Our Country’s Good

by

Timberlake Wertenbaker

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Captain David Collins (Judge Collins) Character Analysis

Another captain overseeing the penal colony in Australia. Collins has been chosen to fulfill the position of the colony’s judge. As such, he helps Phillip create a moral and just society, eventually stressing the importance of a healthy judicial system. At first, he appears to endorse the practice of public execution, suggesting that the convicts won’t behave unless they’re stricken by the “mortar of fear.” However, he later helps Phillip and Ralph convince Liz Morden to advocate for herself in order to avoid the death sentence, saying that it would be very unfortunate if convicts like her came to see the justice system in Australia as incapable of recognizing the truth. In this way, then, he helps her avoid the death sentence while also contributing to Governor Phillips’s efforts to create a well-functioning society.

Captain David Collins (Judge Collins) Quotes in Our Country’s Good

The Our Country’s Good quotes below are all either spoken by Captain David Collins (Judge Collins) or refer to Captain David Collins (Judge Collins) . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Punishment and Rehabilitation Theme Icon
).
Act One, Scene Three Quotes

COLLINS. […] You have been made Governor-in-Chief of a paradise of birds, Arthur.

PHILLIP. And I hope not of a human hell, Davey. Don’t shoot yet, Watkin, let’s observe them. Could we not be more humane?

TENCH. Justice and humaneness have never gone hand in hand. The law is not a sentimental comedy.

PHILLIP. I am not suggesting they go without punishment. It is the spectacle of hanging I object to. The convicts will feel nothing has changed and will go back to their old ways.

TENCH. The convicts never left their old ways, Governor, nor do they intend to.

Related Symbols: Public Hangings
Page Number: 9
Explanation and Analysis:

I commend your endeavour to oppose the baneful influence of vice with the harmonising acts of civilisation, Governor, but I suspect your edifice will collapse without the mortar of fear.

Related Symbols: Public Hangings
Page Number: 9
Explanation and Analysis:
Act Two, Scene One Quotes

WISEHAMMER. I am innocent. I didn’t do it and I’ll keep saying I didn’t.

LIZ. It doesn’t matter what you say. If they say you’re a thief, you’re a thief.

WISEHAMMER. I am not a thief. I’ll go back to England to the snuff shop of Rickett and Loads and say, see, I’m back, I’m innocent.

LIZ. They won’t listen.

WISEHAMMER. You can’t live if you think that way.

Page Number: 67
Explanation and Analysis:
Act Two, Scene Ten Quotes

COLLINS. My only fear, Your Excellency, is that she may have refused to speak because she no longer believes in the process of justice. If that is so, the courts here will become travesties. I do not want that.

PHILLIP. But if she won’t speak, there is nothing more we can do. You cannot get at the truth through silence.

Page Number: 97
Explanation and Analysis:
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Captain David Collins (Judge Collins) Character Timeline in Our Country’s Good

The timeline below shows where the character Captain David Collins (Judge Collins) appears in Our Country’s Good. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act One, Scene Three
Punishment and Rehabilitation Theme Icon
Governance and Justice Theme Icon
On a recreational hunting expedition in Sydney Cove, Governor Arthur Phillip speaks with Judge David Collins, Captain Watkin Tench, and Midshipman Harry Brewer about the nature of punishment. As he wonders... (full context)
Punishment and Rehabilitation Theme Icon
Governance and Justice Theme Icon
...the first place, adding that they also don’t “intend” to reform themselves. Chiming in, Judge Collins says he respects Phillip’s desire to treat the criminals in a humane manner, but he... (full context)
Punishment and Rehabilitation Theme Icon
Theater, Liberation, and Unity Theme Icon
Governance and Justice Theme Icon
...suggests that lashings should be enough to keep the convicts in line, but Tench and Collins point out that many of them have already experienced heavy whippings and that—at a certain... (full context)
Punishment and Rehabilitation Theme Icon
Theater, Liberation, and Unity Theme Icon
Governance and Justice Theme Icon
...like opera and the theater. “Surely no one is born naturally cultured?” he says. However, Collins reminds him that they hardly have any books or plays in the colony, so they... (full context)
Punishment and Rehabilitation Theme Icon
Governance and Justice Theme Icon
...criminal, Harry says, is Handy Baker, a marine who was the “ringleader” of the theft. Collins adds that Handy tried to argue that it was unfair that the marines receive the... (full context)
Punishment and Rehabilitation Theme Icon
Theater, Liberation, and Unity Theme Icon
Governance and Justice Theme Icon
Guilt, Regret, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...Robert Sideway, and when Phillip suggests that it’s unnecessary to hang such an old woman, Collins says, “That will be unnecessary. She hanged herself this morning.” (full context)
Act One, Scene Six
Punishment and Rehabilitation Theme Icon
Theater, Liberation, and Unity Theme Icon
Governance and Justice Theme Icon
...strongly against the idea, thinking that everyone has better things to focus on, though Judge Collins points out that the play won’t keep the much-anticipated supply ship from finally arriving to... (full context)
Theater, Liberation, and Unity Theme Icon
...the officers a chance to pretend they’re at the theater back in London. Eventually, Judge Collins polls the group, taking a vote regarding who wants to do the play and who’s... (full context)
Act Two, Scene Ten
Punishment and Rehabilitation Theme Icon
Governance and Justice Theme Icon
In a meeting about Liz Morden, Judge Collins tells Ralph, Major Ross, Captain Campbell, and Governor Phillip that the convict declined to speak... (full context)
Punishment and Rehabilitation Theme Icon
Governance and Justice Theme Icon
...account of what Liz said to Harry when she was getting measured for her hanging, Collins notes that his testimony didn’t do much in the trial because Liz “wouldn’t confirm what... (full context)
Punishment and Rehabilitation Theme Icon
Governance and Justice Theme Icon
Judge Collins sends Campbell to fetch Liz, whom he gives one last chance to defend herself. Explaining... (full context)
Punishment and Rehabilitation Theme Icon
Theater, Liberation, and Unity Theme Icon
Governance and Justice Theme Icon
...says. “Speaking the truth?” Phillip asks. “Speaking,” she replies. Cutting in, Ross says that Judge Collins should listen to the soldier who claimed to have seen Liz by the food stores,... (full context)