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conscious of guilt: but here, we cannot but cess to the chapel or building, which has been fear that these mounds of earth cover more fitted up in accordance with their form of worthan the ordinary proportion of unrepentant of- ship. fenders. We shudder as we reflect upon the The prisoners' barrack, which is only used as mad career of crime and reckless depravity a dormitory, consists in a three-story building which has here been closed; the cares and suf- of a centre and two wings; the wards vary in ferings, the ungodliness and ingratitude which their capacity to accommodate from 30 to 100 lie interred within this narrow space. A mnod- men; each man is provided with a hammock ern writer has inquired, “What occasion is and two blankets. The hammocks are lasbed there now to extend life to a patriarchal age, in double tiers, not slung, but drawn out by when a man contrives to comprise all crime lanyards to the stanchions; the greatest numwithin seventy years ?” How many exam- ber sleeping in one room, at this time, was ples are here afforded, in which a far briefer cighty-two, a number far too great for discicareer has exhausted wickedness, in all its plive, or for the effectual repression of that most hideous forms? How large a proportion of odious crime, whose prevalence is the most rethe occupants of this abode of the dead have volting feature in the Statistics of the Probamet an untimely and violent end? Here, a
This growing cril has not esrange of parallel mounds marks where thirteen caped the notice of legislations at home, but mutincers fell in one day, by the fire of the beyond deprecating its existence, and censurmilitary. There, and there again, a cluster of ing colonial subordinates, no remedy has hithergraves indicates that the perpetrators of cold to been adrised or suggested; the difficulties blooded murders have passed, not singly, but for providing such are manifest, where the in bands of ten or twelve, from the gallows to crime has almost ceased to be held other than
venial by these degraded classes. In Norfolk Accident has concurred, with more than usu Island the practice seemed to confer an inal frequency, to assist the turbulence of pas- fluence and preeminence in this commonwealth sion and premature decay in filling up this of infamy; perhaps the true cause of its concemetery. ` Many soldiers are noted on their tinuance and increase is to be found in the headl-stones, as having been drowned on the grand and fundamental error of the Probation " bar," when employed on duty as a boat System ; that aggregation of criminals in large guard; some accidentally shot when capturing bodies for labor by day, and to sleep at night, absconders in the bush. It was crossing the without sufficient and trustworthy supervision,
bar," on his return from a shooting excur or suitable arrangements of dormitories. sion at Philip Island, that the Honorable Cap The utmost cleanliness is preserved with retain Best, 50th regiment, met his death at an gard to the rooms and bedding, to attend to early age. A heavy mass of masonry marks which, waresmen are appointed who are exempt bis grave and records his fate.
from other labor. The overseers were housed Upon the principle, I persumc, that death in the right wing of the building, in two rooms, is a universal leveller, or that all here have somewhat more comfortably fitted, having died for their country's good, all ranks and standing berths and additional bedding. On condition, bound as well as free, are interred the table were a lamp and a Bible, and against almost indiscriminately in the same enclosure ; | the wall I noticed a board of instructions for the aristocrat sleeps in death within a few yards religious exercises, compiled and signed by an of the felon fresh from the drop.
ex-chaplain. On inquiry, I found that the
practice of morning and evening prayer, (ex“There they alike in tremling hope repose.”
clusive of the regular daily services), which On our arrival at the island, the number of formerly prevailed in this ward, had fallen into prisoners on the settlement was about eleven desuetude; my informant, the wardsman, said hundred; in these were comprised all the so- he could not give any particular reason, he called " old hands,” which term is applied to only knew it was so. They still agreed very colonially convicted prisoners, sent here from well, but they had given up the Bible. In Sydney and Hobart 'Town, in contradistinction the morning they were too sleepy to read, and to the arrivals direct from England, who are in the evening too tired! This was candid, at known as new hands."
the least, and it recurred to me that a similar It would, of course, scem judicious to retain state of affairs was rather prevalent in other on the settlement, where means of coercion are communities, where the excuse was less admore readily available, the most desperate missible. characters in this lawless community; in ad A lofty wall surrounds the barrack, which is dition to these, all the prisoners who profess built near the sea, not many yards from highRomanism are located here, to afford them ac water mark. Within the enclosure are several
detached buildings; on one side is a range | tural department was unable to supply; an appropriated as the Romish Chapel ; the cor- instance of gross neglect or mismanagement. responding one, on the opposite side, is the It was necessary, however, to furnish an Protestant place of worship. The vestry-room equivalent; but it will scarcely be credited serves as the receptacle for the few works which elsewhere, that a few ounces of salt pork were constitute the prisoners' library; the books issued to eaeh man, as a substitute for vegetawere a very indifferent selection, chiefly landed bles; much dissatisfaction was excited by this from the convict ships, from my experience of forced and unholy alliance between varieties which, I had come to the conclusion that they of junk, but there was no alternative but to were supplied by contract, without reference to receive this new version of the Barmecides' any other object than the advantage of the con- feast, to swallow the pork, and applaud the tractor. Adjacent to this building, a wretch beef and greens. ed stone-paved room serves as court-bouse or A fresh ration, usually pork, is issued about police office, by day, and as a school-room in ten times, perhaps, during the year; with these the evening; there is instruction daily, from 6 exceptions, the convicts on Norfolk Island do to 8, P. M., for such as choose to attend. The not get fresh meat, reserving always that to numbers of these fluctuate; at the time I in which they help themselves on divers ocquired, the average daily attendance was forty, casions. This sort of appropriation would out of seven hundred. Rather a discouraging seem to be by no means uncommon, for on result this, for the enthusiasts of the Probation reference to a commissariat memo, I find that system, the moral and religious regenerators. during the first quarter in 1846, there were The schoolmaster (a convict) is assisted by in- illegally killed one head of horned cattle, structors, volunteers from their own body, seventy-four sheep, and three pigs. At one whose attendance seemed to be irregular. The time, this irregularity was very prevalent, and chaplains, of course, exercise a general super- led to crimes of a stin more serious nature. intendence over the schools, of which there is Previous to an arrival, a constable had deone at each of the three stations.
tected two prisoners with a portion of a sheep, The hours of labor are from sunrise to sunset, recently killed ; having shouldered the mutton, one hour is allowed for breakfast, and one for he desired the culprits to accompany him; on dinner, in the winter : during the six summer the rrad, the devil tempted these miscreants to months, an additional hour used to be allowed treat the constable as they had already served for the latter meal, but the practice no longer the sheep; his body was found lifeless and exists. The bell for rising rings at 5, A. M.; mutilated in a thicket not far from the settle after prayers, the different gangs are mustered ment. Two men were tried for the murder at out, and start, in charge of overseers, to labor at the next Criminal Commission Court ; the case, their respective posts, in various parts of the resting entirely upon circumstantial evidence, island. At 5, P. M., they knock off work, was one of great difficulty, but it ended in a and at six o'clock are rung into prayers, conviction, and both parties suffered the expreparatory to muster and locking up. treme penalty of the law, protesting their in
The prisoners' breakfast consists of “hom- nocence to the last. iny," i.e., maize-meal boiled with water and To complete our survey of the prisoners' a little salt, to render it more palatable, it is accommodation. — Adjoining the barrack is usually eaten with a small quantity of fat or another enclosure, known as the “lumber "slush,” the skimming of the flesh pot : habit yard.” A portion of this is devoted to workhas reconciled the old hands” to this hominy, shops for carpenters, coopers, twiners, and but, to the new comers, it is so distasteful that other handicraftsmen employed in the Engithe stomach frequently rejects it. The dinner neer Department. In the remainder of the is of salt beef, usually of very inferior quality, enclosure some miserable sheds are raised losing much in the cooking. Supper the against the walls : in these the prisoners take same as breakfast.
their meals, and worse accommodation for The prescribed daily ration for convicts, as that purpose was certainly never beheld. Taextracted from the book of local regulations, bles and forms, black with age and dirt, out is
of repair, and insufficient in number, were 1 lb. of salt beef
1 oz. of sugar scattered about without arrangement or uni11.2 lb. of maize-mcal 1-2 oz. of soap formity. The sheds open to the wind and 2 lbs. of sweet potatoes 1-2 oz. of salt. clouds of dust, the roofs not water tight, the
At Norfolk Island this is liable to variation. walls and rafters black and filthy - no shelves, The most valuable and palatable part of the nor conveniences of any kind for stowing ration is the sweet potatoes, and these, for away utensils ; the floor of mud, full of holes many months during our sojourn, the agricul- | and fissures, no facilities for cleaning or drain.
ing — a wretched, comfortless stye. In no half-pay of the Royal Navy; the Assistants other manner can it be fully designated. were many of them retired non-commissioned This certainly struck me as the most defective officers; no objection can be raised to the item in the interior economy; whatever may classes from whence these appointments are be the quantity or quality of the meals, they filled. All that we have to say on the subject should be served with decency. We can is, that they are anything but sinecures, and conceive nothing more calculated to brutalize that where the duties are conscientiously perand foster a spirit of discontent and reckless- formed, the salary is merely remunerative. ness, than a disregard of these minor morals, The free police constitute a very small portion the common decencies of life.
of the entire number; the majority of the Near to the entrance to the prisoners' bar- force is selected from the most active and rack is a police station and a military guard trustworthy of the convict body: most of the room : the latter is raised, and so constructed Sub-Overseers are drawn from the same source, as to command the external approach and the and many of the Overseers, although perhaps interior of the enclosure. On this, as on all free, or ticket-of-leave men, have recently other military parts of the Island, the utmost emerged from the convict class. This we sub vigilance and the most rigid precautions are mit to be an error in practice, for we have reanecessarily enforced.
son to conclude that these men, whatever their It became at one time a practice for the in- merits, and these are often doubtful, are at the mates of the barracks, after being locked up best inconvenient instruments to work with, for the night, to annoy in various ways, both owing to the feelings of jealousy and aversion by word and deed, the sentry posted on a with which they are almost universally viewed platform in rear of the barracks. One night by those over whom they are placed in authora sentry was pelted on his post with lemon ity. peel and other missiles from the windows : the Such appointments are the mischievous reusual steps taken to repress irregularities were
sults of a mistaken economy. without effect. After repeated warnings that he In Van Dieman's Land prisoners are frewould fire unless the offenders desisted, and quently worked under a military guard. Solbeing dared to do so, the sentry at length did diers so employed receive payment (one sbilfire, and with such effect that the ball passed ling per diem) for this arduous and responsithrough the jaw of one man and the leg of ble duty, which involves, likewise, the de`another, a result affording pretty good evi- struction of additional clothing. At Norfolk dence of the close packing of the inmates, if Island, the receptacle of the most desperate of nothing else. Unfortunately, it proved ruffians, the gangs are rarely placed under imthat neither of the wounded men were the mediate military supervision; here again the offending parties, but a salutary effect was penny-wise and pound-foolish policy prerails. equally produced, and the matter rested here. Overseers are beaten and stabbed for want of Nor let me not be accused of levity in thus protection ; there is a lavish expenditure of hualluding to so untoward an occurrence. The man life, but a most penurious oulay of diurnal position of the military on Norfolk Island was shillings. Facts are said to be stubborn arguat that time one of peculiar difficulty ; owing ments, and of these, in the shape of assaults to incapacity and defective judgment in the upon Overseers, there was no lack during our Civil Administration, a state of affairs had short experience. Within a few months we grown up which threatened the subversion of saw seventeen individuals brought to the galall subordination amongst the convict popula- lows for offences of this nature. tion, and which soon after led to a crisis, I think it was on the second or tbird Sunevontful of horrors at the time, but a har- day after our arrival, that a messenger entered binger of change, and of a more tranquil fu- the barrack-room in which divine service was ture.
performed to the military; a note was handed The prisoners on Norfolk Island are formed to the clergyman, who did not immediately in four divisions, whereof two are at the Set- open it, as there was an evident stir outside ; tlement, and one each at the remaining sta some impatience and excitement were manitions, Longridge and Cascade. The disci- fested. The note was now opened and read; pline and arrangement of these are vested it was a requisition from the civil commandant (under the chief civil authority) in Superin- for the aid of the military. The congregatendents, Assistant Superintendents, Over-tion were dismissed, and in a few minutes a seers, and Sub-Overseers. There is, in addi- subaltern's party was under arms, and protion, a strong body of Island police. Of the ceeded to the prisoners' barracks. On the four Superintendents, two were retired officers evening before, a constable had been stabbed of the line, and the other two, Lieutenants on and beaten by five men. An attempt to ap
prehend the offenders and remove them to convenience of impending famine, running jail was resisted, and a determination to short of all such supplies and provisions as screen them was shown by the rest of their the island cannot furnish, and in this is incomrades. The bayonets of the military cluded everything beyond the bare ration. restored order, and enforced obedience; it The garrison was more than once without would appear, however, that the spirit of re- sugar, not even a particle for the sick in hossistance was only repressed by the actual pital. At one time the spirits ran short, the presence of the troops, for combined acts of
men were put on half allowance, and it was insubordination were of frequent occurrence, only on the day that the last gallon was issued, keeping us constantly on the qui vive. But that a vessel arrived with a fresh supply a short time elapsed after the incident before A gain, on another occasion, all the wheat and mentioned, when some Overseers were again flour in store proved to be damaged and musty, assaulted; the chief constable going to their so that for some wecks we were existing on rescue, was thrown down and jumped upon ; food of a most unpalatable and unwholesome he escaped on this occasion with four broken nature. ribs, and recovered, only to perish miserably, , This was not a state of things tending to a few inonths after, at the hands of the same render men contented in a position where all miscreants. Enough has been said to show else was intolerable, and where the excitements the insecurity of human life here, and to af- of honorable ambition, with the prospect of ford grounds for assuming that a small sum reaping honors and promotion, were wanting to disbursed to the military for extra duty, as in brace the energies and sustain the spirits. other penal settlements, would have been well Policy, if not justice, might in such a case bestowed. But at Norfolk Island, where the dictate the necessity of carefully providing at services of the military are most valuable, least for the physical comfort of men, nor are and their duties most arduous, it is to be ob- the above remarks applicable solely to the matserved that the least regard is paid to their ter of eating and drinking. By neglect in the comfort and welfare. Every article of island despatch of vessels, the clothing both for the produce sold by the Government, bears a com convicts and the garrison has been delayed paratively high price ; even extra fresh meat long after the time of issue, and in the case of and flour are dearer than in Van Dieman's the military, shirts and shoe-leather became Land ; vegetables are not procurable by the solu commodities which no wealth could purchase. diers, except such as they may cultivate them From the above facts, coupled with the inevselves, and their military duties will not ad. itable loss and waste upon the periodical supmit of their doing this without inconvenience. plies of stores laid in from Van Dieman's Milk and butter used formerly to be supplied Land, the expense of insurance, &c., thereby gratuitously, but this boon has been with enhancing the price of everything, we are jusdrawn. The number of convict servants al- tified in urging that an island allowance should lowed to officers for outdoor work has been have been, and must eventually be, granted to reduced to one, and having already alluded to both men and officers of the garrison of this the scanty barrack accommodation, the want island. of a school, library, or even a suitable place I cannot but smile on recording, that prior for divine worship, it must be conceded that to embarking for Norfolk Island, and then a the military here are placed on the most disad- stranger in the colony, a high authority in vantageous footing. Assuredly one of the Van Dieman's Land, who might have been greatest sources of discomfort to the free resi- better informed, after condoling with me on dents on Norfolk Island, is the uncertainty my evil fortune in being doomed to such and irregularity of the communication with unenviable service, wound up with this morsel Van Dieman's Land. We have understood of consolation, that at any rate it would prove from the older residents that whilst the island an economical quarter, since local circumstanwas a dependency of Sydney, the Govern- ces rendered it impossible to spend any money. ment vessel might be calculated on, with toler- I hope that I have sufficiently exposed this able certainty. At any rate, there was a reg- fallacy ; still
, as we have heard of a solitary exularity in the despatch, and the only delay ception, which might be quoted in disproof of originated in the chances of wind and weath- the argument in favor of the grant of an iser; but during our residence we have known land allowance, we feel bound in conscience to a period of six months to elapse with only record it. two arrivals from Hobart Town.
There is, then, a tradition on Norfolk island, aside the privation of all correspondence, an of some subaltern, who, during a residence of evil of no inconsiderable magnitude in the two years, saved one hundred pounds out of present day, we incurred the more serious in- I his pay! Though this was stated to us in
sober seriousness, we tremble whilst we record o guard against an evil which endangers the the fact, lest some of the Williamses and Joe Health and safety of the residents, both bond and Humes of the House should make it the ground- free, on a penal settlement, endangered, by the work for a proposition to reduce by one half precarious and uncertain voyages of sailing the pay of officers at Norfolk Island. But to vessels. Nor is this a contingency of recent proceed : this history, which borders upon ro- date, or without precedent. mance, does not stop here, but goes on to re A writer on Van Dieman's Land, some four cord that this exemplary disciple of economy years ago, in describing a visit to Macquaric remitted the amount so saved to his respected Harbor, on the west coast of Tasmania, formparent or "Governor,” to adopt the phrascol- erly the colonial penal settlement, speaks strong ogy of the day. We have heard pretty often ly of the inconvenience and danger arising from of "Gorernors" being bled to the tune of the defective system we have deprecated. We four or five-hundred per annum, to pay for cham- | learn from him," Macquarie Harbor is a post pagne and cigars, breast-pins and bull-dogs, as difficult of egress as of access, and from the pastry-cooks and livery stable keeper's bills, self-same cause, the prevalence of westerly but this event of making a remittance to such a winds. When occupied as a penal settlement, quarter, we would humbly submit to be unique the inhabitants were frequently in a state of and unprecedented, and to argue a degre: extremity, nearly bordering on starvation, the of self denial, and an originality of conception vessels of the colonial marine having repeatwhich entitles the perfornier to a distinguished edly been wholly unable to round South West place in the annals of military finance. Per | Cape, and forced to bear up before the fury of haps, after all, the young gentleman was a bit the gale. A passage of two months' duration of a wag, and intended this feat as one of has more than once occurred; and there have those practical jokes for which the age is so been instances of whale-boats having crawled remarkable. Whatever his motive, we can along the coast, in the hope of expediting only say that he has shown himself worthy of relief. a niche in the museum of the United Service This difficulty of transit, and the time inerInstitution. We should, however, reserve itably consumed, rendered inspection by the him for more useful purposes, and should we chief authority next to an impossibility, and ever meet with him, shall surely pounce upon no doubt tended materially to the abandonhim, and send him to the Horse Guards, there ment of the place; but neither westerly winds, to be exhibited in a glass case, as a model for shoals nor bars, are sufficient reasons for such the officers of the British army, a sealed pat- a step. seeing that, in this age of steam, the run tern for subalterns.
from Hobart Town and back might easily be The apparently defective means of transport accomplished once a week, and with ample time and communication at the disposal of the gov- to load and unload. A couple of powerful ernment of Van Dieman's Land, induce me to steamers of three hundred tons, drawing from revert for a moment to the subject, for the seven to eight feet of water, placed at the gorpurpose of pointing out that it can only be ef- ernor's disposal, would render the most invalfectually remedied by the establishment of uable aid in the furtherance of government steam communication. None of the Australian measures, an aid of the most profitable and governments have any steam power at com- beneficial description, saving a large expendimand, nor is this deficiency supplied or miti- ture and a vast amount of time, of necessity gated by private speculation, or commercial most wastefully consumed by sailing vessels in enterprise. In Van Dieman's Land, the col- the transport of convicts, stores, supplies, &c., onial marine consists, we believe, in three &c. small craft, which, to judge from results, are If steam communication were desirable in inadequate for the service of Norfolk Island the case of Macquarie Harbor, it is doubly nealone. Steam navigation is truly in its infancy cessary for the isolated settlement of Norfolk in this part of the world, and a puny and sickly Island. With a population of desperate charinfancy it is. New South Wales, after half a acters, guarded by a scanty military force, century of commercial progression, can still without the means of making known their boast of only a few small steamers, for coast wants under any emergency, it is highly injuing and river service ; whilst the existence of dicious to allow more than eight weeks to elapse only one steam-boat of inferior capacity, plying without communication. That period should between Sidney and Van Dieman's Land, is be the maximum. sufficiently indicative of the want of capital On the score of economy, the present sysand commercial enterprise in the Australian tem of transporting troops and stores in the Colonies. It rests not, however, with the community at large, but with the government,
* U. S. Mag. No. 178, Sept., 1843.