Page:A lecture on the evils of emigration and transportation.djvu/26

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.

22

cruelties of these cursed abodes of misery and despair. But this is denied them, they are hurried to the scaffold and launched into eternity, with their last breath uttering words of thankfulness for a quick departure from their earthly woes. I have seen these men brought on the scaffold, and seen the clergyman put his hand to the mouth of the dying man to prevent the assembled multitude from hearing their last words; and I have seen him, with eight of these unfortunate beings standing under the fatal beam, give the signal to the executioner, some seconds before the time, lest one word should escape in an audible manner from the quivering lips of the murdered victims.

I shall here conclude this part of the subject, for I dare not trust my feelings to dwell on the unparalleled misery of a convict's life, and I hope I have shewn sufficient to prove that transportation is disgraceful in the extreme to a Christian Government, and believe me that I have stated nothing but facts, and not being desirous of stirring your passions on the heart-rending subject, I have not mentioned one-sixth part of the cruelties inflicted on the unfortunate beings. I have for this purpose avoided mentioning the numerous names of individual sufferers, and particular circumstances, lest I might wound the feelings of friends in this country belonging to the victims of the accursed system. Allow me to add, that I am convinced severity in some particular cases may be necessary, but that this severity ought on all occasions to be tempered with mercy, is a duty incumbent upon the authorities to make the unfortunate beings sensible that by good conduct and repentance that that severity will be diminished and ultimately withdrawn.

Gentlemen, having always been of opinion that Missionary Societies, and the agents sent by them abroad, caused more bloodshed than they have effected good; and having had an opportunity of convincing myself of the correctness of my former opinions, and having also mentioned the subject to several respectable individuals of this town, although it is a somewhat late hour, I cannot avoid taking this opportunity of mentioning the subject, at the same time it is utterly impossible for me to enter at present into the evils of the system.

I do not presume to say that good has not been effected in solitary instances, but when I reflect on the carnage, bloodshed, and violation of innocent, though