Page:A colonial autocracy, New South Wales under Governor Macquarie, 1810-1821.djvu/141

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LAND, LABOUR AND COMMERCE.

He was indeed constantly impressing upon Ministers that gentlemen-settlers, encouraged by "extraordinary concessions," did not further the Colony's progress in agriculture, and that they were the most discontented, unreasonable and troublesome persons in the whole country.[1] Macquarie firmly believed that the best settlers were the emancipated convicts, and he put this view forward so often and so urgently that the Colonial Office naturally accepted it. But English sentiment could not allow them to submit without misgiving to the whole Colony being turned into a penal settlement, and in various ways free emigration was continued.

In 1814 the custom was still followed of placing new settlers "on the stores" and providing them with convict servants, also "on the stores," for eighteen months. Macquarie was urgent for some reduction in this, and readily agreed to Lord Bathurst's proposal to reduce the time to six months.[2] But when the latter suggested in 1816 doing away with the indulgence altogether, Macquarie demurred, and although in the following year he admitted that there was no longer any need to put free settlers on the stores, he took no step in that direction.[3] The difficulty was that many of the "gentlemen-settlers," or settlers of the "first class," came out so miserably poor that in the absence of Government assistance they would have starved. But before 1817 the Colonial Office had much relaxed their regulations. In 1814 they had given up the practice of granting free passages, largely because they found that many emigrants who pleaded the costli-

  1. to receive whatever he asks for." D.1, 28th June, 1813. R.O., MS. Lord (Lieutenant Edward Lord of Van Diemen's Land) did receive an extra grant through his brother's intercession a little later.

    The more suitable type of emigrant was the one thus described "… he would be everywhere and under any Government a peaceful subject. I believe he has no taste whatever for politics, and a natural dislike … for all those discussions which are so common, so bitter and so calculated to alienate the mind from the Government and introduce malevolent feelings." See Letter to C.O., 1821. MS., R.O.

  2. D. 8, 17th November, 1812. MS., R.O. The persons to whom Macquarie refers are mostly those who came out in Bligh's time with promises from the Secretary of State, which for one reason and another were never fully carried out. But Macquarie's opinion of "gentlemen-settlers" never materially altered.
  3. Bathurst to Macquarie, D.4, 3rd February, 1814. C.O., MS., and Macquarie'a reply, D., 7th October, 1814. R.O., MS. Also G.G.O., 28th December, 1816. Reduction of time to six months then first put in force.
  4. D. 3, 31st March, 1817. R.O., MS. He wished emancipists still to have the six months' indulgence. In 1821 all settlers, emancipists and free, were still allowed to be six months on the stores.

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