which the colony is visited. These persons, and one Campbell,
and the deceased Kerr, lived near Liverpool, and kept an unlicensed
still, and a house to which the gangs of prisoners in their
neighbourhood resorted for drink; and they were cattle-stealers (it was
no slander to call them such, since they have been convicted of it). On
a Sunday evening their house was visited by a constable from Liverpool,
about eight o'clock in the evening, who found all parties, as he
expressed it, "beastly drunk," and two prisoners of the Crown in the
same state: this was the last time Kerr was seen alive by any
respectable person. Information was given next day, by two of Cowan's
servants, to the Magistrates of Liverpool, against him for
cattle-stealing; and it was proved that their having done so was known
to Peter Montgomery, a convict employed as overseer at the Liverpool
Hospital, in the afternoon of the same day, and that he visited Cowan
afterwards, and understood by expressions made by Cowan during his
intoxication, that he expected Kerr would give evidence against him;
Kerr was murdered by some one on that night, and his body was afterwards
found at the distance of forty or fifty rods, but the blood was traced
to within seventeen or eighteen yards of Cowan's door.

At the trial, Campbell, who had given a statement before the
Magistrates, which, if he had adhered to on the trial, would have
brought home the guilt of that murder to both prisoners, recanted the
whole of his previous statements, and they were acquitted. It appeared
in evidence, that this person had been forwarded from Liverpool to
Sydney, handcuffed with Cowan--was confined in the same yard in the jail
with him, and the Gentlemen of the jury had had an instance before them
this day, of the effect of such an association upon the evidence of a
witness. It further appeared, and it deserves notice as an instance of
retributive justice, as well as showing the character of this case, that
another dead body was found at the same place within three months
before,--and upon that occasion, a Coroner's jury had acquitted the
prisoner Cowan upon the evidence of that man Kerr; and the deposition
after his death was given in evidence in this Court in favour of the
same prisoner, when Cowan was subsequently tried before one of the other
judges on that charge, and was the main ground of his acquittal.

The conclusions to be drawn from such a case are manifest; and the judge
stated, that he was sorry to say, and those who heard him could bear him
out in what he said, and this was not the only case which had recently
been before the Court, in which there was the strongest suspicion of an
expected witness against a prisoner being made away with, to prevent his
giving evidence.

In another case, an old man who is now gone to his own account, and
whose name he would not therefore mention, was acquitted of maliciously
shooting at a servant in his employment, and the means taken to procure
that acquittal, was a false charge of felony set up against the
principal witness.

In another case, as many as ten or eleven persons had successively
abused the person of a woman; of course consent in such a case was
impossible to be presumed; but what must be the state of moral
degradation of those persons who could consecutively follow one another
in the commission of such an act?

These and many other instances, to which it would be long now to refer
(but they were upon his notes of evidence in cases tried before him),
had brought him to the conclusion that there is an overwhelming defect
of religious principle in this colony. If he was wrong in this
conclusion, his reasoning upon it would fail; the jury would judge of
this; but if he were correct, then it was a state of things which
warranted him in calling upon them by all the means in their power to
improve it.

He could not but acknowledge there was a deficiency of religious
instruction in the colony. There was not that number of religious
teachers its extent and population required. He did not intend to impute
blame to any one individually. But when he imputed a want of religious
principle, he looked around to see whether there was an adequacy of
religious instruction, in order to point their attention to this
circumstance; so that if they found a deficiency, they might call upon
the proper authorities to make such an addition as necessity required.
There were only at present thirty such persons for the whole of this
scattered population, independent of a few whom the charity of Societies
in England had supplied; a number too scanty to admit of any being
spared for the penal settlements. It had been his lot to visit one of
those penal settlements. To see them herding together without any such
chance of improvement, without any religious instruction, was painful in
the extreme. One man particularly had observed, in a manner which drew
tears from his eyes and wrung his heart when he was placed before him
for sentence--"Let a man be what he will, when he comes here he is soon
as bad as the rest; a man's heart is taken from him, and there is given
to him the heart of a beast." He did not impute blame to any one, and he
trusted no such motives would be ascribed to him; but in a question of
such vital importance, which involved not only the present, but the
ultimate welfare and security of the colony, all were interested; and it
was the duty of every one to do what he could to ameliorate, if
possible, its present condition. He only stated the fact, and lamented

He felt, however, bound to say, that masters of convicts were not
sufficiently attentive to the morals of their men; defective as our
means of religious instruction might be, it had been proved before him,
that highly respectable persons near to a church, in the same town, and
within a few miles, not only neglected to oblige them to attend the
church, but actually suffered them to spend the Lord's Day amidst scenes
of drunkenness and debauchery. Nor was that all. It had been further
proved, that the Lord's Day by some masters was made a day of
labour--and that some other day was allowed to them as an equivalent.
But what equivalent, he would ask, could a master give for the loss of
that moral instruction which the security of society required? There
were doubtless many, who, being under the necessity of attending a
distant service, could not take their servants. But he would ask,
whether in such situations they did all which they could? He would ask,
what was the example that had been set by them? What instruction did
they give them? It was in every man's power to set an example of moral
conduct and observance of the Lord's Day in his own person, and to
gather his family and servants together for divine worship, whether the
church was near or distant. And he would further beg to impress upon
their minds, that they were not in a situation to blame others for want
of moral instruction, so long as they did not avail themselves of such
means as were within their power. He was sorry to say, that many of the
worst crimes which had been brought under his notice were committed on
the Lord's Day, and he was led to apprehend, that there was a very
general disregard and desecration of it.

There were other causes which led, in his opinion, to crimes in this
country. With respect to them, there might be a difference of opinion:
he could only say, that he had formed his own; and as he was prepared to
give it to the governor, he should be wanting in candour if he did not
state it to them.

He had been induced by what had been proved before him in that court,
gravely to consider the question of convicts working in gangs out of
irons, and felt convinced that it was one of the most frightful sources
of crime to be found in the colony. He had before him a return from
which it appeared that the number of convicts at this time employed upon
the roads was 2240; of whom 1104 are out of irons. And, he continued,
when they (the jury) considered who these men were, and what they had
been, placed under the guardianship of a convict overseer, that they
left their huts in any number, armed or unarmed as they pleased; in
short, from the evidence he had upon his notes, respecting the conduct
of the road-parties of the colony, it would appear that those
establishments were like bee-hives, the inhabitants busily pouring in
and out--but with this difference, the one work by day, the other by
night; the one goes forth to industry, the other to plunder. To the
carelessness or worse conduct of the overseers, he did attribute a vast
proportion of the burglaries and robberies that were committed in the
country districts. It had been proved in a recent case (he spoke from
his notes), that a party of these men had committed a robbery, under
such circumstances of aggravation that sentence of death had been passed
upon four of them.

He must, however, say, that the settlers were themselves to blame for
many of the crimes committed by the convicts belonging to road-parties;
they too frequently appear to have employed these men in their leisure
or working hours, or on a Sunday, paying them for their labour in money,
which was spent in drink, and so prepared them for the commission of
crime. And it appeared to him, that they frequently, after using their
service in harvest time, remunerated them for their labour by granting
them passes for several days more than was necessary to return to their
gangs; and during that time the whole country they pass is laid under
contribution by their depredations. If there must be road-parties, then
the settlers ought to keep themselves aloof, and abstain from employing
them, and from giving them improper indulgences. And if they should
receive their assistance occasionally for harvest, they ought to take
special care that they were sent securely to their gangs, under an
overseer or constable; for although the depredations may not be
committed upon the settler himself, yet he is in some measure bound to
protect his neighbours.

Another source of crime, he thought to be the occupation of the waste
lands of the colony by unauthorised and improper persons, both bond and
free; who, commencing with nothing, or very small capital, very soon
after acquire a degree of wealth which must lead every reasonable man to
the conclusion they do not get it honestly. Another cause, he considered
was the congregation of large numbers of convict servants in the town of
Sydney; to which he attributed a vast proportion of the burglaries and
robberies committed there; the master allowing his convict servants to
wander about where and when they pleased after his work is done, or on
the Lord's Day, instead of keeping over them that vigilant watchfulness
it is his duty to do; and the premises of respectable and unsuspecting
persons furnishing them with some means of concealment.

Another source of crime was the allowing improper persons to have
licensed public houses. It had been proved that a great many robberies
were concocted at such places, and the proprietors of many of those low
houses being persons who were not far removed from the class of life in
which the prisoners were themselves placed, undoubtedly such houses
would be the most frequented by improper characters; but if none but
respectable persons were allowed a license, such characters would not
dare to enter their houses.

But there was another cause which comes home to all, which is the almost
total want of superintendance of masters over their assigned servants.
It had been proved to him that many robberies had been committed, which
are attributable to this alone; where there had either been no overseer
at all, or else a very inactive one. In such a matter every man's
respectability was concerned; the reputation of himself and family
required that he should keep his servants under just restraint. It had
been proved before him that convict servants, six or seven in number,
armed with muskets (a weapon not capable of much concealment), and
masked, had committed various robberies upon their adjoining neighbours;
one of them attempted a robbery even in the middle of the day, on a
Sunday, in the high road from Sydney to Parramatta, armed with a musket,
another person being in his company. How, he would ask, could such
things be, if masters would exercise a just superintendance? Why could
not they keep them to their farms, by devising some innocent and
rational English amusement, for the occupation of their minds after the
hours of labour, or the hours of worship on the Lord's Day? They would
then not have to accuse themselves of being the means of causing
depredations to be committed on others.

Further, as many robberies were committed through convict servants being
left too much at liberty to roam where they pleased during the hours of
sleeping, it was well worth the consideration of all parties whether
convict servants might not, during those hours, be placed under such
restraint as to put it beyond their power, either to injure their
master's property or that of his neighbours. He felt himself that some
such measure was called for, at least in and near populous towns. He
knew that no individual could do it, but he spoke of recommending it as
a public measure.

He had made to them such observations as presented themselves to his
mind after three years of his judicial life in this colony. He might
have detained them longer than usual, but that was because he considered
this to be the proper time for him to bring them to their notice; and,
long as he might have detained them, he trusted they would consider his
observations of sufficient importance to warrant him in doing so. When
they calmly looked at, and gravely considered the vast amount of crime
which was passing around them, could they feel otherwise than convinced
that so lamentable a circumstance must seriously retard the establishing
in this colony of those free institutions which were the pride and the
boast of the parent country. He could assure them he had equally an
English heart with them, and was as dearly attached to the freedom of
the laws; but he must press upon their attention, what, considering the
nature of the population of this colony, must be the effect of these
institutions, upon men passing from one class to another without moral
improvement? To himself it appeared that it must be the total corruption
of them all. In that point of view alone the subject was well worthy
their grave attention. Free institutions could only be appreciated and
enjoyed by the virtuous; coercion was for the depraved; and a vicious
people have never continued to be free. He stated, that he felt he need
do no more to impress upon all their minds the necessity there was of
exercising all their influence to procure the moral improvement of those
persons who were committed to their trust, and their utmost vigilance
and superintendance over them to restrain them from crime, than draw
their attention to the comparative numbers of the free and convicts in
this colony, and to the fact that the tide of convict population still
sets strongly here, whilst that of free emigration appears feebly to
reach our shores. He stated, that it appears from the census, taken in
September, 1833, published in the next Government Gazette after the
1st December, 1833, that it was then estimated that there were in this
colony, free males above twelve years of age, 18,578; convict males,
21,445, and that he had been informed that the number of free emigrants
since arrived, up to November, 1835, has been 2800, of whom 905 are men,
the rest being women and children; and that the number of convicts
arrived since the same time, has been 8163, of whom 7357 are males. He
trusted they would take with them to their homes, the facts he had
stated, and the opinions he had expressed, and communicate to their
neighbours, so that each might judge for himself as to the justness of
his views. The facts themselves he had drawn from what had come before
him in evidence; as such he put them. He sincerely hoped they would have
proper weight upon the mind of every one to whom they were stated; and
that as he had taken the opportunity of enquiring on his part what he
had done during the last three years, each one of them would also
consider what he had been doing during the same period.


FOR several years past, there has been considerable clamour in the
colony for an act of parliament authorising the election of a house of
assembly, or colonial legislature, empowered to raise and appropriate
taxes, and in other respects to exercise legislative authority.

The excitement upon this subject was not a little increased by a letter
received in the colony from L. Bulwer, Esq. M. P., recommending the
colonists to have a parliamentary agent in London, with instructions to
watch over the interests of the colony, and to be ever ready to promote
the views and wishes of the colonists.

This recommendation appeared to be so plausible and innoxious, that even
many of the most respectable emigrants adopted the suggestion.

Public meetings were accordingly held,--an association calling itself
the Patriotic Association, was duly formed,--subscriptions were
entered into,--and Mr. Bulwer himself was appointed the agent for the
colony, or rather for the association; and a remittance was made to him
of 500, as the first sugar-plum for inducing his attention to the
wishes of his constitutents,--a sum, however, which the honourable
member declined accepting.

It was not long before the reputable colonists, who at first cordially
approved of this proceeding, discovered that the association, whose very
appellative of patriotic should have been deemed ominous of
mischief, especially by Botany Bay folks, whom England had
favoured with a few transported specimens of the soi-disant
patriots ycleped friends of the people,--it was not long before
the reputable colonists discovered that the patriotic association was an
engine to be employed, not for obtaining measures really promotive of
the interests of the colony, but for serving the purposes of party
politics, even at the expence of admitting emancipated felons to an
absolute equality with the free settlers, as the basis on which the
leaders of the colonial liberal faction were to found their

A subscription list was handed round from door to door, and swelled with
names of the emancipated,--some of whom, over and above their original
crimes and sentences in England, had been convicted a second, and even a
third time, in the colony, of new offences, for which they had been
transported from Botany Bay to the subsidiary penal settlements of the

Not only were these double and trebly convicted felons solicited to
become subscribers to and admitted as members of the patriotic
association, but even convicts actually undergoing their sentences,
but living, nevertheless, in ease and luxury, as assigned servants of
their wives, were allowed to contribute to the fund.

With the exception of a few lawyers, eager for popularity, as a means of
obtaining both employment and place, and of Mr. Wentworth, a native of
the colony, of Sir John Jamison, and a very small number indeed of other
persons having the slightest pretensions to respectability, and being
more or less dependent on or connected with the above named gentlemen,
the association was deserted, as soon as its composition and real
objects were ascertained and understood, by all its members of wealth
and character.

The patriotic association, therefore, became a ready instrument for
serving the purposes of its leaders, or rather, the leaders, bound to
the degrading task of studying the humours and pandering to the
audacious spirit and insolent demands of the gang over whom they could
only hold sway by being ever ready to lead them on to a trampling
predominancy over the free settlers,--or rather the leaders were forced
to become the degraded tools of the vicious and disgraced multitude of
whom they were the head.

A better specimen of this spirit cannot be stated, than that at a public
meeting called for the purpose of considering the propriety of
petitioning the King and the House of Commons, for the establishment of
trial by jury and a house of assembly, the demagogues, instead of
arguing on the propriety of adopting such a step, produced petitions
ready cut and dry to their tastes.

Mr. James Macarthur, a native of the colony, a gentleman of large
property and of unquestionable character, appealing to the terms of the
requisition on which the meeting had been called by the sheriff,
objected to the unfair and summary course pursued by the patriots and
their leaders, and proposed that the party petitions should be
withdrawn, and a committee appointed to frame petitions in which men
having a stake in the welfare of the colony could concur, and which
should be submitted to a subsequent meeting for approval.

It was with the greatest difficulty that Mr. Macarthur obtained a
hearing; and he was eventually clamoured down with deafening uproar.

Not so Mr. Bland, commonly called doctor Bland, an emancipist, and an
active patriotic sub-leader, who in an inflammatory speech suited to the
taste and feelings of his brethren of the felonry, levelled his sarcasms
at the stake claimed by the possession of wealth; and exultingly
asking what was the possession of number of acres compared with that of
talent, said that for his part he knew of no stake in the
colony save that of "Liberty and Life,"--a sentiment which was of
course received with the loudest acclamations of "bravo, Bland!" "Bland
for ever!" "bravo!" &c. &c.

Even Thistlewood or Doctor Watson, the cobler Preston or the madman
Benbow, never went so far as this.

Considering that Mr. Bland is not only the medical adviser of the
present chief justice of the colony, Mr. Forbes, but that he is also his
honour's political confident and jackall, the sans-culotte doctrines
broached by him are another evidence of the connection of the colonial
government and its functionaries with principles and parties of whom the
honest radicals of England and all other civilized countries would be
ashamed, and with whom they would scorn to hold communion on any terms.

To such an extent, indeed, did the demagogues of the patriotic
association go, that when the sheriff, with the best intentions, even
towards the accomplishment of the objects of the meeting, suggested that
a tirade which had just been uttered against his Majesty's principal
secretary of state for the colonies was calculated rather to retard than
to forward the wishes of the petitioners, Mr. Wentworth, in a furious
and most disrespectful philippic, accused the sheriff of unfairness and
partiality,--stood up for the right of every man to say whatever
he pleased,--declared that the meeting did not want the sheriff
there,--and insolently threatened to have him turned out of the chair,
and his brother demagogue Sir John Jamison put in his place!

As for poor Jamison, he, as is customary with him, endeavoured to cloak
his want of talent and capacity for public speaking, under the plea of
being rather unwell,--having caught a cold,--being troubled with a bad
headache, &c. &c.

After several such meetings as that which has just been but slightly
alluded to, the sheriff, in disgust at the coarseness of the
proceedings, and in prudent dislike to the violent and dangerous
purposes of the popular speakers, at length refused to call any more
public meetings on their requisition, and the patriots, deserted, as
has already been stated, by every thing respectable in the colony, were
left to get up their own exhibitions as they best might.

It is proper that the British public and the government at home should
know that these are the assemblages which have the presumption to call
themselves public meetings of the free inhabitants (for which please to
read freed inhabitants!) of the colony, and to send home their
petitions as being those of the free settlers at large,--assemblages in
which Mr. Wentworth is the sole framer of the resolutions and petitions,
and the sole orator both willing and able to speak in their support!

Had anything like dispassionate reason or decent moderation ever
governed the proceedings, the reputable inhabitants would have continued
their attendance; but as the thing was managed, they were forced to
leave it with disgust; and Messrs. Wentworth, Jamison, Bland, Samuel
Lyons and Co. have ever since had none but the gang for their
auditors and supporters!

The respectable free inhabitants,--who at first only withdrew from
the public meetings, seeing the high hand with which the demagogues
attempted to bear sway,--and instructed by the fatal results of the
experiment of suffering emancipists to act as jurors, as well as by the
frightful increase of crime consequent upon that experiment, and upon
the lax measures of the colonial government as to the discipline of the
convicts and the ticket-of-leave men, at length found it necessary to
bestir themselves.

It may be necessary to state that such a thing as a respectable
public meeting, for a political purpose, cannot take place in New
South Wales. The thing, from the peculiar composition of the colonial
society, has been found to be an utter impossibility. No rational or
dispassionate man would be suffered to speak.

It cannot be supposed that any gentleman, presuming to dissent from the
opinions of the patriots, should stand forth merely to be
blackguarded by infuriated demagogues and their gang. It would even be
unsafe for any respectable man to do so.

Several gentlemen, therefore, met and consulted, and, carefully keeping
in view the known sentiments of the reputable inhabitants of the colony,
prepared such petitions to his Majesty and to the House of Commons as
they thought would express the general feeling of that class.

They then gave the utmost publicity to their proceedings,--published the
substance of the petitions in the newspapers,--and invited their brother
colonists to sign copies of the petitions sent for that purpose to the
different banks in Sydney, where they soon received the signatures of
all the most respectable and independent men in the colony. The
signatures to these petitions speak for themselves, and by their weight
and worth make the petitions of the patriots kick the beam.

The patriot petitions falsely pretend to be the petitions of the

The counter-petitions, on the other hand, are the petitions of the
"members of council, magistrates, clergy, landholders, merchants,
and other free inhabitants of New South Wales," whose names are
annexed to them.

These petitioners pretend to speak no other sentiments than their own;
they call for no new and dangerous experiments on subjects so pregnant
with mischief as those comprehended in the views of the patriots;
they satisfy themselves with warning the government and parliament of
the evil consequences which have resulted from the experiments that have
already been undertaken; they respectfully state their conviction that
alterations in the system of the colonial government are indispensably
necessary; but, calling earnestly upon the government and the parliament
to institute inquiry into the actual state of the colony, leave it to
the wisdom of parliament and of his Majesty's government to devise what
the remedial measures ought to be.

A more becoming or more temperate petition was never presented to the
House of Commons than that now referred to, and of which the following
is the substance.

The petition, as has been already stated, sets forth that it is the
petition of the undersigned members of council, magistrates, clergy,
landholders, merchants, and other free inhabitants of New South Wales,

And it respectfully sheweth;

THAT although the colony of New South Wales, as regards its agriculture,
commerce, and revenue, presents an aspect of extraordinary and
unexampled prosperity, yet, apprehending the best interests of this
community to be threatened with serious danger, which a timely enquiry
may avert, the petitioners feel it to be their duty, on the occasion of
the expiration of the existing act of parliament, and the enactment of a
new law for the government of the colony, humbly to submit, for the
consideration of the House of Commons, a statement of the evils they are
at present exposed to, and the grounds of their apprehensions for the

The petitioners in the first place entreat the attention of the House to
the fearful increase of crime that has of late years taken place in the
colony; the particulars of which are fully set forth, as well as several
of the causes that have led to so lamentable a state of things, in a
charge delivered by the honourable Mr. Justice Burton, to the jury at
the close of the sessions of the supreme court for the year 1835, a copy
of which is appended to the petition, together with a return of the
criminal cases that have occurred since that time. These documents, the
petitioners conceive, afford full proof of the alarming increase and
extent of crime in the colony, and clearly establish the necessity for
some change in a system that produces such results.

The petitioners in the next place beg to advert to the existing colonial
law for the regulation of juries in the supreme court, and in the courts
of quarter sessions; by the provisions of which law, individuals who
have undergone sentence of transportation and other ignominious
punishments, as well as persons of bad repute and low standing in
society, have been placed upon a footing with magistrates and colonists
of the highest respectability. This the petitioners conceive to be
repugnant to the spirit of the law of England, as well as at variance
with its practice; and, if not expressly forbidden by that law, they
humbly submit, that it is merely because in a moral and virtuous
society, like that of Great Britain, there is no necessity for such a
prohibition; whereas, in the community of New South Wales, which is
unhappily so differently constituted, additional precautions are, in the
opinion of the petitioners, indispensably necessary to guard the
administration of justice from any sinister and contaminating influence.

That if persons who have undergone punishment for their crimes, and of
bad repute, be entitled to sit as jurors, the same reasoning, carried a
step farther, would render them eligible as judges,--a proposition
revolting to every right feeling, and too monstrous to be for a moment

The petitioners state that they are aware that one of the principal
objects proposed to be attained by the New South Wales jury law, was to
elevate the tone of public feeling, and to hold out to the convict an
inducement to reform; but they respectfully submit, that even in this
point of view, the effect of the measure is quite the reverse; and that
its unavoidable tendency is to degrade the respectable portion of the
community, and produce a general debasement throughout the colony.

That the law, in its present shape, was passed through the legislative
council, in opposition to the votes and conscientious opinions of the
most experienced and independent members; and, as the petitioners are
informed, was intended merely as an experiment, the failure of which,
they have reason to believe, is now fully admitted by the supporters of
the measure.

That one of the obvious and natural effects of this law is to encourage
crime, by the facility it affords to the guilty to devise plans for
ensuring acquittal; whilst its operation, on the other hand, as regards
innocent persons, might be such as the petitioners tremble even to think
of, were its pernicious tendency not restrained by the right which is
still left in criminal cases, to the party upon trial, to demand a jury
of military officers. And the petitioners humbly submit, that if the law
be continued upon the same principle as at present, and extended to all
cases, both criminal and civil, it will necessarily have the effect of
deterring men of character from investing capital, or becoming settlers,
in the colony, and prove a manifest injustice to the emigrants, and the
native-born inhabitants, and to all persons of respectability, of
whatever class; who will thus be virtually deprived of the right of
trial by their peers, in cases involving property, reputation, liberty,
and life; and that, too, in a community in which perjury is of every-day

The petitioners in the next place beg leave to bring under the notice of
the House, the important subject of the disposal of the crown lands,
which have become a fruitful source of revenue, and the funds arising
from which, if judiciously laid out in the introduction into the colony
of industrious and well-conducted families of the labouring classes,
would, in the opinion of the petitioners, be the most obvious and
powerful means of raising the colony from its present depth of moral
debasement. The petitioners, impressed with this belief, state that they
have observed with the deepest concern and affliction, that
notwithstanding the virtual promise of his Majesty's secretary of state
for the colonies, that these funds should be devoted solely to the
encouragement of emigration, a large proportion of them has been
proposed to be applied to other local purposes,--a measure so injurious
to the best interests of their community, that the petitioners feel
themselves bound to appeal against it by every means in their power.

Relying with the most perfect confidence in the benevolent disposition
of his Majesty, and in the wisdom and justice of the House, the
petitioners feel assured, that the subject requires only to be brought
under the consideration of their sovereign and of parliament, to secure
the adoption of measures, by which these funds may be restored, in their
full amount, and applied in the most advantageous manner to the
accomplishment of the important ends for which they appear to have been
providentially destined; namely, the reformation of society in the
colony and the infusion into it of that just, moral feeling, which is
the only secure foundation of free institutions.

The petitioners then entreat the House to bear in mind, that from the
facility of acquiring wealth in New South Wales, by dishonest and
disreputable practices, the possession of property affords but slight
proof of good character; a state of things which the petitioners are of
opinion must necessarily prevail, so long as transportation is
continued, unless an entire change in the management and discipline of
the convicts can be effected, which under the present circumstances of
the colony, they conceive to be hopeless, if not almost impracticable.

The petitioners therefore humbly submit, that if it be proposed to
confer free institutions upon this community, property ought not to form
the sole standard for the regulation of the elective and representative

The petitioners further submit, for the consideration of the House, that
if the convict, upon the expiration of his term of transportation, be
admitted to the exercise of all the rights and privileges of citizenship
in the colony, transportation, as regards the mother-country, will no
longer operate as a punishment, but as an incitement to the commission
of crime; while the consequences of such a system, as regards the
colony, would be disastrous in the extreme.

The petitioners state that they have dwelt upon these subjects not only
as vitally affecting the present and future welfare of the colony, but
as intimately connected with the whole system of secondary punishment,
and involving considerations of the utmost importance to the empire at
large; and in submitting their views to the high feeling and enlightened
judgment of a British senate, they feel assured that the result will be
such, as at once to protect the interests of this remote dependency, and
to advance the national prosperity.

The petitioners with all deference submit, that in a community so
peculiarly constituted as that of New South Wales, the administration of
justice, and more especially in criminal matters, should be prompt,
certain, and energetic; and that notwithstanding considerable
improvement has of late been effected in the mode of conducting the
business of the supreme court, it still admits of important reforms,
which would tend greatly to the public advantage.

That the judges of the supreme court are liable to be dismissed at
pleasure, instead of retaining office during good conduct; and that by
the appointment of the chief justice to a seat in the legislative
council, the exercise of judicial and legislative authority is united in
one person--departures from established constitutional principles for
which the petitioners are not aware that any good reason can be

That the legislative council, as at present constituted, is inadequate
to the exigencies of the colony, and has no hold upon the public
confidence; as well from the number of its members being too limited,
and the majority of these members consisting of civil officers of the
colonial government, as from its debates not being open to the public;
and the right to originate measures being confined to the governor, as
president of the council--a circumstance in itself sufficient, as the
petitioners humbly conceive, materially to affect that free expression
of opinion, which is so essential to a legislative body.

That by a recent judgment of the supreme court of Van Dieman's Land,
considerable doubt has been thrown upon the validity of titles to landed
property in either colony; it having been decided by that court, that
his Majesty cannot, without the concurrence of parliament, delegate a
power to alienate the crown lands; and that the governors of the
colonies have consequently never possessed legal authority to execute
grants, whether under the old tenure of quit-rent, or under the present
regulations for the sale of the crown lands.

That doubts are also entertained, whether the marriage laws, or what
portion of them, extend to the colony--a subject regarding which the
petitioners feel deep anxiety, inasmuch as it seriously affects the
rights of inheritance, and the interests of their children.

The petitioners most earnestly entreat that, in deliberating upon the
bill for the future government of the colony, which they are informed is
about to be submitted to parliament by his Majesty's ministers, the
honourable house will be pleased to institute a full investigation into
its present circumstances and condition; and more especially to take
into consideration the following important subjects, viz.:--

The efficiency of transportation to New South Wales as a secondary
punishment--whether it shall be continued, and under what alterations of
the present system--or, if discontinued, in what manner it may be made
gradually to cease, so as to produce the greatest degree of good to the
parent country with the least detriment to the colony; the interests of
which might sustain much injury from too sudden a change.

The capabilities of the colony as a free settlement, and the most
effectual means of developing its resources, and elevating the character
of its inhabitants by the encouragement of emigration, and by the
adoption of some well-devised scheme of religious and moral instruction.

How far it may be wise and expedient to extend the legislative council
of the colony, and to effect such changes in its constitution as to
render it efficient for all present purposes, and a step towards the
attainment of a representative legislature.

Whether, under the peculiar circumstances of this colony, a conditional
pardon, or the completion of the term of transportation, is to be held
equivalent to the King's pardon, in removing legal disabilities, and
what should be the qualifications respectively for grand and petty

The settlement of titles to landed property acquired from the crown, and
of the marriage laws retrospectively, as well as for the future, and the
most certain and effectual mode of determining what statutes shall and
what statutes shall not be in force in the colony.

The petitioners, in making this appeal to the House, state that they
repose the firmest reliance on its wisdom and justice; and feel
confident that whatever measures may be determined upon by parliament,
and sanctioned by the approval of his Majesty, will be such as to secure
the best interests of the colony, strengthening those ties which bind it
to the parent state, and rendering it every way worthy of its British


MR. Chief Justice Forbes is now in England. He left the colony in April
last, about a month after the departure of the author of this work.

The sickly condition of the colony, as regards its social and moral
phenomena, drove the author from its shores, that he might have the
happiness of once more breathing the purer political atmosphere of his
native country.

The ostensibe motive of the chief justice for paying a visit to England,
was the benefit of his honour's physical health.

But, it is well enough understood in the colony that his solicitude for
the health of the colonial government, threatened as it is with being
speedily subverted, is the real cause of his honour's long and
humiliating voyage. It was indispensably necessary to adopt some
"conservative" measure, proportionate to the violence of the paroxysms
with which Sir Richard Bourke's government has recently been
visited,--convulsed as it is to its very core by the vigour of the
attacks that have been made upon it.

The utter failure of the governor to make out a case of oppression
against the author, by means of the court of inquiry which he appointed
to investigate the author's treatment of his convict servants, whereby
the responsibility of its own misrule would have been transferred from
the colonial government to the respectable free settlers and territorial
magistrates,--the acquittal of the author, which the governor himself
was reluctantly obliged to pronounce upon the evidence laid before him
the court of enquiry, after seven days had been devoted to the "strict"
examination of the author's numerous convict servants,--the utter
failure to sustain the charges against the author, so infamously trumped
up by Commissioner Therry and his confederates, by a single scintilla of
evidence, although the author underwent the severe ordeal of more than
seventy convicts, his assigned servants, being examined
against him, was in itself sufficient to shake Sir Richard's government
to its very base.

The author published the entire proceedings of the court of inquiry, in
the colony, with a narrative of the events immediately preceding and
consequent upon that uncalled for and insulting measure.

He cannot better express the scorn with which he viewed the accusations,
and the contempt he felt for his accusers, than by quoting from that
pamphlet the few words he addressed to the court of inquiry, when, after
seven days of investigation, he was called upon by the court to make
"such remarks on the evidence and the proceedings as he might think

"Mr. Mudie replied, that his defence was contained in the
cross-examination of his accusers, which then lay upon the table,
and he trusted he would never see the day, when it became necessary for
him to require a character from any prisoner of the crown; and if that
day did arrive, he hoped he should cease to live."

Upon this high ground the author was determined to stand, and did stand.

Accordingly, of his numerous friends, he did not condescend to call any
as witnesses, in his favour. No persons were examined but his own
servants,--both convicts and free labourers; and yet by their
examination alone, he was triumphantly exculpated.

He may be pardoned the egotism of saying, that he knew and felt his
character stood too high in the colony, for the calling of witnesses on
his part to be necessary.

Respect for the public of England, however, to whom the author's conduct
in the colony is of course unknown, induced him afterwards to request
the testimonials in favour of his conduct and of his character, which he
has respectfully appended to the present work, and of which he will only
say, that they are written by the principal men, as to rank, integrity,
and influence, in New South Wales, which is not only well known in the
colony, but, as respects several of the gentlemen who have done the
author this act of justice, is well known in England also.

But although the author was fully acquitted, and although Sir Richard
Bourke himself could not avoid pronouncing officially upon the evidence,
"that your (the author's) general conduct towards your assigned servants
had not been marked by harshness or oppression," and that "it does not
appear to have been any part of the system laid down for the management
of your (the author's) assigned servants to detract from the ration
which the government has directed to be issued, either in its quantity
or quality,"--but although the author was thus fully acquitted, yet was
he made a victim to the political system and the sinister policy of the
colonial government.

On reference to preceding Chapters wherein are detailed the treatment
one of the author's runaway convict servants experienced at government
house, and the efforts made by the colonial government to impute the
insubordination of the convicts to the tyranny of their assignee
masters, it will be easily understood that a motive still existed for
the colonial government to do something that should, even yet, if
possible, affix some disgrace, or at least some semblance of obloquy and
suspicion, upon the author.

Sir Richard Bourke, accordingly, without reason assigned, dismissed the
author from the commission of the peace for the territory,--dismissed
him without reason assigned, although, as is proved by the letters of
two governors of the colony, viz. General Sir Ralph Darling and Colonel
Sir Patrick Lindesay, by those of the late colonial secretary, Major
Goulburn, and of Mr. Foster, the chairman of the courts of quarter
sessions, and of numerous members of council, magistrates, and
clergymen, the author "was always found to perform his magisterial
duties with great zeal, ability, and impartiality!"

There can be no doubt, therefore, in the mind of any dispassionate man,
or in that of his majesty's government, especially considering all that
has been divulged in this work, that the author had this indignity put
upon him for a political purpose, and from the base motives of the very
base and despicable political party, whose misconduct and misgovernment
have in these pages been so thoroughly exposed and so undeniably

His Excellency Governor Bourke, it is true, did the author the very
great honour of including him with thirty-two others of the territorial
magistrates, whom he at the same time dismissed also from the commission
of the peace,--and who are known and will be admitted to rank amongst
the most upright, respectable, and independent men in the colony.

But the goodly and right worshipful company with whom the author was
associated in his dismissal, only completes the proof that it was from a
political motive, that the author was deprived of his commission of the

Indeed, the convict Watt,--the governor's political and literary
champion,--whose sole authority the governor and Colonel Wilson
considered decisive on another question (see a former Chapter), boasted
that the thirty-three magistrates, of whom the author was one, were
removed from the commission of the peace through the exertion of his
political influence,--through the influence of a ruffian respecting whom
the Rev. Dr. Lang says, in his letter (see appendix), "Your (the
author's) exertions in endeavouring to bring to justice one of the
greatest pests of society with which this colony has been afflicted (the
convict Watt) entitle you to the commendation of the colony!"

Governor Bourke assigned no reason for the dismissal of any one of the
thirty-three magistrates whom he at once deprived of their commissions
of the peace; and he refused to assign any reason for so unprecedented,
arbitrary, and unjustifiable a stretch of power, to such of these
gentlemen as requested it.

As Governor Bourke would assign no reason for the author's dismissal,
the latter may be pardoned for quoting a few passages from the appended
letters, as showing why he ought not to have been dismissed.

Lieutenant General Sir Ralph Darling, the late governor of the colony,
says, "I never knew or heard that I am at present aware of, any thing
derogatory to your character. As you were appointed by me to the
magistracy, it has afforded me much satisfaction to observe the
testimony borne to your public conduct in the letter of Mr. William
Foster, late chairman of the quarter sessions, who says, 'that he always
found you to perform your magisterial duties, with great zeal, ability,
and impartiality.'"

W. Foster, Esq., quoted as above by Sir Ralph Darling, says, "My late
situation of chairman of the courts of quarter sessions gave me frequent
opportunities of observing your conduct as a justice of the peace; and I
feel it but an act of justice to you to say, that I always found you to
perform your magisterial duties with great zeal, ability, and

Sir Patrick Lindesay, who was Lieutenant-Governor of the colony, during
the interval between the departure of Sir Ralph Darling and the arrival
of Sir Richard Bourke, says, "I am happy to say that during the whole
time I served in that country (New South Wales) including the period I
exercised the government of the colony, I never heard or knew of any
thing derogatory to your character as a gentleman, or touching your
conduct as a justice of the peace."

Major Goulburn, the late colonial secretary, says, "It affords me much
gratification to be able to state, in reply to your enquiry of the 17th,
that, during the period of my holding the office of colonial secretary
in New South Wales, no circumstance came under my notice prejudicial to
your character as a gentleman and a colonist, or as an assignee of
convict labour: with reference to which last relation, I remember your
having voluntarily deposited in my hands a copy of the rules which you
had established at Castle Forbes;--rules, which struck me, at the time,
as having been framed with a very praiseworthy attention to the
well-being of the prisoners of the crown confided to your care."

The Rev. S. Marsden, senior chaplain of the colony, says, speaking of
the dismissal of the author, and thirty-two other magistrates from the
commission of the peace, "I cannot account for this public measure, as I
have never heard of any reason being assigned for it. As an individual,
I regret on public grounds that the government should have done an act
so opposed to the public feeling."

The Rev. M. D. Mears, one of the chaplains of the colony, says, "I have
great satisfaction in stating, that for a period of ten years, during
which I have had the pleasure of your acquaintance, I have esteemed you
for your personal worth and integrity; and although I must confess
myself incompetent to form a due estimate of your conduct as a
magistrate, yet, judging from the manner in which you fill all the
relative duties of a member of society, I feel assured that in the
discharge of the duties of that very responsible situation (in a penal
colony especially) you have been actuated by the purest motives."

The Rev. Dr. Lang, senior minister of the Scots church, principal of the
Australian college, Sydney, and author of an Historical and Statistical
Account of New South Wales, says, "your exertions as a settler have been
praiseworthy and exemplary, your endeavours to procure the regular
dispensation of the ordinances of religion in your neighbourhood,
zealous and disinterested, and your exertions in endeavouring to bring
to justice one of the greatest pests to society with which this colony
has been afflicted, (the convict William Watt) such as entitle you to
the commendation of the colony."

The Rev. John Macgarvie, minister of St. Andrew's Scots church, Sydney,
says, "It gives me much pleasure to state, that during a personal
acquaintance of more than seven years, I have neither known or heard any
circumstance that could affect your character as a private gentleman, or
as a respected member of society. I have had occasion to sojourn in your
house at Castle Forbes. I have repeatedly exercised the duties of my
sacred calling in the family of your nearest relatives, where you
resided, and I have often met you in private life; and I have not the
slightest hesitation in adding to that of your numerous friends, my
humble tribute of testimony to the correctness of your deportment, and
excellence of your character." "It also comes within my own knowledge,
that you have given every encouragement to the performance of divine
service in your own house, when opportunity offered; that you have
proposed to set apart a portion of ground on your own estate for the
erection of a church; and in every instance in which ministers of our
communion (and of those I speak with perfect certainty) have expressed a
desire to exercise their sacred functions at Patrick's Plains or Castle
Forbes, you have forwarded their views and opened your hospitable
mansion for their reception. When I attended at Castle Forbes, I was
particularly gratified by the appearance of comfort, regularity, and
respect presented by the convict portion of the audience." "Your
firmness, discrimination, urbanity, and strict love of justice and truth
in private life, enable me to judge that upright and honourable feelings
only have actuated your conduct in dispensing justice and law (as a
magistrate) impartially, to bond and free."

The Rev. W. Garven, minister of the Scots church, Maitland, says, "I
have now had considerable acquaintance and intercourse with you; and can
with candour say, that I never heard anything of you but what became you
at once as a gentleman and a magistrate. As to your treatment of your
convict servants, I have once and again, in course of conversation,
heard individuals, unbiassed and almost daily cognizant of the fact,
declare that it was eminently generous and kind. Any thing to the
contrary, I can boldly aver, I never saw, and I have been repeatedly,
and for days at a time, an inmate of Castle Forbes. Indeed, all my
observation leads me to the conclusion that it was any thing but harsh
and oppressive. I may add, that you were mainly instrumental in securing
and continuing my services occasionally as a minister of the gospel at
Patrick's Plains; and while your men, so far as convicts were concerned,
had almost exclusively the benefit of these services,--divine worship,
from your appropriation of a room in your house to the purpose, being
celebrated on your premises,--of their attendance on them I can speak in
the highest terms. They not merely turned out well, but were well
attired, clean, orderly, and attentive; and who that knows the general
character of convicts, can refuse you the credit of the whole?"

The Rev. R. Mansfield, minister of the Wesleyan chapel, Sydney, says,
"In reply to your enquiries whether I have ever known any thing in your
conduct to affect your character, either as a private gentleman, or as a
justice of the peace, I can not only give a decided negative, but must
add, that the high esteem in which you have ever been held by the most
honourable and virtuous classes of this community, is an abundant
testimonial for your unsullied reputation. I have now had the pleasure
of calling you my intimate friend for more than seven years, and during
the whole of that period I have entertained the highest opinion of your
honour as a gentleman, and of your virtues as a christian." "In the
management of your convict servants, you displayed sound judgment and
heartfelt benevolence. I accompanied you, in your daily rounds, through
the huts of your men, and witnessed the lively interest you took in
their welfare, and the grateful feelings with which that solicitude was
acknowledged. At your request, I performed divine service in your barn,
and was delighted with the neat, comfortable appearance, and the serious
and attentive demeanour of your convict and other servants."

W. Berry, Esq., a member of the legislative council, says, "I beg to
say, that you were introduced to me in London by Sir Charles Forbes,
Bart., in 1823, and soon after came to this colony as an agriculturist;
and it gives me much pleasure to state, that during this long period I
have never heard of any thing to affect your character as a gentleman.
On the contrary, to my knowledge, you have honourably supported your
character through all the vicissitudes of this colony; and although,
from the distance of our respective establishments, your conduct as a
magistrate has never come under my observation, I have never heard any
thing to your prejudice in that capacity."

W. Lithgow, Esq., a member of the legislative council, and accountant
general for the colony, says, "I am happy that I can, with truth,
declare, that ever since I have had the pleasure of your acquaintance,
no act of yours has ever come under my observation, which I did not
consider as, in every way, creditable to your character, both as a
private gentleman and as a justice of the peace."

E. C. Close, Esq. a member of the legislative council, says, "As to the
magisterial part of the matter, the cause of your suspension will speak
volumes in itself, without any assistance from my feeble pen. I regret
that you, or any of you, have been made martyrs through a policy which I

R. Jones, Esq. a member of the legislative council, says, "I beg to
state that I have been acquainted with you upwards of ten years, and
during that period I have never known any thing in your conduct
discreditable to you either as a magistrate or as a private gentleman.
On the contrary, I believe you to have been an active, useful, and
independent justice of the peace; and I consider your recent dismissal
by his excellency the governor, from the commission of the peace, an
arbitrary act, and an unjust abuse of the power vested in him as supreme
ruler in this colony."

Dr. Carlyle, a territorial magistrate, says, "This I can safely say, a
fifteen years' acquaintance (during which I have been in the frequent
habit of receiving your hospitality) has left the impression upon my
mind that you are incapable of any act derogatory to the character of a
gentleman in every respect."

Mr. Barker, a territorial magistrate, says, "With regard to the first
question, I can only reply by reiterating the sentiments of every
respectable colonist,--that I most sincerely believe you have at all
times conducted yourself as became a gentleman,--a greater proof of
which cannot be, than the estimation in which you are held by persons of
respectability, and the very close intimacy that subsists between you
and them. With respect to your magisterial capacity, I have every reason
to believe you have acted most conscientiously in the discharge of the
various arduous duties imposed by that office."

Robert Campbell, Esq., of Bligh Street, one of the principal merchants
in Sydney, says, "You have at all times, while I have had the pleasure
of your acquaintance, which has been for fourteen years, conducted
yourself as a gentleman, both in your private capacity, and as a justice
of the peace for the colony."

J. Coghill, Esq., a territorial magistrate and landowner, says, "I never
heard or knew any thing to affect your character, in the slightest
degree, either as a private gentleman or a justice of the peace. I
regret to find you should think it necessary to defend yourself against
the vile attacks of the worst of mankind. In leaving the colony, you
carry with you the respect and good wishes of the respectable part of
the community."

J. Norton, Esq., the principal and most respectable solicitor in the
colony, says, "During the long period I have had the pleasure of your
acquaintance (now nearly fourteen years), I have entertained the highest
opinion of your character as a gentleman: and although I have not had
much opportunity of judging of your conduct as a magistrate, I have been
led to entertain an impression I consider universally felt in this
community, of the conscientious and discriminating manner in which you
have at all times discharged that public and important duty."

Colonel Mackenzie, late of the 4th regiment, now a landowner and
territorial magistrate, says, "During the period of my acquaintance with
you, I neither know nor have heard of any thing derogatory to your
character as a gentleman or a magistrate in the commission of the

Major Innes, late of the 3rd foot, but now a land-owner and a
territorial magistrate, says, "I beg to say that during the period of
nearly fourteen years I have had the pleasure of your acquaintance, I
have never known any thing derogatory to your character."

Major Lockyer, formerly of the 57th foot, now a land-owner and
territorial magistrate, gives a similar testimony.

Captain Piper, late of the 102nd regiment, a territorial magistrate and
a land-owner, gives a similar testimony.

W. Cordeaux, Esq., formerly a commissory, and now a landowner and a
territorial magistrate, gives a similar testimony.

Edye Manning, Esq., a territorial magistrate, and a merchant in Sydney,
gives a similar testimony.

W. Macpherson, Esq., an ex-magistrate, and still collector of the
internal revenue of the colony, gives a similar testimony.

J. Lamb, Esq, a merchant, and an ex-magistrate, gives a similar

D. Reid, Esq. a land-owner, and a magistrate, gives a similar testimony.

W. Dumaresq, Esq. a land-owner, and an ex-magistrate, gives a similar

J. B. Bettington, Esq. a territorial magistrate and a merchant, gives a
similar testimony.

George Brooks, Esq. one of the colonial surgeons and an ex-magistrate,
gives a similar testimony.

T. Walker, Esq., merchant and magistrate, gives a similar testimony.

The author treats his dismissal from the magistracy by Governor Bourke,
or any other attempt at putting an affront or indignity upon him, by
such a government as that of New South Wales now is, with as much
contempt and scorn, as he treated the accusations of his convict
servants, to which the colonial government listened, or were disposed to
listen, with so much eagerness.

He does not exaggerate, when he declares that he considers the good or
bad opinion of the convicts themselves, or the good or bad opinion of
their convict-loving governors, as being precisely of the same value, or
rather as being equally insignificant and worthless.

Nay, considering who the gentlemen are, along with whom the author was
dismissed from the magistracy, he looks upon his dismissal as a positive
honour conferred upon him, instead of an indignity.

In a preceding chapter he has stated that the independent territorial
magistrates are so thoroughly weary of the thankless duties imposed upon
them by an imbecile government, and of the never-ending task of
instructing the soldier-justices of Governor Bourke, that they have in a
great measure abandoned to the latter the whole magisterial business of
the colony, in the hope that the evil may work its own cure.

Dismissal by these gentleman would, therefore, be regarded as a relief
from the odious task of serving a government which they despise.

Indeed, nothing but pity for the colony, considering the sort of persons
who would have been put in the commission of the peace in their room,
prevented all the magistrates of honorable and independent feeling from
resigning en masse, immediately after the tyrannical dismissal of
their thirty-three brother magistrates. Even that consideration was not
enough to prevent William Dumaresq, Esq., from indignantly resigning his
commission as a magistrate.

The reader, it is respectfully presumed, must be pretty well satisfied
that no gentleman could feel dismissal from the magistracy by such a
government, and under the circumstances which have been stated, as in
the slightest degree disgraceful to him.

The author, for his own part, has always been in the condition of a
gentleman, and in the habit of associating with gentlemen. In that
character, he has no hesitation in expressing his opinion that General
Bourke has forfeited his pretensions to the same rank, and indeed, has
lost caste!

If this may seem too severe, let the reader recollect Governor Bourke's
shameful suppression of Lord Goderiche's dispatch relative to General
Darling, in which he (General Bourke), was specially directed to give
the utmost publicity to that exculpatory document. Let the reader
further recollect General Bourke's scandalous appointment of Mr.
Wentworth to the magistracy,--of Mr. Wentworth, who had, in every
possible way, blackguarded, traduced, and threatened, General
Bourke's senior officer, General Darling, than which nothing more
dangerous and indelicate, in a military sense, can easily be conceived.
Let the reader--not merely the military reader, but every reader
actuated by a sense of honour and the feelings of a gentleman--recollect
these two facts, these two conclusive facts alone, without taking into
account all the other facts by which his public character is absolutely
overwhelmed, and then say whether or not General Bourke ought to be put
out of military society,--degraded from the rank of a gentleman,--and
deprived of the high honour of representing the person, and exercising
the delegated authority, of his sovereign, as the Governor of a British

But although Governor Bourke's arbitrary dismissal of thirty-three
magistrates could not possibly be felt as disgraceful by any one of
those gentlemen,--and assuredly it was not felt either as an indignity
or as an injury by the author,--yet the author was deeply
injured--irreparably injured, in his pecuniary interests, in his
present fortune, and in his future comfort and independence, by those
acts of the colonial government, intended, if possible, to cover its own
delinquency by making him the victim.

When the Court of Inquiry was appointed to make a "strict" investigation
into the conduct of the author towards his convict servants, he had in
his service about one hundred convict and free labourers. A just idea,
therefore, may be formed from that fact, and from the testimony of his
excellency Sir Ralph Darling, and that of other gentlemen, as given in
the appended letters, of the magnitude and great value of the author's
agricultural operations.

Of these operations General Darling says, (referring to a time at which,
while governor of the colony, he had done the author the distinguished
honour of visiting him at his residence on the Hunter) "My stay at
Castle Forbes was so short that I had not an opportunity of going over
your grounds: but, judging from the farm-yard, there could be no doubt
that they were well cultivated, and I remember remarking that the stacks
of wheat were very numerous, and on a larger scale than I recollected to
have seen on any former occasion."

The Rev. John McGarvie, minister of St. Andrew's Church, Sydney, says,
"The estate of Castle Forbes presents one of the most extensive and best
conducted agricultural establishments in New South Wales; and, as you
were the first settler in that vicinity calculated to set an example of
spirited enterprise to your less opulent neighbours, I feel confident
that the extent and judicious management of that estate have tended, in
a most material degree, to give that pleasing, comfortable, and
British-like aspect to the whole district, for which it is remarkable."

Thomas Barker, Esq., a magistrate, and the most extensive purchaser of
grain in the colony, says, "I have had opportunities of informing myself
of the numerous difficulties a settler contends with, in bringing a
tract of country into cultivation; and having visited your late estate
of Castle Forbes," "my opinion of your agricultural exertions is formed
from seeing the state of your farm in 1834, with the barn yard full of
the largest wheat stacks I ever witnessed; doubtless your exertions must
have been very great, and you must have expended a considerable sum of
money in improvements, for amongst the settlers in that respectable
district, I do not know any who cultivated so extensively, and sent so
much wheat to the Sydney market."

Richard Jones, Esq., a member of the legislative council, says, "I have
visited you at your estate, Castle Forbes, upon which much labour and
expense has been bestowed; and it stands proverbial as the largest
agricultural establishment in the colony."

The Rev. M. D. Mears, one of the chaplains of the colony, says, "your
establishment at Castle Forbes, judging by what I have seen of it, as
well as from general report, does great credit to your judgment and

The Rev. R. Mansfield, minister of the Wesleyan chapel in Sydney, says,
"In the summer of the year 1834, my impression was, that your estate was
the most extensive and the best conducted agricultural establishment I
had ever seen, either in New South Wales or Van Dieman's Land."

The real injury, then, inflicted upon the author, is this,--that he has
been forced, by the sinister proceedings and convict-policy and
propensities of the colonial government, to abandon his estate of Castle
Forbes,--to forego the very great pecuniary advantages derivable from
his extensive, his well-combined, and profitable agricultural
operations,--as certainly forced to relinquish and forego the high
station and ample income which he had attained, as if he had been
violently dispossessed of them by Governor Bourke's arbitrary edict, and
the lawless exercise of his military and civil power.

After the insubordination produced amongst his convict servants by the
reception of the bushranger at government-house,--by the appointment of
the court of inquiry,--by many other impolitic and unjustifiable acts,
with the details of which the author will not fatigue the reader, but
all of which were calculated, directly, and apparently intentionally, to
render the author an object of detestation and vengeance, not only in
the eyes of his own servants, but in those of the whole convict
population of the colony,--the acts of the colonial government, followed
up by the dismissal of the author from the commission of the peace,
rendered it absolutely impossible for the author any longer to exercise
the authority of an assignee master over convict labourers, and
consequently compelled him to relinquish his agricultural establishment,
just after he had brought it to the high state of perfection to which it
is proved it had attained.

The acts of the colonial government, indeed, as directly affecting the
author's relation to the convicts, were equivalent to his proscription,
and to his being put, in the eyes of the depraved beings by whom he was
surrounded, without the pale of the law! The reader is aware that the
mutineers upon his estate attempted to assassinate his son-in-law and
partner, Mr. Larnach; and if the author himself was not exposed to the
same danger, he was, at any rate, rendered incapable of any longer
commanding the obedience and services of convict labourers.

After having, therefore, devoted the prime of his life,--with all his
energies,--and the application of "much money and toil,"--to the
reclaiming of a tract of country from the barren waste,--after having,
as the appended letters prove, set an example of successful enterprise
and judicious improvement that had even exercised an extensive and
beneficial influence over an important district of the colony,--after
having, as the same letters prove, faithfully performed all his duties
as a private citizen and a justice of the peace,--after all this, and as
the reward for all this, and merely because he did faithfully
perform his duties as a private citizen and as a magistrate,--he has
been robbed of the advantages he was about to derive from his
perseverance and enterprise, and driven from his station in the colony,
by the secret machinations and frantic policy of that very government by
which he should have been protected,--and, he will go so far as to
add,--thanked. It is surely not too much for him to expect, that the
home government should make him compensation for the injury and damages
he has sustained from the oppressive and unjustifiable proceedings of
the functionaries exercising its delegated authority in the colony.

That the author has not made this appeal without first attempting to
obtain justice, or even explanation, from Sir R. Bourke, is evident from
the following correspondence:--

Castle Forbes, January 16th, 1836.


I perceive by the last commision of the Peace, my name has been omitted.

Your Excellency having done me the honor to become my guest, and to dine
at my table, I am sure you will excuse the liberty I take in requesting
to know if there has been any thing in my conduct derogatory to the
character of a Gentleman, or a Justice of the Peace, to call for so
extraordinary a proceeding, if I am right in considering it intentional.

I have the honor to be,

Your very obedient servant,

(Signed) J. MUDIE.

His Excellency Sir R. Bourke, &c. &c. &c.

No. Colonial Secretary's Office,

Sydney, 20th January, 1836.


I have had the honour to receive and lay before the Governor, your
letter of the 16th instant, requesting to be favored with the grounds
upon which your name has been omitted in the New Commission of the
Peace, published in the Government Gazette of the 6th of this month;
and in reply I do myself the honour to inform you, that His Excellency
does not think it necessary to assign any reason for using his
discretion in the selection of Justices of the Peace for this Colony. I
have the honour to be,


Your most obedient Servant,


James Mudie, Esq., Castle Forbes.


THE unprecedented progress of the colony of New South Wales, in spite of
the errors (at first nearly fatal) in its government, affords a most
instructive lesson to the legislators of a great naval and manufacturing
power like Great Britain. It is not yet half a century since the first
settlement, consisting wholly of convicts and their military guard, with
a few civilians for the assistance of the governor, was formed at Sydney
Cove. For the first quarter of a century, from the apathy of the home
government, and the habit of regarding the settlement merely as a place
of punishment for felons, little or no advance was made in developing or
cultivating the natural resources of the new world which was made the
scene of so extraordinary an experiment. After some encouragement,
however, had been given to the settlement of free emigrants in the
colony, its capacities were discovered and drawn forth with a degree of
assiduity and success quite unexampled. The colony now rapidly
progressed in populousness, enterprise, and wealth. In the short time of
less than a quarter of a century, a territory extending several hundreds
of miles in length and breadth has been occupied, partly cultivated, and
opened up by roads in all directions. The capital town, Sydney, has
increased to twenty thousand inhabitants; and there are twenty-nine
other post towns in different parts of the country, all maintaining
regular intercourse with each other and with the capital, by land or
water conveyances. Sydney is handsomely built, and is now, or is
immediately about to be, lighted with gas. It abounds with warehouses
and shops of every description. So numerous are its wealthy inhabitants,
that its streets are almost as crowded with carriages as are the busiest
thoroughfares of London. There are seven newspapers, one of which is
published thrice a week, and four others twice a week, making thirteen
newspapers issued weekly. The exports from the colony now amount to
about a million sterling per annum, and the imports, consisting chiefly
of British products, are nearly of the same value. The revenue raised
within the colony was estimated, for 1836, at two hundred thousand
pounds, whereof more than one half was anticipated as customs duties on
spirits alone. The population of the colony is not supposed to exceed
eighty thousand persons; and yet the above revenue is double the amount
of that which was drawn from the North American colonies of England,
when their population amounted to three millions of persons. In addition
to the revenue for the past year, the surplus of income over
expenditure, for 1835, was estimated at sixty thousand pounds, so that
the total receipts into the colonial treasury for the past year will
have exceeded a quarter of a million sterling!

Although these results are chiefly attributable to the energy and
enterprise of the free emigrants, yet there is a striking peculiarity in
the formation and progress of the society of New South Wales, which
certainly has had its share in causing so rapid a progression in wealth,
as well as it has occasioned the very depraved and vicious condition of
public morals in the colony, and the frightful extent of crime with
which it is afflicted.

The peculiarity referred to is the convict population, and the sums of
money expended by the British government for many years in providing for
their subsistence; whereby the partial settlement of the colony was
effected, and many roads and other valuable public works were executed,
not at the expense of the colonists, but at that of the mother country.

Nor was this all. Though the convicts were certainly, in point either of
industry or subordination, the very worst description of labourers and
servants with which the free colonists could have been provided, yet
they were a never-failing supply of labourers, such as they were. The
worst of them, too, being returned upon the hands of government, and
employed by government as they best could, in road gangs and on public
works, the labour performed by them, whether more or less, was labour
performed by them for the benefit of the colony; while their
subsistence, with that of the troops and other dependents on the
government, formed a market for the productions of the industrious
colonists. Bad as the convict labourers and servants of the colonists
were, too, all the colonists were in this respect on an equal footing;
and, as they were at too great a distance from civilized countries to be
in much danger from foreign competition, their competitions amongst
themselves were carried on upon equal terms.

But the most remarkable circumstance is, that, compared with either the
capital sunk by the British government in the colony, or with that
brought into the colony by the free emigrants, or with the united amount
of these capitals in the aggregate, the annual value of the productions
of the colony is immensely great. Indeed, so highly productive have been
and are the operations of the colonists, and so valuable are those
operations in proportion to the amount of the capital embarked in them,
that the regular discount upon bills at three months, charged and
obtained by the colonial banks, is two and a half per cent., or at the
rate of ten per cent, per annum. For money lent upon unquestionable
heritable security, the interest usually paid is from ten to fifteen per
cent, per annum. For money lent upon more doubtful security, but still
what is considered good security, by money lenders and usurers, the
enormous interest of from twenty to thirty per cent, is charged and
obtained. These facts prove not only the great value of productive
capital in the colony, but also the inordinately great value of its
other productive powers, in comparison with the amount of the capital
required for or actually embarked in putting or keeping the other
productive powers in motion. So inordinately great, indeed, is the value
of the productions of New South Wales, in comparison with the value or
amount of the capital embarked in its formation, that the value of the
productions of only two years is probably greater than the total amount
of the capital as yet sunk in the formation of the colony,--and that,
too, although the largest portion of the capital contributed by the home
government was absolutely thrown away by the mismanagement of the first
quarter of a century, and although a further large portion of it ought
in fairness to be set down as having been expended, not in the formation
of the colony, but in the coercion and maintenance of the felons of

But although the convict labourers are most objectionable on the score
of industry and morality, yet there is one circumstance regarding them
which has been highly favourable to the interests of an infant colony;
and that is, their being composed of almost every description of skilled
labourers, and also of many men of very diversified knowledge and
attainments, as well as of nearly every grade as to the rank in society
which they had held in the mother country. New South Wales in
consequence became, suddenly, an epitome of the old and civilized
society of England, in the respects which have been adverted to. There
is no species, either of labour or of enterprise, which there are not to
be found persons in the colony capable of undertaking. The useful and
more refined arts of life, consequently, at once attained a high state
of perfection, as compared with their condition even in the parent
state; and even the literature of the colony is respectable as to
talent, though more mischievous, perhaps, than useful, as to its
application. Competent teachers in every branch of education are also to
be found in the colony; which likewise contains two colleges,--an
agricultural and horticultural society,--a religious tract society,--a
society for promoting Christian knowledge,--a society for promoting
colonial produce,--a subscription library,--five banks,--two assurance
companies,--a benevolent asylum,--a Bible society,--associations for
suppressing cattle stealing,--a museum,--a botanical school,--an
emigrants' friends society,--a mechanics' institute,--a mechanics'
school of arts,--several masonic lodges,--a church missionary
society,--a Wesleyan ditto,--an observatory,--orphan schools,--a school
of industry,--a steam conveyance company,--a dispensary,--and various
other institutions,--besides a theatre,--with balls, concerts, races,
and other public amusements;--altogether presenting a state of things
perfectly unexampled in the formation of an infant community, and
exhibiting the phenomenon of a colony, that has not yet existed fifty
years, with most of the distinguishing features hitherto belonging only
to ancient and civilized states.

How instructive is the lesson to be derived from all this,--all this
accomplished in spite of the extreme moral depravity inherent in the
constitution of the colonial society, and in spite of the former apathy
of the home government, and of the gross errors existing in the system
and committed in the administration of the colonial government. The
astonishing progress of New South Wales, in short, in the arts and
enjoyments of civilized life, in so short a space of time, and at so
insignificant an investment, comparatively, of capital, for their
acquisition, incontestably proves that so long as the Crown of England
possesses extensive tracts of unappropriated lands in foreign climes, it
is in the power either of the British government, or of associations of
the British public for the purpose of raising the requisite
capitals,--capitals trifling in their amount when compared with the
prodigious magnitude of the advantages to be gained,--not only to
provide an adequate outlet for the superabundant population of Great
Britain and Ireland, but to form new nations, capable of repaying an
enormous profit upon the capital employed in giving them birth, and of
becoming, moreover, customers for the manufactures of the mother
country, to an unlimited and illimitable extent. The imports of New
South Wales already amount to about a million sterling per annum,
employing with advantage a proportionate amount of British capital,
British labour, and British shipping,--an employment which is
continually augmenting, with increasing profit, of course, to the mother
country. It is self-evident, therefore, that either the government or a
public company might form colonies, the benefits derivable from which
would be so great, both nationally and to individuals, as to set
calculation at defiance, and to render the advantages which have been
gained even by the East India Company, comparatively insignificant.

In order to effect such an object as this, however, the new colonial
establishments should be formed at once on a scale of great magnitude,
and so as to form, from the very first, a highly perfect though
miniature civilized community. The colony should consist, therefore, of
individuals and families of good character, selected, in due and well
calculated proportions, from all the useful and productive classes of
the mother country, with the proper sprinkling of persons necessary for
imbuing the colony with, and continuing to cherish in it, the ornaments
of civilization, as well as a proper tone of religious and moral
feeling, and literary and scientific acquirement. A capital of from five
to seven millions sterling would be sufficient for at once settling a
colony with a population as numerous as that of New South Wales now is.
The progress of such a population, of which the component parts should
be harmoniously proportioned,--in which the evils of the convict system
should be entirely avoided,--and which should have infused into it, from
the very first, not only all the elements, but the ripened fruits, of
high civilization and moral and intellectual refinement, would be
incalculably great and rapid. It would be the transplantation, in short,
of a perfect and civilized though small community, capable of making
giant strides in subduing an unoccupied portion of the earth,--the
richest pursuit indicated by political science,--and the most glorious
achievement and triumph of experienced legislation and enlightened

The great financial and monetary operations both of the British
government and of the British people, prove with how much ease either
the government or the public could carry out well devised plans of
colonization, offering the most splendid prospects of success to
enlightened philanthropy, as well as a rich harvest of profit to
capitalists of speculation and enterprise.

The author, who contents himself, for the present, with throwing out the
suggestion, without pretending, in a work of this kind, to venture upon
the details, is sure that there are many persons both willing and
competent to give assistance in maturing any feasible project, founded
on just principles, for practical execution. Certain he is, that, in so
promising, as well as so patriotic an enterprise, if any man of
influence from his wealth, his rank in society, and his character, were
to take upon himself the glory of originating an undertaking which would
entitle him to be regarded as one of the greatest benefactors of the
human race, the public would respond to his call by speedily subscribing
the required capital, and the government would afford every facility for
the promotion of one of the most interesting experiments ever attempted
in the history of the civilized world.



Testimonial from the late Governor of the Colony, Lieutenant General Sir
Ralph Darling.

Haymarket, 16th September, 1836.


I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your letter, requesting that I would
state my opinion, whether, during my government of New South Wales, I
knew any thing in your conduct unbecoming the character of a private
Gentleman or a Justice of the Peace; as also, of your exertions as an
agriculturist? I beg to state in reply, that I never knew or heard, that
I am at present aware of, anything derogatory to your character. As you
were appointed by me to the Magistracy, it has afforded me much
satisfaction to observe the testimony borne to your public conduct in
the letter of Mr. William Foster, late Chairman of the Quarter Sessions,
who says, that he "always found you to perform your Magisterial duties
with great zeal, ability, and impartiality."

With regard to your exertions as an agriculturist, I can only observe,
that my stay at Castle Forbes was so short, that I had not an
opportunity of going over your grounds; but, judging from the farm yard,
there could be no doubt that they were well cultivated; and I remember
remarking, that the stacks of wheat were very numerous, and on a larger
scale than I recollected to have seen on any former occasion, and that
the farm yard, generally, was in the best order, and the arrangement

I have the honour to be,


Your faithful humble servant, (Signed)


J. Mudie, Esq.


From Sir Patrick Lindesay, late Lieutenant Governor of the Colony.

11, Brighton Crescent, Portobello, Edinburgh,

Sept. 27, 1836.

Dear Sir,

I am duly favoured with your letter of the 17th inst., requesting me to
state my opinion of you, whilst I knew you in New South Wales, as
regarded your conduct as a Justice of the Peace, and of your character
as a private Gentleman. I am happy to say that during the whole time I
served in that country, including the period I exercised the government
of the Colony, I never heard or knew of any thing derogatory to your
character as a Gentleman, or touching your conduct as a Justice of the

I have the honour to be,

Dear Sir,

Your very faithful servant,

(Signed) P. LINDESAY.

J. Mudie, Esq., &c. &c. &c.


From William Foster, Esq., late Chairman of the Courts of Quarter
Sessions in the Colony.

Bligh Street, March 25th, 1836.

My Dear Sir,

With reference to your note of yesterday, wherein you request me to
state whether, during the course of years I have been acquainted with
you, I have ever known any thing in your conduct to affect your
character either as a private Gentleman or as a Justice of the Peace, I
consider it quite a sufficient answer to the first part of this inquiry
to say that I have still the pleasure of your acquaintance, which I of
course should not permit myself to have, if I felt any difficulty in
answering this first part of your question in the negative.

With respect to the second branch of your question, my late situation of
Chairman of the Courts of Quarter Sessions gave me frequent
opportunities of observing your conduct as a Justice of the Peace; and I
feel it but an act of justice to you to say, that I always found you to
perform your Magisterial duties with great zeal, ability, and

With my best wishes for your health, happiness, and prosperity, I am,

My Dear Sir,

Yours very faithfully,

(Signed) W. FOSTER

James Mudie, Esq., &c. &c. &c.


From the Rev. S. Marsden, Senior Chaplain of the Colony.

Sydney, March 26th, 1836.

Dear Sir,

I received your letter relative to your name and the names of several
other Gentlemen of respectability being omitted in the last commission
of the peace.

I cannot account for this public measure, as I have never heard of any
reason being assigned for it. As an individual, I regret, on public
grounds, that the Government should have done an act so opposed to the
public feeling, and which is thought to reflect more or less dishonour
upon the Magistrates. I have known some of these Gentlemen for a long
time, and you amongst the number, and considered them men of character
and principle.

Had any reason been given for the removal of the Magistrates from the
bench, I am of opinion the public feeling would not have been so much

The Government must have conceived that it would be the most prudent way
to assign no cause for this measure, and therefore the Authorities took
sullenly the responsibility upon themselves. I have no doubt but at some
future day the real cause will be ascertained.

I remain,

Dear Sir,

Your obedient humble servant,


James Mudie, Esq.


From the Rev. M. D. Mears, a Chaplain of the Colony.

March 28th, 1836.

My Dear Sir,

I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 26th instant, in
which you enquire whether I have ever known any thing in your conduct
which could affect your character as a private Gentleman or a
Magistrate; in reply to which I have great satisfaction in stating that
for a period of ten years, during which I have had the pleasure of your
acquaintance, I have esteemed you for your personal worth and integrity;
and although I must confess myself incompetent to form a due estimate of
your conduct as a Magistrate, yet, judging from the manner in which you
fulfil all the relative duties of a member of society, I feel assured
that in the discharge of the duties of that very responsible situation
(in a penal colony especially) you have been actuated by the purest

Your establishment at Castle Forbes, judging by what I have seen of it,
as well as from general opinion, does great credit to your judgment and

I remain,

My Dear Sir,

Very sincerely yours,

(Signed) M. D. MEARS.

James Mudie, Esq., &c. &c. &c.


From the Rev. Dr. Lang, Senior Minister of the Scots Church, Sydney,
Principal of the Australian College, and Author of "An Historical and
Statistical Account of New South Wales."

Sydney, 28, March, 1836.

My Dear Sir,

I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 25th inst.,
desiring me to state whether, during the period I have had the pleasure
of your acquaintance in this colony, I had known of any thing in your
procedure prejudicial to your character either as a Magistrate or as a
Gentleman. In reply, I have much pleasure in stating that I have heard
of nothing to your prejudice in either capacity, and that, on the
contrary, your exertions as a settler have been praiseworthy and
exemplary,--your exertions to procure the regular dispensation of the
ordinances of religion in your neighbourhood, zealous and
disinterested,--and your exertions to bring to justice one of the
greatest pests of society with which this Colony has ever been
afflicted, such as to entitle you to the commendation of the Colony.

Wishing you a prosperous voyage to England, I am,

My Dear Sir,

Yours very sincerely,

(Signed) J. D. LANG.

J. Mudie, Esq., &c. &c. &c.


From the Rev. John McGarvie, Minister of St. Andrew's Scots Church,

Sydney, 30th March, 1836

Dear Sir,

I have this moment received your letter, in which you request me to
state, whether I "have heard or known any thing to affect your
character, as a private Gentleman, or as a Magistrate;" and also, what I
"know respecting the extent of your agricultural exertions, and your
mode of treatment of the convicts in your employment."

It gives me much pleasure to state, that, during a personal acquaintance
of more than seven years, I have neither known nor heard any
circumstance that could affect your character, as a private Gentleman or
as a respected member of society. I have had occasion to sojourn in your
house at Castle Forbes; I have repeatedly exercised the duties of my
sacred calling, in the family of your nearest relatives, where you
resided, and I have often met you in private life; and I have not the
slightest hesitation in adding to that of your numerous friends, my
humble tribute of testimony to the correctness of your deportment and
excellence of your character.

The estate of Castle Forbes presents one of the most extensive and best
conducted agricultural establishments in New South Wales; and as you
were the first settler in that vicinity calculated to set an example of
spirited enterprise to your less opulent neighbours, I feel confident
that the extent and judicious management of that estate have tended, in
a most material degree, to give that pleasing, comfortable, and
British-like aspect, to the whole district, for which it is remarkable.

It also comes within my own knowledge, that you have given encouragement
to the performance of divine service, in your own house, when
opportunity offered; that you have proposed to set apart a portion of
ground on your own estate, for the erection of a church; and in every
instance in which ministers of our communion (and of these I speak with
perfect certainty) have expressed a desire to exercise their sacred
functions, at Patrick's Plains, or Castle Forbes, you have forwarded
their views, and opened your hospitable mansion for their reception.
When I attended at Castle Forbes, I was particularly gratified by the
appearance of comfort, regularity, and respect, presented by the convict
portion of the audience.

As I have not been present on any occasion when you have exercised the
office of Magistrate, I do not feel so competent to give an opinion, as
other friends perfectly acquainted with the subject. But your firmness,
discrimination, urbanity, and strict love of justice and truth, in
private life, enable me to judge that upright and honourable feelings
only have actuated your conduct, in dispensing justice and law,
impartially, to Bond and Free.

On the eve of your departure, I cannot close this letter without an
assurance of the happiness it will give to your numerous friends, to
hear of your safe arrival in England and speedy return to Australia. For
your future happiness, I can only add my most fervent wishes.

I am,

Yours truly


James Mudie, Esq., Sydney.


From the Rev. J. H. Garven, Minister of the Scots Church, Maitland.

Maitland, 23d March, 1836.

My Dear Sir,

An' you will leave us, I cannot but regret that you have determined to
do so, while I am happy to learn that your absence from the Colony is to
be but temporary. I trust we shall in due course have the happiness of
seeing you once more in New South Wales, in wonted health, and with good
news from Old England. Permit me, as a parting token of my regard, to
tender you my thanks for the great kindness I have received at your
hands in this remote quarter of the globe; as also to render the tribute
of my testimony to your general character and deportment.

I have now had considerable intercourse and acquaintance with you, and
can with candour say, that I never knew any thing of you but what became
you, at once as a Gentleman and a Magistrate.

As to your treatment of your convict servants, I have once and again, in
course of conversation, heard individuals, unbiassed and almost daily
cognizant of the facts, declare that it was eminently generous and kind.
Any thing to the contrary, I can boldly aver, I never saw: and I have
been repeatedly, and for days together, an inmate of Castle Forbes.
Indeed, all my observation leads me to the conclusion, that it was any
thing but harsh and oppressive.

I may add, that you were mainly instrumental in securing and continuing
my services occasionally as a Minister of the Gospel at St. Patrick's
Plains; and while your men, so far as convicts were concerned, had
almost exclusively the benefit of those services (divine worship, from
your appropriation of a room in your house to the purpose, being
celebrated on your premises), of their attendance on them I can speak in
the highest terms. They not only turned out well,--but were well
attired, clean, orderly, and attentive. And,--who that knows the general
character of convicts, can refuse you the credit of the whole?

I am,

My Dear Sir,

With best wishes for your safety and prosperity,

Yours truly,

(Signed) JOHN H. GARVEN.

James Mudie, Esq., &c. &c. &c.


From the Rev. R. Mansfield, Minister of the Wesleyan Chapel, Sydney.

Bathurst-Street, Sydney, 30th March, 1836.

My Dear Sir,

I have the pleasure of acknowledging the receipt of your letter of the
25th instant, which, owing to my absence from town, did not reach me
till yesterday.

In reply to your enquiries whether I have ever known any thing in your
conduct to affect your character, either as a private Gentleman or a
Justice of the Peace, I can not only give a decided negative, but must
add, that the high esteem in which you have ever been held by the most
honourable and virtuous classes of this community, is an abundant
testimonial for your unsullied reputation.

I have now had the pleasure of calling you my intimate friend for more
than seven years, and during the whole of that period I have entertained
the highest opinion of your honour as a gentleman, and of your virtues
as a Christian.

In the summer of the year 1831, I had the happiness of spending a
fortnight under the hospitable roof of Castle Forbes, having for my
fellow guests, during part of that time, some of the first gentlemen, in
point of rank and wealth, in the colony. My impression was, that your
estate was the most extensive and the best conducted agricultural
establishment I had seen either in New South Wales or Van Dieman's Land;
and that in the management of your convict servants, you displayed sound
judgment, and heartfelt benevolence. I accompanied you, in your daily
rounds, through the huts of your men, and witnessed the lively interest
you took in their welfare, and the grateful feeling with which that
solicitude was acknowledged. At your request, I performed divine service
in your barn, and was delighted with the neat, comfortable appearance,
and the serious and attentive demeanour, of your convict and other

Wishing you a pleasant voyage to your native shores, and hoping for the
pleasure of your return to Australia,

I remain,

My Dear Sir,

Very truly yours,

(Signed) R. MANSFIELD.

James Mudie, Esq. &c. &c. &c.


From Major Goulburn, the late Colonial Secretary.

Southgate, near London, January 19th, 1837.

My Dear Sir,

It affords me much gratification to be able to state, in reply to your
enquiry of the seventeenth, that, during the period of my holding the
office of colonial Secretary in New South Wales, no circumstance came
under my notice prejudicial to your character as a Gentleman and a
Colonist, or as an Assignee of convict labour; with reference to which
last relation, I remember your having voluntarily deposited in my hands
a copy of the rules which you had established at Castle Forbes;--rules,
which struck me, at the time, as having been framed with a very
praiseworthy attention to the well-being of the prisoners of the crown
confided to your care.

Believe me to remain,

My Dear Sir,

Very faithfully yours,

(Signed) F. GOULBURN.

James Mudie, Esq.


From William Lithgow, Esq., a Member of the Legislative Council of the

Sydney, 26th March, 1836.

My Dear Sir

In answer to your letter of the 24th inst., I am happy that I can with
truth declare, that ever since I have had the pleasure of your
acquaintance, no act of yours has come under my observation, which I did
not consider as in every way creditable to your character, both as a
private Gentleman and as a Justice of the Peace.

Wishing you a good and prosperous voyage and every happiness, believe

Very faithfully,


(Signed) WM. LITHGOW.

James Mudie, Esq., &c. &c. &c.


From Alexander Berry, Esq., a Member of the Legislative Council of the

Sydney, New South Wales, 1st May, 1836.

My Dear Sir,

On my return from the country, I received your letter of the 24th March
last, requesting I would say, whether, during the period of our
acquaintance, I had ever known any thing in your conduct to affect your
character as a private Gentleman or as a Justice of the Peace.

In answer, I beg to say that you were introduced to me in London by Sir
Charles Forbes, Bart., in 1823, and soon after came to this Colony as an
agriculturist; and it gives me much pleasure to state, that during this
long period I have never heard of any thing to affect your character as
a Gentleman. On the contrary, to my knowledge you have honourably
supported your character through all the vicissitudes of this Colony;
and although, from the distance of our respective establishments, your
conduct as a Magistrate has never come under my observation, I have
never heard any thing to your prejudice in that capacity.

I have the honour to be,

My Dear Sir,

Yours very truly,

(Signed) ALEXR. BERRY.

James Mudie, Esq. (late of Castle Forbes), London.


From E. C. Close, Esq. a Member of the Legislative Council of the

Morpeth, March 26th, 1836.

My Dear Sir,

I am in receipt of your letter of the 24th, and must say in reply to it,
that I conceive your course of proceeding very injudicious and uncalled
for. I think it degrading to a gentleman to beat about for a
character:--for this is what no one will question in nineteen cases out
of twenty*, or think of, until it is brought under notice by decided
statements, the result of which is the immediate birth of some embryo
illiberality or spleen from some offended quarter,--of little moment
perhaps; but which cause annoyance both to the giver as well as to the
receiver of such characters; and at the same time leave impressions on
the mind of the public, that had there been no doubt, a thing of the
kind had never been got up.

As to the Magisterial part of the matter,--the cause of your suspension
will speak volumes in itself,--without any assistance from my feeble
pen. I regret that you, or any of you, should have been made martyrs
through a policy that I cannot but deplore.

I trust to hear of your safe arrival in Old England, and wish you a
pleasant passage.

I remain,

My Dear Sir,

Yours truly,

(Signed) E. C. CLOSE.

J. Mudie, Esq.

*[The situation of the Undersigned was very peculiar. His case was
one out of a thousand. He could stand upon his known character,
in the Colony; but, as he intended to appeal to the home
Government, and to the British Public, to whom his character
and conduct as a colonist, are of course unknown, it was therefore
necessary for him, in respect for His Majesty's Government and the
Public of England, to collect the evidence supplied by these


From Richard Jones, Esq., a Member of the Legislative Council of the

Sydney, 25th March, 1836.

My Dear Sir,

I have the pleasure to acknowledge receipt of your letter of the 23d
instant, requesting to be informed, whether I have ever known any thing
in your conduct to affect your character, either as a Justice of the
Peace or a private Gentleman; and also asking my opinion as to the
extent of improvements and cultivation on your estate, Castle Forbes.

In answer, I beg to state, that I have been acquainted with you upwards
of ten years, and during that period, I have never known any thing
discreditable to you either as a Magistrate or as a private Gentleman.
On the contrary, I believe you to have been an active, useful, and
independent Justice of the Peace, and consider your recent dismissal, by
his Excellency the Governor, from the Commission of the Peace, an
arbitrary act, and an unjust abuse of the power vested in him as Supreme
Ruler in this Colony.

I have visited you at your estate, Castle Forbes, upon which much labour
and expense has been bestowed; and it stands proverbial as the largest
agricultural establishment in the Colony.

I remain,

Dear Sir,

Very truly yours,


James Mudie, Esq., &c. &c. &c.


From Thomas Barker, Esq., a Magistrate for the Territory, and the most
extensive Purchaser of Grain in the Colony.

Sydney, 25th March, 1836.

My Dear Sir,

I do myself the pleasure to say, I received yours of yesterday's date,
requesting me to state, having known you many years, if I knew any thing
in your conduct as a private Gentleman, or a Justice of the Peace, to
affect your character--and that from my long residence in this Colony, I
have had opportunities of informing myself of the numerous difficulties
a settler contends with, in bringing a tract of country into a state of
cultivation, I having visited your late Estate, Castle Forbes, you
request my candid opinion of the extent of your agricultural exertions.

With regard to the first question I can only reply by reiterating the
sentiments of every respectable Colonist,--that I most sincerely believe
you have at all times conducted yourself as became a Gentleman, a
greater proof of which cannot be, than the estimation in which you are
held by persons of respectability, and the very close intimacy that
subsists between you and them.

With respect to your Magisterial capacity, I have every reason to
believe you have acted most conscientiously in the discharge of the
various arduous duties imposed by that office.

My opinion of your agricultural exertions is formed from seeing the
state of your farm in 1834, with the barn yard full of the largest wheat
stacks I ever witnessed. Doubtless your exertions must have been very
great, and you must have expended a considerable sum of money in
improvements; for amongst the settlers in that respectable district, I
do not know any who cultivated so extensively, and brought so much wheat
to the Sydney market.

I cannot close this without an expression of regret, that you should
feel compelled to leave us. I trust, however, we may shortly have the
pleasure of again enjoying your society. Believe me you carry with you
every good wish for your safety and speedy return.

Yours very truly,

(Signed) THO. BARKER.

James Mudie, Esq., &c. &c. &c.


From W. Macpherson, Esq., Collector of the Internal Revenue, and an

Sydney, 25th March, 1836.

My Dear Sir,

In answer to your letter of the 17th instant, I beg leave to say, that
my acquaintance with you commenced in 1831, and that I have not known,
or heard, of any thing in your conduct, to affect your character either
as a private Gentleman and respectable member of society, or as a

Wishing you a pleasant voyage to England,

I remain,

My Dear Sir,

Yours very sincerely,


James Mudie, Esq.


From Dr. Carlyle, one of the Colonial Surgeons, and a Magistrate of the

March 23rd, 1836.

My Dear Sir,

I have this moment received yours of the 17th inst, and regret it is not
in my power to speak positively as to the execution of your duties as a
Justice of the Peace, having never had the honour of sitting upon the
Bench with you, or witnessing any of your Magisterial proceedings; but
this I can safely say, a fifteen years acquaintance, during which I have
been in the frequent habit of receiving your hospitalities, has left the
impression upon my mind that you are incapable of any act derogatory to
the character of a Gentleman in every respect.

Should the promptness of your departure prevent my having the pleasure
of seeing you, pray accept my sincere wishes for your welfare and
happiness, and believe me to be,

Always sincerely yours,

(Signed) W. B. CARLYLE.

James Mudie, Esq.


From George Brooks, Esq., one of the Colonial Surgeons, and an

Sydney, 18th March, 1836

My Dear Sir,

In compliance with your request, under yesterday's date, I have much
satisfaction in stating my opinion of your conduct.

I do not know, and I have not heard of any act of yours, of a
description inconsistent with the rank and respectability of the
Magisterial Office.

Respecting your private character, it is sufficient to state, that had
you done any thing to forfeit the designation of gentleman,--our
friendly intercourse, which has existed so many years (fourteen) would
not have continued to the present time.

I am,

My Dear Sir,

Yours faithfully,

(Signed) GEO. BROOKS.

James Mudie, Esq.


From Colonel Mackenzie, late of the 4th Regt., now a Colonial Land-owner
and Magistrate.

Glenfield, 24th March, 1836.

My Dear Sir,

I beg to acknowledge the receipt of yours dated the 22nd inst, and in
reply thereto have to state that during the period of my acquaintance
with you I neither knew nor have heard of any thing derogatory to your
character as a Gentleman or a Magistrate in the commission of the Peace.

I am,

Dear Sir,

Yours very truly,

(Signed) J. K. MACKENZIE

J. Mudie, Esq., &c. &c. &c.


From Major Lockyer, formerly of the 57th foot, now a Colonial Land-owner
and Magistrate.

Ermington, 26 March, 1836.

My Dear Sir,

In reply to your letter of the 17th inst., I have no hesitation in
declaring that since I have had the pleasure of being acquainted with
you, thirteen years past, I have never known or heard any thing that
could affect your character either as a private Gentleman or a Justice
of the Peace.

I have the honour to remain,

My Dear Sir,

Yours very sincerely,


James Mudie, Esquire.


From Major Innes, late of the 3d foot, now a Colonial Landowner and

Sydney, 14th March, 1836.

Dear Sir,

In reply to your letter of this date, requesting me to state whether I
have ever known any thing in your conduct to affect your character
during the period I have known you, I beg to say that during the period
of nearly fourteen years acquaintance I have never known any thing
derogatory to your character.

I am,

Dear Sir,

Truly yours,

(Signed) ARCHD. C. INNES.

J. Mudie, Esq.


From Captain Piper, late of the 102d Regt., now a Colonial Landowner and

Bank, Bathurst, 26th March, 1836.

My Dear Sir,

In answer to your letter of the 17th instant, requesting to know
whether, in the course of our very long acquaintance, there had been any
thing in your conduct to affect your character as a private Gentleman,
or as a Justice of the Peace, to which I have pleasure in saying,
Certainly not. And as I hear you are about to depart the Colony, I wish
you health and every good, and remain,

My Dear Sir,

Yours very faithfully,

(Signed) JOHN PIPER.

J. Mudie, Esq.


From Edye Manning, Esq. a Magistrate and Merchant.

Sydney, 29th March, 1836.

My Dear Sir,

I have the pleasure of receiving your letter, in which you request to
know if I have ever known any thing in your conduct to affect your
character either as a private Gentleman or as a Justice of the Peace.

In reply to which I have great pleasure in saying that I never knew or
heard of any thing most remotely to your prejudice in either capacity.

I am, my dear Sir.

Yours very truly,


James Mudie, Esq.


From William Cordeaux, Esq., formerly a Commissary, now a colonial
Land-owner and Territorial Magistrate.

Sydney, 22d March, 1836.

My Dear Sir,

As you are about to leave the Colony, I take the opportunity of saying
to you, that I neither know nor have I heard of any thing that could
derogate from your character as a Gentleman or as a Magistrate, during
the very many years I have had the pleasure of knowing you; and I

My Dear Sir,

Very truly yours,


James Mudie, Esq.


From R. Campbell, jun., Esq., one of the principal Merchants in the

Bligh Street, 26th March, 1836.

My Dear Sir,

In reply to your note of the 23rd instant, I beg to assure you that you
have at all times, while I have had the pleasure of your acquaintance,
which has been for fourteen years, conducted yourself as a Gentleman,
both in your private capacity, and as a Justice of the Peace for the

I have the honour to remain,

My Dear Sir,

Yours truly,

(Signed) R. CAMPBELL, JUN.

James Mudie, Esq.


From J. Norton, Esq., Solicitor, Sydney.

Sydney, 25 March, 1836.

My Dear Sir,

I have great pleasure, in reply to the queries contained in your letter
of yesterday's date, in assuring you that during the very long period I
have had the pleasure of your acquaintance (now nearly fourteen years) I
have entertained the highest respect for your character as a Gentleman;
and although I have not had much opportunity of judging of your conduct
as a Magistrate, I have been led to entertain an impression I consider
universally felt in this community, of the conscientious and
discriminating manner in which you have at all times discharged that
public and important duty. With sincere wishes for your health and early
return to the Colony,

I am,

My Dear Sir,

Yours very truly,

(Signed) J. NORTON.

J. Mudie, Esq.



From Lieutenant General Sir Thomas M. Brisbane, formerly Governor of the

Makerstoun, 17th February, 1837

Dear Sir,

My having been for some time from home, this county being under the
excitement of a contested election, will explain why your letter of the
30th inst. has remained so long without a reply; and it affords me
pleasure to assure you in answer to your question that during the four
years I was Governor of N. S. Wales, no one circumstance, either
as regards your treatment of the convicts assigned to you, or as to your
character as a Gentleman, was ever brought under my notice.

It also affords me pleasure to hear you have established your family so
comfortably in the colony.

Believe me,

Dear Sir,

Yours faithfully,


James Mudie, Esq.

       *       *       *       *       *

Upon looking over the preceding pages, previous to their publication,
the author regrets to see that he has, by some oversight, neglected to
do justice to the character of Mr. McLeay, the present Colonial
Secretary. That gentleman was as virulently and as unjustly attacked, by
the convict faction, and the convict press, as even General Darling
himself. The Colony is deeply indebted to Mr. McLeay for his services
under General Darling; and, as to his private character, the author can
say, of his own knowledge, that a better Christian, or a more charitable
and benevolent man, does not exist. He always bestowed a very
considerable portion of his salary in charitable donations, and his
purse was ever open to the cry of distress.

       *       *       *       *       *

After that portion of this work which refers to the convict William
Watt, had passed through the press, information was received from the
colony of Sir Richard Bourke having been at length compelled to deprive
Watt, in consequence of the continuance of Watt's own misconduct, of
his ticket-of-leave; and the information adds, that it was rumoured that
the scoundrel had at length become a bushranger. His tardy punishment
(too late to save the character of the infatuated governor) only
corroborates the accusations preferred against Sir Richard on this very
man's account. Had his excellency sooner given up his ruffian protege
to justice, how much public mischief would have been averted, as well as
the ruin of individuals! It appears that Watt's downfal has involved
that of a paid police magistrate at Port Macquarie, who had so debased
himself by consorting with Watt, that his excellency thought it
necessary to deprive him also of his magisterial appointment, and of its
accompanying salary, which was an object of no small importance to his
large family. The author pities the victim, whose intimacy with Watt, he
verily believes, was owing to the favour so long shown to Watt, by his
friend the Governor! Indeed, Mister Watt had carried things with
so high a hand, that police magistrates were actually afraid of giving
him offence. In fact, they had great cause; when they knew that several
of the territorial magistrates had been dismissed for even daring to do
their duty against this very man, and when they recollected the part
played by him with the Governor and Colonel Wilson, as disclosed during
the summary process instituted against Watt, at the instance of the
author. What a warning to future governors and magistrates does the
record of this fellow's history present!

       *       *       *       *       *

In consequence of a conversation between Dr. Rutherford and the author,
relative to the treatment of female prisoners on board ship (see a
preceding chap.), the author has received a written communication from
the worthy Doctor on the subject, in which he says, he thinks that the
names of surgeons whose conduct has been culpable should be mentioned.
In reply, the author begs leave to state, that he has no wish to make a
direct charge against any medical gentleman, in particular, upon this
subject. What he has stated, is against the system; and the
alteration of that system, not the exposure of the frailty of
individuals, is his object. He has, however, great pleasure in adding,
that if the surgeons of penal convict ships had all been such men as
Doctor Rutherford, no ground of complaint would ever have arisen. The
Dr. Rutherford of whom the author speaks is Dr. James Rutherford, now
invalided in the service, not Dr. George Rutherford, who holds property
in New South Wales.

       *       *       *       *       *

Should a legislature returned by popular election be created by
parliament for the colony, the following noble or otherwise very eminent
public characters, many of them being members of the felonry, may be
expected to take their seats as representatives of the very peculiar
constituency of the society of Botany Bay, viz.:--

Lord William Soames, familiarly called Bill Soames, as the honourable
member for the Hulk;

The Hon. William Hang-us Watt, on the interest of the bushrangers and
ticket-of-leave men;

Sir Hardy Vaux, for Moreton Bay;

Sir Joseph Raphael (speaker of the house);

Sir Samuel Lyons, for Norfolk Island;

Luke Dillon, for Patrick's Plains;

Lord Hay, with the proof of his title from the Herald office;

Baron Halden;

Mr. Serjeant Williams, for the jails;

Sir John Jamison, for the road-gangs;

Baron William Fitzwentworth, the Botany Bay emancipator, for all
unfortunate convicts still in captivity;

Roger Therry, first lord of the felonry, and hereditary champion of the

Messrs. Mott, Sullivan, and Jordan, for the free traders;

Sir William Bland, for the freed inhabitants of the colony;

Major-general Wilson, for Sydney;

As very numerous members of the felonry are possessed of great wealth,
having incomes of not less than from five thousand to forty-five
thousand pounds a year, some idea may be formed of the wisdom and
virtue, the patriotism and philanthropy, by which the proceedings of the
Botany Bay parliament will be distinguished. Several important motions
are already anticipated. Increase of the population of the colony being
an acknowledged and primary object of both public and private interest,
and the utmost reliance being placed in the practised judgment,
experience, and zeal, of the Hon. Hang-us Watt, he will move a series
of measures having for their object the more effectual encouragement of
crime in England, as a sure means of obtaining an additional influx of
adult exiles to the colony, of enterprising habits and character; while
its further populousness will be promoted by enhancing the comforts of
the Parramatta factory, and placing it under the able and judicious
direction of the gracious Mrs. Watt and the amiable Miss Jemima Chapman,
as co-matrons of the establishment. Mr. Rogery Therry will propose the
abolition of all punishment for bigamy committed in the colony; which,
however, will be opposed by the learned and philosophic Baron
Fitzwentworth, who will demonstrate, by arguments and facts derived from
reason, analogy, and history, and especially by returns of births
obtained from the factory at Parramatta, that the performance of the
ceremony of marriage is by no means necessary to the increase of
population, and therefore that it would be supererogatory to interfere
with the bigamy law as it now stands. Mr. Therry will, of course,
express his own astonishment that he had not thought of all this sooner;
and, with the candour for which he is remarkable, after apologising for
his simplicity, and claiming consideration only for the purity and
disinterestedness of his intention, will withdraw his motion. Sir Samuel
Lyons, after descanting, in an argumentative and statesmanlike speech,
on the intention of the home government to make the colony a means of
the reformation of the unfortunate persons transported to it, will
transport the whole house with joy, by showing that the acquisition of
wealth is the best possible proof of moral reformation; and, as the
reformation is meritorious in proportion to the previous depravity and
guilt of the reformed, he will therefore move an address to his Majesty,
praying that the governor be empowered to confer the honour of
knighthood upon every rich member of the felonry who shall have been
twice convicted in the colony. Mr. Sullivan intends to propose the
abolition of iron-gangs and of the cat-o'-nine-tails; and Mr. Luke
Dillon will bring in a bill for making it a misdemeanour to address a
convict in disrespectful language. It is confidently expected that the
duties on rum will be totally repealed; and in short, every thing that
the collective wisdom and philanthropy of the felonry can devise, will
be done to render Australia an inviting and absolute elysium to all
aspirants for fame, fortune, and distinction, by means of a trip in a
convict ship to Botany Bay.

To be serious, however, and notwithstanding what has been said in this
work as to the general bad character of the felonry, it is but an act of
justice to add that there are many and praiseworthy exceptions. Several
colonists, originally convicts, have acquired a fair claim to
consideration, if not to respectability, by the propriety of their
conduct, as well as by their accumulation of wealth. These very persons,
however, will agree with the author in what he has said of the freed
inhabitants as a body.


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