Page:A colonial autocracy, New South Wales under Governor Macquarie, 1810-1821.djvu/40

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12
A COLONIAL AUTOCRACY.

grain, and to allow him stock on easy terms. By Macquarie's time the period within which the settler remained "on the store,"[1] which had been left to the Governor's discretion in Hunter's instructions in 1794, had been generally accepted as eighteen months.

One reservation and one restriction were imposed. The Government reserved for itself timber suitable for naval purposes on all land granted by the Crown, and made the grants to ex-convicts conditional on residence by the grantee.[2] But to give or to withhold lay wholly in the Governor's discretion. The ostensible claim to a grant was good behaviour during servitude, but the standard of conduct might well vary as men of different character succeeded one another in the seat of patronage. Though these convict farmers were intended to form the motive power of agricultural progress, Phillip was directed in his instructions to report on the best means of settling military and other subjects on the land. Finding convict labour of a low standard, and convict settlers lacking in energy, Phillip strongly recommended the emigration of trained agriculturists.[3]

The Secretary of State disregarded this advice and began by authorising him to make grants to the non-commissioned officers and men of the garrison and later to the officers and civil staff. Finally the Governor was permitted to make grants to any free settler. The instructions laid down for Governor Hunter in 1794 were still in force in 1810. Any person applying for a grant might receive from the Governor land not more than a hundred acres above the amount granted to an emancipist and with similar freedom from taxes for ten years.[4] After that a quit-rent of one shilling for each fifty acres was to be paid. Under special circumstances, a full account of which had to be transmitted to the Secretary of State, grants of larger area might be made to free settlers or emancipists.[5] The former had to pay registration and surveying fees

  1. Colonial term for receiving rations from Government.
  2. See H.R., VII., p. 133, etc., par. 9. Instructions to Macquarie, 9th May, 1809.
  3. See above, p. 5.
  4. See Instructions to Macquarie, par. 12.
  5. Ibid., par. 13.