Obrazy na stronie

mild and pleasant, it was extremely cold in the hollows; perhaps in consequence of the colder and denser air sinking, from its greater specific gravity, to the lower levels. The black natives of the colony have observed this peculiarity in the Australian climate; for instead of making their encampments for the night, and kindling their diminutive fires, in the gulleys or hollows, as one should have supposed they would have done, they more frequently select as their temporary resting-place some elevated situation. I should not imagine that this atmospherical peculiarity has any thing to do with the nature of the soil in such localities, but it may perhaps have some influence on the vegetation.

Beyond the settlement of Prospect, the Western Road skirts along the old government agricultural establishments of Toongabbee and Rooty Hill, and the houses of respectable landholders are observable at irregular intervals to the right and left. At length the Blue Mountains are seen, through an opening in the forest, towering upwards, at a distance of ten or twelve miles directly in front; the road running for a considerable distance, in a due westerly direction, as straight as an arrow, and the lofty trees on either side of it forming a vista somewhat similar to that which is formed by two corresponding rows of pillars in an old Gothic cathedral. The intervening valley of the Hawkesbury then opens gradually on the view, presenting a large extent of champaign country, through which the river Nepean, spreading fertility in its progress, like the ancient river of Egypt, winds romantically along the base of the mountains.

The hospitable mansion of Sir John Jamison of Regentville occupies an elevated and commanding situation at a considerable distance to the left of the road, having a great extent of rich alluvial country in front, the Blue Mountains, with their dark mantle of forest, to the left, and the river Nepean flowing placidly between. The river is crossed in a punt at Emu Ferry, about thirty-five miles from Sydney; the deserted Government establishment of Emu Plains where it is intended to form a town, for which indeed the locality is admirably adapted-being situated between the river and the mountains. From Emu Plains the mountain road ascends Lapstone Hill-a steep and difficult ascent of four miles—the summit of which, with the level ground beyond it, forms a sort of pedestal for the higher mountains to spring from. There is a comfortable inn on the top of Lapstone Hill; called The Pilgrim, at which travellers generally halt for their first day's journey, the distance from Sydney being about forty miles. The first time I travelled to Bathurst, however, my fellow-travellers and myself rode a few miles farther, and halted at a military station called Spring-wood, the accommodations on the mountains being then very inferior to what they are now.

Our host at Spring-wood was a corporal of the 3rd Regiment, or Buffs, now in India ; the wooden walls of whose humble dwelling were ornamented with a portrait of “ Lord Anson,” a picture of the “ West India Docks,” another of “Christmas drawing near at hand,and a third exhibiting " the Stages of Man's Life compared to the twelve months of the year ;” the homely character and style

of which may perhaps be inferred by the reader from the circumstance of their being for sale, at sufficiently low prices, at the " Wholesale Toy and Marble Warehouse, Great St. Andrew's Street, Seven Dials.”

A serjeant or corporal of the 48th Regiment had been stationed some time before the period I allude to at Cox's River, another military station on the Bathurst road. He had been an industrious man, and had accumulated some property both in goods and cattle in the colonyas much even as amounted to £300. But the regiment being ordered to India, and no interest or entreaty being available to procure his discharge, he disposed of his property; and on coming to Sydney, in a state of mind which the reader will doubtless commiserate, he commenced drinking the price of it with some of his old companions in right earnest. In this inglorious employment he was unfortunately so successful, that in the space of six weeks he had left himself quite pennyless, and was consequently ready to embark on equal terms with the rest of his company for India. Though I cannot by any means defend the soldier for thus sinking under the pressure of adversity, I cannot but pity him; and I cannot help regretting, moreover, the operation of a system which thus deprived the colony of an industrious and deserving individual, who would in all likelihood have reared a virtuous family, and been a blessing to his neighbourhood, for the purpose of landing an additional drunken soldier on the ramparts of Fort George.

There is another subject of regret connected with the military system of the mother country, as it regards the

colonies and the Indian empire. The regiments of the line that are stationed in the Australian colonies, of which there are always two in New South Wales and one in Van Dieman's Land, are uniformly sent on to India after five or six years' service in these colonies. At the expiration of that period, there is always a numerous flock of interesting sprightly children belonging to the regiment about to proceed to India, all of whom must of course follow their parents to that deadly climate, where both parents and children are mowed down like the standing corn before the sickle of the reaper. Now there might surely be some better and more humane arrangement effected without detriment to His Majesty's service, the families being allowed for instance to remain in the colony, and a few unmarried recruits being forwarded from the mother country to supply their place. It would doubtless be the interest of the colony of New South Wales to reimburse the mother country from the colonial revenue for all the additional expense which such an arrangement would cost, to procure .so large a periodical accession to its free population. We have had colonial projectors who would willingly have lodged a detainer upon the children in all such cases, and ällowed the parents to proceed to India with their respective regiments, placing their orphaned offspring at agricultural nursery-establishments in the interior of the colony, to be conducted on the soup-kitchen or Owen and parallelogram style. . But although persons of this class are evidently of the order of cold blooded animals themselves-an order which the naturalists inform us is entirely desti

tute of natural affection-British soldiers, it must not be forgotten, are of the order mammalia, having warm blood and breathing by lungs, and are consequently possessed in a high degree of the feelings and affections of men. Their children, in short, are not to be torn from them and penned up in a separate stock-yard, like a number of colonial calves, to be fed till they reach maturity out of a common pail.

From the top of Lapstone Hill to a short distance beyond Spring-wood the ascent is so gentle as to be scarcely perceivable. The country consists chiefly of forest-land of inferior quality; the trees are lofty and for the most part of the iron-bark species; and though the inferior vegetation is scanty, there is food for horses and cattle. For the next thirty-five or forty miles, however, the country which the road traverses consists of immense masses of sandstone-mountain piled over each other in the wildest confusion like Pelion on Ossa, while trees of moderate elevation and of an endless variety of botanical families are seen in every direction, moored in the rifted rock. The mountain range traversed by the Bathurst road is the dividing range that separates the numberless deep gulleys that communicate with the valley of the Grose River-one of the parent streams of the Hawkesbury—to the right, from a similar series of impassable ravines, communicating with the valley of Cox's River above its junction with the Warragumby or rather the Wollondilly* to

* The reader will easily perceive that the last-mentioned of these rivers is the only one of the three that has been permitted to retain its mellifluous and doubtless highly appropriate barbarian appellative.

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