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.: While on his death-bed, all his papers on this subject were confided by him to the author of his narrative, who has faithfully extracted from them the following documents:
I. History of the Hulk Establishment. “ After the troubles with America commenced, the transporting of convicts to the colonies, was of course interrupted, and it became necessary to find out other places to send them to, as well as to adopt other modes of disposing them. Accordingly, in 1779, an act (19 Geo. III. c. 74.) was passed, by which offenders, ordered for transportation, might be sent to parts beyond seas, whether such parts were in America or elsewhere. Power was also given to His Majesty, by the same act, to appoint three supervisors, who were to purchase ground and erect there two Penitentiary Houses, the one to contain six hundred male, and the other three hundred female convicts, who were to be kept to hard labour therein, and for the more severe punishment of notorious offenders, it was made lawful to confine convicts liable to transportation, on board the hulks, under the management of superintendants, who were to keep them to hard labour, in cleansing the Thames, for a term not less than one year, nor more than five years; or if sentenced to fourteen years transportation, not exceeding seven years, thereby making confinement on board the hulks, a specific punishment, distinct from transportation, and considering it more severe in the comparative ratio of seven to fourteen years. The offenders were to be fed and clothed by superintendants, (which was done in a most miserable manner for more than twenty years,) and, on being discharged, were to receive a sum of money, (not less than 11. nor more than 31.) with decent clothing, which in fact it has been the custom to give them; viz., at Portsmouth, to the amount of il. 16s. 4d., and at Woolwich, from half a guinea to a guinea, each convict. This act to continue five years.
“ In 1783, nothing seems to have been done in regard to erecting the two Penitentiary Houses; therefore, at the conclusion of the American war, which occurred before any plan was formed for transporting offenders to Botany Bay, an act, the 24 Geo. III. c. 12. was passed for one year only, containing the same authority as before for the removal of convicts under sentence of transportation (or, having been capitally convicted and pardoned, conditionally, to be transported) to the Hulks or Houses of Correction.
“ The intention, however, of making confinement in the hulks a specific and distinct punishment in place of transportation, by this act seems to have been given up; and the hulks thenceforward were only to be considered as a temporary place of confinement for these offenders on their way to some part beyond the seas, in
pursuance of their sentence of transportation. “ During their stay on board the hulks, the overseers (by the late act called superintendants), were to feed and clothe them; and when the same could be done with safety, permit them to labour under such directions, limitations, and restrictions, as His Majesty should order; but not to force them to work against their consent ; and if they did work, to allow them half the profits of their labour, for their own use ; and whether they worked or not, the time of their stay on board the hulks was to go in reduction of the whole term of their sentence of transportation. In the meantime, they were to be treated as nearly to persons committed to Houses of Correction, as the nature of the case would admit.
By this act also, if it was found inconvenient to transport offenders to the place mentioned in the sentence, authority was given to transport them to any other place beyond the seas, which, by the court, should be deemed proper.
“ In 1784, the arrangement for transporting to Botany Bay was nearly completed; and, before the expiration of the last act another of the 24 Geo. III. c. 51. was passed for three years; and by this, inter alia, the Privy Council is authorised to transport to any place beyond sea, and the power of removing convicts to temporary places of confinement, either on land or water, is continued, they being kept while there to hard labour ; and the time served on board the hulks, as by the last act, to go in part of the term of transportation.
“ In 1787, certain parts of this act, as well as that of the 19th Geo. III. c. 74., as related to the transportation of felons beyond seas, was renewed by an act 28 Geo. III. c. 24., and has since been continued by 34 Geo. III. c. 60., 39 Geo. III. c. 51., 42 Geo. III. c. 28., and 46 Geo. III. c. 28., which was to expire in 1813, and by which the convicts are now confined, fed, clothed, and kept to hard labour, on board the hulks, under the management of overseers appointed by His Majesty.
“On a perusal of one of the foregoing acts of parliament (24 Geo. III. c. 51.), it will be seen that the legislature had abandoned the idea which was entertained by the 19 Geo. III. c. 74., of making hard labour on board the hulks a specific punishment, distinct from transportation, and of course could not mean that the convicts sent afterwards to them, should be made to serve therein the whole term of their transportation ; because, in fact, according to the former ratio, this would be doubling the punishment to which they were sentenced.
“ A certain degree of hardship, therefore, accrued to those sentenced for life, and a still greater to the seven years' men, as it has of late been customary to select the fourteen years' men, and lifers, as they are called, to be sent to Botany Bay.
“ Hitherto but little had been done towards the establishment of the two penitentiary houses contemplated under the 19 Geo. III. c. 74., notwithstanding this measure had been so strongly recommended by the Finance Committee of the House of Commons in their 28th Report: so that the hulks, since the formation of the colony of New South Wales, seem to have been considered a proper temporary place of confinement for convicts, in their way from the different jails of the kingdom to that settlement, whither a number, both male and female, are annually transported.
But it ought not to be here omitted, that the above committee, in the Report just alluded to, condemn the hulk system altogether, chiefly on the evidence of Mr. Colquhoun, who points it out as the principal cause of that corruption of morals which is the cause of every species of criminality.' He
remarks at the same time, that he had seldom known art instance of an individual discharged from the hulks, who had ever returned to honest industry, but that the indiscriminate mixture of criminals which takes place in those establishments renders them a complete seminary of vice and wickedness ;' adding, that in giving such a decided opinion against the system of the hulks, he would wish to be understood as not imputing the smallest blame to the contractors, the error being in the system, not in the management of it, and the evils arising from it must continue until a better mode is adopted, whatever the management may be.”
“ But all this originated out of the first plan, which was founded in the grossest ignorance of human nature, and thus laid the whole open to mismanagement, peculation, and corruption. By it the contractor was paid so much per man per diem for taking care of the convicts, without any express stipulation of what was to be done on his part, thus leaving them wholly and intirely to the discretion of men who acted at once as task-masters, overseers, victuallers, and clothiers, and whose interest it was to diminish every necessary to the utmost verge of human suffering. Not only had it been omitted to specify the quantum of victuals, drink, and clothing to be furnished, but instead of any check being put on the contractor, he himself was the sole person who appointed every officer and man belonging to the hulks, and these his nominees were the sole persons intrusted with the office of seeing the convicts fed, clothed, and obtain justice.
“ In consequence of this gross mismanagement, the public papers were replete with complaints, and the Secretary of State's office was teased with remonstrances, while representations of most abominable and nefarious transactions took place . in the House of Commons."
At length, justly alarmed at a cry which in some respects seemed to be rational, the late Duke of Portland, in 1801, as already mentioned, most fortunately for his own character, as well as for the comforts of the unhappy convicts, selected Mr. Graham to enquire into and remedy the abuses. That gentleman
accordingly, after due investigation, pointed out the source of the evil. In consequence of his suggestions, the original contract was annihilated, and such is the difference that arises out of system, that a new one, containing a variety of specific and salutary regulations, being entered into, the original contractors conducted themselves with such propriety, that not a single complaint was made against them for a series of years.
In the beginning of 1802, new and commodious hulks were fitted
under the direction of Mr. Graham, and the appointment of the captains, officers, and guards was transferred to government. In consequence partly of this, and partly of the new regulations as to food and clothing, a degree of content and comfort were produced, that had hitherto been unknown on board the hulks. On his representations, an increase of pay was given to the officers and guards; while, to prevent imposition, all applications for the pardon of convicts were invariably subject to a report of their behaviour from the captain, through the inspector (Mr. Graham), to the Secretary of State's office. It was his decided opinion, that by way of encouragement to good behaviour on the part of those who have offended the laws of their country, that a certain number of them, when duly recommended, and meriting pardon, should be discharged every quarter.
A new and meliorated system produced the happiest results. It was no longer then, as formerly, when these unhappy wretches were frequently driven to despair, by the infliction of cruel punishments, and the practice of unnecessary severity: As little coercion was exerted, in respect to them, as is to be found on board one of His Majesty's ships of war, and the consequence was, that the state of their morals was greatly mended, since the time when the survivors of the former system departed far worse than when they were first received on board. The chief merit of this is assuredly to be attributed to Mr. Graham, who acted as Inspector-General with a very inadequate salary of 300l. per annum. Nor ought it to be here forgotten, that the Reverend Mr. Donne, the chaplain at Portsmouth, powerfully contributed by his humane attentions,'