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1-168 (Text)

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addressee author,male,Wentworth, William Charles,29
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Clark, 1977
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1-168-plain.txt — 3 KB

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The covert aim of these men is to convert the ignominy of the great body of the people into an hereditary deformity. They would hand it down from father to son, and raise an eternal barrier of separation between their offspring and the offspring of the unfortunate convict.  They would establish distinctions which may serve hereafter to divide the colonists into castes; and although none among them dares publicly avow that future generations should be punished for the crimes of their progenitors, yet such are their private sentiments; and they would have the present race branded with disqualifications, not more for the sake of pampering their own vanity, than with a view to reflect disgrace on the offspring of the disfranchised parent, and thus cast on their own children and descendants that future splendor and importance, which they consider to be their present peculiar and distinguishing characteristics. Short-sighted fools! they forsee not the consequences of their narrow machinations! They know not that they would be sowing the seeds of future discords and commotions, and that by exalting their immediate descendants, they would occasion the eventual degradation and overthrow of their posterity. Such would be the result of their ambition; for it is the curse of injustice that it brings with it sooner or later its own punishment. . Shall they in the short space of thirty years forget the benevolent designs for which this colony was founded, and convert what was intended as an asylum for repentant vice, not into a house merely of salutary correction, which may moderate with reviving morality and cease entirely with complete reformation, but into a prison of endless torture, where though the sufferings of the body may terminate, the worst species of torture the endurements and mortifications of the soul, are to end only with existence? Shall a vile faction be allowed to inflict on the unfortunate convict a punishment infinitely greater than that to which he has been sentenced by the violated majesty of the law? Has not a jury of impartial freemen solemnly investigated the case of every individual who has been transported to this colony? And have not the measure and duration of their punishments been apportioned to their respective offences? Is it then for any body of men to assert that the law has been too lenient, and that it is necessary to inflict an ulterior punishment which shall have no termination but in the grave? Shall the unhappy culprit, exiled from his native shore, and severed perhaps for ever from the friends of his youth, the objects of his first and best affections, after years of suffering and atonement, still find no resting place, - no spot where he may hide his shame and endeavour to forget his errors? Shall the finger of scorn and derision be pointed at him wherever he betake himself? And must he for ever wander a recreant and outcast on the face of the earth, seeking in vain some friendly shore, where he may at length be freed from ignominious disabilities, and restored to the long lost enjoyment of equal rights and equal protection with his fellows?