Report on Female Factory

Evidence Type: Newspaper Report
23 January 1840

To the Editor of The Australian

“That gentleman should be recalled”

— They were equally astonished and disheartened, (to no one was the moral more appalling, than to myself), when they saw it very shortly announced, that out of the whole population of Great Britain, he was selected by His Majesty’s Government, to be placed at the head of one of the most rising and important of our Colonies.—Sir Francis B. Head’s narrative.

SIR, The above extracts from Sir FRANCIS HEAD’s book, show pretty clearly what was thought of Sir GEORGE GIPPS, by the people of Canada after a short acquaintance. There, as well as here, his talent and probity were highly spoken of—at first, Sir Francis, like some of us, could not but admire the honesty with which he spoke his mind; so undisguisedly however did he advocate his principles, that one of the public Officers observed loud enough for Sir Francis to hear him, “that gentleman should be recalled.” More than one public officer here would say as much, I know what their feelings are, I know the sentiments of the people, and I am sorry to say that indignation at what they have witnessed is a very general feeling just not. I know that economy in the administration of this colony is desirable—I know it is necessary—I know it is commanded—I am satisfied it is the duty of a Governor of New South Wales, to find out where and how any saving can be made. I believe that there are public officers who take advantage of their situations, to add to their incomes at some expense perhaps to the government; but I am not aware that the loss is very great. Be it much or little, however, it is time to put an end to the system. Every body in Sydney knows that Sir GEORGE GIPPS might make some improvements in some of the departments; savings to a very considerable amount might be speedily brought about; but it must be managed in a statesmanlike and gentlemanlike way.

I may on a future day five you my ideas as to economy, such as is practicable in the administration of affairs in our colony—I shall perhaps explain what I call a statesmanlike and gentlemanlike mode of brining it about. I may suggest how personal activity might be more usefully exerted by a Governor, than in running, one day to the convict barrack to try and catch Mr. LANE’s pigs at the hominy trough, at feeding time, or getting up at day light, to find out whether any discontented constable or messenger suspected a magistrate of mal-practices, such as might afford grounds for the jesting of a witty judge, or the malignant inuendoes [sic] of an open mouthed editor or hungry journalist, longing for something to swallow—a pudding or a paragraph—the latter being frequently contingent upon the former. I may take an opportunity of shewing that although a Governor, who manages his affairs so that the finances of his government are in a ruinous state, may be under the necessity of making many shifts, it cannot be expected of the most active officer at the head of a colony like this to spend a considerable portion of his time in such a place as the female factory, lecturing she felons, and teaching them how to make theirs on the most economical principles. If the gallant knight thinks he cannot better represent a female sovereign, or that he is paying Her Majesty a delicate compliment by directing his energies to the instruction in needlework of a set of abandoned females, to “teaching young women to sew,” his Excellency is mistaken—our Anns and our Elizabeths did not expect such service or flattery of so delicate a nature from the statesmen of their day—neither does our Victoria, if I do not greatly mistake her character, consider that, because she wears a petticoat, the men entrusted with the government of her most rising and important colonies, should therefore administer it with an “Exprit tombé en quenouille;” but for the present I suppose you and your readers will consider that you have had quite enough of


See Original: “To the Editor of The Australian. “That gentleman should be recalled”,” The Australian (Sydney, NSW : 1824 – 1848), Thursday 23 January 1840, p.2