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the parliamentary proceedings of 1753,—was not dwelt on in this work at the length which its most curious and instructive details required, as regards the nature of popular delusion. But it is impossible to exceed our prescribed bounds.
În discussing the merits of this work-during which we trust we have not exceeded that limit beyond which the freedom of the press is an abuse-we have endeavoured not to forget the respect which is due to its author, an excellent clergyman and distinguished poet, the Rev. Mr. Milman of Oxford.
Art. XI.-A Letter from Sydney, the Principal Town of Australasia.
Edited by Robert Gouger. Together with the outline of a System of Colonization. 12mo. pp. 246. London : Joseph Cross; Simpkin &
Marshall; and Effingham Wilson. 1829. With a good deal of whim, occasionally tinged with extravagance, there are mingled in this little work many rational hints on the improvement of our Australasian dominions. The author appears to be truly a man of the world, for there is scarcely any part of it which he has not visited. He writes in a lively and humorous style, which enables him to treat in an interesting manner a great variety of subjects within a limited compass, and at the same time to exhibit a living picture of the occupations and manners of our Antipodean fellow subjects.
So many systems of emigration to all quarters of the globe have been proposed within the last dozen years, and discussed in reviews, in parliamentary speeches, in pamphlets and in newspapers, that we are ourselves sick of the subject. 'We hate the word “ emigration,” and turn as rapidly as possible from every article which we see headed with that tiresomne title. The public too, we suspect, sympathise with us upon this subject, and we have a notion that their patience and ours will be put to more than one agonising trial during the session which is just about to commence.
And yet this same hated theme, of which every body desires to hear not a syllable more, is scarcely yet known amongst us. It is one fraught with incalculable interest to these islands, and so far from the discussion of it having been brought to a termination, it may be said not to have yet entered upon its commencement. The disgust which we feel upon approaching the subject, rises in some measure from the immaturity of our own ideas concerning it, but principally, we conceive, from the wild and empirical and hopeless manner in which it has been hitherto handled." We are not as yet sufficiently adyanced, as a nation, to be able to grapple with this gigantic argument; we have been playing with it like children, and still continue to do so, until the overwhelming sense of necessity shall compel the legislature to enquire fully, to think profoundly, and to act boldly and consistently with respect to it.
If we look at a map of the world, and observe the position of this island of ours, which has run such a career of usefulness, and even of glory, placed though it be as it were in a corner of the globe, and then glance at the position of New Holland and its neighbouring islands, we cannot but at once see that in point of situation, it is incomparably superior to that which we enjoy. It is, or rather will be, a high road for all the nations of the earth. A celebrated traveller has well remarked, that if we stand upon the highest point of New Holland and look to the north, we cannot indeed see with the eye, the grand outline which is on each side and before us, but we know that that outline is formed of an irregular curve, produced by all the great mountains of the two hemispheres. It is nearly midway between the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn; it has access to the richest parts of Asia ; its skies are Italian, its soil sufficiently fertile and varied by woods and pastures, its harbours numerous and capacious : in-short, it possesses all the elements of a magnificent empire, which not even our mismanagement can prevent it from becoming in the course of a few generations.
We should look at New Holland in this point of view, and by giving every possible facility to the expansion of its growth, assist the progress of its destinies. We have been going on for years in a paltry peddling way of treating this colony, as if it were to be for ever only a place of exile for convicts. But this is not the time, nor at present have we the means, for entering into this momentous subject. We must at present content ourselves with gleaning all the information which we can find connected with it, and for this purpose we turn with pleasure to the little volume before us.
Most of our voluntary emigrants upon leaving home, contrive to build for themselves, in the distant lands to which they are bound, splendid castles in the air, which to their dismay, vanish farther from their gaze at each remove of the “ lengthening chain.” Thus our author, possessed, as he informs us, of some £20,000 in capital, thought that by going to New South Wales he might easily convert it into £10,000 a year, by purchasing whole provinces. He was to have a capital mansion, a noble park, well stocked with deer, he was to have carriages and hunters without pumber. From the condition of a merely comfortable man in England, he was to be elevated to the rank of a nobleman,a prince, and all the luxuries of life were to be heaped together in his granaries. We shall see how, and why, his early visions were dissipated.
· The facts on which my opinions were formed have turned out to be true; but my conclusions were iniserably erroneous. For example, I was told that on estate of 10,000 acres might be obtained for a mere trifle. This was true. I have got 20,000 acres, and they did not cost me more than 2s. per acre. But I imagined that a domain of that extent would be very valuable. In this I was wholly mistaken. As my estate cost me next to nothing, so it is worth next to nothing. For reasons which I shall mention presently, I tried to sell it; but I could not find a purchaser, without submitting to lose great part of what I had expended in improvements. Yet there are persons continually reaching the colony on purpose to invest money in the purchase of land; but when I have made overtures to them, they have grumbled at my price, saying that they could obtain a grant from the Crown for less than six-pence per acre; and when I have talked of my “ improvements," they have answered that they preferred improving, themselves, to buying my improvements. In short, my domain has no market value. It is a noble property to look at; and “ 20,000 acres in a ring fence," sounds very well in England; but here, such a property possesses no exchangeable value. The reason is plain ; there are millions upon millions of acres, as fertile as mine, to be had for nothing: and, what is more, there are not people to take them. Of my 20,000 acres I reckon about 5000 to be woodland, though, indeed, there are trees scattered over the whole property, as in an English park. For my amusement, I had a rough estimate made of the money that I could obtain for all this timber, were it growing in any part of England. The valuation amounts to above 150,0001. Now for my pecuniary advantage, the best thing that could happen to me would be the annihilation of all this natural produce; provided, I mean, that it could be destroyed without cost. The cost of destroying it, out of hand, would be at least 15,0001. Thus, in point of fact, my timber injures my estate to that amount, instead of being worth ten times that sum. It seems droll, does it not, that an English hundred-and-fifty-thousand-pounds worth of any thing, should, any where, be a dead loss of fifteen thousand pounds? It is true, however, as you may fully convince yourself by reading, in any of the accounts of these settlements, a chapter upon“ Grubbing." Fortunately some other things that I possess, and which, if I had them in England would make me a peer, are not, like the timber, a positive injury. These are mines of coal and iron, in which my estate is supposed to abound. Being under the surface, they can do me no harm; and I shall take good care that they are not disturbed. For if any one, out of enmity to me, should bring an army of miners from Staffordshire, and raise to the surface a large quantity of my coal and iron ore, the cost of throwing it down the shafts again would quite ruin me, if, indeed, I could, at any cost, find labourers for the purpose. As for disposing of it in any other way, that would be impossible, for want of roads. Besides, peither the Crown nor individuals would let me injure their land by casting my rubbish on to it. As regards the coal, though, I am mistaken; I might consume it by fire without much trouble. But what could I do with the iron ore, when, even though there should be means to convey it to Sydney, nobody would give me one Birmingham frying-pan for the whole of it. An estate of 20,000 acres, containing rich mines of coal and iron, and covered with magnificent timber, is, no doubt, a very good thing in some countries; but here you will lose money by such a possession ; if, that is, you have any money to lose, and unless you take particuJar care of it.
• I did not, you know, intend to become a Farmer. Having fortune enough for all my wants, I proposed to get a large domain, to build a good house, to keep enough land in my own hands for pleasure-grounds, park, and game preserves ; and to let the rest, after erecting farm-houses in the most suitable spots. My mansion, park, preserves, and tenants, were all a mere dream. I have not one of them. When, upon my first arrival, I
talked of these things to some sensible men, to whom I was recommended, they laughed in my face. I soon found that a house would, though the stone and timber were to be had for nothing, cost three times as much as in England. This was on account of the very high wages required by mechanics; but this was not all. None of the materials of a house, except stone and timber, are produced in the colony. Every pane of glass, every Dail, every grain of paint, and every piece of furniture, from the kitchen copper to the drawing-room curtains, must have come from England. My property is at a distance of nearly seventy miles from the sea, and there is no road, but a track through the forest, for two thirds of that distance. Every thing, even the food of the labourers, must have been transported from afar. Log-houses must have been built for the labourers; and the cheapest way of providing for them would have been by the establishment of a farm, in the first instance, to produce enough for their subsistence. Lastly, though none of these obstacles had existed, the whole colony did Dot contain as many masons, carpenters, glaziers, painters, black and whitesmiths, and other mechanics, as I should have required, You may believe most statements of fact respecting the colony; but beware how you draw conclusions!'-pp. 4—9.
What was our visionary to do? To subside into common place existence, and to take “ boldly to the bush.”
I bought herds and flocks, horses, ploughs, carts, carpenters' tools, and all sorts of implements of husbandry. My only servants were convicts. My own man, who had served me for eight years in England, and had often sworn that he would go the wide world over with me, seeing that I was the best of masters, never reached my new abode. He had saved about £150 in my service; and I had advised him to take the money out of a London Savings Bank, under an idea that he might obtain ten per cent. for it at Sydney. He followed my advice. About a month after our arrival I missed him one morning. Before night I received a letter, by which he informed me that he had taken a grant of land near Hunter's River, and that he “ hoped we parted friends." He is now one of the most consequential persons in the Colony, has grown enormously fat, feeds upon greasy dainties, drinks oceans of bottled porter and port wine, damos the Governor, and swears by all his gods, Jupiter, Jingo, and Old Harry, that this Colony must soon be independent.”-pp. 12, 13.
The miseries attending his " settling” are enough to drive him mad. His labourers were ci-devant pick pockets and poachers; his sheep and cows were continually lost, which, however, was “nobody's fault;" a threat of punishment was followed by open mutiny; and his prospects were not at all mended by importing a number of free labourers from England, who abandoned him the moment they could obtain higher wages elsewhere. He was by this time almost a ruined man.
Under these circumstances, my estate did not produce largely. My herds and flocks, however, had rapidly multiplied ; and in the last year of which I speak, I reaped one hundred and forty acres of corn. This was thought immense doings; but as my free labourers were gone, I had no such prospect for the future; and as for the flocks, their increase in num. ber was not a proportionate increase of property to me. The wool produced something; but the flesh was worth nothing, unless taken to market, and then it would scarcely repay the cost of the journey. Here, there are no drovers or jobbers in cattle to come between the farmer and the butcher. In short, there is little division of labour, and you may roll in plenty, without possessing any thing of exchangeable value. You must do almost every thing yourself; and flocks in the wilderness are not worth much more than the wilderness itself, of which you may obtain nearly any quantity for all but nothing. Under an idea that cheese would be easily transported, and would fetch a good price in Sydney, I thought at one time of establishing a dairy. But I ought to have kuown better. My cows were as wild as hyænas, and almost as wicked. I had no milkmaids, no dairy women, no churns, no any thing that was wanted for the purpose ; and, above all, I wanted industry, skill, economy, and taste for any such pursuits, or, at least, a drudge of a wife to supply those wants. At length my impatience got the better of a certain stupid vanity that had led me to fancy myself qualified to become a settler. I wrote to my friends at Sydney, acknowledging that I was sick of the bush, and that their prophecies of my ill success had been fulfilled to the letter. By their assistance I made over my estate for twenty years, with every thing upon it, to a tough Scotch farmer, on condition of receiving one-third of its produce. This third produces me less than 3 per cent. interest on what I have expended; but I am, comparatively speaking, a happy man, living upon my English income, in a place where at least books, and men and women, such as they are, are not quite wanting, and where money will supply the more pressing wants of civilized life.'— pp. 18—20.
And he did very right. We will be bound to say that the Scotchman is already an aristocrat of the country, or in a fair way towards making his fortune. Our author had committed the serious, but very common mistake of taking up a business with which he was unacquainted. In England we do not find our gentlemen-farmers very successful in their line; no wonder that they are still more unfortunate in New South Wales, where labour is so enormously expensive.
Our author having given up his estate, and all the dreams thereunto appended, next turns into a political economist, a gossip, an idler, and fully answers to the character, or rather the class of characters we often meet in our club-rooms, composed of men, who, having nothing particular to do for themselves, set about mending the world by all sorts of specifics. The problem to be solved in New South Wales is to increase its population, without raising the price of labour. This seems a paradox, for the greater number of hands, the cheaper must labour be of course. Not exactly so-in New South Wales, supposing the number to be increased from England. The anecdote told of his servant, by the author, has already thrown some light upon this subject. The fact is, that as yet at least, and it will be so for years to come, land is too cheap in that country, and free labourers, as soon as they earn a pittance, become proprietors, and, by giving additional employment to the operative tillers of the soil, raise the market. What is the remedy