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THERE are now in the Pacific vast congregations of our countrymen, with whom the mother country has enjoyed, till lately, a profitable commerce.
Their prospects are now clouded, for want of labour to work capital; a want which has been supplied to the majority of them by the vice and crimes of home. In affording that supply, the reform of the convict was found to be checked, and immorality was promoted--hence the change; no assignment of convicts, to labour for the free, is made, that neither may be deteriorated by the admixture; at the same time, the free are impoverished, and the trade of home restricted, if not wholly perilled.
Can no scheme be devised by which the criminal may, on his first delinquency, be separated from the mass, and his moral state having been improved, as a convict, he may evince that improvement before he acquires perfect freedom; at the same time assisting in his own maintenance, and repaying back to society at home the wrong he has done, by aiding in the increase of her commerce?
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Suppose that all convict females serve their time on an island remote from male society, and their minds, directed to the study of good, are prevented deriving errors from others, while the regulation of diet, which has great power in the formation of the mind (hence the use of fasts and abstinence, as enjoined of old, and practised by the Redeemer), assists in restoring or forming a healthy tone of morality.
It is, in fact, the silent system, until such change of mind is effected. But this change being seen, there should be a period of probation, and the errant individual not again returned to society till the recovery is decided.
Females being thus guided, and guarded apart from men, let the same system be applied to the men, but let their probation be, after being subjected to the solitary system and education the while, in their assignment as labourers, during a term by which commerce, the government, and free settler, may all be benefited. To the growth of wool, I fear, only, is Australia adapted. That pursuit requires a low rate of labour.---If Australia be worth considering, how shall that rate be best effected?
On another subject I would add a question.-- Uniformity of price may be well; is it equally good policy that the increased value of districts, by settling, should be pocketed by individuals, and lost to the government, when, by increase of her revenues, she might lessen the burden of the mass? Should
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not the rates of land be affected according to its proximity to population; say, commencing with a town of 1000, increasing per thousand? The extreme districts to be reduced much below the present rate, and no individual being allowed to advertise land to be sold, as a town, unless he has built a certain number of tenements thereon, and has obtained the sanction of the government.
PALMER AND CLAYTON, PRINTERS,
10, Crane-court, Fleet-street.