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anxious to receive instruction. I think I shall never forget one of the earliest of these visits to them. I first saw Sears, Beavers, and Jones. After a long and interesting conversation with them, we joined in that touching confession of sin with which the liturgy of the Church of England commences. As we kneeled together, I heard them repeat with great earnestness
6 We have erred and strayed from Thy ways like lost sheep,” etc. When we arose, I perceived that each of them had been shedding tears. It was the first time I had seen them betray any such emotion, and I can not tell how glad I felt; but when I proceeded afterward to read to them the first chapter of Isaiah, I had scarcely uttered that most exquisite passage in the second verse“I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me”-when the claims of God, and their violation and rejection of them; his forbearance, and their ingratitude, appeared to overwhelm them; they sobbed aloud, and were thoroughly overpowered.
For a considerable time we talked together of the past, the wretched years they had endured, the punishments, and the crimes which had led to them, till they seemed to feel most keenly the folly of their sad career. We passed on to contrast the manner in which their lives had been spent, with what God and society re
required from them; their miserable perversion of God's gifts, with the design for which he gave them, till we were led on to speak of hope and of faith; of Him who “ willeth not the death of a sinner, but rather that he should turn from his wickedness and live;" and then the Savior's remonstrance seemed to arrest them “ Ye will not come to me that ye might have life”—till at length the influences of the Holy Spirit were supplicated with earnestness and solemnity. These instructions, and such conversation, were daily repeated; and henceforth each time I saw them I perceived a gradual but distinct unfolding of the affections and the understanding
August.—The wounded men are much recovered, and the whole of the mutineers are confined together in a large ward of the jail. They have long received extreme kindness from the commandant, and are literally bewildered at finding that even this last act has not diminished the exercise of his benevolence. That any body should care for them, or take such pains about them after their violent conduct, excited surprise-at first almost amounting to suspicion—but this at length gave place to the warmest gratitude. They were, in fact, subdued by it. They read very much, are extremely submissive, and carefully avoid the
slightest infringement of the prison regulations. At first, all this was confined to the three men I have mentioned; but their steady consistency of conduct, and the strange transformation of character so evident in them, gradually arrested the attention of the others, and eventually led to a similar result.
They will be detained here till the case has been decided by the authorities in Sydney. They will probably be tried by a commission sent from thence to the island for the purpose. Formerly, however, prisoners charged with capital offenses here were sent up for trial; but, it is a horrible fact, this was found
lead to so much crime, that, at much inconvenience and expense, it was found absolutely necessary to send down a judicial commission on each important occasion, in order to prevent it. The mere excitement of a voyage, with the chances connected with it, nay, merely a wish to get off the island, even for a time, led many men commit crimes of the deepest dye in order to be sent to Sydney for trial.
Two months, therefore, at least must intervene between the perpetration of the offense and their trial; and this interval is usually employed in similar cases in arranging a defense but too commonly supported by perjury. In the present instance, I found not the slightest
attempt to follow such a course. They declare that they expect death, and will gladly welcome it.
Of their life, which has been a course of almost constant warfare with society, ending in remorseful feelings, they are all thoroughly weary, although only one of them exceeds thirty years of age.
In addition to the ordinary services, Captain Maconochie each Sunday afternoon has read prayers to them, and has given permission to a few of their friends to be present. Singular good has resulted from it, both to the men and those who join in their devotions. At the conclusion of one of these services Sears stood up, and with his heart so full as scarcely to allow him utterance, to the surprise of every person there he addressed most impressively the men who were present. “Perhaps,” said he, “the words of one of yourselves, unhappily circumstanced as I am, may have some weight with you. - You all know the life I have led; it has, believe me, been a most unhappy one; and I have, I hope not too late, discovered the cause of this. I solemnly tell you that it is because I have broken God's laws. I am almost ashamed to speak, but I dare not be silent. I am going to tell you a strange thing. I never before was happy; I begin now, for the first time in my life, to hope. I am an ignorant man, or at least
I was so; but I thank God I begin to see things in their right light now. I have been unhappily placed from my childhood, and have endured many hardships. I do not mention this to excuse my errors; yet if I had years since received the kindness I have done here, it might have been otherwise. My poor fellows, do turn over a new leaf; try to serve God, and
you, too, will be happier for it.” The effect was most thrilling; there was a death-like silence; tears rolled down many cheeks, which I verily believe never before felt them; and without a word more, all slowly withdrew.
This man's story is also a common, but painful one. At fifteen years of age he was transported for life as an accomplice in an assault and alleged robbery, of which, from circumstances which have since transpired, I have little doubt he was entirely innocent. During a long imprisonment in Horsham jail, he received an initiation in crime, which was finished during the outward voyage. Upon his arrival at New South Wales, he was assigned to a settler in the interior, a notoriously hard and severe man, who gave him but a scanty supply of food and clothing, and whose aim seemed to be to take the utmost out of him at the least possible expense. Driven at length to desperation, he, with three fellow-servants, absconded; and when