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very great beauty. The importance of such a river as the Macquarrie is incalculable. We cannot help remarking here the courtly appellations in which geography delights ;-the river Hawkesbury; the town of Windsor on its banks, Bathurst Plains; Nepean River. Shall we never hear of the Gulph of Tierney ; Brougham Point; or the straits of Mackintosh on the river Grey ?
The mistakes which have been made in settling this fine colony are of considerable importance, and such as must very seriously retard its progress to power and opulence. The first we shall mention is the settlement on the Hawkesbury. Every work of nature has its characteristic defects. Marshes should be suspected of engendering disease-a volcanic country of eruptions
-rivers of overflowing. A very little portion of this kind of reflection would have induced the disposers of land in New South Wales to have become a little better acquainted with the Hawkesbury before they granted land on its banks, and gave that direction to the tide of settlement and cul. tivation. It turns out that the Hawkesbury is the embouchure through which all the rain that falls on the eastern side of the Blue Mountains makes its way to the sea ; and accordingly, without any warning, or any fall of rain on the settled part of the river, the stream has often risen from 70 to 90 feet above its common level.
“These inundations often rise seventy or eighty feet above low-water mark; and in the instance of what is still emphatically termed the great flood' attained an elevation of ninety-three feet. The chaos of confusion and distress that presents itself on these occasions cannot be easily conceived by anyone who has not been a witness of its horrors. An immense expanse of water, of which the eye cannot, in many directions, discover the limits, everywhere interspersed with growing timber, and crowded with poultry, pigs, horses, cattle, stacks, and houses, having frequently men, women, and children clinging to them for protection, and shrieking out in an agony of despair for assistance: such are the principal objects by which these scenes of death and devastation are characterised.
“These inundations are not periodical, but they most generally happen in the month of March. Within the last two years there have been no fewer than four of them, one of which was nearly as high as the great flood. In the six years preceding there had not been one. Since the establishment of the colony they have happened, upon an average, about once in three years.
“The principal cause of them is the contiguity of this river to the Blue Mountains. The Grose and Warragambia rivers, from which two sources it derives its principal supply, issue direct from these mountains, and the Nepean river, the other principal branch of it, runs along the base of them for fifty or sixty miles, and receives in its progress, from the innumerable mountain torrents connected with it, the whole of the rain which these mountains collect in that great extent. That this is the principal cause of these calamitous inundations has been fully proved; for shortly after the plantation of this colony, the Hawkesbury overflowed its banks (which are, in general, about thirty feet in height), in the midst of harvest, when not a single drop of rain had fallen on the Port Jackson side of the mountains. Another great cause of the inundations which take place in this and the other rivers in the colony is the small fall that is in them, and the consequent slowness of their currents. The current in the Hawkesbury, even when the tide is in full ebb, does not exceed two miles an hour. The water, therefore, which during the rains rushes in torrents from the mountains, cannot escape with sufficient rapidity; and from its immense accumulation soon overtops the banks of the river, and covers the whole of the low country.”—(Wentworth, pp. 24-26 )
It appears to have been a great oversight not to have built the town of Sydney upon a regular plan. Ground was granted, in the first instance, without the least attention to this circumstance; and a chaos of pigstyes and houses was produced, which subsequent governors have found it extremely difficult to reduce to a state of order and regularity.
Regularity is of consequence in planning a metropolis ; but fine buildings are absurd in the infant state of any country. The various governors have unfortunately displayed rather too strong a taste for architecture-forgetting that the real Palladio for Botany Bay, in its present circumstances, is he who keeps out the sun, wind, and rain, with the smallest quantity of bricks and mortar,
The appointment of Governor Bligh appears to have been a very serious misfortune to the colony-at such an immense distance from the mothercountry, with such an uncertainty of communication, and with a population so peculiarly circumstanced. In these extraordinary circumstances, the usual jobbing of the Treasury should really be laid aside, and some little attention paid to the selection of a proper person. It is common, we know, to send a person who is somebody's cousin ; but when a new empire is to be founded the Treasury should send out, into some other part of the town, for
a man of sense and character. ! Another very great absurdity which has been committed at Botany Bay is the diminution of their strength and resources by the foundation of so many subordinate settlements. No sooner had the settlers unpacked their boxes at Port Jackson than a fresh colony was settled in Norfolk Island under Lieu. tenant King, which was afterwards abandoned after considerable labour and expense from the want of a harbour ; besides four or five settlements on the main land, two or three thousand persons, under a Lieutenant-Governor, and regular officers, are settled in Van Diemen's Land. The difficulties of a new colony are such that the exertions of all the arms and legs are wanted merely to cover their bodies and fill their bellies : the passage from one settlement to another, necessary for common intercourse, is a great waste of strength; ten thousand men, within a given compass, will do much more for the improvement of a country than the same number spread over three times the space-will make more miles of road, clear more acres of wood, and build more bridges. The judge, the windmill, and the school are more accessible ; and one judge, one windmill, and one school may do instead of two ;-there is less waste of labour. We do not, of course, object to the natural expansion of a colony over uncultivated lands—the more rapidly that takes place the greater is the prosperity of the settlement; but we reprobate the practice of breaking the first population of a colony, by the interposition of Government, into small detached portions, placed at great intervals. It is a bad economy of their resources ; and as such, is very properly objected to by the Committee of the House of Commons.
This colony appears to have suffered a good deal from the tyranny as well as the ignorance of its governors. On the 7th December, 1816, Governor Macquarrie issued the following order :
“His Excellency is also pleased further to declare, order, and direct, that in consideration of the premises, the under-mentioned sums, amounts, and charges, and no more, with regard to and upon the various denominations of work, labour, and services, described and set forth shall be allowed, claimed, or demandable within this territory and its dependencies in respect thereof."-(Wentworth, pp. 105, 106.)
And then follows a schedule of every species of labour, to each of which a maximum is affixed. We have only to observe that a good stout inundation of the Hawkesbury would be far less pernicious to the industry of the colony than such gross ignorance and absurdity as this order evinces. Young surgeons are examined in Surgeons' Hall on the methods of cutting off legs and arms before they are allowed to practise surgery. An examination on the principles of Adam Smith, and a licence from Mr. Ricardo, seem to be almost a necessary preliminary for the appointment of Governors. We must give another specimen of Governor Macquarrie's acquaintance with the prin. ciples of political economy.
“General Orders. “His Excellency has observed, with much concern, that, at the present time of scarcity, most of the garden ground attached to the allotments, whereon different descriptions of per. sons have been allowed to build huts, are totally neglected, and no vegetable growing there. on :-as such neglect in the occupiers points them out us unfit to profit by such indulgence, those who do not put the garden ground attached to the allotments they occupy in cultivation, on or before the roth day of July next, will be dispossessed (except in cases wherein ground is held by lease), and more industrious persons put in possession of them, as the present necessities of the settlement require every exertion being used to supply the wants of families, by the ground attached to their dwellings being made as productive as possible.-By command of his Excellency. G. BLAXWELL, Sec. Government House, Sydney, June 21st, 1806." (O'Hara, P 275
This compulsion to enjoy,--this despotic benevolence, is something quite new in the science of government.
The sale of spirits was first of all monopolised by the Government, and then let out to individuals, for the purpose of building an hospital. Upon this subject Mr. Bennet observes
“Heretofore all ardent spirits brought to the colony were purchased by the Government, and served out at fixed prices to the officers, civil and military, according to their ranks : hence arose a discreditable and gainful trade on the part of these officers, their wives and mistresses. The price of spirits at times was so high that one and two guineas have been given for a single bottle. The thirst after ardent spirits became a mania among the settlers : all the writers on the state of the colony, and all who have resided there, and have given testimony concerning it, describe this rage and passion for drunkenness as prevailing in all classes, and as being the principal foundation of all the crimes committed there. This extravagant propensity to drunkenness was taken advantage of by the governor to aid him in the building of the hospital. Mr. Wentworth, the surgeon, Messrs. Riley and Blaxwell, obtained permission to enter a certain quantity of spirits ;-they were to pay a duty of five or seven shillings a gallon on the quantity they introduced, which duty was to be set apart for the erection of the hospital. To prevent any other spirits from being landed, a monopoly was given to these contractors. As soon as the agreement was signed, these gentlemen sent off to Rio Janeiro, the Mauritius, and the East Indies, for a large quantity of rum and arrack, which they could purchase at about the rate of 2s, or 2s. 6d. per gallon, and disembarked it at Sydney. From there being but few houses that were before permitted to sell this poison. they abounded in every street; and such was the enormous consumption of spirits, that money was soon raised to build the hospital, which was finished in 1814. Mr. Marsden informs us that in the small town of Paramatta, thirteen houses were licensed to deal in spirits, though he should think five at the utmost would be amply sufficient for the accommodation of the public."(Bennet, pp. 77-79.)
The whole coast of Botany Bay and Van Diemen's Land abounds with whales; and accordingly the duty levied upon train oil procured by the subjects in New South Wales, or imported there, is twenty times greater than that paid by the inhabitants of this country; the duty on spermaceti oil, imported, is sixty times greater. The duty levied on train oil, spermaceti, and head matter, procured by the inhabitants of Newfoundland, is only three times the amount of that which is levied on the same substance procured by British subjects residing in the United Kingdom. The duty levied on oil procured by British subjects residing in the Bahama or Bermuda islands, or in the plantations of North America, is only eight times the amount on train oil, and twelve times the amount on spermaceti, of that which is levied on the same substances taken by British subjects within the United Kingdom. The duty, therefore, which is payable on train oil, in vessels belonging to this colony, is nearly seven times greater than that which is payable on the same description of oil taken in vessels belonging to the island of Newfoundland, and considerably more than double of that which is payable on the same commodity taken in vessels belonging to the Bahama or Bermuda islands, or to the plantations in North America ; while the duty which is levied on spermaceti oil, procured in vessels belonging to this colony, is five times the amount of that which is levied on vessels belonging to the above-mentioned places, and twenty times the amount of that which is levied on vessels belonging to Newfoundland. The injustice of this seems to us to be quite enormous. The statements are taken from Mr. Wentworth's book.
The inhabitants of New South Wales have no trial by jury; the governor has not even a council to restrain him. There is imposed in this country a very heavy duty on timber and coals exported ; but for which, says Mr. Wentworth, some hundred tons of these valuable productions would have been sent annually to the Cape of Good Hope and India, since the vessels which have been in the habit of trading between those countries and the colony have always returned in ballast. The owners and consignees would gladly have shipped cargoes of timber and coals, if they could have derived the most minute profit from the freight of them.
The Australasians grow corn; and it is necessarily their staple. The Cape is their rival in the corn trade. The food of the inhabitants of the East Indies is rice ; the voyage to Europe is too distant for so bulky an article as corn, The supply to the government stores furnished the cultivators of New South Wales with a market in the first instance, which is now become too insignifi. cant for the great excess of the supply above the consumption. Population goes on with immense rapidity ; but while so much new and fertile land is before them, the supply continues in the same proportion greater than the demand. The most obvious method of affording a market for this redur dant corn is by encouraging distilleries within the colony; a measure repeaiedly pressed upon the government at home, but hitherto as constantly refused. It is a measure of still greater importance to the colony, because its agriculture is subjected to the effects both of severe drought and extensive inundations, and the corn raised for the distillers would be a magazine in times of famine. A recommendation to this effect was long since made by a committee of the House of Commons; but, as it was merely a measure for the increase of human comforts, was stuffed into the improvement baskets, and forgotten. 'There has been in all governments a great deal of absurd canting about the consumption of spirits. We believe the best plan is to let people drink what they like, and wear what they like; to make no sumptuary laws either for the belly or the back. In the first place, laws against rum, and rum and water, are made by men who can change a wet coat for a dry one whenever they choose, and who do not often work up to their knees in mud and water ; and, in the next place, if this stimulus did all the mischief it is thought to do by the wise men of claret, its cheapness and plenty would rather lessen than increase the avidity with which it is at present sought for. Again, human life is sub. ject to such manifold wretchedness that all nations have invented a something liquid or solid, to produce a brief oblivion. Poppies, barley, grasses, sugar, pepper, and a thousand other things, have been squeezed, pressed, pounded, and purified, to produce this temporary happiness. Noblemen and Members of Parliament have large cellars full of sealed bottles, to enable them the better to endure the wretchedness of life. The poor man seeks the same end by expending three halfpence in gin ;—but no moralist can endure the idea of gin.
The governors of Botany Bay have taken the liberty of imposing what taxes they deem proper, without any other authority than their own ; and it seemed very frivolous and vexatious not to allow this small ellusion of despotism in so remote a corner of the globe :—but it was noticed by the opposition in the House of Commons, and reluctantly confessed and given up by the administration. This great portion of the earth begins civil life with noble principles of freedom :-may God grant to its inhabitants that wisdom and courage which are necessary for the preservation of so great a good!
Mr. Wentworth enumerates, among the evils to which the colony is sub. jected, that clause in the last settlement of the East India Company's charter, which prevents vessels of less than 300 tons burden from navigating the Indian `seas; a restriction from which the Cape of Good Hope has been lately liberated, and which ought, in the same manner, to be removed from
New South Wales, where there cannot be, for many years to come, sufficient capital to build vessels of so large a burden.
“The disability," says Mr. Wentworth, "might be removed by a simple order in council. Whenever his Majesty's government shall have freed the colonists from this useless and cruel prohibition, the following branches of commerce would then be opened to them. First, they would be enabled to transport, in their own vessels, their coals, timber, spars, flour, meat, &c., to the Cape of Good Hope, the Isle of France, Calcutta, and inany other places in the Indian seas ; in all of which, markets more or less extensive exist for those various other productions which the colony might furnish. Secondly, they would be enabled to carry directly to Canton the sandal wood, bêche la mer, dried seal-skins, and, in fact, all the numerous productions which the surrounding seas and islands afford for the China market, and return freighted with cargoes of tea, silks, nankeens, &c. ; all of which commodities are in great demand in the colony, and are at present altogether furnished by East India or American merchants, to the great detriment and dissatisfaction of the colonial. And, lastly, they would be enabled, in a short time, from the great increase of capital, which these important privileges would of themselves occasion, as well as attract from other countries, to open the fur-trade with the north-west coast of America, and dispose of the cargoes procured in China,--a trade which has hitherto been exclusively carried on by the Americans and Russians, although the colonists possess a local superiority for the prosecution of this valuable branch of commerce, which would insure them at least a successful competition with the subjects of those two nations."-(Wentworth, pp. 317, 318.)
The means which Mr. Wentworth proposes for improving the condition of Botany Bay, are-trial by jury-Colonial Assemblies, with whom the right of taxation should rest—the establishment of distilleries, and the exclusion of foreign spirits-alteration of duties, so as to place New South Wales upon the same footing as other colonies-removal of the restriction to navigate the Indian seas in vessels of a small burden-improvements in the Courts of Justice-encouragement for the growth of hemp, flax, tobacco, and wine ; and, if a colonial assembly cannot be granted, that there should be no taxation without the authority of Parliament.
In general, we agree with Mr. Wentworth in his statement of evils, and in the remedies he has proposed for them. Many of the restrictions upon the commerce of New South Wales are so absurd, that they require only to be stated in Parliament to be corrected. The fertility of the colony so far exceeds its increase of population, and the difficulty of finding a market for corn is so great-or rather the impossibility so clear—that the measure of encouraging domestic distilleries ought to be had recourse to. The colony, with a soil fit for everything, must, as Mr. Wentworth proposes, grow other things besides corn,-and excite that market in the interior which it does not enjoy from without. The want of demand, indeed, for the excess of corn will soon effect this without the intervention of Government. Government, we believe, have already given up the right of taxation, without the sanction of Parliament; and there is an end probably, by this time, to that grievance. A Council and a Colonial Secretary they have also expressed their willingness to concede. Of trial by jury, and a Colonial Assembly, we confess that we have great doubts. At some future time they must come, and ought to come. The only question is, Is the colony fit for such institutions at present? Are there a sufficient number of respectable persons to serve that office in the various settlements ? If the English law is to be followed exactly,—to com. pose a jury of twelve persons, a panel of forty-eight must be summoned. Could forty-eight intelligent, unconvicted men be found in every settlement of New South Wales ? or must they not be setched from great distances, at an enormous expense and inconvenience? Is such an institution calculated for so very young a colony? A good government is an excellent thing ; but it is not the first in the order of human wants. The first want is to subsist; the next to subsist in freedom and comfort ; first to live at all, then to live well. A Parliament is a still greater demand upon the wisdom and intelli.