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Bligh's replacement, Lachlan Macquarie, served as governor from 1809 to 1821. The most talented governor since Phillip, he also became the most powerful. The New South Wales Corps was sent home, and because the economy had improved, the government gained stability. Macquarie began an extensive public works program, employing the ex-convict Francis Greenway to design churches, hospitals, and government buildings in Sydney. The population of the colony also increased after Britain's defeat of Napoleon in 1814. The arrival of more free settlers brought more claims to farmland on which more convicts could serve as laborers.
These two new groups of colonists, however, reflected a growing tension within New South Wales. As convicts completed their sentences or were eligible for release due to good behavior, they wanted land and opportunities. They were known as the emancipists, and their leaders urged that they be given more rights. The free settlers, like the corps before them, maintained that convicts, even after their release, should not be treated as equals. They were known as the exclusives. Macquarie, as had Bligh, tended to support the emancipists, granting them land and appointing them to minor offices. The exclusives, therefore, became critical of both Macquarie and the emancipists.