Imatges de pàgina

considerable town in the interior, which retained its native title Paramatta ; coal had been discovered in profusion towards Botany Bay; the granaries were full, and no less than 5419 acres of land had been brought into cultivation.

In 1799 Lieutenant Flinders ascertained the existence of a strait separating Van Dieman's land from the main island, and prosecuted his discoveries to the south with great zeal and enterprize. The gradual abandonment of Norfolk Island was already in contemplation, and Van Dieman's Land appeared to present many allurements for occupation in its stead. In 1804 this design was executed. The history of the colony, as connected with the case of Governor Bligh, is too generally known to need repetition here ; and its domestic annals, thenceforward, present little more than the conviction of offenders, and the petty events which in the infancy of a state are exaggerated by their recorders, from the dearth of more important incidents, into a disproportionable and somewbat ludicrous magnitude. ; Such are the chief facts which we have gleaned from a volume published (by Mr. O'Hara we believe) in 1817, and to these we shall subjoin a few others, to be found in the Report of a Committee of the House of Commons; printed in 1812.

By a return made on the first of March, 1810, the district of Sydney contained 6158 inhabitants. Paramatta 1807 ; Hawkesbury 2389; and Newcastle 100: of these 5513 were men, 2220 women, and 2721 children ; and about a fifth of the whole convicts: to this sum must be added a force of 1100 military. Dalrymple and Hobart's Town, in Van Dieman's Land, contained 1321 inbabitants; and in Norfolk Island, which subsequently has been abandoned, were 177: 21,000 acres of land were in cultivation ; 74,000 in pasture. The live stock amounted to 521 horses, 593 mares, 193 bulls, 6351 cows, 4732 oxen, 33,818 sheep, 1732 goats, 8992 bogs. In 1817 the horses and mares were 3072, borned cattle 44,753, and sheep 170,420.

Sic fortis Etruria crevit *. Mr. Wentworth, as his title page imports, was born in New South Wales; and, as he informs us in his preface, resided there for about five years, after his arrival at the age of maturity. He writes very plainly and clearly; and though his occasional bursts of patriotism almost call up a smile, we can assure him that we bave at heart a sincere respect for the good feeling which prompts them.

The very appropriate motto selected for the colony.

Sydney, Mr. Wentworth informs us, until the administration of Governor Macquarie was built with a total disregard to uniformity. It covers a much larger space of ground than is proportioned to its population : for, as in ancient Rome, the houses, in great part, are insula, standing in extensive gardens. This however is a fault, if it be one, which must speedily be corrected by the increasing value of land. The rents are nearly half as great as in the best situations in London; and “it is very far from a commodious house,” which can be procured unfurnished for £100 a year.

Paramatta is situated fifteen miles from Sydney by land, eighteen by water. For half this distance the river which flows into Port Jackson harbour is only navigable for small boats. The town, which consists of little more than one street, about a mile in length, is built on the side of a small stream, flowing into the river. The value of land is 200 per cent. less than at Sydney. Windsor, on the confluence of the south creek with the river Hawkesbury, about 35 miles from Sydney, and Liverpool about 18, on the banks of George's River, are both in their infancy.

The climate, particularly in the inland district, is healthy; the mean heat in summer (December, January, and February,) does not exceed 80° Fahrenheit at noon, and this is tempered by a regular sea breeze from nine in the morning till six in the evening, from the N.E. relieved during the night by a land breeze, varying from W.S.W. to W. In winter the mean temperature at noon is from 550 to 60° and hoar frosts and fogs are frequent.

For the first five or six miles from the coast tbe land is barren and rocky, scarcely producing even stunted underwood. Beyond this girdle, as it were, the soil improves, and is profusely covered with gigantic forest trees. This woody district stretches for ten miles in depth, and opens upon a luxuriant pasture, and an endless variety of hill and dale. The plains on the banks of the Hawkesbury River are still more fertile, insomuch that a single acre of land has been known to produce in the course of one year fifty bushels of wheat, and a hundred of maize. These two sorts of grain are chiefly cultivated, though barley, oats, and rye are partially grown. i All vegetables and fruits known in England are to be found here also; though beans, potatoes, currants, gooseberries, and apples in particular, are inferior in quality to those of Europe.

Manufactories of cloths, hats, earthenware, pipes, salt, candles, and soap, exist to a considerable extent ; and almost all the more obvious mechanical trades have their professors. Wool is rapidly becoming the staple commodity, and has sold for three shillings a pound in the English market. The sheepholders are directing much attention to the improvement of their fleeces; and in the year 1816, 80001. worth of the raw, material was exported. It is principally to the benefits to be derived from this increasing trade, that Mr. Wentworth's golden dreams are directed. After pointing out the allurements which the colony holds forth to the enterprizing arti. zan, our Alpaschar proceeds as follows:

“ The advantages, however, which the colony offers to this class of emigrants, great as they undoubtedly are, when considered in an isolated point of view, are absolutely of no weight when placed in the balance of comparison against those which it offers to the capitalist, who has the means to embark largely in the breeding of fine wooled sheep. It may be safely asserted that of all the various openings which the world at this moment affords for the profitable investment of money, there is not one equally inviting as this single channel of enterprize offered by the colony." Wentworth, p. 409.

“ It would be useless to prosecute this calculation, since any person who may be anxious to ascertain its further results, may easily follow it up himself. It will be seen that with the most libe. ral allowances for all manner of expences, casualties and deteriorations, capital invested in this channel will yield the first year an interest of 131 per cent. besides experiencing itself an increase of nearly 24 per cent. ; that the second year it will yield an interest of nearly 25 per cent. besides experiencing itself a further increase of rather more than 374 per cent. ; and that the third year it will yield an interest of nearly 37 per cent. besides experiencing itself an additional increase of about 42 per cent. or, in other words, money sunk in the rearing of sheep in this colony will, besides paying an interest of about 75į per cent. in the course of three years, rather more than double itself. Here then is a mode of investing capital by which the proprietor may insure himself not only an anpual interest, the ratio of which would augment every year in the most astonishing progression, but by which the capital itself also would experience an advance still more 'rapid and extraordinary. Any person, therefore, who has the means of embarking in this speculation, could not fail with common attention to realize a large fortune in a few years. His chance of so doing would be still greater if he should happen to be acquainted with the management of sheep; but this is by no means an indispensable qualification ; for such is the fineness of the climate, both in the settlements in New Holland and Van Dieman's Land, that all those precautions which are necessary to be observed in this country, in order to shelter this animal from the inclemency of the seasons, are there quite superfluous: sheds, indeed, are not only useless, but injurious; the docks never do so well as when they are continually ex. posed to the weather. It is only necessary that the folds should be shifted every other day, or if the sheep are kept by night in yards, to take care that these are daily swept out.

“ The extent to which capital might thus be invested is bound. Jess ; since if the breeder did not possess as much land as would feed the number of sheep-that he might wish to keep, he would only have to send his flocks beyond the limits of colonization, and retire with them as the tide of population approached. His hurdles, and the rude huts or tents of his shepherds, might always be removed with very little difficulty and expence; and if his and his neighbours' flocks should happen to come into contact, such is the immensity of the wilderness which would lie before him, that he might exclaim in the language of Abram to Lot: • Let there be no strife I pray thee between me and thee, and between my herdsmen and thy herdsmen; for we be brethren. Is not the whole land before us ? Separate thyself I pray thee from me. If thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.' Such, should any of these disputes occur, might always be their amicable termination.” Went. worth, p. 415,

Respecting the state of the convicts very little information is to be derived from Mr. Wentworth. He is a political economist, and disserts upon the necessity of a free trade and a house of assembly in preference to other matters. Besides this, perhaps, a native of New South Wales may entertain a very pardonable reluctance to enter into close details about these his naturalized compatriots. There is little charm to him in the recollection of the infame asylum, and be is as happy as my Lord Duberly in forgetting his genealogy:

Majorum primus quisquis fuit ille tuorum

Aut pastor fuit, aut- illud quod dicere nolo. Van Dieman's land, as we learn from others, has for several years been infested by a banditti of runaway convicts, under the name of bush-rangers. Their atrocities called forth the strong arm of martial law in 1817, and several of the ringleaders were hunted down and executed. The register of crimes in the courts at Sydney, as may be expected in a population 50 largely composed of the sweepings of the English hulks, is most appalling.

“ It appears that during the year 1817, out of the ninety-two persons who were tried for various offences, which it will be seen were for the most part of a heinous nature, no fewer than seventythree were convicted, fifteen capitally, four of whom were executed, the remaining eleven had their sentences commuted into transportation to the Coal River for life; that there were six others originally sentenced to the same punishment; that there were five transported for fourteen years, ten for seven years, and that the remaining thirty-seven were either transported for terms under seven years, or were punished by solitary confinement.” Wentworth, p. 230.

The criminal court, if five members of it concur in the verdict, has the power of inflicting capital punishment with the consent of the governor.

Banishment to the Coal River for life, or various periods, is the next severe infliction of law, and much dreaded by the convicts. They work in irons at this depôt during the whole of the day. In the year 1800 two men were condemned to death for robbery: they were taken to the place of execution with their coffins, and the ropes were already adjusted, wben the provost marshal' most unexpectedly produced their pardons. One of them was sensibly moved ; the other bitterly lamented this extension of mercy, observing that he could never hope to be so well prepared for death again.

The convicts selected from the hulks for transportation are males under fifty, and females under forty-five years of age. A contract is made for their passage, but clothing and provisions during the voyage, and for nine months afterwards, are furnished from the Victualling Board. The owner of the vessel provides a surgeon (of wbose duties we shall have occasion to say a few words presently), who receives a gratuity of 10s. 6d. for every convict landed in New South Wales. Such is the present excellent arrangement in point of accomniodation, that from 1801 to 1810, out of 2398 embarked, 52 only have died on the passage, being 1 in 46. Between 1795 and 1801, the mortality was most distressing : 385 died out of 3833, being nearly 1 in 10. On their arrival in the colony, the artificers are chiefly reserved for the service of government; and the remainder, with a few exceptions, are distributed among the settlers, as servants and labourers. Those in the service of government are divided into gangs, and work from six in the morning till three in the afternoon; having the rest of thọ day at their own disposal, and being fed, clotbed, and, for the most part, lodged at the public expense. The settlers, in like manner, provide for those assigned to them. At the expiration of his period of punishment, every convict is at liberty to return to England; or, if he chooses to settle, he has a grant of forty acres of land, tools, stock, and eighteen months' provisions. No difficulty exists among the men in working their passage bomeward ; but, unhappily, the women, even if they have relinquished their former babits, are frequently

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