Punishment and profit : the reports of Commissioner Bigge on the colonies of New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land, 1822-1823; their origins, nature and significance

Date

1969

Authors

Ritchie, John

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Abstract

The Treasury and the Home Office criticized the transportation system in New South Wales and influenced the Colonial Office, in 1817, to appoint a Commission of Inquiry into that colony. Impressed with Bigge’s career in Trinidad, in 1818 Bathurst chose him to be the commissioner. In the months before his departure from England, he received a clear indication of the trend of public opinion on the penal settlements. He knew that the expense should be reduced; he knew, too, that there were grave doubts about the efficiency of transportation as a punishment. In the colonies, he collected information which suggested the need for a change in the administration of New South Wales. He also gradually conceived the idea of reconciling punishment and profit by removing convicts from government employment and assigning them to the service of the landholders. He wrote his reports under strain, but produced a balanced and accurate account of the state of New South Wales and Van Diemen’s Land. The implementing of his suggestions marked the transition of those settlements from gaols to colonies.

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Thesis (PhD)

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DOI

10.25911/5d65131f0027e

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