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Art. VIII.—Narrative of a Survey of the Intertropical and Western Coasts of Australia, performed between the years 1818 and 1822. By Captain Philip P. Kino, R. N. F. R. S.
- F. L. S. and Member of the Royal Asiatic Society of London. With an Appendix, containing various subjects relating to Hydrography and Natural History. In two volumes, illustrated by plates, charts, and wood-cuts. London: 1827.
The efforts of the British government to obtain a fuller knowledge of the coast of Australia, or New-Holland as it was formerly called, are still continued. To the British nation it particularly belongs, to ascertain with the greatest precision, as well the exterior lines, the capes, promontories, and harbours, the reefs and shoals, on the coast, as the interior character, the existence or non-existence of any large aquatic communications that may afford access to a vast internal space, which, with much addition to botanical and zoological information, may possibly exhibit new races of men, and new formations of moral society. In pursuing the first of these objects, considerable pains had been taken before the voyages now under consideration. It was in 1770 that captain Cook touched upon the coast, as part of his great design of exploring the Pacific ocean. His survey extended from Port Hicks, in lat . 37° 58', to Cape York, lat . 10}°, a distance of about two thousand miles; and its accuracy has been attested by all who have since gone over the same ground. The remaining circumference of the island was still but little known.
The scattered islands of the Pacific ocean, for some time afterwards, attracted more attention; and it was not till 1787, that New-Holland again, and from a different motive than that of geographical discovery, became, in the eyes of the British government, a subject of interest. In that country, a policy prevails, now practised by few others. With a large portion of wealth and virtue, strongly contrasted by immense masses of poverty and vice,—adhering to a sanguinary system of penal jurisprudence, which multiplies crime as it professes to punish it,—averse to pursuing a regular scheme of moral melioration by means of confinement and labour at home,—for nearly two centuries she has sought to relieve herself from the overflowing population of guilt, by banishing to other countries, those on whom she is unwilling to inflict the higher degrees of punishment, and whom she cannot conveniently confine to salutary labour at home. Banishment is in some cases less to be considered a measure of punishment, than a mode of relief to the nation. The needy wretch whose soul is blackened by habitual depravity, and whose only sustenance arises from depredations on the property of others; whose intercourse is only with those as debased as him
s ter, which was understood to be equivalent to depriving him of the necessaries of life, and withholding from him all intercourse with society. Banishment was then elected by himself, as a relief from this severe punishment;—he left Italy, that he might continue his existence, though with diminished comfort, in a distant place, either beyond the reach, or with the connivance of the Roman government. The passage in the oration pro Coecina will occur to our classic readers:—"Exilium non supplicium est sed perfugium portusque supplicii—cum homines vincula, neces, ignominiasque vitant quae sunt legibus constitute, confugiant. quasi ad aram, in exilium." But Augustus introduced the banishment to a particular place as a positive penalty; and Ovid may have been the first victim under the new system. Every one knows how laboriously Seneca endeavoured to persuade his mother that banishment to the rough and sterile rocks, the intemperate climate and barbarous inhabitants of Corsica, was not a punishment. The philosophy which enabled him to support such a contrast with the unmeasured luxuries he enjoyed at Rome, would not in any eminent degree be called into action on the part of him who left meanness and poverty and persecution in London, for protection, moderate labour, and certain subsistence in Australia.
In our country, banishment is legally unknown. If offences are committed against the United States, they are punished in the ordinary routine of fine, imprisonment, and death. It is with regret that we include the last mentioned as a part of the ordinary routine; but the Acts of Congress are not remarkable for their mildness, and the ease and prodigality with which this extreme punishment is distributed among so many of the codes of Europe, have been too closely copied in American legislation. It would be impossible for the legislature of the United States to incorporate banishment to any particular spot, into their penal system. We have no colonies, and perhaps we never shall have them. At any rate, ages must roll by, before our extensive territory becomes so overstocked as to occasion the formation of colonies for want of room within our own precincts: and within those precincts, no spot can be appropriated as a receptacle for convicts. As population extends and labour cultivates, equal rights are acquired in a definite relation to every part. The expense alone would be an insurmountable objection. The British procedure in this respect has cost them, since 1787, not less than 15,000,000 dollars. An inland position would require a greater and more constant military power, than one like theirs, very distant, and accessible only by sea. If indefinite banishment were substituted, it would, in the present state of society, be a breach of the tacit obligations of one nation to another. It would be to do indirectly, what cannot be done directly. As no sovereign
nation can be required to receive the criminals of another, it follows that it is not consistent with the principles of the laws of nations to send them. A compact between the nation in which the crime was committed, and the offenders themselves, that the latter would remove, and reside in another nation whose consent had not been previously obtained, would not only be insulting but illegal. It is so grossly wrong, that it is now seldom attempted. We are of course not to be understood to speak of those who, in great political revolutions, obtain leave of their successful opponents to remove to another place. Such persons are conceived to be tainted with no other offence than that of political dissent . To such men, this country never has refused, and perhaps never will refuse an asylum.
If banishment to a particular place, or banishment generally, is thus prohibited to the collected states, it is much more inconsistent with the powers of the slates separately. In relation to foreign countries, all political operations belong exclusively to the general head. In respect to sister states, there are certain obvious duties and obligations not expressed in written constitutions, but arising from the nature of things and the principles of our political union. Every state is bound to abstain from all unnecessary violations of the internal interests and peace of the others. It has no right to transport into their bosoms any number of criminals however small, because it is more convenient to do so than to retain and punish them at home. A pardon on condition that the convict shall leave the state, is therefore a breach of the social compact among the states. If the place were specified, it would shock the mind at once. If Pennsylvania were to pardon a malefactor on condition that he removed to and remained in New-York, the people of the latter would justly exclaim at it as an outrage. If the governor of New-York were to grant his pardon on the general condition that the individual should leave the state never to return, and if that individual selected Pennsylvania as the theatre where he could reside with impunity for the past, and where, if his disposition continued to be the same, he could repeat the same enormities, the grievance would be the same. - iiMU:i
If the legislature of any one state should make provision for this species ofbanishment, its laws would be a violation of the social compact, and substantially inconsistent with that clause in the
!;eneral constitution, which compels the surrender of fugitives rom justice, on the demand of the state in which the offence was committed. As it cannot, if it would, afford protection to the fugitive, it ought not to be expected to receive him. It is true, that each state is at liberty to pass laws, prohibiting persons of this character from entering its limits; but the execution of such laws would be difficult, and the conduct of no state ought to impose upon others the necessity of passing them. These remarks, and others, which, if it were convenient to enlarge on the subject, might be added, will apply with more effect to the executive authority of any state, which, without the sanction of a law, adopts a measure of this nature.
The English practice in regard to transportation, is not traced further back than the reign of Elizabeth; her successor, James, pursued the same course; and the "hundred dissolute persons," who in 1619 were sent out to Virginia, are said to have been accepted by the colonists as a favour. From that time, till the commencement of the war which terminated in our Revolution, the American colonies became the constant receptacles of these outcasts, sometimes received with submission, and sometimes with murmurs and a feeble opposition. But when our provincial dependence ceased, it became expedient to provide another outlet; and the flattering picture drawn by captain Cook and his scientific companions, of Botany Bay, determined the ministers to select it as a deposit. The inhabitants did not appear to be numerous or civilized; little serious opposition could therefore be expected: the country was fertile, and the harbour believed to be commodious. Towards the close of the year 1787, an expedition was fitted out, and six hundred male and two hundred female convicts, embarked under the direction of governor Philip, provided with every thing necessary to their immediate sustenance and protection, and intended to form the foundation of a future colonial settlement. In January 1788, they arrived at their destined port; and it was a curious circumstance, that, exactly at the same time, the accomplished and unfortunate La Peyrouse, who had been despatched by the French court with two ships on a voyage of discovery, arrived at the same spot. Some time was unavoidably spent in fixing on a suitable position for the new colony, (for which, Port Jackson, a few miles further, was preferred to Botany Bay,) in clearing the ground, erecting necessary buildings, and converting the heterogeneous mixture of convicts into tolerable labourers. From the brutish, degraded natives, no permission to land and to settle was asked, and no serious resistance was experienced. The straggling convict was sometimes surprised and cut off; but as the settlements gradually extended from the east, the natives, although apparently not susceptible of civilization, became friendly and submissive.
It will not be inconsistent with the subject precisely before us, to take a short view of the present state and probable consequences of this new plantation of Englishmen, at so great a distance from the parent country.
The utter ignorance of the natives as to the meanest degree of agriculture, their filthy habits, precarious and insufficient aliment, and cruel treatment of females, combined with the destructive
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