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number of free Government labourers get
through in a day. The chief reason seems to
me to be that the convicts are thinking of
their work as an agreeable relief after solitary
confinement, and are glad to use their limbs;
whereas the free labourers are thinking of the
gold fields, and how to get ten shillings a day
for doing nothing, until they are able to be off
to the diggings.

The Superintendent now rejoins me, and
carrying me along with him at a brisk pace,
informs me that we are going on board the
President, his principal convict hulk. This
prison-ship contains the worst of the worst
men who cannot be trusted to work at
anythingwho pass their time in solitary
confinement and in irons, excepting an hour's
exercise on deck, when they are also
handcuffed togethermen for whom the Stockade
of Pentridge is not an adequate protection
"the crême de la crême," Mr. Barrow says, "of
the prisons of the mother country and her
Australian colonies."

We ascend to the deck, where the vessel,
a little in front of the gangway, is separated
by massive iron bars of some ten or eleven
feet high from the rest of the ship. The
Superintendent leaves me, as before, to attend
to his duties of inspection, &c., but the chief
officer in command (whose name I am rather
uncomfortably startled at finding to be the
same as my own) places me in charge of one of
the head wardens, to accompany me where I
wish to go. Of course I at once express a
desire to pass through the great iron bars of
this terrible cage, and to go below and see the
crême de la crême.

We enter, and descend the ladder to the
main-deck. There is very little to be seen of a
kind to make a picture, or a bit of description
in fact, nothingall is in a state of severe,
quiet, orderly, massive simplicity. The main
deck is reduced to a passage, with rows of
cells of immense strength on each side. The
name of the occupant of the cell is written on
a placard outsidewith his crime, and the
number of years for which he is sentenced.
The great majority of offences are robbery
with violence, and the term of imprisonment
varies from five to twenty years. As I read
I cannot say I at all envy the snug berth of
my namesake in command. I feel that I
would far rather be the Wandering Jew, or
the captain of the Flying Dutchman. The
cells are very like clean dens for wild beasts
their huge solid timbers and ironwork
being quite strong enough for lions and tigers,
bears and rhinoceroses, but not more so than
necessaryso strong, so wilful, so resolute,
and so unconquerable is man in his last stage
of depravity. I express a desire to have the
door opened of a certain cell, where the placard
outside exercises a grim attraction upon me;
but the warden at my side informs me that the
convicts here are all under prolonged punishment,
and my namesake does not consider it
right to make a show of them. "Oh, indeed,"
I say—"very proper."—"Not," adds the
warden, "that it would hurt their feelings in
any way; they are always too glad of any
opportunity of having the door opened. We
do not open it even at meal times; we push
their allowance through a trap with a slide,
which is instantly closed again and bolted."—
What a life for all parties!

I hear some of the prisoners singing in a
low voice, and others holding a conversation
between their partitions of four or five inches
thick. To avoid some of the mental evils
of long solitary confinement, they are wisely
and humanely permitted to do this, provided
no noise is made, or any loud tones audible.
In an equally wise spirit Mr. Barrow has
arranged a kind of prospect of amelioration;
a degree of hope, well founded, however
remote, is open to all. A certain number of
years of good conduct here, gives the vilest
ruffian of former times a fair prospect of
removal to one of the Stockades; a certain
number of years of good conduct there, gives
him the probability of further promotion:
namely, to work at some trade, or to go at
large as a house servant and to attend in the
yards; while, as a final result of many years
of good conduct, he gets his ticket of leave to
go where he pleases in the colony. Many do
really reform, and lead decent lives thenceforth;
some rush away to the gold fields
not to dig, but to plunderand are back
again heavily ironed, on board this dreadful
prison-ship, in less than three months. The
fresh term of punishment in these final of
all final cases is twenty, or even thirty years,
I inquire if they sink into utter hopeless
despondency in such cases. "No; only for the
first week or two. After that they are again
scheming, and plotting, and looking forward
to some chance of escape."

I hear a regular tramp going round overhead,
accompanied by a jingling of chains.
The warden informs me that ten of the
convicts are now on deck for an hour's exercise.
Only ten at a time are ever allowed to be out
of their cells, none of these being ever trusted
to go ashore to work, or to work at anything
on board. I immediately go upon deck to have
one look at the Superintendent's crême de la
crême.

The ten men are all attired in the pepper-
and-salt convict dress, with irons on their legs,
and handcuffed together, two and two, as they
walk round and round the main hatchway.
I make no pretence of not looking at them;
and they make none as to me. There is
nothing violent or ferocious in the appearance
of any of them; the predominating impression
they convey is that of brutal ignorance,
grossness, and utter absence of the sense of
shame. The one who has most sense in his
countenance is a dark, quiet, determined,
patient villain, equal to any atrocity or daring.
His look, as he comes round and faces me,
never changes; most of the rest have some
slight fluctuations. Presently they begin to

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