Imatges de pÓgina

pelled to resort to prostitution, or to submit to hopeless ba. nishment.

Mr. Thomas Reid having made two voyages to New South Wals, as surgeon to a convict ship, has pat together a history of the transactions which occurred during each of them. In the first, while he belonged to a male ship, there is little worthy of remark; unless that nothing can be worse regulated than the internal discipline of the vessel, as far as the master is concerned. He has no power of punishing the sailors, who consequently are daily guilty of gross acts of insubordination : and the soldiers are avowedly independent of him. The seeds of misrule thus early sown, are largely encouraged in growth by an overabundant allowance of spirits; and, on Mr. Reid's representation, we are not a little surprised how any ship escapes a mutiny of the crew, or an insurrection of the convicts.

Mr. Reid's second engagement was with a female transport ship. The majority of ibe wretched women conveyed in it, had been under the care of Mrs. Fry, in Newgate; and notwithstanding the instructions of the Lady's Committee, and the personal vigilance of Mr. Reid, (who kept watch under arms for forty nights in the prison, to prevent illicit intercourse with the sailors, and ran some risque, in consequence, of a dismem. berment similar to that of Orpheus), we cannot discover the strong symptoms of penitence and amendment which, by separating his facts from his reasonings, this gentleman would persuade us were manifested under bis regulation. His object, no doubt, was to do good: but like a great many other benevolent persons he miscalculated bis powers, and mistook his

He believes, however, that he fully succeeded; and he has published at some length the sermons which he delivered on the passage, as guide-posts to all future surgeons. He could not have given a stronger proof of the necessity of a chaplain.

With the natives, for many years after the foundation of the colony, but little intercourse was obtained. They are a savage race, without fixed residence; and subsist chiefly on hunting and fishing. They have neither houses nor clothing, and are entirely upacquainted with agriculture. Their canoes, their implements of war, and of the chace, are of the rudest contrivance and workmanship. Their colour is a dark chocolate, and their features of the negro cast: hat their hair, unless in Van Dieman's Land, is not woolly. The disposition manifested by them at first, was very far from being friendly, and even after thirty years' intercoarse, Mr. Wentworth obseryes, they have never been prevailed upon to prac.


tise one of the arts of civilized life. A school has been found. ed by Governor Macquarie, for the education of their children; and we rejoice to state that, by the last accounts, eighteen students had already been placed there' voluntarily, by their parents. Mr. Wentworth gives the following extract from the Sydney Gazette of January 4, 1817.

“« On Saturday last, the 28th ult., the town of Paramatta exhibited a novel and very interesting spectacle, by the assembling of the native tribes there, pursuant to the governor's gracious invi. tation. At ten in the morning the market place was thrown open, and some gentlemen who were appointed on the occasion, took the management of the ceremonials. The natives having seated themselves on the ground in a large circle, the chiefs were placed on chairs a little advanced in front, and to the right of their respective tribes. In the centre of the circle thus formed, were placed large tables groaning under the weight of roast beef, potatoes, bread, &c. and a large cask of grog lent its exhilarating aid to promote the general festivity and good humour which so conspicuously shone through the sable visages of this delighted congress. The governor, attended by all the members of the native institution, and by several of the magistrates and gentlemen in the neighbourhood, proceeded at half past ten to the meeting, and having entered the cir cle, passed round the whole of them, inquiring after, and making himself acquainted with the several tribes, their respective leaders and residences. His Excellency then assembled the chiefs by themselves, and confirmed them in the ranks of chieftains, to which their own tribes had exalted them, and conferred upon them badges of distinction; whereon were engraved their names as chiefs, and those of their tribes. He afterwards conferred badges of merit on some individuals, in acknowledgment of their steady and loyal conduct in the assistance they rendered the military party, when lately sent out in pursuit of the refractory natives to the west and south of the Nepean river. By the time this ceremony was over, Mrs. Macquarie arrived, and the children belonging to, and under the care of the native institution, fifteen in number, preceded by their teacher, entered the circle, and walked round it; the children appearing very clean, well clothed and happy. The chiefs were then again called together to observe the examination of the children as to their progress in learning and the civilized habits of life. Several of the little ones read; and it was grateful to the bosom of sensibility to trace the degrees of pleasure which the chiefs manifested on this occasion. Some clapped the children on the head; and one in particular turning round towards the governor with extraordinary emotion, exclaimed, Governor, that will make a good settler,– that's my Pickaninny!" (meaning his child.) And some of the females were observed to shed tears of sympathetic affection, at seea ing the infant and helpless offspring of their deceased friends, so happily sheltered and protected by British benevolence. The examinations being finished, the children returned to the institution. under the guidance of their venerable tutor, whose assiduity and attention to them, merit every commendation.

“ • The feasting then commenced, and the Governor retired amidst the long and reiterated acclamations and shouts of his sable and grateful congress. The number of the visitants, (exclusive of the fifteen children) amounted to one hundred and seventy" nine, viz. one handred and five men, fifty-three women, and twenty-one children. It is worthy of observation that three of the latter mentioned number of children, (and the son of the memorable Bemni-long, was one of them) were placed in the native institution, immediately after the breaking up of the con gress, on Saturday last, making the number of children now in that establishment, altogether eighteen; and we may reasonably trust, that in a few years this benevolent institution will amply reward the hopes and expectations of its liberal patrons and supporters, and answer the grand object intended, by providing a seminary for the helpless offspring of the natives of this country, and opening the path to their future civilization and improvement.'" Wentworth, P. 19.

Nature seems to have delighted in “quaint antics,” while producing life in this country. The peculiarities of the kangaroo, the opossum, the flying mouse, and the sloth, are well known. The ornithoringos paradoxos is not the only animal which unites in itself the characteristics of many others. We read of parrots with the heads of sea-gulls and the wings and tails of hawks, and skates with the heads of sharks. The emu has two feathers growing out of each quill; and its side bone, which resembles roast beef, is sufficient for the dinner of five hungry hunters. The plumage of the birds in general is most splendid and brilliant, but they are without song. Crows do not talk their customary European croak. Trees are found bearing three different kinds of leaves at once. Pork is obtained from animals something between pigs and turnspits; and there are few quadrupeds wbich do not possess the useful appendage of a false belly.

We come now to Mr. Oxley's journals. In the direction of the coast of New South Wales, and distant from it about fifty miles, is a vast mountain range, the Blue Mountains, which seemed to present an impenetrable barrier against entrance into the interior. The first attempts to cross them were invariably attended with disappointment: but the partial and increasing success which crowned the efforts of some later adventurers, created a strong hope of the ultimate practicability of a passage, and stimulated the enterprize of individuals. The smiling country which they already enjoyed became stale and wearisome, while they knew that there was something beyond, not yet attained, though perhaps within their power; and, like the Abyssinian Prince, each was discontented with his happy valley till he burst the bars of nature which enclosed it. In the year 1813, Messrs. Wentworth, Lawson, and Blaxland, after suffering many hardships among the defiles, descended a hazardous precipice, which has since received the name of Mount York, and proceeded about ten miles over an open country, broken into steep bills. They returned to Sydney after a month's absence; and their accounts induced Governor Macquarie to prosecute their discoveries still farther. Mr. Evans, the deputy surveyor, having penetrated to the extremity of the first explorers route, proceeded in a westerly direction over a mountainous country (Clarence Hilly Range), and traced the rich and clear banks of a river (the Macquarie), abounding in fish. His journey extended nearly 100 miles, and in the whole course of it, which lasted about six weeks, he saw no more than six natives, two women and four children. A road has since been constructed over these mountains, passable for loaded carriages ; and the Governor himself, with his lady and suite, have tracked the whole of Mr. Evans's route; and fixed

upon the site of a new town, Bathurst. In these excursions, a river, to which the pame of Lachlan had been given, attracted much notice. As it flowed to the south west, it was hoped that it might empty itself into the sea, somewhere on the coast in that direction ; and an expedition of sufficient magnitude, under the command of Mr. Oxley, was directed to explore its course, and note the general features of the country through which it passed. Thirteen persons were engaged in it; among whom were Mr. Evans, whom we have just mentioned, as second in command, two botanists; and a mineralogist.

The Lachlan abounds in fish.

" One man in less than an hour caught eighteen large fish, one of which was a curiosity from its immense size, and the beauty of its colours. In shape and general form it most resembled a cod, but was speckled over with brown, blue, and yellow spots, like a leopard's skin ; its gills and belly a clear white, the tail and fins a dark brown. It weighed entire seventy pounds, and without the entrails sixty-six pounds : it is somewhat singular that in none of these fish is any thing found in the stomach, except occasionally a shrimp or two. The dimensions of this fish were as follow :

Feet. Inches. Length from the nose to the tail

3 5 Circumference round the shoulders

2 6 Fin to fin over the back

1 5.
Circumference near the anus

1 9
Breadth of the tail
Circumference of the mouth opened

6 Depth of the swallow

1 foot.


Most of the other fish taken this evening weighed from fifteen to thirty pounds each, and were of the same kind as the above." Oxley, P. 24.

The country through which they passed rapidly descended, and to the west and nortb west the river was lost in marshes. Taking a south-westerly direction, the travellers proceeded with great difficulty over a barren country, till they regained the course of the stream, which bent again to the west, and was finally dissipated in vast lagoons and morasses. It was demonstrated, without doubt, that no river deriving its waters from the eastern coast, could fall into the sea between Cape Otway and Spencer's Gulph, and that the country "south of the parallel of 34%, and west of the meridian, 147° 30" E. was uninbabitable."

Considerable hardships were endured in the course of this descent: on one occasion no water was to be obtained for sixand-thirty hours : on another, hunger compelled them to kill a large native dog, which hunger also made them pronounce to be true, good, natural mutton. Another dog which was killed, but not for the table, occasioned the following singular exbibition of instinctive attachment.

“ About a week ago we killed a native dog, and threw his body on a small bush : in returning past the same spot to-day, we found the body removed three or four yards from the bush, and the female in a dying state lying close beside it ; she had apparently been there from the day the dog was killed, being so weakened and ema. ciated as to be unable to move on our approach. It was deemed mercy to despatch her." Oxley, P. 110.

The Lachlan having thus terminated, it was useless to pur. sue a farther westerly course, and as his supplies were fast failing, Mr. Oxley resolved to return up that part of its banks which he bad quitted in bis descent. Following these banks, he ascertained that in its several windings, from its source to its discharge in the lagoons-a space which he calculates at not less than 1200 miles- it does not receive a single tributary stream. The country through which it runs is of so singular a nature, that during fifty miles, no stones or pebbles were seen, excepting two; each of which was taken out of the maw of an emu.

Two native burial places were discovered on the return. The first presented a raised mound of earth, ander which were some ashes; but there was no decisive proof whether they were from wood or bones. A semicircular trench was dug round one side of the tumulus, as if for seats for persons in attendance.” The second was much more decided in character.

« AnteriorContinua »