Page:A lecture on the evils of emigration and transportation.djvu/23

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nature of the penal laws, and for the sake of obtaining indulgences, they frequently deprive innocent men of liberty for the purpose of obtaining it themselves. This I could easily prove, but time will not allow me.

1435 Chain Gangs.—Composed of very incorrigible characters, there are two of them, one employed at a place called Bridgewater, throwing a bridge over the Derwent, about 11 miles from Hobart Town; the other chain-gang is employed in making a wharf for the landing of merchandize at Hobart Town, to induce ships to come along-side and discharge their cargoes. Here the greatest vigilance for the safe keeping of the prisoners is absolutely necessary, as the continual bustle affords frequent opportunity for them to abscond, which they seldom omit to embrace, they are under the military at both places, and wear irons on each leg, and yellow clothing; prisoners are sent to these gangs for what are called serious offences, or for a repetition of minor ones; their lives are truly miserable, being debarred of speaking to any but their unfortunate companions; their sentences in these gangs varies from 6 months to as many years, according to the nature of their crimes.

391 Men Missing.—These are convicts who have taken to the bush. These unfortunate creatures are driven to this dreadful alternative through the cruel usage of the settlers and overseers of the different road parties and chain-gangs. Allow me to inform you that the country is covered over with large trees called stingy, bark, gum, peppermint, light-wood, box, sysafras, cherry, wattle, and the oak. Underneath these grow dog-wood, tea tree, and honey suckle with various other sorts, making one dense forest, called in that country bush. Then these unfortunate men take into this dreary district to drag out their miserable existence; the major part of them subsist upon kangaroo and opossum flesh; when this fails, they eat one another; be not surprised, it is true; parties of 8 and 10 have left together their wretched homes, if such places of torture is deserving of the name, and taken to the bush, and procured a subsistence as long as possible, and then have murdered their companions, until only one has remained out of the various numbers, and when these solitary beings have been apprehended, the flesh of their last companion has been found upon them. I have seen these men executed, and heard them declare in their dying mo-