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the southern hemisphere, as a natural consequence has its seasons reversed in the order in which they succeed on the opposite division of our globe, the winter of Europe becoming the summer of the southern peninsula, and vice versa. Being sufficiently near to the equator, it is within the influence of the monsoons which divide its seasons into wet and dry, the south-east monsoon blowing in the summer, and the north-west in the winter months. It is at the same time also remote enough from the same great circle to possess the advantages of the temperate zones in all their variations of the four alternate seasons; perhaps, however, the intermediate seasons of spring and autumn are somewhat less distinctly marked than in Europe.
Between the two great divisions of the colony of Western and Eastern Provinces there appears a perceptible difference in the characters of the seasons and the periods of their commencement. The winter of the west side is wet, inclement, and disagreeable; while on the other it is cold, dry, bracing, and delightful: and the summer of the eastern is wet and stormy; whereas the western is pleasant, fine, and dry. There is also a full month's difference in the advent of the respective quarters. The commencement of the winter, for instance, in the Western Province, being in June, and that in the Eastern in July. The following tabular comparison will perhaps put these matters into a more palpable shape, and shew at once the points of dissimilarity between the two provinces :
Comparison between the Seasons in the Eastern and Western Provinces of the Colony of the Cape of Good Hope.
The mean temperature of the whole settlement is pretty correctly estimated for the winter at between 50 deg. to 60 deg. Fahrenheit, and for the summer at 70 deg. to 80 deg. An almost unbearable degree of heat is experienced in some unfavourable situations, such as deep ravines or under the aspect of high mountains, and severe cold is common to others where the altitude and season both combine. Even death has indeed, in a very few instances, been known to arrest the unwary traveller, crossing the ridges of the Camdeboo and Cat river ranges during snow storms. The entire colony is subject to great and sudden transitions of temperature. I have myself experienced in the Eastern Province a change of 40 deg. within twenty-four hours; but notwithstanding these great fluctuations, it is as true as it may seem extraordinary that they are unattended by any injury to health. Upon the whole, the climate of the colony may be considered as temperate, and the reason of its general equality may easily be accounted for, from the fact that our winter winds traverse the heated plains of the interior before they reach the colony, while those of summer arrive on our shores from the immense expanse of the Antarctic ocean, cooled down and fitted for our respiration, at the very season when they are most wanted and most agreeable.
The only inconveniences of climate, against which a new immigrant may justly complain, are the occasional hot winds, and the strength and duration of the monsoons, the most violent and most prevailing being the south-east. The new colonist, however, is soon habituated to its assaults, and quickly reconciles himself to the annoyance, when he reflects that in a country with such a geographical position, and where vegetation is so rapid and luxuriant, this boisterous visitant is actually an angel of health. At the Cape itself the south-east wind is proverbially designated "the Doctor," and no doubt by driving off the miasmatic exhalations, and intimately combining the elements we breathe, it converts what might constitute malaria, into the most salubrious atmosphere in the world. In some seasons, when it begins to blow somewhat later than usual, the event is immediately marked by a diminution of the public health. The hot winds seldom reach the country along the coast, being confined to the more interior parts of the colony. They are neither fre
quent in occurrence, nor lengthened in duration, seldom extending beyond a few hours; but their effects are debilitating and oppressive; as they are, however, quickly succeeded by electric changes, which clear the atmosphere, the human system is immediately refreshed and exhilarated.
The sea coast of the colony is comparatively exempt from storms of thunder and lightning, but the interior (especially the mountainous districts) are frequently thus visited.
Over all the colonies of every country, as well as over every other part of the habitable globe, the Cape of Good Hope unquestionably stands out alone and unrivalled in respect of salubrity. We may want capital and labour (yet even these emigration will supply), but still Providence has enriched her with the greatest blessing in its store, a perfectly healthy climate.
The foregoing observation, derived from a personal experience for twenty-two years, as well as the concurrent testimony of travellers who have visited, and residents who have inhabited almost every other clime, and been able to draw comparisons, derives additional weight and superior value from the facts developed in "The Statistical Report, the Result of Major Tulloch's and Dr. Balfour's Researches, laid before the Imperial Parliament of Great Britain, respecting the Sickness, Mortality, and Invaliding of Troops stationed in the various Dependencies of the United Kingdom;" a report which has been well and justly designated in the "Quarterly Review" for June, 1840, as "the most valuable gift, as to the effects of climate, which has ever been made to medicine."
The following return of the proportion of deaths among the European and other troops at the undermentioned military stations of England will do more to prove the superiority of the Cape climate than whole folios of elaborate disquisition. The average strength on which the ratio is computed is taken at per thousand men, out of which die annually, at
Upon which important statement the reviewer in question pronounces the following complimentary, but at the same time correct, tribute to the Cape of Good Hope ::-"Our African possessions at the Cape, and especially its eastern frontier, present a scale of mortality unknown in the rest of the habitable globe. At Cape Town itself, the annual mortality is less than at home, being one in forty-six; and this, too, after it has received the invalids of the East, in the last stages of malady. In certain districts, where this class of cases is excluded, the mortality is one in sixty-seven, or that of the healthiest counties of England. In spite of indifferent barrack accommodation, fevers are slight; the intermittent and remittent are almost unknown, and of the eruptive class only nine cases and one death have occurred in nineteen years. Consumption is not so rife even as among the Ionian Islands. Rheumatism*, however, is more prevalent than at home, or in any other colony. On the eastern frontier the mortality is the least among all our colonies or than that of the United Kingdom. This is owing to the extreme rarity of diseases of the lungs.
From fevers, too, this spot is
more exempt than any other part of the world.”
On the subject of the general healthiness of the colony, apart from the results drawn from his military statistics, Major Tulloch himself speaks thus of the Western Province :-" Neither the variable climate of the Cape district, nor the high range of temperature during the summer, seem by any means prejudicial to health; for in 1833 the deaths were only 681 out of a population of 31,167, being 1 in 46, while in the United Kingdom, according to the last census, the mortality of the population was 1 in 47. When it is taken into view that among the former are included the deaths of many invalids who arrive at Cape Town in the last stage of disease, there can be little doubt that, so far as regards the resident population, the climate is at least as favourable to the constitution as that of Britain. It may be stated as a further proof that in the neighbourhood of Swellendam, Stellenbosch and Worcester, where the deaths were not so
* Considerable as had been the prevalence of rheumatism, not a single European soldier on the frontier of the colony, and only two of the Hottentot force, died of that complaint during the whole period of Major Tulloch's returns, which extend over a space of thirteen years!