Page:The Coming Colony Mennell 1892.djvu/34

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10
THE COMING COLONY.

cheap labour, so that pastoral and agricultural enterprise was encouraged, whilst the public works executed by their instru­mentality opened up the country, and provided the conveniences necessary for the growth and maintenance of an external and internal commerce. The convicts not only made excellent ser­vants, but many of them, on their emancipation, took up land, and did well on their own account. Having every incentive of self-interest to well-doing, most of them preserved a clean record in their new sphere; but quite contrary to what occurred in New South Wales, the line of demarcation between themselves and the free settlers has been rigidly preserved, "society" refusing them her magic hall-mark, no matter how prolonged may have been their period of reformation and respectability·. It re mains to be seen when their time of expiation will be deemed complete and their descendants be admitted to those social privileges which are most greedily coveted just in proportion as they are most rigidly withheld. With the large influx of new blood which is certain to be witnessed during the next few years, pro­bably the last vestige of disability will disappear in the case of those who now suffer for sins committed by their sires, and for which no theory of life yet propounded can attribute to them any responsibility.

For the twenty years which followed the cessation of trans­portation to Western Australia emigration was assisted in a more or less spasmodic manner. In 1888, however, so far as State aid was concerned, it was virtually suspended, except in the case of female domestic servants and of males nominated by their friends in the colony; the latter method giving a reason­ able guarantee that the emigrants assisted out would stay in Western Australia, instead of, as often proved to be the case, getting half their passages paid by the Western Australian Government, and then immediately "making tracks" to the other colonies, which the plenitude of highly-paid employment and the mineral discoveries rendered considerably more attractive to the adult manhood. Much merriment has been made at the expense of a local politician who opposed the extension of harbour accommodation, on the ground that the advent of more shipping would only tend to damage the colony by affording