Imágenes de páginas

scarce, and public houses 'very numerous, so much so as to amount to no less than 197 in this place alone. The population, according to the researches of Lieut. Breton, consists of 13,000 inhabitants, to which are to be added 400 military and 2000 convicts forming a total of 15,400. The state of the convicts is given; and the manner in which they are employed, as also the use which is made of the bushrangers, tor that peculiar class of convicts who have escaped into “the bush,” or forests, in consequence of their preferring a life of plunder, but at the same time, of independence, to a tame one of labour, but yet of honesty and morality, is fully *»... From Sydney the author proceeded to Hobart Town, a distance of 650 miles, and his experience in the two districts induces him to offer the following advice to all emigrants:

Any person undecided in which colony he will finally establish himself, could take his passage in a vessel bound to Sydney, via Hobart Town; as he would then have ample time, while the cargo was being discharged, to make every inquiry connected with the subject of land: and if he found that the colony answered his expectations he could remain, or otherwise go on to New South Wales, i. If he adopted this suggestion, it would be advisable to make some arrangement with the commander before he quits England, so as to live on board while in harbour; for the expense on shore would be very heavy. The above plan he should adopt himself without the slightest hesitation. 9. Lieut Breton gives an account of several parts of Van Dieman's Land which he visited, as well as of Hobart Town, of which he furnishes a very excellent description. It was at first called Tasmania, having been discovered by Tasman in 1642: it was visited by Capt. Cook in 1773, and not till 1803 was it established as a colony. In 1825 it became independent, having been previously considered as a part of the territory of the government of New South Wales. The island is situated between 40 deg. 44 min. and 43 deg. 39 min. south latitude, and 144 deg. 38 min. and 148 deg. 24 min. of east longitude. Its extreme length is 191 geographical miles, and greatest breadth 171. From its general resemblance to New Holland, one would be induced to believe it a continuation of the latter, nor in travelling through it will the distinction be found very great. Considering its extent, it is, if possible, even more mountainous than New South Wales; for look which way one will, the country appears to rise irregularly into a confused jumble of wild and woody hills, a few only forming ranges. Between these, are valleys, some of tolerable width, but more extremely narrow, and entirely enclosed by mountains. The plains are the only exception, and they are of great extent, those at Campbell Town exceeding 12,000 acres, and almost without trees. The natives of this island, though it is so very close to New Holland, are quite a distinct race from those found inhabiting the latter, being many grades below the New Hollanders in intelligence, and in every other peculiarity which is dis. tinctive of the human race. In Van Dieman's Land, vegetation is quite as rapid as it is in New Holland, and all European trees thriye there, as do also the whole of our grasses. The animals present some differences from those which are common in the former country. In Van Dieman's Land, for instance, the colour of the native tiger is brown, with a number of black stripes which extend across the back, gradually taper to a point, and terminate near the belly; the circumference of the body is only eighteen inches. It is carnivorous, has a remarkably large mouth, destroys: lambs, and will eat offal, is slow in its movements, extremely cunning in its nature, and is a night animal. Like the kangaroo, it goes in tracks or paths beaten by that animal, or by its own kind, and can be tamed with equal facility. It is certainly, a remarkable feature in the character of the quadrupeds, and in many of the birds of these colonies, that they can be so easily tamed. In other countries both time and attention are required to subdue the natural ferocity or wildness of the animals, while here it is done without trouble, and in a very short time. The kangaroo, wombat, and many others become reconciled to captivity in the course of a day or two, and will then follow a person like a dog. Even the native tiger, and some of the animals called native cats, can be reclaimed; the native devil alone seems: averse to quit its life of freedom to associate with man.. ; *

Fish is more abundant on the coasts of Van Dieman's Land than in the neighbourhood of Sydney, but they are much smaller. Black whales approach the shore to bring forth their young; but the spermaceti whales are never seen on any part of the coasts. The climate and temperature of Van Dieman's Land being a subject of some importance to emigrants, we have no hesitation in eiting the account of it as it was supplied to Lieut. Breton, by a competent medical authority, who states that this island is not less peculiar as to its climate than it is as to its animal and vegetable productions, inasmuch as situations are here enjoyed with health and pleasure, which any where else would be considered inevitable destruction, or hazardous to human life. And although the vicissitudes of the thermometer from heat to cold, and of the barometer from clear weather to foul, are frequent and sudden, they are not succeeded by the same baneful consequences to the human body as in other countries; nor are the changes followed by epidemic or contagious diseases, which as yet can hardly be said to have appeared. Vaccine virus has been introduced from the Isle of France and Sydney, but after passing through one or two patients has become ineffective. The diseases, both acute and chronic, are generally mild and of short duration, and yield more easily to the usual remedies than in any other country with which the writer was acquainted. It is to be observed that a great number of cases are brought on by intemper, rance, partial clothing, and exposure to wet and cold, and that they are mostly contracted by European prisoners of dissolute habits or broken constitutions. The valetudinarian, searching for health, will,

no where find a climate and country more congenial to his feelings than Van Dieman's Land. But Lieut. Breton significantly adds, that if the same valetudinarian seek for amusement as well as for health, there is no part of the world where he will find less of that very precious commodity:

It is the deliberate opinion of our author that in the region of Australasia, which extend from north to south to the distance of 2280 geographical miles, the climates are so various as to furnish almost a certainty that the inhabitants will hereafter be able to supply themselves with numberless comforts and luxuries, which, to be enjoyed in other colonies, must be brought from immense distances, and consequently at great expense. In the short time that has elapsed since the settlements of these colonies began), vast strides have been made in agricultural cultivation, and in the increase both of plants and animals; but still many generations must pass away be. fore the country can become thickly inhabited; for, in the first place, there are vast tracts that, in all probability, will never be reclaimed so as to yield any profit to the husbandman; these intervene between the fertile spots that are scattered through the colonies; and, in some places, extend so far, that the traveller may pass over fifteen or twenty miles, and scarcely see an acre of good soil. Particular spots will (some have already) become populous; and districts, once thinly inhabited by wandering savages, are already covered with farms, where a multitude of flocks and herds are seen; but these' are far asunder, and peculiarly situated. In the second place, the grants or farms are of such magnitude, that unless subt divided, which, from the nature of the land, is not likely to happen, this alone would prevent the country from becoming populated to the extent observed where the land is more adapted for tillage than for pasturage..!

Amongst the public works in New South Wales, the principal are the roads: the churches are wretched examples of bad taste and a worse spirit of ill-directed economy: two dissenters' chapels, one at Sydney, the other at Paramatta, are contemptible. The church now in progress for the catholic congregation in Sydney, will, the author thinks, be a respectable edifice; but the funds come in so slowly to sustain it, that it is not likely to be speedily completed.

The author explains the regulations which relate to the distribution of land, and expresses a strong conviction of the great importance which it will prove to persons about to emigrate, to study those rules with a view of determining the vital question whether or not they shall emigrate at all. The great objection to them is the charge of five shillings per acre on land, which is certainly extravagantly valued at even this sum. But another and a stronger objection may be thus explained. Two persons, let it be supposed, arrive in one of these colonies from England, with the view of becoming settlers : one proceeds at once into

[ocr errors]

the interior to seek for a location; while the other, in the mean time, remains quietly at the capital. The first, having succeeded in his object, returns, and makes the usual application that the land may be put up to auction, of which due notice is given in the government gazette, together with the name of the applicant. When the sale takes place, the individual who has had no trouble in exploring the country attends, and being of opinion that it is better to pay something beyond the five shillings per acre, (he, of course, takes it for granted that the applicant has secured a location well worth the money), than be reduced to the necessity of passing many weeks in wandering about the “bush,” bids against him who had discovered the land in question, and not improbably secures it.

The method of clearing land, as given by the author, seems too important to the emigrant not to form the subject of one of our extracts. Some, he says, cut down and burn every tree at once, destroying every means of shelter for cattle, the stumps being left to rot, and the land in the intervals between them being cultivated. Another practice has been introduced from America, that of making a deep incision round the tree, which very soon dies after this operation, and, being felled, burn with extreme rapidity. This mode of getting rid of timber is called girdling. One of the best methods would be no doubt the following: a hole, about six inches in diameter, is made in that side of a tree against which the wind is blowing at the time; on fire being applied it communicates with the heart (which must be in a state of decay), involves the whole stem, which is soon destroyed ; and any branches or fragments that are left, are then heaped together and also burnt! such is said to be the case; but it certainly does not follow, as a matter of course, that the stem will be entirely consumed; for thousands of trees may be seen in the forests only partially destroyed, some of them still throwing out branches, and hundreds of them being hollow trunks, perfectly black, and imparting a most repulsive solemnity to the scenery; yet these trees have been more than once enveloped by the flames of the destructive conflagrations which so often occur. When the stumps are left to rot, they remain a great number of years, for if not charred by the fires when burning off, they will occupy a considerable space of time before they become quite decayed. One advantage resulting from girdling the trees and leaving them standing until ready for the axe, is, that the use of the land is not lost in the mean time, as it can be employed in grazing; but when the ground is strewed with fallen trees, which are frequently cut down, and then left for years before they are burnt off, horses and cattle are liable to be staked or otherwise injured. Where the stumps have not been eradicated, they constantly throw out shoots, these become trees, four or five of which are often the

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]



[ocr errors]

scions of a common parent, and all of them probably many inches in diameter.

The following additional directions are well worthy the emigrant's deep attention: • In making a purchase, the emigrant should be careful to secure, if

pos: "back run;" that is to say, a tract of land, which, being behind his own farm, and without water, (such are many of the hills, which afford a good supply of herbage,) is not likely to be taken by any

other person; and he will easily perceive the necessity of this, when he is informed that, speaking generally, three acres are' required to feed two sheep. There are particular spots which will undoubtedly supply food for a greater number than the above proportion; though many settlers of repute, stated it as the average throughout the colonies.

• As the settler will naturally devote his attention chiefly to the production or cultivation of those articles which make the highest returns, such as wool, salted meat, and cheese, he will find, that in addition to his purchase, which could be used as a homestead, presuming it to contain only 2,560 acres, (four square miles, or the old maximum grant), he will still

require additional land, to obtain which there are three ways of proceeding :, he can purchase or rent a tract either from the government, or from an indi, vidual; he can also select a “stock station" in some part of the colony where the land is either unlocated, or, being beyond the limits of that portion of the country at present open to location, will not, probably, for some time, become so.

No emigrant ought, on any account, to purchase a property until he has quite resolved upon remaining in the colonies; for unless more fortunate than settlers of land generally are, he will experience very great difficulty in disposing of it, without sustaining considerable loss.”—pp. 440, 441, 442.

Instead of following the author through the further details which he carries out to a most elaborate extent, and which are full of most useful information, we shall content ourselves with summing up the chief reasons which induce him to recommend emigrants to chose some destiny besides the Australian settlements. These motives are,

First, The immense distance of those colonies, a departure to which, must, with a person of reflection, induce the feeling of meeting no more, on this side of the grave, the friends of his youth, or the connexions he has formed in his riper age; and although we are told, that all places are distant alike from heaven, and that, to a wise man, it does not signify in what part of the world he may be, yet, when the emigrant finds himself amongst strangers, not one of whom is concerned for his welfare, he must experience a sensation which will throw a damp on his present situation, and tend materially to cloud his future prospects.

Secondly, In the colony itself, the emigrant will find nó society whatever with which he or his family can mix.

Thirdly, The convict population he will meet with will render his residence disagreeable, and his safety very precarious.

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »