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2-090 (Original)

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author,male,Bentley, Richard,un addressee
Narrative Discourse
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Public Written
Ward, 1969
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2-090.txt — 2 KB

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In order to show the opinions entertained by some of the convicts, as regards the colony, I will give an extract from one of sundry letters which I have read, written by them to their friends in England, using the writer's own language and punctuation, but altering the spelling. He requests that his wife will come out, and bring their children with her, and then proceeds as follows:
'I am perfectly well satisfied with my situation thanks be to God that has placed me under those that does not despise a prisoner. No, my love, I am [not?] treated as a prisoner but as a free man, there is no one to nay a wrong word to me. I have good usage plenty of good meat and clothes with easy work. I have 362 sheep to mind, either of our lads could do it with ease. The beat of men was shepherds. Jacob served for his wife, yea and for a wife did he keep sheep and so will I, and my love we shall be more happy here than ever we should be at home if happiness is to be found on earth. Don't fail to come out I never thought this country what I have found it. I did expect to be in servile bondage and to be badly used but I am better off this day than half the people in England, and I would not go back to England if any one would pay my passage. [131] England has the name of a free country and this is a bond country, but shame my friends and countrymen where is your boasted freedom. Look round you, on every side there is distress, rags, want, and all are in one sorrowful state of want. Happiness and prosperity has long taken their flight from Albion's once happy isle.'
He then alludes to the low price of provisions, and adds: 'Except you live in a town you have no rent to pay, for each man builds his own house, no tithes, no poor-rates, and no taxes of any kind. And this is bondage is it?
There are some other amusing remarks in this original composition, but the above will suffice to show that convicts lead not always the unhappy life they are supposed to do, unless through their own bad conduct. The writer of the above letter bears such an excellent character that his master has sent to England for his wife and family, with the intention of trying to be of some use to them. Those employed at the stock-stations have little to do save to ride about and look after the cattle, or sheep; indeed, much of their time is passed in hunting kangaroos, or emus, and a most independent kind of life they seem to lead, as indeed I have already shown.