Page:An account of the English colony in New South Wales.djvu/16

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

Were the unhappy culprits but for one moment to reflect, they would themselves acknowledge, that in the administration of justice mercy has not been forgotten; many of their lives had paid the forfeit of their crimes, but for this timely interference of the lenity of that country whose laws they had defied, of that country whose disgrace and scourge they had been; and which, in their extremity, had stretched forth an arm to save them by a banishment at once salutary to their fellow-citizens and to themselves. To have permitted them to live, and to remain amid their former haunts, would have been compelling them to live in guilt; for in what other manner, however well disposed, could they preserve that life which, in this case, it would have been inhumanity to have granted? No ear would listen to, no mind would credit, the tale of their repentance: with every heart and every door closed against them, whither could they turn, but to the self-same enormities which had subjected them to this mockery of mercy? From exile, if they have any thing to lose, they have much to hope; they are removed from temptation; and with the necessaries of life they are provided, until such time as they shall prove that they are deserving of further favour; when no encouragement is withheld that can contribute to their present comfort, or confirm them in the path of rectitude. They are pointed out as exam-

ples