Page:A lecture on the evils of emigration and transportation.djvu/15

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11

They were lodged in the Female Orphan School, and I was one appointed to look after and protect them as much as possible from the insults of thousands assembled for various purposes. In the course of a few days men came from all parts of the Island, and those young and tender creatures were exhibited to the scrutinizing gaze of the assembled multitude, for each to select such as they might imagine would answer their purpose. Fellow countrymen, it is impossible for me to describe this agonizing scene; oh! that I could bring to your view the real picture; that you might witness the streaming eyes and heaving bosoms of these kidnapped creatures as they bid farewell to their companions in misfortune; and see them dragged away almost insensible, with fearful apprehensions of their future condition; and hear their bitter lamentations of woe, with the fond and endearing names of father and mother being called upon until they arrived at the bottom of the land attached to the Orphan School, where bullock carts were waiting to convey them and their luggage to the house of their new master;—a few days more and nearly all were gone, the remaining portion were not calculated to further the views of the settlers, consequently they were turned upon the streets to obtain a living in the best manner they could. The better looking and youngest portion of them had been obtained by keepers of public houses to draw custom; and, believe me, the proprietors were not mistaken in their calculations, for the houses throughout the country were filled for some time to excess; and all who did not accommodate themselves, after a fair trial, to the wants of the customers, were turned out of doors, with this remark from the owners, that unless they studied the interest of their masters and mistresses—(I need not state how that was to be accomplished)—they would have convict women, who always had done so. In consequence of this, the principal portion of them returned to Hobart Town, where I have seen them without a home, without food, and nearly naked, until compelled to sacrifice all feelings of virtue, and become, what those who first employed them wanted, namely, prostitutes. I remember well two sisters named Austin, one about 15 and the other about 18; they were very handsome girls, and of a very superior description. They both went to live with a Mr. Coe, who kept an inn, and they remained only a few weeks, during which time