Page:Transportation and colonization.djvu/188

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reduced, it is still kept up; the number of convicts at the settlement being, by the last accounts, 293 male and 60 female.

The improvements effected at Moreton Bay consist in the erection of certain buildings, most of which will, doubtless, be useful for some purpose or other, should the settlement be thrown open to free emigration; and in the clearing and cultivation of land. But as penal settlements in New South Wales have hitherto been conducted without any view to their ultimate destination, as localities for the future establishment of free emigrants; and as there could be no apparent necessity for bringing a large extent of land into cultivation at such settlements; the real value of the improvements of all kinds effected by means of convict labour at Moreton Bay would probably not amount to more than a tenth or perhaps rather a twentieth part of its actual cost to the mother country, if the property so improved were to be brought to the hammer. And so long as penal settlements are conducted on the same principle, they will be equally costly and unprofitable.

The results of the land-selling system, however, even at the present moment, would enable His Majesty's government to maintain the settlement of Moreton Bay, and thereby to turn the labour expended in that vicinity for the last