Page:Transportation and colonization.djvu/220

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206

TRANSPORTATION

such as the breakwater at Newcastle, are carried on by convict labourers, under the control and management of the officer in charge of that department. This, however, is evidently a most unwise arrangement; the duties of a surveyor-general, and of a director of public works, being totally different from those implied in the superintendence and management of convicts undergoing penal discipline. The consequences of such an arrangement are precisely what might be anticipated. The convicts at government labour are by no means under proper discipline, and are ever and anon breaking loose from their overseers, and committing depredations on the free inhabitants of their respective neighbourhoods; the quantum of labour they actually perform is proverbially insignificant as compared with their numbers; and the cost of their maintenance, and the consequent expense to the colonial government, are proportionably excessive. Under the proposed arrangement, however, the roads and other public works would still be carried on under the direction and inspection of the surveyor-general and the director of public works; but the convicts employed in these operations would be under the entire management and control of a third department, directly and exclusively responsible for their penal disci-