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1-019 (Original)

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author,male,Philip, Arthur,52 addressee,male
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Government English
Imperial Correspondence
Clark, 1977
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1-019.txt — 3 KB

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Experience, sir, has taught me how difficult it is to make men industrious who have passed their lives in habits of vice and indolence. In some cases it has been found impossible; neither kindness nor severity have had any effect; and tho' I can say that the convicts in general behave well, there are many who dread punishment less than they fear labour; and those who have not been brought up to hard work, which are by far the greatest part, bear it badly. They shrink from it the moment the eye of the overseer is turned from them.
I do not [wish] for many farmers to be sent out as superintendents, for few farmers will be found equal to the charge of a considerable number of convicts; but if two good men could be found, who, as well as being good husbandmen, had sufficient spirit to discharge the trust which must repose in them, they will be of great use. They will be necessary as the number of convicts increase, and the more so as the person who at present has that charge will not settle in the country. It was supposed that a sufficient number of good farmers might have been found amongst the convicts to have superintended the labours of the rest; and men have been found who answer the purpose of preventing their straggling from their work, but none of them are equal to the charge of directing the labour of a number of convicts, with whom most of them are linked by crimes they would not wish to have brought forward, and very few of the convicts have been found to be good farmers. [...] 
I wish, sir, to point out the great difference between a settlement formed as this is and one formed by farmers and emigrants who have been used to labour, and who reap the fruits of their own industry. Amongst the latter few are idle or useless, and they feel themselves interested in their different employments. On the contrary, amongst the convicts we have few who are inclined to be industrious, or who feel themselves anyways interested in the advantages which are to accrue from their labours, and we have many who are helpless and a dead-weight on the settlement. Many of those helpless wretches who were sent out in the first ships are dead, and the numbers of those who remained are now considerably increased. I will, sir, insert an extract from the surgeon's report, who I directed to examine these people. [55] 
"After a careful examination of the convicts, I find upwards of one hundred who must ever be a burden to the settlement, not being able to do any kind of labour, from old age and chronical diseases of long standing. Amongst the females there is one who has lost the use of her limbs upwards of three years, and amongst the males two are perfect idiots."
Such are the people sent from the different gaols and from the hulks, where it is said the healthy and the artificers are retained. The sending out of the disordered and the helpless clears the gaols, and may ease the parishes from which they are sent; but, sir, it is obvious that this settlement, instead of being a colony which is to Support itself, will if the practice is continued, remain for years a burthen to the mother country. The desire of giving you a full and clear information on this head has made me enter into this detail. Of the nine hundred and thirty males sent out by the last ships, two hundred and sixty-one died on board and fifty have died since landing. The number of sick this day is four hundred and fifty; and many who are not reckoned as sick have barely strength to attend to themselves. Such is our present state; and when the last ships arrived we had not sixty people sick in the colony. But, sir, I hope the many untoward circumstances which the colony has hitherto met with are now done away; and I flatter myself that after two years from this time we shall not want any further supply of flour.