Page:A colonial autocracy, New South Wales under Governor Macquarie, 1810-1821.djvu/154

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A COLONIAL AUTOCRACY.

he considered himself unable to add to his flocks, which then amounted to 7,000 head. He occupied by permission 1,000 acres besides his own estate in the Cow Pastures, and was anxious to have it granted him outright so that he need have no fear of suddenly being deprived thereof.[1]

Bigge was altogether in favour of large grants and of fostering by every possible means the wool-trade of the Colony. A proposal submitted to Macquarie in 1820 with this purpose in view met with his approval. The promoters proposed to form -a joint-stock company for the growth of fine wool and "pecuniary assistance was requested by advances from the Police Fund; the assignment of agricultural labourers as they arrived from England; an unlimited range for flocks of sheep in the interior, not approaching nearer to the settled estates than five miles, and an importation of sheep of the pure Merino breed at the expense of Government, the cost of which was to be repaid at a future period, and in the meantime to be secured upon the shares of the subscribers and the flocks of sheep as they might be produced.

"The objection made by Governor Macquarie to this proposal appears to have arisen from an apprehension of the consequences of placing so many convict labourers in remote situations, under no better control than that of the individual superintendent of the establishment whom it was proposed to appoint. This circumstance forms certainly the essential objection to the extension of settlements in which convicts are employed, or their removal to a great distance from the residence of some individual clothed with authority to control and punish them; and as far as the proposal made to Governor Macquarie limited the number of superintendents, I concur with him in the objection he made. I am not aware that the proposal was founded upon any general support from individuals in the Colony; I am disposed to believe that, from the indisposition already adverted to in the proprietors of stock to leave their establishments in the settled districts and to repair to those more remote for the purpose of devoting themselves more exclusively to the growth of fine wool, they would gladly have

  1. Macarthur to Bigge, 18th October, 1821, Appendix to Bigge's Reports. R.O., MS. He held 7,000 acres by grant or permission and 2,600 by purchase.