Page:Transportation and colonization.djvu/36

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



to the convict, a condition of incessant labour and extreme privation. I have reason to believe that this idea was well-founded; and accordingly so great was the terror with which the very idea of transportation inspired criminals in the mother country, that in Mr. Montagu's work on the 'Punishment of Death,' there are well-authenticated instances adduced of female convicts, under sentence of death, actually refusing their lives on the condition of being transported to Botany Bay. So long therefore as this idea prevailed, transportation was really formidable as a punishment, and the prospect of such a punishment must consequently have operated in the way of prevention as strongly as that of any other punishment whatever. Why it afterwards ceased in great measure to be operative in this way, will appear sufficiently obvious in the sequel.

2. In regard to the corrective or reformatory character and tendency of transportation; this also must depend in great measure, if not entirely, on the treatment to which the criminal is subjected, and the sort of penal discipline through which he has to pass in the place of his transportation. Antecedently to all experience on the subject, "reason itself would teach us," to use the language of Filangieri already quoted, that it is possible to transform a bad man into a good one,