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Penal Settlements, Macquarie’s Government

Francis Greenway, Lachlan Macquarie, free settlers, polite society, Napoleonic Wars

Bligh’s replacement, a Scottish-born military officer, Lachlan Macquarie, served from 1809 to 1821. The most talented governor since Phillip, he was also the most benevolently autocratic. The New South Wales Corps was disbanded, and the government gained stability. Macquarie began an extensive public works program and employed Francis Greenway to design churches, hospitals, and government buildings in Sydney.

The population, both convict and free, increased rapidly after the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815. Population pressures accentuated tensions already developing between convict and free colonists. As convicts completed their sentences or were given tickets-of-leave to work on their own account, they wanted land and opportunities. These freed convicts were known as the emancipists, and their leaders urged that they be given more rights. They also opposed convict transportation and lobbied for it to be abolished. The free settlers, like the corps before them, maintained that convicts, even after their release, should be kept in servitude and excluded from polite society. They were known as the exclusives. Macquarie, like Bligh, tended to support the emancipists, granting them land and appointing them to minor offices. Opinion among the exclusives gradually hardened against the governor.

Article key phrases:

Francis Greenway, Lachlan Macquarie, free settlers, polite society, Napoleonic Wars, Bligh, military officer, servitude, Macquarie, corps, Phillip, government buildings, sentences, governor, Sydney, hospitals, tensions, exclusives, tickets, land, release, stability, leaders, end, opportunities, Opinion, account, rights


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