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The New Zealand Journal, Saturday, May 02 (1840)


The New Zealand Journal.
London: Saturday, May 2, 1840.

We have the old story to tell again, of disappointment in consequence of the easterly wind. The "special papers" are all suffering, and but for the circumstance of some interesting matters occurring at home, we should have had much difficulty in filling our paper. We can only repeat, that in accordance with the notice given above, we shall not wait for our regular publication day should news arrive.
On Tuesday next, the 5th instant, Sir William Molesworth brings forward his motion on transportation; his object being to obtain the total abandonment of the system, and the substitution of well-regulated penitentiaries as the preferable mode of secondary punishment.
It will be recollected that in 1837 Sir William moved for, and obtained a committee of the House of Commons, to inquire into transportation and its effects. The committee continued its sittings through two sessions, and the result was, a mass of the fullest evidence, showing most conclusively that the state, of society produced thereby, in the penal Colonies, was such as to call for the immediate abandonment of the system, as a measure not merely of philanthropy, but of common morality.
The report of the committee, drawn up, we believe, by Sir Wm. Molesworth, is an able state paper, and as it was extensively circulated in the pamphlet form, it has probably fallen into many of our readers' hands.
The result of this inquiry and report was a partial reform of the system. The assignment of convicts was put an end to, and the penal settlement was confined to Norfolk Island. This has had a good effect, as those who supported the system, for the sake of the profit to be made out of convict slaves, now cry out for total abandonment. The Sydney Herald, of October the 9th, writes as follows:—
"Transportation has ceased. The welcome fact was announced by the Governor yesterday, but the Colonists must immediately take steps to prevent the British Government from sending the expiree ruffians from Norfolk Island upon our shores, who, under the name of freemen, will inundate us with crime in the same way as the convicts."
The Archbishop of Dublin has also for many years been engaged in writing down this odious system. We sincerely hope he will shortly witness the most perfect success as the result of his labours.
The following petition is now in course of signature in the metropolis, and is worthy of imitation in other places:—
The Petition of the undersigned Inhabitants of London and Westminster, Humbly sheweth,
That your petitioners are deeply impressed with the pernicious results of the system of Penal Colonization, pursued for years past by the British Government, in New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land.
That according to the recent report of the Select Committee of the House of Commons on Transportation, the said system appears wholly incompatible either with the reformation of the convicts, or the moral welfare of the free emigrants.
Your petitioners therefore humbly pray your Honourable House, that the said system of transportation may be entirely abolished, and some better mode of secondary punishment established in its stead.
And your petitioners will ever pray, &c.

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