Page:A lecture on the evils of emigration and transportation.djvu/24

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ments, the horrid and disgusting particulars of how they have murdered their mates one after the other, and lived upon their dead bodies, until the whole party, originally consisting of perhaps ten individuals, had been butchered, leaving the narrator and another only alive, and how he and his companion were afraid to fall asleep, lest the other should knock his brains out; and how at last nature became exhausted in his comrade; and then, how he deprived him of life, and immediately satisfied his hunger on his flesh, tearing the remaining portion from off his body and skin, started for the inhabited districts, to end his sufferings in an ignominious death, These occurrences are not unfrequent, and scores of others who are yet in the bush, have committed offences of a similar nature.—Let me ask what must be the dreadful state of misery that drives men to this awful condition?

94 Men confined in Gaol.—It is almost useless my saying anything of this portion of the total number. The grand object of the judicial administration is that punishment shall follow as quick as possible the offence. So that the offence for which they are punished may be fresh on their memory. Could men in England be made sensible of the certainty of punishment of the most dreadful description, I feel confident that crime would diminish in place of increasing, in the alarming manner it does; for although poverty, in my opinion, causes many to err, yet were they aware of the acute sufferings of convicts in our Australian Colonies, numbers would pause ere they committed themselves to such a state of degradation and wretchedness. Here perhaps, it might not be amiss for me to state my opinion of that remote place From the accounts I had read, I became convinced, previous to leaving England, that I should be far happier in Van Dieman's Land, then I could ever expect to be in may native country. Dreadful mistake!—How oft have I lamented my foolish and credulous notions; how oft have I wept in the darkness of night, and deplored the inauspicious moment that my poor mother gave me existence? How oft have I wished that I could return to my original nothingness and bury in oblivion all my cares and troubles. But alas! those feelings of bitter remorse only augmented my distress. Months and years passed away, and I was the same miserable object, liable, for the smallest offence to have my back lacerated by the