Page:Transportation and colonization.djvu/150

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was not to be had in the colony; and it was not to be procured from the mother country but at great pecuniary expense and risk. In such circumstances, convict labour could not possibly have been dispensed with by the free inhabitants of the colony without absolute ruin; and the subject, therefore, of the continuance or discontinuance of the system in practice could not admit of argumentation. I am happy to state, however, that while the assignment system has, during the last five or six years, been becoming more and more objectionable every day, from the combined operation of the causes above enumerated, as well as from the assimilating property of concentrated depravity, when allowed to exert its natural influence on the matériel within its reach; the circumstances of the colony have during the same period become completely changed, both in regard to the practicability of procuring free labour from the mother country to any extent, and to the means of enabling the colonial executive to employ at the public works of the colony, and under efficient superintendence, the whole convict population.

In the year 1831, His Majesty's government were induced, on the representations of certain philanthropic persons in England, to discontinue the practice of making free grants of land to free