Evidence Type: Newspaper Report
17 August 1844
FRIDAY, AUGUST 16, 1844
The SPEAKER took the Chair at the usual hour.
Extract from a Despatch from the Right Hon. LORD STANLEY, to Sir GEORGE GIPPS, dated 29 March 1844.
With reference to the question of Police and Gaols Expenditure to which you refer in your Despatch of the 28th October, No. 175, I concur in, and adopt your construction of the 47th clause of the Constitutional Act. You rightly judge that you are absolutely prohibited from paying anything out of Convict funds towards the maintenance of the prisoners in the Gaols of the colony. Her Majesty’s Government cannot consent that the Revenue of this country should be burthened with the maintenance of the Police and Gaols of New South Wales, except so far as relates to Convict Establishments properly so called, such as Norfolk Island, Cockatoo Island, Hyde Park Barracks, the Female Factory at Parramatta, and the Ironed Gangs; I have to give to you the most explicit instructions that you draw no Bills upon the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury towards defraying any Police or Gaol expenditure, excepting only such as may in your opinion fall within the meaning of the instructions which you have already received for your guidance on that subject. If the Legislative Council should be unwilling to provide the funds required for the Police and Gaol expenditure of the colony on the ground that such charges are enhanced by the number of the convicts at present remaining there, the consequence must be a failure of means for defraying such charges. In that case it would be the duty of the Executive Government to consider by what means a reduction could be safely and properly effected in the number of convicts dispersed throughout the colony, and creating this expenditure: there are only two modes of effecting that object; one method would be that of expediting as far as the public safety would allow the period of pardon, either absolute or conditional, of these persons; the other method would be that of withdrawing them from their present employers to labor in some of the convict establishments already mentioned, relieving at the same time those establishments from any consequent redundancy by transferring to Van Diemen’s Land a number equal to the excess on the number of convicts at present employed there.
I indicate these remedies with a distinct recollection of the inconveniences which may be occasioned by resorting to them; and I earnestly hope that the local Legislature will abstain from any measures creating such a necessity. But if, unfortunately, they should withhold from the Government, the funds necessary for defraying the expense of maintaining a police to superintend the colonial gaols and the convicts throughout the colony, who are not within the Government establishments already mentioned, the evils of the remedies I have pointed out must be encountered, in order that we may escape from the still greater evils to which society would be exposed by leaving the convict population without due restraints.
The project of avoiding the dilemma of throwing this charge on the British Treasury is one to which you will make the most uncompromising resistance.
See Original: “LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL. FRIDAY, AUGUST 16, 1844,” The Australian (Sydney, NSW : 1824 – 1848), Saturday 17 August 1844, p.3