Page:Transportation and colonization.djvu/53

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



Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania; the population of which amounted, at the commencement of the war, to 1,800,000, that of the New England colonies being about 700,000, It was therefore over a territory extending from north to south from six to seven hundred geographical miles, and of boundless extent to the westward,—a country, moreover, containing, at the close of the period referred to, a population of upwards of a million and a half,—that 50,000 British convicts were slowly; dispersed in the course of a century and upwards. These convicts were literally bought by the planters for the terms specified in their respective warrants, and worked with their negro slaves under the lash of an overseer," as is testified by a contemporary writer; for it would seem that the British government of that period never inquired how the convicts were treated in the American colonies, provided they were only prevented from returning home.

The testimony of President Jefferson, as to the convicts transported to America being generally eaten up with disease, seldom marrying, and having few children, is to be received with as many grains of salt as his statement as to their gross number. There is no reason for supposing that convicts would be more diseased on their