Spaniards. The latter, indeed, do not appear to have acted so systematically in this respect as the former; having merely extended pardon to certain descriptions of criminals confined in the gaols of the mother country, on condition of their enlisting as soldiers or sailors, or as menial servants generally, to be employed exclusively in the colonies in the New World. The Portuguese, however, appear to have been long in the habit of sending regular draughts of convicts, to be employed in hard labour, to their colonial settlements on the coast of Africa and in the East Indies; and, at the present day, convicts from the Brazils are transported to the penal settlement of Fernando da Noronha, an island situated on the fourth parallel of south latitude, off cape St. Roque, on the coast of South America.
By the statute of 39 Elizabeth, cap. 4., banishment, implying merely expulsion from the kingdom, was decreed for the first time in England as the punishment of "dangerous rogues and vagabonds." In the exercise of his royal prerogative, however, James I. was pleased virtually to convert this statute into "an Act for the transportation of criminals to America;" by addressing a letter to the treasurer and council of the colony of Virginia, in the year 1619, "commanding them to send a hundred dissolute persons to Virginia, which the