15 SEPTEMBER 1883, Page 3

The Melbourne correspondent of the Times points out that the

most imperative motive of the Australians in desiring to annex New Guinea and some other islands has escaped attention at home. The statesmen of France, finding their habitual criminals a source of constant danger, have proposed laws enabling the Judges to transport them to penal settlements at the Antipodes. There they are to remain as labourers, in per• fect freedom, "sans aucune restriction," and, it is hoped, make their living. As New Caledonia will not hold them, they will escape—as, indeed, they do already—and once escaped, the Governor of the settlement refuses to take them back. They make their way to the continent of Australia, and there live by crime. The Australians, who know what convicts are like, and who suffered from the convicts who used to escape from Tasmania, cannot endure this addition to their own criminals ; and maintain that, if France obtained a footing in the New Hebrides dr New Guinea, the Colonies would becomo almost uninhabitable. The danger is a little exaggerated, as England might for the same reasons be alarmed at, the neigh- bourhood of Toulon ; but the feeling is very strong, and it is pretty clear that the French Colonial authorities approve escapes.