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eastern line between the two Zwartbergen forming the Kannaland, and the celebrated valleys of the Large Kloof and Kromme River. This terrace, although no great distance from the sea, is in most parts so elevated as to fit it for the growth of almost every description of produce belonging to a cold climate, as the apple, pear, cherry, currant, raspberry, and gooseberry.
The second great terrace commences on the north, or behind the great Zwartbergen, and presents a surface of table land of from eighty to a hundred miles in breadth, by at least four hundred and twenty miles long. A large proportion of this space
is absorbed by unsheltered deserts, called Karoos, the greater partof which are, however, confined to the western or elder province of the colony. These wastes are for the most considerable portion of the year much denuded of pasturage and devoid of moisture, and are only travelled over during or immediately after the periodical rains, when they are traversed by innumerable river channels, but which, acting as mere drains, hurry off, but retain no water. The great altitude of these plains is unfavourable to the growth of wood, and they appear to be doomed by nature to remain unfruitful wildernesses.
A constant mirage haunts for ever the thirsty traveller on these blasted heaths, and huge pillars of revolving sand, whirling about in fantastic evolutions wherever the eye roams, are the continual, monotonous, and tantalizing phenomena of this inhospitable solitude.
To the eastward of these “brown karoos,” and upon the same terrace, lie the happier regions of the Camdeboo, Bruyntjes Hoogte, and the Tarka, 66 thrice blessed” divisions of the more favoured Eastern province, deservedly celebrated for their riches in cattle, and the fertility of their soil.
The Nieuwveldt and Snieuwberg mountains rising from these plains, form the buttresses of the next or third plateau, which extends to and across the Gariep or Orange river. This country, especially in the mountains, is also calculated for the cultivation of the productions of Northern Europe. The capsicum, or Indian pepper, can only be raised within doors. This district is well peopled, and its inhabitants are amongst the most wealthy as well as the most intelligent of the Dutch yeomanry of the colony.
Fuel is so scarce in this country that the manure from the cattlefold is in general use ; it is cut into thin cakes, and dried and hardened in the sun, when it makes a ruddy fire, producing an intense heat. Many of the cattle-folds are built of this material.
The population of the Cape Colony, which at first sight seems so disproportioned to the extent of the settlement, is really greater than it
appears the scarcity of springs and streams, and their distance apart, prevents that general diffusion of the inhabitants over the surface so common to Europe and Northern America. They are therefore concentrated in towns, villages, and hamlets, and frequently on farms; but that the colony is capable of maintaining a very large augmentation of its numbers cannot be doubted. Innumerable are the instances of estates which, when in the possession of a single family, with difficulty supplied water for irrigation and other purposes, have, upon their sub-division into smaller farms, or becoming the sites of villages, afforded abundance of water for a considerable mass of inhabitants. Such is the history of most of the colonial towns, of which Graham's Town, now containing 5000, and Colesberg 1000 souls, are the readiest and most recent instances. The farmers who occupied these two places are stated to have raised a bare subsistence for their families and few dependants, whereas now thousands live there in comfort and affluence. The Dutch farmer, of the name of Cloete, who was the last possessor of the site of Graham's Town, was in the habit of frequently moving his cattle in quest of water.
In estimating, too, the ratio between the inhabitants and the superficial extent of the colony, we must take into consideration those immense regions already alluded to in the Western Province, the Karoos, or desert country, and to the extent of these wastes must be added the useless mountain slopes and declivities, with their inaccessible defiles, large patches of unwatered lands, and the uninhabited forest country, which are all ill-adapted for the abode of man. When we have made this deduction, we shall find the available part of the colony reduced to half its actual area, and the calculation will then give us a density of population of about 24 to a square mile, being more than double that of New South Wales, which rises not higher than 1**. It may here be observed, that facilities for sustaining a greater population belong to both provinces, but in a much greater degree to the Eastern Province than the Western; the former being more plentifully watered, better covered with pasture, and entirely free from those patches of desert which compose so large a portion of the area of the latter division.
The rivers of the colony are neither very numerous, nor likely to be very serviceable as a means of internal intercourse. From the structure of the country, which so rapidly attains an extreme elevation from the coast, they generally receive their birth at no very considerable distance from the sea ; and they leap down from terrace to terrace, until they fall into the plains below the last range of mountains skirting the ocean, whence they flow, not then always unimpeded, into their kindred waters. Inland navigation in those rivers which will admit vessels must, therefore, under these circumstances, be restricted to a very short distance from their estuaries, but boats and barges might navigate from twenty to thirty miles. Among the rivers on the Western coast is the Oliphant, which waters a very fertile country, and one of whose branches, rising, like the Nile, deposits a slime productive of the most splendid crops. The basin of this stream, said to be inapproachable by shipping, is navigable for small craft full twenty miles from its mouth, but the nature of its roadste the shame of the colony, is at present unknown. Grain, wine, and cattle, would be the exports vessels might bring to Cape Town within a few hours ; but which are now almost entirely shut up in the place of their production--the land carriage amounting nearly to a prohibition. The Berg River is a fine stream falling into St. Helena Bay, but useless also as regards navigation. It has long been considered a desideratum to divert its waters into Saldanha Bay, in order to supply that magnificent and secure harbour ; but the expense of such an undertaking, it is thought, would be too great to warrant the Government in making the attempt; besides, recent circumstances lead to the supposition that good water is not so scarce in that bay as for
* This proportion is taken on the assumption that the official population returns are correct; but if we take the real population at 220,000 we exceed New South Wales more than three times.
merly imagined. These two are the only rivers of any consequence falling into the Atlantic from the colonial shores.
The BREEDE or BROAD RIVER is navigable for vessels of 200 tons burden, and possesses capabilities for becoming one of the longest water-carriage ways in the colony; it is frequently resorted to by coasters, as the surrounding country produces great quantities of the finest grain. The GAURITZ is also a considerable river, but perfectly ineligible for the use of shipping. It is one of the largest streams of the colony, but rather performs the office of a great drain, than waters the country. The rivers now described all belong to the western province of the colony.
The most considerable streams of the eastern province are the KROMME, CHAMTOOS, ZMALTKOPS, SUNDAYS, BUSHMANS, KOWIE, and GREAT Fish, which will be hereafter described as they occur in their respective divisions or districts.
The colonial bays are nine in number on a coast of 720 miles, namely, in the western province, St. Helena, Saldanha, Table, False, St. Sebastian's, Mossel, and Plettenberg; and St. Francis and Algoa Bay in the Eastern Province. Besides these, are several small inlets, but of no great importance.
1. ST. HELENA Bay is large and commodious, and has a tolerably safe anchorage, but is seldom visited except by small coasters, and occasionally a few American whalers.
2. SALDANHA BAY is one of the finest in the world, and capable of containing at safe anchorage the whole British fleet, during all seasons of the year; nature, however, always capricious in her favours, has denied fertility to the adjacent soil, and the supply of water is limited, in consequence of which it is seldom resorted to, except by foreign whalers, fishing on the coasts.
3. TABLE BAY is too well known to require particular description in this mere general account of the colony. It is the chief harbour of the Cape of Good Hope, and exceedingly commodious ; Cape Town, the metropolis, is situated on its shore.
4. False Bay, rather a sound than a bay, contains within its capacious bosom several fine and safe inlets, among which Simon's Bay is the most important; here is the naval arsenal and depôt, but the proximity of the metropolis and its more convenient bay, distant only twenty-one miles, diverts the whole of the trade from this excellent and perfectly land-locked harbour.
5. ST. SEBASTIAN'S BAY is at the mouth of the Breede River, and is said to possess good holding ground; it is seldom visited except by vessels intending to enter the river.
6. MOSSEL BAY is about 70 miles east of the before-named bay; it has a good anchorage and a safe landing-place, and is gradually rising into importance, which it will doubtless speedily attain, as all the extensive territory to the westward of the port is becoming a wool-growing country, and has long been deservedly celebrated for the excellence and abundance of its corn crops.
7. PLETTENBERG'S BAY, 60 miles further eastward, opens the principal forest country the colony. The finest specimens of timber are exported from this bay, but its trade is restricted to this article, the adjoining fertile corn districts being shut out from access to the port by a range of mountains, over which good roads cannot be constructed until the population and resources of the colony become more dense and more developed.
8. ST. FRANCIS or KROMME RIVER BAY, and
9. ALGOA BAY, will be described more in detail when I come to speak of the Eastern Province in particular.
Besides these marine approaches to the colony, it will be proper to notice the KNYSNA RIVER, or rather an arm of the sea, which, penetrating a thin ridge of precipitous rocks, on the coast of the county of George, forms inside a perfectly landlocked and safe harbour. It has 18 feet water at low ebb tide on the bar, but egress and ingress are hazardous, and vessels are often detained for a considerable time within its bosom, before they dare breast the surges of the ocean. Its produce, at present, is timber only, the neighbouring grain country, like that around Plettenberg's Bay, being vexatiously cut off by the interposition of a mountain belt that has hitherto set at defiance every attempt to make it safely practicable for wheel carriages. Could this formidable obstacle be surmounted, the Knysna would become one of the most valuable ports of the Cape settlement. Time and capital will, however, vanquish the giant, whose Briarean arms so maliciously enclose this valuable spot. The scenery is of the most enchanting and magnificent description.
SEASONS AND CLIMATE.—The Cape Colony being situated in