HC Deb 28 May 1845 vol 80 cc941-2
Mr. Ewart

wished for some information as to the probation system substituted for the old system of assignment in the convict Colonies, which admitted of three gradations.

Mr. Hope

said, he would give a succinct answer, which he hoped would satisfy the hon. Member. The present system was established in 1841. It proceeded upon two principles: one for the reformation of the convicts under discipline, the other to give opportunities for their employment. As far as the object of reformation went, although the system had not been long in operation, and no complete Report on the subject had been received, he was happy to be able to say that the Report was satisfactory. The further object of finding employment for the convicts had not been so successful. The House was aware that there had been a great check to the growing prosperity of those Colonies in 1842 and 1843; and the system, as far as regarded the finding employment for the convicts, had been based on the assumption that there would be an effective demand for their labour. That had not been the case; but circumstances were now rather more favourable, and the question was under the consideration of Government, who were endeavouring to provide a remedy for the evil. Loud complaints had been lately made, that the property of Van Diemen's Land was affected by the continuance of the system of transportation. At the same time, in New South Wales objections had been made as to the value of property being affected by the cessation of transportation.