Page:Transportation and colonization.djvu/58

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44

TRANSPORTATION

15,249 were either convicts in actual bondage, or had arrived in the colony in that condition; or, in other words, the convicts and emancipated convicts were considerably more than ten times the number of the free emigrant population. Had the whole of these 1307 free emigrants been virtuous persons, one might well have asked, "What are these among so many?" but when it is borne in mind that a very considerable proportion of these emigrants consisted of dissolute persons, whose vicious example tended to demoralize the very convicts,—the peculiarly unfavourable circumstances in which the experiment of the transportation system, as a means of preventing crime and of reforming criminals, was made by Great Britain, will be sufficiently obvious.

There was doubtless a great change for the better during the governments of Sir Thomas Brisbane and Sir Ralph Darling, i. e. during the next ten years of the existence of the colony of New South Wales; a comparatively large number of respectable free emigrants having arrived and settled in the colony during that period, whose influence and example were highly favourable in discountenancing profligacy and criminality, and in encouraging the practice of virtue: but the disproportion of the free emigrant and convict classes of the community still continued to be felt, and to