A young fellow who had just become free, and had
got himself established on thirty acres of land, with a
few pigs, &c., set off for the factory in search of a wife.
On his way, he had to pass the estate of the writer
of this work. In conversation with the wife of the
porter at the gate, he mentioned the object of his journey.
The porter’s wife advised him to pay his addresses
to one of her master’s convict female servants, whom
she recommended as being both sober and industrious,
whereby he would at once gain a good wife, and spare
himself an additional journey of a hundred and forty
At the request of this Celebs of Australia, the damsel
was sent for, and the bargain struck on the instant, provided
the necessary consent of the ladifs assignee master
could be obtained, which she herself undertook to solicit
Entering the breakfast room of her master with an
unusually engaging aspect, and having made her obeisance
in her best style, the following dialogue ensued : —
Marianne.— I wish to ask you a favour, your honour.
His Honour Why, Marianne, you have no great
reason to expect particular indulgence ; but what is it?
Marianne (curtsying and looking still more interesting.)
I hope your honour will allow me to get married.
His Honour Married ! To whom ?
Marianne (rather embarrassed.)— To a young man,
His Honour. — To a young man ! What is he ?
Marianne (her embarrassment increasing.) — I really
don’t know !
His Honour. — What is his name ?
Marianne.— I can’t tell.
His Honour — Where does he live?
Marianne. — I don’t know, your honour.
His Honour. — You don’t know his name, nor what he
is, nor where he lives ! Pray how long have you known
Marianne (her confusion by no means over). — Really,
to tell your honour the truth, I never saw him till just
now. Mrs. Parsons sent for me to speak to him ; and
so,— we agreed to be married, if your honour will give
us leave. It’s a good chance for me. Do, your honour,
give me leave !
His Honour.— Love at first sight, eh ! Send the young
man here. [
His Honour. — Well, young man, I am told you wish
to marry Marianne, one of my convict servants.
Celebs (grinning.)— That’s as you please, your
His Honour As / please— Why, have you observed
the situation the young woman is in ? (Marianne being ”
in the way ladies wish to be who love their lords.”
Celebs (grinning broadly.) — Why, your honour, as to
that, you know, in a country like this, where women
are scarce, a man shouldn’t be too ” greedy !” I’m told
the young woman’s very sober, — and that’s the main
chance with me. If I go to the factory, why,— your
honour knows I might get one in the same way without
knowing it,— and that, you know, might be cause of
words hereafter,— and she might be a drunken vagabond
besides ! As to the pickaninny, if it should happen to
be a boy, you know, your honour, it will soon be useful,
and do to look after the pigs.
The author having afterwards satisfied himself as to
the man’s condition, and as to his being free, gave his
consent to the match ; and the enamoured pair were of
course united in the holy bond of matrimony.
The object in giving the above sketch, is to convey to
the reader, at once, some idea of the nature of rustic
courtship in New South Wales, and of the relations
towards each other of the two sexes of the felon population,
as well as of the charming prospect attendant
upon a convict wedding.
Such scenes as the above are of constant occurrence ;
and the writer has deemed it best to present one of them,
without embellishment, as it actually took place.
The sketch is as slight as may be, yet it images a
state of things difficult to be conceived in England,
and certainly unparalleled in any civilized country.
But to return to the system on which the female convicts
are treated : — Nothing can be more impolitic, or
roore unlike punishment, from the first hour of their
embarkation in England.
Each convict ship carries out a herd of females of all
ages, and of every gradation in vice, including a large
proportion of prostitutes of all grades, from the veriest
trull to the fine madam who displayed her attractions in
All who can, carry with them the whole paraphernalia
of the toilette, with trunks and boxes stuffed with
every kind of female dress and decoration they can