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taken, made a complaint to the magistrate before whom they were brought almost without clothes. Their statements were found to be literally correct; but for absconding they were sent to Newcastle, one of the penal stations of New South Wales, where Sears remained nearly
At the expiration of that time he was again assigned, but unfortunately to a man, if possible, worse than his former employer, and again absconded. For this offense he was sent to Moreton Bay, another penal settlement, and endured three years of horrible severity, starvation, and misery of every kind. His temper was by this time much soured; and, roused by the conduct of the overseers, he became brutalized by constant punishment for resisting them. After this he was sent to Sydney, as one of the crew in the police-boat, of which he was soon made assistant cockswain. For not reporting a theft committed by one of the men under his charge, he was sentenced to a road party; and attempting to escape from it, he was apprehended, and again ordered to Moreton Bay for four years more.
There he was again repeatedly flogged for disobedience and resistance of overseers, as well as attempting to escape; but having most courageously rendered assistance to a vessel wrecked off the harbor, he attracted the attention of the commandant, who after
ward showed him a little favor. This was the first approach to kindness he had known since when, years before, he had left his home; and it had its usual influence. He never was again in a scrape there. His good conduct induced the commandant to recommend him for a mitigation of sentence, which he received, and he was again employed in the police-boat. The free cockswain of the boat was, however, a drunkard, and intrusted much to Sears. Oftentimes he roused the men by his violence, but Sears contrived to subdue his passion. At length, one night returning to the hut drunk, the man struck at one of the crew with his cutlass, and the rest resisted and disarmed him. But the morning came; the case was heard; their story was disbelieved; and upon the charge and evidence of the aggressor, they were sent to an ironed gang, to work on the public roads. When Sears again became eligible for assignment, a person whom he had known in Sydney applied for him. The man must be removed within a fixed period after the authority is given. In this case, application was made a day beyond , the prescribed time, and churlishly refused. The disappointment roused a spirit so untutored as his, and once again he absconded; was of course apprehended, tried, and being found with a man who had committed robbery, and had a
musket in his possession, was sent to Norfolk Island for life. This sentence has, however, for meritorious conduct, been reduced to fourteen years; and his ready assistance during a fire which recently broke out in the military garrison here, might possibly have helped to obtain a still further reduction. He never, during those abscondings, was absent for any long period, and never committed any act of violence. His constant attempt seems to have been to reach Sydney, in order to effect his escape from the scene of so much misery.
For some time past I have noticed his quiet and orderly conduct, and was really sorry when I found him concerned in this unhappy affair. His desire for freedom was, however, most ardent, and a chance of obtaining it was almost irresistible. He has since told me that a few words kindly spoken to himself and others by Captain Maconochie when they landed, sounded so pleasantly to him-such are his own wordsthat he determined from that moment he would endeavor to do well. He assures me that he was perfectly unconscious of a design to take the brig, till awoke from his sleep.a few minutes before the attack commenced; that he then remonstrated with the men; but finding it useless, he considered it a point of honor not to fail them. His anxiety for instruction is intense;
he listens like a child; and his gratitude is most touching. He, together with Jones, Woolfe, and Barry, were chosen by the commandant as a police-boat's crew; and had, up to this period, acted with great steadiness and fidelity in the discharge of the duties required from them. Nor do I think they would even now, tempting as the occasion was, have thought of seizing it, had it not been currently reported that they were shortly to be placed under a system of severity such as they had already suffered so much from.
Woolfe's story of himself is most affecting. He entered
evil courses when very young; was concerned in burglaries when only eleven years of age. Yet this was from no natural love of crime. Enticed from his home by boys older than himself, he soon wearied of the life he led, and longed to return to his home and his kind mother. Oftentimes he lingered near the street she lived in. Once he had been very unhappy, for he had seen his brother and sister that day pass near him, and it had rekindled all his love for them. They appeared happy in their innocence; he was miserable in his crime. He now determined to go home and pray to be forgiven. The evening was dark and wet, and as he entered the court in which his friends lived, his heart failed him, and he turned back;
but, unable to resist the impulse, he again returned, and stole under the window of the room. A rent in the narrow curtain enabled him to see within. His mother sat by the fire, and her countenance was so sad, that he was sure she thought of him; but the room looked so comfortable, and the whole scene was so unlike the place in which he had lately lived, that he could no longer hesitate. He approached the door ; the latch was almost in his hand, when shame and fear, and a thousand other vile and foolish notions, held him back; and the boy who in another moment might have been happy_was lost. He turned away, and I believe has never seen them since. Going on in crime, he in due course of time was transported for robbery. His term of seven years expired in Van Diemen's Land. Released from forced servitude, he went a whaling voyage, and was free nearly two years. Unhappily, he was then charged with aiding in a robbery, and again received a sentence of transportation. He was sent to Port Arthur, there employed as one of its boat's crew, and crossing the bay one day with a commissariat officer, the boat was capsized by a sudden squall. In attempting to save the life of the officer, he was seized by his dying grasp, and almost perished with him; but extricating himself, he swam back to the boat. Seeing the