Page:A colonial autocracy, New South Wales under Governor Macquarie, 1810-1821.djvu/34

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A COLONIAL AUTOCRACY.

and the Colonies, said: "If you continually send thieves to one place, it must in time be super-saturated. Sydney is now, I think, completely saturated. We must let it rest and purify for a few years and it will again be in a condition to receive."[1]

Mr. Wyndham, who held the same office in the shortlived ministry of 1806, thought it well to encourage free emigration as a counter-irritant, so to say, to the convict population."[2]

Little was done to improve affairs in these directions. Certainly during Lord Hobart's term of office, after an unsuccessful attempt to form a penal colony at Port Phillip, two settlements were established at Hobart Town and Port Dalrymple in Van Diemen's Land. Nevertheless the vast majority of the convicts were still shipped to New South Wales, and when in 1811 the population of Van Diemen's Land had reached 1,300, not a fifth part were prisoners. In the older Colony the proportion was more than one-half.[3]

In the first seven years of settlement, from 1788 to 1795, 5,765 men and women were transported to New South Wales, and of these 3,377 either died or returned to England at the expiration of their sentences. But 1,633 men and 755 women remained in the Colony in 1795 who had either served their time, been pardoned or emancipated, or were still prisoners. In the next fifteen years, that is until the beginning of 1810, 6,525 convicts were despatched to Sydney. There is no reason to believe that the proportion of those who died or returned had greatly changed, for as the inducements to settle in the Colony increased so also with growing prosperity did the means of leaving it. Taking, therefore, the percentage of those who remained in the preceding seven years, there would in 1810 be 3,232 men and 1,905 women who had arrived as convicts.

As in the whole population of 10,452 there were 2,654 children, not more than 2,346 men and 315 women in the settlement had not been transported. Of the men the military

  1. See H.R., V., Appendix, p. 835. Quoted in letter of Banks to King, 8th April, 1803.
  2. R.O., Wyndham to Bathurst, 1806.
  3. Every year a "General Muster" was held and a fairly complete Domesday compiled of the inhabitants, cattle and crops throughout the Colony. That made in 1810 has been lost, and the basis of the calculations which follow is the record for 1811.