for settlers were selected from the remainder. Applications were made for them to the principal superintendent, who sent whomsoever he thought fit. Occasionally the Governor gave him directions to supply some well-known settler with men of a particular stamp. But the settlers generally were not permitted to apply to the Governor, and applications for men of particular trades were forbidden. Those prisoners who were still left were sent to country districts in numbers proportionate to the requisitions made by the resident magistrates. Large proprietors applied to the superintendent, but smaller folk applied through the magistrates who distributed the convicts on their arrival from Sydney. A few even of the large landowners preferred to get their servants in this way, not caring to have anything to do with the superintendent, who had himself been a convict. They disliked Macquarie's system, which took the place of drawing lots and then choosing from the whole number of convicts in the order thus ascertained. The magistrates often conducted the distribution in this way, and Marsden introduced a refinement upon it which was very illustrative of colonial feeling. The lots were drawn in two divisions, and those of the first division chose their men before the second draw took place. The first division consisted of free men and the second of emancipists.
Such was the manner of distributing the prisoners on the arrival of a transport. But throughout the year constant applications for servants were made both to the superintendent and the magistrates. These were satisfied by assignments from the Government gangs in Sydney by the superintendent and in the other districts by the magistrates. But in 1820 the latter were ordered to refer all applications to Sydney on the ground that the superintendent would best know what men could be spared from Government service.
- e.g., Some for Sir John Jamison; a gardener for Hannibal Macarthur; a blacksmith for Cox. Appendix, Bigge's Reports. R.O., MS.
- G.G.O., 10th January, 1817. Humbler persons found it very hard to get mechanics. A tanner, who had great difficulty in getting a workman fit for his trade, said, " I did apply and was told none had arrived; but I know that one was sent to Mr. Cox, another to an overseer as an assigned man on the store; this man I employed by paying the overseer 5s. per week!" Evidence, Appendix to Bigge's Reports. R.O., MS.
- From 1814 to 1820, 2,418 mechanics arrived and of these 1,587 were assigned to Government. Macquarie to Hannibal Macarthur, 20th November, 1820. For the whole of this subject see Evidence and Documents in Appendix to Bigge's Reports. R.O., MS.