Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

which he purchased within the last two years, and I am happy to add with every prospect of enjoying a high degree of comfort and rural independence. The gentleman I allude to is Captain Waldron, formerly of His Majesty's 39th regiment, who sold out with the view of settling in the colony, on the regiment's being ordered to India. The estate he purchased was of five hundred acres. A considerable part of it had been cleared, fenced, and in cultivation, and there was a good commodious cottage built of cedar, besides other farm-buildings, upon it. It was sold in consequence of the former proprietor, who had received it as a free grant from the Crown during the government of Sir Thomas Brisbane, having fallen into embarrassments; and Captain Waldron purchased it for five hundred pounds-a sum which I am sure would not have paid for the improvements, independently of the land—altogether; for as money bears a high interest in the colony, and will always bring a suitable return when judiciously invested, very few even of those who have acquired wealth in the country have ready money to invest in the purchase of estates in the interior merely on speculation ; and property of that kind is therefore frequently procurable at sales by public auction for much less than its real value. I called on Captain W., with whom I had previously formed a slight acquaintance in Sydney, during my stay at Illawarra, and found him busily employed in superintending certain horticultural operations in a new garden which he had formed, cleared, and cul. tivated out of a dense forest during the few months he had had possession of the land, and in which he told me

he had found a copious spring of excellent water. He was fully occupied, contented and cheerful; having the prospect of spending the evening of his days in patriarchal retirement, and of at length leaving his family in comparative independence. I would not have taken such liberty with Captain W.'s name, nor detailed the particulars I have just narrated, if I had not been persuaded that the mention of a case of this kind is calculated, much more effectually than any general description, to induce respectable families and individuals of moderate capital in the mother country to follow Captain W.'s example, or, in other words, to settle in New South Wales, and thereby improve their own circumstances and those of the colony.

It was Saturday morning before I could leave Illawarra for Sydney; and my fellow-traveller and myself proposing to reach Liverpool, a distance of upwards of fifty miles, in time for the afternoon coach to Sydney, we mounted our horses long before daybreak, and rode towards the beach. It was quite dark, and it rained heavily; and our horses being frightened at the rolling of the white surf on the sea-beach, we were tempted to try the road through the forest; but, unfortunately, lost both our tiine and our way. The rain fell in torrents as we scrambled up the Illawarra mountain, sometimes on all-fours, and we were consequently completely drenched; but on reaching the summit it became fair, and we again rode at a brisk pace towards Appin, where we halted for rest and refreshment. The next twenty-four miles to Liverpool our high-spirited Australian horses, apparently in no way fatigued with their

VOL. II.

H

long morning's stage, enabled us to complete in two hours and a half; but we were not a little disappointed to find, on arriving at Liverpool, that we had been at fault in our calculations, and that the coach had started a short time before. As I had to perform divine service, however, on the following day, we resolved to proceed to Sydney after giving cur horses a few hours' rest at the inn, and accordingly resumed our journey late in the evening, when it had again become quite dark. In moving at a slow pace through the gloomy forest, the glorious constellations of the southern firmament gradually gleamed more and more brightly as the hour of midnight approached; and as the outline of the beautiful Magellan clouds appeared more distinctly marked than usual on the heavens, I could not help thinking, with a feeling of intense awe, of the inconceivable majesty of that mighty Being, who could direct the motions of each invisible star in these vast conglomerations of worlds, and attend to the minutest concerns of each of their myriads of inhabitants, without losing sight for a single instant of an insignificant mortal wandering at midnight through the dark forests of Australia. The clock at the Carters' Barracksman establishment in which convict-boys are taught mechanical employments-struck one on the Sabbath morning, as we passed through the Sydney turnpike : we had consequently to pay double toll for travelling on Sunday. We were happy, however, to find ourselves at the termination of our journey, after a long and fatiguing ride of upwards of seventy miles.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

TAI, WITH INTRODUCTORY REMARKS ON THE GEOLOGICAL FEATURES OF THE COLONY, AND ON ITS CLIMATE AND DISEASES.

" Be not slothful to go, and to enter to possess the land. When ye go, ye shall come unto-a large land-a place where there is no want of any thing that is in the earth.” Judges, xviii. 9, 10.

PROFESSOR BLUMENBACH, of the University of Göttingen, has somewhere given it as his opinion that the vast continental island of New Holland was originally a comet, which, happening to fall within the limits of the earth’s attraction, lighted at length upon its surface. So tremendous a concussion as this would have infallibly produced, would doubtless have been sufficient to have occasioned the waters of Noah; but then the reflux of these waters, or the rolling back of the vast diluvial wave over the Blue Mountains of Australia, would have drowned the whole outlandish family of kangaroos and ornithorynchi, for whose benefit, I presume, the bold hypothesis of the learned professor was partly, if not especially, invented.

There are certain points, however, connected with the physical conformation of the southern hemisphere, of which the hypothesis of the Hanoverian professor would doubtless afford a convenient explanation. It would account, for instance, for the disappearance of the Terra Pacifica, or Great South Land, of which, according to certain theorists, the South Sea Islands are merely the tops of the ancient mountains ; the intervening plains and valleys having been submerged full many a fathom deep beneath the impetuous surges of the boundless Pacific.* Again, were a ball of soft clay thrown violently on a hard pavement, just as Professor Blumenbach supposes his comet to have been thrown violently on the hard surface of the earth, it would not only be flattened into a sort of cake, but the parts towards the centre would be depressed, while those towards the circumference would be elevated or heaved up. Now it cannot be denied that this is just the form which the Australian continent has actually assumed, in whatever manner that peculiar conformation may be supposed to have originated. The eastern coast has apparently been elevated or heaved up by some violent convulsion of nature: hence the circuitous course of the rivers in that part of the continent, and the liability of the

* "La plupart de ces isles ne sont en effet que des pointes de montagnes : et la mer, qui est au dela, est une vraie mer Méditerranée.” Buf. fon. The great French naturalist referred in these expressions to the West Ipdia Islands and the Carribean Sea; but the same idea bas been øntertained by other philosophers in regard to the numberless groups of Polynesia.

« PoprzedniaDalej »