Australian Access Federation

You are here: Home Corpora Corpus of Oz Early English 1-020 (Original)

1-020 (Original)

Item metadata
addressee,male author,male,Philip, Arthur,52
Word Count :
Plaint Text :
Government English
Imperial Correspondence
Clark, 1977
Document metadata

1-020.txt — 4 KB

File contents

If settlers are sent out many difficulties will be removed; they may choose those situations to which, for the above reasons, I cannot at this moment detach convicts; and I have had the honor of observing in my former dispatches that settlers appear to be absolutely necessary. If they bring with them people to clear and cultivate the land, and provisions to support those they bring with them, they will want very little assistance from Government after they arrive; but no soldier or other person in this settlement could at present accept of the assistance of convicts in cultivating the land which might be granted them on the conditions pointed out in the instructions - "of feeding and cloathing them." [64] I believe, sir, that it will be little less than two years from the time of granting the lands before those lands will support the cultivators. I may err, but I give my opinion to the best of my judgment.
A settler who has to depend on his own labour will get on very slowly, but as there are some places on which but little timber is growing, such spots shall be selected for those non-commissioned officers and privates who may be inclined to settle; and I shall govern myself by the instructions I have received, unless otherwise directed.
If the settlers first sent out are, in addition to their knowledge as farmers, possessed of some little property, will it not, sir, act as a security for their industry? Men able to support themselves, if intelligent and industrious, I think cannot fail; but if people come out (and such, I fear, may offer) who are indolent, and having nothing to lose want that spur to industry, they may become a burthen to the settlement, for they cannot be left to starve. Could an hundred of those who have been sent out to form this colony be removed it would be greatly benefitted, since they are as great burthen here as they would be to their parishes if in England.
As it may appear that we have not made that advance towards supporting ourselves which may have been expected, I will, sir, beg leave to observe that in addition to those untoward circumstances, which have thrown the settlement so far back, it never yet has been possible to direct the labour of more than a small part of the convicts to the principal object. A civil and military establishment form a considerable part of our numbers, which is increased by women and children, all of whom are undoubtedly necessary, but are a deadweight on those who have to render the colony independent for the necessaries of life. Stores, barracks, and houses have required time, and we have still stores and barracks to build in the stead of those temporary ones at first erected. Settlers will secure themselves and their provisions in a short time, and everyone they feed will then he employed in cultivation.
As I thought the first settlers sent out might require more encouragement than those who might come out hereafter, I proposed in my last despatches giving them a certain number of convicts for two years, and supporting them during that time at the expense of the Crown. The number intended to receive that indulgence may be limited to the first fifteen; but I think, sir, much will depend on ensuring the success of the first settlers sent out, and who I presume will be good farmers. [65] The assistance proposed for them will certainly put them at their ease, if they are industrious men, and would not, I apprehend, be any great loss to the Crown.
In order to know in what time a man might be able to cultivate a sufficient quantity of ground to support himself, I last November ordered a hut to be built in a good situation, an acre of ground to be cleared, and once turned up it was put into the possession of a very industrious convict, who was told if he behaved well he should have thirty acres. This man had said the time for which he had been sentenced was expired, and wished to settle. He has been industrious, has received some little assistance from time to time, and now tells me that if one acre more is cleared for him he shall be able to support himself after next January, which I much doubt, but think he will do tolerably well after he has been supported for eighteen months. Others may prove more intelligent, though they cannot well be more industrious.