Page:Transportation and colonization.djvu/176

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.



a certain fixed price before its expiration, the government would eventually, and at no distant period, be reimbursed for all their outlay in improvements, in addition to the payment of the original value of the land, while the settlers would experience comparatively little of the real hardship of settling in a forest. Labour of this kind is highly suitable for convicts undergoing penal discipline—much more so indeed than agriculture. Besides, on obtaining their freedom or tickets of leave, convicts, who had been trained to this species of labour in government employ, would betake themselves to such labour for hire, from habit as well as from necessity, and would thus become useful pioneers of civilization and improvement. At Moreton Bay, between the twenty-seventh and twenty-eighth parallels of south latitude, there has been a penal settlement established for more than ten years past. I should be sorry to say that the convicts at that settlement have not been usefully employed during that long period in growing wheat and maize, sweet potatoes and tobacco; but as they have cleared but a very small extent of land, and done comparatively little towards fitting the settlement for being eventually converted into a free settlement, I am persuaded that if their labour had been employed for these objects exclusively, it would have served