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Title: Statistical, Historical and Political Description of the Colony of New South Wales and its Dependent Settlements in Van Diemen's Land - With a Particular Enumeration of the Advantages Which These Colonies - Offer for Emigration, and Their Superiority in Many Respects Over - Those Possessed by the United States of America
Author: Wentworth, William Charles
Language: English
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There can be little doubt that when my great-grandfather began
to write this book, his thoughts were centred on the objective
which he describes in his own Preface--the diversion to Australia
of some part of the stream of emigration then running from the
British Isles to North America. Perhaps, even more urgently, he
may have wanted to forestall any British tendency to withdraw
from the colony and abandon New South Wales altogether.

But as he wrote, he found that he had to make some explanation
for the defects which he saw in the current life of the colony,
and naturally he was led into propounding some way in which these
defects could be overcome. Contemporary reviewers, then, were not
so far wrong when theycommented that the book looked almost like
two books written by separate hands.

The secondary theme became the most important part of the
book, because the remedies he then proposed for his country's
ills became the guidelines for his own policies when he returned
to Australia. Through the influences which he and his friends
exerted over the next thirty years, these policies determined
much of the course of Australian history in those times. Most of
his proposals were eventually accepted, though in some cases much
later than he wanted, and in some cases with modifications which
he himself made or which were forced on him by the pressure of

At the time he wrote this book he was in his middle twenties,
having returned to England to complete his education soon after
participating in the first crossing of the Blue Mountains.
Waterloo had just been won; Europe was settling down and trying
to forget Napoleon. The wounds of the American Revolution were
closing; British merchants and industrialists were preparing to
change the face of the world in accordance with the precepts of
Adam Smith.

In his attempt to divert the migration stream he was no enemy
of America, (indeed he had chosen the name "Vermont" for his own
farm on the Nepean) but he was perhaps the first Australian
really to support Macquarie's drive for Australian expansion and
Australian independence from London administration. He did this
at a time when some influential Englishmen were urging the
abandonment of the whole Botany Bay venture, which, after thirty
years, was still not self-supporting and which seemed doomed to
suffer from recurrent crises.

Apparently Macquarie had dreamed of a great transcontinental
river, which was to flow 2,000 miles westwards from the Dividing
Range, through fertile and well-watered fields, until it reached
the sea somewhere on the north-west coast. The Lachlan had been
found to peter out into swamps, but Oxley believed that the
Macquarie River would have a happier issue, and at the time of
the first Edition of this book (1819) that theory was still
tenable. It was not long, of course, before these hopes were to
perish in the Macquarie Marshes, to be succeeded by prospects of
a mythical Inland Sea, though it was decades before the
enthusiasts realised that they would have to be satisfied with
Lake Eyre.

This first edition accepts as fact the phantom of that
transcontinental stream and expatiates on the blessings which it
would bring, patterning its concept of the Heart of the
Australian Continent upon what was known of the Great Plains of
America, then just being opened up. Any child with an Atlas in
hand can now decry the mistake of having given to this concept
more credence than did Oxley or Macquarie: does not hindsight
make history so simple?

Abandonment of simple optimism on this physical fact must have
been quick and uncomfortable: but abandonment of some other
precepts must have been slow and more painful. At the time of
this first edition, the influence of the Enlightenment was
completing its penetration into politics and economics. Man had
only to be given freedom, and he would enter into a political
Paradise: the forces of the free market had only to be left
untrammelled, and they would create of themselves an economic

These are the enthusiasms of the first edition, where Bligh
represents the forces of repression and darkness, while Macquarie
and Macarthur are both to be numbered among the angels. By the
time of the third edition (1824, nearly contemporary with the
author's return to Australia) the winds of change had blown
through the Australian scene. Bigge had presented his Report,
which destroyed so much of Macquarie's work, and the Exclusives,
in the author's view, were leagued with enemies of Australian

For the next thirty years the politics of New South Wales were
vigorous and variegated. Nobody who was at their centre could
have maintained all his illusions as to the essential goodness of
human nature, if only it could be freed from the unnatural chains
with which society had bound it. Nor could anyone who
participated in the commercial life of those times, who had
lived, for example, through the depression of the forties, have
preserved untarnished the precepts of Ricardo--published only a
few years before 1819, and accepted as gospel in that first

So some of those 1819 enthusiasms had to be abandoned: but the
objectives were not. Most of them were eventually to be
translated into action and actuality. It was in their
modification, perhaps, that the author was to display most of all
his foresight and acumen. From 1848 onwards he recognised the
true nature of "the spectre which haunted Europe"--and which
still haunts the world. From then onwards he was not to write in
the way which he wrote here.

W. C. Wentworth

24th February, 1978

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It may prevent those inquiries that would be naturally made by
the public, respecting the manner in which the author acquired
the information contained in this work, when he states that he
was born in the colony of New South Wales, and that he resided
there for about five years since his arrival at the age of
maturity. This is a period which will, at least, be allowed to
have been sufficient for acquiring a correct knowledge of its
state and government, and for enabling him to observe the
destructive tendency of those measures, of which it has been his
endeavour to demonstrate the injustice and impolicy, and to
procure the speedy repeal. He would not, however, have it
concluded that the present work has been the result of mature and
systematic reflection; it is, on the contrary, a hasty
production, which originated in the casual suggestions of an
acquaintance, and which was never contemplated by him, during his
long residence in the colony. He has consequently been obliged
not only to omit giving a detail of many interesting facts, with
which he might have become acquainted previously to his
departure, but has also been under the necessity of relying in a
great measure on the fidelity of his memory for the accuracy of
many of those circumstances which he has stated: still he is not
without hope, that five years attentive observation will have
enabled him to communicate many particulars, of which, in the
absence of abler works on the same subject, most of the
inhabitants of this country cannot but be ignorant, and many must
wish to be apprized.

His only aim in obtruding this hasty production on the public,
is to promote the welfare and prosperity of the country which
gave him birth; and he has judged that he could in no way so
effectually contribute his mite towards the accomplishment of
this end, as by attempting to divert from the United States of
America to its shores, some part of that vast tide of emigration,
which is at present flowing thither from all parts of Europe. In
furtherance, therefore, of this design, he has described the
superior advantages of climate and soil possessed by this colony;
he has explained the causes why these natural superiorities have
not yet been productive of those beneficial consequences which
might have been expected from them; he has pointed out the
arguments which offer for the abandonment of the present system,
and the substitution of another in its place; and by adducing, in
fine, what he considers to be irrefragable proofs of the
expediency, merely as it regards the parent country, of adopting
the measures which he has proposed, he hopes that he shall
eventually occasion an alteration of polity, by which both the
parties concerned will be equally benefited. He has not, however,
presumed on a contingency which it is thus reasonable to believe
cannot be either doubtful or remote; but has restricted
himself to an enumeration of the inducements to emigration which
exist under actual circumstances; and, by comparing them with the
advantages which those writers, who have given the most
favourable accounts of the United States, have represented them
as possessing, he has proved that this colony, labouring as it is
under all the discouragements of an arbitrary and impolitic
government, has still a great and decided preponderancy in the
balance. How much this preponderancy will be increased, whenever
the changes and modifications which he has ventured to suggest,
shall be in whole, or in part carried into effect, he has left to
all such as are desirous of emigrating, to form their own
estimate; and to decide also how much longer a system so highly
burdensome to the parent country, and so radically defective in
its principles and operation, is likely to be tolerated. To all
those, who are of opinion with him that it cannot be of much
longer duration, the inducements for giving this colony the
preference will become so weighty, as scarcely to admit of the
possibility that they should hesitate for a moment in their
choice between the two countries.

If, in the course of this work, he has spoken in terms of
unqualified reprobation of the baneful system to which the
unhappy place of his nativity has been the victim, he would have
it distinctly understood, that it has been furthest from his
thoughts to connect the censure which he has bestowed on it, with
those who have permitted its continuance. He is too deeply
impressed with a sense of the arduous and momentous nature of the
contest which they have had to conduct, not to allow that it was
justly entitled to their first and chief attention. Our whole
colonial system, in fact, he considers to have been but a mere
under plot in the great drama that was acting. It could not,
therefore, be reasonably expected that the grievances of any one
colony should become the subject of minute and particular
investigation; and still less could it be imagined that the
government should convert their attention to the relief of one,
which has comparatively excited but a small share of public
interest, and has hitherto been considered more in the light of a
prison, than of what he has endeavoured to prove it might be
rendered,--one of the most useful and valuable appendages of the
empire. This apology, however, for the neglect which the colony
has experienced during the war, cannot be pleaded in vindication
of a perseverance in the same impolitic and oppressive course in
time of peace. Nor is it to be wondered at, as upwards of three
years have now elapsed since the consolidation of the
tranquillity of the world, that the colonists should begin to
feel indignant at the continuance of disabilities, for the
abrogation of which the most powerful considerations of justice
and expediency have been urged in vain. To remove such just
grounds for dissatisfaction and complaint, and to allow them, at
length, the enjoyment of those rights and privileges, of which
they ought never to have been debarred, would, at best, be but a
poor compensation for an impeded agriculture and languishing
commerce; but it is the only one that can now be offered; and,
although it cannot repair the wide ravages which so many years of
unmerited and absurd restrictions have occasioned, it may arrest
the progress of desolation, and prevent any further increase to
the numbers who have already sunk beneath the pressure of an
overwhelming system. It is, therefore, to be hoped that the cause
of humanity will no longer be outraged by unnecessary delay, and
that the only atonement, which can be made the colonists for
their past and present sufferings, will no longer be

The author is fully aware that, in the course of this work, he
has developed no new principle of political economy, and that he
has only travelled in the broad beaten path in which hundreds
have journeyed before him. For troubling, therefore, the public
with a repetition of principles, of which the truth is so
generally known and acknowledged, the only plea he can urge in
his justification is a hope that the reiteration of them will not
be deemed unnecessary and obtrusive, so long as their application
is incomplete; so long as vice and misery prevail in any part of
the world, from the want of their adoption and enforcement.

* * * * *




The colony of New South Wales is situated on the eastern coast
of New Holland. This island, which was first discovered by the
Dutch in 1616, lies between the 9 degrees and 39 degrees of south
latitude, and the 108 degrees and 153 degrees of east longitude;
and from its immense size, seems rather to merit the appellation
of continent, which many geographers have bestowed on it. Since
that period it has been visited and examined by a galaxy of
celebrated navigators, among whom Cook and Flinders rank the most
conspicuous. Still the survey of this large portion of the world
cannot, by any means, be deemed complete; since not one of all
the navigators who have laid down the various parts of its
coasts, has discovered the mouth of any considerable river; and
it is hardly within the scope of possible belief, that a country
of such vast extent does not possess at least one river, which
may deserve to be ranked in the class of "rivers of the first

If a judgment were formed of this island from the general
aspect of the country bordering the sea, it would be pronounced
one of the most barren spots on the face of the globe.
Experience, however, has proved that such an opinion would be
exactly the reverse of truth; since, as far as the interior has
been explored, its general fertility amply compensates for the
extreme sterility of the coast.

The greater part of this country is covered with timber of a
gigantic growth, but of an entirely different description from
the timber of Europe. It is, however, very durable, and well
adapted to all the purposes of human industry.

The only metal yet discovered is iron. It abounds in every
part of the country, and is in some places purer than in any
other part of the world. Coals are found in many places of the
best quality. There is also abundance of slate, limestone and
granite, though not in the immediate vicinity of Port Jackson.
Sand-stone, quartz, and freestone are found every where.

The rivers and seas teem with excellent fish; but the eel and
smelt, the mullet, whiting, mackarel, sole, skate, and John Dory
are, I believe, the only sorts known in this country.

The animals are, the kangaroo, native dog, (which is a smaller
species of the wolf,) the wombat, bandicoot, kangaroo rat,
opossum, flying squirrel, flying fox, etc. etc. There are none of
those animals or birds which go by the name of "game" in this
country, except the heron. The hare, pheasant and partridge are
quite unknown; but there are wild ducks, widgeon, teal, quail,
pigeons, plovers, snipes, etc. etc., with emus, black swans,
cockatoos, parrots, parroquets, and an infinite variety of
smaller birds, which are not found in any other country. In fact,
both its animal and vegetable kingdoms are in a great measure
peculiar to itself.

There are many poisonous reptiles in this country, but few
accidents happen either to the aborigines, or the colonists from
their bite. Of these the centipede, tarantula, scorpion,
slow-worm, and the snake, are the most to be dreaded;
particularly the latter, since there are, I believe, at least
thirty varieties of them, of which all but one are venomous in
the highest degree.

The aborigines of this country occupy the lowest place in the
gradatory scale of the human species. They have neither houses
nor clothing; they are entirely unacquainted with the arts of
agriculture; and even the arms which the several tribes have, to
protect themselves from the aggressions of their neighbours, and
the hunting and fishing implements with which they administer to
their support, are of the rudest contrivance and workmanship.

Thirty years intercourse with Europeans has not effected the
slightest change in their habits; and even those who have most
intermixed with the colonists, have never been prevailed upon to
practise one of the arts of civilized life. Disdaining all
restraint, their happiness is still centered in their original
pursuits; and they seem to consider the superior enjoyments to be
derived from civilization, (for they are very far from being
insensible to them) but a poor compensation for the sacrifice of
any portion of their natural liberty. The colour of these people
is a dark chocolate; their features bear a strong resemblance to
the African negro; they have the same flat nose, large nostrils,
wide mouth and thick lips; but their hair is not woolly, except
in Van Dieman's Land, where they have this further characteristic
of the negro.

These people bear no resemblance to any of the inhabitants of
the surrounding islands, except to those of New Guinea, which is
only separated from New Holland by a narrow strait. One of these
islands, therefore, has evidently been peopled by the other; but
from whence the original stock was derived is one of those
geographical problems, which in all probability will never be
satisfactorily solved.

Rude and barbarous as are the aborigines of this country, they
have still some confused notions of a Supreme Being and of a
future state. It would, however, be foreign to the purposes to
which I have limited myself, to enter into a detail of their
customs and manners; nor would it, indeed, be the means of
increasing the fund of public knowledge: since, whoever may be
anxious to be informed on these topics, will find a faithful and
minute account of them in the work of Mr. Collins.

Sydney, the capital of New South Wales, is situated in 33
degrees 55' of south latitude, and 151 degrees 25' of east
longitude. It is about seven miles distant from the heads of Port
Jackson, and stands principally on two hilly necks of land and
the intervening valley, which together form Sydney Cove. The
western side of the town extends to the water's edge, and
occupies with the exception of the small space reserved around
Dawe's Battery, the whole of the neck of land which separates
Sydney Cove from Lane Cove, and extends a considerable distance
back into the country besides.

This part of the town, it may therefore be perceived, forms a
little peninsula; and what is of still greater importance the
water is in general of sufficient depth in both these coves, to
allow the approach of vessels of the largest burden to the very
sides of the rocks.

On the eastern neck of land, the extension of the town has
been stopped by the Government House, and the adjoining domain,
which occupies the whole of Bennilong's Point, a circumstance the
more to be regretted, as the water all along this point is of
still greater depth than on the western side of the Cove, and
consequently affords still greater facilities for the erection of
warehouses and the various important purposes of commerce.

The appearance of the town is rude and irregular. Until the
administration of Governor Macquarie, little or no attention had
been paid to the laying out of the streets, and each proprietor
was left to build on his lease, where and how his caprice
inclined him. He, however, has at length succeeded in
establishing a perfect regularity in most of the streets, and has
reduced to a degree of uniformity, that would have been deemed
absolutely impracticable, even the most confused portion of that
chaos of building, which is still known by the name of "the
rocks;" and which, from the ruggedness of its surface, the
difficulty of access to it, and the total absence of order in its
houses, was for many years more like the abode of a horde of
savages than the residence of a civilized community. The town
upon the whole may be now pronounced to be tolerably regular;
and, as in all future additions that may be made to it, the
proprietors of leases will not be allowed to deviate from the
lines marked out by the surveyor general, the new part will of
course be free from the faults and inconveniences of the old.

This town covers a considerable extent of ground, and would at
first sight induce the belief of a much greater population than
it actually contains. This is attributable to two circumstances,
the largeness of the leases, which in most instances possess
sufficient space for a garden, and the smallness of the houses
erected in them, which in general do not exceed one story. From
these two causes it happens, that this town does not contain
above seven thousand souls, whereas one that covered the same
extent of ground in this country would possess a population of at
least twenty thousand. But although the houses are for the most
part small, and of mean appearance, there are many public
buildings, as well as houses of individuals, which would not
disgrace the best parts of this great metropolis. Of the former
class, the public stores, the general hospital, and the barracks,
are perhaps the most conspicuous; of the latter the houses of
Messrs. Lord, Riley, Howe, Underwood and Nichols.

The value of land in this town is in many places half as great
as in the best situations in London, and is daily increasing.
Rents are in consequence exorbitantly high. It is very far from a
commodious house that can be had for a hundred a year,

Here is a very good market, although it is of very recent
date. It was established by Governor Macquarie, in the year 1813,
and is very well supplied with grain, vegetables, poultry,
butter, eggs and fruit. It is, however, only held three times a
week; viz. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. It is a large
oblong enclosure, and there are stores erected in it by the
Governor, for the reception of all such provisions as remain
unsold at the close of the market, which lasts from six o'clock
in the morning in summer, and seven o'clock in winter, until
three o'clock in the evening. The vender pays in return a small
duty to the clerk of the market, who accounts quarterly for the
amount to the treasurer of the police fund. The annual amount of
these duties is about £130.*

[* Vide Market Duties in the Appendix.]

Here also is a Bank, called "The Bank of New South Wales,"
which was established in the year 1817, and promises to be of
great and permanent benefit to the colony in general. Its capital
is £20,000, divided into two hundred shares. It has a
regular charter of incorporation, and is under the controul of a
president* and six directors, who are annually chosen by the
proprietors. The paper of this bank is now the principal
circulating medium of this colony. They discount bills of a short
date, and also advance money on mortgage securities. They are
allowed to receive in return an interest of 10 per cent. per

[* See Appendix.]

This town also contains two very good public schools, for the
education of children of both sexes. One is a day school for
boys, and is of course only intended to impart gratuitous
instruction:--the other is designed both for the education and
support of poor and helpless female orphans. This institution was
founded by Governor King, as long back as the year 1800, and
contains about sixty children, who are taught reading, writing,
arithmetic, sewing, and the various arts of domestic economy.
When their education is complete, they are either married to free
persons of good character, or are assigned as servants to such
respectable families as may apply for them. At the time of the
establishment of this school there was a large tract of land
(15,000 acres,) attached to it; and a considerable stock of
horses, cattle, and sheep, were also transferred to it from the
government herds. The profits of these stock go towards defraying
the expences of this school, and a certain portion, fifty or a
hundred acres of this land, with a proportionate number of them,
are given in dower with each female who marries with the consent
of the committee intrusted with the management of this

Besides these two public schools in the town of Sydney, which
together contained, by the last accounts received from the
colony, two hundred and twenty-four children, there are
establishments for the gratuitous diffusion of education in every
populous district throughout the colony. The masters of these
schools are allowed stipulated salaries from the Orphan Fund.
Formerly particular duties, those on coals and timber, which
still go by the name of "The Orphan Dues," were allotted for the
support of these schools; but they were found to be insufficient,
and afterwards one-fourth, and more recently one-eighth, of the
whole revenue of the colony was appropriated to this purpose.
This latter portion of the colonial revenue may be estimated at
about £2500, which it must be admitted could not be devoted
to the promotion of any object of equal public utility.

Independent of these laudable institutions thus supported at
the expence of the government, there are two private ones
intended for the dissemination of religious knowledge, which are
wholly maintained by voluntary contribution. One is termed "The
Auxiliary Bible Society of New South Wales," and its object is to
cooperate with the British and Foreign Bible Society, and to
distribute the holy Scriptures either at prime cost, or gratis,
to needy and deserving applicants.

The other is called "The New South Wales Sunday School
Institution," and was established with a view to teach well
disposed persons of all ages how to read the sacred volume. These
societies were instituted in the year 1817, and are under the
direction of a general committee, aided by a secretary and

There are in this town and other parts of the colony, several
good private seminaries for the board and education of the
children of opulent parents. The best is in the district of
Castlereagh, which is about forty miles distant, and is kept by
the clergyman of that district, the Rev. Henry Fulton, a
gentleman peculiarly qualified both from his character and
acquirements for conducting so responsible and important an
undertaking. The boys in this seminary receive a regular
classical education, and the terms are as reasonable as those of
similar establishments in this country.

The harbour of Port Jackson is perhaps exceeded by none in the
world except the Derwent in point of size and safety; and in this
latter particular, I rather think it has the advantage. It is
navigable for vessels of any burden for about seven miles above
the town, i.e. about fifteen from the entrance. It possesses the
best anchorage the whole way, and is perfectly sheltered from
every wind that can blow. It is said, and I believe with truth,
to have a hundred coves, and is capable of containing all the
shipping in the world. There can be no doubt, therefore, that in
the course of a few years, the town of Sydney, from the
excellence of its situation alone, must become a place of
considerable importance.

The views from the heights of the town are bold, varied and
beautiful. The strange irregular appearance of the town itself,
the numerous coves and islets both above and below it, the
towering forests and projecting rocks, combined with the infinite
diversity of hill and dale on each side of the harbour, form
altogether a coup d'oeil, of which it may be safely asserted that
few towns can boast a parallel.

The neighbouring scenery is still more diversified and
romantic, particularly the different prospects which open upon
you from the hills on the south head road, immediately contiguous
to the town. Looking towards the coast you behold at one glance
the greater part of the numerous bays and islands which lie
between the town and the heads, with the succession of barren,
but bold and commanding hills, that bound the harbour, and are
abruptly terminated by the water. Further north, the eye ranges
over the long chain of lofty rugged cliffs that stretch away in
the direction of the coal river, and distinctly mark the bearing
of the coast, until they are lost in the dimness of vision.
Wheeling round to the south you behold at the distance of seven
or eight miles, that spacious though less eligible harbour,
called "Botany Bay," from the prodigious variety of new plants
which Sir Joseph Banks found in its vicinity, when it was first
discovered and surveyed by Captain Cook. To the southward again
of this magnificent sheet of water, where it will be recollected
it was the original intention, though afterwards judiciously
abandoned, to found the capital of this colony, you behold the
high bluff range of hills that stretch away towards the five
islands, and likewise indicate the trending of the coast in that

If you afterwards suddenly face about to the westward, you see
before you one vast forest, uninterrupted except by the
cultivated openings which have been made by the axe on the
summits of some of the loftiest hills, and which tend
considerably to diminish those melancholy sensations its gloomy
monotony would otherwise inspire. The innumerable undulations in
this vast expanse of forest, forcibly remind you of the ocean
when convulsed by tempests; save that the billows of the one
slumber in a fixed and leaden stillness, and want that motion
which constitutes the diversity, beauty, and sublimity of the
other. Continuing the view, you arrive at that majestic and
commanding chain of mountains called "the Blue Mountains," whose
stately and o'ertopping grandeur forms a most imposing boundary
to the prospective.

If you proceed on the south head road, until you arrive at the
eminence called "Belle Vue," the scenery is still more
picturesque and grand; since, in addition to the striking objects
already described, you behold, as it were at your feet, although
still more than a mile distant from you, the vast and foaming
Pacific. In boisterous weather the surges that break in mountains
on the shore beneath you, form a sublime contrast to the still,
placid waters of the harbour, which in this spot is only
separated from the sea by a low sandy neck of land not more than
half a mile in breadth; yet is so completely sheltered, that no
tempests can ruffle its tranquil surface.

The town of Parramatta is situated at the head of Port Jackson
Harbour, at the distance of about eighteen miles by water, and
fifteen by land, from Sydney. The river for the last seven or
eight miles, is only navigable for boats of twelve or fifteen
tons burden. This town is built along a small fresh water stream,
which falls into the river. It consists principally of one street
about a mile in length. It is surrounded on the south side by a
chain of moderately high hills; and as you approach it by the
Sydney road, it breaks suddenly on the view when you have reached
the summit of them, and produces a very pleasing effect. The
adjacent country has been a good deal cleared; and the gay
mimosas, which have sprung up in the openings, form a very
agreeable contrast to the dismal gloom of the forest that
surrounds and o'ertops them.

The town itself is far behind Sydney in respect of its
buildings; but it nevertheless contains many of a good and
substantial construction. These, with the church, the government
house, the new Orphan House, and some gentlemen's seats, which
are situated on the surrounding eminences, give it, upon the
whole, a very respectable appearance. There are two very good
inns, where a traveller may meet with all the comfort and
accommodation that are to be found in similar establishments in
the country towns of this kingdom. The charges too are by no
means unreasonable.

The population is principally composed of inferior traders,
publicans, artificers, and labourers, and may be estimated,
inclusive of a company which is always stationed there, on a
rough calculation, at about twelve hundred souls.

There are two fairs held half yearly, one in March and the
other in September; they were instituted about five years since
by the present governor, and already begin to be very numerously
and respectably attended. They are chiefly intended for the sale
of stock, for which there are stalls, pens, and every other
convenience, erected at the expence of the government; for the
use of these pens, etc. and to keep them in repair, a moderate
scale of duties* is paid by the vender.

This town has for many years past made but a very
inconsiderable progress compared with Sydney. The value of land
has consequently not kept pace in the two places, and is at least
£200 per cent. less in the one than in the other. As the
former, however, is in a central situation between the rapidly
increasing settlements on the banks of the Hawkesbury and Nepean
rivers, and the latter the great mart for colonial produce,
landed property there and in the neighbourhood, will, without
doubt, experience a gradual rise.

The public institutions are an Hospital, a Female Orphan
House, into which it is intended to remove the orphans from
Sydney, and a factory, in which such of the female convicts as
misconduct themselves, and those also who upon their arrival in
the colony are not immediately assigned as servants to families,
are employed in manufacturing coarse cloth. There are upon an
average about one hundred and sixty women employed in this
institution, which is placed under the direction of a
superintendant, who receives wool from the settlers, and gives
them a certain portion of the manufactured article in exchange:
what is reserved is only a fair equivalent for the expence of
making it, and is used in clothing the gaol gang, the reconvicted
culprits who are sent to the coal river, and I believe the
inmates of the factory itself.

There is also another public institution in this town, well
worthy the notice of the philanthropist. It is a school for the
education and civilization of the aborigines of the country. It
was founded by the present governor three years since, and by the
last accounts from the colony, it contained eighteen native
children, who had been voluntarily placed there by their parents,
and were making equal progress in their studies with European
children of the same age. The following extract from the Sydney
Gazette, of January 4, 1817, may enable the reader to form some
opinion of the beneficial consequences that are likely to result
from this institution, and how far they may realize the
benevolent intentions which actuated its philanthropic

"On Saturday last, the 28th ult. the town of Parramatta
exhibited a novel and very interesting spectacle, by the
assembling of the native tribes there, pursuant to the governor's
gracious invitation. At ten in the morning the market place was
thrown open, and some gentlemen who were appointed on the
occasion, took the management of the ceremonials. The natives
having seated themselves on the ground in a large circle, the
chiefs were placed on chairs a little advanced in front, and to
the right of their respective tribes. In the centre of the circle
thus formed, were placed large tables groaning under the weight
of roast beef, potatoes, bread, etc. and a large cask of grog
lent its exhilarating aid to promote the general festivity and
good humour which so conspicuously shone through the sable
visages of this delighted congress. The governor, attended by all
the members* of the native institution, and by several of the
magistrates and gentlemen in the neighbourhood, proceeded at half
past ten to the meeting, and having entered the circle, passed
round the whole of them, inquiring after, and making himself
acquainted with the several tribes, their respective leaders and
residences. His Excellency then assembled the chiefs by
themselves, and confirmed them in the ranks of chieftains, to
which their own tribes had exalted them, and conferred upon them
badges of distinction; whereon were engraved their names as
chiefs, and those of their tribes. He afterwards conferred badges
of merit on some individuals, in acknowledgment of their steady
and loyal conduct in the assistance they rendered the military
party, when lately sent out in pursuit of the refractory natives
to the west and south of the Nepean river. By the time this
ceremony was over, Mrs. Macquarie arrived, and the children
belonging to, and under the care of the native institution,
fifteen in number, preceded by their teacher, entered the circle,
and walked round it; the children appearing very clean, well
clothed and happy. The chiefs were then again called together to
observe the examination of the children as to their progress in
learning and the civilized habits of life. Several of the little
ones read; and it was grateful to the bosom of sensibility to
trace the degrees of pleasure which the chiefs manifested on this
occasion. Some clapped the children on the head; and one in
particular turning round towards the governor with extraordinary
emotion, exclaimed, Governor, that will make a good
settler,--that's my Pickaninny! (meaning his child). And some of
the females were observed to shed tears of sympathetic affection,
at seeing the infant and helpless off-spring of their deceased
friends, so happily sheltered and protected by British
benevolence. The examinations being finished, the children
returned to the institution, under the guidance of their
venerable tutor; whose assiduity and attention to them, merit
every commendation".

[* Appendix]

"The feasting then commenced, and the governor retired amidst
the long and reiterated acclamations and shouts of his sable and
grateful congress. The number of the visitants, (exclusive of the
fifteen children) amounted to one hundred and seventy-nine, viz.
one hundred and five men, fifty-three women, and twenty-one
children. It is worthy of observation that three of the latter
mentioned number of children, (and the son of the memorable
Bemni-long, was one of them) were placed in the native
institution, immediately after the breaking up of the congress,
on Saturday last, making the number of children now in that
establishment, altogether eighteen; and we may reasonably trust
that in a few years this benevolent institution will amply reward
the hopes and expectations of its liberal patrons and supporters,
and answer the grand object intended, by providing a seminary for
the helpless off-spring of the natives of this country, and
opening the path to their future civilization and


The town of Windsor, (or as it was formerly called, the Green
Hills), is thirty-five miles distant from Sydney, and is situated
near the confluence of the South Creek with the river Hawkesbury.
It stands on a hill, whose elevation is about one hundred feet
above the level of the river, at low water. The buildings here
are much of the same cast as at Parramatta, being in general
weather boarded without, and lathed and plastered within.

The public buildings are a church, government house, hospital,
barracks, court-house, store-house, and gaol, none of which are
worthy of notice. The inn lately established by Mr. Fitzgerald,
is by far the best building in the town, and may be pronounced
upon the whole, the most splendid establishment of the kind in
the colony.

The bulk of the population is composed of settlers, who have
farms in the neighbourhood, and of their servants. There are
besides a few inferior traders, publicans and artificers. The
town contains in the whole about six hundred souls.

The Hawkesbury here is of considerable size, and navigable for
vessels of one hundred tons burden, for about four miles above
the town. A little higher up, it is joined by, or rather is
called the Nepean river, and has several shallows; but with the
help of two or three ferries, it might still be rendered
navigable for boats of twelve or fifteen tons burden, for about
twenty miles further. This substitution of water for land
carriage, would be of great advantage to the numerous settlers
who inhabit its highly fertile banks, and would also considerably
promote the extension of agriculture throughout the adjacent

Following the sinuosities of the river the distance of Windsor
from the sea is about one hundred and forty miles; whereas in a
straight line it is not more than thirty-five. The rise of the
tide is about four feet, and the water is fresh for forty miles
below the town.

Land is about ten per cent. higher than at Parramatta, and is
advancing rapidly in price. This circumstance is chiefly
attributable to the small quantity of land that is to be had
perfectly free from the reach of the inundations, to which the
Hawkesbury is so frequently subject. 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 any one 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, every where 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

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 precedings 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 Warraganbia 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.


The town of Liverpool is situated on the banks of Geoge's
river, at the distance of eighteen miles from Sydney. It was
founded by Governor Macquarie, and is now of about six years
standing. Its population may amount to about two hundred souls,
and is composed of a small detachment of military, of
cultivators, and a few artificers, traders, publicans, and

The public buildings are a church (not yet I believe
completed) a school house and stores for the reception and issue
of provisions to such of the settlers in the adjacent districts
as are victualled at the expense of the government. These
buildings, however, as might naturally be expected from the very
recent establishment of this town, are but little superior in
their appearance to the rude dwellings of its inhabitants.

The river is about half the size of the Hawkesbury, and is
navigable for boats of twenty tons burden as high up as the town.
It empties itself into Botany Bay, which is about fourteen miles
to the southward of the heads of Port Jackson. It is subject to
the same sort of inundations as the Hawkesbury; but they are not
in general of so violent and destructive a nature. The tide rises
about the same height as in that river, and the current is, I
believe, nearly of the same velocity.

The position of this town is all that can be urged in support
of the probability of its future progress; the land in its
vicinity being in general of a very indifferent quality. It is in
a central situation, between Sydney and the fertile districts of
Bringelly, Arids, Appin, Bunpury Curran, Cabramatta, and the
Seven Islands, to which last place the tide of colonization is at
present principally directing itself. There can be no doubt,
therefore, that the town of Liverpool will, in a few years,
become a place of considerable size and importance. Land there is
as yet of very trifling value; and a lease may be obtained by any
free person from the government, on the simple condition of
erecting a house on it.

Society is upon a much better footing throughout the colony,
in general than might naturally be imagined, considering the
ingredients of which it is composed. In Sydney the civil and
military officers with their families form a circle at once
select and extended, without including the numerous highly
respectable families of merchants and settlers who reside there.
Unfortunately, however, this town is not free from those
divisions which are so prevalent in all small communities.
Scandal appears to be the favourite amusement to which idlers
resort to kill time and prevent ennui; and consequently, the same
families are eternally changing from friendship to hostility, and
from hostility back again to friendship.

In the other towns these dissensions are not so common,
because the circle of society is more circumscribed; and in the
districts where there are no towns at all, they are still more
rare; because in such situations people have too much need of one
another's intercourse and assistance to propagate reports
injurious to their neighbour's character, unless on grave
occasions, and where their assertions are founded on truth.

Generally speaking, the state of society in these settlements
is much the same, as among an equal population in the country
parts of this kingdom. Of the number of respectable persons that
they contain, some estimate may be formed if we refer to the
parties which are given on particular days at the Government
House. It appears from the Sydney Gazette of the 24th January,
1818, that one hundred and sixty ladies and gentlemen were
present at a ball and supper which was given there on the 18th of
that month, in celebration of her late majesty's birth-day.

There are at present no public amusements in this colony. Many
years since, there was a theatre, and more latterly, annual
races; but it was found that the society was not sufficiently
mature for such establishments. Dinner and supper parties are
very frequent in Sydney; and it generally happens that a few
subscription balls take place in the course of the year. Upon the
whole it may be safely asserted, that the natural disposition of
the people to sociality has not only been in no wise impaired by
their change of scene, but that all classes of the colonists are
more hospitable than persons of similar means in this

There are four courts in this colony, established by charter,
viz. the Court of Admiralty, the Court of Criminal Judicature,
the Governor's Court, the Supreme Court, and the High Court of

The Court of Vice Admiralty consists of the Judge Advocate,
and takes cognizance of captures, salvages, and such other
matters of dispute as arise on the high seas; but it has no
criminal jurisdiction.

The Court of Criminal Judicature, consists of the Judge
Advocate and six officers of His Majesty's sea and land forces,
or of either, appointed by the governor. This court takes
cognizance of all treasons, felonies, misdemeanors, and in fact
of all criminal offences whatsoever; and afterwards adjudges
death or such other punishment as the law of England may have
affixed to the respective crimes of which the prisoners may be
found guilty.

The Governor's Court consists of the Judge Advocate and two
inhabitants of the colony, appointed by precept from the
governor, and takes cognizance of all pleas where the amount sued
for does not exceed £50 sterling, (except such pleas as may
arise between party and party at Van Dieman's Land) and from its
decisions there is no appeal.

The Supreme Court is composed of the judge of this court and
two magistrates, appointed by precept from the governor; and its
jurisdiction extends to all pleas where the matter in dispute
exceeds £50 sterling. From its judgments, however, appeals
lie to the High Court of Appeals.

This latter court is presided by the governor himself,
assisted by the Judge Advocate; and its decisions are final in
all cases where the amount sued for does not exceed three
thousand pounds; but where the sum at issue exceeds this amount,
an appeal lies in the last instance to the king in council.

These courts regulate their decisions by the law of England,
and take no notice whatever of the laws and regulations which
have been made at various times by the local government. The
enforcement of these is left entirely to the magistracy, who
assemble weekly in the different towns throughout the colony, and
take cognizance of all infractions, as well of the colonial as of
the criminal code. The courts thus formed by the magistrates, go
by the name of "Benches of Magistrates," and answer pretty nearly
to the "courts of general quarter sessions for the peace," held
in the respective counties of this kingdom; and, generally
speaking, they exercise a jurisdiction perfectly similar.

The roads and bridges which have been made to every part of
the colony, are truly surprising, considering the short period
that has elapsed since its foundation. All these are either the
work of, or have been improved by, the present governor; who has
even caused a road to be constructed over the western mountains,
as far as the depot at Bathurst Plains, which is upwards of 180
miles from Sydney. The colonists, therefore, are now provided
with every facility for the conveyance of their produce to
market; a circumstance which cannot fail to have the most
beneficial influence in the progress of agriculture. In return
for these great public accommodations, and to help to keep them
in repair, the Governor has established toll-gates* in all the
principal roads. These are farmed out to the highest bidder, and
were let during the year 1817, for the sum of £257.

[* For a list of tolls, see the

The military force stationed in the colony consists ofseven
companies of the forty-eighth regiment, and the Royal Veteran
Company; which, form an effective body of about seven hundred
firelocks. These have to garrison the two principal settlements
at Van Diemen's Land, to provide a company for the establishment
at the Coal River, and to furnish parties for the various towns
and outposts of the extended territory of Port Jackson: so that
very few troops remain at head quarters. The colony is
consequently considered to be greatly in need of a further
accession of military strength. Much anxiety is felt on this
subject by the generality of the inhabitants, who have not yet
forgotten the insurrection which took place when the whole
population was not nearly so great as the present amount of the
convicts, although the military force was of equal magnitude.
That insurrection indeed was easily quelled; but the result of
another, under existing circumstances, would in all probability,
be very different.

An equal degree of anxiety is felt, and more particularly by
the mercantile part of the community, that a sloop of war, or a
king's vessel of some description, should be stationed in the
harbour, both as a protection against the easy possibility of
outward assault, and to frustrate the numerous combinations which
the convicts are constantly forming, and often too successfully,
to carry away the colonial craft, to the certain destruction of
their own and the crew's lives, and to the ruin of the
unfortunate owners Not fewer than three piratical seizures of
this nature have been effected within the last three years. On
all of these occasions the vessels so seized were run ashore on
the uninhabited parts of the coast, and all hands on board, the
innocent crews, as well as the abandoned pirates, either perished
from hunger, or were immolated by the spears and waddies of the
ferocious savages.

When Governor Macquarie assumed the command in 1810, the
population was only half its present number; and yet a sloop of
war was stationed at Port Jackson, and the military force also
was on a much more extended scale. Why a diminution has thus been
made in the means of protection and defence, when there appear to
be such strong grounds for their augmentation, merely with
reference to the internal state of the colony, it is no easy
matter to conjecture.

The expediency also of putting the colony in a better posture
to repel outward attack, is not less obvious; for although we are
now at peace with the whole world, it would be absurd to overlook
the possibility of future wars. The only battery of any strength
is called, "Dawe's Battery;" and is, as I have already casually
noticed, situated in the extremity of that neck of land, on which
the western part of the town of Sydney is built. This battery, if
I remember right, mounts fourteen long eighteen-pounders, but the
carriages of the guns are in a bad state of repair, and the
embrasures are so low, that a single broadside of grape would
sweep off all who had the courage or temerity to defend it.

Fort Philip stands on the highest part of the same neck of
land, and nearly in the centre of that part of the town which
goes by the name of "the Rocks." This fort was erected by
Governor King, immediately after the insurrection, to which I
have alluded. It is a regular hexagon, but it never was quite
finished, and there are no guns yet mounted on it. The glacis, in
fact, is not sufficiently levelled to allow a proper range for
artillery, and the circumjacent ground is so irregular and rocky,
that an enemy might at once erect batteries at fifty yards
distance. Besides, this fort is so completely hemmed in with
houses, that a great part of the town would be inevitably
destroyed by the fire from it. Its situation, therefore, is in
every point of view objectionable, and succeeding governors have
evinced their good sense, in not perfecting a work which would be
attended with a very considerable expense, and could never become
of any utility.

A new battery has lately been commenced on Bennilong's Point;
but this and Dawe's Battery are both too near the town to protect
it from the most insignificant naval force. It is indeed a matter
of surprise, that during the last American war, not one of the
numberless privateers of that nation, attempted to lay the town
of Sydney under contribution, or to plunder it. A vessel of ten
guns might have effected this enterprise with the greatest ease
and safety; and that the inhabitants were not subjected to such
an insulting humiliation, could only have arisen from the enemy's
ignorance of the insufficiency of their means of defence.

The climate of the colony, particularly in the inland
districts, is highly salubrious, although the heats in summer are
sometimes excessive, the thermometer frequently rising in the
shade to ninety, and even to a hundred degrees and upwards of
Fahrenheit. This, however, happens only during the hot winds; and
these do not prevail upon an average, more than eight or ten days
in the year. The mean heat during the three summer months,
December, January, and February, is about 80 degrees at noon.
This, it must be admitted, is a degree of heat that would be
highly oppressive to Europeans, were it not that the sea breeze
sets in regularly about nine o'clock in the morning, and blows
with considerable force from the N. E. till about six or seven
o'clock in the evening. It is succeeded during the night by the
land breeze from the mountains, which varies from W. S. W. to W.
In very hot days the sea breeze often veersround to the North and
blows a gale. In this case it continues with great violence,
frequently for a day or two, and is then succeeded not by the
regularland breeze, but by a cold southerly squall. The hot winds
blow from the N. W. and doubtless imbibe their heat from the
immense tract of country which they traverse. While they prevail
the sea and land breezes entirely cease. They seldom, however,
continue for more than two days at a time, and are always
superseded by a cold southerly gale, generally accompanied with
rain. The thermometer then sinks sometimes as low as 60 degrees,
and a variation of temperature of from 30 degrees to 40 degrees
takes place in half an hour. These southerly gales usually last
at this season from twelve to twenty-four hours, and then give
way to the regular sea and land breezes.

During these three months violent storms of thunder and
lightning are very frequent, and the heavy falls of rain which
take place on these occasions, tend considerably to refresh the
country, of which the verdure in all but low moist situations
entirely disappears. At this season the most unpleasant part of
the day is the interval which elapses between the cessation of
the land breeze and the setting in of the sea. This happens
generally between six and eight o'clock in the morning, when the
thermometer is upon an average at about 72 degrees. During this
interval the sea is as smooth as glass, and not a zephyr is found
to disport even among the topmost boughs of the loftiest

The three autumn months are March, April, and May. The weather
in March is generally very unsettled. This month, in fact, may be
considered the rainy season, and has been more fertile in floods
than any other of the year. The thermometer varies during the day
about 15 degrees, being at day-light as low as from 55 degrees to
60 degrees, and at noon as high as from 70 degrees to 75 degrees.
The sea and land breezes at this time become very feeble,
although they occasionally prevail during the whole year. The
usual winds from the end of March to the beginning of September,
are from S. to S. W.

The weather in the commencement of April is frequently
showery, but towards the middle it gradually becomes more
settled, and towards the conclusion perfectly clear and serene.
The thermometer at the beginning of the month varies from 72
degrees to 74 degrees at noon, and from the middle to the end
gradually declines to 66 degrees and sometimes to 60 degrees. In
the mornings it is as low as 52 degrees, and fires become in
consequence general throughout the colony.

The weather in the month of May is truly delightful. The
atmosphere is perfectly cloudless, and the mornings and evenings
become with the advance of the month more chilly, and render a
good fire a highly comfortable and cheering guest. Even during
the middle of the day the most violent exercise may be taken
without inconvenience. The thermometer at sun-rise is under 50
degrees, and seldom above 60 degrees at noon.

The three winter months are June, July, and August. During
this interval the mornings and evenings are very chilly, and the
nights excessively cold. Hoar frosts are frequent, and become
more severe the further you advance into the interior. Ice half
an inch thick is found at the distance of twenty miles from the
coast. Very little rain falls at this season, but the dews are
very heavy when it does not freeze, and tend considerably to
preserve the young crops from the effects of drought. Fogs too
are frequent and dense in low damp situations, and on the banks
of the rivers. The mean temperature at day-light is from 40
degrees to 45 degrees, and at noon from 55 degrees to 60

The spring months are September, October, and November. In the
beginning of September the fogs still continue; the nights are
cold, but the days clear and pleasant. Towards the close of this
month the cold begins very sensibly to moderate. Light showers
occasionally prevail, accompanied with thunder and lightning. The
thermometer at the beginning of the month is seldom above 60
degrees at noon, but towards the end frequently rises to 70

In October there are also occasional showers, but the weather
upon the whole is clear and pleasant. The days gradually become
warmer, and the blighting north-west winds are to be apprehended.
The sea and land breezes again resume their full sway. The
thermometer at sun-rise varies from 60 degrees to 65 degrees, and
at noon is frequently up to 80 degrees.

In November the weather may be again called hot. Dry parching
winds prevail as the month advances, and squalls of thunder and
lightning with rain or hail. The thermometer at day-light is
seldom under 65 degrees, and frequently at noon rises to 80
degrees, 84 degrees, and even 90 degrees.

Such is the temperature throughout the year at Port Jackson.
In the inland districts to the eastward of the mountains, the
thermometer is upon an average 5 degrees lower in the morning,
and the same number of degrees higher at noon throughout the
winter season, but during the summer months it is 5 degrees
higher at all hours of the day. On the mountains themselves, and
in the country to the westward of them, the climate, in
consequence of their superior elevation, is much more temperate.
Heavy falls of snow take place during the winter, and remain
sometimes for many days on the summits of the loftiest hills; but
in the valleys the snow immediately dissolves. The frosts too are
much more severe, and the winters are of longer duration. All the
seasons indeed are more distinctly marked to the westward of the
mountains, and bear a much stronger resemblance to the
corresponding ones in this country.

From the foregoing account of the state of the weather and
temperature during the various seasons of the year, it will be
seen that the climate of the colony is upon the whole highly
salubrious and delightful. If the summers are occasionally a
little too hot for the European constitution, it will be
remembered that the extreme heats which I have noticed as
happening during the north-west winds, are of but short
continuance; and that the sea and land breezes, which prevail at
this season in an almost uninterrupted succession, moderate the
temperature so effectually, that even new comers are but little
incommoded by it, and the old residents experience no
inconvenience from it whatever. The sea breeze indeed is not so
sensibly felt in the interior as on the coast, by reason of the
great extent of forest which it has to traverse before the
inhabitants of the inland districts can receive the benefit of
it. This circumstance not only diminishes its force, but also
deprives it in a great measure of that refreshing coolness which
it imparts when inhaled fresh from the bosom of the ocean. The
heat consequently in the interior, particularly in low
situations, is much more intense than on the coast; but by way of
compensation for the advantage which in this respect the
districts in the vicinity of the sea possess over the inland
ones, these latter are from the same causes that impede the
approach of the sea breeze, exempt from the sudden and violent
variations of temperature, which are occasioned by the southerly
winds, and are without doubt the reason why pulmonic affections
are so much more prevalent in Sydney than in the interior. The
hot season, however, which is undoubtedly the most unhealthy part
of the year, does not, as will have been perceived, continue
above four months. The remaining eight possess a temperature so
highly moderate and congenial to the human constitution, that the
climate of this colony would upon the whole, appear to justify
the glowing enthusiasm of those who have ventured to call it the
Montpellier of the world.

Abdominal and pulmonic complains are the two prevalent
diseases. The abdominal complaints are confined principally to
dysentery. This disorder is most common among the poorer classes
and new comers. In these it is generally intimately connected
with scurvy, and in both cases it is for the most part greatly
aggravated by the excessive use of spirituous liquors, to which
the mass of the colonists are unfortunately addicted.

The pulmonic affections are generally contracted at an early
period by the youth of both sexes, and are occasioned by the
great and sudden variations of temperature already noticed. They
are not, however, accompanied with that violent inflammatory
action which distinguishes them in this country; but proceed
slowly and gradually, till from neglect they terminate in
phthisis. They are said to bear a strong affinity to the
complaint of the same nature which prevails at the Island of
Madeira; and it is remarkable, that in both these colonies a
change of air affords the only chance of restoration to the
natives; whereas foreigners labouring under phthisis upon their
arrival in either of these places, find almost instantaneous

There are no infantile diseases whatever. The measles, hooping
cough, and small pox, are entirely unknown. Some few years,
indeed, before the foundation of this colony, the small pox
committed the most dreadful ravages among the aborigines. This
exterminating scourge is said to have been introduced by Captain
Cook, and many of the contemporaries of those who fell victims to
it, are still living; and the deep furrows which remain in some
of their countenances, shew how narrowly they escaped the same
premature destiny. The recollection of this dreadful malady will
long survive in the traditionary songs of this simple people. The
consternation which it excited is still as fresh in their minds
as if it had been but an occurrence of yesterday, although the
generation which witnessed its horrors, has almost past away. The
moment one of them was seized with it, it was the signal for
abandoning him to his fate. Brothers deserted their brothers,
children their parents, and parents their children; and in some
of the caves on the coast, heaps of decayed bones still indicate
the spots where the helpless sufferers were left to expire, not
so much perhaps from the violence of the disease as from the want
of sustenance.

This fatal instance of the inveteracy of this disorder, when
once introduced into the colony, has not been without its
counterpoising benefit. It has induced the local government to
adopt proper measures for avoiding the propagation of a similar
contagion among the colonists. The vaccine matter was introduced
with this view many years back; but as all the children in the
colony were immediately inoculated, it was again lost from the
want of a sufficient number of subjects to afford a supply of
fresh virus; and for many years afterwards, every effort that was
made for its re-introduction proved abortive. Through the
indefatigable exertions, however, of Doctor Burke, of the
Mauritius, the colonists are again in possession of this
inestimable blessing; and there can be no doubt that proper
precautions will be taken to prevent them from being again
deprived of it.

The colony of New South Wales possesses every variety of soil,
from the sandy heath, and the cold hungry clay, to the fertile
loam and the deep vegetable mould. For the distance of five or
six miles from the coast, the land is in general extremely
barren, being a poor hungry sand, thickly studded with rocks. A
few miserable stunted gums, and a dwarf underwood, are the
richest productions of the best part of it; while the rest never
gives birth to a tree at all, and is only covered with low
flowering shrubs, whose infinite diversity, however, and
extraordinary beauty, render this wild heath the most interesting
part of the country for the botanist, and make even the less
scientific beholder forget the nakedness and sterility of the

Beyond this barren waste, which thus forms a girdle to the
coast, the country suddenly begins to improve. The soil changes
to a thin layer of vegetable mould, resting on a stratum of
yellow clay, which is again supported by a deep bed of schistus.
The trees of the forest are here of the most stately dimensions.
Full sized gums and iron barks, along side of which the loftiest
trees in this country would appear as pigmies, with the beefwood
tree, or as it is generally termed, the forest oak, which is of
much humbler growth, are the usual timber. The forest is
extremely thick, but there is little or no underwood. A poor sour
grass, which is too effectually sheltered from the rays of the
sun, to be possessed of any nutritive and fattening properties,
shoots up in the intervals. This description of country, with a
few exceptions, however, which deserve not to be particularly
noticed, forms another girdle of about ten miles in breadth: so
that, generally speaking, the colony for about sixteen miles into
the interior, may be said to possess a soil, which has naturally
no claim to fertility, and will require all the skill and
industry of its owners to render it even tolerably

At this distance, however, the aspect of the country begins
rapidly to improve. The forest is less thick, and the trees in
general are of another description; the iron barks, yellow gums,
and forest oaks disappearing, and the stringy barks, blue gums,
and box trees, generally usurping their stead. When you have
advanced about four miles further into the interior, you are at
length gratified with the appearance of a country truly
beautiful. An endless variety of hill and dale, clothed in the
most luxuriant herbage, and covered with bleating flocks and
lowing herds, at length indicate that you are in regions fit to
be inhabited by civilized man. The soil has no longer the stamp
of barrenness. A rich loam resting on a substratum of fat red
clay, several feet in depth, is found even on the tops of the
highest hills, which in general do not yield in fertility to the
vallies. The timber, strange as it may appear, is of inferior
size, though still of the same nature, i. e. blue gum, box, and
stringy bark. There is no underwood, and the number of trees upon
an acre do not upon an average exceed thirty. They are, in fact,
so thin, that a person may gallop without difficulty in every
direction. Coursing the kangaroo is the favourite amusement of
the colonists, who generally pursue this animal at full speed on
horseback, and frequently manage, notwithstanding its
extraordinary swiftness, to be up at the death; so trifling are
the impediments occasioned by the forest.

The above general description may be applied with tolerable
accuracy, to the whole tract of country which lies between this
space and the Nepean River. The plains, however, on the banks of
this river, which are in many places of considerable extent, are
of far greater fertility, being a rich vegetable mould, many feet
in depth, and have without doubt, been gradually formed by
depositions from it during the periods of its inundations. These
plains gradually enlarge themselves until you arrive at the
junction of the Nepean with the Hawkesbury, on each side of which
they are commonly from a mile to a mile and a half in breadth.
The banks of this latter river are of still greater fertility
than the banks of the former, and may vie in this respect with
the far-famed banks of the Nile. The same acre of land there has
been known to produce in the course of one year, fifty bushels of
wheat and a hundred of maize. The settlers have never any
occasion for manure, since the slimy depositions from the river,
effectually counteract the exhaustion that would otherwise be
produced by incessant crops. The timber on the banks of these
rivers is for the most part apple tree, which is very beautiful,
and bears in its foliage and shape a striking resemblance to the
oak of this country. Its wood, however, is of no value except for
firing, and for the immense quantity of pot-ash which might be
made from it. The blue gum and stringy bark are also very common
on these flooded lands, and of the best description. The banks of
the Hawkesbury formerly produced cedar, but it has long since
entirely disappeared.

The banks of these rivers, and indeed the whole tract of
country, (generally speaking) which I have described, with the
exception of the barren waste in the vicinity of the coast, are,
to use the colonial term, located, i. e. either granted away to
individuals, or attached as commons to the cultivated districts.
It may not, therefore, be unacceptable to many of my readers, to
learn the particulars of those unappropriated tracts of land
within the immediate precincts of Port Jackson, which are best
adapted to the purposes of colonization.


Of these "the cow pastures" rank first in point of proximity.
This tract of land has hitherto been reserved for the use of the
wild cattle; although these animals have for some time past
disappeared, either from having found an outlet into the
interior, through the surrounding mountains, or what is a still
more probable conjecture, from the exterminating incursions of
the numerous poor settlers, who have farms in the neighbourhood,
and who, considering their general poverty, it is easy to
believe, would not suffer the want of animal food, so long as
they could take their dogs and guns, and kill a cow or calf at
their option. These wild cattle were the progeny of a few tame
ones, which strayed away from the settlement shortly after the
period of its foundation, and were not discovered till about
fifteen years afterwards, when they had multiplied to several
thousands. On their discovery they immediately attracted the
attention of his majesty's ministers, and orders were dispatched
from this country, prohibiting the governor and his successors
from granting away the land, on which they had fixed themselves.
This they soon overspread, and on the occasion of the severe
droughts that were experienced in the colony in the years 1813,
1814, and 1815, great numbers of them perished from the want of
water and pasturage. Where thousands then existed, there are
scarcely hundreds to be found at present, and these chiefly
consist of bulls. A cow or calf can very rarely be met with.
There can consequently be very little doubt that they have
disappeared in the manner I have conjectured, and that their
numbers have been thus considerably reduced by the depredations
of the poorer settlers, which it was for a long time thought
beyond the power of the colonial courts to restrain; since,
although it was notorious that these wild cattle were originally
purchased by the crown, still the cattle of individuals had
subsequently, at various times, intermixed with them, and
prevented that identification of property, which the late judge
advocate considered essential to the conviction of the offenders.
His opinion, however, has been overruled by his successor, and
several persons have been lately tried for and found guilty of
this offence; and although they were not punished capitally for
it, there can be no doubt that their conviction will greatly
diminish such depredations for the future. Not that I consider
the preservation of these wild herds will be attended with any
advantages to the colony. On the contrary, it is my belief, that
their total destruction ought to be effected; since the increase
of them is of mere negative importance, compared with the
positive disadvantage that attends their occupation of one of the
most fertile districts in the colony, which it is to be hoped
will be soon covered with numerous flocks of fine wooled sheep,
for the pasture of which the greater part of it is so admirably
adapted. This tract of land is about thirty miles distant from
Sydney: it is bounded on the east by the river Nepean, on the
west by the Blue Mountains, of which this river, on the north
side of the cow pastures washes the base, so that they together
form the northern boundary, and on the south by a thick barren
brush of about ten miles in breadth, which these cattle have
never been able to penetrate. This fine tract of country is thus
surrounded by natural boundaries, which form it into an enclosure
somewhat in the shape of an oblong spheroid. It contains about
one hundred thousand acres of good land, a considerable portion
of which is flooded, and equal to any on the banks of the


The next considerable tract of unappropriated land is the
district called the Five Islands. It commences at the distance of
about forty miles to the southward of Sydney, and extends to
Shoal Haven river. This tract of land lies between the coast and
a high range of hills which terminate at the north side abruptly
in the sea, and form its northern and western boundary: the ocean
is its eastern boundary, and Shoal Haven river its southern. The
range that surrounds this district on the north and west is a
branch of the Blue Mountains; and the only road at present known
to it, is down a pass so remarkably steep, that unless a better
be discovered, the communication between it and the capital by
land, will always be difficult and dangerous for waggons. This
circumstance is a material counterpoise to its extraordinary
fertility, and is the reason why it is at present unoccupied by
any but large stockholders. Those parts, however, which are
situated near Shoal Haven river, are highly eligible for
agricultural purposes; since this river is navigable for about
twenty miles into the country for vessels of seventy or eighty
tons burden; a circumstance which holds out to future colonists
the greatest facilities for the cheap and expeditious conveyance
of their produce to market. The land on the banks of this river
is of the same nature, and possesses equal fertility with the
banks of the Hawkesbury. There are several streams in different
parts of this district, which issue from the mountain behind, and
afford an abundant supply of pure water. In many places there are
large prairies of unparalleled richness, entirely free from
timber, and consequently prepared by the hand of nature for the
immediate reception of the ploughshare. These advantages,
combined with its proximity to Sydney, have already begun to
attract the tide of colonization to it, and will no doubt render
it in a few years one of the most populous, productive, and
valuable of all the districts. The soil is in general a deep fat
vegetable mould. The surface of the country is thinly timbered,
with the exception of the mountain which boundsit to the
Northward and Westward. This is covered with a thick brush, but
is nevertheless extremely fertile up to the very summit, and
peculiarly adapted both from its eastern aspect and mild climate
for the cultivation of the vine. This large tract of country was
only discovered about four years since, and has not yet been
accurately surveyed. Its extent, therefore, is not precisely
known; but it without doubt contains several hundred thousand
acres, including the banks of the Shoal Haven river. These
produce a great abundance of fine cedar, and other highly
valuable timber, for which there is an extensive and increasing
demand at Port Jackson.


The next tract of unappropriated country which I shall
describe, is the district of the Coal River. The town of
Newcastle is situated at the mouth of this river, and is about
sixty miles to the northward of Port Jackson. Its population by
the last census forwarded to this country, was five hundred and
fifty souls. These, with the exception of a few free settlers,
established on the upper banks of this river, amounting with
their families perhaps to thirty souls, and about fifty troops,
are all incorrigible offenders, who have been convicted either
before a bench of magistrates, or the Court of Criminal
Judicature, and afterwards re-transported to this place, where
they are worked in chains from sunrise to sunset, and profitably
employed in burning lime and procuring coals and timber, as well
for carrying on the public works at Port Jackson, as for the
private purposes of individuals, who pay the government
stipulated prices for these different articles. This settlement
was, in fact, established with the two-fold view of supplying the
public works with these necessary articles, and providing a
separate place of punishment for all who might be convicted of
crimes in the colonial courts.

The coal mines here are considerably elevated above the level
of the sea, and are of the richest description. The veins are
visible on the abrupt face of the cliff, which borders the
harbour, and are worked by adits or openings, which serve both to
carry off the water and to wheel away the coals. The quantity
procured in this easy manner is very great, and might be
increased to any extent. So much more coals indeed are thus
obtained than are required for the purposes of the government,
that they are glad to dispose of them to all persons who are
willing to purchase, requiring in return a duty of two shillings
and six pence per ton, for such as are intended for home
consumption, and five shillings for such as are for

The lime procured at this settlement is made from oyster
shells, which are found in prodigious abundance. These shells lie
close to the banks of the river, in beds of amazing size and
depth. How they came there has long been a matter of surprise and
speculation to the colonists. Some are of opinion that they have
been gradually deposited by the natives in those periodical
feasts of shell fish, for the celebration of which they still
assemble at stated seasons in large bodies: others have
contended, and I think with more probability, that they were
originally large natural beds of oysters, and that the river has
on some occasion or other, either changed its course or
contracted its limits, and thus deserted them.

These beds are generally five or six feet above high-water
mark. The process of making lime from them is extremely simple
and expeditious. They are first dug up and sifted, and then piled
over large heaps of dry wood, which are set fire to, and speedily
convert the superincumbent mass into excellent lime. When thus
made it is shipped for Sydney, and sold at one shilling per

The timber procured on the banks of this river is chiefly
cedar and rose wood. The cedar, however, is becoming scarce in
consequence of the immense quantities that have been already cut
down, and cannot be any longer obtained without going at least a
hundred and fifty miles up the river. At this distance, however,
it is still to be had in considerable abundance, and is easily
floated down to the town in rafts. The government dispose of this
wood in the same manner as the coals, at the price of £3
for each thousand square feet, intended for home consumption, and
£6 for the same quantity if exported.

This settlement is placed under the direction of a commandant,
who is selected out of the officers of the regiment stationed in
the colony, and is allowed, as has been noticed, about fifty
fire-locks to maintain his authority. He is always appointed to
the magistracy previously to his obtaining this command, and is
entrusted with the entire controul of the prisoners, whom he
punishes or rewards as their conduct may appear to him to

The harbour at the mouth of this river is tolerably secure and
spacious, and contains sufficient depth of water for vessels of
three hundred tons burden. The river itself, however, is only
navigable for small craft of thirty or forty tons burden, and
this only for about fifty miles above the town. Just beyond this
distance there are numerous flats and shallows, which only admit
of the passage of boats over them. This river has three branches;
they are called the upper, the lower, and the middle branch: the
two former are navigable for boats for about a hundred and twenty
miles, the latter for upwards of two hundred miles. The banks of
all these branches are liable to inundations equally terrific
with those at the Hawkesbury, and from the same causes; because
they are receptacles for the rain that is collected by the Blue
Mountains, which form the western boundary of this district, and
divide it as well as the districts of Port Jackson, from the
great western wilderness. The low lands within the reach of these
inundations is if possible of still greater exuberancy than the
banks of the Hawkesbury and Nepean, and of four times the extent.
The high-land, or to give it the colonial appellation, the forest
land, is very thinly studded with timber, and equal for all the
purposes of agriculture and grazing to the best districts of Port
Jackson. The climate too is equally salubrious, and on the upper
banks of the middle branch, it is generally believed, that the
summer heats are sufficient for the production of cotton; the
cultivation of which would become an inexhaustible source of
wealth to the growers, and would afford a valuable article of
export to the colony.

In fact, under every point of view this district contains the
strongest inducements to colonization. It possesses a navigable
river, by which its produce may be conveyed to market at a
trifling expence, and the inhabitants of its most remote parts
may receive such articles of foreign or domestic growth and
manufacture as they may need, at a moderate advance: it surpasses
Port Jackson in the general fertility of its soil, and at least
rivals it in the salubrity of its climate: it contains in the
greatest abundance coal, lime, and many varieties of valuable
timber which are not found elsewhere, and promise to become
articles of considerable export: it has already established in an
eligible position, a small nucleus of settlers to which others
may adhere, and thus both communicate and receive the advantages
of society and protection; and it has a town which affords a
considerable market for agricultural produce, and of which the
commanding localities must rapidly increase the extent and


The country to the westward of the Blue Mountains ranks next
in contiguity to Sydney, and claims pre-eminence not so much from
any superiority of soil in those parts of it which have been
explored, as from its amazing extent, and great diversity of
climate. These mountains, where the road has been made over them,
are fifty-eight miles in breadth; and as the distance from Sydney
to Emu Ford, at which place this road may be said to commence, is
about forty miles, the beginning of the vast tract of country to
the westward of them, it will be seen, is ninety-eight miles
distant from the capital.

The road which thus traverses these mountains is by no means
difficult for waggons, until you arrive at the pass which forms
the descent into the low country. There it is excessively steep
and dangerous; yet carts and waggons go up and down it
continually: nor do I believe that any serious accident has yet
occurred in performing this very formidable undertaking.

Still the discovery of a safer and more practicable pass would
certainly be attended with a very beneficial influence on the
future progress of colonization in this great western wilderness.
Every attempt, however, to find such a one has hitherto proved
abortive; and should the future efforts which may be made with
this view prove equally so, there can be little doubt, that the
communication between the eastern and western country will be
principally maintained by means of horses and mules with packs
and panniers.

The elevation of these mountains above the level of the sea,
has not yet been determined; but I should imagine that it cannot
exceed four thousand feet. For the first ten or twelve miles they
are tolerably well clothed with timber, and produce occasionally
some middling pasture; but beyond this they are excessively
barren, and are covered generally with a thick brush,
interspersed here and there with a few miserable stunted gums.
They bear, in fact, a striking similarity, both in respect to
their soil and productions, to the barren wastes on the coast of
Port Jackson. They are very rocky, but they want granite, the
distinguishing characteristic of primitive mountains. Sandstone
thickly studded with quartz and a little freestone, are the only
varieties which they offer; a circumstance the more singular, as
the moment you descend into the low country beyond them, granite
is the only sort of stone that is to be met with for upwards of
two hundred miles.

For the whole of this distance to the westward of these
mountains, the country abounds with the richest herbage, and is
upon the whole tolerably well supplied with running water. In the
immediate vicinity of them there is a profusion of rivulets,
which discharge themselves into the western river; or, as it is
termed by the natives, the Warragambia, the main branch, as I
have before observed, of the Hawkesbury. From the moment,
however, that the streams begin to take a western course, the
want of water becomes more perceptible, and increases as you
proceed into the interior, particularly in a south-west

This large and fertile tract of country, is in general
perfectly free from underwood; and in many places, is without any
timber at all. Bathurst Plains, for instance, where there is a
commandant, a military depot, and some few settlers established,
have been found by actual admeasurement, to contain upwards of
sixty thousand acres, upon which there is scarcely a tree. The
whole of this western country, indeed, is much more open and free
from timber than the best districts to the eastward of the Blue

The depot at Bathurst Plains, is 180 miles distant from
Sydney; and the road to it presents no impediment to waggons, but
the descent from the mountains into the low country; and even
this does not prevent the inhabitants from maintaining a regular
intercourse with that town, and receiving from it all the
supplies which they require. The difficulty, however, of thus
communicating with the capital, is such as to preclude this vast
tract of country from assuming an agricultural character; except
in as far as the raising of grain for a scanty population of
shepherds and herdsmen, may entitle it to this denomination;
since there are no navigable rivers, at all events for many
hundred miles into the interior, and the difficulty and expence
of a land-carriage across the Blue Mountains, will always prevent
the inhabitants of that part of this vast western wilderness,
which is at present explored, from entering into a competition
with the colonists in the immediate vicinity of Port Jackson. By
way, however, of set-off against the anifest superiority, which
the districts to the eastward of the mountains possess in this
respect over the country to the westward of them; this latter is
certainly much better adapted for all the purposes of grazing and
rearing cattle. The herbage is sweeter and more nutritive, and
there is an unlimited range for stock, without any danger of
their committing trespass. There is besides, for the first two
hundred miles, a constant succession of hill and dale, admirably
suited for the pasture of sheep, the wool of which will without
doubt eventually become the principal export of this colony, and
may be conveyed across these mountains at an inconsiderable

The discovery of this vast and as yet imperfectly known tract
of country, was made in the year 1814, and will doubtless be
hereafter productive of the most important results. It has indeed
already given a new aspect to the colony, and will form at some
future day, a memorable era in its history. Nothing is now
wanting to render this great western wilderness the seat of a
powerful community, but the discovery of a navigable river
communicating with the western coast. That such exists, although
the search for it has hitherto proved ineffectual, there can be
no doubt, if we may be allowed to judge from analogy; since in
the whole compass of the earth, there is no single instance of so
large a country as New Holland, not possessing at least one great
navigable river. To ascertain this point has been one of the
leading objects of Governor Macquarie's administration, ever
since the discovery of the pass across the mountains. Several
unsuccessful expeditions have been fitted out with this view from
Sydney, both by sea and land. The last of which we have learned
the result, was conducted by Mr. Oxley, the surveyor-general, and
is most worthy of notice, as well from the extent of country
which he traversed, as from the probability that the river which
he discovered, discharges itself into the ocean on some part of
the western coast. The summary of this journey is contained in
the following letter, addressed by him to the governor on his
return from this expedition to Bathurst Plains.

_Bathurst, 30th August_, 1817.


I have the honour to acquaint your Excellency with my arrival
at this place last evening, with the persons comprising the
expedition to the westward, which your Excellency was pleased to
place under my direction.

Your Excellency is already informed of my proceedings up to
the 30th of April. The limits of a letter will not permit me to
enter at large into the occurrences of nineteen weeks; and as I
shall have the honour of waiting on your Excellency in a few
days, I trust you will have the goodness to excuse the summary
account I now offer to your Excellency.

I proceeded down the Lachlan in company with the boats until
the 12th of May, the country rapidly descending until the waters
of the river rose to a level with it, and dividing into numerous
branches, inundated the country to the west and north-west, and
prevented any further progress in that direction, the river
itself being lost among marshes: up to this point it had received
no accession of waters from either side, but on the contrary was
constantly dissipating in lagoons and swamps.

The impossibility of proceeding further in conjunction with
the boats being evident, I determined upon maturer deliberation,
to haul them up, and divesting ourselves of everything, that
could possibly be spared, proceed with the horses loaded with the
additional provisions from the boats, in such a course towards
the coast as would intersect any stream that might arise from the
divided waters of the Lachlan.

In pursuance of this plan, I quitted the river on the 11th
May, taking a south-west course towards Cape Northumberland, as
the best one to answer my intended purpose. I will not here
detail the difficulties and privations we experienced in passing
through a barren and desolate country, without any water but such
rain water as was found remaining in holes and the crevices of
rocks. I continued this course until the 9th of June, when having
lost two horses through fatigue and want, and the others in a
deplorable condition, I changed our course to north, along a
range of lofty hills, running in that direction, as they afforded
the only means of procuring water until we should fall in with
some running stream. On this course I continued until the 23d of
June, when we again fell in with a stream, which we had at first
some difficulty to recognise as the Lachlan, it being little
larger than one of the marshes of it, where it was quitted on the
17th of May.

I did not hesitate a moment to pursue this course; not that
the nature of the country, or its own appearance in any manner
indicated that it would become navigable, or was even permanent;
but I was unwilling that the smallest doubt should remain of any
navigable waters falling westward into the sca, between the
limits pointed out in my instructions.

I continued along the banks of the stream until the 8th of
July, it having taken during this period a westerly direction,
and passing through a perfectly level country, barren in the
extreme, and being evidently at periods entirely under water. To
this point it had been gradually diminishing, and spreading its
waters over stagnated lagoons and morasses, without receiving any
stream that we knew of during the whole extent of its course. The
banks were not more than three feet high, and the marks of flood
in the shrubs and bushes, shewed that at times it rose between
two and three feet higher, causing the whole country to become a
marsh, and altogether uninhabitable.

Further progress westward, had it been possible, was now
useless, as there was neither hill nor rising ground of any kind
within the compass of our view, which was only bounded by the
horizon in every quarter, entirely devoid of timber except a few
diminutive gums on the very edge of the stream, might be so
termed. The water in the bed of the lagoon, as it might now be
properly denominated, was stagnant; its breadth about twenty
feet, and the heads of grass growing in it, shewed it to be about
three feet deep.

This originally unlooked for and truly singular termination of
a river, which we had anxiously hoped and reasonably expected
would have led to a far different conclusion, filled us with the
most painful sensations. We were full five hundred miles west of
Sydney, and nearly in its latitude; and it had taken us ten weeks
of unremitted exertion to proceed so far. The nearest part of the
coast about Cape Bernouilli, had it been accessible, was distant
about a hundred and fifty miles. We had demonstrated beyond the
shadow of a doubt, that no river whatever could fall into the
sea, between Cape Otway and Spencer's Gulph; at least none
deriving their waters from the eastern coast, and that the
country south of the parallel of 34 degrees, and west of the
meridian of 147 degrees 30' East, was uninhabitable and useless
for all the purposes of civilized man.

It now became my duty to make our remaining resources as
extensively useful to the colony as our circumstances would
allow: these were much diminished: an accident to one of the
boats, in the outset of the expedition, had deprived us of
one-third of our dry provisions, of which we had originally but
eighteen weeks; and we had been in consequence for some time on a
reduced ration of two quarts of flour per man, per week. To
return to the depot by the route we had come, would have been as
useless as impossible; and seriously considering the spirit of
your Excellency's instructions, I determined upon the most mature
deliberation, to take such a route on our return, as would, I
hope, best comport with your Excellency's views, had our present
situation ever been contemplated.

Returning down the Lachlan, I re-commenced the survey of it
from the point in which it was made, the 23d of June; intending
to continue up its banks until its connection with the marshes,
where we quitted it on the 17th May, was satisfactorily
established, as also to ascertain if any streams might have
escaped our research. The connection with all the points of the
survey previously ascertained, was completed between the 19th of
July and the 3d of August. In the space passed over within that
period, the river had divided into various branches, and formed
three fine lakes, which, with one near the determination of our
journey westward, were the only considerable pieces of water we
had yet seen; and I now estimated that the river, from the place
where first made by Mr. Evans, had run a course, taking all its
windings, of upwards of twelve hundred miles; a length of course
altogether unprecedented, when the _single_ nature of the
river is considered, and that its _original_ is its
_only_ supply of water during that distance.

Crossing at this point it was my intention to take a
north-east course, to intersect the country, and if possible
ascertain what had become of the Macquarie river, which it was
clear had never joined the Lachlan. This course led us through a
country to the full as bad as any we had yet seen, and equally
devoid of water, the want of which again much distressed us. On
the 7th of August the scene began to change, and the country to
assume a very different aspect: we were now quitting the
neighbourhood of the Lachlan, and had passed to the north-east of
the high range of hills, which on this parallel bounds the low
country to the north of that river. To the north-west and north,
the country was high and open, with good forest land; and on the
10th we had the satisfaction to fall in with the first stream
running northerly. This renewed our hopes of soon falling in with
the Macquarie, and we continued upon the same course,
occasionally inclining to the eastward, until the 19th passing
through a fine luxuriant country, well watered, crossing in that
space of time _nine_ streams, having a northerly course
through rich vallies; the country in every direction being
moderately high and open, and generally as fine as can be

No doubt remained upon our minds that those streams fell into
the Macquarie, and to view it before it received such an
accession, was our first wish. On the 19th we were gratified by
falling in with a river running through a most beautiful country,
and which I would have been well contented to have believed the
river we were in search of. Accident led us down this stream
about a mile, when we were surprised by its junction with a river
coming from the south, of such width and magnitude, as to dispel
all doubts as to this last being the river we had so long
anxiously looked for. Short as our resources were, we could not
resist the temptation this beautiful country offered us, to
remain two days on the junction of the river, for the purpose of
examining the vicinity to as great an extent as possible.

Our examination increased the satisfaction we had previously
felt: as far as the eye could reach in every direction, a rich
and picturesque country extended, abounding in limestone, slate,
good timber, and every other requisite that could render an
_uncultivated_ country desirable. The soil cannot be
excelled, whilst a noble river of _the first magnitude_
affords the means of conveying its productions from one part to
the other. Where I quitted it its course was northerly, and we
were then north of the parallel of Port Stevens, being in
latitude 32 degrees 45' South, and 148 degrees 58' East

It appeared to me that the Macquarie had taken a north
north-west course from Bathurst, and that it must have received
immense accessions of water in its course from that place. We
viewed it at a period best calculated to form an accurate
judgment of its importance, when it was neither swelled by floods
beyond its natural and usual height, nor contracted within its
limits by summer droughts: of its magnitude when it should have
received the streams we had crossed, independent of any it may
receive from the east, which from the boldness and height of the
country, I presume, must be at least as many, some idea may be
formed, when at this point it exceeded in breadth and apparent
depth, the Hawkesbury at Windsor. Many of the branches were of
grander and more extended proportion than the admired one on the
Nepean River from the Warragambia to Emu Plains.

Resolving to keep as near the river as possible during the
remainder of our course to Bathurst, and endeavour to ascertain
at least on the west side, what waters fell into it, on the 22d
we proceeded up the river, and between the point quitted and
Bathurst, crossed the sources of numberless streams, all running
into the Macquarie; two of them were nearly as large as that
river itself at Bathurst. The country from whence all these
streams derive their source, was mountainous and irregular, and
appeared equally so on the east side of the Macquarie. This
description of country extended to the immediate vicinity of
Bathurst; but to the west of those lofty ranges, the country was
broken into low grassy hills, and fine valleys watered by
rivulets rising on the west side of the mountains, which on their
eastern side pour their waters directly into the Macquarie.

These westerly streams appeared to me to join that which I had
at first sight taken for the Macquarie; and when united fall into
it at the point at which it was first discovered, on the 19th

We reached this place last evening, without a single accident
having occurred during the whole progress of the expedition,
which from this point has encircled within the parallels of 34
degrees 30' South, and 32 degrees South, and between the
meridians of 149 degrees 43' and 143 degrees 40' East, a space of
nearly one thousand miles.

I shall hasten to lay before your Excellency the journals,
charts, and drawings, explanatory of the various occurrences of
our diversified route; infinitely gratified if our exertions
should appear to your Excellency commensurate with your
expectations, and the ample means which your care and liberality
placed at my disposal.

I feel the most particular pleasure in informing your
Excellency of the obligations I am under to Mr. Evans, the Deputy
Surveyor, for his able advice and cordial co-operation throughout
the expedition, and as far as his previous researches had
extended, the accuracy and fidelity of his narration was fully

It would perhaps appear presuming in me to hazard an opinion
upon the merits of persons engaged in a pursuit of which I have
little knowledge; the extensive and valuable collection of plants
formed by Mr. A. Cunningham, the king's botanist, and Mr. C.
Frazer, the colonial botanist, will best evince to your
Excellency the unwearied industry and zeal bestowed on the
collection and preservation of them: in every other respect they
also merit the highest praise.

From the nature of the greater part of the country passed
over, our mineralogical collection is but small. Mr. S. Parr did
as much as could be done in that branch, and throughout
endeavoured to render himself as useful as possible.

Of the men on whom the chief care of the horses and baggage
devolved, it is impossible to speak in too high terms. Their
conduct in periods of considerable privation, was such as must
redound to their credit; and their orderly, regular, and obedient
behaviour, could not be exceeded. It may be principally
attributed to their care and attention that we lost only three
horses; and that, with the exception of the loss of the dry
provisions already mentioned, no other accident happened during
the course of it. I most respectfully beg leave to recommend them
to your Excellency's favourable notice.

I trust your Excellency will have the goodness to excuse any
omissions or inaccuracies that may appear in this letter; the
messenger setting out immediately will not allow me to revise or
correct it.

I have the honour, etc.

J. OXLEY, Surveyor-Gen.

To his Excellency Lachlan Macquarie, Esq.

The course and direction of this river is the object of two
expeditions, of which we may shortly expect to learn the result.
One is by land, and conducted by the same gentleman; the other by
sea, and under the command of Lieutenant King, R.N.; whose
father, Captain King, was formerly Lieutenant Governor of Norfolk
Island, and afterwards Governor in Chief of New South Wales.

If the sanguine hopes to which the discovery of this river has
given birth, should be realized, and it should be found to empty
itself into the ocean, on the north-west coast, which is the only
part of this vast island that has not been accurately surveyed,
in what mighty conceptions of the future greatness and power of
this colony, may we not reasonably indulge? The nearest distance
from the point at which Mr. Oxley left off, to any part of the
western coast, is very little short of two thousand miles. If
this river, therefore, be already of the size of the Hawkesbury
at Windsor, which is not less than two hundred and fifty yards in
breadth, and of sufficient depth to float a seventy-four
gun-ship, it is not difficult to imagine what must be its
magnitude at its confluence with the ocean; before it can arrive
at which it has to traverse a country nearly two thousand miles
in extent. If it possess the usual sinuosities of rivers, its
course to the sea cannot be less than from five to six thousand
miles, and the endless accession of tributary streams which it
must receive in its passage through so great an extent of
country, will without doubt enable it to vie in point of
magnitude with any river in the world. In this event its
influence in promoting the progress of population in this fifth
continent, will be prodigious, and in all probability before the
expiration of many years, give an entirely new impulse to the
tide of population: and here it may not be altogether irrelevant,
to enter into a short disquisition on the natural superiority
possessed by those countries which are most abundantly
intersected with navigable rivers. That such are most favourable
for all the purposes of civilized man, the history of the world
affords the most satisfactory proof There is not, in fact, a
single instance on record of any remarkable degree of wealth and
power having been attained by any nation which has not possessed
facilities for commerce, either in the number or size of its
rivers, or in the spaciousness of its harbours, and the general
contiguity of its provinces to the sea. The Mediterranean has
given rise to so many great and powerful nations, only from the
superior advantages which it afforded for commerce during the
long infancy of navigation. The number and fertility of its
islands, the serenity of its climate, the smoothness of its
waters, the smallness of its entrance, which although of itself
sufficient to indicate to the skilful pilot the proximity of the
ocean, is still more clearly defined by the Pillars of Hercules,
towering on each side of it, and forming land-marks not to be
mistaken by the timid, the inexperienced, or the bewildered. Such
are the main causes why the Mediterranean continued until the
discovery and application of the properties of the magnet, the
seat of successive empires so superior to the rest of the world
in affluence and power. It is indeed almost impossible to
conceive, how any considerable degree of wealth and civilization
can be acquired without the aid of navigation. From the moment
savages abandon the hunter state, and resign themselves to the
settled pursuits of agriculture, the march of population must
inevitably follow the direction of navigable waters; since in the
infancy of societies these furnish the only means of indulging
that spirit of barter which is co-existent with association, is
the main spring of industry, and the ultimate cause of all
civilization and refinement. In such situations the rude canoe
abundantly suffices to maintain the first necessary interchanges
of the superfluities of one individual for those of another.
Roads, waggons, etc. are refinements entirely unknown in the
incipient stages of society. They are the gradual results of
civilization, and consequent only on the accumulation of wealth
and the attainment of a certain point of maturity. Canals are a
still later result of civilization, and are undoubtedly the
greatest efforts for the encouragement of barter, and the
developement of industry, to which human power and ingenuity have
yet given birth. But after all, what are these artificial
channels of communication, these _ne plus ultras_ of human
contrivance, compared with those natural mediums of intercourse,
those mighty rivers which pervade every quarter of the globe?
What are they to the Danube, the Nile, the Ganges, the
Mississippi, or the Amazon? What are they, in fact, compared even
with those infinite minor navigable streams, of which scarcely
any country, however circumscribed, is entirely destitute? What!
but mere pigmy imitations of nature, which wherever there is a
sufficient number of rivers, will never be resorted to, unless it
be for the purpose of connecting them together, or of avoiding
those long and tedious sinuosities to which they are _all_
more or less subject.

Viewing therefore this newly discovered river only in the
light of a river of the first magnitude, it must be evident that
this important discovery will have an incalculable influence on
the future progress of colonization; but to be enabled fully to
estimate the beneficial consequences of which it will be
productive; it is essential to take into the estimate, the
probable direction of its course, and the point of its confluence
with the ocean. This I have already stated is with good reason
imagined to be on the north-west coast; since every other part of
this vast island has been so accurately surveyed, as scarcely to
admit of the possibility of so large a river falling into the sea
in any other position. Assuming, therefore, that the source of
this river is in the direction thus generally supposed, it will
be seen that it will surpass all the rivers in the world in
variety of climate; since reckoning merely from the spot where
Mr. Oxley discovered it to its conjectural embouchure, there will
be a difference of latitude of twenty degrees. Even omitting,
then, to take into computation the probable length of its course
from the place where it first becomes navigable, to the point
where that gentleman fell in with it, (and it was there running
from the south, and must have already been navigable for a
considerable distance, if we may judge from its size,) the world
does not afford any parallel of a river traversing so great a
diversity of climate. The majority indeed of the rivers, which
may be termed "rivers of the first magnitude," run from west to
east, or from east to west, and consequently vary their climate
only in proportion to their distance from the sea, to the
elevation of their beds, and to the extent of country traversed
by such of their branches as run at right angles with them. Of
this sort are the St. Lawrence, in North America, the Oronoko and
Amazon, in South America; the Niger, Senegal and Gambia, in
Africa; the Danube and Elbe, in Europe; and the Hoang Ho, and
Kiang Keou in Asia. It must indeed be admitted, that every
quarter of the globe furnishes some striking exceptions to this
rule, such as the Mississippi and River Plate in America; the
Nile, in Africa; the Rhine, the Dniester, the Don, and the Volga,
in Europe; and the Indus and Ganges, in Asia; all of which
certainly run from north to south, or south to north, and
consequently command a great variety of climate.

In this respect, however, none of them will be worthy of
comparison with this newly discovered river, if the point of its
confluence with the ocean should happily be where it is
conjectured. And yet we find that all the countries through which
the above-named rivers pass, either have been, or promise to be,
the seats of much more wealthy and powerful nations than the
countries through which those rivers pass whose course is east or
west. The cause of this superiority of one over the other, is to
be traced to the greater diversity of productions, which will
necessarily be raised on the banks and in the vicinity of those
rivers whose course is north or south, a circumstance that is
alone sufficient to ensure the possessors of them, under
Governments equally favourable to the extension of industry, a
much greater share of commerce and wealth than can possibly
belong to the inhabitants of these rivers whose course is in a
contrary direction: and this for the simplest reason; because
rivers of the former description contain within themselves, many
of those productions which the latter can only obtain from
abroad. In the one, therefore, there is not only a necessity for
having recourse to foreign supply, which does not exist in the
other, but also a great prevention to internal navigation,
arising from the sameness of produce, and the consequent
impediment to barter, which must prevail in a country where all
have the same commodities to dispose of, where all wish to sell
and none to buy. To this manifest superiority which rivers
runningon a meridian claim over those running on a parallel,
there is no counterpoise, since they both contain equal
facilities for exporting their surplus productions, and receiving
in exchange the superfluities of other countries. It may, indeed,
here be urged, that there is, upon the whole, no surplus produce
in the world; and that, as the surplus, whatever may be its
extent, of one country, may be always exchanged for that of
another, as great a variety of luxuries may be thus obtained by
the inhabitants of rivers that run in an eastern or western
direction as can possibly be raised by the inhabitants of rivers
that run in a northern or southern; and that consequently the
same stimulus to an inland navigation will be created by the
eventual distribution of the various commodities procured by
foreign commerce, as if they had been the products of the country
itself. To this it may be replied, that although a much greater
variety of products may undoubtedly be imported from foreign
countries, than can possibly be raised within the compass of any
one navigable river, such products cannot afterwards be sold at
so cheap a rate. In all countries, therefore, where such products
are imported from abroad, the increase in their price must
occasion a proportionate diminution in their consumption, and in
so far inevitably operate as a check to internal navigation.

This variety of production, and the additional encouragement
thus afforded by it, to what is well known to be one of the main
sources of national wealth, is sufficient to account for the
superior degree of civilization, affluence, and power, which have
in general characterized those countries whose rivers take a
northern or southern course. Some few nations, indeed, which do
not possess such great natural advantages, have supplied the want
of them by their own skill and industry, and have in the end
triumphed over the efforts of nature to check their progress. Of
a people who have thus overstepped these natural barriers opposed
to their advancement, and in spite of them attained the summit of
wealth and civilization, China perhaps furnishes the most
remarkable example. The two principal rivers of that country, the
Hoang Ho, or Yellow River, and the Kiang Keou, or Great River,
runs from west to east; yet by means of what is termed by way of
eminence, "The Great Canal," the Chinese have not only joined
these two mighty streams together, but have also extended the
communication to the northward, as far as the main branch of the
Pei Ho, and to the southward as far as the mouth of the Ningapo:
thus establishing by the intervention of this stupendous monument
of human industry and perseverance, and the various branches of
the four rivers which it connects, an inland navigation between
the great cities of Peking and Nanking, and affording every
facility for the transport of the infinite products raised within
the compass of a country containing from twelve to fifteen
degrees difference of latitude, and about the same difference of
longitude; or, in other words, a surface of about five hundred
and eighteen thousand four hundred square miles.

This instance, however, of equal or superior civilization thus
attained by a nation, notwithstanding the principal rivers of
their country run from west to east, does not at all militate
against the natural superiority which has been conceded to those
countries whose rivers run in a contrary direction: it only shews
what may be effected by a wise and politic government averse to
the miseries of war, and steadily bent on the arts of peace. The
very attempts, indeed, of this enlightened people to supply the
natural deficiencies of their country by canals, are the
strongest commendations that can be urged in favour of a country
where no such artificial substitutes are necessary; where nature,
of her own lavish bounty has created facilities for the progress
of industry and civilization, which it would require the labour
and maturity of ages imperfectly to imitate.

How far, indeed, these mighty contrivances of the
all-bounteous Creator, for the promotion and developement of
industry, outstrip all human imitation, the occurrences of the
passing hour furnish the most satisfactory and conclusive
evidence. The vast tide of emigration which is incessantly
rolling along the banks of the Mississippi, and of its tributary
streams, and the numberless cities, towns, and settlements, that
have sprung up as if it were by the agency of magic, in what but
a few years back was one boundless and uninterrupted wilderness,
speak a language not to be mistaken by the most ignorant or
prejudiced. The western territory, which though a province but of
yesterday, soon promises to rival the richest and most powerful
members of the American union, affords an instance of rapid
colonization, of which, the history of the world cannot produce a
parallel, and offers an incontestable proof of the natural
superiority which countries, whose rivers run in a northern or
southern course, possess over all others.

But this fact is not merely established by the experience of
the present day, it is equally authenticated by the testimony of
past ages. What was the reason why Egypt was for so many
centuries the seat of affluence and power, but the Nile? that
India is still rich and populous, but the Indus and Ganges? These
countries, indeed, are no longer the great and powerful empires
they were, although the natural advantages of their situations
are still unchanged. But what mighty ravages will not a
blood-thirsty and overwhelming despotism effect? What health and
vigor can belong to that body politic which is forced to inhale
the nauseous effluvia of tyranny? Prosperity is a plant that can
only flourish in an atmosphere fauned by the wholesome breath of
freedom. The highest fertility of soil, the greatest benignity of
climate, the most commanding superiority of position, will
otherwise be unavailing. Freedom may in the end convert the most
barren and inhospitable waste into a paradise; but the inevitable
result of tyranny is desolation.

The probable course of this newly discovered river, being thus
in every respect so decidedly favourable for the foundation of a
rich and powerful community, there can be little doubt that the
government of this country will immediately avail itself of the
advantages which it presents, and establish a settlement at its
mouth. What a sublime spectacle will it then be for the
philosopher to mark the gradual progress of population from the
two extremities of this river; to behold the two tides of
colonization flowing in opposite directions, and constantly
hastening to that junction, of which the combined waters shall
overspread the whole of this fifth continent!

What a cheering prospect for the philanthropist to behold what
is now one vast and mournful wilderness, becoming the smiling
seat of industry and the social arts; to see its hills and dales
covered with bleating flocks, lowing herds, and waving corn; to
hear the joyful notes of the shepherd, and the enlivening cries
of the husbandman, instead of the appalling yell of the savage,
and the plaintive howl of the wolf; and to witness a country
which nature seems to have designed as her master-piece, at
length fulfilling the gracious intentions of its all-bounteous
Author, by administering to the wants and contributing to the
happiness of millions.

What a proud sight for the Briton to view his country pouring
forth her teeming millions to people new hives, to see her
forming in the most remote parts of the earth new establishments
which may hereafter rival her old; and to behold thousands who
would perish from want within her immediate limits, procuring an
easy and comfortable subsistence in those which are more remote;
and instead of weakening her power and diminishing her resources,
effectually contributing to the augmentation of both, and forming
monuments which may descend to the latest posterity,
indestructible records of her greatness and glory.


The system of agriculture pursued in this colony, does not
materially differ from that which prevails in this country.
During the earlier stages of these settlements, the hoe-husbandry
was a necessary evil; but the great increase in the stock of
horses and cattle, has at last almost completely superseded it;
and the plough-husbandry is now, and has been for many years
past, in general practice. In new lands, indeed, the hoe is still
unavoidably used during the first year of their cultivation, on
account of the numerous roots and other impediments to the
plough, with which lands in a state of nature invariably abound;
but excepting these occasions, and the instances of settlers who
are unable to purchase horses or oxen, and consequently adhere to
the original mode of cultivation from necessity, the
hoe-husbandry is completely exploded. Until the year 1803,
eighteen years after the foundation of this colony, the
plough-husbandry was confined to a few of the richest
cultivators, from the exorbitant price of cattle. At that period,
however, the government herds had so considerably multiplied,
that the then governor (King) recommended the adoption of the
plough-husbandry in general orders, and tendered oxen at
£28 per head, to be paid either in produce or money, at the
end of three years, to all such settlers as were inclined to
purchase them. This custom has been followed by all his
successors; but as no abatement has been made in the price of
them, and as they can be obtained at one-third the amount
elsewhere, such only of the colonists now avail themselves of
this indulgence, as have no ready means of purchase, and are
allured by the length of the credit.

Wheat, maize, barley, oats, and rye, are all grown in this
colony; but the two former are most cultivated. The climate
appears to be rather too warm for the common species of barley
and oats; but the poorer soils produce them of a tolerably good
quality. The skinless barley, or as it is termed by some, the
Siberian wheat, arrives at very great perfection, and is in every
respect much superior to the common species of barley; but the
culture of this grain is limited to the demand which is created
for it by the colonial breweries; the Indian corn, or maize,
being much better adapted for the food of horses, oxen, pigs, and
poultry. The produce too is much more abundant than that of
barley and oats; and the season for planting it being two months
later than for any other sort of grain, the settler has every
motive for giving it the preference. Wheat may be sown any time
from February to July, and even as late as August, if that month
happens to be moist; but the best months are April, May, and
June. The creeping wheat, however, may be sown in the
commencement of February; as should it become too rank, it can
easily be kept down by sheep, which are found to do this sort of
wheat no manner of injury. To the farmer, therefore, who keeps
large flocks of sheep, the cultivation of the creeping wheat is
highly advantageous; since in addition to its yielding as great a
crop as any other species of wheat, it supersedes the necessity
of growing turnips or other artificial food for the support of
his stock during the severity of the winter, when the natural
grasses become scanty and parched up by the frost. The red and
white lammas, and the Cape or bearded wheat, are the species
generally cultivated. June is the best month for sowing barley
and oats, but they may be sown till the middle of August with a
fair prospect of a good crop. Indian corn or maize may be planted
from the end of September to the middle of December; but October
is the best month. It is, however, a very common practice among
the settlers on the fertile banks of the Hawkesbury and Nepean,
to plant what is called stubble corn; that is, to plant it among
the wheat, barley, and oat stubbles, as soon as the harvest is
over, without ploughing or breaking up the ground. Maize is
frequently planted in this way until the middle of January, and
if the season proves sufficiently moist, yields a very abundant
crop. The usual manner of planting it is in holes about six feet
apart: five grains are generally put in each of these holes. The
average produce of this grain on rich flooded lands, is from
eighty to a hundred bushels per acre. Wheat in the same
situations yields from thirty to forty bushels; and barley and
oats, about fifty bushels an acre. On forest lands, however, the
crops are not so productive, unless the ground be well manured;
but the wheat, barley and oats, grown on this land, are much
heavier and superior in quality. The difference of the weight of
wheat grown in forest and flooded lands, is upon an average not
less than 8 lbs. per bushel. The former sort weighing 64 lbs. and
the latter only 56 lbs.

The wheat harvest commences partially about the middle of
November, and is generally over by Christmas. The maize, however,
is not ripe until the end of March, and the gathering is not
complete throughout the colony before the middle of May.

Potatoes*, cabbages, carrots, parsnips, turnips, pease, beans,
cauliflowers, brocoli, asparagus, lettuces, onions, and in fact
every species of vegetables known in this country, are produced
in this colony; many of them attain a much superior degree of
perfection, but a few also degenerate. To the former class belong
the cauliflower and brocoli, and the different varieties of the
pea; to the latter the bean and potatoe. For the bean, in
particular, the climate appears too hot, and it is only to be
obtained in the stiffest clays and the dampest situations. The
potatoe, however, is produced on all soils in the greatest
abundance, but the quality is not nearly as good as in this
country. In this respect, however, much depends on the nature of
the soil. In stiff clays the potatoes are invariably watery and
waxy, but in light sands and loams, they are tolerably dry and
mealy. Manure also deteriorates their quality, and in general
they are best when grown on new lands. Potatoes are in
consequence very commonly planted in the fields, as a first crop,
and are found to pulverize land just brought from a state of
nature into cultivation more than other root. An abundant crop of
wheat, barley, or oats, may be safely calculated to succeed them;
more particularly if a light covering of manure be applied at the
time of their planting.

[* For the Colonial Garden, see

The colony is justly famed for the goodness and variety of its
fruits: Peaches, apricots, nectarines, oranges, grapes, pears,
plums, figs, pomegranates, raspberries, strawberries, and melons
of all sorts, attain the highest degree of maturity in the open
air; and even the pineapple may be produced merely by the aid of
the common forcing glass. The climate, however, of Port Jackson,
is not altogether congenial to the growth of the apple, currant,
and gooseberry; although the whole of these fruits are produced
there, and the apple, in particular, in very great abundance; but
it is decidedly inferior in quality to the apple of this country.
These fruits, however, arrive at the greatest perfection in every
part of Van Diemen's Land; and as the climate of the country to
the westward of the Blue Mountains, is equally cold, they will
without doubt attain there an equal degree of perfection; but the
short period which has elapsed since the establishment of a
settlement beyond these mountains, has not allowed the
nltramontanians to make the experiment.

Of all the fruits which I have thus enumerated as being
produced in this colony, the peach is the most abundant and the
most useful. The different varieties which have been already
introduced, succeed one another in uninterrupted succession from
the middle of November to the latter end of March: thus filling
up an interval of more than four months, and affording a
wholesome and nutritious article of food during one-third of the
year. This fruit grows spontaneously in every situation, on the
richest soils, as on the most barren; and its growth is so rapid
that if you plant a stone, it will in three years afterwards bear
an abundant crop of fruit. Peaches are, in consequence, so
plentiful throughout the colony, that they are every where given
as food to hogs; and when thrown into heaps, and allowed to
undergo a proper degree of fermentation, are found to fatten them
very rapidly. Cider also is made in great quantities from this
fruit, and when of sufficient age, affords a very pleasant and
wholesome beverage. The lees, too, after the extraction of the
juice, possess the same fattening properties, and are equally
calculated as food for hogs.


The system of rearing and fattening stock in this colony is
simple and economical. Horses, in consequence of their rambling
nature, are almost invariably kept in enclosures. In the
districts immediately contiguous to Port Jackson, horned cattle
are followed by a herdsman during the day, in order to prevent
them from trespassing on the numerous uninclosed tracts of land
that are in a state of tillage, and they are confined during the
night in yards or paddocks. In the remoter districts, however,
which are altogether devoid of cultivation, horned cattle are
subjected to no such restraints, but are permitted to range about
the country at all times. The herds too are generally larger; and
although a herdsman is still required as well to prevent them
from separating into straggling parties, as to protect them from
depredation, the expence of keeping them in this manner is
comparatively trifling, and the advantages of allowing them this
uncontrouled liberty to range, very great; since they are found
during the heat of summer to feed more in the night than in the
day. This, therefore, is the system which the great stockholders
almost invariably pursue. Few of them possess sufficient land for
the support of their cattle; and as their estates too, however
remote the situation in which they may have been selected, have
for the most part become surrounded by small cultivators, who
seldom or ever inclose their crops, they generally recede with
their herds from the approach of colonization, and form new
establishments, where the liability to trespass does not exist.
They thus become the gradual explorers of the country, and it is
to their efforts to avoid the contact of agriculture, that the
discovery of the best districts yet known in the colony is

The management of sheep is in some respects different. They
are never permitted to roam during the night, on account of the
native dog, which is a great enemy to them, and sometimes during
the day, makes great ravages among them, even under the eye of
the shepherd. In every part of the country, therefore, they are
kept by night either in folds or yards. In the former case the
shepherd sleeps in a small moveable box, which is shifted with
the folds, and with his faithful dog, affords a sufficient
protection for his flock, against the attempts of these midnight
depredators. In the latter the paling of the yards is always made
so high, that the native dog cannot surmount it; and the safety
of the flock is still further ensured by the contiguity of the
shepherd's house, and the numerous dogs with which he is always

The natural grasses of the colony are sufficiently good and
nutritious at all seasons of the year, for the support of every
description of stock, where there is an adequate tract of country
for them to range over. But in consequence of the complete
occupation of the districts which are in the more immediate
vicinity of Port Jackson, and from the settlers in general
possessing more stock than their lands are capable of
maintaining, the raising of artificial food for the winter
months, has of late years become very general among such of them
as are unwilling to send their flocks and herds into the
uninhabited parts in the interior. This is a practice which must
necessarily gain ground; since it has been observed, that the
coldness of the climate keeps pace with the progress of
agriculture. In the more contiguous and cultivated districts, the
natural grass becomes consequently every year more affected by
the influence of frost, and the necessity of raising some
artificial substitute for the support of stock, during the
suspension of vegetation, more pressing and incumbent. It is from
this increase in the severity of the winters, that the custom of
making hay has begun to be adopted; and should the future
augmentation of cold be, as there is every reason to believe,
proportionate to the past, this custom will, before the
expiration of many years, become generally prevalent. It is
indeed, rather a matter of surprise than otherwise, that so
salutary a precaution has been so long in disuse; since such is
the luxuriance of the natural grass during the summer, that it is
the general practice after the seeds wither away, to set fire to
it, and thus improvidently consume what, if mown and made into
hay, would afford the farmer a sufficiency of nutritious food for
his stock during the winter, and altogether supersede the
subsequent necessity for his having recourse to artificial means
of remedying so palpable a neglect of the bounteous gifts of

This custom of setting fire to the grass, is most prevalent
during the months of August and January, i.e. just before the
commencement of spring and autumn, when vegetation is on the eve
of starting from the slumber which it experiences alike during
the extremes of the winter's cold as of the summer's heat. If a
fall of rain happily succeed these fires, the country soon
presents the appearance of a field of young wheat; and however
repugnant this practice may appear to the English farmer, it is
absolutely unavoidable in those districts which are not
sufficiently stocked; since cattle of every description refuse to
taste the grass the moment it becomes withered.

The artificial food principally cultivated in the colony are
turnips, tares, and Cape barley; and for those settlers in
particular who have flocks of breeding sheep, the cultivation of
them is highly necessary, and contributes materially to the
growth and strength of the lambs. On those also who keep dairies,
this practice of raising artificial food, is equally incumbent;
the natural grasses being quite insufficient to keep milch cows
in good heart during the winter, when there is the greatest
demand for butter. Good meat, too, is then only to be had with
difficulty, and this difficulty is increasing every year. There
cannot, therefore, be any doubt that it would answer the purposes
even of the grazier to have recourse to artificial means of
fattening his stock at that season; since it is then that he
would be enabled to obtain the readiest and highest price for his
fat cattle.


The price of all manner of stock is almost incredibly
moderate, considering the short period which has elapsed since
the foundation of the colony. A very good horse for the cart or
plough may be had from £10 to £15, and a better
saddle or gig horse, from £20 to £30, than could be
obtained in this country for double the money. Very good
milch-cows may be bought from £5 to £10; working oxen
for about the same price; and fine young breeding ewes from
£1 to £3, according to the quality of their fleece.
Low as these prices may appear they are in a great measure
fictitious; since there is confessedly more stock of all sorts in
the colony, than is necessary for its population. It accordingly
frequently happens, particularly at sales by public auction, that
stock are to be bought for one-half, and even one-third of the
above prices; and there is every probability that before the
expiration of ten years, their value will be still more
considerably diminished. To be convinced of the truth of this
conjecture, we have only to look back a little into the annals of
the colony, and see how prodigiously cattle of every description
have multiplied. By a census taken at the end of the year 1800,
(twelve years after the institution of the colony) the number of
horses and mares was only 163; of horned cattle, 1024; and of
sheep, 6124. At the end of 1813, the horses and mares had
increased to 1891; the horned cattle to 21,513, and the sheep to
65,121: and in the month of November, 1817, the last year of
which we have received the census, the numbers were as follow:
horses and mares, 3072; horned cattle, 44,753; sheep, 170,420.
Thus it will be perceived, that in the space of seventeen years,
the stock of horses and mares has increased from 163, their
highest number for the first twelve years, to 3072; the stock of
horned cattle, from 1044 to 44,753; and the stock of sheep from
6124 to 170,920. This is of itself an increase great beyond all
ordinary computation; and it would appear still more surprising
if we could add to it the immense numbers of cattle and sheep
that have been slaughtered in the same period, for the supply of
the king's stores, and for general consumption.

From the foregoing statement is will be evident, that the
future increase in the stock will be still more prodigious, and
still more considerably outstrip the advance of population. The
price therefore of cattle, great and rapid as has been its past
declension, must annually experience a still further diminution.
Of what will be their probable value in ten years more, it may
enable us to form no very inaccurate estimate, by referring to
what it was ten years back. In 1808, a cow and calf were sold by
public auction for £105, and the price of middling cattle
was from £80 to £100. A breeding mare was at the same
period worth from 150 to 200 guineas, and ewes from £10 to

These immense prices, however, were the result of monopoly,
and consequently in a great measure fictitious; for in 1810, two
years after this, a herd of fine cattle were sold for £13
per head. This almost incredible reduction in the value of cattle
in so short a period, was occasioned by the supercession of this
monopoly by the governor, who in the year 1808, was induced, from
the considerable increase that had taken place in the public
herds, to issue cows at £28 per head, payable in
agricultural produce, to all indiscriminately who chose to
purchase them. Hundreds of them, therefore, at this epoch, were
distributed among the settlers, and their extreme value insured
that degree of care and attention from their owners, which was
naturally followed by a rapid increase, and produced in the short
lapse of two years, that declension of price which would at first
sight appear so astonishing.

Thus it may be perceived, that within the last ten years,
stock of all sorts have decreased in price, from £700 to
£1,000 per cent. and it is not unreasonable to conclude,
that in ten years hence, they will have experienced at least a
similar reduction. Should this conjecture be verified, they will
be of as little value in the remote parts of the colony, as the
horses and cattle on the plains of Buenos Ayres, where any person
may make what use he pleases of the carcase, provided he leaves
behind him the hide.


The price of labour is at present very low, and is still
further declining in consequence of the demand for it not
equalling the supply. Upon the establishment of the Colonial
Bank, and the consequent suppression of that vile medium of
circulation, termed the colonial currency, between which and
British sterling there used to be a difference of value of from
£50 to £100 per cent. the price of labour was fixed
at the rates contained in the following general order, dated the
7th of December, 1816:

"In consequence of the recent abolition of all colonial
currency, and the introduction and establishment of a sterling
circulation and consideration in all payments, dealings,
transactions, contracts, and agreements, within this territory
and its dependencies, his Excellency the Governor having deemed
it expedient to take into consideration the general rates and
prices of labour and wages within the same, as affected by the
alteration of the mode of payments at a sterling rate, or value,
and of the degree, measure, and sterling amount of the same, upon
a fair and equitable proportion and modus; and having also
adopted such measures in that respect as seemed best calculated
to fix and make known the same, is pleased hereby to declare,
order, and direct, that in addition to the rations according to
and equal with the government allowance, the sum of ten pounds
sterling per annum to a man convict, and seven pounds sterling to
a woman convict, as including the value of the slops allowed, and
the sum of seven pounds or five pounds ten shillings exclusive of
such slops; computed at three pounds per man, and one pound ten
shillings per woman, shall be allowed, claimed, or demandable, or
such part or proportion of such sum or sums as shall be equal and
according to the period and continuance of actual service, and no
more in respect of yearly wages, and in the same manner as yearly
wages for the extra work and service of any such male or female
convict respectively, duly assigned to any person or persons, by
or upon the authority of Government.

"His Excellency is also pleased further to declare, order and
direct, that in consideration of the premises, the undermentioned
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".

                                                             £   s.  d.

For falling forest timber, per acre,                         0   8   0
Burning off ditto, per ditto,                                1   0   0
Rooting out, and burning stumps on forest ground, per ditto, 1  10   0
Falling timber on brush ground, per ditto,                   0  12   0
Burning off ditto, per ditto,                                1  10   0
Rooting out and burning stumps on ditto, per ditto,          1  17   6
Breaking up new ground, per ditto,                           1   0   0
Breaking up stubble in corn ground, per ditto,               0  10   0
Chipping in wheat, per ditto,                                0   6   0
Reaping ditto, per ditto,                                    0  10   0
Threshing and cleaning wheat, per bushel,                    0   0   8
Holeing and planting corn, per acre,                         0   5   0
Chipping and shelling corn, per ditto,                       0   6   8
Pulling and husking ditto, per bushel,                       0   0   4
Splitting pales, (six feet long) per hundred,                0   3   0
Ditto, (five feet long) per ditto,                           0   2   6
Shingle splitting, per thousand,                             0   7   6
Preparing and putting up morticed railing, five bars, with
 two pannels to a rod, and posts sunk two feet in the ground,0   3   0
Ditto, ditto, ditto, four bars,                              0   2   6
Ditto, ditto, ditto, three bars,                             0   2   0
Ditto, ditto, ditto, two bars,                               0   1   9

The rates limited in this order are pretty well proportioned
to the present state of the colony; but the attempt to reduce the
value of labour to a permanent standard, further than regards the
convicts, must evidently be abortive; since labour, like
merchandize, will rise and fall with the demand which may exist
for it in the market where it is disposable;--and although the
above order might prevent the labourer from recovering in the
colonial courts, a greater price for his labour than is
stipulated in the foregoing schedule, still the moment it becomes
the interest of the employer to give higher wages, he will do so,
and the discredit attached to the non-performance of a deliberate
contract will always prevent him from having recourse to the
courts for avoiding the fulfilment of it. The above rates, it
will be seen, only refer to the various species of labour
immediately attached to agriculture. The wages of artificers,
particularly of such as are most useful in infant societies, are
considerably higher: a circumstance which is principally to be
attributed to the practice of selecting from among the convicts
all the best mechanics for the government works. Carpenters,
stone-masons, brick-layers, wheel and plough-wrights,
black-smiths, coopers, harness-makers, sawyers, shoe-makers,
cabinet-makers; and in fact all the most useful descriptions of
handicrafts, are consequently in very great demand, and can
easily earn from eight to ten shillings per day.

The price of land is entirely regulated by its situation and
quality. So long as four years back, a hundred and fifty acres of
very indifferent ground, about thre equarters of a mile from
Sydney, were sold by virtue of an execution, in lots of twelve
acres each, and averaged £14 per acre. This, however, is
the highest price that has yet been given for land not situated
in a town. The general value of unimproved forest land, when it
is not heightened by some advantageous locality, as proximity to
a town or navigable river, cannot be estimated at more than five
shillings per acre. Flooded land will fetch double that sum. But
on the banks of the Hawkesbury, as far as that river is
navigable, the value of land is considerably greater; that which
is in a state of nature being worth from £3 to £5 per
acre, and that which is in a state of cultivation, from £8
to £10. The latter description rents for twenty and thirty
shillings an acre.

The price of provisions, particularly of agricultural produce,
is subject to great fluctuations, and will unavoidably continue
so until proper measures are taken to counteract the calamitous
scarcities at present consequent on the inundations of the
Hawkesbury and Nepean. In the year 1806, the epoch of the great
flood, the old and new stacks on the banks of those rivers were
all swept away; and before the commencement of the following
harvest, wheat and maize attained an equal value, and were sold
at £5 and £6 per bushel. Even after the last overflow
of these rivers, in the month of March, 1817, wheat rose towards
the close of the year, to 31s. per bushel, and maize to 20s., and
potatoes to 32s. 6d. per cwt. although a very considerable supply
(about 20,000 bushels) was immediately furnished by the Derwent
and Port Dalrymple. But for this speedy and salutary succour, the
price of grain would have been very little short of what it was
in the year 1806; since the whole stock on hand appears, from the
muster taken between the 6th of October and the 25th of November,
to have only been as follows: wheat, 2405 bushels; maize, 1506.
This was all the grain that remained in the various settlements
of New South Wales and its dependencies, about a month before any
part of the produce of the harvest could be brought to market;
and when it is considered that this was to administer to the
support of 20,379 souls during that period, it will appear truly
astonishing that the prices continued so moderate.

By way, however, of counterpoise to these lamentable
scarcities, which in general follow the inundations of the
principal agricultural settlements, provisions are very abundant
and cheap in years when the crops have not suffered from flood or
drought. In such seasons, wheat upon an average sells for 9s. per
bushel; maize for 3s. 6d.; barley for 5s.; oats for 4s. 6d. and
potatoes for 6s. per cwt.

The price of meat is not influenced by the same causes, but is
on the contrary experiencing a gradual and certain diminution. By
the last accounts received from the colony, good mutton and beef
were to be had for 6d. per pound, veal for 8d. and pork for 9d.
Wheat was selling in the market at 8s. 8d. per bushel; oats at
4s.; barley at 5s.; maize at 5s. 6d.; potatoes at 8s. per cwt.;
fowls at 4s. 6d. per couple; ducks at 6s. per ditto; geese at 5s.
each; turkies at 7s. 6d. each; eggs at 2s. 6d. per dozen; and
butter at 2s. 6d. per pound. The price of the best wheaten bread
was fixed by the assize at 51/4d. for the loaf, weighing 2

The progress which this colony has made in manufactures has
perhaps never been equalled by any community of such recent
origin. It already contains extensive manufactories of coarse
woollen cloths, hats, earthenware and pipes, salt, candles, and
soap. There are also extensive breweries, and tanneries, wheel
and plough-wrights, gig-makers, black-smiths, nail-makers,
tinmen, rope-makers, saddle and harness-makers, cabinet-makers,
and indeed all sorts of mechanics and artificers that could be
required in an infant society, where objects of utility are
naturally in greater demand than articles of luxury. Many of
these have considerable capitals embarked in their several
departments, and manufacture to a considerable extent. Of the
precise amount, however, of capital invested in the whole of the
colonial manufactories, I can give no authentic account; but I
should imagine it cannot be far short of £50,000.

The colonists carry on a considerable commerce with this
country, the East Indies, and China; but they have scarcely any
article of export to offer in return for the various commodities
supplied by those countries. The money expended by the government
for the support of the convicts, and the pay and subsistence of
the civil and military establishments, are the main sources from
which they derive the means of procuring those articles of
foreign growth and manufacture which are indispensable to
civilized life. They have, however, at last a staple export,
which is rapidly increasing, and promises in a few years to
suffice for all their wants, and to render them quite independent
of the miserable pittance which is thus afforded them by the
expenditure of the government: I mean the fleeces of their
flocks, the best of which are found to combine all the qualities
that constitute the excellence of the Saxon and Spanish wools.
The sheep-holders in general have at length become sensible of
the advantage of directing their attention to the improvement of
their flocks; and if their exertions be properly seconded by the
countenance and encouragement of the local government, there can
be no doubt that the supply of fine wool, which the parent
country will before long receive from the colony, will amply
repay her for the care and expence she has bestowed on it during
the protracted period of its helpless infancy. The exportation of
this highly valuable raw material, is as yet but very limited:
last year it only amounted to about £8000; but when it is
considered that in the year 1817, there were 170,420 sheep in the
colony and its dependent settlements on Van Diemen's Land, and
that the majority of the sheep-holders are actively employed in
crossing their flocks with tups of the best Merino breed, it may
easily be conceived what an extensive exportation of fine wool
may be effected in a few years.

The whole annual income of the colonists inhabiting the
various settlements in New Holland, cannot be estimated at more
than £125,000, and the following sub-divisions of it may be
taken as a very close approximation to the truth:

Money expended by the government for the pay and
subsistence of the civil and military establishments,
and for the support of such of the convicts as are
victualled from the king's stores,                     £ 80,000
Money expended by shipping not belonging to the
colonial merchants,                                    £ 12,000
Various articles of export collected from the adjacent
seas and islands, by the colonial craft, consisting
principally of seal skins, right whale, and elephant
oils, and sandal wood,                                 £ 15,000
Wool grown in the colony,                              £  8,000
Sundries,                                              £ 20,000
Total                                                  £125,000

The imports levied by the authority of the local government
form two distinct funds, one of which, as has been already
casually mentioned, is called the "Orphan Fund," and the other
"the Police Fund." The former, it has been seen, contains
one-eighth of the colonial revenue, and is devoted solely to the
promotion of education among the youth of the colony; the latter
contains the other seven-eighths, and is appropriated to various
purposes of internal economy; such as the construction and repair
of roads and bridges, the erection of public edifices, the
maintenance of the police, the cost of criminal prosecutions, and
the pay of various officers, principally in subordinate
capacities, who are not borne on the parliamentary estimate of
the civil establishment. These two funds amounted in the year
1817 to the sum of £20,272 6s. 2½d. which was
derived from the following sources:

*Duties collected by the naval officer,  17,240  0  7¼
Market, toll, and slaughtering duties,      872  5  7¼
67 Spirit Licences,                       2,010  0  0
10 Beer ditto,                               50  0  0
4 Brewing ditto,                            100  0  0

Total                                   £20,272  6  2½

[* For a list of these Duties, see the

If we add to this £907 6s. 9¼d. which is the
amount of the naval officer's commission on the duties collected
by him, we have a grand total of £21,179 12s. 11¾d.;
or, in other words, about one-sixth of the whole income of the
colony, absorbed by an illegal taxation. This is an enormous sum
to be levied in such an infant community; and it will appear the
more so if it be recollected that nineteen-twentieths of it are
collected from the duty which has been imposed on spirituous
liquors, and from licences to keep public-houses for the retail
of them.


Van Diemen's Land is situated between 40 degrees 42', and 43
degrees 43' of south latitude, and between 145 degrees 31' and
148 degrees 22' of east longitude. The honour of the discovery of
this island also belongs to the Dutch; but the survey of it has
been principally effected by the English.

The aborigines of this country are, if possible, still more
barbarous and uncivilised than those of New Holland. They subsist
entirely by hunting, and have no knowledge whatever of the art of
fishing. Even the rude bark canoe which their neighbours possess,
is quite unknown to them; and whenever they want to pass any
sheet of water, they are compelled to construct a rude raft for
the occasion. Their arms and hunting implements also indicate an
inferior degree of civilization. The womera, or throwing stick,
which enables the natives of Port Jackson to cast their spears
with such amazing force and precision, is not used by them. Their
spears, too, instead of being made with the bulrush, and only
pointed with hard wood, are composed entirely of it, and are
consequently more ponderous. In using them they grasp the center;
but they neither throw them so far nor so dexterously as the
natives of the parent colony. This circumstance is the more
fortunate, as they maintain the most rancorous and inflexible
hatred and hostility towards the colonists. This deep rooted
enmity, however, does not arise so much from the ferocious nature
of these savages, as from the inconsiderate and unpardonable
conduct of our countrymen shortly after the foundation of the
settlement on the river Derwent. At first the natives evinced the
most friendly disposition towards the new comers; and would
probably have been actuated by the same amicable feeling to this
day, had not the military officer entrusted with the command,
directed a discharge of grape and canister shot to be made among
a large body who were approaching, as he imagined, with hostile
designs; but as it has since been believed with much greater
probability, merely from motives of curiosity and friendship. The
havoc occasioned among them by this murderous discharge, was
dreadful; and since then all communication with them has ceased,
and the spirit of animosity and revenge, which this unmerited and
atrocious act of barbarity has engendered, has been fostered and
aggravated to the highest pitch by the incessant rencontres which
have subsequently taken place between them and the settlers.
These, wherever and whenever an occasion offers, destroy as many
of them as possible, and they in their turn never let slip an
opportunity of retaliating on their blood-thirsty butchers.
Fortunately, however, for the colonists, they have seldom or
never been known to act on the offensive, except when they have
met some of their persecutors singly. Two persons armed with
muskets may traverse the island from one end to the other in the
most perfect safety.

Van Diemen's Land has not so discouraging and repulsive an
appearance from the coast as New Holland. Many fine tracts of
land are found on the very borders of the sea, and the interior
is almost invariably possessed of a soil admirably adapted to all
the purposes of civilized man. This island is upon the whole
mountainous, and consequently abounds in streams. On the summits
of many of the mountains there are large lakes, some of which are
the sources of considerable rivers. Of these the Derwent, Huon,
and Tamar, rank in the first class.

There is perhaps no island in the world of the same size which
can boast of so many fine harbours: the best are the Derwent,
Port Davy, Macquarie Harbour, Port Dalrymple, and Oyster Bay: the
first is on its southern side, the second and third on its
western, the fourth on its northern, and the fifth on its
eastern, so that it has excellent harbours in every direction.
This circumstance cannot fail to be productive of the most
beneficial effects, and will most materially assist the future
march of colonization.

There is almost a perfect resemblance between the animal and
vegetable kingdoms of this island and of New Holland. In their
animal kingdoms in particular, there is scarcely any variation.
The native dog, indeed, is unknown here; but there is an animal
of the panther tribe in its stead, which, though not found in
such numbers as the native dog is in New Holland, commits
dreadful havoc among the flocks. It is true that its ravages are
not so frequent; but when they happen they are more extensive.
This animal is of considerable size, and has been known in some
few instances, to measure six feet and a half from the tip of the
nose to the extremity of the tail; still it is cowardly, and by
no means formidable to man: unless, indeed, when taken by
surprise, it invariably flies his approach.

In the feathered tribes of the two islands, there is scarcely
any diversity; of this the wattle bird, which is about the size
of a snipe, and considered a very great delicacy, is the only
instance which I can cite.

Like New Holland it has many varieties of poisonous reptiles,
but they are neither so venomous nor so numerous as in that

Its rivers and seas too, abound with the same species of fish.
Oysters are found in much greater perfection, though not in
greater abundance. The rocks that border the coasts and harbours
are literally covered with muscles, as the rocks at Port Jackson
are with oysters.

There is not so perfect a resemblance in the vegetable
kingdoms of the two islands; but still the dissimilarity, where
it exists, is chiefly confined to their minor productions. In the
trees of the forest there is scarcely any difference. Van
Diemen's Land wants the cedar, mahogany, and rose wood; but it
has very good substitutes for them in the black wood and Huon
pine, which is a species of the yew tree, and remarkable for its
strong odoriferous scent and extreme durability.

The principal mineralogical productions of this island are,
iron, copper, alum, coals, slate, limestone, asbestus, and
basaltes; all of which, with the exception of copper, are to be
had in the greatest abundance.


Hobart Town, which is the seat of the Lieutenant-Governor of
Van Diemen's Land, stands nine miles up the river Derwent. It was
founded only fifteen years since, and indeed the rudeness of its
appearance sufficiently indicates the recency of its origin. The
houses are in general of the meanest description, seldom
exceeding one story in height, and being for the most part
weather-boarded without, and lathed and plastered within. Even
the government house is of very bad construction. The residences,
indeed, of many individuals far surpass it. The population may be
estimated at about one thousand souls.

This town is built principally on two hills, between which
there is a fine stream of excellent water, that issues from the
Table Mountain, and falls into Sullivan's Cove. On this stream a
flour mill has been erected, and there is sufficient fall in it
for the erection of two or three more. There are also within a
short distance of the town, several other streams which originate
in the same mountain, and are equally well adapted to similar
purposes. This is an advantage not possessed by the inhabitants
of Port Jackson; since there is not in any of the cultivated
districts to the eastward of the Blue Mountains a single run of
water which can be pronounced in every respect eligible for the
erection of mills. Windmills are in consequence almost
exclusively used for grinding corn in Sydney; but in the inland
towns and districts, the colonists are in a great measure obliged
to have recourse to hand mills, as the winds during the greater
part of the year, are not of sufficient force to penetrate the
forest and set mills in motion.

The elevation of the Table Mountain, which is so called from
the great resemblance it bears to the mountain of the same name
at the Cape of Good Hope, has not been determined; but it is
generally estimated at about six thousand feet above the level of
the sea. During three-fourths of the year it is covered with
snow, and the same violent gusts of wind blow from it as from
this, its mountain name-sake; but no gathering clouds on its
summit give notice of the approaching storm. The fiery
appearance, however, of the heavens, affords a sufficient warning
to the inhabitants of the country. These blasts are happily
confined to the precincts of the mountain, and seldom last above
three hours; but nothing can exceed their violence for the time.
In the year 1810, I happened to be on board of a vessel which was
bound to Hobart Town: in consequence of the winds proving scanty,
we were obliged to anchor during the night in D'Entrecasteaux's
Channel. The following morning we got under weigh, expecting that
the sea breeze would set in by the time the anchor was hove up.
The seamen had no sooner effected this and set all sail, than we
were assailed with one of these mountain hurricanes. In an
instant the vessel was on her beam-ends, and in another, had not
all the sheets and halyards been let go, she would either have
upset or carried away her masts. The moment the sails were clued
up we brought to again; and as we were in a harbour perfectly
land-locked and very narrow, the vessel easily rode out this
blast. It only lasted about two hours; but the sea breeze did not
succeed it that day. The next morning, however, it set in as

During the continuance of this mountain tornado, the waters of
the harbour were terribly agitated, and taken up in the same
manner as dust is collected by what are called whirlwinds in this
country. So great indeed was its fury, that it required us to
hold on by the ropes with all our force, in order to enable us to
keep our footing.

The harbour at and conducting to the river Derwent, yields to
none in the world; perhaps surpasses every other. There are two
entrances to this river, which are separated by Pitt's Island;
one is termed D'Entrecasteaux's Channel, the other, Storm Bay.
D'Entrecasteaux's Channel, from Point Collins up to Hobart Town,
a distance, following the course of the water, of thirty-seven
miles, is one continued harbour, varying in breadth from eight to
two miles, and in depth from thirty to four fathoms. The river
Derwent itself has three fathoms water for eleven miles above the
town, and is consequently navigable thus far for vessels of the
largest burthen. Reckoning therefore from Point Collins, there is
a line of harbour in D'Entrecasteaux's Channel and the Derwent,
together of forty-eight miles, completely land-locked, and
affording the best anchorage the whole way.

The entrance, however, by Storm Bay, does not offer the same
advantages; for it is twenty-two miles broad from Maria's Islands
to Penguin Island, and completely exposed to the winds from south
to south-east. This bay consequently does not afford the same
excellent anchorage as D'Entrecasteaux's Channel. It contains,
however, some few nooks, in which vessels may take shelter in
case of necessity. The best of these is Adventure Bay, which is
shut in from any winds that can blow directly from the ocean, but
is nevertheless exposed to the north-east winds, which have a
reach of twenty miles from the opposite side of the bay. There is
consequently, when these winds prevail, a considerable swell
here; but the force of the sea is in a great measure broken by
Penguin Island; and vessels having good anchors and cables have
nothing to fear.

Storm Bay, besides thus forming one of the entrances to the
river Derwent, leads to another very good harbour, called North
Bay. This harbour is about sixteen miles long, and in some places
six miles and a half broad. The greater part of it is perfectly
land-locked, and affords excellent anchorage in from two to
fifteen fathoms water. That part in particular called Norfolk
Bay, forms a very spacious harbour of itself, being about three
miles in breadth and nine in length. This bay, besides being
better sheltered than the rest of the harbours, contains the
greatest depth of water, having in no place less than four

All the bays and harbours which have been just described,
abound with right whale at a particular season of the year. These
leviathans of the deep quit the boisterous ocean, and seek the
more tranquil waters of these harbours, when they are on the
point of calving. This happens in November, and they remain there
with their young between two and three months. During this period
there are generally every year a few of the colonial craft
employed in the whale fishery; but the duties which are levied in
this country on all oils procured in vessels not having a British
register, amount to a prohibition, and completely prevent the
colonists from prosecuting this fishery further than is necessary
for their own consumption, and for the supply of the East India
market. Between two and three hundred tons annually suffice for
both these purposes.

The whales frequently go up the river Derwent as far as the
town; and it is no uncommon sight for its inhabitants to behold
the whole method of taking them, from the moment they are
harpooned until they are finally killed by the frequent
application of the lance. This sight indeed has been occasionally
witnessed by the inhabitants of Sydney; since it has sometimes
occurred that a stray fish has entered the harbour of Port
Jackson, while some of the South Sea whalers have been lying
there, and that these have lowered their boats and killed it.

All the bays and harbours in Van Diemen's Land, and most of
those likewise which are in Bass's Straits, and on the southern
coast of New Holland, abound with these fish at the same season.
If the colonists, therefore, were not thus restricted from this
fishery, it would soon become an immense source of wealth to
them; and I have no doubt that they would be enabled to export
many thousand tons of oil annually to this country. But it is in
vain that nature has been thus lavish of her bounties to them; in
vain do their seas and harbours invite them to embark in these
inexhaustible channels of wealth and enterprize. Their
government, that government which ought to be the foremost in
developing their nascent efforts, and fostering them to maturity,
is itself the first to check their growth and impede their
advancement. What a miserly system of legislation is it, which
thus locks up from its own subjects, a fund of riches that might
administer to the wants, and contribute to the happiness of
thousands! What barbarous tantalization to compel them to thirst
in the midst of the waters of abundance!


This port, which was discovered by Flinders, in 1798, lies
thirty degrees E. S. E. of Three Hammock Island. The town of
Launceston stands about thirty miles from its entrance, at the
junction of the North Esk, and the South with the river Tamar. It
is little more than an inconsiderable village, the houses in
general being of the humblest description. Its population is
between three and four hundred souls. The tide reaches nine or
ten miles up the river Esk, and the produce of the farms within
that distance, may be sent down to the town in boats. But the
North Esk descends from a range of mountains, by a cataract
immediately into the river Tamar, and is consequently altogether
inaccessible to navigation.

The Tamar has sufficient depth of water as far as Launceston,
for vessels of a hundred and fifty tons burthen; but the
navigation of this river is very intricate, by reason of the
banks and shallows with which it abounds, and it has been at
length prudently resolved to remove the seat of government nearer
the entrance of Port Dalrymple. A town called George Town, has
been for the last three years in a state of active preparation;
and it is probable that the commandant, and indeed the entire
civil and military establishments* of this settlement, have by
this time removed to it. In this case the greater part of the
population of Launceston will soon follow. This desertion of its
inhabitants will considerably diminish the value of landed
property in that town, and consequently be productive of great
loss to them; but there can be no doubt that the change of the
seat of government will in the event materially contribute to the
prosperity of the settlement in general. This abandonment,
therefore, or rather intended abandonment of the old town, has
been dictated by the soundest principles of policy and justice;
but although the equity of the maxim that the interests of the
few should cede to the good of the many, is incontrovertible, it
is nevertheless to be hoped, that some means will be contrived of
indemnifying the inhabitants of Launceston for the great injury
which they will suffer from the removal of the seat of government
to George Town.

Within a few miles of Launceston, there is the most amazing
abundance of iron. Literally speaking, there are whole mountains
of this ore, which is so remarkably rich, that it has been found
to yield seventy per cent. of pure metal. These mines have not
yet been worked; the population, indeed, of the settlement would
not allow it; but there can be no doubt that they will at no very
remote period become a source of considerable wealth to its

There is a communication by land between Launceston and Hobart
Town, which are about one hundred and thirty miles distant from
each other in a straight line, and about one hundred and sixty,
following the windings of the route at present frequented. No
regular road has been constructed between these towns, but the
numerous carts and droves of cattle and sheep, which are
constantly passing from one to the other, have rendered the track
sufficiently distinct and plain. In fact, the making a road is a
matter of very great ease, both here and in Port Jackson. The
person whoever he may be that wants to establish a cart-road to
any place, marks the trees in the direction he wishes it to take,
and these marks serve as a guide to all such as require to travel
on it. In a very short time the tracks of the horses and carts
that have passed along it become visible, the grass is gradually
trod down, and finally disappears, and thus a road is formed;
not, indeed, so good as one of the usual construction, but which
answers all the purposes of those who have occasion to make use
of it. Wherever there happens to be a stream, or river that is
not fordable, it is customary to cut down two or three trees in
some spot on its banks, where it is seen that they will reach to
the other side of it. Across these, the boughs that are lopped
off themselves, or smaller trees felled for the purpose, are laid
close together, and over all a sufficient covering of earth.

Of this description are all the roads and bridges in Van
Diemen's Land, and many of them, even in Port Jackson; but in
this respect it will be recollected that the latter is much in
advance of the former. The reason why the settlements on this
island are so much behind the parent colony, is not to be traced
so much to the greater recency of their origin, as to the
circumstance of their inhabitants being for the most part
established along the banks of navigable waters. At Port
Dalrymple, the majority of the settlers have fixed themselves on
the banks of the North Esk, within the navigable reach of that
river. The Derwent too, it has been seen, is navigable for
vessels of the largest burden for twenty miles from its entrance.
A little higher up, indeed, there are falls in it which interrupt
its navigation; but it is hardly yet colonized beyond these
falls, and whenever that shall be the case, it may be easily
rendered navigable for boats by the help of ferries for a
considerable distance further. Such of the agriculturists as have
not settled on the banks of this river, have selected their farms
in the district of Pitt Water; which extends along the northern
side of that spacious harbour, called "North Bay." These have
consequently the same facilities as those on the banks of the
Derwent for sending their produce to market by water, and they
naturally prefer this, the cheapest mode of conveyance. It may,
therefore, be perceived that the superior advantages which are
thus presented by an inland navigation, are the main causes why
the construction of regular roads has been so much neglected in
these settlements. So far, indeed, is this want of roads from
being an inconvenience to the inhabitants of them, that the
facilities afforded by this inland navigation for the transport
of all sorts of agricultural produce to market, is the principal
point of superiority which they can claim over their brethren at
Port Jackson.


In the two settlements on this island, there is but one court
of justice established by charter. This is termed the
Lieutenant-Governor's Court, and consists of the deputy judge
advocate, and two of the respectable inhabitants appointed from
time to time by the lieutenant-governor. The jurisdiction of this
court is purely civil, and only extends to pleas where the sum at
issue does not exceed £50; but no appeal lies from its
decisions. All causes for a higher amount, and all criminal
offences beyond the cognizance of the bench of magistrates, are
removed, the former before the Supreme Court, and the latter
before the Court of Criminal Judicature at Port Jackson.


These settlements are in a very bad state of defence, having
but two companies of troops for the garrison and protection of
them both. They have consequently been infested for many years
past, by a banditti of run-away convicts, who have endangered the
person and property of every one that has evinced himself hostile
to their enormities. These wretches, who are known in the colony
by the name of bush-rangers, even went so far as to write
threatening letters to the lieutenant-governor and the
magistracy. In this horrible state of anarchy a simultaneous
feeling of insecurity and dread, naturally pervaded the whole of
the inhabitants; and the most respectable part of the
agricultural body with one accord betook themselves to the towns,
as the only certain means of preserving their lives, gladly
abandoning their property to prevent the much greater sacrifice
with which the defence of it would have been attended. There is
no species of outrage and atrocity, in which these marauders did
not indulge: murders, incendiaries, and robberies were their
ordinary amusements, and have been for many years past the
leading events in the annals of these unfortunate settlements.
Every measure that could be devised was taken for the capture and
punishment of these wretches. They were repeatedly outlawed, and
the most alluring rewards were set upon their heads; but the
insufficiency of the military force, the extent of the island,
their superior local knowledge, and the abundance of game, which
enabled them to find an easy subsistence, and rendered them
independent, except for an occasional supply of ammunition, with
which some unknown persons were base enough to furnish them in
exchange for their ill acquired booty; all these circumstances
conspired to baffle for many years every attempt that was made
for their apprehension. This long impunity served only to
increase their cruelty and temerity; and it was at last deemed
expedient by Lieutenant Governor Davy to declare the whole island
under the operation of martial law. This vigorous exertion of
authority was zealously seconded by the respectable inhabitants,
many of whom joined the military in the pursuit of these
miscreants, and fortunately succeeded by their joint exertions in
apprehending the most daring of their ringleaders, who were
instantly tried by a court martial and hanged in chains. This
terrible, though necessary example, was followed by a
proclamation offering a general amnesty to all the rest of these
delinquents who should surrender themselves before a certain day;
excepting, however, such of them as had been guilty of murder.
The proclamation had the desired effect: all who were not
excluded by their crimes availed themselves of the pardon thus
offered them. But strange to say, they were allowed to remain in
the island; and whether they were enamoured of the licentious
life they had been so long leading, or whether they distrusted
the sincerity of the oblivion promised them, and became
apprehensive of eventual punishment, in a few months afterwards
they again betook themselves to the woods, and rejoined those who
had been excluded from the amnesty. After this, they rivalled
their former atrocities, and a general feeling of consternation
was again excited among the well disposed part of the community.
And here, as it may not be uninteresting to many of my readers to
be acquainted with some of the specific outrages of these
monsters, I subjoin the following extracts from the Sydney
Gazette of the 25th Jan. 1817.

The accounts of robberies by the banditti of bush-rangers on
Van Diemen's Land, presents a melancholy picture of the
distresses to which the more respectable classes of inhabitants
are constantly exposed from the daring acts of those infamous
marauders, who are divided into small parties, and are designated
by the name of the principal ruffian at their head, of whom one
Michael Howe appears to be the most alert in depredation. The
accounts received by the Kangaroo, which commence from the
beginning of November, state that on the 7th of that month, the
house and premises of Mr. David Rose at Port Dalrymple, were
attacked and plundered of a considerable property, by Peter
Sefton and his gang. The delinquents were pursued by the
commandant at the head of a strong detachment of the 46th
regiment; but returned after a five days hunt through the woods,
without being able to discover the villains, among whom is stated
to have been a free man, named Denis M'Caig, who went from hence
to Port Dalrymple in the Brothers.

On the night of the 17th of November, the premises of Mr.
Thomas Hayes, at Bagdad, were attacked at a time when Mr. Stocker
and wife, and Mr. Andrew Whitehead (the former on their route
from Hobart Town to Port Dalrymple, with a cart containing a
large and valuable property) had unfortunately put up at the
house for the night. Michael Howe was the chief of this banditti,
which consisted of eight others. The property of which they
plundered Mr. and Mrs. Stocker on this occasion, was upwards of
£300 value, among which were two kegs of spirits. One of
these, a member of the gang wantonly wasted, by firing a
pistol-ball through the head of the keg, which contained eleven
gallons. They set their watches by Mr. Whitehead's, which they
afterwards returned; but took Mr. Stocker's away with their other
plunder. Mr. Wade, chief constable of Hobart Town, had stopped
with the others at Mr. Hayes's; but hearing a noise, which he
considered to denote the approach of bush-rangers, he prudently
attended to the admonition, and escaped their fury, which it was
concluded would have fallen heavily upon him, as they are at
variance with all conditions in life that are inimical to their
crimes. On the morning of the 2d instant, Mr. William Maum, of
Hobart Town, sustained the loss of three stacks of wheat by fire
at his farm at Clarence Plains, owing to the act of an

On the 14th of November a large body, consisting of fourteen
men and two women, were unwelcomely fallen in with by a single
man on horseback, at Scantling's Plains. Howe and Geary were the
most conspicuous: they compelled him to bear testimony to the
swearing in of their whole party, to abide by some resolutions
dictated in a written paper, which one of them finished writing
in the traveller's presence. After a detention of about three
quarters of an hour, he was suffered to proceed under strong
injunctions to declare what he had been an eye-witness of; and to
desire Mr. Humphrey, the magistrate, and Mr. Wade, the chief
constable, to take care of themselves, as they were bent on
taking their lives, as well as to prevent them from growing
grain, or keeping goods of any kind. And by the information of a
person upon oath, it appears that they had about the same period,
forced away two government servants from their habitations, to a
distant place, on which the crimes of these wretches have stamped
the appellation of murderer's plains, (by themselves facetiously
called _the tallow-chandler's shop_) where they kept them to
work three days in rendering down beef-fat. How they could
afterwards appropriate so great a quantity of rendered fat and
suet, is truly a question worthy to be demanded; for it is far
more likely it should be taken off their hands by persons in or
near the settlements, who are leagued with them, in the way of
bartering one commodity for another, than that the bush-rangers
should either keep it for their own use, or bestow so much
trouble on the preparation of an article that would soon spoil in
their hands. The caftle that were in this instance so devoted,
were the property of Stones and Tray, who declare that out of
three hundred head, one hundred and forty have lately

All the outrages above enumerated, it will be seen, were
perpetrated within the short period of ten days; and these
settlements continued the scene of similar enormities until the
July following, an interval of nearly eight months. On the
serious injury which the industrious and deserving of all
classes, must have experienced in that time, from the inability
of the government to afford them protection, it would be useless
here to dilate. It must be evident, that such extremes of anarchy
could not be of any long duration; and that one or other of these
two events became inevitable; either that the exertions and
enterprizes of the colonists should be brought to a stand, or
that these disturbers of the general tranquillity, should suffer
condign punishment. Fortunately the cause of public justice
triumphed, and the majority of these monsters either fell victims
to common distrust, or to the violated laws of their country. And
here, after detailing some few of their excesses, I cannot
refrain from giving in turn the account of the measures that led
to their discomfiture and apprehension, as extracted from the
Sydney Gazette of the 4th October, 1817.

A meeting of public officers and principal inhabitants and
settlers, was convened at Hobart Town, by sanction of his honour,
Lieutenant-Governor Sorrel, (the successor of Colonel Davy) on
the 5th of July, for the purpose of considering the most
effectual measures for suppressing the banditti; when the utmost
alacrity manifested itself to support the views of government in
promoting that desirable object, and a liberal subscription was
immediately entered into for the purpose. The following
proclamation was immediately afterwards issued by the

Whereas, the armed banditti, who have for a considerable time
infested the interior of this island, did on the 10th ultimo,
make an attack upon the store at George Town, which being left
unprotected, they plundered, taking away two boats, which they
afterwards cast ashore at the entrance of Port Dalrymple; and
whereas, the principal leader in the outrages which have been
committed by this band of robbers, is Peter Geary, a deserter
from his Majesty's 73d regiment, charged also with murder and
various other offences; and whereas, the undermentioned offenders
have been concerned with the said Peter Geary in most of these
enormities; the following rewards will be paid to any person or
persons, who shall apprehend these offenders, or any of them:

Peter Geary--One Hundred Guineas.
Peter Septon, John Jones, Richard Collyer--Eighty Guineas
Thomas Coine, Brown or Brune, a Frenchman--Fifty Guineas

And whereas, George Watts, a prisoner, who absented himself
from the Coal River, previous to the expiration of his sentence,
and who stands charged with various robberies and crimes, is now
at large: it is hereby declared, that a reward of eighty guineas
will be paid to any person or persons, who shall apprehend the
said George Watts.

And all magistrates and commanders of military stations, and
parties, and all constables and others of his majesty's subjects,
are enjoined to use their utmost efforts to apprehend the
criminals above named.

On the 10th of July, a division of the banditti proceeded to
George Town, and seizing upon the government boats, induced five
of the working people to abscond with them; upon representation
whereof to the Lieutenant-Governor, a proclamation was issued
requiring the return of those persons, under the assurance of
forgiveness, if so returning within twenty days, from the
consideration that the settlement of George Town had been for
some days without command or controul; the causes of which will
be found in our supplement of this day; wherein Mr.
Superintendent Leith, has, in his testimony upon the murder of
the chief constable of the settlement, declared his necessary
absence to Launceston at that express period.

The gang of bush-rangers appeared in the vicinity of Black
Brush on Saturday, and were tracked on the following morning by
Serjeant M'Carthy, of the 46th, with his party. On Monday the
bush-rangers were at a house at Tea-tree Brush, where they had
dined, and about three o'clock Serjeant M'Carthy with his party
came up. The bush-rangers ran out of the house into the woods,
and being eleven in number, and well covered by timber and
ground, the eight soldiers could not close with them. After a
good deal of firing, Geary the leader was wounded, and fell; two
others were also wounded. The knapsacks of the whole and their
dogs were taken. Geary died the same night, and his corpse was
brought into town on Tuesday, as were the two wounded men.

The remaining eight bush-rangers were seen in the
neighbourhood of the Coal River on Wednesday; but, as they must
have been destitute of provisions and ammunition, sanguine hopes
were entertained of their speedy fall.

Dennis Currie and Matthew Kiegan, two of the original
bush-rangers, surrendered on the Monday following.

On Wednesday, a coroner's inquest was held on the body of
James Geary, who died of the wound received in the affair at
Tea-tree Brush. Verdict, Homicide in furtherance of public

Jones, a principal of the banditti, was shot in the beginning
of August, in the neighbourhood of Swanport, which is on the
eastern shore. For some days they had not been heard of; but by
the extraordinary exertions of Serjeant M'Carthy and his party of
the 46th regiment, were tracked and overtaken at the above place;
on which occasion Jones was killed on the spot by a ball through
the head. A prisoner of the name of Holmes was by the
bush-ranger's fire, wounded in two places, but we do not hear

On the Sunday evening after the above affair, some of the
villains effected a robbery at Clarence Plains; but became so
excessively intemperate from intoxication as to quarrel among
themselves; the consequence was, that another of the gang of the
name of Rollards, having been most severely bruised and beaten by
his associates fell into the hands of a settler, and was by him
taken a prisoner into Hobart Town. White and Johnson, two others
of the gang, were apprehended by Serjeant M'Carthy's party, on
Thursday the 14th of August, being conducted to their haunts by a
native woman, distinguished by the name of Black Mary, and
another girl.

After the above successes in reducing the number of these
persons, some of them still continued out, on the 16th of August,
as appears from a report published: of the old bush-rangers,
Septon, Collyer, Coine, and Brune, also Watts, who kept separate
from the rest, and Michael Howe, who had before delivered himself
up, and after remaining some weeks in Hobart Town, took again to
the woods, from a dread, as was imagined, of ultimately being
called to answer for his former offences. At this period also,
there were two absentees from George Town, Port Dalrymple; a
number of the working hands having gone from that settlement
shortly before, all of whom had returned to their duty but these
two. White, Rollards, and Peck, were about this time under a
reward of sixty guineas for their apprehension, for an attempt to
commit a robbery at Clarence Plains: Peck was a freeman, the
other two prisoners.

By the 6th of September, nearly the whole of the absentees of
whatever description had either surrendered or been apprehended;
and upon this day a proclamation was issued offering the
following rewards: for the apprehension of Michael Howe, one
hundred guineas; for George Watts, eighty guineas; and for Brune,
the Frenchman, fifty guineas; and in consequence of these prompt
and efficacious arrangements, additional captures had been made,
which placed it nearly beyond a doubt that Howe is almost, if not
the only individual of the desperate gangs now at large.

This latter assertion, however, does not appear to have been
correct; for in a Sydney Gazette of the 25th of October, of the
same year, we have the following account of the apprehension and
surrender of some others of this banditti, and of an unsuccessful
attempt to take Michael Howe, which will tend to elucidate the
desperate character of this ruffian.

Several persons have arrived as witnesses on the prosecution
of offenders transmitted for trial by the Pilot; two of whom are
charged with wilful murder, viz. Richard Collyer, as a principal
in the atrocious murder of the late William Carlisle and James
O'Berne, who were shot by a banditti of bush-rangers at the
settlement of New Norfolk, on the 24th of April, 1815; the
particulars whereof were published in the Sydney Gazette of the
20th of the following May. The other prisoner for murder is John
Hilliard, who was also one of the banditti of bush-rangers; but
being desirous of giving himself up, determined previously by
force or guile, to achieve some exploit, that might place the
sincerity of his contrition beyond doubt. Accident soon brought
the above Collyer, together with Peter Septon, another of the
banditti, within his power. He attacked and killed Septon, and
wounded Collyer, who nevertheless got away, but was soon
apprehended. It is for the killing of Septon, he is therefore to
be tried. Four of the prisoners sent by this vessel are for sheep
stealing. Another of the late banditti, George Watts, is come up
also, but under no criminal charge, as we are informed, he having
been desperately wounded by Michael Howe, in an attempt assisted
by William Drew, to take him into Hobart Town a prisoner; but in
which exertion Drew was shot dead by that desperate offender, and
the survivor Watts nearly killed also.

* * *

I have been thus copious in extracts from the Sydney Gazette,
to shew the lamentable state of danger and anarchy in which the
colonists on Van Diemen's Land have been kept by an
inconsiderable banditti; who, from the imbecility of the local
government, have been enabled to continue for many years in a
triumphant career of violence and impunity. This iniquitous and
formidable association may, indeed, be considered as crushed for
the moment, although the most desperate member of it is still at
large. But what pledge have the well disposed part of the
inhabitants, that a band equally atrocious will not again spring
up, and endanger the general peace and security? What guarantee,
in fact, have they that this very ruffian, the soul and center of
the late combination, will not serve as a rallying point to the
profligate, and again collect around him a circle of robbers and
murderers as desperate and bloody as the miscreants who have been
annihilated? And can the pursuits of industry quietly proceed
under the harassing dread which this constant liability to
outrage and depredation must inspire? There is no principle less
controvertible than that the subject has the same claims on the
government for support and protection, as they have on him, for
obedience and fidelity. The compact is as binding on the one
party, as on the other; and it is really discreditable to the
established character of this country, that any part of its
dominions should have continued for so long a period, the scene
of such flagrant enormities, merely from the want of a sufficient
military force to ensure the due administration of the laws, and
to maintain the public tranquillity.


The climate of this island is equally healthy, and much more
congenial to the European constitution, than that of Port
Jackson. The north-west winds, which are there productive of such
violent variations of temperature, are here unknown; and neither
the summers, nor winters, are subject to any great extremes of
heat, or cold. The frosts, indeed, are much more severe, and of
much longer duration; and the mountains with which this island
abounds, are covered with snow during the greater part of the
year; but in the vallies it never lingers on the ground more than
a few hours. Upon an average, the mean difference of temperature,
between these settlements and those on New Holland, (I speak of
such as are to the eastward of the Blue Mountains; for the
country to the westward of them, it has been already stated, is
equally cold with any part of Van Diemen's Land,) may be
estimated at ten degrees of Fahrenheit, at all seasons of the

The prevailing diseases are the same as at Port Jackson: i. e.
phthisis, and dysentery; but the former is not so common.
Rheumatic complaints, however, which are scarcely known there,
exist here to a considerable extent.


In this island, as in New Holland, there is every diversity of
soil, but certainly in proportion to the surface of the two
countries, this contains, comparatively, much less of an
indifferent quality. Large tracts of land perfectly free from
timber or underwood, and covered with the most luxuriant herbage,
are to be found in all directions; but more particularly in the
environs of Port Dalrymple. This sort of land is
_invariably_ of the _very best description_, and
_millions_ of acres still remain _unappropriated, which
are capable of being instantly converted to all the purposes of
husbandry. There the colonist has no expence to incur in clearing
his farm: he is not compelled to a great preliminary out-lay of
capital, before he can expect a considerable return; he has only
to set fire to the grass, to prepare his land for the immediate
reception of the plough-share; so that, if he but possess a good
team of horses, or oxen, with a set of harness, and a couple of
substantial ploughs, he has the main requisites for commencing an
agricultural establishment, and for ensuring a comfortable
subsistence for himself and family._

To this great superiority which these southern settlements may
claim over the parent colony, may be superadded two other items
of distinction, which are perhaps of equal magnitude and
importance. First, The rivers here have sufficient fall in them
to prevent any excessive accumulation of water, from violent or
continued rains; and are consequently free from those awful and
destructive inundations to which all its rivers are perpetually
subject. Here, therefore, the industrious colonist may settle on
the banks of a navigable river, and enjoy all the advantages of
sending his produce to market by water, without running the
constant hazard of having the fruits of his labour, the golden
promise of the year, swept away in an hour by a capricious and
domineering element. Secondly, The seasons are more regular and
defined, and those great droughts which have been so frequent at
Port Jackson, are altogether unknown. In the years 1813, 1814,
and 1815, when the whole face of the country there was literally
burnt up, and vegetation completely at a stand still from the
want of rain, an abundant supply of it fell here, and the
harvests, in consequence, were never more productive. Indeed,
since these settlements were first established, a period of
fifteen years, the crops have never sustained any serious
detriment from an insufficiency of rain; whereas, in the parent
colony, there have been in the thirty-one years that have elapsed
since its foundation, I may venture to say, half a dozen dearths,
occasioned by drought, and at least as many arising from

The circumstance, therefore, of Van Diemen's Land being thus
exempt from those calamitous consequences, which are so frequent
in New Holland, from a superabundance of rain in the one
instance, and a deficiency of it in the other, is a most
important point of consideration, for all such as hesitate in
their choice betwixt the two countries; and is well worthy the
most serious attention of those who are desirous of emigrating to
one or the other of them, with a view to become mere

In the system of agriculture pursued in the two colonies,
there is no difference, save that the Indian corn, or maize, is
not cultivated here, because the climate is too cold to bring
this grain to maturity. Barley and oats, however, arrive at much
greater perfection, and afford the inhabitants a substitute,
although by no means an equivalent, for this highly valuable
product. The wheat, too, which is raised here, is of much
superior description to the wheat grown in any of the districts
at Port Jackson, and will always command in the Sydney market, a
difference of price sufficiently great to pay for the additional
cost of transport. The average produce, also, of land here, is
greater, although it does not exceed, perhaps not equal the
produce of the rich flooded lands on the banks of the Hawkesbury
and Nepean. A gentleman who resided many years at Port Dalrymple,
estimates the average produce of the crops at that settlement as
follows: Wheat, thirty bushels per acre; barley, forty-five
bushels per ditto; oats, he does not know, but say sixty bushels
per ditto. This estimate is not at all calculated to impress the
English farmer with as favourable an opinion of the fertility of
this settlement as it merits; but if he only witnessed the
slovenly mode of tillage which is practised there, he would be
surprised not that the average produce of the crops is so small,
but that it is so great. If the same land had the benefit of the
system of agriculture that prevails throughout the county of
Norfolk, it may be safely asserted that its produce would be
doubled. The land on the upper banks of the river Derwent and at
Pitt-water, is equally fertile; but the average produce of the
crops on the whole of the cultivated districts belonging to this
settlement, is at least one-fifth less than at Port

These settlements do not contain either such a variety or
abundance of fruit as the parent colony. The superior coldness of
their climate sufficiently accounts for the former deficiency,
and the greater recency of their establishment for the latter.
The orange, citron, guava, loquet, pomegranate, and many other
fruits which attain the greatest perfection at Port Jackson,
cannot be produced here at all without having recourse to
artificial means; while many more, as the peach, nectarine,
grape, etc. only arrive at a very inferior degree of maturity. On
the other hand, as has been already noticed, the apple, currant,
gooseberry, and indeed all those fruits for which the climate of
the parent colony is too warm, are raised here without

The system of rearing and fattening cattle is perfectly
analogous to that which is pursued at Port Jackson. The natural
grasses afford an abundance of pasturage at all seasons of the
year, and no provision of winter provender, in the shape either
of hay or artificial food, is made by the settler for his cattle;
yet, notwithstanding this palpable omission, and the greater
length and severity of the winters, all manner of stock attain
there a much larger size than at Port Jackson. Oxen from three to
four years old average here about 700 lbs. and wethers from two
to three years old, from 80 to 90 lbs.; while there oxen of the
same age, do not average more than 500 lbs. and wethers not more
than 40 lbs. At Port Dalrymple it is no uncommon occurrence for
yearly lambs to weigh from 100 to 120 lbs. and for three year old
wethers to weigh 150 lbs. and upwards; but this great
disproportion of weight arises in some measure from the greater
part of the sheep at this settlement, having become, from
constant crossing, nearly of the pure Teeswater breed. Still the
superior richness of the natural pastures in these southern
settlements, is without doubt the main cause of the increased
weight at which both sheep and cattle arrive; since there is both
a kindlier and larger breed of cattle at Port Jackson, which
nevertheless, neither weighs as heavy, nor affords as much suet
as the cattle there. This is an incontrovertible proof that the
natural grasses possess much more nutritive and fattening
qualities in this colony than in the other; and the superior
clearness of the country is quite sufficient to account for this
circumstance, without taking into the estimate the additional
fact, that up to a certain parallel of latitude, to which neither
the one nor the other of the countries in question extends, the
superior adaptation of the colder climate for the rearing and
fattening of stock, is quite unquestionable.

The price of provisions is about on a par in the two colonies,
or if there be any difference, it is somewhat lower here. Horses
three or four years back were considerably dearer than at Port
Jackson; but large importations of them have been made in
consequence, and it is probable that their value is before this
time completely equalized.

The wages of ordinary labourers are at least thirty per cent.
higher, and of mechanics, fifty per cent. higher than in the
parent colony; a disproportion solely attributable to the very
unequal and injudicious distribution that has been made of the

The progress made by these settlements in manufactures, is too
inconsiderable to deserve notice, further than as it affords a
striking proof in how much more flourishing and prosperous a
condition they are than the parent colony.

The commerce carried on by the colonists is of the same nature
as that which is maintained by their brethren at Port Jackson.
Like these, they have no staple export to offer in exchange for
the various commodities which they import from foreign countries,
and are obliged principally to rely on the expenditure of the
government for the means of procuring them. Their annual income
may be taken as follows:

Money expended by the government for the pay and subsistence
of the civil and military, and for the support of such of
the convicts as are victualled from the king's stores,        £30,000
Money expended by foreign shipping,                             3,000
Wheat, etc. exported to Port Jackson,                           4,000
Exports collected by the merchants of the settlement,           5,000
Sundries,                                                       2,000
Total,                                                        £44,000

The duties collected in these southern settlements, are
exactly on the same scale as at Port Jackson, and amount to about
£5,000 annually, inclusive of the per centage allowed the
collectors of them.

A general Statement of the Land in Cultivation, etc. the
Quantities of Stock, etc. as accounted for at the General
Muster in New South Wales, taken by His Excellency Governor
Macquarie, and Deputy Commissary General Allan, commencing the
6th October, and finally closing the 25th November, 1817,
inclusive; with an exact Account of the same at Van Diemen's

Acres in Wheat                           18,462
         Ground prepared for Maize       11,714
         Barley                             856½
         Oats                               156¾
         Pease and Beans                    204¼
         Potatoes                           559
         Garden and Orchard                 863
         Cleared ground                  47,564¼
         Total held                     235,003¼

Horses                                    3,072
Horned cattle                            44,753
Sheep                                   170,920
Hogs                                     17,842
Bushels of Wheat                         24,05 [sic]
Bushels of Maize                          1,506

N. B. Total Number of Inhabitants in the Colony, including Van
Diemen's Land, 20,379.



It is generally considered a matter of astonishment that the
colony of New South Wales, situated as it is, in a climate equal
to that of the finest parts of France, of Spain, and of Italy,
and possessing a soil of unbounded fertility, should have made so
little progress towards prosperity and independence. The causes,
however, which have contributed to its retardment, are the same,
as have been attended with similar effects in all ages. Not only
the records of the years that are no more, but the experience
also of the present day, concur in proving that the prosperity of
nations is not so much the result of the fertility of their soil,
and the benignity of their climate, as of the wisdom and policy
of their institutions. Decadence, poverty, wretchedness, and
vice, have been the invariable attendants of bad governments; as
prosperity, wealth, happiness, and virtue, have been of good
ones. Rome, once the glory of the world; now a bye-word among the
nations: once the seat of civilization, of affluence, and of
power; now the abode of superstition, poverty, and weakness, is a
lasting monument of the truth of this assertion. Her greatness
was founded on freedom, and rose with her consulate; her
decadence may be said to have commenced with her first emperor,
and was completed under his vicious and despotic dynasty: her
climate and soil still remain; but the freedom which raised her
to the empire of the world has passed away with her

If we search still further back into antiquity, we shall find
that all the great nations which have at various times
preponderated over their neighbours, attained their utmost force
and vigour, during the period of their greatest freedom and
virtue; and that their decadence and ultimate annihilation were
the work of a succession of vicious and tyrannical rulers. The
empires of Persia and of Greece, were successively established by
the superior freedom and virtue of their citizens; and it was
only when the institutions, which were the source of this freedom
and virtue, were no longer reverenced and enforced, that each in
its turn became the prey of a freer and more virtuous people.

The experience of modern times is still more conclusive on
this subject; because no part of the chain of events which have
contributed to the aggrandisement or impair of existing nations,
lies hid in the mist of ages. If we regard the unprecedented
wealth and power of our own country, we shall be convinced that
her present pre-eminent position is not so much the effect of her
soil and climate, since in these respects she is confessedly
behind many of the nations of Europe, as of the superior freedom
of her laws, which have engendered her a freer, more virtuous,
and more warlike race of people. It is to her superior polity
alone that she is indebted for a dominion, unparalleled in the
history of the world; and it is to its rigid maintenance and
enforcement that she must look for its durability.

While England has been thus assiduously attentive to her own
immediate internal prosperity, she has not in general been
neglectful of those external possessions, which she has gradually
acquired by colonization, by conquest, or by cession. On the most
distant branches of her empire, she has engrafted, as far as
circumstances would in general admit, those institutions which
have been the main cause of her own internal happiness and
prosperity. In the West Indies, in Canada, and lately in the
Ionian Islands, she has introduced the elective franchise, and
established that mixed counterpoising form of government, whose
three component parts, though essentially different in their
natures, so admirably coalesce and form one combined harmonious
whole. It has, in fact, been one of the leading maxims of her
political conduct, and undoubtedly one of the chief causes of her
present greatness, to attach the people who have been embodied
into her empire, or who have emigrated from her shores only to
colonise new countries, and thus to extend her limits and
increase her resources, by an equality of rights and privileges
with her subjects at home. The navigation act, indeed, militates
in some degree, against the liberal view here taken of her
colonial policy; but the existence of this single act, which,
however its wisdom may be at present canvassed, there can be no
doubt has proved the basis of her commercial and maritime
ascendancy, will not invalidate the claim to liberality, of which
her colonial system is in other respects deserving. The conduct
of her government has undoubtedly been in most instances liberal
and enlightened; and if they have occasionally deviated from
their ordinary enlarged policy of establishing the representative
system, and leaving to the colonies, themselves, the liberty of
framing laws adapted to their several circumstances and wants, it
has been principally in those cases where the ancient inveterate
habits of the people, their difference of religion, and inferior
civilization, have rendered such deviations unavoidable. India
furnishes the principal example of such exception to her general
policy; yet, even in her remote possessions in that country, the
sixty millions who are subject to her sway, enjoy a security of
person and property unknown to them while under the government of
their native princes. It is on this amelioration in their
condition, and not on the strength and number of her armies, that
her dominion in that part of the world is founded; and after all,
what government is so stable as that which is bottomed on
opinion, and depends for its existence on general utility, and
the consent of the governed? Dominion may, indeed, be acquired,
and continued by force and terror; but if it have no other props
to support it, it is at best but precarious, and must, sooner or
later, fall, either by the resistance of those whom it would hold
in subjection, or by undermining their moral and physical
energies, and thus rendering them unfit even for the vile
purposes of despotism itself.

The colony of New South Wales, is, I believe, the only one of
our possessions exclusively inhabited by Englishmen, in which
there is not at least the shadow of a free government, as it
possesses neither a council, a house of assembly, nor even the
privilege of trial by jury. And although it must be confessed
that the strange ingredients of which this colony was formed, did
not, at the epoch of its foundation, warrant a participation of
these important privileges, it will be my endeavour in this essay
to prove that the withholding of them up to the present period,
has been the sole cause why it has not realized the expectations
which its founders were led to form of its capabilities.

It is not difficult to conceive that the same causes, which in
the lapse of centuries have sufficed to undermine and eventually
ingulph vast empires, should be able to impede the progress of
smaller communities, whether they be kingdoms, states, or
colonies. Arbitrary governments, indeed, are so generally
admitted to impair the moral and physical energies of a people,
that it would be superfluous to enter into an elaborate
disquisition, in order to demonstrate the truth of a position,
which has been confirmed by the experience of ages. Whoever is
convinced that he has no rights, no possessions that are sacred
and inviolable, is a slave, and devoid of that noble feeling of
independence which is essential to the dignity of his nature, and
the due discharge of his functions. This noble assurance that he
is in the path of duty and security, so long as he refrain from
the violation of those laws which may have been framed for the
good of the community of which he is a member, is the main spring
of all industry and improvement. But this dignified feeling
cannot exist in any society which is subject to the arbitrary
will of an individual; and although the governor of this colony
does not exactly possess the unlimited authority of an eastern
despot, since he may be ultimately made accountable to his
sovereign and the laws, for the abuse of the power delegated to
him, I may be allowed to ask, should he invade the property, and
violate the personal liberty of those whom he ought to govern
with justice and impartiality, where are the oppressed to seek
for retribution? Is it in this country, situated at sixteen
thousand miles from the seat of his injustice and oppression? To
tell a poor man that he may obtain redress in the court of King's
Bench, what is it but a cruel mockery, calculated to render the
pang more poignant, which it would pretend to alleviate?

I am not here amusing myself with the supposition of
contingencies that may never occur. I am alluding to outrages
that have been actually perpetrated, and of which the bare
recital would fill the minds of a British jury with the liveliest
sentiments of compassion and sympathy for the oppressed, and of
horror and indignation against the oppressor. Leaseholds
cancelled, houses demolished without the smallest compensation,
on the plea of public utility, but in reality from motives of
private hatred and revenge; freemen imprisoned on arbitrary
warrants issued without reference to the magistracy, and even
publicly flogged in the same illegal and oppressive manner: such
were the events that crowded the government of a wretch, whom it
would be as superfluous to name, as it is needless to hold him up
to the execration of posterity* If such an immortality were, as
it appears to have been, the object of his pursuit, he has
completely attained it. Almost at his very offset in life, he
acquired a notoriety which has increased through all the
subsequent sinuosities of his career. Not content with pushing
the discipline of the service to which he belonged, in itself
sufficiently severe, to its extreme verge, by an excess of
vexatious brutality, he goaded into mutiny a crew of noble-minded
fellows, the greater part of whom it has been since discovered,
pined away their existence on a desolate island, lost to their
country and themselves, the sad victims of an unavailing remorse.
Yet there is one of them still living, who has since fully
evinced his devotedness for his country's glory, and has been
deservedly raised to that elevated rank in her service, which but
for him many more might have lived to attain. Despised by his
equals in his profession, and detested by his inferiors, he was
contradistinguished from other worthy officers of the same name,
by prefixing to his _that_ of the vessel which was the scene
of this act of insubordination, in the event the grave of many a
noble spirit, that might otherwise have proved an honour to
themselves and a credit to their country. The brutal tyranny that
characterised his conduct on this occasion, would have alone
sufficed to brand him with the imputation of "coward," had it
been even unconnected with the many subsequent acts of oppression
which have stamped his career, and of which it is to be hoped for
the prevention of future monsters, that the infamy will long
survive the records. The 26th of January, 1808, the memorable day
when, by the spontaneous impulse of a united colony, he was
arrested; and fortunate for the cause of humanity is it that he
was then arrested, for ever** in the perpetration of the most
atrocious outrages that ever disgraced the representative of a
free government, has substantiated his claim to this character
beyond the possibility of doubt. Dreading the resentment of the
people whom he had so often and so wantonly oppressed, and having
on his back that uniform which was never so dishonoured before,
he skulked under a servant's bed in an obscure chamber of his
house, but was at length discovered in this disgraceful hole, and
conducted pale, trembling, and covered with flue,*** before the
officer who had commanded his arrest; nor could this gentleman's
repeated assurances that no violence should be offered his
person, convince him for a considerable time that his life was in
safety from the vengeance of the populace: so conscious was he of
the enormity of his conduct, and of the justice of an immediate
and exemplary retaliation.

[* The following anecdote, for the authenticity of
which I pledge myself, will afford a better illustration of this
monster's character, than whole pages of general declamation and
invective. At the period of his government cattle were very
scarce in the colony, and the stockholders were very tenacious of
allowing their cows to be milked, from the injury which it did
the calves. Milk was in consequence a great rarity; but as the
governor, naturally enough, did not choose to forego any of the
good things of this life, particularly whenever it was in his
option to obtain them without any expence, he had always a number
of cattle from the government herds, to furnish a supply of it
for his household. The surplus he generously distributed among
his favourites. One of these was a gentleman belonging to the
medical staff, who used in common with all those permitted the
same indulgence, to send his servant daily for his share of this
precious fluid. This unfortunate wight happened to go one morning
a little too late; and whether the person charged with the
distribution of this milk had been a little too liberal in his
donations to such of the gentlemen's servants as had attended in
due time, or whether the cows did not give their usual quantity
that morning, there was not a drop left for him on his arrival.
Not reflecting that this disappointment was occasioned by his own
negligence, he ventured to make some remarks, such as "he did not
know why his master should not have his share as well as another
gentleman, etc. etc." which proved so highly disagreeable to the
feelings of the great man who administered this highly important
office, that he immediately went and complained to the still
greater man who had invested him with it. This august personage
not only feelingly participated in the insult which had been
offered his faithful domestic, but also vowed that he should have
the most ample satisfaction. He accordingly ordered the
complainant to send the offending party into his presence on the
following morning; strictly enjoining him before hand, to take
especial care that he should remain ignorant of the chastisement
which was in petto for him. The next morning when the poor fellow
came as usual for his master's quota of milk, he was told by the
great man whom he had the day before unwittingly offended, that
the governor desired to speak to him. Wondering that so
distinguished a personage should even know that so humble a being
as himself was in existence, and at a loss to conjecture what
could be his gracious will and pleasure, he was ushered trembling
into his dread presence. In an instant his alarms were quieted.
The governor told him with a condescending smile, that as the
chief constable's house was in his way home, he had merely sent
for him to be the bearer of a letter to that person, from a
desire to spare his dragoon the trouble of carrying it. The poor
fellow, of course, delivered the letter with all haste, little
imagining what were its contents. When the chief constable
perused it, he ordered out the triangles; the poor wretch was
instantly tied up to them, and in a stupor of surprise and
consternation underwent the punishment, (whether twenty-five or
fifty lashes I am not sure) which was ordered to be given him,
without any explanation till after its infliction, of the reasons
why he received it. Was not this a refinement of cruelty worthy
the most atrocious monster of antiquity?]

[** When I wrote this part of the present work the
person to whom it has reference was living; and the only
alteration which I have made in it since his death, has been the
necessary changes in the tenses of the verbs. My assertions have
been scrupulously regulated by truth; but I am still aware that
they might have been pronounced libellous in a court of justice;
and I have been advised by some of my friends to cancel them, on
the ground that the recollection of injuries should not be
prolonged beyond the grave. The applicability, however, of this
principle to private resentments is not more evident, than its
inapplicability to public. The tomb which ought to be the goal of
the one, is the starting-post of the other. It is the legitimate
province, nay, more, one of the most sacred duties of the
annalist to speak of public characters after their deaths, with
that severity of reprobation or of praise, to which their conduct
in public life may have entitled them. Have not all impartial
biographers and historians acted on this principle? And shall I
be deterred from following so just and salutary an example? If
when death has set his seal upon a man's actions, and when the
evil which he has committed is irremediable, the voice of censure
is still to be silent, when, I may ask, ought it to be heard? Had
such an ill-judged forbearance been practised by historians,
would the world have known that any tyrants, except those who may
exist at the present epoch, or who may have existed within the
reach of memory or of tradition, ever infested the earth? Would
not the enormities of the Dionysii, of Caligula, and of Nero,
have been long since forgotten? And would not many of those
princes who have merited and obtained the appellations of
"great," of "good," and of "just," have become as atrocious
monsters as _these_ were, but from the dread of being held
up as objects of similar execration to posterity? The tyrant,
indeed, whose conduct I would stamp with merited detestation,
moved, fortunately for the interests of mankind, in a humbler
sphere, and therefore, his atrocities have a greater tendency to
sink into premature oblivion. But is it a less sacred duty to
take all such steps as may be calculated to deter his successors
from treading in his footsteps; because they will only have
_thousands_ to trample upon instead of _millions_?
Ought not oppression in every community, whether great or small,
to be discouraged by every possible means? And what means are so
likely to effect this end, and to prevent these secondary tyrants
from sneaking out of the pages of record and recollection, as to
project their memories red-hot from the sun of public
indignation, with a long fiery train of inextinguishable
ignominy, which may serve to point out their tracks; and to
render them for ever glaring objects of dread and execration, not
only to the planet of which they may have proved the bane, but to
the whole system encircled by their orbits? In persevering,
therefore, in the remarks which I made on this man's actions when
he was living, it is my conscientious belief that I have only
acquitted myself of an imperative duty; and that I should have
been guilty of a gross dereliction of it, had I done otherwise.
On this conviction, unalloyed by any baser impulse, I rest the
defence of my conduct; should there be any of my readers, who may
be inclined to view it in the same unjustifiable light as it is
regarded by some few of my friends.]

[*** See Lieutenant-Colonel Johnstone's

The instance of this man's conduct, is, I am willing to allow,
an aggravated one, and such as it is to be hoped for the honour
of our species would be rarely repeated. That it has occurred is,
however, sufficient to demonstrate the impropriety of confiding
unlimited power to any individual in future. The mere possession,
indeed, of such vast authority, is calculated to vitiate the
heart, and to engender tyranny; nor are examples wanting in
history of persons, who though models of virtue and moderation in
private stations, yet became the most bloody and atrocious
tyrants on their elevation to supreme power. So great, indeed, is
the fallibility of human nature, that the very best of us are apt
to deviate from that just mean, in the adherence to which
consists virtue. All governments, therefore, should provide
against this capital defect; they should be so constituted as not
only to have in view what should happen, but also what might;
possibilities should be contemplated as well as probabilities.
The power to do good should if possible be unlimited: the ability
to do evil, followed with the highest responsibility, and
restrained by a moral certainty of punishment. An authority such
as the governor of this colony possesses, might be tolerated
under a despotic government; but it is a disgrace to one that
piques itself on its freedom. What plea can be urged for
encouraging excesses in our possessions abroad, that would be
visited with condign punishment in our courts at home? Are those
who quit the habitations of their fathers, to extend the limits
and resources of the empire, deserving of no better recompence
than a total suspension of the rights and liberties which their
ancestors have bequeathed them? Are they on their arrival in
these remote shores, to meet with no one of the institutions,
which they have been taught to cherish and to reverence? If the
want, indeed, of these institutions, of which so many centuries
have attested the wisdom, had as yet been productive of no evil,
there might be some excuse offered for the withholding of them;
but after such a scandalous abuse of authority, the colonists
expected, and had a right to expect, that no subsequent governor
would have been appointed without the intervention of some
controlling power, which, while it should tend to strengthen the
execntive in the due discharge of its functions, might at the
same time protect the subject in the legitimate exercise and
enjoyment of his private and personal rights. Never was there a
period since the foundation of the colony, when the impolicy of
its present form of government was so strikingly manifest; and
never, perhaps, will there be an occasion, when the establishment
of a house of assembly, and of trial by jury, would have been
hailed with such enthusiastic joy and gratitude: and accordingly
the disappointment of the colonists was extreme, when on the
arrival of Governor Macquarie, it was found that the same unwise
and unconstitutional power, which had been the cause of the late
confusion and anarchy was continued in all its pristine vigor;
and that he was uncontrolled even by the creation of a

I would here have it most distinctly understood that I do not
mean to cast the slightest imputation on the conduct of this
gentleman, whom his majesty's ministers selected with so much
discrimination in this delicate and embarrassing conjuncture. The
manner in which he has discharged, during a period of more than
nine years, the important functions confided to him, has
completely justified the high opinion that was formed of his
moderation and ability. He has fully proved that he had no need
of any controlling power,* to keep him in the path of honour and
duty; and has raised the colony, by his single prudence and
discretion, to as high a pitch of prosperity, as it perhaps could
have attained, in so short a period, under such a paralysing form
of government. But it has not been in his power to benefit the
colony to the extent which he has contemplated and desired; many
of the projects which he has submitted to the consideration of
his majesty's ministers, have not obtained their approval. It
would appear, indeed, that the very parent, to whom this strange
unconstitutional monster owes its birth and existence, is
distrustful of her hideous progeny; and that by way of securing
the people whom she has suffered it to govern against the
unlimited devastations which it might be tempted to commit, she
has prohibited it from moving out of certain bounds, without her
previous concurrence and authority. The wisdom of this precaution
has been sufficiently manifested by the terrible excesses which
it has committed within the sphere of this circumscribed
jurisdiction. If its conduct, with the possession of this
imperfect degree of liberty has been atrocious, it cannot be
difficult to conceive to what lengths an unlimited power of
action might have tempted it to proceed. Still there can be no
doubt that this state of restraint, on the one hand so salutary
and provident, has on the other occasioned much injury, and
prevented the adoption of many measures of the highest urgency
and importance to the welfare of the colony. Among these the
failure of Governor Macquarie's attempt to procure the sanction
of his majesty's ministers for the erection of distilleries, is
perhaps the most justly to be deplored.

[* Since I wrote this encomium on Governor
Macquarie's administration, a petition from some few individuals,
complaining of and enumerating several acts of oppression, said
to have been committed towards them by this gentleman, has been
presented to the House of Commons by Mr. Brougham. The honourable
and learned member did not, however, choose to pledge himself for
the correctness of the allegations set forth in this petition;
and therefore, until they are substantiated, the gentleman whose
conduct has been thus impeached, ought to be considered as
innocent of the charges preferred against him. If the event,
however, should prove that they are founded in truth, the fact
will only afford an additional proof of the demoralizing
influence of arbitrary authority on the minds of those who
possess it, and of the impolicy of suffering the present form of
government to continue in force a single hour beyond the period
necessary for its supercession. Never was there a more humane and
upright man than Governor Macquarie; and if the power with which
he has been for so many years intrusted, has indeed at length
propelled him beyond the bounds of moderation and justice, it may
be safely asserted that there are but very few men in existence
whom it would not have tempted to commit a similar

From the period* at which this colony was able to raise a
sufficiency of grain for its consumption, the adoption of this
measure has been imperatively called for by the wants and
circumstances of its inhabitants; and it is to so palpable an
omission, that the constant succession of abundance and scarcity,
which, to the astonishment of many inquiring persons, has for the
last fifteen years alternately prevailed there, is mainly
ascribable. So long as the necessities of the government were
greater than the means of the colonists to administer to them,
the productive powers of this settlement developed themselves
with a degree of rapidity which furnishes the surest criterion of
its fertility and importance. But from the moment this impulse
was checked, from the instant the supply exceeded the demand, the
colony may be said to have continued stationary, with respect to
its agriculture; producing in favourable seasons, somewhat more
than enough grain for its consumption, but in unfavourable ones,
whether arising from drought, or flood, falling so greatly
deficient in its supply, that recourse has been invariably had to
India, in order to guarantee its inhabitants from the horrors of
famine, which have so often stared them in the face; and to
which, but for such salutary precaution, the majority of them
must have long ago fallen victims. These dreadful deficiencies
have been the natural and inevitable result of a want of market;
since no person will expend his time and means in producing that
which will not ensure him an adequate return for his pains. So
long, therefore, as other channels of industry, yielding a more
certain compensation for labour, were open, the colonist would
naturally prefer such more profitable occupation, to the
comparatively precarious and unproductive culture of his land;
and it was accordingly found, that many, who had till then
devoted their sole attention to agriculture, abandoned at this
period all tillage but such as was necessary for the support of
their households, and employed the funds which they had acquired
by the former successful cultivation of their farms, in the
purchase and rearing of cattle, which continued a certain
lucrative employment, long after agricultural produce had become
of a depreciated and precarious value. The reason why these two
branches of husbandry did not keep pace in this as in other
countries, is obvious, from the remoteness of its situation,
which rendered the conveyance of cattle thither so extremely
difficult and expensive, that but a very limited supply of them
was furnished, in comparison with its necessities. The increase,
therefore, of these cattle could only be proportionate to their
number; while no bounds were as yet assigned to the extension of
agriculture, but, on the contrary, the whole combined energies of
the colonists directed to this single channel, by the great
demand which existed for their produce. Not but that the rearing
of cattle was from the commencement equally, and indeed far more
profitable than the cultivation of the land; but their exorbitant
price excluded all but a few great capitalists from embarking in
so profitable an undertaking; while, on the contrary, a stock of
provisions with a few axes and hoes, and a good pair of hands to
wield them, were the principal requisites for an agricultural
establishment; and, indeed, in the early period of this
settlement, all these essentials were supplied the colonists by
the liberality of the government, till sufficient time had
elapsed for the application of the produce of their farms to
their own support.

[* This epoch may be dated so far back as 1804: the
harvest of that year was so abundant, and the surplus of grain so
extensive, that no sale could be had for more than one half of
the crop. During the greater part of the following year, wheat
sold at prices scarcely sufficient to cover the expence of
reaping, thrashing, and carrying it to market; pigs and other
stock were fed upon it; and these two years of such extraordinary
abundance involved the whole agricultural body in the greatest
distress; grain was then their only property, and it was of so
little value that it was invariably rejected by their creditors
in payment of their debts. The consequence was that it was wasted
and neglected in the most shocking manner; scarcely any person
would give it house room, and had the harvest of the following
year proved equally abundant, the majority of the settlers must
have abandoned their farms, and sought for other employment.
Fortunately, however, for the agricultural interests, the great
flood of 1806 intervened to prevent the impending desertion; the
old and the new stocks on the banks of the Hawkesbury and Nepean
were all swept away, and thus for a few years afterwards the
supply of grain was pretty nearly kept on a level with the demand
for it.]

But to return to the epoch when the supply of corn became too
great for the demand, and when, as has been already noticed, some
part of those who till then had been exclusively engaged in
agriculture, turned their attention to the more beneficial
occupation of rearing cattle; still the secession of these, who
formed but a very inconsiderable member of the agricultural body,
in consequence of the enormous price of cattle even at that
period, and the great capital which it consequently required to
become a stock-holder to any extent, afforded but a very trivial
relief to those who adhered from necessity to their original
employment. In this conjuncture, therefore, many of the next
richer class abandoned their farms, and with the funds which they
were enabled to collect, set up shops or public-houses in Sydney.
This town was at that time the more favourable to such
undertakings, in consequence of the brisk commerce carried on
with China, by means of American and India-built vessels, that
were in part owned by the colonial merchants, and procured sandal
wood in the Fegee Islands, at a trifling expense, which they
carried direct to China, and bartered for return cargoes of
considerable value. The Seal Islands too, which were discovered
to the southward of the colony, furnished about the same period,
an extensive and lucrative employment for the colonial craft, and
contributed not less than the sandal wood trade to the
flourishing condition of this port. It was also about this time
that the valuable whale fisheries, which the adjacent seas
afford, were first attempted; but repeated experiment has proved
that the duties which are levied, as well in this country as in
the colony, on oil procured in colonial vessels, amount to a
complete prohibition. Many of the merchants, whose enterprising
spirit prompted them to repeated efforts, in order to bear up
against the overwhelming weight of these duties, have found to
their cost, that they are an insuperable obstacle to the
successful prosecution of these fisheries, which would otherwise
prove an inexhaustible source of wealth to the colony, and
provide a permanent outlet for its redundant population. These
two branches of commerce, so long as they were followed, afforded
a support to great numbers of the colonists, and rendered the
shock which the agricultural body had sustained, less sensible
and alarming. I say these two, because the third has never been
prosecuted but with loss; and has, in fact, proved a vortex which
has devoured a great part of the profits which the othertwo
yielded. For some years, however, these two channels have been so
completely drained, that they are only at present pursued by
desperate adventurers, who seldom or never obtain a return
commensurate with the risk they run, and the capital they employ.
But even during the period of their utmost productiveness, the
number of persons who were immediately engaged in them, or who
abandoned the plough to place themselves behind the counter, was
far from providing a remedy for the disease of the agricultural
body: because in the former instance these two branches of
commerce were only capable of affording employment to a limited
population; and in the latter a capital was necessary, not so
great indeed as had been required to enter successfully on the
grazing system, but yet far more considerable than it was in the
ability of the majority of the colonists to raise. By these
migrations, therefore, the pressure and embarrassment of the
agricultural body, which by this time had gradually lost the
richest and most respectable portion of its members, was but
little, if indeed at all alleviated; and some other expedient
became everyday more and more necessary to be adopted by those
who remained. In this exigency many abandoned their farms
altogether, and hired themselves as servants to such richer
individuals as had occasion for their services; while others, and
undoubtedly the greater part of them, cultivated but a small
portion of their land, and afterwards travelled in search of
labour till harvest time, at which period they returned, reaped,
threshed, and disposed of their crops, and after recultivating
the same spot, sought, during the rest of the year, employment as
before, wherever it could be found. This is the mode of life
which a great number of the poor settlers pursue to this day.

But the effect of these entire, or partial secessions from the
agricultural body, was not so extensively beneficial as might at
first be imagined. All this time the population was in a state of
rapid progression, both from the daily influx of people from
without, and from the amazing fecundity of the colonists within.
The distress, therefore, of the colony continued increasing in
proportion to its increasing population. And although it may
appear strange, that while it was a subject of such notoriety,
that the settlers were already too numerous for the occasions of
the colony, fresh volunteers should crowd to enrol themselves
under their banners; this surprise will cease when it is stated,
that the settling of new lands was for many years a matter of
traffic between the government and the colonists, by which, as it
is natural to conclude, the former were no great gainers. It was
their policy, and undoubtedly necessary in the early stages of
the settlement, and even at present under proper restrictions, to
encourage the extension of agriculture generally, but more
particularly in the inland districts, that are not subject to
flood; and to this end it was customary to support new settlers
with their wives, families, and servants, for eighteen months, at
the expense of the crown. The natural consequence was, that all
who had become free, either by the expiration of their servitude,
by conditional emancipation, or by absolute pardon, and who had
no means of support, embraced this offer of the government, which
assured them a subsistence that enabled them to seek at their
leisure for a more lucrative occupation elsewhere. Nor are these
poor creatures who thus profited by the liberality of the
government with an intention to abuse it, to be too harshly
condemned: still less so are those who, arriving strangers in the
colony, and having in most instances wives and families, the
support of whom in inactivity would be daily consuming their
little all, embraced this the only immediate mode of subsistence
that occurred to them. These people, as soon as the helping hand
of the government was withdrawn, and it became incumbent on them
to depend on their own proper resources, would be immediately
subject to the same privation and misery which pressed on their
body, and would consequently be under the necessity of resorting
to the same expedients for relief. The great increase which has
taken place of late years to the cleared lands in the colony, has
been the result of this system, and not the gradual progressive
operation of a flourishing agriculture. This assertion I consider
fully borne out by a comparison between the quantity of land
cleared, and the quantity in cultivation. By the last return from
the colony, taken so late as November, 1817, it appears that
there are 47,564 acres of cleared land, out of which only 32,814
are cropped; 14,750 acres, therefore, (or nearly one-half of what
is in cultivation) are lying waste: a circumstance which can only
be accounted for in this manner, since the system of fallowing
land is not in practice. It must therefore be evident, that the
clearing of so great a portion of land over and above what is
required by the situation and wants of the colonists, must have
been effected by unnatural means. The increase of produce has
not, indeed, outstepped the growth of population, but it has kept
pace with it, and all the cleared land which is not employed in
the raising of this produce, has evidently been a useless
expenditure of labour.

Thus this copious afflux of new colonists into the uninhabited
districts in the interior, which had hitherto been exclusively
occupied by the flocks and herds of the graziers, did not produce
that permanent advantage which the enormous expense incurred by
the government in their outfit, ought to have insured. At the
same time it was of the most undoubted injury to the
stock-holders, by preventing them from allowing their cattle to
roam at large during the night, from the danger of trespass and
poundage, which the indiscriminate dispersion of small
agricultural establishments over the whole face of the country,
without fences of any description to protect them, every where
occasioned. To be sure, the colonists will have derived this very
material advantage from the great quantity of cleared land, now
lying waste; that whenever the pernicious policy, which has
paralysed their energies, and blasted the general prosperity,
shall be relinquished, and a judicious system of encouragement
substituted in its stead, they will instantly be prepared to
profit by the capabilities which the wisdom and justice of the
parent government shall have at length afforded them.

But the future increase in the cleared lands will not be
proportioned to the past, because directions have of late been
transmitted from this country, to allow future colonists only six
months provisions from the king's stores, for themselves and
their households, instead of eighteen months, as heretofore. This
very material diminution in the measure of encouragement held out
to future colonization, will clearly be attended with a threefold
operation. It will be a grievous disadvantage to such respectable
persons as emigrate from this country, with a real intention, but
with funds scarcely adequate to a permanent settlement in the
colony; it will still further discourage the existing
agriculturist and grazier, by lessening the demand of the
government for their produce; and it will increase the general
embarrassment, both by narrowing this channel of employment,
which was supplied by the liberality of the government, and by
curtailing the means of the colonists at large to provide labour
for that part of the population, which will be thus turned loose
on them twelvemonths sooner than usual.

To the credit of the present governor it must be allowed that
he has done all that a benevolent heart and a sagacious head
could dictate, to counteract the growing distress and misery. He
has exhausted all the means in his power to give employment to
the large portion of unoccupied labour, which it has not been
within the compass of individual enterprize to absorb. He has
effected the greatest improvements in the capital, by enlarging
and straightening the streets, and by erecting various public
edifices of the highest utility and ornament. The same
superintending hand is visible throughout all the inferior towns
and townships, many of which indeed are of his own foundation. He
has made highways to every cultivated district, thus affording
the inhabitants of them the greatest facilities for the cheap and
expeditious conveyance of their produce to market. In fine,
throughout every part of the colony and its dependent settlements
at the Derwent and Port Dalrymple, he has effected improvements
which will long continue monuments of the wisdom and liberality
of their author. But it cannot be denied, however beneficial
these and other improvements of the same nature which are in
progress may be, either with respect to their immediate or more
remote consequences, that they are but mere temporary sources of
alleviation, whose benignant supply will cease with the discharge
of the great body of workmen whom they at present maintain in
activity. This, indeed, as well as all the other expedients which
I have already enumerated, as having been practised in order to
find outlets for the superabundant labour, have been productive
of no permanent result.

This assertion is satisfactorily substantiated by the present
unnatural efforts of the colonists in the establishment of
various manufactories, particularly those of cloth and hats. I
say unnatural, because in the common course of things, the origin
of such establishments ought to be coeval only with an entire
occupation of the soil, and redundancy of population. And this
chiefly for two reasons: because a greater capital is required in
their foundation, and a greater degree of skill and dexterity in
their developement. It is on this account that in Canada, and our
colonies in the West Indies, which are in a great measure left to
the guidance of their native legislatures, and which it is
therefore to be presumed, adopt that line of policy at once most
consistent with their own interests, and with those of the parent
country, since in the persons of her representatives, she
approves or annuls their proceedings, we find that manufactures
have been altogether neglected, while their agriculture and
plantations, while, in fine, the exportation of raw materials,
whether the natural or artificial productions of these colonies,
has been promoted in every possible manner. That this is the
system which ought to have been pursued, we have a still more
forcible proof in the instance of the United States of America,
and of many of the ancient nations of Europe; which, unfettered
by any dependence whatever on any foreign power, and having
consequently adopted that policy, which has been found the most
consistent with their respective interests, have made but very
little progress in manufactures, and are therefore still under
the necessity of having recourse for manufactured commodities to
other countries. If then the promotion of agriculture be more
politic in many independent states, which have not yet attained
the same maturity of growth and civilization, that characterize
the principal manufacturing nations of the world, by how much
more prudent must the encouragement of it be in a dependent
colony like this; possessed as it is of all the requisites for an
unlimited extension of its agriculture in the fertility of its
soil, the benignity of its climate, and the extent of its
territory, and wanting all the essentials for the production of
manufactures, skill, capital, and population?

The existing state of things, therefore, is not only contrary
to the welfare of the colony itself, but also in diametrical
opposition to the interests of the parent country. A great
manufacturing nation herself, it is her undoubted policy, and
that which on every occasion I believe but the present she has
pursued, to augment in her colonies, at one and the same time,
the consumption of her own _manufactures_, and the growth of
such productions as she has found essential to her own use, or to
the supply of other nations. The toleration, therefore, of a
system so averse to her acknowledged interests, can only be
attributed to ignorance, or inadvertence. But it is not in the
forcible abolition of these manufactories, created by necessity,
and still rendered indispensable by the same irresistible law,
that the condition of the colony is to be ameliorated or
redressed. So long as the same pernicious disabilities which have
already reduced the colonists to beggary and despair, and
rendered unavailing the resources of a country that might rival
in the number and value of its exports, the most favoured of the
globe are enforced, this manufacturing system is a lamentable but
necessary evil. After putting it out of their power to purchase
the more costly clothing of the mother country, it would be an
intolerable exercise of authority to prevent them from having
recourse to the homely products of their own industry and
ingenuity. Under existing circumstances, indeed, there is no
alternative between permitting them the use of their own
manufactures, and compelling them to go naked, or to clothe
themselves like the aborigines of the country in the skins of
animals. There is but one remedy for the disease of the colony:
it is to give due encouragement to agriculture, and to promote
the growth of exportable commodities, which its inhabitants may
offer in exchange for the productions of other countries. The
manufacturing system which has begun to take root, will then
wither away of its own accord; since it will then be the least
productive manner in which capital and labour can be

Happy would it have been for the colonists, if these repeated
efforts, these distressing and embarrassing expedients to supply
their wants, had been the only injurious consequences resulting
from the stagnation of agriculture. The day when their wretched
situation shall have at length awakened the commiseration of the
parent country, would then have witnessed the term and bounds of
their sufferings. Alas! far different will be the case. Like a
ruined merchant, who would defer, to the utmost length, the
disgrace of bankruptcy, in the daily hope of some prosperous
adventure to retrieve his fortune and restore his credit, the
settlers have gone on contracting debts, which have accumulated
with the increasing embarrassments of the community. The
engagements of the majority of the cultivators, thus swelled in a
few years to a bulk, which they had no longer any chance of
reducing: pressed on all sides by their creditors, the mortgage
or sale of their farms became inevitable; and even these
sacrifices have, in general, been far from cancelling their
bonds; so that they not only have ceased to be proprietors, but
also still continue debtors to a large amount. Their creditors,
in many instances, a set of rapacious, unprincipled dealers,
availing themselves of the power which the law would give them
over the personal liberty of these, their debtors, immediately
took that advantage of their own commanding position, which might
have been expected from their characters. They engaged, or more
properly speaking, constrained, these poor wretches to cultivate
as tenants, the same soil which lately belonged to them, and
exacted from them in return, a rent too exorbitant to be paid.
Every succeeding year, therefore, has but tended to increase
their obligations, and they are, at present, identified with the
soil, and reduced to all intents and purposes, except in name, to
as complete a state of vassalage as the serfs of Russia. If they
should be in need of any trifling supply, it is to their
proprietors, and to them only, that they dare have recourse,
though they would be able to obtain the same articles a hundred
per cent. cheaper elsewhere. To their granaries the whole produce
of their industry is conveyed: and, in spite of all their toil
and privation, far from discharging their original debts, they
find themselves every day more deeply involved. The more they
struggle, the more complicated and firm becomes their
entanglement. Lamentable as undoubtedly must be such a hopeless
state of servitude, it still appears to them preferable to the
precincts of a prison. They respire the free invigorating air of
their plains, and can still traverse them at their option, or at
least when the season arrives which closes their daily task. But
this privilege, it must be confessed, is purchased at its
uttermost value. We have philanthropists among us, who justly
commiserate the condition of that unoffending race of people, who
dragged from the scenes of their nativity, and the habitations of
their fathers, have been consigned by a gang of merciless
kidnappers to perpetual slavery themselves, and to the still more
intolerable necessity of bequeathing an existence of similar
endurement and degradation to their offspring. After years of
strenuous indefatigable exertion these friends of humanity, these
noble champions of liberty have succeeded, if not in emancipating
those, who had already been consigned to this unmerited doom, at
least in preventing the further extension of this infernal
traffic. Would it not be an effort worthy the same philanthropy,
which has thus secured the protection and deliverance of
unoffending Africa, to procure the emancipation of suffering
Australasia? to raise her from the abject state of poverty,
slavery, and degradation, to which she is so fast sinking, and to
present her a constitution, which may gradually conduct her to
freedom, prosperity, and happiness?

It must be admitted that this state of slavery, so galling to
the subjects of a free country, has been in some measure imposed
on the colonists by their own imprudent extravagance. Already but
too much inclined by their early habits of irregularity to
licentious indulgence, the prosperous state of their affairs
during the first fifteen years after the foundation of the
settlement, presented the strongest inducements to a revival of
their ancient propensities, which had been repressed, but not
subdued. Imagining that the same unlimited market, which was then
offered for their produce, would always continue, they only
thought of consuming the fruits of their industry; not doubting
that the same fields, which thus lavishly administered to the
gratification of their desires, would amply suffice for the more
moderate enjoyments of their offspring. But when once their
produce began to exceed the demand of the government, and when in
a short time afterwards from the want of due encouragement, all
the various avenues of industry that lay open were successively
filled, and the means of occupation eithergreatly circumscribed,
or entirely exhausted, these people, so long habituated to
unrestrained indulgence, found it difficult to support that
privation, which became incumbent on their condition; and in
order to procure those luxuries of which they so severely felt
the want, exhausted their credit, and ended by alienating their
possessions. There can be but little doubt if the colonists,
instead of expending, had providently accumulated the money which
they so profusely acquired during the period of their
agricultural prosperity, that their actual situation would have
been far preferable; for, though the gradual retrogradation,
which I should imagine it must at present be sufficiently
evident, that the colony has been undergoing for these last
fifteen years, would by this time have greatly diminished, if not
have totally absorbed their former savings, still their lands
would have remained to them, nor would they have been reduced to
that state of vassalage and misery, which they are this day
enduring. Lamentable therefore, as is their condition, the
consideration that it has thus far been occasioned by their own
imprudence, is apt to detract from that unbounded commiseration
which it would otherwise excite: if, on the other hand, we do not
reflect in extenuation of their thoughtlessness and extravagance,
that their former increased means of indulgence, were the result
of their industry; that this industry was in the first instance
called into activity by the encouragement of the government; that
it has since been paralysed by a concatenation of unwise and
unjust disabilities imposed by the same power; and that
consequently their present wretched and degraded situation is not
so much to be ascribed to their former improvidence as to the
actual impolicy and injustice of their rulers. If we furthermore
consider the short period in which this great change in their
circumstances has been effected, we shall feel convinced that so
sudden a transition from affluence to poverty could not be
patiently endured, and that every method of rendering so
unexpected and galling a burthen more supportable, would be
naturally and inevitably resorted to. To prove still more
satisfactorily that this state of slavery to which so large a
proportion of the original settlers are reduced, has not been so
much the result of their own imprudence as of the impolicy of
their government, numerous instances might be adduced of persons,
not indeed skilled in the arts of husbandry, whose habits have
always been regular and moderate, who have been for many years
stockholders as well as agriculturists, and who, notwithstanding
this two-fold advantage, aided by an undeviating economy, have
been unable to keep themselves free from the embarrassments in
which the bare cultivators of the soil are so generally involved.
To what end then, has their frugality been directed, if a few
years more will engulph their possessions, and reduce them to the
same state of vassalage and degradation, to which their less
provident brethren are already subjected? They have, indeed, in
the prospective some short period of unexpired freedom; but I
doubt much whether the gradual approach of inevitable slavery be
scarcely more enviable than slavery itself.

The great concussion which the agricultural interests thus
sustained at the epoch when the productive powers of the colony
exceeded the consumptive, and the continued shocks to which they
have been exposed ever since, have not unfortunately affected the
agricultural prosperity alone, but have shaken to the foundation
the commercial edifice also. Unluckily both the agricultural and
commercial classes seem to have been alike ignorant of the
death-blow which had been struck at their welfare. The settler
continued in the same career of thoughtless extravagance which
his circumstances when they were even in their most flourishing
state had scarcely permitted, and the merchant went on without
hesitation, advancing him goods in the hope of extricating his
old customer from difficulties which he only imagined to be of
temporary pressure; never for a moment suspecting that they were
the forerunners of deeper embarrassment and ultimate ruin. Need I
state the consequences. The extended credits which the first
merchants thus gave the settlers on the strength of the
progressive increase of their produce, rendered them at last
unable to fulfil the engagements which they had contracted with
British and East India houses, and they were eventually involved
in the destruction which had so suddenly overwhelmed the great
mass of their debtors, on whom they were necessarily dependent
for support. All of them who had been distinguished by their
equitable dealings, and by their liberality of conduct, received
at this moment so rude a shock in their affairs that they have
been unable amidst the increasing decadence of the community at
large to re-establish their credit, and after disposing of the
scattered wrecks of their fortune, have not only been reduced to
penury, but are still indebted to their correspondents in the
amount perhaps of £100,000. These gentlemen thus driven
from the commercial circle by their liberality, unwillingly
inflicted a deadly wound on the credit of the colony. Foreign
merchants would no longer have any account dealings with their
successors; and generally ever since the commercial intercourse
with England and the East Indies has been maintained without any
confidence on the part of the merchants of these two countries;
the money has been received in one hand, and the goods delivered
in the other. This cautious system has given birth to another
race of merchants, much more prudent than their predecessors, but
also much less serviceable to the colony, and much less adapted
to its emergencies. These in their dealings have been forced to
observe the same circumspection which had been adopted towards
themselves, and have given no credit but to those whose means of
payment were unquestionable. As the majority of the colonists
have been always in the back ground, since the epoch which I have
just described, and have in consequence been unable to produce
ready money, a subordinate class of traders, but still superior
in their circumstances and the extent of their transactions to
those little inferior dealers, who are to be found in all
countries, started up, and have since acted as intermediary
agents between the importers and the great body of consumers. The
object of this class has been, and continues to be, not so much
to realize large fortunes in money, which indeed under existing
circumstances would be scarcely possible, as to acquire immense
landed possessions: and their system, which, in fact, is the
natural consequence of this policy, is to require of the settlers
mortgage securities anterior to the supply of such articles as
they may be in need of. As they are frequently unable punctually
to comply with the conditions of these mortgages, their creditors
eagerly embrace the opportunity, whenever it offers, of
foreclosing them, and are thus gradually becoming proprietors of
the finest estates in the colony; estates which whenever its
capabilities shall be called into unrestrained action will ensure
them and their posterity fortunes of a colossal magnitude. While
this class of traders are thus becoming the most considerable
landholders in this settlement, they have not only taken care not
to give credit to such an extent as might occasion a diminution
in their trading capital, but have even contrived to increase it
very materially. This system, therefore, of buying goods, and
afterwards selling them at an almost arbitrary profit, the
greater part of which is thus converted into landed property, is
daily gaining ground, and will infallibly in the end, unless
proper measures be speedily taken to counteract it, reduce the
great majority of the agricultural body to the same state of
vassalage which a large proportion of its members are already
enduring. And what renders the increasing wealth and power of the
small number who thus profit by the embarrassments of the
settlers, and make themselves masters of their persons and
properties, still more odious and galling, is the consideration
that in most instances they are the least deserving, and yet the
only class of the community to whom the present order of things
is favourable. While all the rest of the population are groaning
under the aggravated pressure of toil, privation, and despair,
they are fattening on the surrounding misery, and every day
making rapid strides towards the attainment of immense riches,
under the propitious shelter of a system which would appear to
have been expressly contrived for their especial aggrandisement,
at the expence of the freedom, prosperity and happiness of the
whole social body besides. Like vultures, that in the midst of
combats soar in safety above the destruction raging beneath, but
descend at its close and tranquilly devour the mangled carcases
which the exterminating engines of war have laid prostrate for
their repast, these men out of the influence of the oppressive
disabilities which are overwhelming all but themselves, eagerly
watch the progress of the surrounding misery, and impatiently
await its completion; more cruel than vultures, since covered
with the aegis that has unnerved the force and paralysed the
energies of their neighbours, they introduce themselves into the
midst of the havoc of their own species, and prey upon the living
victims who are sinking around them.

And here, it may not be inexpedient to reconcile the existence
of so much distress, with so large an income, and so small a
population as the colony and its dependent settlements are known
to possess. The former, it has been seen, may be estimated in
round numbers at £170,000, the latter at 20,000 souls: so
that if the annual income were equally divided among the entire
population, and they were all agriculturists, and could furnish
themselves with food, (I make this supposition, because it is at
their option to become agriculturists, and it is consequently a
legitimate inference, that it is not the interest of such as have
not embraced this alteration to do so) they would each have man,
woman, and child, 8l. 10s. yearly for the purchase
of articles of foreign growth and manufacture alone. This I am
ready to allow, is comparatively a much larger sum than could be
appropriated by the inhabitants of this country to similar
purposes; and it would therefore appear on the first view,
incompatible with the doleful picture of distress which I have
drawn. If, however, the remoteness of the colony from England,
India, and China, the three principal supplying countries, be
duly considered, and the great expence of freight and insurance
unavoidably attached to so long a navigation, an expence which in
the first of these instances, is augmented in a two-fold degree,
by the entire absence of return cargoes; if it be stated that
these local disadvantages alone, render it impossible for the
importers to dispose of their merchandize for less than fifty per
cent. on the prime cost to their immediate purchasers, and that
at least three fourths of the population are obliged from the
want of ready money, to buy on long credits of these secondary
agents, who fashion their prices according to the nature and
extent of their customers' embarrassments, sometimes contenting
themselves with a second advance of fifty per cent.; but more
frequently affixing to their goods a profit of a hundred, a
hundred and fifty, and two hundred per cent.: if it be
recollected how far these grievous exactions are aggravated by
the system of vassalage just described, a system which places all
the unfortunate wretches who are reduced to it at the absolute
mercy of their rapacious landlords; if the profligate and
improvident habits and disposition of the generality of the
colonists be taken into the estimate, and their total disregard
of order and economy in their domestic arrangements; but above
all, if their unfortunate propensity to the excessive use of
spirituous liquors be superadded; a propensity which like Aaron's
rod swallows up every other passion, and for the momentary
gratification of which they willingly sacrifice every prospect of
present enjoyment, and deliberately entail on themselves and
their families lasting privation and want; I say if due
consideration be given to all these circumstances, it will be no
difficult matter to believe in the sad reality of the general
wretchedness and penury which I have depicted. But it must be
further evident that this equal division of the colonial revenue
has been assumed merely by way of exemplification, and that it is
a fiction, the realization of which is beyond the extreme verge
of possibility: a fiction which never has been and never can be
verified. In this colony as in every other community, there is a
regular gradation of property, and perhaps there is no country on
the face of the earth, except Russia, where it is so partially
distributed. If then I have reconciled the probability of the
wretched condition of the colonists, with the assumption of an
equality of wealth, when there is, in fact, the greatest
inequality, it must be evident that the picture which I have
drawn, pregnant and glowing as it is with distress, is far from
surcharged, and still requires both colouring and expression to
convey a perfect representation of the scene.

Of the whole colonial income about £100,000 annually may
be considered as arising from the labours of the agricultural
body. This is undoubtedly that portion of the colonial wealth
which gets into most general circulation; but even _it_ is
far from undergoing that minute subdivision and universal
diffusion which are requisite for the maintenance of a constant
internal circulating medium. Created in the first instance by the
government in payment of the grain, meat, etc. furnished by the
settlers, it is immediately handed over by them to the traders to
whom they may be indebted, and from these again passes to the
importing merchants, on whom they may be dependent for their
supplies of merchandize, who in their turn eventually transmit it
to their foreign correspondents. It may consequently be perceived
that the purchases and sales which must be incessantly occurring,
besides those to which this part of the colonial income is thus
devoted, such as the sales of provisions in the markets, the
payment of wages, and, in fine, the infinite transactions to
which the wants or the whims of society are eternally giving
birth, and to which a common medium of determinate value is
essential are but little, if indeed at all facilitated by a sum
of money, which after passing through a few hands, disappears
from the colony for ever. To prevent, therefore, the interchanges
and activity of the community from being brought to a stand, it
became necessary to create some other circulating medium; and as
the government took no part in this highly important affair, the
whole burden of the arrangement fell upon the inhabitants. The
arrangement itself was, in consequence, such as might have been
expected from their circumstances and situation: the whole of
them who had any real, or apparent pretensions to responsibility,
became with one accord bankers; issuing small promissory notes to
provide for their minuter occasions, merely on the strength of
their credit, and frequently in anticipation of their means. This
"Colonial currency," as it was termed, soon experienced that
depreciation in the market, compared with the government, or
sterling money, which it was natural to expect from the doubtful
circumstances of many of its issuers. In a short time government
money could not be had for it under a discount of fifty per
cent.; still the drawers of these promissory notes were compelled
by the decisions of the court of civil jurisdiction to pay them
at par, whenever they were presented; so that all the persons of
real responsibility, who had been induced in the first instance
from necessity to adopt this system, withdrew their bills from
the market, and naturally preferred purchasing with government
money the notes of others at this depreciated rate, to the
issuing at the same rate notes of their own, which they would be
eventually obliged to take up at par. The consequence was that
all the subsequent issuers of these notes were needy adventurers,
who possessing little or no property adopted this method of
supplying their extravagance, or entering into desperate
speculations that could hardly succeed, in violation of every
principle of honesty, and at the expence of the industrious and
responsible part of the community. This subsequent currency,
therefore, encountered a still further depreciation; and when
government money could be at all obtained for it, it was only at
a discount of 100, 150, and even 200 per cent. Such, however, has
been the necessity for a circulating medium of some sort or
other, that the public, as if by a general implied consent,
without any expressed convention, have permitted the existence
and increase of this worthless substitute, and have thus affixed
a kind of nominal value to that which is in reality worth

To any one, who has not fully considered the difficulty
attending the exchange of one commodity for another, and the
impossibility of apportioning at all times, what one man may have
to dispose of to the exact value of what another man may have to
offer in return, an impossibility that would frequently prevent
the exchange altogether, and thus subject the parties to mutual
inconvenience and distress, the rude system of barter would
appear preferable to so vile a common standard of value as the
existing currency. Its badness, indeed, has been the means of
introducing the system of barter as far as it was practicable;
but as the entire introduction of this system would be hardly
compatible with the first imperfect elements of society, the
civilization of the colonists has imposed a limit to it, and
prescribed a necessity for the toleration of the present
circulating medium, which nothing but the creation of a better
can supersede. Two attempts were made to remedy this evil, but
they both in the event proved abortive; the richer class of the
inhabitants on these occasions formed combinations and entered
into resolutions not to receive in payment the bills of any
individuals who had not been admitted into their society. To
prevent a recurrence of the loss, which the original responsible
issuers of currency had sustained by its depreciation in the
market, they affixed to it themselves a specific depreciation,
promising in the body of their notes to pay them on demand in
government money at a discount, in the first of these instances,
of twenty-five per cent., and in the last of fifty per cent. But
it must be evident that a currency of this nature, payable on
demand, became of equal value with the sterling money of the
government, to those who took it at the stipulated depreciation;
and it was accordingly no sooner in circulation, than it got into
the hands of the importing merchants, and was presented to the
drawers for payment. It was thus too good for its intended
purpose; and the old worthless currency, which had been for a
while proscribed, gradually returned into circulation. The
present governor, sensible of the advantage which the colony
would derive from its supercession, and from the substitution of
another of intrinsic value in its stead, caused ten thousand
pounds worth of dollars to be sent from India, and had a piece
struck out of the middle of each, to which he affixed by
proclamation, the value of fifteen pence, and to the remainder
that of five shillings, making the whole dollar worth six
shillings and three pence. This money he caused to be given in
payment of the various articles of internal produce received into
the king's stores; but as they were exchanged every month, if
presented to the commissariat department, for bills on the lords
of the treasury, in the same manner as the government receipts
had been exchanged previously, they have not realized the hopes
of abolishing the currency, with which they were issued. Some few
of them, indeed, have from time to time eluded the grasp of the
merchants and traders, and got in consequence of the minuteness
of their separate value into temporary circulation; but the use
of the original currency has neither been superseded nor

That the colonists should have been thus forced during so long
a period, in spite of all their efforts, and contrary to the
desire of their government, to tolerate a medium of circulation
possessing no intrinsic value whatever, and dependent solely on a
general, constrained, and tacit consent for its support and
duration, is, I should apprehend, one of the most forcible proofs
which it is in the nature of things to adduce, in illustration of
their present poverty and wretchedness. It is impossible to offer
a more satisfactory demonstration of the inferiority of their
means to their necessities. Important under every point of view
as is the establishment of a safe currency, such is the
irresistible pressure of their debts, so much is their
expenditure superior to their revenue, that they can devote no
portion of it to the most urgent purpose of domestic economy: the
whole is absorbed, and does not suffice to procure those articles
of foreign supply, which are absolutely indispensable to
civilized life.

By the last intelligence from the colony it appears, indeed,
that a company has undertaken the establishment of a colonial
bank, and obtained a charter for this purpose from the governor;
but I should imagine they cannot possibly succeed in creating a
permanent medium of circulation. The constant run that their
bills will have on them for payment, in consequence of the
imports of the colony being so much greater than its income, will
soon occasion them to exchange the whole of their capital for the
mortgage securities on which they at present issue it; and
although this circumstance will not perhaps detract from the
profits of this institution, it will render the toleration of the
existing currency, if not of undiminished, still of indispensable
necessity.* The introduction, therefore, of a safe and sufficient
medium of circulation may be still pronounced a desideratum, and
one of the first importance to the general prosperity of the
colonists. The government in their present distressed situation,
is perhaps the only power competent to the accomplishment of this
beneficial object, and it is to be hoped that they will no longer
delay effecting such a great and substantial amelioration.

[* This is an event which the colonists do not appear
to anticipate. It is the general belief that the colonial
currency has been crushed for ever; but I am greatly mistaken if
that vile medium of circulation will not again revive before the
expiration of another twelve-month, unless either the capital of
the bank be greatly increased, or its operations be in future
confined to the discounting of bills at a short date, to the
utter exclusion of the system of advancing money on mortgage

Amidst the numerous deplorable consequences that have been
attendant on this constant state of embarrassment, none perhaps
is more deeply to be lamented than the great check which this
difficulty of finding a profitable occupation for labour has
proved to the progress of population. Mr. Malthus, who has
immortalized himself by his essay on this branch of political
economy, has so satisfactorily shewn that the increase of
population is proportioned to the facility of procuring
subsistence, and administering to the various wants of a family,
that it is quite unnecessary for me to repeat arguments with
which every one ought to be familiar, to prove that this colony
has not been exempt from the destructive influence of causes
whose operation has been steady and invariable in all ages and in
all countries. The inference that this difficulty has been a
preventive to marriage, and to the consequent progress of
population is self-evident: to be understood it only requires to
be stated. But the numerical increase of the colony has been
checked in a still greater degree, perhaps by the constant
returns from its shores which are daily occasioned by the same
causes. What inducement, in fact, exists for any person to remain
there who has the power of quitting it? Who would voluntarily
become an inhabitant of a country where he has no rights, no
possessions, that are sacred and inviolable? And where to this
insecurity of person and property are superadded the greatest
impediments to the extension of industry? A country of this kind,
it may be easily imagined, possesses no allurements for those who
have ever breathed a freer atmosphere; and it is not to be
wondered at, that hundreds of convicts on the expiration of their
several terms of transportation should be continually leaving a
country, where the freeman and the slave are alike subjected to
the uncontrolled authority of an individual; where the trial by
jury is unknown, and an odious military tribunal substituted in
its stead; and where there is no representative body to protect
them in the enjoyment of their rights, and to secure them either
from the imposition of arbitrary and destructive taxes, or from
the influence of unjust and impolitic laws.

How far these two great checks to population which I have just
mentioned, have operated, may be best ascertained from the last
census taken in the colony in the month of November 1817. At that
time it appears that the population of all the settlements,
whether in New Holland or Van Diemen's Land, amounted only to
twenty thousand three hundred and seventy-nine souls. It is not
in my power to obtain returns of all the convicts who have been
landed at various times in this colony; but as it is now about
thirty years since the period of its foundation, very little
doubt can be entertained that the total of them must have nearly
equalled the amount of the actual population.* The number
transported thither for some years past cannot be estimated at
less than two thousand annually; yet notwithstanding this vast
yearly numerical accession, notwithstanding the unparalleled
salubrity of the climate, and the consequent small proportion
which the number of deaths bears to the number of births, the
population of the colony has been found to advance at a
comparatively slow pace. It cannot be supposed that it could ever
have been in the intention of the government, that those persons
whom the sentence of the law had exiled to these remote shores,
should thus be incessantly returning to those scenes, which had
witnessed their former irregularities and condemnation. However
sincere their reformation, it must be evident that with a
blemished character, the difficulty of obtaining employment and
procuring an honest livelihood, would be almost insuperable. It
has been accordingly found that these unfortunate persons have
generally renewed their ancient habits, and ended their career
either by falling sacrifices on the scaffold to the often
violated laws of their country, or by imposing on the government
a necessity for the second, and in many instances for the third
time of re-transporting them to this colony, where, if sufficient
encouragement and protection had been afforded them in the first
instance, they would have gladly remained, and have continued
good and useful members of society.

[* This conjecture has been verified by a publication
which has lately appeared from the pen of the Honourable Henry
Grey Bennet, M. P. intituled, "A Letter to Lord Viscount Sidmouth
on the Transportation Laws; the State of the Hulks, and of the
Colonies in New South Wales." From this it appears that from May,
1787, to January, 1817, the number of convicts transported
thither amounted to seventeen thousand; so that the entire
increase which has taken place in the population in the course of
thirty years, both from emigration and births, cannot be
estimated at more than four thousand souls, so numerous have been
the returns of convicts after the expiration of their

It is here but candid to confess, that one of the leading
causes why so many of this class are continually quitting the
colony, has been their desire to rejoin their wives and families.
This motive, however, no longer exists; since in a dispatch from
the noble secretary of state for the colonial department, to
Governor Macquarie, of which the receipt has been for some time
past acknowledged, it was directed that "returns should be
occasionally sent home of such convicts as may have applied for
permission for their wives to join them; and that it should be
therein stated whether such persons have the means of maintaining
their wives and families, in the event of their being allowed to
proceed to the colony." Measures have been already taken to carry
the humane intention here manifested by his majesty's government
into effect; and many hundreds who would otherwise have quitted
the colony, will now remain there, and thus both the permanency
of their reformation will be guaranteed, and the march of
colonization greatly accelerated. Generous Britain, not more
renowned in arts and arms, than in mercy and benevolence; may thy
supremacy be coeval with thy humanity! Or if that be impossible;
if thou be doomed to undergo that declension and decay, from
which no human institutions, no works of man appear to be exempt,
may the records of thy philanthropy hold the world in subject awe
and admiration, long after the dominion of thy power shall have
passed away! May they soften the hearts of future nations, and be
a shining sun that shall illuminate both hemispheres, and chase
from every region of the earth the black reign of barbarism and
cruelty for ever!

While the existing system of government is thus rapidly
undermining the general prosperity and freedom, and presenting
the greatest checks to the progress of colonization, it is but
natural to conclude from the pertinacity with which it is
maintained, that it is at least productive of some beneficial
results to the power to which it owes its origin and existence.
It were a species of political anomaly to suppose that any order
of things diametrically opposite to the interests of the
governed, should be persisted in, unless it were attended with
some positive advantage to the governors. Ridiculous, however, as
in every case perhaps but the present such a supposition would
be, it is verified in the instance of this colony; since the
system pursued there, is not only destructive of the vital
interests of the inhabitants at large, but at the same time,
burdensome to this country, and contraventory of the very
intentions with which this settlement was established. This
assertion I shall shortly prove, and then leave it to more
sagacious politicians than myself, to demonstrate the consistency
of what appears to me the most absurd and incongruous paradox
that is to be met with in the history of governments. And first
that the present system is burdensome to this country, and what
is worse, must become every year still more so, is evident from
the gradually progressive augmentation which has taken place in
the expenditure of this colony. From 1788 to 1797, the total
expence was £1,037,230, or £86,435 per annum; from
1798 to 1811, it amounted to £1,634,926, or £116,709
per annum; and from 1812 to 1815, both inclusive, to
£793,827, or £198,456 per annum. In 1816, the expence
was £193,775 10s. 8¾d. and in 1817 it
was £229,152 6s. 3¼d. being nearly
treble the annual amount in the year 1797. This estimate, indeed,
includes the cost of transportation; and the rapid increase that
has taken place of late years in the sum total, has been in a
considerable degree occasioned by the great increase in the
number of criminals sent out to the colony; but still that there
has been a regularly progressive augmentation to the internal
expenditure is quite incontrovertible.

It requires no great portion of discernment to foretel that
while the present prohibitory system remains in force; while the
colony is alike prevented from profiting by its natural
productions, and from calling into life the artificial ones of
which it is capable, that it must continue an increasing burthen
and expence to the power on which it is dependent for support,
and which thus unwisely restrains its exertions. If the
consideration of the benefits which this country might eventually
derive from encouraging the growth and exportation of such
products as this colony might furnish; if the prospect of finding
at no very remote period in a part of our own dominions, various
raw materials essential to the fabrication of some of our staple
manufactures, and for which we are at present wholly dependent on
foreigners; if, in fine, the certainty of extending, instead of
destroying, a market for the consumption of those manufactures
themselves, be not motives of sufficient weight and cogency to
draw the attention of his majesty's ministers to the impolitic
and destructive order of things, which prevents the
accomplishment of these desirable ends; it is at least to be
hoped in these times of universal embarrassment, when the cry of
distress is resounding from one end of the kingdom to the other,
that the desire of effecting a retrenchment in this part of the
public expenditure, which has swelled to so enormous an amount,
solely from ignorance and mismanagement, will at length excite
inquiry, and give rise to a system that will unfetter the
colonists, and by gradually enabling them to support themselves,
no longer render them an unproductive and increasing burden to
this country. It is useless, and indeed absurd, for the
government to be sending out incessant injunctions for economy,
and to be eternally insisting upon the necessity of effecting
retrenchments, which their own impolitic restrictions render
impossible. The addition which is annually made to the population
of the colony must occasion a corresponding expenditure on the
part of the colonial government. The convicts, who are
transported thither, were maintained at a great expence while in
this country, and cannot be supported without cost there. So long
as the avenues to industry and enterprize are closed, it is
ridiculous to imagine that the colonists can undertake the
maintenance of a body of men, for whose labour they can find no
profitable occupation. The expence, therefore, of supporting the
great mass of convicts who are constantly arriving in this
colony, must necessarily increase in spite of all the
exhortations of the government, and all the efforts of the
governor, whoever he may be, to carry them into effect. The
present governor, indeed, has contrived in some measure to comply
with these recommendations of retrenchment with which he has been
harrassed; but his obedience has been attended with the adoption
of a most pernicious and indefensible system, that of granting
too promiscuously tickets of leave to convicts, before sufficient
time had elapsed for ascertaining the reality of their
reformation, and their title to so important an indulgence. This
privilege, which exempts them from the public works, and enables
them to seek employment in every direction throughout the colony,
it may be perceived, turns loose a set of men, who had been
solemnly pronounced to be improper and dangerous members of
society; and affords them an unrestrained opportunity of preying
upon the industrious and deserving, and of committing fresh
enormities, before they have made the atonement affixed to their
original offences, and required not more to uphold the
distinction which ought always to be drawn between virtue and
vice, than from a due regard to their future welfare and
regeneration. It is principally to the introduction of the ticket
of leave system that the considerable reductions which have been
effected of late years in the expences of the colony are to be
ascribed. How far this most pernicious and immoral system has
been carried, may be seen by reference to the colonial
expenditure for the four years anterior to 1816. In 1812 it
amounted to £176,781; in 1813 to £235,597; in 1814 to
£231,362; and in 1815 it had fallen to £150,087. In
the two following years, indeed, it has been seen that there has
been a considerable increase of expenditure; but still such has
been the extension of the ticket of leave system that
notwithstanding four thousand six hundred and fifty-nine convicts
were transported between January, 1812, and January, 1817, the
expences of the colony for this latter year were £6445 less
than for the year 1813; those of 1817 only amounting to
£229,152, while those of the year 1813 were £235,597.
This violent and unjustifiable mode of retrenchment, however, has
not been put into such extensive practice with impunity: it has
been attended with its natural and inevitable results, a
proportionate increase of demoralization and crime. The proof of
this assertion I shall rest on the following government

"Sydney, 30th August, 1817. In consequence of the
frequent robberies which have been of late committed between
Sydney and Paramatta; his Excellency the Governor deems it
expedient earnestly to recommend to persons in general to travel
only during the day time, and particularly to those who have the
charge of loaded carts, to set out from Sydney and Paramatta
respectively so early after sun-rise as to be enabled to reach
the place of their destination before sun-set. And with a view to
afford all possible protection to travellers, his Excellency
directs the principal superintendant of police at Sydney from and
after Wednesday the 3d of September next, to order two constables
from thence to patrole the road every night between Sydney and
Powell's Half-way House; and in like manner the principal
magistrate at Paramatta to order two constables from that place
to patrole the road every night between Paramatta and Powell's
Half-way House. The duty of such constables to commence at
sun-set and cease at sun-rise, until further orders. "The
magistrates are _particularly enjoined not to grant passes to
convicts either having tickets of leave or otherwise, excepting
on actual duty, or in cases of real emergency where the object is
satisfactorily explained to the magistrate_."

This injunction to the magistrates not to grant the ticket of
leave-men passes except under particular circumstances would afford
the public very little additional security against their depredations;
since their total exemption from public or individual employment,
places them out of all restraint except such as may arise from
the surveillance of the police, which even in Sydney is badly
organized, because not sufficiently numerous, and to which in the
interior towns and districts it would be a farce to apply the
name of "Police" at all.

I am aware that the governor has been induced to this measure
in compliance with positive instructions, rather than in
conformity with his own judgment. But a system in such direct
violation of every principle of justice, morality, and
expediency, can never be long tolerated. Its continuance, in
fact, would soon annihilate all industry, and convert the colony
into a den of thieves and murderers, unfit for the abode of
virtue and honesty, and dangerous to the government itself which
had authorized it.--It is an extreme which cannot endure, and
which is of so violent a nature that it will beget a remedy for
itself, and compel the government to recal into its employment,
and reduce under salutary restraint, a set of persons, who ought
never to have been freed from it till the expiration of their
sentences, or, at most, till they had given the clearest proof of
a sincere reformation. This system, therefore, of granting
tickets of leave to convicts shortly after their arrival, though
undoubtedly attended with a considerable saving to the
government, is of too immoral and dangerous a tendency to be
carried to any considerable extent; so that the expences of the
colony great, unnecessarily great as they are, must infallibly
increase with the progress of transportation, so long as the
grievous disabilities and impolitic restrictions under which the
colonists are groaning, remain unrepealed.

Having thus shewn that this colony has hitherto been an
increasing burthen to this country, and that it must necessarily
continue so under its present unwise constitution, I proceed in
the next place to prove that its existing system of government is
also contraventory of the philanthropic intentions which gave
rise to its foundation. The principal object which the government
of this country had in view was undoubtedly the reformation of
the thousands exiled to these distant shores. The punishment
which it thus inflicted, in banishing them from their native
country, and separating them from their friends and connexions,
was not the end itself, but the means which it employed to effect
this humane and laudable purpose. Has then the colony in any one
point of view realized this comprehensive and philanthropic
scheme of morality and regeneration? It has, indeed, proved a
receptacle for those whose crimes rendered them unfit for the
community which rejected them from its bosom, and in so far has
been of some utility to the public; but have the restraints to
which they have been subjected; has the system, in fact, by which
they have been governed during their exile, generally revived
that morality and virtue, the absence of which propelled them in
the first instance to the commission of crime, and will always
continue them in the same career of vice and punishment? Have
those, who have expiated their original offence, by undergoing
the penalty which the law annexed to it, experienced a
reformation in their principles and conduct? And are they
generally qualified either to return to the country that banished
them, or to become good and useful citizens in the one by which
they have been adopted; and which, since it has constantly
witnessed their deportment, can best appreciate the reality and
extent of their merits? The records of the several courts of
criminal judicature are the surest criterion by which to judge of
this important particular, and will be found decidedly
confirmatory of the alarming augmentation of immorality and
crime, which distinguishes every succeeding year, and that too in
a proportion far exceeding what would be naturally consequent on
the increase in the population.

On reference to the Sydney Gazattes for the year 1817, I find
that there were in all ninety-two persons tried by the criminal
court. The offences with which they were charged were as follow:
1st, For murder eleven; four of whom were convicted and executed:
two were adjudged only guilty of manslaughter; and five were
acquitted. 2dly, For burglaries, eight, five of whom were
capitally convicted, but their sentences afterwards commuted into
transportation to the Coal River for life; five were transported
thither for fourteen years, one for seven years, and one was
acquitted. 3dly, For highway robbery, one, who was transported to
Newcastle for fourteen years. 4thly, One incendiary, transported
for life. 5thly, One for cutting and maiming, acquitted. 6thly,
Nine for cattle stealing; of whom two were capitally convicted,
their sentence afterwards commuted into transportation for life;
five were originally sentenced to the same punishment, one
transported for fourteen years, and one was acquitted. 6thly,
Three for sheep stealing; all capitally convicted, but their
sentences commuted into transportation for life. 7thly, Two for
horse stealing; one of whom was capitally convicted but not
executed, the other sentenced to solitary confinement. 8thly, One
for rape, but acquitted. 9thly, Twenty-seven for privately
stealing in dwelling and out-houses; two of whom were transported
for fourteen years, nine for seven years, one for four years,
four for three years, two for two years, one sentenced to
solitary confinement, and six acquitted. 10thly, Two for forgery,
found guilty, but sentence deferred. 11thly, Two for receiving
stolen goods, one of whom was sentenced to the pillory and to
four years transportation, and the other to transportation alone
for the same period. 12thly, Five for pig stealing; of whom two
were transported to Newcastle for fourteen years, one was flogged
and put in the pillory, one transported to Newcastle for two
years, and one acquitted. Lastly, Nineteen for petty larceny; of
whom one was sent to Newcastle for four years, one for three
years, fourteen were sentenced to various terms of solitary
confinement, and three acquitted.

From this statement, therefore, it appears that during the
year 1817, out of the ninety-two persons who were tried for
various offences, which it will be seen were for the most part of
a heinous nature, no fewer than seventy-three were convicted,
fifteen capitally, four of whom were executed, the remaining
eleven had their sentences commuted into transportation to the
Coal River for life; that there were six others originally
sentenced to the same punishment; that there were five
transported for fourteen years, ten for seven years, and that the
remaining thirty-seven were either transported for terms under
seven years, or were punished by solitary confinement. Appalling,
however, as this catalogue of crime must be acknowledged, when
compared with _that_ which could be produced in any other
community of similar extent, it would still appear on the first
view to argue well in favour of the reformatory influence of this
colony: since Governor Bligh in his examination before the
committee of the House of Commons, in the year 1812, presented a
document purporting to be a list of criminals tried between
August, 1806, and August, 1807, from which it appears that one
hundred and seventeen* persons were arraigned before the criminal
court during this interval. If we were therefore to abide by the
records of the criminal court alone, we should draw the most
satisfactory conclusions with respect to the progress of
reformation in the morals and habits of the people since that
period. The comparison, indeed, between the catalogue of crime in
the years 1806 and 1817, would be most gratifying; as
notwithstanding that the population of the colony rather more
than doubled itself since the former year, the latter presents a
decrease in the number of criminals of twenty-five, or in other
words, crimes would appear to have diminished in the ratio of
about 9/4 to 1. If the records, therefore, of the criminal court
were decisive on the subject, it would be impossible not to
confess that the system pursued in this colony has fully answered
the humane intentions for which it was founded. But unhappily
these records are no standard by which to judge of the
reformatory tendency of the system. During Governor Bligh's
administration, all offenders except those who were charged with
the most trifling misdemeanors, were tried by the criminal court.
He was a second Draco, who considered the smallest offence
deserving of death: and wo to the wretch whom the criminal court
doomed to this punishment, for he invariably carried its sentence
into execution. His successor, however, has acted on more
merciful principles; and, besides, crimes have so rapidly
multiplied of late years, that the judge advocate would not have
sufficient time for presiding in the two civil courts of which he
is the head, were he obliged to dispose of all the culprits that
might be arraigned in the criminal court. But it is well known to
those who are at all conversant with the state of the colony,
that but a very small portion of the offences which are committed
there, are now brought under the jurisdiction of this court. The
majority of the criminals who are now tried by it are either free
persons, or such as have obtained emancipations; i.e. those whom
the various governors have made free in the colony, but who are
not at liberty to quit it. The benches of magistrates, and the
superintendent of police, are delicate of deciding on charges in
which the members of these two free classes are implicated; but
they dispose of offenders already under the sentence of the law
in a summary manner, either by transporting them to the Coal
River, by putting them in the gaol gangs, by sending them (if
they happen to be females) to the factory, or by simply ordering
them corporal punishment, unless they are charged with murder, or
some capital felony; and even in this latter case they frequently
inflict some summary punishment. With respect to the first of
these summary modes of punishment, transportation to the Coal
River, it has already been stated that the population of this
settlement amounted in the year 1817, to five hundred and fifty
souls: of these not more than one hundred, including the civil
and military establishments, and the settlers and their families
on the upper banks of the river, were free. The remaining four
hundred and fifty, therefore, were persons who had been convicted
of crimes either by the criminal court or by the magistracy, and
retransported thither for various periods. Those few, it has been
seen, who are condemned to this punishment by the criminal court,
are for the most part sentenced to long terms of transportation;
but as nine-tenths of the criminals at this settlement are sent
thither either by the benches of magistrates, or by the
superintendent of police, who seldom transport for a longer
period than two years, and more frequently for one year, or six
months, the population may at a very moderate calculation be
considered as undergoing a complete change every two years, or in
other words, it may be concluded that two hundred and twenty-five
persons are annually transported thither by way of punishment. We
must therefore add this number to the culprits convicted before
the court of criminal judicature, and we shall then have a total
of three hundred and eighteen persons annually convicted of
crimes in the colony. This is of itself an alarming sum of
criminality; but we must not stop here, since it only conducts us
to the second of the summary modes of punishment which I have
enumerated; viz. the gaol gangs. There are upon an average about
fifty persons in the gaol gang at Sydney, and about the same
number in the gaol gangs belonging to the other towns and
districts in the colony. These are criminals convicted of smaller
offences than those who are transported to the Coal River; they
are worked from sunrise to sun-set, and are locked up in the
prisons during the night. This mode of punishment is seldom
inflicted for a longer term than four months. It may therefore be
safely computed that these gaol gangs are changed once in this
period, or in other words, that three hundred persons annually
pass through this ordeal. This further addition to the formidable
catalogue of crimes already made out, increases the total to six
hundred and eighteen persons, yet only leads us to the third mode
of summary punishment, viz. labour at the factory at Paramatta.
The number of women sentenced to this mode of punishment may be
averaged at one hundred and fifty, and as the average term of
their sentences does not exceed six months, we have a farther
number of three hundred to add to the above estimate. This
increases it to nine hundred and eighteen persons; but we have
still one other mode of punishment in petto, corporal punishment
simply; and I have no doubt that the numbers on whom it is
annually inflicted will at least swell the grand total of persons
convicted of various criminal offences during the year 1817,
either by the criminal courts, by the benches of magistrates, by
the superintendent of police, or by the district magistrates to
one thousand. We may now draw some sort of a comparison between
the amount of crime in the years 1806 and 1817. I should imagine,
on the highest calculation, that not more than one hundred
persons in addition to those tried by the criminal court during
that year, could, from the system then in practice, have been
summarily dealt with by the magistracy; but allowing even that
there were two hundred, and that the whole number of persons
stated by Governor Bligh to have been tried by that court were
found guilty, a most improbable supposition, the year 1806 will
only then give a total of three hundred and sixteen offenders,
i.e. not one third the amount of those who were convicted in the
year 1817. Crime therefore has been trebled, while the population
has only been doubled, or in other words, the increase of the
former has been to the increase of the latter as three to

[* Page 42 Appendix to the Report of the House of
Commons in 1812.]

What else, indeed, could be expected from a system which is
every day enlarging the circle of poverty and distress? Is it
within the possibility of belief that people should become more
honest as they become more necessitous? That they should
scrupulously refrain from making inroads on the possessions of
their richer neighbours, while they themselves are suffering
under the influence of progressive penury? Under such
circumstances it would be the very height of absurdity to expect
an increase of virtue and honesty. Wherever it is not within the
compass of industry to provide for its wants, a recourse to crime
in order to make up the deficiency is inevitable to a certain
extent even in a moral country. What then must be the result of
this inability in a felon population, long habituated to theft,
and naturally predisposed to criminality? In such a community as
this, the government are doubly bound to neglect no measures
which may be calculated to repress this vicious propensity. If
they adopt the contrary line of conduct; if they administer
stimulants to vice instead of anodynes; if they, in fact, create
incitements to dishonesty too potent even for virtuous misery to
withstand, are not _they_ the authors of a system thus
impregnated with corruption, virtually the parent of the
monstrous litter to which it gives birth? And though according to
the inflexible principles of justice, any violation of the
property of another is not to be exculpated, humanity will always
pity the distressed delinquent, and wish that she had the power
of substituting the primary author of the crime in the place of
the condemned criminal. How would the world be reformed, if the
framers of the unjust and impolitic laws, which are every where
the bane of mankind, and the cause of so much misery and vice,
were arraigned at the bar of justice, and compelled to answer for
all the depravity that might be traced to the demoralizing
influence of their measures?

The picture of the colony which I have presented, aggravated
as it is, faithfully delineates the different descending
gradations by which it has sunk to its present abyss of misery,
and is of itself sufficiently demonstrative of the radical defect
that there is in its polity, and of the necessity for an
alteration in it: nevertheless, it may not be altogether
inexpedient to dive a little into futurity, and to view through
the mirror of the imagination the further results which the
experience of the past may convince us that a perseverance in the
same course of restriction and disability will infallibly lead
to. It requires not the gift of divination to foresee that the
manufacturing system, which has already taken such deep root, and
so rapidly shot up towards maturity, will still further confirm
and consolidate itself with the increasing poverty of the
community. For several years the importation of British
manufactures, particularly of cottons, has been comparatively
speaking on the decline, in consequence of the competition
occasioned by large importations of those articles from India;
which though in general of inferior quality, have been more
adapted to the circumstances of the colonists from their inferior
price. The consumption of hats and woollen cloths has also been
diminished, but not to the same considerable extent by the
colonial manufactures of the same denomination, which are
likewise much inferior to the British, but have the two-fold
advantage of being cheaper, and to be obtained for wool, grain,
meat, etc. without the intervention of money, which it is
generally out of the power of the consumers to furnish.

This system of barter, which has materially favoured their
growth, and must necessarily still further encourage and extend
it, is not, as might at first be imagined, prejudicial to the
manufacturer; since the wool which he thus receives in exchange
for his commodity is the raw material required for its
reproduction, and therefore saves him the trouble of seeking it
in other quarters; and the meat, grain, etc. are distributed
among his workmen at the market prices of the day, and free him
from the necessity of paying the full value of their labour in
money, which under existing circumstances would most probably be
impracticable. The system itself, therefore, seems to have been
engendered by events, and to be peculiarly adapted to the present
state of poverty and wretchedness, to which the great mass of the
colonists are reduced. And although in other countries, and even
in this, if its agricultural powers were unfettered, the workmen
employed in the fabrication of these manufactures would not
perhaps consent to receive this mixed compensation for their
labour, yet amidst the actual difficulties of procuring a
subsistence, and possessed as they are of trades, for which till
lately there was no demand whatever, and for which at the present
moment there is far from an active competition, they are not only
glad to accept this mode of payment, but would even submit to
much harder conditions. We may therefore perceive, that if the
manufacturer can sell for ready money as much of this commodity
as is requisite to the payment of the residue of their wages, and
at the same time equivalent to the profit which he may derive
from his concern, it is all that he need absolutely require. This
manufacturing system being thus not only suited to the increasing
poverty of the community at large, but also favourable to the
interests of all the parties concerned in it, whether the
proprietors or the workmen, cannot but gain ground. A few years,
in fact, will completely put it out of the power of at least
seven-eighths of the population to have recourse to the
manufactures of this country: the expences of the colony will,
indeed, as I have satisfactorily proved, continue to increase,
but still only in proportion to the augmentation in the body of
convicts and others, maintained at the charge of the government;
while, on the contrary, the population of the colony, in spite of
all the checks imposed on it, will be extending itself more
rapidly within, than by transportation and emigration from
without. Its revenue, therefore, will be every year to be divided
among a number of competitors increasing much more rapidly than
itself. Thus their ability to purchase the more perfect and
expensive commodities of this country, will become daily more
circumscribed, till at length the use of them will be entirely
superseded, or at best confined to the higher orders of society;
who, it is probable, may be induced in the long run both by the
growing perfection of their native manufactures, and by
patriotism, to abjure the consumption of all goods that may have
a tendency to augment the prosperity of their common oppressor.
The colonists, in fact, have only to advance a few steps further
in the manufacturing system to be completely independent of
foreign supply. Already fabricating to a considerable extent
their own cloth, the first perhaps of manufactures in utility and
importance; already furnishing in a great measure their own hats,
leather, soap, candles, and earthenware, they have only to
provide their own linen, and to erect iron founderies, to become
possessed of all that can be termed strictly necessary to their
subsistence and even comfort. And these two objects will
doubtless be soon effected by the active agency of the same
powerful necessity, which has so rapidly given rise to the
various manufactures already mentioned. It is, indeed, rather a
matter of surprise than otherwise, that attempts have not been
already made to establish manufactories of these two highly
important articles; since the colony, on the one hand, is
peculiarly adapted to the growth of flax, and on the other
abounds, as it has been seen, with iron ore of the richest

To what feelings, then, to what conduct, it may be asked, will
this independence in the resources of the colonists, the bitter
fruit of so much privation and misery, give birth? Will this, the
painful result of so many years' injustice and oppression, tend
to strengthen the bond of union between the colony and this
country? Or will it not be the crisis that will sever it for
ever? England, placed as she is at present on the pinnacle of
glory, and reposing in security on the basis of that commercial
and maritime greatness, from which the gigantic efforts of united
Europe have not been able to remove her, may laugh to scorn the
presumption of any colony, however powerful, that might attempt
to shake off her authority. Like Jupiter on Olympus, she has only
to stretch out her hand and overthrow the united force of all her
colonies with the chain to which she has bound their destinies.
No one can doubt, that such an attempt would be preposterous at
the present moment, nor would the most strenuous advocate for
colonial independence, the most violent enemy to the supremacy of
this country, dream of its immediate execution. Still let her not
lull herself into a false security; let her not measure the
forbearance of the colony by its own impotency and
insignificance. Despair always begets resources, and inspires an
unnatural vigor. The enmity of the most feeble becomes
formidable, when it has justice ranged under its banners, and
ought not to be excited without necessity. Besides, is it worthy
the character of a nation, who has evinced herself the determined
enemy of tyrants, and the avenger of the freedom of the world, to
become the oppressor of her own subjects, and that too for the
mere sake of oppression, in subversion alike of their interests
and of her own? Has she not, and will she not always have
_external enemies enow_ to contend with, without thus
creating, _unnecessarily_ creating, _domestic ones?_
Let her from the midst of the glory with which she is environed
compare her situation, brilliant and imposing as it is, with what
it might have been: let her look at the consequences of her
former injustice. Is not the most formidable on the list of her
enemies, a nation, which might have this day been the most
attached and faithful of her friends? A nation which, instead of
watching every occasion to circumscribe her power, would, if its
rights had been respected, have been still embodied with her
empire and confirmatory of her strength? Will this terrible
lesson have no influence on the regulation of her future conduct?
Will not this dear bought experience teach her wisdom? Or has she
yet to learn that the reign of injustice and tyranny involves in
its very constitution the germ of its duration and punishment?
Let her ask herself, "what would have been the consequence if,
during the late war with America, the ports of this colony had
been open to the vessels of that nation?" How many hundreds of
the valuable captures, which the Americans made in the Indian
seas and on the coast of Peru, might have safely awaited there
the termination of the war, which were recaptured by her cruisers
in view of the ports of their country? How many hundreds of their
own vessels, that shared the same fate, would have still belonged
to their merchants? And is there no probability, that a
perseverance in the present system of injustice and oppression,
may on some future occasion, urge the colonists to shake off this
intolerable yoke, and throw themselves into the arms of so
powerful a protector? May they not by these means acquire
independence long before the epoch when they would have obtained
it by their own force and maturity? Or at least may they not
place themselves under the government of more just and
considerate rulers? How would this country repent her folly, if
she should thus become the instrument of her own abasement; if
she should herself be the cause of establishing a power already
the most formidable rival of her commercial and maritime
ascendency, in the very heart of her most valuable possessions,
at the main external source of her wealth and prosperity?

To those who are acquainted with the local situation of this
colony; who have traversed the formidable chain of mountains by
which it is bounded from north to south; who have viewed the
impregnable natural positions, that the only connecting ridge by
which a passage into the interior can be effected, every where
presents; to those who are aware that this ridge is in many
places not more than thirty feet in width, and have beheld the
terrific chasms by which it is bounded, chasms inaccessible to
the most agile animal of the forest, and that will for ever defy
the approach of man; to those, I say, who are acquainted with all
these circumstances, the independence of this colony, should it
be goaded into rebellion, appears neither so problematical nor
remote, as might be otherwise imagined. Of what avail would whole
armies prove in these terrible defiles, which only five or six
men could approach abreast? What would be the effect of artillery
on advancing columns crowded into so narrow a compass? A few
minutes exposure to such a dreadful carnage, would annihilate the
assailing army; or at best only preserve its scattered remnants
from destruction by raising an intervening barrier of the
carcases of its slaughtered martyrs. If the colonists should
prudently abandon the defence of the sea-coast, and remove with
their flocks and herds into the fertile country behind these
impregnable passes, what would the force of England, gigantic as
it is, profit her? She might, indeed, if they were unassisted in
their efforts by any foreign power, cut off their communication
for awhile with the coast; but her armies entirely dependent on
external supply, and at so great a distance from the centre of
their resources, would gradually moulder away, as well by the
incessant operation of a partisan warfare, as by defection to
their adversaries, whom her troops would be led to combat only
with regret. They would not enter into a war of this description
with the same animosity and desire of vengeance that might
actuate their leaders. They would behold in their opponents,
Britons, or the descendants of Britons, placed in hostile array
against them unwillingly, and not from any ancient and inveterate
spirit of hatred and rivality, but from constrained resistance to
tyranny, and in vindication of their most sacred and indubitable
rights. Nor would they in the midst of their disgust for so
unjust and unnatural a contest, behold the beauty and fertility
of the country without drawing a comparison between their
condition, and what it would be, were they to quit the ranks of
oppression, and become the champions of that independence, which
they were destined to repress. Such will be the consequences of
the impolitic and oppressive system of government pursued in this
colony; such the probable results of the contest to which it must
eventually give rise. If I have been unqualified in expressing my
reprobation of such unwise and unjust measures; if I have evinced
myself the fearless assertor of the rights of my compatriots; and
if I have spoke without reserve of the resistance which the
violation and suppression of those rights will in the end
occasion, I must nevertheless protest against being classed among
those who are the sworn enemies of all authority, and who place
the happiness of communities in a freedom from those restraints
which the wisdom of ages has established, and demonstrated to be
salutary and essential. I hope, therefore, that my principles
will not be mistaken, and that I shall not be exposed to the hue
and cry which have been justly raised against those persons who
are inimical to all existing institutions. There is not a more
sincere friend to established government and legitimacy than he
who mildly advocates the cause of reform, and points out with
decency the excrescences that will occasionally rise on the
political body, as well from an excess of liberty as of
restraint: such a person may prevent anarchy; he can never
occasion it.

These are the views by which I have been actuated in writing
this essay. If my hopes should be realized, if I should happily
be the means of averting the thunder cloud of calamity and
destruction which is even now gathering on the horizon of my
country, and threatens at no very remote period to burst over its
head, and to scatter death and desolation in its bosom, it is all
the recompence I seek. If my efforts should unfortunately prove
abortive; if I should fail to rouse the friends of peace and
humanity to its succour and relief, I shall have experienced a
sufficient mortification, without undergoing the additional one
of being classed with a band of ruffian levellers, who under the
specious pretext of salutary reform seek, like the jacobin
revolutionists of France, the subversion of all order, and the
substitution in its stead, of a reign of terror, anarchy, and
rapine, amidst the horrors of which they may satiate their
avarice, and glut their revenge. Let then the purity of my
motives be unimpeached, if I should be defeated in the
accomplishment of my object. But why should I despair of success,
when I have every support that ought to ensure it? Right, reason,
expediency, morality, religion, are all on the side of my
oppressed country, and must eventually procure the termination of
her sufferings. The disabilities, indeed, under which she has
been so long groaning, grounded as they are in no motives of
policy, but averse to them _all_, ought rather to be
ascribed to inadvertence than design. Engaged as this country has
been in a tremendous conflict, on the dubious issue of which her
very existence as a nation was staked, she has had little or no
leisure for attending to the internal economy of her colonies: in
the midst of her own unparalleled sufferings and sacrifices,
theirs have been disregarded or forgotten. It is the knowledge of
this circumstance that has shed a ray of hope and consolation
athwart the gloom which has been thickening year after year
around the colony. It is this consideration that has enabled its
inhabitants to support burdens which would otherwise have been
found intolerable. Let then their just expectations be at length
fulfilled, and let them not continue the only portion of the
king's subjects, who have no personal reason to rejoice at the
happy termination of this long and arduous contest. Their
moderation and forbearance under their grievances, have given
them an additional claim to redress, scarcely less forcible than
the existence of the grievances themselves. Yet already years
have elapsed, since the consolidation of general peace and
tranquillity, and no attention has been paid to their situation
and remonstrances. Already, therefore, the spirit of discontent
so long repressed by hope, but reviving with the progress of this
unnecessary, this unaccountable delay, has begun to manifest
itself, and will soon assume a determinate shape and form. Let
the government repress this feeling of hostility, while they have
yet the power: a few years further inattention will render it
hereditary and rivet it for ever. It is in the tendency of
colonies to overstep even legitimate restraint; they will never
long wear the fetters of injustice and oppression. I am aware
that it is not one of the least difficult proofs of legislative
wisdom to frame regulations adapted to each progressive stage of
colonization, and that this difficulty increases with the
maturity which the colony in question may have attained; but
although the treatment of colonies upon their arrival at that
degree of ascendency, when the enforcement of ancient
restrictions, founded on the interests, or supposed interests of
the parent country, but contraventory of the prosperity of the
colonies themselves, becomes dangerous or impracticable, is, it
must be allowed, a point of extreme delicacy and tenderness;
there can at no time be any doubt entertained of the propriety of
abandoning a system founded upon error and injustice, and
productive of detriment, as well to those who have imposed it, as
to those who are suffering under its baneful operation. It is
therefore to be hoped that so unwise and unjust a system will no
longer be continued; that his majesty's government will at length
allow the colonists to use freely the natural productions of
their country, and to increase to the utmost its artificial ones;
that they will, permit them to call their own energies, their own
resources, into life and action, and no longer impoverish them by
rendering them the prey of richer colonies, and what is still
more absurd and vexatious, of foreigners; that they will, in
fine, grant them the free unrestricted enjoyment of those
privileges which the bounty of the Creator has extended to them,
and which it is not in any human authority to withhold,
consistently with the eternal, immutable principles of right and

These privileges consist in the removal of certain
agricultural and commercial restraints, which I shall separately
enumerate; and in a free government, under the protecting shade
of which, the colonists may fearlessly exercise and enjoy their
personal and private rights, without molestation or



Of all the steps that could be taken for the relief of the
colony, none certainly would prove of such immediate efficacy, as
the creation of distilleries, and the imposition of so high a
duty on the importation of spirits from abroad, as would amount
to a prohibition. The advantages that would be attendant on this
measure may, perhaps, be most forcibly illustrated by a short
review of the actual loss which the colonists have sustained
during the last fifteen years, from the want of its adoption. The
spirits imported during this period may be safely estimated on an
average at the annual value of £10,000, amounting in
fifteen years to the sum of £150,000: and if we add to this
£100,000 more, which it may be calculated that the
government have expended in this interval, in the importation of
corn, flour, rice, etc. from other countries, we have a grand
total of £250,000, that would have been saved to the colony
by the erection of distilleries. The application of so large a
sum to the immediate encouragement of agriculture, would have
imparted life and vigor into the whole community, and would have
effectually prevented that increasing poverty, and the black
train of evils consequent on it, which I have already depicted.
And although from the increased demand for foreign luxuries,
which so great an addition to the colonial income would have
naturally occasioned, but a small part perhaps of this sum would
have eventually continued in general circulation, still the means
of the colonists would have at least been brought to a level with
their wants; and a sterling circulating medium would have
remained sufficient for all the purposes of domestic economy.
Under such circumstances there can be little doubt that the
active and enterprizing spirit of our countrymen would have long
since effected the establishment of an export trade, which would
have freed the colony from future embarrassment, and the mother
country from the enormous expence which she is annually forced to
incur in its support. But the continual and amazing fluctuations
which have taken place in the price of corn, have been a
death-blow to the success of every effort that has been directed
to this most important object. At least but one out of all the
numerous attempts that have been made by individuals, (for none
have been made by the government,) to raise various articles of
export, has realized the expectations of its sagacious author,
and promises to become eventually of permanent relief and
importance to the colony. But it will be more in the order of the
arrangement which I have marked out for myself, to treat of this
very important subject hereafter: I recur, therefore, to the
conclusion which I was about to draw from the foregoing premises;
that to the perfect success of every enterprize of a manual
nature, it is essential that the price of provisions in general,
but of corn in particular, should be reduced to such a point as
to afford a fair profit to the grower; and at the same time that
it should not be subject to any such extraordinary rise as to
superinduce a proportionate increase in the price of labour. To
keep the value of corn in this just mean, it is necessary that
the growth of it should be encouraged to a pitch far beyond the
sphere of the ordinary demand; and this is to be effected
generally in two ways, by augmenting the internal consumption by
artificial means, as by breweries, distilleries, etc. and by
permitting a free exportation of the surplus. But the colony is
at present unable from the smallness of its resources and its
remoteness from Europe, the great mart for the surplus corn of
other countries, to become a competitor with them in this branch
of commerce: it follows, therefore, that the constant abundance
of corn indispensable to the establishment and maintenance of an
export trade, can only be guaranteed by the enforcement of all
such measures as have a tendency to increase internal
consumption; and of these I again repeat that the erection of
distilleries, etc. is the most easy and the most efficacious.

Independent of this general reasoning, which is equally
applicable to all countries, the colony can unhappily furnish
particular grounds of argument in the unfortunate localities of
its agricultural settlements, which render the adoption of this
measure of still more imperative necessity. Allured to the banks
of the river Hawkesbury, both by the superiority of the soil, and
the facilities which the navigation of this river afforded for
the conveyance of produce to market, a circumstance of material
advantage even at this moment, but of incalculable importance at
a period, when as yet there were few or no cattle for the
purposes of land carriage, the first colonists were encouraged by
Governor Phillip to establish themselves on this low fertile
tract of country, not so much perhaps from choice as necessity.
His successors, influenced in part by the same considerations,
followed his example in directing the current of colonization
into the same channel, till in the lapse of about fifteen years
the whole of the fertile lands on the banks of this river were
completely appropriated. Thus unfortunately for the colony, its
principal agricultural establishment was formed in a situation
subject to the inundations of a river, whose waters frequently
rise seventy or eighty feet above its ordinary level.

The present governor, to his lasting honour be it mentioned,
has done all that prudence could effect with the limited means
confided to him, for the prevention of the calamities invariably
consequent on these destructive inundations. He has placed the
great mass of the colonists, who have been settled during his
administration, in districts that are not subject to flood; thus
securing to themselves and the community at large the fruits of
their industry. He has also established townships on the high
grounds, which generally at the distance of a mile or two from
the river border its low fertile banks, and has held out various
encouragements, in order to induce the settlers to remove their
houses and stacks to them. The richer class have in most
instances been alive to their own interests, and have abandoned
their ancient abodes on the verge of the river: so that the
destruction occasioned by future floods will be infinitely less
extensive. But, still, a great part of the poorer class adhere to
their ancient habitations, impelled by the double motive of
avoiding the cost of carrying their crops to these townships, and
from thence back again to the river, in order to send them to
market by the boats, which ply on it for this purpose. And to
such as have not horses and carts of their own, and would
consequently be obliged to hire them, a residence on the banks of
the river is a saving of greater magnitude than might be at first

The greatest obstacle to the complete realization of the
governor's project, arises from the extreme poverty of the great
body of the settlers, occasioned, as I have already noticed, by
the limited and precarious market afforded for their produce. To
build a house, however small, is an undertaking in this colony as
every where else, which can only be effected with adequate means;
and if the colonists do not resort in crowds to these townships,
it is not because they are insensible to the advantages which
they would derive from a removal to these seats of security, but
because their penury chains them to their present dangerous and
miserable hovels, and compels them in spite of their better
reason to hold their lives and property on the most precarious of
all tenures, the caprice of the elements. But could the governor
succeed in this, his project to the utmost, could he induce every
settler on the banks of the Hawkesbury to remove to these
townships, he would be still far from guaranteeing the colony
from the calamitous effects of these inundations; since they are
not periodical, like the risings of the Nile, but happen at all
times, as well when the crops are in stack as when growing, when
they are in the infancy of vegetation, as when they have attained
maturity and are fit for the sickle. Some other expedient,
therefore, would still be necessary to guard against those
inundations which may happen at such disastrous periods; and
there is but one that will be found sufficient at all times and
under all circumstances. It is to encourage by artificial means,
the growth of corn so far beyond what is necessary for the bare
purposes of food, that in years of scarcity, whether arising from
flood or drought, these artificial channels of consumption may be
stopped, and the whole of the corn in the colony appropriated to
the supply of the inhabitants. And this encouragement would be
amply afforded by the establishment of distilleries; since
allowing the colony to require sixty thousand gallons of spirits
annually, twenty thousand bushels of grain would be expended in
distillation, the whole of which, when necessity required, might
be diverted from its ordinary course of consumption, and directed
to the purposes of subsistence.

These advantages, great as they must be allowed to be, are not
the only ones that would follow the erection of distilleries.
This measure would still further promote the prosperity of the
agricultural body, by creating in the market a competition with
the government for the purchase of grain, and would thus destroy
the _maximum_, that has been hitherto arbitrarily assigned
as an equivalent for their produce generally, without reference
to the state of the crops, whether they have been productive or
otherwise. The prejudicial operation of this maximum was noticed
in the Report of the Select Committee of the House of Commons
made in the year 1812, and the propriety of devising some remedy
for this evil strongly enforced; but this recommendation has
hitherto been disregarded, from the want, perhaps, of information
sufficiently precise to enable the government of this country to
attend to it.

I close the catalogue of arguments which I adduce in support
of this measure with the last and most powerful of them all, its
beneficial influence on the morality of the rising generation. I
do not so much take into calculation its probable bearing on the
existing race of colonists, the greater part of whom are and
will, perhaps, always be more or less addicted to the pernicious
habits contracted in their early days of riot and debauchery, as
on their posterity, who will necessarily soon form the majority
of this colony, and whose amelioration or reformation all
legislative measures should have principally in view. With those
the immoderate use of spirituous liquors is a long contracted
disease, which it is perhaps past the skill of legislation to
cure. It is like an old inveterate ulcer, whose roots have
penetrated into the seats of vitality, and are so intimately
interwoven with the very principles of existence, that the knife
cannot be applied to the extirpation of the one, without
occasioning the destruction of the other. But though this
gangrene can never be entirely eradicated, the experience of late
years has shewn that it may be prevented from increasing, and
even considerably reduced. Drunkenness has been observed to be
less frequent since the unlimited importation of spirits was
permitted, even among that class who were most addicted to this
vice during the long period when the importation was in a great
measure restricted, the price of liquor exorbitantly enhanced,
and the consequent difficulty of obtaining it much more
considerable. Great, therefore, as are the present facilities to
the indulgence of this propensity, they should be still further
extended, and this would be effected by internal distillation;
for although the importation of spirits from other countries has
been for many years past subject to no restriction, but the
payment of a certain duty, which would be equally levied on all
spirits made in the colony, still the expence of freight,
insurance, etc. would be avoided, the price proportionably
abated, and the means of indulgence increased in the same

The immediate effect of this free circulation of spirits
having been so beneficial, we may easily infer what would be its
remote consequences; and it is to these, to the gradual
developement of moral perfection, that all laws which are framed
with a reference to this end, should be directed, and not to
sudden and violent reformations, which are seldom or never
attended with the desired results. It was, indeed, natural to
expect that this pernicious drug would be depreciated, in the
estimation of its consumers, in exact proportion to its
superabundance; and although the removal of all restriction to
the importation of spirits, might in its immediate beneficial
operation on the morals of the existing generation, so long
curtailed in the use of them, and so long habituated to excess,
whenever occasion offered, have been a matter of serious
speculation, before this experiment was tried, its immediate
result has far out-stripped the expectations of its most sanguine
supporters. The present influence of this measure having been so
satisfactory, there cannot be a doubt that the effect of internal
distillation on the morality of future generations will be still
more salutary and decisive. It is well known that in the
countries that are celebrated for the production of wines and
spirits, as France, Spain, Italy, etc. so great is the sobriety
of the people, that a drunken person is an object of contempt,
and a sight which is but very seldom witnessed. This sobriety,
therefore, can only be the consequence of a steady, equable
supply, which induces moderate enjoyment, without holding out any
temptation to excessive indulgence. And however strange or
unaccountable this fact may at first appear, the reason of it may
be traced to the nature of man, the same inconsistent creature in
all ages and in all countries. Intervening obstacles to
enjoyment, far from repressing his desires, serve but to
stimulate and inflame them; and so perverse and capricious is he
in his conduct, that he despises, or at best holds in but
secondary estimation, the real substantial good that is within
his grasp; while remote or unattainable objects fire his
ambition, and swell into fanciful and preposterous proportions
the treacherous illusions of a fertile imagination, which
possession alone can dissipate and reduce to their proper
standard and value. It is thus that lofty mountains seem to
connect themselves with the heavens by enveloping clouds; but
stripped of their deceptious covering, they stand reduced to
their primitive dimensions, the blue vault towers far above their
heads, and the eye sees and defines their just limits and

There can be but one objection urged against the establishment
of colonial distilleries; that it will deprive the resident
merchants in India, from whence by far the greater proportion of
spirits is at present imported into the colony, of this branch of
commerce. The trade, however, of that country is on too extensive
a scale, to be perceptibly affected by so trifling a restriction,
which, in fact, has always existed till within the last five
years; as the importation of spirits, till that period, was
always subject to limitation, and only permitted by express
licence. But were the case otherwise, what right has one portion
of the empire to look for aggrandisement at the expense of
another? Ought the welfare and happiness of twenty thousand
persons to be sacrificed, in order to promote the views of a few
interested individuals? If it were politic in his majesty's
government to concede any superiority of privilege to any one
body of the king's subjects over another, surely a colony
composed entirely of Englishmen has reason to expect that such a
concession should be made in its favour, and not to its prejudice
in favour of a country acquired and in some measure maintained by
force, and connected with the parent country by no ties of common
origin and affinity, by no congeniality of habit, by no
similarity of religion. But the colonists neither expect nor
desire any such concessions: they seek the possession and
enjoyment of their own indubitable rights; they would not curtail
those of others: they neither want to render other colonies
tributary to their prosperity, nor to continue, as they have
hitherto been, tributary to that of others.

If, on the other hand, we take a hasty survey of the
advantages, which I trust it has been satisfactorily proved,
would be consequent on internal distillation, never, it will be
seen, was there a measure which could adduce in its support more
urgent and weighty considerations. It would afford employment,
and thus impart fresh health and vigor to the agricultural body,
debilitated by long suffering and disease; it would place the
means of the colonists on a level with their wants, and by
creating a good and sufficient medium of circulation in the place
of the present worthless currency, would give rise to other
channels of industry, and to the speedy establishment of an
export trade. It is the only possible way of insuring the colony
against the calamitous effects which have hitherto been
invariably attendant on the inundations of the river Hawkesbury;
it would lessen the injurious preponderancy of the government in
the market, by creating a great competition for the purchase of
grain, and would thus prevent the arbitrary imposition on this,
the principal production of the colonists, of a maximum that is
frequently beneath its just value, and it would improve the
morals of the present and of future generations. With these
irresistible arguments in favour of this measure, it must be
evident that the cause of justice and morality would be violated
by any further unnecessary delay in its adoption.

The next object of internal consumption, to which in my
opinion the government ought to direct the attention of the
colonists, is the growth of tobacco. The amount of the annual
importation of this article from the United States of America and
the Brazils, (the two supplying countries) cannot be estimated at
less than five thousand pounds. This would be a very material
saving to the colony in its present circumstances, and one that
might be effected with the greatest ease, and without prejudice
to any part of the empire. The only question in this instance is,
whether it be more politic that the colony should supply itself,
or be dependent on foreigners. There are no contending interests
to reconcile, no portion of his majesty's subjects in any part of
the globe, who could wish to oppose the imposition of a
prohibitory duty on the importation of this article into the
colony. And this is the only measure that would be necessary to
direct the attention of the settlers to this highly important
production, for which it has been found that the climate and soil
of the colony are peculiarly adapted. In three years at most,
after the adoption of this regulation, the colonists would raise
a sufficient quantity of tobacco for their own consumption. It
will be an after consideration for the government to take the
requisite means to promote the increased growth and exportation
of this highly important product to the mother country. The
immense advantage that she would derive from possessing in one of
her own colonies, an article of such general consumption, and for
which she is at present entirely tributary to foreign powers, is
too obvious to need illustration, and too considerable not to
attract the attention and encouragement of her legislature.

Hemp, flax, and linseed, are also productions to which the
climate and soil of the colony, and its dependent settlements at
the Derwent and Port Dalrymple are remarkably congenial, and the
growth of which might be easily promoted by wise regulations. Yet
highly valuable as are all these productions, and altogether
dependent as is this country for the amazing quantities of them,
which she consumes in her navy, her manufactures, and her
commerce, no attempt has been made since the establishment of the
colony to direct the attention of its inhabitants to their growth
and exportation. The views of the different gentlemen, who have
been successively intrusted with the government, have either
never reached so far, or else their means have been inadequate to
the accomplishment of these great ends. In embellishing the
capital, and erecting various public edifices, of which, however,
I do not mean to question the utility, their attention appears to
have been chiefly absorbed. It seems never to have come into
their contemplation that all these embellishments would have been
the natural and inevitable results of the increasing prosperity
of the community, but that they could never of themselves either
create or promote it. A flourishing agriculture, a thriving
commerce, would have equally effected all these objects; but with
this material difference, without that enormous expence to this
country with which they have been attended. The imposition of
small taxes for the promotion of public objects, is no grievance
to a people whose prosperity is the work of a wise and
considerative government. An impolitic and oppressive one cancels
alike the will to make, and the power to levy such contributions;
and imposes on itself the necessity of moderating its wants, or
of having recourse to foreign channels for their supply. In this
instance the great burden of these public undertakings has fallen
on this country, nor have they been the most inconsiderable item
in the amount of the colonial expenditure. Yet all that has been
already lavished, and all that this country may hereafter lavish
in prosecution of the same narrow and absurd system, will have
but little influence in promoting the real purposes of

This mania for building, which has always directed the
government, has unfortunately communicated itself to the
colonists, particularly those who inhabit the various towns, and
they are at present in the condition of a man who has a large
house, but wants wherewithal to furnish and support it. Their
situation would be more enviable, if they had smaller habitations
replete with a greater degree of plenty and comfort. The
establishment of an export trade, that may enable them to procure
in sufficient abundance those foreign commodities which long
habit has rendered indispensable to civilized life, is what they
desire, and what a wise government would desire also; more
especially since the parent colony is a great manufacturing
nation, and possesses the power of supplying the commodities in
question. Millions more expended in the same improvident manner
as heretofore, will not effect this great object; and with half
the expence already incurred a politic government would have
already accomplished it. Of this assertion the labours of an
individual, who, if on the one hand he has met with some support
from the more liberal and enlightened administration of this
country, has constantly experienced, on the other, all the
opposition which the envy and malevolence of the local government
could throw in his way, furnish an indubitable proof.

This gentleman, John Mac Arthur, Esq. formerly a captain in
the New South Wales corps, which was afterwards converted into
the 102d regiment, embarked more largely from the very
commencement of the colony, in the rearing of sheep and cattle,
than any other individual. Notwithstanding the very great profits
which his extensive flocks and herds yielded him, a circumstance
that would have satisfied the ambition, and lulled to sleep the
inquiries of a less penetrating mind, he foresaw so long as
fifteen years back, what has since been realized, the crisis of
general distress and embarassment, to which the course pursued by
the local government, would eventually conduct; and on the
occasion of his being unjustly ordered to this country by the
then governor, where he soon vindicated himself from the charges
imputed to him, he convinced the ministry of the advantages that
would accrue to the nation from promoting in the colony the
growth of fine wool; and obtained from them a considerable grant
of land, and various encouragements besides, in order to enable
him to carry this highly important project into execution. Among
other indulgences, he procured an order in council permitting him
to embark on board the vessel that was to reconvey him to the
colony, four Spanish ewes and a ram, which he had purchased out
of the king's flocks. With this small beginning he undertook, and
in spite of an incessant war waged against him by malignity and
misrepresentation, the withholding in some measure of the
encouragements ordered by the liberality of his majesty's
ministry, and endless other disappointments and vexations that
would have damped any ordinary resolution, his efforts have been
crowned with the most complete success, and he has at present not
less than five thousand sheep, of which the wool from continual
crosses with Spanish tups, the progeny of the few sheep purchased
by him at the sale of the king's flocks, has become as fine as
the best imported from Saxony, and has been found to surpass it
in elasticity, a quality highly conducive to the firmness and
durability of the cloth. Many gentlemen also of the colony who
have large flocks, sensible of the folly of breeding sheep for
the mere sake of the carcases, which in consequence of the
limited population, and unlimited extent of grazing country, have
already become of inferior value, and in a short time more will
be worth little or nothing, entered some years back on this
gentleman's system; and there may, perhaps, be among all the rest
of the sheep holders, the same number of fine woolled sheep which
he alone possesses. Here then is an exportable article of immense
consequence to the colony, and of the highest political
importance to this country; an article indispensable to the
support of her staple manufacture, and for which she has hitherto
been altogether dependent on foreign nations; yet has no attempt
but the one I have just alluded to, been made, either by the
government of this country, or of the colony, to direct the
attention of the sheep-holders to its production; on the
contrary, the greatest obstacles have been thrown in the way of
this gentleman's success, obstacles which none but the most
enthusiastic spirit could have surmounted. Thanks, however, to
his invincible perseverance, the dawn of prosperity is at length
breaking on the colony. The long stormy night of suffering and
misery is drawing to a close; yet a few years, and the sun of
peace and plenty will appear on its horizon. But although this
event will in the natural course of things soon take place, its
approach may be greatly accelerated, or retarded by the wisdom or
folly of the government. The colonists, in spite of every
impediment they may have to encounter, cannot much longer remain
insensible to the advantages which _they_ possess, who have
already followed the wise example of this gentleman: _these_
they will daily behold in the enjoyment of comparative ease and
happiness, and in possession of a certain progressive income,
exposed to few or no contingencies, and dependent on no man for
its extent and duration; while on the other hand, they will find
that their own income must not only diminish every year, but also
rest for its continuance on the good pleasure of their governor,
who, if he should even possess the will, would not want the power
to enlarge it to any considerable amount, and who, should he be
their enemy, might at any time reduce it to nothing. The manifest
superiority, therefore, which the proprietors of fine woolled
possess over those of coarse woolled sheep, would alone suffice
in the end to draw the attention of all the sheep-holders in the
colony to the improvement and perfection of the wool of their
flocks. This is happily a much easier task at present than at the
period when Mr. Mac Arthur first entered on the system of
crossing. At that epoch there were few sheep in the colony, but
such as had been introduced from the East Indies, which it is
well known are entirely covered with hair. This race, so
disgusting in its appearance to Englishmen, has long since
disappeared; nor are there any sheep at present, whose wool could
be termed actually coarse: the wool of the Leicester breed is
perhaps the coarsest that could any where be found. A few years
continual crossing with Spanish tups would consequently suffice
to cover all the sheep in the colony with fine wool. Three
crosses which under a proper system would occupy about six years,
would be sufficient, if the government would employ the means at
their disposal, to accomplish this great national object. The
number of sheep in the month of November last amounted, as it has
already been seen, to 170,920; out of which, as I have just
stated, 10,000 are of the pure Spanish breed or nearly: it may
therefore be perceived what an immense exportation of this
precious article might take place in a few years, under judicious
and politic regulations.

No country in the world is perhaps so well adapted to the
growth of fine wool as this colony. There is in its climate
alone, a peculiar congeniality for the amelioration of wool,
which has been found of itself to occasion in a few years, a very
perceptible improvement in the fleeces of the coarsest
description of sheep. Even the East India breed, entirely covered
with hair, produce without being crossed with a finer race a
progeny, the superiority of whose fleece over that of the parent
stock is visible in every remoter generation. This amazing
congeniality of climate is supported by local advantages of equal
if not greater importance. For hundreds of miles into the
interior, the country has been found to be covered with the
richest pasturage, and every where intersected with rivulets of
the finest water. A constant succession of hill and dale
diversifies the whole face of the country, which is so free from
timber, that in many places there are thousands of acres without
a tree.

The settlements at the Derwent and Port Dalrymple, though
situated in a colder climate, and therefore in all probability
not equally congenial to the growth of fine wool, afford the same
excellent pasture, and contain in every respect besides, the same
facilities for the rearing of Spanish sheep, whose fleeces it is
reasonable to expect on comparing the climate of these
settlements, with that of Saxony, would not degenerate, if the
same system which prevails in that country were followed in the
management of sheep in this.

Saxony is situated between the 50th and 51st parallels of
north latitude; and Van Diemen's Land, on the northern and
southern parts of which these two settlements are formed, between
the 41st and 43d degrees of south; so that allowing for the
superior coldness of the southern hemisphere, the whole of this
island possesses a climate more congenial to the growth of wool,
than the finest parts of a country, whose wool exceeds in value
that of Spain and Italy. The settlers, however, have not yet
opened their eyes to the advantage of having fine woolled flocks,
although they have for many years past had but a very limited
market for their mutton, and the government there, as at Port
Jackson, have made no efforts to turn their attention to this

This unaccountable indifference to a matter of such vast
political importance, it is to be hoped will at length be
followed by a proper degree of attention and encouragement. Among
all the various ends proposed by our extended colonial system,
none perhaps is more intrinsically worthy the cordial undeviating
support of his majesty's government, than the one in question. In
twenty years, the extensive exportation which might be effected
under proper regulations in this single article, would alone
raise the colonists from the point of depression and misery to
which they have been reduced, to as high a pitch of affluence and
prosperity as is enjoyed by any portion of his majesty's subjects
in any quarter of the globe. Before the expiration of that
period, I am convinced that they might be enabled to ship for
this country, at least a million's worth of fine wool annually;
and for the accomplishment of this vast national object, it would
not be necessary for this country to expend one far-thing more
than is at present _wasted_ in prosecution of a system of
mere secondary importance, and having little or no bearing on the
eventual prosperity of the colony. It is only by establishing
this prosperity on a solid basis, by encouraging the growth of
exports, until they rise to a level with its imports, that it can
be converted from an unproductive and ruinous dependency into a
profitable and important appendage. Whenever it shall have
attained this point of advancement, whenever it shall have
acquired an independence in its resources, then, and not before,
will it begin to answer the real ends of all colonization, the
extension of the commerce and rescurces of the empire. Then like
some vast river of the ocean, will it pour back its majestic
stream into the bosom of its parent flood, and contribute to the
circulation and salubrity of its bounteous author.

Among the various remaining articles of export, which the
colony is capable of producing, and to which the industry of its
inhabitants might be gradually attracted, the last two that I
shall specify, are the vine and the olive. These, indeed, with
the various productions which I have already named, are capable
of such vast extension, as to be fully adequate to absorb all the
energies of the colonists for many years to come, whatever may be
the increase in their numbers. To mention, therefore, the endless
less important productions to which the climate and soil of this
colony are equally congenial, would only be to perplex their
choice, and to divert, perhaps, their industry into less
productive channels. It would be superfluous to dwell upon the
happy results that would attend the general introduction and
culture of these two productions, both with reference to them as
articles of internal consumption and exportation; since it is
well known how materially they contribute to the comfort and
affluence of the countries which are blessed with them. I shall,
therefore, only just mention that the greatest facilities have
been lately afforded for their general culture by the same
gentleman who first introduced the Spanish sheep into the colony;
and that there is only now wanting the fostering hand of the
government to occasion their further propagation.

One of the most efficacious measures that could be adopted, as
well for their general introduction, as for that of the various
other valuable productions before enumerated, would perhaps be
the establishment of a colonial plantation, in which a certain
number of the most enterprizing youths might be instructed in
their culture and preparation. This institution might, I am
convinced, be founded under a proper system without occasioning
any considerable expence. The first step to be taken would of
course be the selection of a fit allotment of ground, which ought
to be granted to trustees, according to the usual forms of law.
These should consist of a certain number of gentlemen of
consideration in the colony, who would consent to hold this
office as an honorary one, without any view to private emolument,
and for the mere sake of promoting the public weal. To place this
institution near the capital, Sydney, where the greater part of
the land is already located, and besides of a very indifferent
quality, ought not, by any means, to be attempted, not only for
these reasons, but also because the youth, whom it would be the
main object of this institution to train up to economical and
laborious pursuits, would run the risk of contracting the vicious
habits, and falling into the excesses of that town; a probability
which a removal to a proper distance from that sink of iniquity,
would effectually provide against. The most eligible situation,
perhaps, for the establishment of this highly important
institution would be some fertile spot in the cow pastures,
which, as it has been already mentioned, are injudiciously
reserved for the use of the wild cattle, notwithstanding that
they have nearly disappeared.

The only two individuals who have grants of land in this
district are Messrs. Mac Arthur and Davison; and my
recommendation that this institution should be formed in the same
district, is not more influenced by the fertility of its soil
than by the contiguity which it would in this case possess to the
former gentleman's estate; a contiguity, which would enable him
frequently to visit it, and to afford the director of it such
information as could not fail to contribute very materially to
its progress and success. It must be quite unnecessary for me to
dwell on the importance of confiding the superintendence of such
an establishment to some one, who might be duly qualified for the
discharge of the duties that would be attached to it. Perhaps the
government would act wisely, if my suggestion on this head should
be deemed worthy of attention, in selecting for this office an
intelligent person from the South of France, who has been
accustomed to the culture of the vine and the olive. These with
tobacco, hemp, and flax, are the objects to which, I am of
opinion the attention of such an institution would be most
beneficially applied. And if, as is not improbable, it should be
found impracticable to procure a person acquainted with the
culture and preparation of all these various productions, it
would not be difficult to discover among the colonists themselves
men of good character possessing the knowledge in which he might
be deficient, and who might be assigned him as assistants, but
still placed under his direction and control. The encouragement
which I consider should be held out to the director, as well as
to his subordinate agents, ought not to consist of stipulated
salaries, which might superinduce lethargy, and prevent them from
contributing their utmost to the success of the establishment,
but of a certain proportion of the clear profits of the concern,
after the deduction of all contingent expences. What I conceive
this proportion ought to be, I will hereafter specify, as also
the manner in which I would distribute the remainder. The
subjects which I propose for immediate consideration are: 1st,
The manner in which this institution might be founded; 2dly, The
number and description of the candidates to be admitted, with the
manner of their occupation; and, lastly, the nature of the
encouragement to be accorded them.

The means necessary for this undertaking must be unavoidably
supplied by the government. "The Police Fund" is so burdened with
charges of one sort or another, that I fear it would prove of
itself inadequate to the completion of this measure; although
there can be no doubt, that most of the ends to which this fund
is at present devoted are of but subordinate utility, and might
be very advantageously postponed to the object under
consideration. The erection of the different buildings that would
be immediately required for the various incipient purposes of
this institution, and the supply of its inmates with provisions
and the requisite implements of husbandry during the first
eighteen months of its establishment, after which period I
consider they would be fully able to administer in these respects
to their own wants, would be the principal expences to be
incurred. About £6000 would suffice for these objects;
while, in return, its operation would gradually extend itself to
every district, would develope and bring to maturity various
exportable commodities, which are as yet lying in embryo, and
which this country does not possess in any of her colonies; and,
in fine, would be more sensibly felt, and become more extensively
beneficial, in proportion to its own progressive march towards

Secondly, With respect to the number of candidates to be
admitted, they ought perhaps, in the first instance, to be
limited to fifty, although they might, and indeed ought to be
subsequently increased to not fewer than two hundred. More than
those in the commencement, before a due degree of order and
economy could be introduced, would undoubtedly create confusion
and an unnecessary augmentation of expence. Fifty are as many as
I conceive could be advantageously occupied for the first two or
three years. It must, however, be obvious, that the capability of
this institution for the reception and profitable employment of a
greater number of pupils, would very materially depend on the
director, and be, in a great measure, accelerated or retarded by
his ability or incompetency for a due discharge of his

As to the description of these candidates, it would, I
consider, be proper that they should consist of young men born in
the colony, or who may have come to it with their parents; that
they should not exceed eighteen years of age, nor be under
fifteen; that they should be of docile tempers and regular
habits, which points should be ascertained previously to their
admittance; and that their parents or guardians should bind them
apprentice for the space of four years to the trustees or
directors of this establishment for the time being, during which
period they should renounce all control over them whatever.

I will not here pretend to prescribe all the various modes of
occupation which it might be proper to allot them; I have already
enumerated those productions, the culture of which I conceive
might be most advantageously taught and disseminated by means of
this institution. Others, however, of equal and perhaps greater
utility, may be hereafter suggested by persons more conversant
with the situation and interests of the colony, and ought
unquestionably, if there be any such, to become identified with
those which I have specified. Whatever may be the decision of
more competent judges than myself on this subject, I may perhaps
confidently venture to recommend, that the pupils should be
divided into classes, that each of these should be instructed in
a particular sort of culture at a time; and that upon the
attainment of a thorough knowledge how to cultivate and prepare
any one article, and not before, their attention should be
directed to some other, and so on, till the expiration of their
several apprenticeships. It would be proper also to allow their
parents or guardians the selection of the occupations in which
they might wish their children or wards to be instructed, in so
far at least, as such occupations might be compatible with any of
the purposes of the institution.

And lastly, with reference to the nature and extent of the
encouragements to be accorded to the pupils, I would recommend,
in order that their energies might be stretched to the greatest
possible point of extension, that six eighths of the net annual
profits arising from their labours should be set apart, and
remain in the hands of the trustees, for their sole use and
benefit; and that on their retiring from this institution, the
accumulated amount should be equally divided among them, both to
secure their successful establishment in life, and to render the
knowledge which they may have severally acquired, of permanent
benefit to the community. I would also recommend that the
accounts both of the expenditure and profits of the institution
should be annually submitted to the trustees for their approval,
and afterwards printed and distributed among the pupils, not only
for the purpose of provoking inquiry into their accuracy, and
obtaining that rectification in case of error, which it might be
difficult to effect after the lapse of five years; but also with
a view to bring home to their understandings, and to convince
them beyond the possibility of doubt, of the benefits which they
may have derived from their past labours; a conviction that would
prove the most cordial incentive, the most powerful lever which
could be applied to their future industry and exertion. I would
lastly recommend, that the quantity of land, and indeed that the
encouragements of every kind which the government are in the
habit of granting to the ordinary class of settlers, should be
increased in a two-fold proportion to the pupils of this
institution; but as it evidently would not be expedient or
equitable that those who might habitually violate the regulations
to be made for the good government of this little community,
should receive on the one hand an equal recompence with those
whose conduct might have always been regular and exemplary, or
that they should be deprived on the other of their quota of the
emoluments that might accumulate during the period of their
apprenticeships, I would suggest, in order to mark that due
gradation which in every well regulated society must necessarily
exist in the scale of rewards to be accorded to such as may be
subordinate or refractory,--industrious, or idle; that these
latter encouragements should only be extended in this double
ratio to those who might quit the establishment with a
certificate of good conduct from the director.

With regard to the allowance to be made the gentleman to whom
the directorship might be confided, I should imagine that one
eighth of the clear profits arising from the institution, would
be a most liberal compensation for his trouble and attention, and
that the remaining eighth would be an equally handsome provision
for the whole of his assistants: one of whom would be required
for the superintendence and instruction of each of the classes
into which it might be determined that the pupils should be

Such are the principal measures which are essential to the
revival of the agricultural prosperity. I will now briefly notice
the various restrictions with which the commercial interests have
been not less injudiciously fettered, and the removal of which is
of the highest importance to the progress and welfare of the
colony. These may be divided into two heads, duties and
disabilities; and first, with reference to the duties with which
the various articles of export that the colonists possess or
procure, have been shackled by the successive governors. The
duties in question are enumerated in the following schedule, and
are levied upon the undermentioned articles, whether they are
intended for home consumption or for exportation, in which latter
case it will be seen that some few of them are even doubled.

On each ton of sandal wood                                        £2  10  0
On each ton of pearl shells                                        2  10  0
On each ton of beche la mer                                        5   0  0
On each ton of sperm oil                                           2  10  0
On each ton of black whale or other oil                            2   0  0
On each fur seal skin                                              0   0  1½
On each hair ditto                                                 0   0  0½
On each kangaroo ditto                                             0   0  0½
On cedar or other timber from Shoal-haven, or any other part
of the coast or harbours of New South Wales (Newcastle excepted,
as the duties are already prescribed there) when not supplied by
government labourers, for each solid foot -010 For every twenty
spars from New Zealand or elsewhere100On timber in log or plank
from New Zealand, or elsewhere, for each solid foot                0   1  0
For each ton of coals from Newcastle for home consumption          0   2  6
Ditto if exported                                                  0   5  0
For each thousand square feet of timber for home consumption       3   0  0
Ditto if exported                                                  6   0  0

That all these duties should be levied on these different
articles, in as far as they may be consumed in the colony, may be
highly expedient; but that they should be equally levied on
exportation, and in two of the most material instances doubled,
is so manifestly absurd, that it must be quite superfluous to
dilate on the subject. It is a system of policy which it may be
safely asserted is unknown in any other part of the world; and
nothing but the indubitable certainly of its existence would
convince any rational person that it could ever have entered into
the contemplation of any one intrusted with the government of a
colony. These duties have had the effect which might have been
expected from them; they have in most instances amounted to
actual prohibitions. Their operation, indeed, has been found so
burdensome and oppressive, that the colonial merchants have
frequently petitioned the local government for relief; but no
attention whatever has been paid to their repeated
representations and remonstrances. Had it not been for the duties
on coals and timber, some hundred tons of these valuable natural
productions would have been exported annually to the Cape of Good
Hope and India; since the vessels which have been in the practice
of trading between those countries and the colony have always
returned in ballast; and the owners or consignees would,
therefore, have gladly shipped cargoes of timber or coals, if
they could have derived the most minute profit from the freight
of them. This observation holds good in a great measure with
respect to the various other articles which have been enumerated:
the exportation of the whole has been greatly circumscribed by
the same ridiculous and vexatious system of impost. It can hardly
be credited that the veriest sciolist in political economy could
have been guilty of such a palpable deviation from its
fundamental principles; but it is still more unaccountable, that
a succession of governors should have pertinaciously adhered to a
system of finance so absurd and monstrous.

Highly injurious, however, as are the duties which are levied
in the colony, they are not nearly so oppressive as those which
are levied in this country, on spermaceti, right whale, and
elephant oils procured in vessels built in the colony. The duties
on the importation of such oil into this country, are £24
18s. 9d. for the first sort, and £8 6s. 3d. for the two last.
If we add to these enormous duties those which are levied
by the authority of the local government, it will be perceived
that all the spermaceti oil procured by the colonial vessels
has to pay a duty of £28 8s. 9d. and all the right whale and
elephant oil a duty of £10 6s. 3d. before it can come into
competition with the oil of the same description
procured in vessels built in the united kingdom. It has, however,
been seen, that the colonists, propelled not less by that spirit
of enterprize which distinguishes Englishmen in every quarter of
the globe, than by the desire of finding profitable employment
for that large portion of unoccupied labour, of which I have
hastily pointed out the causes and march for the last fifteen
years, have frequently attempted, notwithstanding these
overwhelming prohibitions, to carry on these fisheries, but
always without success; and that the valuable fishery of right
whales which the river Derwent affords at a particular season, is
now only resorted to, in order to procure the trifling supply of
oil which is requisite for the East India market and for internal
consumption. All attempts to export oil to this country have been
for many years abandoned; since the trade could only be
maintained at a dead loss, as the ruinous experience of many of
the colonial merchants has abundantly attested. The reason why
these enormous duties were imposed on oil procured in the
colonial vessels is not generally understood here, but it is
universally known in the colony; and the knowledge has materially
tended to increase the dissatisfaction which the imposition of
such duties would of itself, to a certain extent, have naturally
excited. The act which authorizes these duties, is one of those
smuggled acts by which, to the disgrace of our legislature, the
welfare and happiness of helpless unprotected thousands have been
so frequently sacrificed on the shrine of individual avarice or
ambition. It originated in a certain great mercantile house
extensively concerned in the South Sea fisheries, and could never
have been passed, had there been a single person in either house
of parliament, at all interested in the prosperity of this
colony. This act, indeed, is such a terrible deviation, such a
monstrous exception to the usual policy of this country with
respect to the fisheries, that it carries with itself the
strongest internal evidence of its polluted origin. No such
restrictions had ever before been imposed on any of our colonies,
as will be sufficiently evident, if we compare the duties which
are levied in this country on oils procured in the vessels
belonging to the colonies in North America and the West Indies,
with those which are levied on oils procured in the vessels
fitted out from the united kingdom. These duties are as

*Train oil, the produce of fish, or creatures living in the
sea, taken and caught by the crew of a British built vessel,
wholly owned by his majesty's subjects, usually residing in Great
Britain, Ireland, or the islands of Guernsey, Jersey, Alderney,
Sark, or Man, registered and navigated according to law, and
imported in any such shipping, per ton                         0  8  3¾

[* See Pope's Practical Abridgment of the Laws of
Customs and Excise, etc. etc. Title 246.]

Train oil, the produce of fish, or creatures living in the
sea, taken and caught on the banks and shores of the island of
Newfoundland and parts adjacent, wholly by his majesty's subjects
carrying on such fishery from that island, and residing therein,
and exported directly from thence in a British built ship or
vessel, registered and navigated according to law, per ton     1  4 11¼

Train oil, the produce of fish, or creatures living in the
sea, taken and caught wholly by his majesty's subjects, usually
residing in any of the Bahama or Bermudas islands, or in any
British plantation in North America, and imported in a British
built vessel, registered and navigated according to law, per
ton                                                            3  6  6

Train oil, the produce of fish, or creatures living in the
sea, taken and caught wholly by his majesty's subjects, usually
residing in any other British plantation, territory, or
settlement, and imported in a British built vessel, registered
and navigated according to law, per ton                        8  6  3

Spermaceti oil, or head matter, taken and caught by the crew
of a British built vessel, wholly owned by his majesty's
subjects, usually residing in Great Britain, Ireland, and the
islands of Guernsey, Jersey, Alderney, Sark, or Man, registered
and navigated according to law, and imported in any such vessel,
per ton                                                        0  8  3¾

Spermaceti oil, or head matter, taken and caught on the banks
and shores of the island of Newfoundland and parts adjacent,
wholly by his majesty's subjects carrying on such fishery from
that island, and residing therein, and imported directly from
thence in a British built vessel registered and navigated
according to law, per ton                                      1  4 11¼

Spermaceti oil, or head matter, taken and caught wholly by his
majesty's subjects, usually residing in any of the Bahama or
Bermudas islands, or in any British plantation in North America,
and imported in a British built vessel, registered and navigated
according to law, per ton                                      4 19  9

Spermaceti oil, or head matter, taken and caught wholly by his
majesty's subjects, usually residing in any other British
plantation, territory, or settlement, and imported in a British
built vessel, registered and navigated according to law, per
ton                                                           24 18  9

From the foregoing statement it will be perceived that the
duty levied on train oil, or spermaceti oil, or head-matter
procured by the inhabitants of Newfoundland, is precisely the
same, and only three times the amount of _that_ which is
levied on the same substances procured by British subjects
residing in the united kingdom; and that the duty levied on oil,
procured by British subjects residing in the Bahama, or Bermudas
islands, or in the plantations in North America, is only
_eight_ times the amount on train oil, and _twelve_
times the amount on spermaceti oil or head-matter, of _that_
which is levied on the same substances taken by British subjects
residing within the united kingdom. While on the other hand, the
duty levied on oil procured _in any other colony_; (for
mark, the contrivers of this act had sufficient cunning not to
particularize the unfortunate colony against which it was levied)
is _twenty times greater_ on train oil, and oh, _monstrous
injustice!_ upwards of _sixty times_ greater on
spermaceti oil, or head-matter, than _that_ which is levied
on similar substances taken by British subjects residing within
the limits of the united kingdom. The duty, therefore, which is
payable on train oil procured 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 that_ which is payable on it, when taken in vessels
belonging to the Bahama or Bermudas islands, or to the
plantations in North America; while the duty which is levied on
spermaceti oil, or head-matter, procured in vessels belonging to
this colony, is _five times_ the amount of _that_ which
is levied on such oil or head-matter, when taken in vessels
belonging to the Bahama, or Bermudas islands, or to the
plantations in North America; and _twenty times_ the amount
of _that_ which is levied on similar substances when taken
in vessels belonging to Newfoundland. This very unequal
proportion which the duties levied on these two sorts of oil, if
procured by the inhabitants of this colony, bear to each other
when compared with the duties which are levied on the same
substances if procured by the inhabitants of any of the foregoing
colonies or plantations, furnishes an additional proof, were any
required, of the correctness of my assertions with respect to the
origin of the act by which they were imposed. The house who were
the authors of it, could not consistently get the duty on one
description of oil raised, without at the same time admitting the
necessity for raising the duty on the other; but as they were not
interested in the right whale fishery, they were only anxious to
prevent the colonists of New South Wales from embarking in the
sperm whale fishery; and could they have accomplished this object
without running the risk of discovering the covert aim of the act
in its progress through parliament, they would have gladly
compromised this point with them, and have left the right whale
fishery open to them on the same conditions as it was before the
enactment of this bill. To have evinced, however, any such
tolerant inclination might have betrayed their design, and
accordingly the colonists were debarred from both the fisheries;
for notwithstanding that regular gradation has by no means been
adhered to in the imposition of these duties, which had been
previously observed in the scale of the duties levied in the
other colonies or plantations, they have in both instances been
more than sufficient to constitute actual prohibitions.

That any superiority of privilege whatever should have been
conceded by the legislature of this country, in the various acts
which have been passed for the encouragement of the fisheries, to
British subjects residing within the limits of the united
kingdom, is at best a manifest injustice to such of her subjects
as inhabit the colonies; but yet so long as this partiality was
confined within any reasonable bounds, it would not have excited
any considerable feeling of dissatisfaction. That there should,
however, be any gradation in the scale of duties to be levied on
any description of merchandise procured or produced in the
colonies themselves, is a system which it is impossible to
reconcile with any principle of justice or policy. Still so long
as this disproportion of impost, however unwise and unjust, did
not become so burdensome and oppressive as to confine this branch
of commerce, whatever it might be, to the privileged colony or
colonies, some palliation might be offered by its advocates for
its continuance, although the warmest of them would not be able
to attempt its vindication. But that any one colony should be
utterly excluded from privileges freely accorded to another, is
such a monstrous stretch of tyrannical partiality, that it never
could have been deliberately discussed in a free government, and
must therefore have been contrived by the secret machinations of
private avarice and corruption.

Can any reason be adduced why British subjects residing in one
colony, should be excluded from the whale fisheries more than
British subjects residing in another? Why vessels built in
Canada, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, or the Bahama islands, should
possess a privilege denied to vessels built in New Holland or Van
Diemen's Land? The whale fishery is not more contiguous to the
inhabitants of the former colonies than to those of the latter;
yet every encouragement is afforded for the carrying on of the
one, and every obstacle thrown in the way of the successful
prosecution of the other. Why such a broad line of distinction is
drawn, it is impossible to divine; since the disability which is
the consequence of it, is not only not in furtherance of any of
the ends contemplated by the navigation act,* but in diametrical
opposition to the whole of them. This will be evident if we refer
to its preamble, and to a few of its prominent provisions.
"Whereas for the increase of shipping and encouragement of the
navigation of this nation, wherein under the good providence and
protection of God, the wealth, safety, and strength of this
kingdom is so much concerned; it is enacted that no goods, or
commodities whatsoever, shall be imported into, or exported out
of any lands, islands, plantations or territories to his Majesty
belonging, or in his possession, or which may hereafter belong
unto or be in the possession of his Majesty in Asia, Africa, or
America, in any other vessels whatsoever, but in such vessels as
do truly and without fraud belong only to the people of England,
Ireland, or are of the built of and belonging to any of the said
lands, islands, plantations, or territories as the proprietors
and right owners thereof, and whereof the master and
three-fourths of the mariners at least are English, under the
penalty of the forfeiture and loss of all the goods and
commodities which shall be imported into, or exported out of any
the aforesaid places, in any other vessel, as also of the vessel
with all its tackle," etc. From this, which is the principal
clause of the act, it clearly appears that British subjects in
whatever part of the empire they may happen to reside, are
entitled to precisely the same privileges, and that vessels built
in any of her colonies are to all intents and purposes to be
deemed of British built, in the same manner and on the same terms
and conditions as if they had been built within the limits of the
united kingdom, i. e. so long as the master and three fourths of
the crew are British subjects. That this admission to a perfect
equality of privilege, was and is still the intent not only of
the navigation act, but of all the leading acts of navigation
which have been passed since, we shall be still further
satisfied, if we trace them in their whole progress to the
present hour. It will not, however, be necessary to extend our
examination either way beyond the great registry act passed in
the twenty-sixth year of the reign of his present majesty, cap.
60. "By this act very considerable alteration was made in the
whole concern of registering shipping, with a view of securing to
ships of the _built_ of this country, a preference and
superiority which they had not enjoyed so completely before. The
plan of regulation then proposed to parliament was the result of
an inquiry and deliberation of great length before the committee
of Privy Council for the Affairs of Trade and Plantations; and
that inquiry was commenced and carried on, and the measure at
length decided upon principally by the exertion and perseverance
of the late Earl of Liverpool."** What vessels are still deemed
in this careful and elaborate revision of the navigation code to
be of _British built_, may be seen from the first clause of
this act, which ordains "that no vessels _foreign built_
(except such vessels as have been, or shall hereafter be taken by
any of his Majesty's vessels of war, or by any private, or other
vessel, and condemned as lawful prize in any court of admiralty)
nor any vessel built or rebuilt upon any foreign-made keel or
bottom, in the manner heretofore practised and allowed, although
owned by British subjects, and navigated according to law, shall
be any longer entitled to any of the privileges or advantages of
a _British built ship_, or of a ship owned by British
subjects, and all the said privileges and advantages shall
hereafter be confined to _such ships only_ as are _wholly
of the built_ of Great Britain or Ireland, Guernsey, Jersey,
and the Isle of Man, or of some of the plantations, islands, or
territories in Asia, Africa, or America, which now belong, or at
the time of building such vessels did belong, or which _may
hereafter belong to_ or be in the possession of his Majesty;
provided always, that nothing hereinbefore contained shall extend
to prohibit such foreign built vessels only as before the 1st of
May, 1786, did truly and without fraud wholly belong to any of
the people of Great Britain or Ireland, Guernsey, Jersey, and the
Isle of Man, or of some of the plantations, etc. etc." Here then
we have cited the _two leading clauses_ in the _two
leading acts_ of navigation, and both prove that the objects
which this country had in view, were to create nurseries of
seamen for her navy, and to secure to her subjects, in whatever
part of her extended empire they might reside, the benefit of the
carrying trade. The imposition, therefore, of any duties on her
subjects in any of her colonies, greater than those which are
levied under similar circumstances on her subjects at home, far
from being in unison with the liberal and enlightened policy of
the navigation laws, is a broad deviation from their fundamental
principles, and the creation of an entire system of exclusion,
such as the one under consideration is, _a fortiori_, an
utter violation of their letter and spirit. That any prohibitory
duties of this sort could ever have been enacted, will appear
still more surprising, if we look a little further into the
policy which this country has pursued with respect to her other
fisheries, particularly the cod fishery on the banks of
Newfoundland, and parts adjacent. For when by the 15th Charles
II. cap. 7. she enlarged the scope of her great navigation act,
and to the two main original objects contemplated in this act,
viz. the creation of nurseries for seamen, and the securing to
her subjects the carrying trade, she superadded a third, viz.
that of making herself the _entrepot_ for the deposit of all
goods and commodities, whether the growth, production, or
manufacture of Europe, or of her colonies, it having been
foreseen that this alteration in her maritime code would be
prejudicial to the cod fisheries, and that it would most
materially conduce to their prosperity and extension still to
allow salt, provisions, wine, etc. to be imported _directly_
from various countries not subject to the dominion of the crown
of England into the colonies from whence these fisheries are
carried on, this enlarged act,*** after ordaining "that no
commodity of the growth, production, or manufacture of Europe
shall be imported into any land, island, plantation, colony,
territory, or place to his Majesty belonging, or which shall
hereafter belong unto, or be in the possession of his Majesty in
Asia, Africa, or America, (Tangier only excepted) but what shall
be _bona fide_ and without fraud, laden and shipped in
England, and in English built shipping, and whereof the master
and three fourths of the mariners at least are English, and which
shall be carried directly thence to the said lands, islands,
plantations, colonies, territories or places, and from no other
place whatsoever, any law or usage to the contrary
notwithstanding, under the penalty of the loss of all such
commodities of the growth, production, or manufacture of Europe,
as shall be imported into any of them from any other place by
land or by water, and if by water, of the vessel also in which
they were imported with her tackle, etc. etc." immediately
subjoins:--"Provided that it shall be lawful to ship and lade in
such ships, and so navigated as in the foregoing clause is set
down and expressed in any part of Europe, salt for the fisheries
of New England and Newfoundland, and to ship and lade in the
Madeiras wines of the growth thereof, and to ship and lade in the
Western Islands, or Azores, wines of the growth of the said
islands, and to ship and take in servants or horses in****
Scotland or Ireland, and to ship or lade in Scotland all sorts of
victual, the growth or production of Scotland, and to ship and
lade in Ireland all sorts of victual of the growth or production
of Ireland, and the same to transport into any of the said lands,
islands, plantations, colonies, territories or places." Here then
is an instance of a very material deviation from the spirit of
the navigation laws for the sole purpose of encouraging a
fishery; but who can deny its policy? The legislature in this
case had to decide whether they would extend this great national
nursery for seamen, or whether they would check its growth by
preventing the direct trade between these colonies and Europe,
Madeira, the Azores, etc. and by making herself the
_entrepot_ for the deposit and exchange of all the produce
of these fisheries on the one hand, and of the productions of
Europe, etc. etc. that were necessary for their extension on the
other. The advantages that she would have derived from such a
selfish arrangement, she wisely foresaw would be more than
counterbalanced by the concomitant detriment which her maritime
interests would have sustained from it. And hence this deviation
from one of the leading objects of her navigation laws, a
deviation which has not only been continued ever since, but even
considerably enlarged; for many other places are now included in
the direct commerce with these colonies, as will be seen by
reference to the 46 Geo. III. c. 116. which recites, "whereas by
the laws in force no commodity of the growth, production, or
manufacture of Europe, is allowed to be imported into any place
to his Majesty belonging, or which shall hereafter belong unto,
or be in the possession of his Majesty in Asia, Africa, or
America, but what shall be _bona fide_ and without fraud,
laden and shipped in Great Britain, or Ireland, except salt for
the fisheries of Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Quebec, which may
be laden in any port of Europe, and also except any goods fit and
necessary for the fishery in the British colonies or plantations
in America, being the growth, produce, or manufacture of Great
Britain or Ireland, or of the islands of Guernsey or Jersey,
which may be shipped and laden in the said islands respectively
by any of the inhabitants thereof, and also except wines of the
growth of the Madeiras and the Western Islands, or Azores, which
may be laden at those places respectively: and whereas, it may
tend to the benefit of the British fisheries, and to the
advantage of the commerce and navigation of this country, if
permission was given for certain other articles to be shipped for
the British colonies in North America, at other places in Europe
than those hereinbefore mentioned, under certain regulations and
restrictions:" it is therefore enacted that any fruit, wine, oil,
salt, or cork, the produce of Europe, may be shipped and laden at
Malta, or Gibraltar, for exportation direct to the said
plantations in North America, on board any British _built_
vessel, owned, navigated, and registered according to law, which
shall arrive with the produce of the said fisheries taken and
cured by his majesty's subjects carrying on the said fishery from
any of the said plantations, or from Great Britain or

[* 12 Car. II. chap. 18.]

[** Reeves, second edition, p. 397.]

[*** 15 Charles II. cap. 7.]

[**** England, Ireland and Scotland, since united
into one kingdom.]

I have been thus copious in extracts from the navigation laws,
to prove that the great leading principles of these laws would
not only be in no wise encroached upon by allowing the
inhabitants of this colony to carry on the whale fisheries in
their own vessels, but also that the duties which were thus
clandestinely imposed on oils so procured, have been a flagrant
violation of them, and that they are a single isolated exception
to a general rule. Nor would the abolition of the duties in
question, and the consequent encouragement of these fisheries,
prove injurious to the British merchants at home, as must have
been apprehended by those who were the authors of the prohibitory
law by which these duties were enacted. Looking, indeed, at the
mere situation of the colony, it would not be unnatural to
conclude that its contiguity to the sperm whale fisheries, on the
coast of New Zealand, New Caledonia, and New Guinea, would give
its inhabitants such a decided advantage over the persons
carrying on the same fisheries from this country, that these
latter would soon be forced to abandon a ruinous competition, and
that she would consequently be deprived of the very important
benefits which she at present derives from it. The fears,
however, which are apt to arise on this view of the subject will
be immediately dissipated if it be considered, that the rope,
canvas, casks, and gear of every description, necessary for the
outfit of the colonial vessels for these fisheries, are furnished
by this country, and can never be obtained in the colony under an
advance of fifty per cent. on the prime cost; that the sperm oil
in the market is unequal to the demand for it, an assertion
proved as well by the existing bounties held out by the
legislature for the encouragement of these fisheries, as by the
enormous wages gained by the seamen employed in them; that these
bounties themselves operate as a considerable prohibition to the
colonists; and, lastly, that many years must elapse before the
colonial fishermen can be properly organized, and rendered as
expert as the English. These various disadvantages under which
the inhabitants of this colony labour, are all but one of a
permanent nature, and it is evident will always more than
counterbalance the single local superiority which they possess,
and ensure the English merchants a decided advantage in the
market;--an advantage which if it will not outstrip all
competition, will at least only just permit that salutary
opposition which is essential to the prevention of monopoly and
to the interests of the public.

It must, I should imagine, by this time be quite obvious, that
the removal of the duties in question would be in complete unison
with the spirit of the navigation laws, and with that liberal and
enlightened policy, which this country has on all other occasions
invariably observed, with respect to colonies in parallel
circumstances. In establishing, therefore, a precedent, I hope
that I have made out a case sufficiently strong to warrant the
interference of the legislature. It may not, however, be
altogether superfluous, if it be only to point out the injury
which this country has sustained from her past injustice and
impolicy, just to glance at the advantages that she would possess
in future wars from having an extensive body of seamen at her
disposal in the South Pacific Ocean. Hitherto our squadrons in
India have been entirely supplied with seamen from this country,
and the great mortality which takes place on that station
requires this supply to be constantly kept up. It is well known,
although fewer actions take place in the Indian seas than perhaps
on any other of our maritime stations, that the number of deaths
occasioned by the influence of the climate alone are
proportionally more considerable than in any other part of the
world, with the single exception, I believe, of the coast of
Africa. It becomes, therefore, a question of the greatest
importance, whether considered in a political or philanthropic
point of view, to ascertain if this lamentable expenditure of
human life might not be considerably diminished by manning our
ships of war in the Indian seas with the inhabitants of New
Holland. It is well known that our settlements in this vast
island are situated in a climate which forms a mean between the
temperature of this country and India. There is consequently
every probability, that the persons born in these colonies would
be able to support the extreme heats of India much better than
Englishmen. Be this, however, as it may, there can be no doubt of
the advantage which this country would derive from having a
valuable nursery for seamen in a situation, from which her navy
in the East might at no very remote period be so easily supplied
on all occasions of emergency. This prospect cannot fail to prove
an additional motive with the government for the abolition of
duties, which, if persevered in, will for ever stifle all
commercial enterprize, and debar not only the colonists
themselves, but the parent country also from the various
important advantages, which I should presume it is now evident
that an uncontrolled ability to prosecute these fisheries would
infallibly secure to one and the other.

With reference now to the commercial disabilities which have
been imposed on this colony: the first impediment, the removal of
which may be said to be of any material importance to its
mercantile prosperity, is the clause in the East India Company's
charter*, which provides, "that it shall not be lawful for any
vessel, the registered measurement whereof shall be less than
three hundred and fifty tons, other than such vessels as may be
employed by the East India Company as packets, to clear out from
any port in the united kingdom for any place within the limits of
the said company's charter, or be admitted to entry at any port
of the united kingdom from any place within those limits.**" When
this act was passed, the pernicious bearing of this clause on the
colony was most probably overlooked. It has been found
prejudicial in the following respects:--First, The demand for
British goods is not sufficiently extensive to absorb cargoes of
such magnitude; so that when any such have arrived, they have
generally been attended with a loss to the owners, who will
probably soon become too wise to continue such a hazardous
commerce. Those merchants, indeed, who were in the habit of
shipping cargoes in smaller vessels for the colonial market,
before the passing of this act, have already abandoned, in a
great measure, their connexion within the colony, which is at
present chiefly dependent for its supplies of British
manufactures, on the captains of the vessels employed in the
transportation of convicts. These supplies, therefore, have
naturally become unequal and precarious: sometimes being
unnecessarily superabundant and cheap, and at other times being
so extremely scarce and dear as to be entirely beyond the reach
of the great body of the consumers. Such great fluctuations are
obviously not more repugnant to the well being and comfort of the
colonists themselves than to the mercantile interests of this

[* 53 Geo. 3. c. 155.]

[** The colony of New South Wales is within these

Secondly, The tendency of this act is not less injurious to
the colonists with regard to the few articles of export which
they are enabled to produce or collect for the British market.
These indeed are only three in number, wool, hides, and seal
skins, and are at present very inconsiderable in quantity; but
the two former articles must necessarily increase every year, and
will at length become of great extent and importance. The
probable amount of the colonial exports has been already rated at
about £28,000, out of which I consider that not more than
£15,000 worth is conveyed to this country. The remainder
consists of sandal wood, beche la mer, etc. exported principally
to China. It may therefore be perceived that the whole of the
annual exports of this colony would not suffice for half the
freight of a single vessel of the size regulated by the act in
question. It happens, in consequence, that the different articles
of export which the colonists collect, frequently accumulate in
their stores for a year and a half, before it becomes worth the
while of the captain of any of the vessels which frequent the
colony, to give them ship-room; and even then they do it as a
matter of _favour_, not forgetting, however, to extort an
exorbitant return for their _kindness and condescension_.
The owners, indeed, of these vessels are so well aware of the
inability of the colony to furnish them with cargoes on freight,
that they generally manage before their departure, to contract
for freights from some of the ports in India; a precaution which
increases still more perceptibly the difficulty which the
colonists experience in sending their produce to market. It must,
therefore, be evident that they suffer a two-fold injury from
this act, both as it prevents a regular supply of the colonial
markets with British manufactures, and as it impedes the
conveyance of their exports to this country. It is to be hoped,
then, that this unnecessary and oppressive provision of the act
will be revised, and that vessels of any burden will be suffered
to trade between this country and the colony, until its increased
growth and maturity shall have rendered the revision of obsolete

The last disability of serious detriment to the colonists, is
that their vessels cannot navigate the seas within the limits of
the East India Company's charter. I say _cannot_; because,
although since the late renewal of their charter vessels built in
this colony are, I should apprehend, entitled to all the
privileges of other British built vessels, so long as they are
navigated according to law, it has not yet attained sufficient
strength to be enabled to build vessels of the burden of three
hundred and fifty tons; and if it even possessed this ability,
such vessels could only convey the produce of the countries in
the Eastern seas, to which the free trade has lately been opened,
to certain ports in the united kingdom. The colonists, therefore,
are virtually precluded from trading in their own vessels within
these limits; a restriction highly injurious to them, and of no
benefit whatever to the company. Till within these few years the
vessels built at the Cape of Good Hope were subject to a similar
restraint; but its useless and oppressive tendency became so
glaring, and the restraint itself so obnoxious to the people who
were suffering under it, that it was at length removed by an
Order in Council, dated 24th September, 1814, which was made by
virtue of an act passed so long back as the 49th* year of the
reign of his present Majesty. By the 57th Geo. 3. c. 95. this
settlement was expressly included, for all the purposes of the
act, within the limits of the East India Company's charter. The
same reasons that sufficed for granting this privilege in the one
instance, are at least equally conclusive in the other; and it is
to be hoped, that the legislature will soon release the colony of
New South Wales also from so grievous and unnecessary a
restraint. Indeed no new act for this purpose is necessary; for
the 57th Geo. 3. c. 1. after reciting, "whereas it is expedient
under the present circumstances, that the trade and commerce to
and from all islands, colonies, or places, and the territories
and dependencies thereof to his Majesty belonging, or in his
possession in Africa or Asia, to the eastward of the Cape of Good
Hope, excepting only the possessions of the East India Company,
should be regulated for a certain time in such manner as shall
seem proper to his Majesty in Council, notwithstanding the
special provisions of any act or acts of parliament, that may be
construed to affect the same," enacts, "that it shall be lawful
for his Majesty in Council, by any order to be issued from time
to time, to give such directions, and make such regulations
touching the trade and commerce to and from the said islands,
colonies, or places, and the territories and dependencies
thereof, as to his Majesty in Council shall appear most expedient
and salutary; any thing contained in any act of parliament now in
force relating to his Majesty's colonies and plantations, or any
other law or custom to the contrary in any wise notwithstanding."
It may, therefore, be perceived that the disability in question
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, etc. to the Cape of Good Hope, the Isle of France,
Calcutta, and many other places in the Indian seas, in all of
which markets more or less extensive exist for these and various
other productions which the colony might furnish; Secondly, they
would be enabled to carry directly to Canton the sandal wood,
beche 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, etc. 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 ensure them at least a successful competition with the
subjects of those two nations.

[* Cap. 17.]

[** Many attempts have been made by the legislature
to encourage British subjects to carry on this commerce from the
ports of the united kingdom, but they have in a great measure
failed in this object: see Convention with the King of Spain, 33
Geo, 3. c. 52. Indeed, during the period of the Company's
exclusive trade with China, it can only be successfully
undertaken by persons residing within the limits of their

Such are the principal alterations in the policy of this
colony which appear most essential to its progress and welfare.
All these indeed, and many other privileges, which, though of
only secondary consideration, would tend like a constant
concurrence of small rivulets to swell and enlarge the stream of
colonial prosperity, would be the natural consequences of a free
representative government. If I have, therefore, gradually
ascended from effect to cause, after the manner of experimental
philosophy, I have chosen this mode of elucidation, not because
it was the only one which offered for the illustration of my
subject, but because I consider the inferences to be drawn from
it more satisfactory than those to which the opposite mode of
reasoning (that of descending from generals to particulars)
conducts; because it would be as easy that the abolition of the
various grievances which have been enumerated should be coeval
with the creation of the free constitution, by which such
abolition would be eventually accomplished; and lastly, because
the additional tedious delay which would otherwise intervene
between the establishment of a colonial legislature, the
representation of grievances by which it would be followed, and
their consequent removal,--a process that would occupy two years,
might be thus avoided; or in other words, the same period of
unnecessary endurance and misery spared to the ill fated
inhabitants of this colony. In recommending, however, that the
government of this country should authorize the immediate
adoption of the measures which I have proposed, I do not mean to
imply that such authorization alone would be productive of the
important results in contemplation. However extensively
beneficial in their present and remote effects the privileges
thus conferred might prove, they would nevertheless be
unsatisfactory and incomplete, so long as they were unaccompanied
with a government competent and willing to watch over and secure
their continuance. While it should be in the power of any
individual to suspend or annul them, what guarantee, in fact,
would exist for their permanence and durability? What solid basis
on which the capital and industry, which they might be calculated
to elicit, could repose in security?

The confidence, indeed, which an impartial governor might
inspire, would most probably, as often as the colony might be
blessed with a chief of this description, give a momentary
impulse to the activity of the colonists, and create a temporary
prosperity among them; but the shortness of his administration
will always interrupt the completion of his projects, and the
caprice, imbecillity, or injustice of some one or other of his
successors, like the blast of the sirocco, wither up the tender
shoots of prosperity, which a consistent and protecting
government would have nurtured and brought to maturity. The
experience of the past has sufficiently evinced the little
dependence which is to be placed on the degree of countenance and
protection which the system of one governor, however beneficial
the prosecution of it might prove, is likely to meet with from
_his successor_. It is, indeed, in the nature of man, to
prefer his own projects to those of any other: there is a degree
of pleasure in striking off from the beaten path, and rambling in
the untrodden wilds of speculation and experiment, which is alone
sufficient, without the help of bad motives, to account for the
diversity of policy, by which the administrations of the various
governors have been contra-distinguished. This inherent principle
of our nature, so averse to the realization of every beneficial
design, which is not capable of immediate development, ought
evidently to be counteracted and not encouraged, as it is at
present, to the utmost point to which an uncontrolled and
ridiculous caprice may choose to indulge it. The existing system
of government is, in fact, a woof of inconsistency, from which no
great harmonious tissue can proceed. A gentleman is appointed to
this important situation: on his arrival in the colony he finds
no council, no house of assembly, not even a colonial secretary
to assist him: a stranger, and naturally unacquainted with its
interests, he is necessarily obliged to have recourse to some
person or other for advice: to avoid the appearance of ignorance,
which however he cannot but possess, he will not most probably
apply to the gentleman whom he supersedes; and he again, from a
principle of delicacy, will not be forward in offering his advice
unsolicited: those who had been the assistants, and perhaps able
assistants of the latter, will keep aloof, as much out of respect
to the gentleman whom they had last served, as from that fear of
obtrusion, that feeling of diffidence, which is inherent in
persons of real merit and probity; so that it is ten to one but
he falls into the hands of the faction who had been the enemies
of his predecessor, only perhaps because he had too much honour
and integrity to promote their selfish views, at the expence of
the public weal. Scarcely, therefore, will this gentleman have
quitted the colony, before the whole of the superstructure which
he had been rearing will have been pulled down, and another of a
different description commenced in its stead. Such has almost
invariably been, and such will continue to be the conduct of the
actual government; nothing judicious or permanent can ever be
expected to proceed from it. How then, it may be asked, can
prosperity be expected to flow from sources so precarious and
inconstant? Are they calculated to supply that regular equal
stream of security and confidence which has been found essential
to the progress of improvement? But were the existing system of
government essentially conservative in its nature, instead of
being virtually destructive, it would still prove inadequate and
inefficient. The circumstances and wants of this colony will vary
every year, and consequently require either such partial
modifications or entire alterations of policy as may be suited to
each progressive stage of advancement. Its government, therefore,
ought to be so constituted, as not only to possess the power of
revising old laws, but also of framing new ones. It ought, in
fact, to involve in itself a creative as well as a conservative
faculty; a faculty which might enable it to accommodate its
measures to every change of situation, and provide an instant
remedy for every unforeseen and prejudicial contingency. Nothing
short of this will suffice to inspire that confidence which alone
can be productive of permanent prosperity. The government of an
individual, however respectable he may be, will always engender
distrust and cramp exertion. Man is distinguished from the rest
of the creation by his circumspection and providence. There must
exist a moral probability of reaping before he will venture to
sow. This cautious calculating disposition too, is most
predominant in those who are in the most easy circumstances:
where the liability to incur loss is greatest, the spirit of
enterprize is generally most restrained. But this class, which
contains the great capitalists of all countries, are precisely
those whose means, if they could be _enticed_ into activity,
would be productive of the most beneficial results. No soil is so
barren, no climate so forbidding, as not to present facilities
more or less favourable for the absorption of capital, and the
extension of industry. Wherever the tide of improvement is at its
height, and a reflux ensues, it is to the impolicy of the
government, and not to the sterility of the country, that this
retrogradation is to be attributed. Prosperity and happiness
belong to no climate, they are indigenous to no soil: they have
been known to fly the allurements of the fertile vale, and to
nestle on the top of the barren mountain: the plains of Latium
could not secure their stay, yet have they freely alit on the
snow-capt summits of Helvetia: they have been the faithful
companions of freedom in all her wanderings and persecutions:
they have never graced the triumphs of injustice and

I have now hastily sketched the principal incidents which have
characterized the march of this colony during the last fifteen
years. If I have neglected representing its more early efforts;
if I have excluded from view the amazing difficulties and
privations with which its immediate founders had to contend; if,
in fine, I have altogether omitted in the picture the numerous
interesting events that took place during the first fifteen years
of its establishment, I have been induced to all these omissions
by a conviction, that the existing system of government, if not
the most eligible that could have been devised, was at least
unproductive of those glaring ill consequences, with which it has
subsequently been attended. A singleness of design and a unity of
action, could not be deviated from during the period of its
infancy by the most ignorant and inexpert bungler in political
science. There was a broad path open to its government, which it
could not possibly mistake. The colony as yet entirely dependent
on external supplies, always precarious from their very nature,
but rendered still more so by a tedious, and at that time almost
unexplored navigation, would unavoidably turn its whole attention
to the single object of raising food, and emancipating itself as
soon as possible, from so uncertain and dangerous a dependence.
The principle of fear would have sufficed to propel the colonists
to a spontaneous application of their strength to the realization
of this end, independent of any directing power whatever. It was,
therefore, only on the attainment of this most important point,
that the impolicy of the present form of government became a
matter of speculation, and subsequently, that it has been
demonstrated by its practical result,--the wretched situation to
which it has reduced a colony, that might be made, as I have
satisfactorily established, one of the most useful and
flourishing appendages of the empire. It is at the epoch when the
produce of the colonists began to exceed the demand, and when
their industry, instead of being encouraged and directed into new
channels of profitable occupation, was not only left to its own
blind unguided impulse, but also placed under the most impolitic
and oppressive restrictions, that I have taken up the pencil, and
made a rapid but faithful delineation of the deplorable
consequences that have been attendant on a concatenation of
injudicious and absurd disabilities, which, though not altogether
imposed by its immediate government, would have been easily
removed by the more weighty influence of a combined
representative legislature. I have therefore throughout the whole
of this essay, considered the present government not only
responsible for its own impolitic conduct, but also for the
existence of those grievances which have been created by a higher
authority, and of which it has wanted the will or the power to
procure the repeal. I have commenced by glancing at some of the
most striking events that ancient history affords, to prove that
the prosperity of nations has kept pace with the degree of
freedom enjoyed by their citizens, and that their decadence and
eventual overthrow have been invariably occasioned by a selfish
and overwhelming despotism. Descending to more modern times, and
adverting to the condition of existing nations, I have shewn that
the unparalleled power and affluence of our own country, which I
have selected out of them by way of exemplification, are solely
to be attributed to the superior freedom of her laws, which have
engendered her a freer, more virtuous, and more warlike race of
people. From these striking illustrations, this steady
coincidence of cause and effect, deduced from the records of the
greatest among ancient and modern empires, I have concluded that
every community which has not a free government, is devoid of
that security of person and property which has been found to be
the chief stimulus to individual exertion, and the only basis on
which the social edifice can repose in a solid and durable
tranquillity. That the system of government adopted in the colony
of New South Wales does not rest on this foundation stone of
private right and public prosperity, I have proved from the
detestable tyranny and consequent arrest of a governor, whose
conduct anterior to his being intrusted with this important
charge, it will have been seen, was such as might have led
without any extraordinary powers of discrimination to a
prediction of the catastrophe that befel him. The atrocities
perpetrated by this monster, and the events to which they gave
rise, are sufficient to convince the most incredulous, that the
colonists have no guarantee for the undisturbed enjoyment of
their rights and liberties, but the impartiality and good
pleasure of their governor; and that they have no resource but in
rebellion against the unprincipled attacks and unjustifiable
inroads of arbitrary power. So radically defective, indeed, is
the government to which they are subjected in its very
constitution, that it not only holds out, in the uncontrolled
authority which it vests in the hands of an individual, the
strongest temptations for the exercise of tyranny to those who
may habitually possess an overbearing and despotic temperament,
but has also a manifest tendency, as history amply attests, to
vitiate the heart, and to produce a spirit of injustice and
oppression in those who may have been antecedently distinguished
by a well regulated and humane disposition. While it is thus, on
the one hand, calculated to beget the most monstrous atrocities
within the sphere of its jurisdiction, I have shewn that it has
not, on the other, been invested by the power to whom it owes its
origin and existence with the ability to perform any extended
good; and that while it involves in its essence all the elements
of destruction, it possesses no one principle of vitality. Of
this assertion the administration of Governor Macquarie, who if
you may judge from the length of time during which he has held
this high office, would appear to possess a greater portion of
the confidence of his Majesty's ministers, than any of his
predecessors, furnishes an indubitable proof: for relieved as the
mind of the reader will have been from the undivided indignation,
disgust, and abhorrence, which the excesses committed in the
foregoing government cannot fail to excite, by a review of the
prudence and moderation by which his career has been
contra-distinguished, he will nevertheless have beheld the
colony, from the want of privileges, of which this gentleman has
not possessed sufficient influence to procure the authorization,
sinking in spite of his upholding hand, from a comparative state
of affluence and comfort, to the lowest depth of poverty and
endurance. He will have seen the colonists checked in their
agricultural pursuits, rushing promiscuously into every avenue of
internal industry that lay open to them, and afterwards
constructing vessels, and not only exploring every known shore
within the limits of their territory, in search of sandal wood,
but even discovering unknown islands abounding with seals. He
will have viewed them exhausting these temporary sources of
relief, and attempting, but obliged to desist by the weight of
impolitic imposts, both internal and external, from those
inexhaustible fountains of wealth, the valuable whale fisheries
that exist in the adjacent seas. He will have beheld them from
inability to purchase the more costly commodities of other
countries, making the most astonishing exertions in manufactures,
and thus impelled by necessity to the adoption of a system not
more averse to the interests of the parent country than to their
own; and which under a well regulated government, would have been
one of the last effects of maturity and civilization. He will
have witnessed, notwithstanding these vigorous and unnatural
efforts, numbers of them bending every day beneath the pressure
of embarrassment, and at length stripped of their lands, and
deprived of their freedom, by a set of rapacious and unprincipled
dealers, who are gradually rendering themselves masters of the
persons and property of the agriculturists; the greater part of
whom, if the present system continue a few years longer, will be
virtually reduced to a state of bondage, and condemned to
minister to the ease and enjoyments of the worthless and the
vile. He will have seen that, while the poorer settlers have
already in general fallen victims to the unjust and impolitic
disabilities with which they are beset, the circle of distress
has extended itself from these, the _central body_ of the
community, to its _circumference;_ and that the imports have
so constantly preponderated in the balance over the united weight
of the income and exports, that the whole wealth of the colony
has been continually flowing into foreign countries, for the
payment of the necessary commodities furnished by them, leaving
no money in circulation for the important purposes of domestic
economy, and compelling the colonists by a general, constrained,
and tacit convention, to tolerate, as a substitute for a
legitimate circulating medium, a currency possessed of no
intrinsic value whatever. He will have beheld this rapid torrent
of distress forcibly driving back the tide of population, both by
the difficulties which it throws in the way of rearing up a
family, and by the numerous bodies of freed convicts, whom it
propels to a return to their native country, the greater part of
whom, more from necessity than choice, are led to a resumption of
their ancient habits, in order to procure a subsistence, and
either impose on the government the expense of retransporting
them to this colony, or end their career of iniquity by falling
victims to the vengeance of the laws which they had so often
violated. He will have seen during these continual and violent
concussions, by which the whole social edifice has been shaken to
the foundation, that the expenditure of the colony has been in a
state of the most rapid increase, and that the existing system of
government is incompatible with its diminution. He will, in fine,
have been satisfied that the immorality and vice which it was the
main object of the legislature to repress and extirpate, are
making the most alarming progress and extension.

Looking a little beyond these, the actual results of the
present order of things, he will find that it is affording the
most efficacious assistance and encouragement to the perfection
of the manufacturing system, already in a state of considerable
advancement, and that a few years more will so greatly
circumscribe the means of the colonists, that the majority of
them will be entirely excluded from the use of foreign
commodities, and compelled to content themselves with the homely
products of their own ingenuity; and that thus not only one of
the great ends of colonization, the creation of a market for the
consumption of the manufactures of the parent country, will be
defeated by her own impolitic conduct, but also a spirit of
animosity will be engendered by the recollection of the
privations and sufferings encountered by the colonists in their
tedious and painful march to this unnatural independence in their
resources; a spirit which will be handed down from father to son,
acquiring in its descent fresh force, and settling at length into
an hereditary hatred, which it will no longer be in the power of
the government to extinguish, and which will propel them,
whenever an opportunity offers, to renounce the control of such
unwise and unfeeling masters. Passing from this gloomy picture of
vexatious tyranny and unmerited suffering, he will proceed to the
more grateful contemplation of the remedies that are proposed as
a cure for the present evils, and as a preventive against the
future tremendous eruption with which the existing system, a
mountainous agglomeration of impolicy and barbarity, is so
fatally pregnant. He will be satisfied that the application of
the restoratives prescribed, will both reintegrate the
agricultural body, now in the last stage of debility and
consumption, and impart fresh life and vigour into the
commercial, which is equally impaired; and that while the parent
country will by these means restore the tone and energies of the
colony, she will be contributing in the most effectual manner to
her own strength and greatness. He will be persuaded that all
these most desirable ends will inevitably follow the
establishment of a free representative government; and that
however salutary the adoption of the measures proposed might be,
unaccompanied with that internal power of legislation from which
they would have eventually proceeded, they would of themselves be
utterly inadequate to effect a perfect and permanent cure for the
existing evils; and that nothing short of a local legislature,
properly constituted, can on the one hand either inspire into
capitalists that confidence which is essential to the free
unimpeded extension of industry, or be competent on the other, to
provide an instant relief for those growing wants, which spring
out of the progress of advancement, and are contingent on those
changes of circumstances and situation, to which incipient
communities are so peculiarly liable. He will, in fine, be
convinced even to demonstration, that the erection of a free
government in the colony of New South Wales would be a panacea
for all its sufferings; that it is the only measure which can
ease this country of the enormous burden which it will otherwise
entail on her, and save the unspent millions that will be
ingulphed, _uselessly_ ingulphed, in the devouring vortex of
the present system; and that the creation of an export trade of
raw materials, and the consequent extended consumption of her
manufactures which the proposed change of government would
superinduce, is the only way in which she can ever repay herself
for the immense expence that she has lavished on this colony, as
well during the period of its really helpless infancy, as during
the still longer interval of its restrained growth and fictitious



It being thus clear and indubitable that free representative
governments are the only foundation on which the prosperity and
happiness of communities can safely repose, it only remains to
ascertain how far the actual circumstances and situation of this
colony are compatible with the concession of so great and
important a privilege. At my very offset in this essay, after
glancing in a cursory manner at the history of the most
celebrated ancient and modern empires, and shewing that their
progress kept pace with their freedom, and that their
retrogradation is to be dated only from the epoch when they fell
under the dominion of arbitrary and ambitious despots, whose
successors gradually completed the work of destruction which they
had commenced, I was compelled in candour to admit that the
heterogeneous ingredients of which this colony was compounded,
did not at the period of its foundation, afford his Majesty's
government the power, if they had even possessed the will, to
establish a free representative system. It is therefore incumbent
on me, now that I have demonstrated the beneficial influence
which free governments have in promoting the prosperity of
communities in general, and have proved that this colony has for
many years been languishing in a state of impeded growth, and
tottering imbecillity, from the inefficiency of its
administration to adopt those measures which are necessary to its
revigoration; I say it is incumbent on me to shew that the
component parts of this body politic, have undergone such a
change since the period of its creation, as will warrant its
identification in this respect with other states, and justify the
conclusion that such institutions are essential to its welfare as
have been found conducive to theirs.

It must be almost superfluous to state, that when this colony
was formed, it was composed, with the exception of its civil and
military establishments, entirely of convicts. It was
consequently impossible that a body of men, who were all under
the sentence of the law, and had been condemned for their crimes
to suffer either a temporary suspension, or total deprivation of
the civil rights of citizens, could be admitted to exercise one
of the most important among the whole of them, the elective
franchise; and to have vested this privilege in the civil and
military authorities, both of whom then as at present were
subject to martial law, and were besides at that time without
landed property, the only standard I conceive by which the right
either of electing or being elected can in any country be
properly regulated, would have been equally improper and absurd.
A council indeed might have been appointed, but even an
institution of this kind might have clogged the wheels of the
government by its opposition, and could have been of but little
assistance with its advice; for as it has been already stated,
there was but one object to be pursued, and that was to promote
by every means the agriculture of the colony, so as to emancipate
it as soon as possible from a precarious and dangerous dependence
on other countries. Until, therefore, the free inhabitants of the
colony had increased to a sufficient number to exercise the
elective franchise, and until its productive powers had
outstripped its consumptive, and it became necessary either to
create new markets for its produce within, or to direct a portion
of its strength to the raising of articles for exportation to
other countries, the establishment of a free representative
government would not have been expedient had it even been

The period at which the produce of this settlement fairly
exceeded the internal demand for it, may, as I have already
noticed, be dated so far back as the year 1804, being about
sixteen years after the period of its foundation. It has been
already seen that the harvests of that and the succeeding year
were so abundant, that no sale could be obtained for more than
one half of the crop;--that had it not been for a tremendous
flood which happened in 1806, the majority of the cultivators
must have abandoned their farms, and sought for other
occupation;--and that since that period there has fortunately
been a succession of floods and droughts, which with the
exception of two or three seasons of equal plenty, have kept the
productive powers of the colony nearly on a level with its
consumptive, or else the situation of the settlers, deplorable as
it now is, would have been infinitely more so. How radically
defective, then, must be the government of this colony, when what
would be calamities of the most serious and afflicting nature in
a well organized community are here blessings! Is it in the
nature of things to adduce more weighty arguments in proof of the
necessity which has existed since the above period for its
supercession? Ought not a government that would have felt the
importance, and have possessed the power of creating new channels
of consumption for agricultural produce to have been then
instituted? This great object, it has been already shewn, could
have been in no way so easily accomplished as by the erection of
distilleries. To have diverted the attention of any part of the
agriculturists from the growth of corn, would have been highly
impolitic in a country, where the greatest and most fertile
portion of the arable land is subject to such awful inundations.
On the contrary, it was and still is expedient, that the whole
agricultural energies of the colony should be confined to the
production of grain, until the surplus become so great as to
leave no chance whatever of these inundations being any longer
attended with their former baneful consequences. But this can
only be effected by creating a sure and adequate market for this
surplus; and whether such market is to be found in the colony, or
to be sought for abroad, no power either would have been, or is
so fully competent to accomplish this important purpose, as an
independent legislature chosen from the midst of the community,
whose interests are identified with its own.

With respect to the expediency or even practicability of
instituting a body of this nature so long as fourteen years back,
I am aware that there exists a great difference of opinion among
the respectable class of the colonists themselves. For my own
part, however small may have been the number of those from or by
whom a colonial legislature could at that time have been formed,
I consider of but little moment in solving this great problem.
The only question it appears to me to be ascertained, is, whether
a legislative assembly, however small the number of whom it might
have been composed, and however limited the body of electors by
whom it might have been chosen, would not have done its utmost to
promote its own interests, or what would have been the same
thing, the welfare of the community which it represented. I
cannot conceive the possibility of any one's doubting that such
would have been its conduct; and in this case what power could
have been instituted in the colony that would have been so well
calculated to foster its infant efforts, and develope its nascent
prosperity, as one that would have been invested with the
faculties of legislation; or in other words, with the authority
to enact as a matter of course those measures of which the
existing government has not had sufficient influence to procure
the authorization.

The expediency, however, of having established a house of
assembly in the colony at the period in question, is at this
moment, perhaps, rather a matter of curious speculation, than of
profitable inquiry. Extensively beneficial, as would in all
probability have been its effects, it is nevertheless useless to
deplore an omission which cannot now be remedied. Nor has the
absence, perhaps, of this important institution been altogether
without its advantages. It has at least indisputably proved the
inefficiency of the present system of government, and that the
colony could not have sunk under any other form of administration
whatever, to a lower ebb of poverty and wretchedness, nor have
become a heavier and more unproductive burthen to the mother
country. The want, therefore, of an internal legislature has
combined every consideration that could be adduced in proof of
the necessity of changing the present system, and adopting in its
stead that form of government which has been found so salutary
and efficacious in all countries where it has been established.
The only question that remains to be ascertained, is whether the
colony is _now_ in a state of maturity for the reception of
so important a privilege as the elective franchise; and this I
conceive will be best answered by a reference to the numerical
strength of its free population. At the general muster or census
concluded on the 19th of November, 1817, there were found to be
in all the various settlements and districts of the colony of New
South Wales, and its dependencies, twenty thousand three hundred
and twenty-eight souls, of whom sixteen thousand six hundred
and sixty-four were in the various towns and districts belonging
to Port Jackson. Out of these there were six hundred and ten
soldiers, and six thousand two hundred and ninety-seven convicts,
leaving a free population, independent of the military, of nine
thousand seven hundred and fifty-seven souls. At Newcastle, a
settlement about sixty miles to the northward of Port Jackson,
there were five hundred and fifty souls, about seventy of whom
were free. At the settlements of the Derwent and Port Dalrymple,
there were in all three thousand one hundred and fourteen souls,
of whom two thousand five hundred and fifty-four were at the
former place, and five hundred and sixty at the latter: out of
these there were about two hundred soldiers, but the number of
free persons I have not been able precisely to discover. As these
settlements, however, include the majority of the colonists and
their families, who were removed from Norfolk Island; and as by
far the greater proportion of the convicts who have been
transported from this country have been sent to Port Jackson, I
have no doubt that the number of free persons there, may be
safely estimated at three fourths of their entire population,
seeing that it is about two thirds of the population of Port
Jackson. According to this rate of computation, therefore, the
number of free persons in these two settlements, after previously
deducting the two hundred military, will amount to about two
thousand one hundred and eighty-six souls. It may, consequently,
be perceived, that the grand total of the free population of all
these various colonies in the latter end of November, 1817, may
be safely estimated to have been eleven thousand nine hundred and
seventy-three, being an excess of four thousand four hundred and
seventy above the number of convicts, or in the proportion of
more than three to two.

As the establishment of the legislative assembly in question
could not, however, be well effected before the end of the year
1819, it may not be altogether irrelevant to ascertain what will
be the probable amount of the free population at that period. The
number of births in the colony cannot at present be computed
under two thousand annually, since the increase in these various
settlements between the month of November, 1816, and the month of
November, 1817, is found to have been three thousand two hundred
and eighty-nine souls; and the number of convicts transported
thither from the first of January, 1816, to the first of January,
1818, was only three thousand one hundred and eight. Allowing,
therefore, that one half of these, or one thousand five hundred
and fifty-four, were transported to the colony during the year
1817, the increase that took place there, from birth and
emigration will have been one thousand seven hundred and
thirty-five: to which if we add five hundred, the number of
persons that probably quit the colony annually; the actual rate
of increase in the free population in the course of the year
1817, may be fixed at two thousand two hundred and thirty-five
souls. Of these the surplus above two thousand, is perhaps
composed of emigrants, and the remainder of births. If we add to
these one thousand more, who it may be safely calculated yearly
become free, by pardon or expiration of servitude, we have an
annual augmentation to the free population of three thousand two
hundred and thirty-five souls: so that if we take the year 1817,
as a standard of computation, and it is evidently a low one, the
free population will amount by the end of the year 1819, to at
least eighteen thousand four hundred and forty-three souls. This
is an elective body much more extensive than is to be found in
several of our West India islands, where houses of assembly have
been long established. But as this free population is of a mixed
description, and composed as well of persons who have been
convicts, and have become free either by the expiration of their
respective sentences, or by pardon, as of those who have been
born in the colony, or have emigrated to it, and have never
suffered the penalties of the law, a very delicate question here
arises as to the propriety of extending to the first of these
classes the privilege of being admitted into the legislative
body. There is, I am aware, a party in the colony, by whom the
very notion of granting such a privilege to a class of men who
have been subject to the lash of the law, would be treated as a
chimera pregnant with the most fatal consequences to this infant
community. In this, as in most other societies, there is an
aristocratic body, which would monopolize all situations of
power, dignity and emolument, and put themselves in a posture to
domineer alike over the governor and the people. If you consult
one of this faction (they deserve no milder appellation) he will
tell you that it is dangerous to vest any authority beyond the
narrow circle of his own immediate friends. Until the
administration of General Macquarie, this body considered
themselves possessed of an equal right to the governor's
confidence, as if they stood in the same relation to him which
the nobility of this country bear to the king, and were _de
jure_ his hereditary counsellors. Before his government the
great body of the people. I mean such as had become free,
scarcely possessed any privilege but that of suing and being sued
in the courts of civil jurisdiction. The whole power, and nearly
the whole property and commerce of the colony, were in the hands
of this faction, who with a very few exceptions were composed of
the civil and military, and of persons who had belonged to these
bodies formerly. And even in those few solitary instances which
could be adduced, of persons originally convicts, who were
_allowed_ to acquire an independence, their prosperity was
to be traced to the patronage and protection afforded them by
some member of the aristocratic junta, to whom they either acted
as agents in the disposal of their merchandize (for it was
considered by these gentlemen derogatory to their dignity to keep
shop and sell openly) or resorted for the purchase of goods on
their own accounts. At the prosperity, however, and importance of
this faction, the present governor has levelled many a deadly
blow within these last nine years; but more particularly in
prohibiting the military to hold lands, or to be concerned in
traffic, in raising to situations of the highest trust and
dignity many deserving persons who had been convicts, and in
throwing open the ports of the colony to an unlimited importation
of all sorts of merchandize. But he has not effected these
radical and salutary changes in the colonial policy without
having encountered a long and inveterate hostility. Many have
been the attempts which this faction have made to vilify his
motives and misrepresent his actions; but to every charge of his
enemies his unshaken integrity and unwearied zeal for the
conscientious discharge of his duties have proved a sufficient
refutation. The opinion of this gentleman with respect to the
expediency of adopting a liberal system, that may prove an
effectual stimulus to reformation and good conduct in those who
have unhappily deviated from the path of rectitude, has been
expressed unequivocally both in his dispatches, and in the
prominent measures of his government, and will deservedly carry
with it more weight than the whole collected opposition which I
anticipate from those who have been his opponents and
calumniators. The covert aim of these men is to convert the
ignominy of the great body of the people into an hereditary
deformity. They would hand it down from father to son, and raise
an eternal barrier of separation between their offspring, and the
offspring of the unfortunate convict. They would establish
distinctions which may serve hereafter to divide the colonists
into _castes_; and although none among them dares publicly
avow that future generations should be punished for the crimes of
their progenitors, yet such are their private sentiments; and
they would have the present race branded with disqualifications,
not more for the sake of pampering their own vanity, than with a
view to reflect disgrace on the offspring of the disfranchised
parent, and thus cast on their own children and descendants that
future splendor and importance, which they consider to be their
present peculiar and distinguishing characteristics. Short-sighted
fools! they foresee not the consequences of their narrow
machinations! They know not that they would be sowing the seeds
of future discords and commotions, and that by exalting their
immediate descendants, they would occasion the eventual
degradation and overthrow of their posterity. Such would be the
result of their ambition; for it is the curse of injustice that
it brings with it sooner or later its own punishment. Happily for
the colony the realization of their projects depends not upon
themselves; and his Majesty's ministers will not lend their
sanction to schemes of private aggrandizement, which can only be
accomplished by the sacrifice of the public good. If these men
have not themselves the sagacity to dive into futurity, and to
foresee the dangers and contests to which unjust privileges and
distinctions must eventually give birth, shall the government be
equally blind and improvident? Shall they in the short space of
thirty years forget the benevolent designs for which this colony
was founded, and convert what was intended as an asylum for
repentant vice, not into a house merely of salutary correction,
which may moderate with reviving morality and cease entirely with
complete reformation, but into a prison of endless torture, where
though the sufferings of the body may terminate, the worst
species of torture, the endurements and mortifications of the
soul, are to end only with existence? Shall a vile faction be
allowed to inflict on the unfortunate convict a punishment
infinitely greater than that to which he has been sentenced by
the violated majesty of the law? Has not a jury of impartial
freemen solemnly investigated the case of every individual who
has been transported to this colony? And have not the measure and
duration of their punishments been apportioned to their
respective offences? Is it then for any body of men to assert
that the law has been too lenient, and that it is necessary to
inflict an ulterior punishment which shall have no termination
but in the grave? Shall the unhappy culprit, exiled from his
native shore, and severed perhaps for ever from the friends of
his youth, the objects of his first and best affections, after
years of suffering and atonement, still find no resting
place,--no spot where he may hide his shame and endeavour to
forget his errors? Shall the finger of scorn and derision be
pointed at him wherever he betake himself? And must he for ever
wander a recreant and outcast on the face of the earth, seeking
in vain some friendly shore, where he may at length be freed from
ignominious disabilities, and restored to the long lost enjoyment
of equal rights and equal protection with his fellows?

I am aware it may be here urged that these men, if they were
to return to this country, could never enjoy the privileges for
which I am contending; and that the very same laws, which have
fixed the bounds of their corporal punishment have deprived them
for ever of the most valuable rights of citizens. To this I
reply, that in this country, whither if the whole of the convicts
who have been exiled from its shores were to return, they would
form but an inconsiderable portion of the people, all such
disqualifications as the law has annexed to conviction in a court
of justice, are good policy; because they tend to promote virtue
and discountenance vice. But the very same grounds of policy
require that such disqualifications should not exist in New South
Wales. There the great mass of the people are composed of persons
who have been under the operation of the law, and who were
transported with the avowed intention of the legislature to
effect their reformation. How then is this great philanthropic
end to be best attained? Is it by holding out no inducements to
good conduct, no distinction between repentant vice and
incorrigible enormity? Those who have been convicted of the
higher order of offences, and have been in consequence
transported for life, are from the very nature of their sentences
precluded from ever enjoying the privilege in question, unless,
indeed, their very exemplary conduct subsequently induce the
governor to extend to them the benefit of the king's pardon.
This, however, is an indulgence at present so rarely accorded,
that the whole of this class may be in a manner considered as
being without the pale of citizenship; and it is therefore such
only as have been convicted of crimes to which the law has
annexed the minor penalties of seven or fourteen years
transportation, who could generally become candidates for a seat
in the legislative assembly? How many of this description have
been detected in their first offence, in their very offset in the
career of criminality? How many ever afterwards deplore their
errors in sackcloth and ashes, and conduct themselves in the most
correct and unexceptionable manner? And shall no distinction be
made between _them_ and the still persevering offender whom
no inducements can withhold, no punishments deter from the
commission of fresh enormities? Shall the _novice_ in crime
and the _veteran_ be placed on the same footing and held in
equal estimation? To what end do they profess themselves to be
Christians who can maintain such infernal doctrines? How can they
reconcile them with that universal charity and good will
inculcated in their religion? How can they themselves expect
pardon of their God, who would thus withhold oblivion from their
repentant fellow creatures? If it be then alike conformable to
the principles of Christianity and sound policy, to make a
discrimination between the reformed sinner, and the still
hardened and abandoned profligate, what incentive to good conduct
would prove so efficacious as the prospect of regaining, after
years of unimpeachable integrity, all those civil rights which
they had forfeited, of becoming once more privileged to act as
jurymen, magistrates, and legislators? Such a possibility would
quickly revive the latent sparks of virtue wherever they were not
quite extinct, and electrify the mind when all other applications
would fail to rouse it from its despondence and lethargy. And
shall not this _sole efficacious remedy_ be administered,
because a set of _interlopers_, persons in no wise connected
with the purposes for which this colony was founded, wish to
monopolize all the respectable offices of the government, all the
functions of emolument, power, and dignity to themselves? Shall
the vital interests of the whole community sink before the
ambitious projects of a few designing individuals, who have no
object in view, but their own personal aggrandizement, and the
maintenance of a self-assumed aristocratic importance? And who
would build their own and their families' prosperity on the ruins
of the social edifice, on the misery and degradation of
thousands? But it is useless to enlarge on this topic: ministers
will not allow their judgments to be warped by the subtle
representations of this faction. In organizing that new
constitution for this colony, of which every motive of humanity
and policy conspires to demonstrate the necessity, they will be
actuated solely by those principles that are best calculated to
further the philanthropic and enlightened ends which were
contemplated by the legislature at the period of its foundation.
The good of the many will not be sacrificed to the sordid views
of the few, and no disqualifications will be permitted, but such
as are confessedly necessary for the repression of vice, and the
promotion of morality and religion.

But, while I am thus contending against the total exclusion of
such as may have been convicts from the enjoyment of this great
privilege, I would by no means imply that the doors of the
legislative assembly should be thrown open to _all
indiscriminately_ who may _happen_ to be _free_. An
unrestricted ability to exercise a function of such great
confidence and dignity, would superinduce consequences equally
fatal with those against which I would guard: in endeavouring to
shun one extreme, it behoves us equally to avoid falling into the
other. The very principle which _forbids_ their _utter
inadmissibility_ to become legislators, demands that
_none_ should be able to arrive at that dignity, but those
whose conduct during their abode in the colony shall have been
_absolutely unimpeachable_. Retrospection should not be
pushed _beyond_ the period of their _arrival;_ but
their _subsequent_ behaviour should be subjected to the
_severest tests_, to the _most rigorous scrutiny_.
_Conviction_ either before a court or a magistrate, for any
_offence_ of a _criminal nature_, should be a
_bar_ to their pretensions _for ever_. Crimes committed
in this country should be overlooked when followed by
_adequate_ atonement and _indubitable_ reformation; but
the _interests_ as well of the _rising generation_, as
of the _great body_ of the _convicts themselves_,
require that the _re-convicted_ felon, whom neither the
_hope_ of _distinction_ can _reclaim_, nor the
_fear_ of _punishment deter_ from a recurrence to his
old iniquities, should be branded with the _lasting
impressions_ of _infamy_, and rendered for _ever
afterwards incapable_ of exercising so respectable and
important a function as the one in question.

With respect to the nature and extent of the property to be
possessed by the members of the legislative assembly, I am of
opinion, that a freehold estate of five hundred acres in any part
of the territory of New South Wales, or its dependent settlements
on Van Diemen's Land, should be considered a sufficient
qualification, and that in the case of electors twenty acres of
freehold should give the right of voting at elections for the
districts in which such freehold property may be situated; and
that either a leasehold of the value of £5 a year, or
paying a house rent of £10 a year, that of voting at
elections for towns. Excepting conviction, therefore, in this
country as a ground of exclusion both as respects the candidates
and the constituents, and making the above variation in the
standard of their respective qualifications as to property, I
think that every cause of rejection which is deemed in Canada of
sufficient efficacy to invalidate the claims of either party,
should be held of equal force in this colony, not only with
persons who may have been convicts, but with all such as may wish
either to vote for the return of members, or to become members of
the legislative body themselves. In framing, indeed, a
constitution for the colony, that of Canada would, I suspect, be
upon the whole the best model for imitation; since there is not
only a much stronger affinity between the great body of its
inhabitants, and those of New South Wales, than exists in any of
our other colonies; but every succeeding year will render the
approximation of their character and pursuits still more

There is but one topic more connected with the establishment
of a house of assembly in this colony, on which I intend to
comment; and I notice it not so much with a view to offer fresh
arguments in support of the necessity of this measure, which I
consider I have already sufficiently demonstrated, as to state
all the prominent reasons which might be adduced on the occasion.
It is a fundamental maxim of the British constitution, that no
taxes shall be levied on the subject without his consent
expressed by his representatives, and yet duties have been
exacted in this colony for the last fifteen years, by the mere
authority of the various governors. These, it has been seen, are
appropriated to various purposes of internal economy, all of
great public importance and utility, to which it is but equitable
that the colonists should contribute. This system of taxation
originated, I believe, with Governor King, but whether with the
sanction of his Majesty's ministers, or from his own suggestion I
am not able to determine. Since his time I should imagine that
not less than two hundred thousand pounds have been levied in
this unconstitutional manner; and until the administration of the
present governor, those who paid this money had not even the
satisfaction of knowing how any part of it was applied. From the
secrecy indeed which was observed in the expenditure of this
fund, and the rapacious character of his predecessor, many of the
colonists suspected that very little of it was appropriated
during his time to the purposes for which it was intended. This
misapplication of it, however, is but a matter of conjecture; and
it was probably to shelter himself from the possibility of
falling under a similar imputation, that the present governor has
caused quarterly accounts, which are first verified by a
committee consisting of the lieutenant governor and the judge
advocate, and afterwards examined and approved by himself, to be
published for the general information. This custom, however, is a
deviation, although it must be confessed a good one, from
precedent: and the colonists have no guarantee that his
successors will not revert to the same mysterious application of
this fund that has been practised by his predecessors. In this
case it may be converted into a fruitful source of peculation and
plunder, and be at last in a great measure diverted from the
public objects for which it was instituted to the satiation of
private rapacity, and the colonists become gradually burdened
with an overbearing load of taxation, merely for the purpose of
enriching their governors. Be this, however, as it may, the
illegality of levying money by the authority of any individual,
is, I should presume, quite unquestionable; and I have no doubt
that if any of the colonists had public spirit enough to resist
the payment of these duties, the court of civil jurisdiction
would not enforce it; since the decisions of this court are
solely founded on acts of parliament. The magistrates of the
colony might indeed take upon themselves to direct the execution
of the governor's orders, which authorize the levying of these
taxes, but I have doubts, since resistance to these orders would
not amount to an act of a criminal nature, and the point at issue
would be a mere matter of debt between an individual and the
government, whether they even would consent to give such an
illegal method of taxation the sanction of their support. At all
events an appeal would lie in the shape of a writ of certiorari
to the civil court, which could not avoid annulling the judgment
of the magistrates, and consequently declaring the governor's
conduct unwarranted and illegal. Such an occurrence would
evidently be attended with the most prejudicial effects; for not
to dwell on the mortification which the governor for the time
being would experience at discovering in so disagreeable a way
that by treading in the footsteps of his predecessors, he had
been exercising a power to which his situation gave him no claim,
there can be little doubt that a victory of this nature gained by
an individual over the executive would be the signal for the
institution of suits against the government for the recovery of
all the money that has been levied under such an illegal and
arbitrary authority. To prevent the probability of being forced
to refund so large a sum of money to the persons or their heirs
from whom it has been thus illegally wrested, and to legalize all
future levies of duties in the colony, the establishment of a
colonial legislature certainly offers the only judicious and
constitutional expedient.

I would not that it should be considered from the foregoing
remarks that the colonists are averse to taxation. On the
contrary, it is my belief that they would cheerfully contribute
whatever may be necessary for the promotion of objects _purely
colonial_; but they expect, and have a right to do so, that
all such objects should be submitted to the consideration and
approval of their representatives, and that their money should
not be taken out of their pockets, whether they will or not, by
the mere _ipse dixit_ of a governor. Few are discontented
with the present rate of taxation, because it is moderate; and,
with the exception of that small part of the colonial revenue
which arises from duties on articles of export, may be even
considered judicious; inasmuch as the great bulk of the duties
falls on luxuries which can be dispensed with, without
occasioning any material diminution of comfort and enjoyment. But
all are averse to the manner in which these duties are levied;
for if they once admit that a governor has the right to exact one
farthing by his single authority, what limits can be afterwards
assigned to the exercise of this power? He may on the very same
principle tax every article of consumption, and on the plea of
public contributions undermine the whole prosperity and happiness
of the community. That the different governors have been allowed
to prosecute this system without opposition for so many years,
could only have arisen from the peculiar constitution of this
colony; but its population has now attained a degree of
consequence and respectability, which will not much longer tamely
permit such an unprecedented deviation from all constitutional
authority; and the best way to obviate the unpleasant
circumstances of the contest, to which a continuance of the
present system must shortly give rise, is to create a body
legally endowed with the powers of legislation.

On the expediency of appointing a council, his Majesty's
ministers are, I believe, themselves agreed; and I will not,
therefore, enter at great length on the subject. The arbitrary
and revolting acts, which the want of a controlling body of this
nature has already occasioned, furnish the most convincing proof
of its necessity. No power, in fact, could be established, which
would at one and the same time prove so firm a defence to the
subject, and so stable a support to the executive. A council in
the colonies bears many points of resemblance to the House of
Lords in this country. It forms that just equipoise between the
democratic and supreme powers of the state, which has been found
not less necessary to repress the licentiousness of the one, than
to curb the tyranny of the other. Besides, it at all times
provides a remedy for the inexperience or ignorance of governors;
and is a sort of nucleus, round which all new bodies may easily
agglomerate. Like a handful of veterans in a newly raised
regiment, it will be capable of setting in motion the whole
machinery of the government, and establishing with the greatest
celerity that organization and discipline which are as requisite
in administration as in war. There is but one precaution to be
observed in the formation of the council: it is to give the
members of it an adequate salary, or in other words to insure the
independent and conscientious discharge of the duties of their
highly important office.

The expediency of appointing a colonial secretary rests in a
great measure on the same grounds as that of creating a council.
How can a private secretary, whom every new governor is at
present under the necessity of bringing out with him, be capable
of entering at once upon the duties of the most complicated and
laborious office in the colony? It is evident that a considerable
time must unavoidably elapse, before he can acquire, how great
soever his abilities, that fund of local information which can
alone qualify him for his situation. In the mean while it is ten
to one but he becomes the tool of one or other of his clerks, who
are for the most part convicts; and thus the principal acts of
the governor, which from the confidential nature of his office
are necessarily very materially influenced by his advice, may be
secretly dictated by persons who possess very little principle or
character, and who if they be themselves too insignificant to
profit to an extensive degree by the measures of the government,
may for a trifling consideration become the agents of richer and
more powerful individuals, and the public good be inadvertently
sacrificed at the shrine of private avarice or ambition.

The last measure which I consider necessary to the prosperity
of this colony is a radical reform in the courts of justice. It
has long since been noticed that at the principal settlement and
its dependencies, there are five courts, one of criminal and the
other four of civil judicature, viz. the criminal court, the
governor's court, the supreme court, the court of vice admiralty,
the high court of appeals, all of which are held in Sydney, and
the lieutenant governor's court, which is held in Hobart Town.
The constitution of these various courts has been already
explained, and a mere cursory glance at their several
jurisdictions, will convince us of the danger and absurdity of
their organization. To commence in the order in which I have
noticed them, what can be more improper than the constitution of
the criminal court? At the time indeed, when this court was
instituted, there was a necessity that it should wholly consist
of the officers of the colony, since they and convicts were the
only two classes of whom it was composed; but even then, what
motive existed for excluding the civil officers? Were they either
less competent to be members of a court, whose decisions ought to
be founded solely on the laws of England, or were they less
respectable than the military and naval? The bare appearance of
this tribunal has long been odious and revolting to the majority
of the colonists. It is disgusting to an Englishman to see a
culprit, however heinous may be his offence, arraigned before a
court clad in full military costume; nor can it indeed be readily
conceived that a body of men, whose principles and habits must
have been materially influenced, if not entirely formed, by a
code altogether foreign to the laws of this country, should be
able on such occasions to divest themselves of the soldier, and
to judge as the citizen. Without meaning to impugn the general
impartiality and justice of their decisions, it may be easily
imagined that _an individual might happen_ to be
_traduced_ before a court, of which _all_, or
_part_ of the members, might from various causes be
_his_ enemies. No one has mixed much in military society,
without witnessing that _esprit du corps_ which is so common
in regiments, and which, however much it may contribute to their
union and happiness, is, in a community of this nature, of the
most dangerous tendency to the individual, against whom its
collected fury may be levelled. It must be remembered that this
colony is not like a country town from whence a regiment may be
removed the moment its conduct becomes obnoxious to the
inhabitants. There the regiments necessarily remain for many
years, and from this very circumstance, disputes of a much more
serious and rancorous nature are apt to arise between the
inhabitants and the military, than are known in this country. And
this observation applies more particularly to the officers and
the superior class of the colonists: since the disputes and
contests which take place between the lower orders of the
inhabitants and the common soldiery, generally arise on the spur
of the moment, and evaporate with the immediate cause of the
provocation; while the others are more frequently the effect of
cool and deliberate insult, and consequently settle into a fixed
and inveterate hostility. Under these circumstances, therefore,
it is not to be wondered at, that no person should feel himself
in perfect security. The respectability of the higher order of
the colonists may indeed shield the generality of them from any
likelihood of their being ever arraigned before this tribunal;
but still it might happen to them to be traduced before a court
composed of their bitterest foes, not only on charges of a mixed
nature, such as assault, battery, libel, etc. but also on others
of a much weightier responsibility. The _probability_ of
such a contingency would be still further increased if the
governor should happen to have imbibed the same spirit of
hostility against the accused, which I have supposed actuating
the military. For although the present governor, in order to
render the administration of justice as unimpeachable as the
nature of this court will allow, has invariably appointed the
members of it according to the roaster furnished by the
commanding officer of the regiment, his predecessors did not, I
believe, invariably observe the same delicacy, nor is it
incumbent on his successors to imitate his example. Any person
therefore, who may unfortunately become obnoxious to the governor
and the officers of the regiment, or indeed any part of them,
should he be accused of any offence within the pale of the
criminal court, might be thus forced to take his trial before his
_selected_ and _implacable_ enemies. In this extremity
what could he do to rescue himself from their gripe? He would
have no _right_ to _challenge one_ of them; and if the
_sanctity_ of an _oath_, and the _dread_ of the
_future scorn_ and _detestation_ of mankind, did not
_deter_ them from the _commission_ of a _crying_
and _palpable injustice_, his _innocence_, were it as
_clear_ as the _noon day_, would _avail_ him
_nothing_, and he must _unavoidbly sink_, the
_devoted victim_ of _foul conspiracy and deadly
revenge_. I am not sufficiently acquainted with the history of
the proceedings of this court from the period of its institution,
to shew how far the _whole_ or any _part_ of this
supposed case may have been in any instance verified. That it
_may occur_ is sufficient to _prove_ the
_necessity_ for changing the constitution of this court, and
to _justify_ the _general anxiety_ which is felt by the
colonists for the introduction of that _right_, so dear to
the heart of every Englishman, _the trial by jury_. It is
this _inestimable privilege alone_ which can _insure_
them the _tranquil enjoyment_ of their _persons_ and
_property_, and enable them, while _possessed_ of
_conscious integrity of conduct_, to set at _defiance_
the _confederated efforts_ of their _enemies_, and to
_despise_ both the _open attacks_ of _power_ and
the _secret contrivances of malignity_.

The constitution of the governor's court and of the supreme
court, is liable to the same objection. They are both composed of
the judges, who have each a vote in their respective courts, and
of two members specially appointed by the governor: so that none
of those causes of challenge which are held sufficient in this
country to disqualify a juror, are of any validity in the courts
of this colony. In the governor's court, indeed, the two members
are to be appointed from among the respectable inhabitants; but,
although the governor himself is the only judge of the measure of
their respectability, he could not well avoid selecting them out
of that class which in case of the introduction of trial by jury,
would have a right from their property and character to be
summoned as jurymen. In this court, therefore, an individual in a
trial with the crown, would have a much greater chance of
obtaining justice than in the supreme court; because the two
members of it are to be appointed from the magistracy, and might
be selected by the governor from their known zeal and corrupt
devotedness to his service. But it is of infinitely greater
importance that the decisions of this latter court should be the
less exposed of the two to the possibility of bias; because in
the former the injury which an individual could sustain from an
unjust verdict could only amount to £50, and in the latter
it might extend to £3000, and consequently occasion his
utter ruin. I limit the injustice which might arise from the very
improper constitution of this court to the above sum; because,
although it is competent, as I have before stated, to take
cognizance of all pleas to any amount whatever, an appeal would
lie, from the high court of appeals, whose verdict I here take it
for granted, would in all crown causes be confirmatory of the
judgment of the inferior court, to the king in council, when the
matter in dispute exceeded this sum. Any unjust verdict,
therefore, for more than £3000, would of course be reversed
in this country; but this is a trifling set-off against the heavy
charges to which the court is in other respects liable; since few
of the colonists are wealthy enough to be concerned in causes
where the matter at issue could attain so great an amount: so
that this remedy is quite beyond the reach of the majority of the
inhabitants, and they are abandoned to the scourge of oppression,
wherever a capricious and overwhelming tyranny may choose to
single out its victim. It is highly necessary, therefore, that
the constitution of both these courts should undergo an immediate
revision, and be so framed as to ensure henceforth the impartial
administration of justice to _all_. They are not to be
tolerated because they cannot commit a robbery beyond this
enormous amount, and because there are some few individuals,
whose prosperity is too deeply rooted to be overturned by the
malignant fury of vengeful despots. It must be evident that the
power of the governor of this colony is sufficiently leviathan,
uncontrolled as he is by a council, and possessed as he is of an
incontrovertible right to nominate the most obsequious of his
creatures as jurymen on all trials, whether of a civil or
criminal nature, to endanger the property and life of every
individual under his government. Nor should it here be forgotten
that there has been a governor who, if the colonists had not
arrested him in his iniquitous career of vengeance and despotism,
would have hurled death and destruction from one end of the
colony to the other. Without the circle of his immediate
creatures, with the most favored of whom it is well known that he
was in a commercial partnership, every individual who either had
attained affluence, or was gradually rising to it, was the object
of his hatred or envy. The former he detested, not more because
they had no need of his protection, than from fear they should
promulgate to the world his nefarious proceedings; the latter
because they were absorbing some portion of that wealth, which he
wished should flow wholly into the coffers, the contents of which
at the division of the spoil he was to have so large a share of.
It does not follow, therefore, because his successor has not
imitated his base example, because he has surrounded himself with
respectable counsellors and a conscientious magistracy, that we
should overlook the possibility that his very successor may
undermine the whole superstructure which he has been rearing, and
become in every respect as great a monster as the wretch who
before drove the colonists to desperation and rebellion.
Experience is the beacon of past times set up for the guidance of
future; and those who shape their course by it, shall avoid
striking on the rocks to which it forbids approach. Woe to the
pilot who disregards this friendly admonition, and runs on
incredulous of the risk. Soon in the midst of surrounding reefs
he shall when too late repent his temerity, and wish, that
content with the experience of others he had not authenticated by
the shipwreck of his hopes, the folly of his incredulity, and the
reality of the danger! It is with governments as with
individuals. The institutions which have occasioned anarchy and
devastation before, will, if persisted in, produce them again.
Vile and detestable as have been the monsters of antiquity, the
world still contains their parallels; and if they languish in
obscurity, if they have not attained a celebrity equally
atrocious, it is because they possess not equal facilities for
the display of their real character and propensities. Human
nature is still the same, and wherever a field is opened for the
growth of tyranny, there that poisonous fungus, a tyrant, will
shoot up.

But the encouragement which these courts in general hold out
for the indulgence of private animosities, and their consequently
imperfect adaptation to the administration of justice, are not
the only reasons which may be urged for a change in their present
organization. The whole of the inhabitants of the various
settlements in Van Diemen's Land, are in a great measure placed
without the pale of the law. They have, indeed, what is termed
the lieutenant governor's court, but as I have already observed,
it can only take cognizance of pleas to the amount of fifty
pounds, and possesses no criminal jurisdiction whatever. They are
consequently left without any internal protection from the
spoliations of lawless ruffians, and in a great measure from the
scarcelyless pernicious depredations of dishonest creditors. For
although they may obtain redress in both instances in the courts
established at Port Jackson, nothing but an invincible necessity
will propel them to seek so distant and expensive a remedy. The
consequence is, that scarcely any but delinquents of the very
worst cast, as murderers and housebreakers, are ever brought to
trial; for notwithstanding all criminal prosecutions are
conducted at the cost of the government, and the witnesses are
paid their indispensable expenses from the police fund, still,
what with the period that elapses in the voyage to Port Jackson,
the delays incident to the courts themselves, and the time that
the witnesses must generally wait before they can obtain a
passage back again, very few of the persons who are constrained
to give evidence on such occasions can possibly manage to resume
their domestic occupations under three months. This to a set of
men, who are for the most part agriculturists, is too serious a
sacrifice of private advantage to public duty; and it is not,
therefore, to be wondered at that a general disposition should be
manifested by the inhabitants of Van Diemen's Land to suffer
quietly the depredations that may be committed on their property,
rather than incur perhaps the much greater loss attached to the
prosecution of the offender. The remedy, which they possess for
civil injuries is, indeed, somewhat more palatable, but still far
too remote and expensive. The principal reason, indeed, why so
many debts and obligations contracted in these settlements,
become matter of action before the supreme court at Port Jackson,
is to be traced to the satisfaction which results from compelling
one who considers himself a privileged plunderer, and at liberty
to fatten with impunity on the industrious, to disgorge the
wealth of others, which he may have thus sucked. The expence,
however, of supporting witnesses at so great a distance from
their homes, and the precarious issue of suits in general, induce
many creditors to run the risk of voluntary payment at some
future period, who would not hesitate to institute actions
against their debtors, if there were a competent tribunal within
their reach. The want, therefore, of a court possessing an
unlimited civil and criminal jurisdiction, is of the most baneful
consequence to these infant settlements. It encourages all
species of crimes and dishonesty, strikes at the very root of
virtue and religion, and cannot but have a most pernicious effect
on the morals of the rising generation.

Such are the leading defects in the actual system of
jurisprudence established in this colony; and I think it will not
be disputed that a more crude and undigested organization of the
colonial courts could hardly have been devised. Whether the
judges of these courts have made any representations on the
subject to his Majesty's government I am not aware; but I should
apprehend not, or surely they would have been remodelled ere this
after a more perfect design. To effect this highly important
object would be a matter of very great ease: it appears to me
that the following measures would amply suffice. 1st, The entire
abolition of the actual courts of civil and criminal
jurisdiction; 2dly, The creation in their stead of one supreme
court, consisting of a chief justice and three puisne judges;
3dly. The establishment of trial by jury; and lastly, the
creation of a high court of appeals to consist of the governor in
council. The sittings of the supreme court should only be held at
Sydney, the seat of government; but circuits should be
established through-out the different districts of the colony,
and of its dependent settlements in Van Diemen's Land, and
commissions of assize, of oyer and terminer, and of general gaol
delivery should be issued by the governor to the judges at stated
periods, and they should determine among themselves their
respective circuits. These courts of assize should possess the
same power as belongs to similar courts in this country, and in
some respects it might be advisable that they should be vested
with a still more extensive authority. In the settlements in Van
Diemen's Land I am of opinion that no appeal should be allowed
from the decisions of the court of assize to the supreme court at
Sydney, unless the verdict should exceed three hundred pounds;
but it would of course be proper that the judges of this court
should possess the power of granting new trials, on the same
grounds on _which_ such are accorded in this country. In
judgments, however, for more than the above sum an appeal to the
supreme court should be admitted.

With respect to the civil jurisdiction of the courts of assize
in the various districts belonging to Port Jackson, I think it
ought to be considerably curtailed, and that their decision
should not be final in any instance whatever; because the removal
of causes to the supreme court would be attended with a
comparatively trifling expense and inconvenience to the parties.
From the judgment of this latter court itself, I am of opinion
that an appeal should lie in all causes where the damages might
be estimated at more than one thousand pounds to the high court
of appeals, and that its decisions should be conclusive in all
pleas under the amount of three thousand pounds; but where the
matter in dispute exceeded this sum, that an appeal should lie
_en dernier resort_ to the king in council. If to these
courts were added a court of admiralty, possessing both a civil
and criminal jurisdiction, the system of jurisprudence would be
quite adequate to all the present necessities of the colony;
justice would be brought home to the doors of all his Majesty's
subjects in these remote and extended settlements; the delay and
expence now attendant on civil and criminal prosecutions, would
be in a great measure obviated; and the loyal and industrious
would be effectually protected, both from the secret depredations
of the midnight plunderer, and from the open dishonesty of the
unprincipled debtor: hundreds of indolent and profligate persons
who now prey in one way or the other on the hard earned savings
of thrift and frugality, would be compelled to resort to the
pursuits of industry for a subsistence; vice and immorality would
be checked, and the wealth, happiness, and virtue of the
community at large rapidly flourish and expand.

Of all the changes or modifications which I have thus ventured
to recommend in the polity of this colony, the creation of a
council, the appointment of a colonial secretary, and these
alterations in the system of its jurisprudence, are the only
measures which would be attended with an increase of expence. The
establishment of a house of assembly, might of course be effected
without any cost whatever, and even the remodelling of the courts
of justice would be productive of but a very trifling addition to
the scale of the civil establishment. The three judges who at
present preside in the various courts, might be transferred to
the supreme court, which I have recommended to be substituted in
their stead; so that the appointment of one new judge is the
principal additional expense of which this reorganization of the
courts would be productive. It is true that it would be necessary
to place all the puisne judges on the same footing in point of
salary, and likewise to appoint an attorney general to act in
behalf of the crown, but all this might be liberally accomplished
for about six thousand pounds per annum. As to the court of
admiralty, the chief justice might be appointed to preside in it,
whenever circumstances might require it to be held; but this
necessity would occur so seldom that no additional salary need be
allowed him on this account. A few barristers would be necessary
besides the attorney general, to support the respectability of
these courts; but I consider that the practice arising out of
them, would be sufficiently extensive to repay a few gentlemen of
the bar very liberally for the sacrifices they would make in
emigrating to this colony, and that the government need not hold
out any pecuniary inducements to effect this object; although it
is only four or five years since two attornies were each allowed
£300 per annum by way of encouragement for them to go out
and practise in the courts at present established there. Since
that time, however, two more have voluntarily gone out to the
colony without any salary whatever, and have found that there is
sufficient litigation without the assisting liberality of the
government. An addition therefore of £6000 per annum to the
civil establishment of this colony, would effect the great
radical reformation in its polity, of which it has been the main
object of this essay to prove the wisdom and necessity; while on
the other hand, the savings which this country would derive from
the adoption of the various alterations proposed, would be found
not only in the almost immediate check which would be imposed on
the rapidly increasing expenditure of this colony, but also in
the great permanent reduction in it, which would be the eventual
consequence. The best means of accomplishing these highly
important ends shall be the subject of the following section.

On the Means of reducing the Expences of this Colony.

The establishment of a free constitution in the place of the
arbitrary authority of an individual, would superinduce so many
privileges of which the colonists have hitherto been debarred,
that they would not at first be fully sensible of the nature and
extent of their new acquisitions. The great facilities which
would be presented to agricultural and commercial enterprize,
would not at once be generally perceived, or extensively
embraced. Industry, though one of the most active principles of
human nature, settles when long restrained into a habit of
inertion, which cannot be instantly overcome. When the mounds
within which this principle has been long confined, are suddenly
removed, it will not of itself rush at once into every new
channel in its way, and stop only when it has found its own
level. It is not like fluids possessed of an inherent elasticity
and tendency to motion, but requires a directing impulse to set
and continue it in activity, and its activity will then only be
in proportion to the power and energy applied. It is not,
therefore, to be expected, because the great fundamental changes
which I have recommended in the polity of this colony would if
adopted, immediately create new sources of profitable occupation,
and completely unfetter the long restrained industry and
enterprize of its inhabitants, that they are at once to take full
advantage of their situation. There is a timidity in man, which
though not sufficient to curb the adventurous spirit of his
nature, tends materially to check and repress it. This principle
alone, therefore, would suffice to prevent the sober and discreet
part of the colonists from rushing headlong into the various new
avenues of profitable occupation that would be open to them; but
there is also in their poverty a still more effectual impediment.
Though labour is itself the origin and measure of all wealth, it
contributes but little to public or private advantage when left
to its own isolated and unconnected efforts. It is only when in a
state of union, and when subjected to the controul of a directing
intelligence, which can combine its energies, and render them
subservient to the attainment of some single end, that it becomes
capable of effecting great beneficial results. But this necessary
combination of labour can only be maintained by the help of
capital; and where such capital does not exist, these great
united efforts, the effect of the gradual accumulation of wealth,
and the main cause of the prosperity of all ancient and populous
communities, cannot be immediately organized and established.
This observation in its reference to this colony, it will be
seen, bears more particularly on the commercial privileges of
which its inhabitants would thus become possessed. These
undoubtedly would not be extensively embraced, until a very
considerable accumulation of capital should have arisen from the
progress and perfection of agriculture. This and manufactures are
therefore the only two immediate channels that remain for the
absorption of labour and the development of industry. The latter,
I have long since endeavoured to prove would never have occupied
any share of the attention of the colonists, had those
encouragements which the government had at their disposal, been
bestowed on the former. The manufacturing system, now so rapidly
gaining ground, has been one of the retributive consequences of
the short-sighted and illiberal policy of which this unfortunate
colony has been so long the victim, and will cease of itself,
whenever the existing impediments to the extension of agriculture
shall be removed, for the best of all reasons, because no person
will select a less profitable undertaking when a more profitable
one, and one requiring less skill, capital, and assiduity, lies
open to him. Agriculture, therefore, as soon as it shall be freed
from its present restraints, will afford the readiest and most
accessible channel for carrying off the large accumulation of
stagnant labour which at present infests this colony. It is this
mass of superfluous labourers, for whom there exists only a
fictitious demand, and with whom the government are at present
obliged to give a bounty in the shape of clothing and provisions,
to induce the settlers to accept their services, that constitutes
the main source of the great and increasing expenditure of this
colony; and it is to this point alone that all radical and
comprehensive schemes of retrenchment must be directed. The
impoverished condition of the colonists, to which circumstance
alone the expences of the government are mainly attributable,
arises from the means of employment not keeping pace with the
rapid increase in the population, and yet perhaps there is no
community in which equal encouragements to industry are to be
found. It has already been stated that within the last six years
the population of this colony has actually doubled itself, in
other words, it has advanced in this respect with a celerity
nearly four times as great as the United States of America,--a
country whose rapid numerical increase has been a subject of
astonishment to the whole world. It may therefore be perceived
that this unparalleled augmentation in the population of this
colony, must of itself afford an unprecedented stimulus to
agriculture;--a stimulus, perhaps, with which the agricultural
progress of any other country could not keep pace. It is well
known that Poland, which is the greatest corn country in Europe,
and whose whole strength is directed to the pursuits of
agriculture, does not export more than one month's consumption of
grain for its population. America exports somewhat less, but
would be able, without doubt, to export somewhat more, if the
collected force of its inhabitants were applied to the raising of
corn; yet still neither the one nor the other of these countries
would be enabled to support such a rapid increase of population
as is taking place in this colony. Such, however, is its
fertility that the vast encouragement afforded by this
unprecedented augmentation in its numbers (who, it must be
recollected, are for the most part adults, and not, as in the
case of old established societies, infants, and in consequence
not gifted with the full powers of consumption,) so prodigious, I
say, is its fertility, that there is far from a sufficient demand
for labour. The settlements in Van Diemen's Land alone, on the
occasion of the flood which took place in the month of March,
1817, at the Hawkesbury river, the principal agricultural
establishment, and where, for the causes I have already
explained, the colonists, in most instances, allow their stacks
to remain within the influence of these destructive inundations,
were able to supply Port Jackson with about twenty thousand
bushels of wheat, the whole of which was raised without any
probability of a market, and would have perished in the hands of
the growers, or at best, have become the food of hogs, had it not
been for the great loss of grain occasioned by the overflowing of
the above river. It may, therefore, be perceived, that the
colonists in Van Diemen's Land raise on the strength of the bare
possibility of a flood happening at the principal settlement,
very nearly as much corn as is required for their own
consumption; and there can be no doubt if their industry was
stretched to the utmost point of extension, that they would be
enabled to export at least three times as much as they thus
casually furnished in the year 1817. The settlements, however, at
Port Jackson, cannot pretend to equal fertility of soil, yet even
their productive powers are considerably cramped by the want of
an adequate market. How this most important object might be
effected, and profitable occupation created for all the labour
that is now, or may be hereafter disposable in the colony, I have
already explained at considerable length; and it is under the
presumption that my recommendations on this head will be deemed
worthy of adoption, that I shall hereafter submit a plan for
gradually diminishing the colonial expenditure.

The readiest way of accomplishing this object would be to
abolish at once the system of victualling and clothing the
convicts from the king's stores; but this is impracticable and
must be done judiciously, and in proportion only to the gradually
increasing demand for labour. This mode of retrenchment, indeed,
has already been pushed further than circumstances have
warranted. The ticket of leave system, by which convicts are
permitted to go on their own hands, and administer in any way
that they can to their own wants, though first intended as a
reward to the really reformed and meritorious convict, has of
late years been resorted to as the most efficacious means of
lessening the expences of the government. And hence the very end
and aim of this colony, the reformation of the lawless gang who
are transported to its shores, have been postponed to a paltry
saving, unworthy the character of the nation, and subversive in a
great measure of the philanthropic intentions with which the
legislature were originally actuated. The alarming increase of
crime that has taken place within the last few years, is the
re-action of this pernicious and mercenary system, which has
already been carried to such an extent as to endanger the lives
and property of every honest and well disposed inhabitant of the
colony. This system, so injurious of itself, has been powerfully
seconded by the lax and indiscriminate manner in which convict
servants have been assigned to the various settlers. Being in
most instances freed or emancipated convicts themselves, many of
them possess but little character, and in fact only accept the
different indulgences that are held out to colonization, with a
view to the immediate profit which they can derive from them, and
without any intention of performing the remote conditions which
they tacitly or expressly enter into with the government. So long
as their servants are victualled and clothed at the cost of the
crown, they in general avail themselves fully of their services,
but the moment this great indulgence ceases, they generally
compound with them, and in consideration of the performance of a
stipulated quantity of labour free of expence, grant them an
exemption from their employment for the remainder of the year,
and consequently, a licence to prowl about the country, and
plunder at every convenient opportunity, the honest and deserving
part of the community. And although the present governor has
taken every step that could be devised for the suppression of
this pernicious practice, yet in consequence of the thinly
inhabited state of the colony, and the remoteness of the various
agricultural settlements from one another, circumstances which
prevent the appointment of proper persons to detect and punish
such violations of public orders, his efforts have been in a
great degree unavailing. He is well aware of the nature of the
disease under which the colony is languishing, but he has not the
power to administer the only effectual remedy. Create but a
sufficient market for the colonial produce, and labour will then
become too valuable to be suffered thus to remain in inactivity.
It will then and not before be the interest of the settlers to
push their servants' exertions to the utmost. The competition
that will then exist for the products of labour, will be the best
guarantee for its proper application. The method which I am about
to submit for the suppression of this alarming state of anarchy
and danger, will, it must be confessed, occasion a very
considerable immediate addition of expence; but this is necessary
to rectify the great and increasing evils of the ticket of leave
system, and to insure the honest and laborious colonist that
security of person and property which the injudicious extension,
within these few years, of this narrow-minded system has so
greatly endangered. Without the enjoyment of a full and
sufficient protection, the colonists, however enlightened may be
the future conduct of their government in other respects, will
make but a timid and feeble advance in the various departments of
internal industry. A certainty of reaping the fruits of their
exertions, is indeed an indispensable preliminary to the
resumption of those active habits which have been so long
paralyzed, and a recurrence to which is the main stock whereon
all _shoots_ of future retrenchment must be engrafted. Under
a hope, therefore, that an internal legislature, which I again
insist can alone fully provide for the present and future
necessities of this colony will be established, I venture to
propose the following plan for eventually diminishing the scale
of its expenditure:

First, That the ticket of leave system, except in as far as
its continuance may be really essential to the promotion of good
conduct in the convicts, should be abolished.

Secondly, That the ticket of leave men, and all the convicts
now in the service of individuals, whether victualled and clothed
at the expence of the crown or not, should be called in and
re-assigned, either to their present masters or to others, and
that these should be allowed with them the premium hereafter to
be named; but that they should be previously in every instance
required to give security to the government, that such convict
servants should not on any account be permitted to be absent from
their respective employments.

Thirdly, That instead of the present mode of victualling and
clothing the convicts from the king's stores, the settlers should
be allowed a stipulated premium with them, one fifth less than
the actual cost of maintaining them, and that this premium should
diminish one fifth yearly from the date of the changes in the
colonial polity, which have been recommended.

Fourthly, That the price now directed to be paid convict
servants for their extra time, should be reduced from £10
in the men, to £5; and from £7 to £3
10s. in the women: and that this reduction should be
subtracted from the amount of the above premium, and carried to
the credit of the government.

Fifthly, That all such convicts as may arrive in the colony
within the five years next ensuing the above period, other than
those who may be required for the government works, should be in
like manner assigned to deserving applicants, with the decreased
premium of the year in which they may arrive.

Sixthly, That at the expiration of the above period of five
years, the whole of the government works which are now for the
most part carried on by convicts, victualled and clothed from the
king's stores, should be performed by contract.

Seventhly, That the utmost encouragement should be held out by
the government to the emigration of wealthy individuals to the
colony; and that with a view to effect this object, not only a
passage should be furnished them free of expence in the various
transports, which are annually sent thither, but that also the
quantity of land to be hereafter granted them, should be
increased in proportion to their capital, from eight hundred
acres (the present customary grant) up to five thousand.

Lastly, That the unappropriated lands most eligibly situated
for the purposes of colonization, should be surveyed and marked
out into sections, each containing one square mile, or six
hundred and forty acres; that each of these sections should be
again subdivided into four parts; that thirty-six of these
sections should as in America form a township; that at stated
periods the lands so surveyed should be set up to auction, and
sold to the best bidder, provided the price offered for them
should exceed one dollar per acre; if not, that they should be
retained until they could be sold for such price at some
subsequent period; that the same credit should be given for the
purchase of these lands as is given in America, and the same
discount on ready money; and that the amount of such sales should
go to the Police Fund, and be employed in defraying the expences
of the colony.

The object of the foregoing propositions must be too evident
from the preliminary remarks which I have made, to need any
extended illustration; nevertheless, it may not be altogether
inexpedient to say a few words in further explanation of them to
such persons as have bestowed no portion of their attention on
the circumstances and situation of this colony. The first,
second, and third articles speak for themselves. The remedy here
proposed for the alarming evils, which I have so copiously traced
to the causes of their origin and continuance, will certainly
occasion the government for the next five years a very great
additional expence; but after the most mature reflection on the
present impoverished state of this colony, and the deeply rooted
habits of idleness and vice, which a fifteen years' deprivation
of the most important civil and political rights has occasioned,
I can devise none besides that could be applied with any
probability of effecting a radical and permanent cure. The
arrangement recommended in the third article, I mean the
substitution of a premium for the present mode of clothing and
victualling the convicts, would be highly favourable to the
agricultural interests, both by limiting to the cultivators of
the soil, the supply of the food consumed by their servants, and
by sparing them the trouble and expence of sending their carts
for it to the king's stores, an exemption which would be attended
with a considerable saving to such of them as inhabit districts
remote from the towns: it would also be a source of economy to
the government, by enabling them to make a great reduction in the
commissariat department. The only objection I can anticipate to
this article, is, that it fixes an arbitrary rate of reduction on
the premium to be allowed the settlers with the convicts; and
that this rate may prove greater than the advance which the
colony may make in the various avenues of internal industry. This
may possibly be the case, although I consider the period I have
named sufficiently protracted to allow the colonists due time to
ascertain the nature and extent of their newly acquired
privileges, and to profit by them. If, however, it were
practicable, it would certainly be more eligible that they
themselves should become the arbiters of the abatement which
should annually take place in the premium to be given with the
convicts. I do not, however, well know how this desideratum could
be effected, unless the grand juries during the circuit of the
courts in the different districts, could be empowered to inquire
into and determine the increase that may take place in the demand
for labour, and regulate the price of it, or in other words the
premium to be given with it accordingly. To detract as far as
possible from the increased expence which would follow the
adoption of the measures recommended in the first, second, and
third articles, is the object of the fourth. By making the
abatement here proposed in the amount of the wages now directed
to be paid by the settlers to their convict servants, and
carrying it to the credit of the government, an immediate saving
of £5 per man, and £3 10s. per woman would be
effected. And if the calculation be accurate that each male
convict victualled and clothed at the expence of the crown costs
£18, and each female £12 10s. it will be seen
that above one fourth more might be supported by the government
in the manner here recommended, and that likewise a fifth might
be annually added to the number, without occasioning any increase
whatever in the colonial expenditure. The weight too of this mode
of retrenchment would not fall on the settler, and by operating
as a check to agriculture perhaps prolong the period when the
various departments of industry will be enabled to absorb the
large mass of labour which is annually regurgitated on the shores
of this colony, but on the convicts themselves, to whose
reformation indeed, (the primary object of its foundation) it is
essential that every incentive to the renewal of their ancient
disorderly and profligate habits should be withdrawn. Even with
this diminished scale of wages, the situation of the convicts
would be far preferable to that of the labouring class in this
country. £2 10s. to the men, and £1
10s. to the women, would then remain, independently of
their food and clothing, which is surely quite sufficient for the
"_menus plaisirs_" of a set of persons who are supposed to
be smarting under the lash of the law. Article fifth needs no
explanation. Article sixth, contemplates the saving that might be
effected in the public works of the government, by exchanging at
the expiration of the period, when the bounty to be allowed to
settlers with convicts shall cease, the present mode of carrying
them on by a body of men, victualled and clothed at the expence
of the crown, for the more economical plan of contracting for
them with the lowest bidder. I limit the commencement of this
method of retrenchment to the above period, because so long as a
necessity exists for giving a bounty with convicts, there can be
no doubt that it would be judicious for the government to profit
as far as possible by the labour of persons whom even in the
employment of individuals, they would be in a great measure
obliged to support. But the moment this necessity shall cease, it
is equally indubitable that a considerable saving might be
effected by carrying on the public works by contract. Where a
body of fourteen or fifteen hundred convicts are employed under
the superintendence of the most active and upright man, there
will always be a system of idleness and plunder, which his
assiduity will never be able entirely to baffle. Out of the
immense number of minor agents on whose intelligence and
integrity he would be obliged to place a considerable degree of
dependence, it is not readily to be believed, however great may
be his activity and discrimination, that he would not be
frequently deceived, and that those very men on whom he most
relied to suppress the dishonest inclinations of others, would
not themselves occasionally profit by the facilities to plunder
and peculation, which the confidence they enjoyed might throw in
their way. That such is, and always has been the case in this
colony, no person at all conversant with its real state, can have
any hesitation in asserting; and consequently that the
substitution of contracts in the place of the present mode of
conducting the public works, would become a very important source
of economy at the period in question. Article the seventh, is
intended to encourage emigration to the colony, and to turn to
its shores some portion of the immense numbers who are annually
withdrawing from this country to the United States of America. It
appears almost inexplicable how the government can look on, and
behold the thousands who are propelled by various causes to quit
their native land, and not make some vigorous efforts, if not to
check this strong tide of emigration, at least to divert it to
our colonies, where in general it is so much required, and might
become of such immense and permanent utility to the empire. It is
true that of those who thus abandon the land of their
forefathers, many are actuated by political animosities, and
could not by any means be induced to settle in any of our
colonies. But it is not less certain that there are others, and
that the majority are of this class, whom mere distress and
inability to provide for the growing wants of their families,
unalloyed with any political feelings whatever, most reluctantly
drive to seek an asylum in America, and who deeply lament the
necessity of betaking themselves to a country where they and
their children may one day be compelled to draw their paricidal
swords against the mother that gave them birth. It cannot indeed
be denied that the government to prevent this horrible
alternative, have for a long time held out considerable
encouragements to persons emigrating to Canada; but besides that
the policy of thus peopling at so considerable an expence a
country which in the natural course of events must become an
integral member of the American union, is at least questionable,
it is well known that three-fourths of those who are thus induced
to settle in Canada, end by removing to the United States. The
intense severity of the winters, and the unavoidable suspension
of the pursuits of agriculture during six months in the year,
with the habits and language of the Canadians, so repulsive and
annoying to the generality of Englishmen, sufficiently account
for this circumstance, without taking into computation the
superior advantages of climate and soil which the greater part of
the United States is represented as possessing. If the impolicy,
therefore, of encouraging emigration to Canada be disputed, still
the inefficiency of the means employed to attain the end
contemplated by the government ought to decide them to try some
other expedient to prevent so large a stock of British industry
and capital from thus adding to the resources of a nation, who is
already the most formidable, as she is the most rancorous on the
list of our enemies. No measure, perhaps, that could be adopted
would tend so effectually to the accomplishment of this object,
as holding out the great encouragement specified in this article
to all such as may settle in this colony. Possessed as it is of a
most salubrious and diversified climate, fertile soil, and
unbounded extent of territory, it evidently contains every
requisite for the formation of a great and flourishing community;
and whenever it shall be blessed with a free government will
offer much greater facilities for the development of industry and
the acquisition of wealth, than are to be found in the United
States. Until the colony, however, shall possess this fundamental
privilege, every attempt of the government to divert the current
of emigration thither from America must prove in a great measure
unavailing. A free constitution is the first want of those who
have known the blessings of one; and no prospects of profit to an
honourable and independent mind can compensate for its loss.
There can be little doubt, therefore, that as soon as this
indispensable preliminary to general emigration shall be granted,
thousands of persons will embark for this colony, and continue to
contribute to the wealth and power of their native country, who
would otherwise become citizens of her most formidable and
inveterate rival.

The adoption also of the measures here recommended, would have
a sensible effect in diminishing the expenditure of this colony;
and would amply compensate for any loss which the government
might sustain by affording settlers a passage thither, free of
expence, in the transports. I commenced this section by an
attempt to prove that the great immediate hindrance to the
employment of the large mass of unoccupied labour in the various
new departmeuts of internal industry that will be created by the
establishment of a free government, will arise from the want of
capital; and the premium I have recommended to be granted with
convicts for the first five years ensuing the proposed change in
the colonial polity, is intended to impart an _artificial_
vigour into the community, and to allow of that accumulation of
wealth, which may afterwards suffice of itself to keep in
solution all the disposable labour of the colony. Every
accession, therefore, of capital that may take place, will
contribute to swell the colonial stock to that extent which is
necessary for the complete occupation of the convicts, and thus
become the means of accelerating the period when the government
will be entirely emancipated from the necessity of allowing the
settlers a bounty with them.

The last article scarcely needs any explanation. Whenever that
extensive emigration of capitalists which I confidently
anticipate would follow the establishment of a free government
shall take place, the sale of the crown lands would evidently
become a source of considerable profit, and would go a long way
towards defraying the expences of the colony. It would also be
the means of bringing numbers of rich speculators thither, who
wonld not think of emigrating even for the increased indulgences
which I have recommended in the foregoing article. A man of
fortune would then be enabled to vest his money in land to the
exact extent that he might desire; whereas at present, he must
either be content with the portion assigned him, or else purchase
by _dribblets_ the _farms_ that may become vacant in
the vicinity of his estate, and after all perhaps, be annoyed by
having the possessions of others in the midst of his own. It is
true that individuals, who do not possess sufficient land for the
support of their flocks and herds, are allowed to feed them on
the unappropriated lands, and can therefore increase their stock
to any extent they may please. But the rapid progress of
colonization places the crown lands every day at a greater
distance from the original settlements, and occasions a constant
necessity for receding, so that at last that part of his stock
which the farmer cannot feed at home is gradually removed to an
inconvenient distance, and no longer can have the benefit of his
personal superintendence. With men of capital, therefore, the
class of whom it has been seen that the colony is most in need,
this sale of the crown lands at half the price which is demanded
for land in America, would prove a very powerful stimulus to
emigration, and would consequently have a twofold operation in
diminishing the expenditure of this colony; viz. by filling the
coffers of the Police Fund, and by occasioning that accession of
capital, which I have before shewn to be essential before the
government can be freed from the burden of supporting the

On the Advantages which the Colony offers for

After the gloomy picture which I have drawn of the actual
condition of the colony; after having represented both its
agricultural and commercial interests as being already not only
in a state of impair, but also of increasing dilapidation and
ruin, it may appear somewhat paradoxical that I should attempt to
wind up the account with an enumeration of the advantages which
it holds out to emigration. If due consideration, however, be
given to the nature of the ingredients of which the agricultural
body is composed; if it be recollected that it consists
principally of persons, who have been since their earliest years
habituated to every sort of vice and debauchery; of persons bred
up in cities, and unacquainted with the arts of husbandry, who
had, therefore, to contend against the combined force of an
inveterate propensity to the profligate indulgences of their
_ancient_ mode of life, and of utter ignorance of the
laborious occupations and thrifty arts of their _new_: I say
if all these serious impediments to success be impartially
weighed, it will be seen that the _anomaly_ is rather
_apparent_ than _real_. Nevertheless I do not mean to
imply that this colony or its dependencies, present at this
moment any very flattering prospects for the _mere
agriculturist_. That the _skilful farmer_ would be
enabled to obtain an _independent_ and _comfortable
subsistence_ is, however, _indubitable_; and the larger
his family, provided they were of sufficient age to afford him an
effectual co-operation, the greater would be his chance of a
successful establishment. Hundreds of this laborious class of
people, who in spite of unremitting toil and frugality, find
themselves every day getting behind-hand with the world, would
undoubtedly better their condition by emigrating to this colony,
if there were only a probability that they would be enabled to go
on from day to day as they are doing here. In this country they
are at best but _tenants_ of the soil they cultivate;
whereas there they would be _proprietors_, and the _mere
advance_ which would be taking place in the value of their
farms, would before many years not only render them
_independent_ but even _wealthy_. Of the truth of this
assertion, we shall be fully convinced by referring to the price
of land on the banks of the Hawkesbury and Nepean rivers, the
only parts which can be said to be even tolerably colonized. It
has already been stated that as far as the river Hawkesbury is
navigable, the unimproved land is worth five pounds per acre, and
improved land double this amount. This land was at first of no
value whatever; because in the infancy of societies, so long as
there is an unlimited scope of land of the first quality, which
any one may occupy as far as his occasions require, it is evident
that there would be no purchasers; since it is absurd to imagine
that any one would buy that which he could obtain for nothing. It
is only, as Mr. Ricardo has demonstrated, when land of an
inferior quality is brought into cultivation, and when the
difference in the produce of the two sorts gives the occupier of
the one a superiority over the occupier of the other, and renders
it as eligible for a person to cultivate land of the first
description as a tenant, and to pay the proprietor the difference
of produce by way of rent, as to be himself the proprietor of
land of the second description; or when the situation of the
different appropriated tracts of land does not admit of the
conveyance of their produce to market at an equal cost; and thus
again gives the owners of those farms which are more contiguous,
an advantage over the owners of those which are more remote: I
say it is only when societies have made that progress, which
begets one or other of these contingencies, or both, that land is
of any value whatever. In the course, therefore, of thirty-one
years, the tract of land in question, taking the unimproved part
as our criterion, since the improvements made in that portion of
it, which is in a state of cultivation, may be considered
tantamount to the difference in value between the one and the
other, has evidently risen to this enormous price, from having
been of no worth whatever: or in other words, each acre of land
has increased in value during the interval that has elapsed since
the foundation of the colony at the rate of 3s. 2
1/2d. per annum; and this too under the most impolitic and
oppressive system, to which any colony, perhaps, was ever
subjected. How much greater then, will be the future rise in the
value of landed property, if, as there is now every reason to
hope from the attention which the government are at this moment
paying to the state of this colony, the whole of the disabilities
under which its inhabitants have been so long groaning, should at
length be abandoned? Without taking at all into the estimate the
immediate amelioration which a radical change in the polity of
this colony, would occasion in the condition of the agricultural
body; without depending on the probability that it will soon be
in the power of the laborious and frugal settler to rise rapidly
to wealth and independence; it must be evident that the mere
increase which is yearly taking place in the value of landed
property, affords of itself the strongest inducement to
emigration; since if it does not hold out to the industrious man
the prospect of acquiring immediate wealth, it relieves him from
all apprehensions for his family, should a premature destiny
overtake himself. He at least knows that every succeeding year
will be augmenting in a rapid manner the value of his farm, and
that the same spot which administers to his and their present
wants, cannot fail to suffice for their future. This is of itself
a most consolatory prospect; it at all events prevents the
present good from being embittered with any dread of future evil;
it permits the industrious man the tranquil enjoyment of the
fruits of his labours, and rescues him from the necessity of
hoarding up against the approach of gathering calamity, against
the stormy season of impending poverty.

The amelioration, that would take place in the condition of
the mere labourer, who should emigrate to this colony, without
funds adequate to the formation of an agricultural establishment,
would not be so considerable. Still there can be no doubt that
the honest and industrious man would always be able to provide
for himself and his family a sufficiency of food and clothing;
comforts which with his utmost endeavours he can hardly obtain in
this country without having recourse to parochial relief. He
would, therefore, at all events emancipate himself from this
humiliating,--this demoralizing necessity; for although there is
confessedly a greater portion of labour in the colony than can at
present be maintained in activity, any person who might emigrate
thither voluntarily would easily find employment, when those who
are, or have been under the operation of the law would seek for
it in vain. A good character is a jewel of greater value there
than in this country, because it is more difficult to be met
with; and consequently all the advantages which it procures its
possessor in the one place, it will insure him at least in a
two-fold measure in the other.

The colony offers very little encouragement to the
manufacturer. The manufacturing interests are not at present in
the most prosperous situation; and if the government should, as
there is every probability, at length adopt those measures which
are called for by every consideration of justice and expediency,
a few years will annihilate them entirely. To this class
therefore, with reference both to the proprietor and workman, a
removal to this colony would undoubtedly be prejudicial.

For the artisan and mechanic, who are skilled in the works of
utility, rather than of luxury, there is, as it has been already
remarked, no part of the world, perhaps, which affords an equal
chance of success. To any, therefore, who have the means of
transporting themselves and families to this colony, the removal
would be in the highest degree advantageous. They could not fail
to find immediate employment, and receive a more liberal return
for their labour, than they would be able to procure elsewhere.
The blacksmith, carpenter, cooper, stone-mason, brick-layer,
brick-maker, wheel and plough-wright, harness-maker, tanner,
shoe-maker, taylor, cabinet-maker, ship-wright, sawyer, etc. etc.
would very soon become independent, if they possessed sufficient
prudence to save the money which they would earn. For the master
artisan and mechanic, the prospect of course is still more
cheering; since the labour they would be enabled to command would
be proportioned to the extent of their capital.

The advantages, however, which the colony offers to this class
of emigrants, _great_ as they undoubtedly are, when
considered in an isolated point of view, are absolutely of _no
weight_ when placed in the balance of comparison against those
which it offers to the capitalist, who has the means to embark
largely in the breeding of fine woolled sheep. It may be safely
asserted that of _all_ the _various openings_ which the
world at this moment affords for the _profitable investment_
of money, there is not _one equally inviting_ as this
_single channel_ of _enterprize_ offered by the colony.
The proof of this assertion I shall rest on a calculation so
plain and intelligible, as I hope to be within the scope of the
comprehension of all. Before we proceed, however, it is necessary
to settle a few points, as the data on which this calculation is
to be founded; viz. the value of wool, the weight of the fleece,
and the number of sheep to be kept in a flock. With regard to the
value of the wool grown in this colony, the last importations of
the best quality averaged five shillings and sixpence per pound
in the fleece. This was sold last month; [March, 1819] and as the
market was at that time overcharged, and as moreover the best
description of wool yet produced in this colony, is far from
having attained the perfection of which it is capable, and which
a few more crosses with the pure breed will undoubtedly effect in
it, it may be safely concluded, that this is the lowest price at
which this sort of wool will ever be sold. This will be more
evident, if we contemplate the gradual rise in value, which the
wool from the same gentleman's flocks has been experiencing
during the last four years. In 1816, it was sold for 2s.
6d. per pound in the fleece; in March, 1818, for
3s. 6d. per pound; in July, 1818, for 4s.
4d. per pound; and in March, 1819, for 5s.
6d. per pound in the fleece. For some of this last
quantity of wool, properly sorted and washed, Mr. Hurst of Leeds
was offered 9s. per pound, and refused it. To take the
future average price of wool at 5s. 6d. per pound,
is, therefore, forming an estimate, which in all probability will
fall far short of the truth. However, let this be one of our
data; and let us allow three pounds, which is also an estimate
equally moderate, as the average weight of each fleece. The
weight of a yearling's fleece may be taken at three quarters of a
pound, and the value of the wool at 2s. 9d. per
pound. The number of ewes generally kept in a flock by the best
breeders are about 330, and we will suppose that the emigrant has
the means of purchasing a flock of this size of the most improved
breed: this with a sufficient number of tups may be had for
£1000. These points being determined, let us now proceed to
our calculation.

[Table not included in this text version--see html version. Ed.]

It would be useless to prosecute this calculation, since any
person who may be anxious to ascertain its further results, may
easily follow it up himself. It will be seen that with the most
liberal allowances for all manner of expenses, casualties and
deteriorations, capital invested in this channel will yield the
first year an interest of 13½ per cent. besides
experiencing itself an increase of nearly 24 per cent.; that the
second year it will yield an interest of nearly 25 per cent.
besides experiencing itself a further increase of rather more
than 37½ per cent.; and that the third year it will yield
an interest of nearly 37 per cent. besides experiencing itself an
additional increase of about 42½ per cent. or, in other
words, money sunk in the rearing of sheep in this colony will,
besides paying an interest of about 75½ _per cent_.
in the _course_ of _three years_, _rather more than
double itself_. Here then is a mode of investing capital by
which the proprietor may insure himself not only an annual
interest, the ratio of which would augment every year in the most
astonishing progression, but by which the capital itself also
would experience an advance still more rapid and extraordinary.
Any person, therefore, who has the means of embarking in this
speculation, could not fail with common attention to realize a
large fortune in a few years. His chance of so doing would be
still greater if he should happen to be acquainted with the
management of sheep; but this is by no means an
_indispensable_ qualification; for such is the fineness of
the climate, both in the settlements in New Holland and Van
Diemen's Land, that all those precautions which are necessary to
be observed in this country, in order to shelter this animal from
the inclemency of the seasons, are there, quite superfluous:
sheds, indeed, are not only useless, but injurious; the flocks
never do so well as when they are continually exposed to the
weather. It is only necessary that the folds should be shifted
every other day, or if the sheep are kept by night in yards, to
take care that _these_ are daily swept out.

The extent to which capital might thus be invested is
boundless; since if the breeder did not possess as much land as
would feed the number of sheep that he might wish to keep, he
would only have to send his flocks beyond the limits of
colonization, and retire with them as the tide of population
approached. His hurdles, and the rude huts or tents of his
shepherds, might always be removed with very little difficulty
and expense; and if his and his neighbours' flocks should happen
to come into contact, such is the immensity of the wilderness
which would lie before him, that he might exclaim in the language
of Abram to Lot: "Let there be no strife I pray thee between me
and thee, and between my herdsmen and thy herds-men; for we be
brethren. Is not the whole land before us? Separate thyself I
pray thee from me. If thou wilt take the left hand, then I will
go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will
go to the left." Such, should any of these disputes occur, might
always be their amicable termination. There is, and will be for
ages to come, whatever may be the extent of emigration, more land
than can possibly be required. The speculation, therefore, of
growing wool can meet with no checks from the want of pasturage
in the colony, and it is equally improbable that it can be
impeded by the want of a market in this country. It is well known
that the Saxon wool cannot be sold under the present prices
without loss to the growers. The severity of the climate of
Saxony, renders it indispensable for the sheep-holders to take a
variety of precautions which are not only useless in this colony,
but would even prove highly detrimental to the constitution of
this valuable animal. In the former country, the flocks are kept
almost invariably in sheds of a very costly construction both by
day and night, and are fed almost wholly upon hay; in the latter,
they are always better when kept in the open air and fed on the
spontaneous herbage of the forest. The mildness of the seasons,
therefore, spares the colonists two immense sources of expence,
and will without doubt in the end, enable them to undersell and
ruin the Saxon wool growers; since the only point of superiority
these latter can pretend to is their greater contiguity to the
market, and this, in consequence of the extreme value of the
commodity, is of too trifling import to demand consideration. The
freight of wool from the colony, has already been reduced to
three pence per pound, which is very little more than is paid for
the transport of wool from Saxony; and all the other expences,
with the exception of insurance, as brokerage, store-room, etc.
are precisely the same. Upon these grounds, therefore, I am
contented to rest the support of my assertion, that the world
does not at present contain so advantageous, and I might also
add, so extensive an opening for the investment of capital as the
one in question.

With reference to the commercial prospects presented by this
colony, they are certainly much more limited, but still of very
considerable scope. The extraordinary fluctuations which are
incessantly taking place in the prices of all sorts of
merchandize, are evidently capable of being turned to great
account by a skilful and cool calculator. Any person of this
character possessed of sufficient capital to enable him to buy
goods when the market should happen to be in a state of
depression, and to keep them in his store till the glut should
pass by, could not fail to realize a rapid fortune. The only
event that could prevent his success, would be an imprudent
avidity. If he should be once tempted to go out of his depth, so
that he would be compelled to sell whether at gain or loss, in
order to make good his payments, he would most probably sink
never more to rise. But if he would never speculate beyond the
compass of his actual means, he might easily clear fifty per
cent. per annum on the amount of his trading capital.

Were I asked to particularize any avenue of industry not
strictly included in any of the foregoing general classes, in
which persons inclined to emigrate to this colony, might embark
with a fair chance of success, I should say that any one who had
the means of taking out a steam engine of six or
eight-horse-power with the requisite machinery for sawing boards,
would make it answer his purposes very well; that a timber
merchant also, possessing a capital of three or four thousand
pounds, might employ his funds very advantageously by
establishing a timber yard; and that a skilful brewer who could
command five thousand pounds and upwards, would succeed either at
Sydney or Hobart Town. It would be necessary, however, that he
should understand the process of making malt, since there are no
regular maltsters yet in the colony, and that he should also grow
his own hops.* Until, therefore, he had established a hop
plantation sufficient for his concern it would be requisite that
he should make arrangements to be supplied with hops from this
country. There are already several breweries in New South Wales,
but the beer which is made in them is so bad, that many thousand
pounds worth of porter and ale imported from this country, is
annually consumed in these settlements. This is in some measure
occasioned by the inferiority of the barley grown at Port
Jackson; but more, I am inclined to believe, by the want of skill
in the brewers. If the indifferent quality of the beer, however,
be attributable to the badness of the barley, this impediment to
success would be removed by emigrating to Van Diemen's Land;
since the barley raised in both the settlements in this island is
equal to the best produced in this country. I should also say,
that the skilful dairyman who could take out with him a capital
of from one to two thousand pounds, would do well in any of these
settlements, but more particularly in New South Wales. Butter, as
it has been already remarked, is still as high as 2s.
6d. per pound, notwithstanding the immense increase which
has taken place in the black cattle. The extreme dearness of this
article arises principally from the natural grasses not being
sufficiently nutritive to keep milch cattle in good heart, and
from the colonists not having yet got into the proper method of
providing artificial food. Any one, therefore, who would
introduce the dairy system practised in this country, could
hardly fail of finding his account in it.

[* The hop thrives very well at Port Jackson: there
are several flourishing plantations owned by the brewers. This
plant has not, I believe, yet been introduced into the southern
settlements; but as they bear a much greater affinity to this
country in point of climate than Port Jackson, no doubt can be
entertained that it might at least be cultivated there with equal
certainty of success.]

These various advantages which this colony and its
dependencies offer for emigration, have many points of
superiority over any to which the United States of America can
lay claim; if we even admit the truth of all that the most
enthusiastic admirers of that country have written, respecting
its flourishing condition. Mr. Birbeck*, whose "Letters," if not
"Notes," contain strong marks of an exaggerated anticipation of
their resources and capabilities, has not, though evidently under
the influence of feelings quite incompatible with a correct and
disinterested judgment, ventured to rate his imaginary maximum of
the profit to be derived from farming in the Illinois, (which
appears to be the principal magnet of attraction possessed by the
United States,) so high as I have proved by a calculation, to
which I defy any one to attach the character of hyperbolical,
that the investment of capital in the growth of fine wool in this
colony will infallibly produce. This too, although certainly the
most inviting and extensive channel of enterprize which it
contains, is not its only ground of preference: it has many
temptations besides for emigration, of which the United States
are wholly destitute: among these the following are perhaps the
most considerable.

[* See Mr. Cobbett's Letter to Mr. Birbeck on his
"Letters from the Illinois."]

First, Any person of respectability upon emigrating to this
colony, is given as much land as would cost him four hundred
pounds in the United States.

Secondly, He is allowed as many servants as he may require;
and the wages which he is bound to pay them, are not one third
the amount of the price of labour in America.

Thirdly, He, his family and servants, are victualled at the
expence of the government for six months.

These are three considerations of great importance to the
emigrant, and quite peculiar to this colony: added to which the
value of the produce of this gratuitous land and labour is three
times as great as in the Illinois, as will be seen by a
comparison of the prices of produce there as given by Messrs.
Birbeck and Fearon, and the prices of similar produce as stated
in the first part of this work. It is true that there is not the
same unlimited market as in America; but it must be evident,
that, if the price of labour were even equal, the colonist who
could dispose of one third of his crops, would be in a better
condition than if he were established in the Illinois, and could
find vent for the whole. The market, however, has never been
circumscribed to this degree in periods of the greatest
abundance; and the immense arrivals of convicts, that have been
daily taking place for the last three years, have increased the
consumptive powers of the colony so considerably, that there has
at most been but a very trifling surplus in the barns of the
farmers at the close of the year. On the other hand, all articles
of foreign growth and manufacture are in general much cheaper
than in the Illinois, and the other remote parts of the American
Union, provided the purchaser has ready money, and is not under
the necessity of having recourse to secondary agents for goods on
long credit.

Here, then, are many powerful reasons why persons bent on
emigration should prefer this colony to America. The only point
is whether the latter can throw any weightier arguments into the
opposite _scale_. What may be urged on the other side of the
question, may, I apprehend, be comprised under these two heads:
first, the greater contiguity of the United States to this
country, and the consequent ease and cheapness with which
emigration thither may be effected; and, secondly, the
superiority of their government.

The first of these points merits very little consideration,
except in the instance of those who have not the means of
choosing between the two countries. If a person only possess the
power of removing to that which is the more contiguous,
eligibility is out of the question: he is no longer a free agent.
But the difference in the cost of emigrating is far from being so
considerable as might be imagined on a mere view of their
comparative distances from this country. I understand that a
gentleman of great experience and respectability in the
commercial world, has presented a calculation to the committee of
the House of Commons, which is now occupied with an inquiry into
the state of this colony, from which it appears that a family,
consisting of a man, his wife and two children, with five tons
for their accommodation and for the reception of their baggage,
might emigrate to the colony for one hundred pounds, inclusive of
every contingent expense, provided a sufficient number of
families could be collected to freight a ship. The same gentleman
calculates that a single man might be taken out thither for
thirty pounds.* The difference, therefore, in the mere cost of
emigrating to the two places is so trifling, that the superior
locality of the one cannot be admitted as any sort of set off
against the superior advantages of the other. With respect,
however, to the last plea, that has been adduced in favour of
emigration to the United States, the superiority which they
possess in a free government, it must be admitted, that this is a
decisive ground of preference, and a blessing to which the
greatest pecuniary advantages cannot be considered a sufficient
counterpoise. And if it be imagined that the present arbitrary
system of government is not drawing to a conclusion; if it be
apprehended that it has not yet reached its climax of oppression
and iniquity, and that it will be enforced until all who are
within the sphere of its influence are reduced to a state of
moral degradation and infamy, and the colony becomes one vast
stye of abomination and depravity; the emigrant will do well to
discard from his mind every mercenary consideration, and to turn
away with disgust from all prospects of gain; so long as they are
only to be realized by entering into so contagious and
demoralizing an association. But if he believe that the hour is
at hand when the present system is to be abolished; when
oppression is to be hurled from the car in which it has driven
triumphantly over prostrate justice, virtue, and religion; and
when the dominion of right and morality is to be asserted and
established; then I have no hesitation in recommending him to
give a preference to this colony. In the agonies of approaching
dissolution, the efforts of tyranny will be feeble and impotent.
Moral corruption, though the inevitable result of a voluntary
submission to the will, is not the consequence of an indignant
and impatient sufferance of its rule for a season; and the chance
of personal injury would be still more precarious and uncertain.
Under the most arbitrary governments the vengeance of the despot
has seldom been known to extend beyond the circle of his court;
his victims have been among the ambitious candidates for power
and distinction. The retired pursuits of unobtrusive industry
have proved a sanctuary, which has remained inviolate in all

[* See a calculation in the Appendix made by an eminent merchant
in the city; from which it appears that a single man, on the
ration allowed sailors on board of a king's ship, might be
conveyed to the colony at a still cheaper rate.]

"The lifted axe, the agonizing wheel,
Luke's iron crown, and Damien's bed of steel,
To men remote from pow'r but rarely known,
Leave reason, faith, and conscience all our own."


Civil Establishment, and Public Institutions in the Territory
of New South Wales and its Dependencies.

Seat of Government, Sydney.

* * *

Captain General, Governor in Chief, Vice Admiral, and
Commander of the Forces, His Excellency Lachlan Macquarie, Esq.
Major General in the Army, and Lieutenant Colonel of the 73d

* * *

Lieutenant Governor--James Erskine, Esq. Lieutenant Colonel of
the 48th Regiment.

Aid-de-Camp to his Excellency the Governor, John Watts,
Lieutenant in the 46th Regiment.

Major of Brigade--Henry Colden Antill, Captain in the 73d

* * *

_High Court of Appeals_.

Judge--His Excellency the Governor in Chief.

Secretary--John Thomas Campbell, Esq.

Clerk--Michael Robinson, Gent.

Door-keeper--Serjeant Charles Whalan, of the 46th

* * *

_Court of Vice Admiralty_.

Judge--John Wylde, Esq. L. L. B.

Registrar--John Thomas Campbell, Esq.

Clerk to the Registrar--Mr. Michael Robinson.

Marshal--William Gore, Esq.

Cryer--Mr. Edward Quin.

* * *

_The Governor's Court_.

The Honorable the Judge Advocate and Premier Judge of this
Territory--John Wylde, Esq. L. L. B.

Members--Two Inhabitants of the Territory, specially appointed
by Precept from His Excellency the Governor and Commander of the

Clerk, and Registrar of the Court--Joshua J. Moore, Gent.

Cryer--Mr. Edward Quin.

* * *

And it is to be noted, that this Court has cognizance of all
pleas, where the amount sued for does not exceed 501. sterling
(except such pleas as may arise between party and party, in Van
Diemen's Land); and from its decisions there is no appeal.

* * *

_The Supreme Court_.

The Honorable the Judge--Barron Field, Esq.

Members--Two Magistrates of the Territory, appointed by
Precept from His Excellency the Governor.

Clerk of the Supreme Court--Mr. John Gurner.

Cryer--Mr. Edward Quin.

Solicitors--Mr. Thomas Wylde; Mr. William Henry Moore; Mr.
Frederick Garling; Mr. T. S. Amos.

* * *

_Secretary's Office_.

Secretary--John Thomas Campbell, Esq.

Principal Clerk Michael Robinson, Gent.

Second ditto--Mr. Charles Reid.

Assistant Clerks--Mr. James Sumpter; Mr. Thomas Ryan.

* * *

_Commissariat Staff_.

Deputy Commissary General--David Allan, Esq.

Assistant Commissary General--John Palmer, Esq.

Acting Assistant Commissary General--W. Broughton, Esq. Hobart

Deputy Assistant Commissary General--P. G. Hogan, Esq.

Acting Ditto--Thomas Archer, Esq. Port Dalrymple.

Clerks on the Commissariat Staff--Mr. E. Hobson, Parramatta;
Mr. A. Allan, Sydney; Mr. R. Fitzgerald, Windsor; Mr. George
Johnston, Sydney.

Principal Assistant Clerk--Mr. T. W. Middleton.

Storekeepers--Mr. W. Scott, Sydney; Mr. S. Larken, Parramatta;
Mr. John Tucker, Newcastle; Mr. R. Dry, Port Dalrymple; Mr. John
Gowen, Liverpool; Mr. John Rayner, Hobart Town.

Assistant Clerks--Mr. John Flood, Mr. E. J. Yates, Mr. John
Rickards, Mr. J. Hankinson, Mr. George Smith, Mr. C. Sommers, Mr.
N. Edgworth, Mr. C. Bridges, Mr. W. Todhunter, Mr. Richard
Walker, Mr. Todd Watson--at Sydney.

Mr. J. Obee, at Parramatta--Mr. B. Rix, at Windsor--Mr. W.
Kitchener, Port Dal.--Mr. John Gregory, Hobart Town--Mr. W.
Turner, Hobart Town.

Messenger--Thomas Parsons.

Store Assistant--T. Jennings.

Cooper--Edward Hewen.

* * *

_Provost Marshall's Department_.

Provost Marshall--William Gore, Esq.

Clerk--Mr. Henry Hart;

Bailiff and Officer at Sydney--Mr. W. Evans;

Ditto at Windsor, etc.--Mr. Richard Ridge.

* * *

_Church Establishment_.

Principal Chaplain of the Territory--The Rev. Samuel Marsden,

Assistant Chaplain at Sydney--Rev. Wm. Cowper;

Assistant Chaplain at Windsor--Rev. Robert Cartwright;

Assistant Chaplain at Castlereagh--Rev. Henry Fulton;

Assistant Chaplain for Port Dalrymple, but now officiating at
Liverpool--Rev. John Youl.

Assistant Chaplain appointed for Liverpool--Rev. Ben. Vale,
returned to Europe on leave of absence.

Parish Clerk of St. Philip's, Sydney--Mr. Thomas Taber;

Ditto of St. John's, Parramatta--Mr. John Eyre;

Ditto of the Chapel at Windsor--Mr. Joseph Harpur.

* * *


The Principal Magistrate of the Territory, and Chairman of the
Bench of Magistrates at Sydney--The Honorable the Judge

_Magistrates of the Territory and its Dependencies_.

D'Arcy Wentworth, Esq.

John Thomas Campbell, Esquire.

_Magistrates of the various Settlements of the

At Sydney--W. Broughton, Esq. absent at Hobart Town; Simeon
Lord, Esq. Richard Brooks, Esq.

Clerk to the Bench of Magistrates--Joshua John Moore,

Assistant Clerk--Mr. Ezekiel Wood.

At Parramatta--The Rev. Samuel Marsden; Hannibal M'Arthur,

At Windsor--William Cox, Esq.

At Wilberforce--Rev. Robert Cartwright;

At Castlereagh--James Mileham, Esq. Rev. Henry Fulton;

At Liverpool--Thomas Moore, Esq.

At Bringelly--Robert Lowe, Esq.

At Hobart Town--Rev. Robert Knopwood, A. M. A. W. H. Humphrey,
Esq. James Gordon, Esq. Francis Williams, Esq. A. F. Kemp,

At Port Dalrymple--Brevet Major James Stewart, 46th Regiment;
Thomas Archer, Esq.

* * *

_Medical Staff_.

Principal Surgeon--D'Arcy Wentworth, Esq.

First Assistant ditto--Mr. James Mileham, at Windsor.

Second ditto ditto--Mr. William Redfern, at Sydney;

Acting ditto ditto--Mr. Wm. Evans, at Newcastle;

Acting ditto ditto--Mr. Major West, at Parramatta;

Acting ditto ditto--Mr. R. W. Owen, at Sydney;

Acting ditto ditto at the Lunatic Asylum, Castle: Hill, Mr.
Thomas Parmeter.

Assistant at General Hospital--Mr. Henry Cowper.

* * *

_Surveyors of Crown Lands_.

Surveyor General--John Oxley, Esq.

Deputy Surveyor--Mr. James Meehan.

Ditto at Hobart Town--Mr. G. W. Evans.

* * *

Collector of Quit-Rents, Mr. James Meehan.

* * *

_Naval Officer's Department_.

Naval Officer--John Piper, Esq.

Assistant to the Naval Officer--Mr. Alfred Thrupp.

Wharfingers--Mr. William Hutchinson; Mr. James Stewart.

* * *

Acting Engineer, and Artillery Officer, and Inspector of
Government Works--Captain John Gill, 46th Regiment.

Civil Architect--Mr. F. H. Greenway.

* * *

Barrack Master--Charles M'Intosh, Esq.

* * *

_His Majesty's Dock Yard_.

Master Boat Builder--Mr. William Cossar.

Book-keeper--Mr. John Fowler.

* * *

Harbour Master--Mr. Stephen Milton.

* * *


Of Government Stock--Mr. Rowland Hassall;

Assistant Superintendent of ditto--Mr. Sam. Hassall;

Of the Lunatic Asylum at Castle Hill--Mr. George Sutter;

Of Government Labourers and Cattle, and of Public Works at
Windsor--Mr. Richard Fitzgerald;

Of Public Labourers, etc. at Sydney--Mr. William

Of Carpenters at Parramatta--Mr. Richard Rouse;

Of Bricklayers--Mr. Thomas Legg;

Of Government Mills--Mr. Abraham Hutchinson.

* * *

_Principal Overseers of Government Stock, under the Orders
of the Superintendent_.

Mr. Thomas Arkell, and Mr. William Chalker.

* * *

_Trustees and Commissioners of Turnpike Roads and

For the Roads from Sydney to Hawkesbury--D'Arcy Wentworth,
Simeon Lord, and James Mileham, Esquires;

For the Roads to and from Liverpool, branching out at any of
the above--Thomas Moore, Esq.

* * *

Inspector of Highways and Bridges--Mr. James Meehan.

* * *

_Female Orphan Institution_.

Patron--His Excellency the Governor.

Patronesses--Mrs. Macquarie; Mrs. Wylde; Mrs. Hannibal

Committee for the Orphan Fund.

His Honor Lieutenant Governor Erskine;

The Honorable Mr. Judge Advocate Wylde;

The Reverend Samuel Marsden, Principal Chaplain;

The Reverend Wm. Cowper, Assistant Chaplain;

Hannibal M'Arthur, Esq.

Treasurer--Reverend Samuel Marsden;

Master of the School--Mr. William Hosking;

Matron--Mrs. Hosking.

_Institution for the Civilization, Care, and Education of
the Aborigines or Black Natives of New South Wales_.

Patron, the Governor; Patroness, Mrs. Macquarie.

* * *


1. His Honor Lieutenant Governor Erskine, President. 2. The
Honorable Mr. Judge Advocate Wylde;--3. J. T. Campbell, Esq.--4.
D. Wentworth, Esq.--5. William Redfern, Esq.--6. H. M'Arthur,
Esq.--7. The Rev. Wm. Cowper;--8. The Rev. Hen. Fulton;--9. Mr.
Rowland Hassall.

Secretary and Treasurer of the Institution--John Thomas
Campbell, Esq.


* * *

_Masters of the Public Schools throughout the

At Sydney--Mr. Thomas Bowden;

At Liverpool--Mr. Robert Keeves;

At Parramatta--Mr. John Eyre;

At Windsor--Mr. Joseph Harpur;

At Richmond--Mr. Matthew Hughes;

At Kissing Point--Mr. James Cooper;

At Wilberforce--Mr. M. P. Thompson;

At Newcastle--Mr. H. Rainsforth.

* * *

_Police Establishment at Sydney_.

_Committee of the Police Fund_.

The Lieutenant Governor; the Judge Advocate.

Treasurer--D'Arcy Wentworth, Esq.

Superintendent of Police--D'Arcy Wentworth, Esq.

Assistant to the Superintendent--Mr. Robert Jones.

Principal Clerk in the Police Office . . .

Assistant Clerk--Mr. Ezekiel Wood.

Six District Constables, and 50 Constables in Ordinary;

Chief Constable at Sydney--Mr. John Redman;

Ditto ditto at Parramatta--Mr. Francis Oakes;

Ditto ditto at Windsor--Mr. John Howe.

Keeper of the County Gaol at Sydney--Mr. John Jaques.

Clerk to ditto--George Jubb.

* * *

Coroner--Mr. J. W. Lewin.

Ditto for Windsor, and the Districts on the Banks of the
Hawkesbury--Mr. Thomas Hobby.

* * *

_Bank of New South Wales_.

President--J. T. Campbell, Esq.

Directors--D'Arcy Wentworth, Esq.--John Harris, Esq.--Thomas
Wylde, Esq.--William Redfern, Esq.--William Gore, Esq.--Robert
Jenkins, Esq.

Secretary and Cashier--Mr. E. S. Hall.

Principal Accountant--Mr. R. Campbell, junior.

* * *

_Printing Office_.

Government Printer--Mr. George Howe.

* * *

_Post Office_.

Post Master--Mr. Isaac Nichols.

Deputy at Hobart Town--Mr. James Mitchell.

* * *

_Licensed Auctioneers and Appraisers_.

At Sydney--Mr. Simeon Lord; Mr. David Bevan.

At Parramatta--Mr. Richard Rouse; Mr. Francis Oakes.

At Windsor--Mr. John Howe.

Clerk of the Market at Sydney--Mr. Miles Fieldgate.

Clerk of the Market and Fair at Parramatta--Mr. Francis

N. B. These Fairs are held half-yearly; viz. the second
Thursday in March, and the first Thursday in October

* * *

Marine Establishment.

His Majesty's Colonial Cutter Mermaid, employed in surveying
the Coast, Lieutenant Philip Parker King, R. N. Commander.

His Majesty's Colonial Brig Elizabeth Henrietta--Mr. Thomas
Whyte, Master.

His Majesty's Colonial Brig Lady Nelson, at present undergoing
repair--Mr. David Smith, Master.

* * *

_Harbour Pilots_.

At Port Jackson--Mr. Robert Mason; Mr. Robert Murray.

At Hunter's River--Robert Whitmore.

* * *


Commandant--Captain Wallis, of the 46th Regt.

Acting Assistant Surgeon--Mr. William Evans.

Store-keeper--Mr. John Tucker.

* * *

_Civil Establishment at Hobart Town_.

Lieutenant Governor of the Settlements on Van Diemen's
Land--Lieutenant Colonel William Sorrell;

Deputy Judge Advocate--Edward Abbott, Esq.

Chaplain--Reverend R. Knopwood, A. M.

Surgeon--Mr. Edward Luttrell;

Assistant Surgeon--Mr. H. St. John Younge;

Acting Assist. Commissary General--W. Broughton, Esq.

Provost Marshal--Mr. Martin Tims;

Surveyor of Lands--Mr. G. W. Evans;

Inspector of Public Works--Captain Nairn, 46th Regt.;

Naval Officer--Mr. John Beamont;

Store-keeper--Mr. Rayner;

Auctioneer--Mr. Richard Lewis;

Harbour Pilot--Mr. Michael Mansfield;

Two Superintendents, and two Overseers.

_Magistrates at Hobart Town_.

Reverend R. Knopwood, A. M; Acting Assistant Commissary
General Broughton; James Gordon, Esq.; A. W. H. Humphrey, Esq.;
Francis Williams, Esq.; A. F. Kemp, Esq.

* * *

_The Lieutenant Governor's Court, Van Diemen's Land_.

Deputy Judge Advocate--Edward Abbott, Esq.;

And two resident Inhabitants, appointed as Members by His
Honor the Lieutenant Governor.

Clerk to the Deputy Judge Advocate--Mr. N. Ayres.

* * *

And it is by Charter provided, that the present and all future
Governors, Lieutenant Governors, the Judge Advocate, Judge of the
Supreme Court, and Deputy Judge Advocate, shall be Justices of
the Peace throughout the Territory and its Dependencies; and all
Places and Settlements therein, with all the Powers possessed by
Justices of the Peace in England, within their respective

* * *

_Civil Establishment at Port Dalrymple_.

Commandant--Brevet Major James Stewart, 46th Regt.

Assistant Chaplain, now doing duty at Head Quarters, Reverend
John Youl;

Surgeon--Mr. Jacob Mountgarret;

Assistant Surgeon--Mr. John Smith;

Superintendent of the Government Herds--David Rose, Esq.

Inspector of Government Public Works--Mr. William Elliot

Store-keeper--Mr. R. Dry.

Harbour Master.

Master of the Public School--Mr. Thomas M'Queen;

Acting Master Carpenter--Mr. Richard Sydes.

* * *

_Magistrates_--Brevet Major James Stewart, 46th Regt.
Thomas Archer, Esq.

* * *

Fees and Dues in the Various Offices.

* * *


For the great seal to every grant, not exceeding 1000 acres     0  5  0
For all grants exceeding 1000 acres, for every 1000 each
grant contains                                                  0  2  6
For a license of occupation                                     0  5  0

Secretary's Fees.

For every grant, and passing the seal of the province,
if under 100 acres                                              0  5  0
Between 100 and 500 acres                                       0 10  0
All above                                                       0 15  0
In grants of land, where the number of proprietors shall
exceed 20, each right                                           0  2  6
In ditto, where the number of proprietors shall not exceed
20--the same as for grants in proportion to the quantity of land
For license of occupation of land                               0  2  6
For every grant of land from 1000 to 20,000 acres, take for the
first 1000 acres 15s. and for every 1000 acres more, 2s. 6d.

_Fees to be taken by the Surveyor General of Lands._

For each grant, not exceeding 40 acres                          0  7  6
Ditto                         90 ditto                          0 10  0
Ditto                        190 ditto                          0 15  0
Ditto                        250 ditto                          1  0  0
Ditto                        350 ditto                          1 10  0
Ditto                        400 ditto                          2  0  0
Ditto                        750 ditto                          2 12  6
Ditto                       1000 ditto                          3  5  0
Ditto, on town leases, per foot on street front                 0  0  1
And on all grants exceeding 1000 acres for each 100 acres
so exceeding                                                    0  4  0

Auditor's Fees.

For the auditing of every grant                                 0  3  4

Registrar's Fees.

For recording a grant of land, for or under 500 acres           0  1  3
For ditto from 500 to 1000 acres                                0  2  6
For every 100 acres to the amount of 20,000                     0 10  6
For recording a grant of a township                             1  0  0

To be received in the Secretary's Office.

On all colonial appointments, and commissions of whatever kind,
where the official seal is affixed                              5  5  0
On all special licenses for marriages                           4  4  0
On the registering of vessels exceeding 40 tons per ton;        0  1  0
And to the Principal Clerk                                      0 10  0
For all vessels not exceeding 40 ton's                          2  0  0
And to the Principal Clerk                                      0 10  0
On affixing official seal to the clearances of vessels of
foreign voyages, or fishing, per ton                            0  0  6
For every person leaving the colony, whereof ls. goes to
the Principal Clerk                                             0  2  6
Transcripts of all papers, per folio of 72 words ls. and
transcribing Clerk, per ditto, 3d.                              0  1  3
Licenses for colonial vessels coastwise to the Coal River,
Hawkesbury, or elsewhere, not extending to Van Diemen's Land
or Bass's Straits, as heretofore to Coal River                  0  5  0

Fees to the Principal Clerk

On free or conditional pardons, each                            0  5  6
Certificates and tickets of leave, each                         0  2  8
N. B.--Six-pence of the free and conditional pardons,
and two-pence on certificates and tickets of leave, are to be
paid to the Government Printer, as a remuneration for the
paper and printing.

On receiving Appeals.

If for the sum of £50, or under, as heretofore            1  1  0
Upwards of £50, and not exceeding £100              2  2  0
Upwards of £100, and not exceeding 300                    3  3  0
Any sum exceeding £300                                    5  5  0
On all Appeals To the Principal Clerk                           0 10  0
To the Door-keeper                                              0  5  0
Affixing colonial seal to appeals to the King in Council        5  5  0
Principal Clerk                                                 1  0  0
Transcripts of all papers, per folio of 72 words ls.
and transcribing Clerk per ditto, 3d.                           0  1  3

Naval Office.

Entry for a ship with articles for sale, and in Government
service                                                         0 15  0
Ditto, ditto, and not in Government service                     1 10  0
Ditto with no articles, ditto ditto                             0 15  0
Ditto for all foreign vessels                                   3  0  0
Permission to wood and water, for every vessel not exceeding
100 tons per register                                           1  0  0
For every vessel upwards of 100, and not exceeding 200 tons     2  0  0
For every vessel upwards of 200, and not exceeding 300 ditto    3  0  0
For every vessel upwards of 300, and not exceeding 400 ditto    4  0  0
For every vessel upwards of 400, and not exceeding 500 ditto    5  0  0
For every vessel upwards of 500 tons                            6  0  0
Ditto to trade                                                  1  1  0
Dues of each bond                                               0 10  6
Ditto of port clearance                                         0  5  0
Ditto ditto to the Naval Officer's Clerk                        0  2  6
Ditto to Naval Officer's Clerk, for each permit to land
spirits or wine, per cask                                       0  0  6

For Colonial Vessels

Deeds of entry and clearance to the Hawkesbury                  0  4  0
Ditto ditto to Newcastle                                        0 10  0
Ditto to the fishery or settlements at the southward            0 10  0
Ditto to Naval Officer's Clerk                                  0  2  0

King's Dues for Orphans

For each ton of coals for home consumption                      0  2  6
Ditto ditto exported                                            0  5  0
For each 1000 square feet of timber for home consumption        3  0  0
Ditto ditto exported                                            6  0  0


Ships from any part of the world importing cargoes
(the manufactures of Great Britain excepted) to pay a duty of
5 per cent. _ad valorem_ on the amount of their respective
On every gallon of spirits landed                               0 10  0
Ditto wine ditto                                                0  0  9
n every pound of tobacco                                        0  0  6
Wharfage on each bale, cask, or package                         0  0  6
The Naval Office to receive 5 per cent. on all duties collected
at this port.

Wharfinger's Fees.

On each bale, cask, or package, landed or shipped               0  0  3
Metage per ton on coals                                         0  2  6
Measure of timber, per 1000 feet                                0  2  0

The following duties to be levied and collected by the Naval
Officer on the articles hereunder named, upon their arrival and
landing, whether for colonial consumption or re-shipment.

On each ton of sandal wood                                      2 10  0
On each ton of pearl shells                                     2 10  0
On each ton of beech-le-mer                                     5  0  0
On each ton of sperm oil (252 gallons)                          2 10  0
On each ton of black whale or other oil                         2  0  0
On each fur seal skin                                           0  0  1½
On each hair ditto                                              0  0  0½
On each kangaroo ditto                                          0  0  0½
On cedar, or other timber, from Shoal Haven, or any other
part of the coast or harbours of New South Wales (Newcastle
excepted, as the duties are already prescribed there),
when not supplied by government labourers, for each solid foot  0  1  0
For every 20 spars from N. Zealand or elsewhere                 1  0  0
On timber, in log or plank, from New Zealand or elsewhere,
for each solid foot                                             0  1  0

Gaoler's Fees.

From every debtor on his discharge from each action             1  0  0
From every sailor confined for being disorderly, for the
first night thereof                                             0  2  6
For every following night                                       0  1  0
From every free person thereof, and person having a ticket of
leave, taken up and confined for being disorderly, on the
discharge of the same, each                                     0  3  0

From every person receiving a certificate of his or her term
of transportation being expired (reference being always had to
the black book in his possession)                               0  0  6

Fees to be received by the Chief Constable

On the apprehending and lodging in gaol any sailor who may be
found riotous or disorderly, of constables assisting in the
apprehension                                                    0  2  6
For each night that sailors so apprehended may be confined;
which is to be directed as the foregoing                        0  2  6
For the apprehending of deserters or runaway sailors, to be
divided equally among apprehending constables and himself       2  0  0
For serving summonses from the Judge Advocate's Office, for debts
under 40s. each summons                                         0  1  0
For the seizure of stills, or other articles prohibited by the
Colonial Regulations, and ordered for distribution among the
seizing Constables, the Chief Constable is to receive an equal
proportion with them.

Surplice Fees.

Marriages by License, Clergyman                                 3  3  0
   Clerk                                                        0 10  6
   Sexton                                                       0  5  0
Ditto by Banns, free persons Clergyman                          0 10  6
Clerk banns                                                     0  2  0
Clerk marriage                                                  0  3  0
Sexton marriage                                                 0 10  6
Christenings, for registering Clerk                             0  1  0
Churching, free persons only Clergyman                          0  1  0
   Clerk                                                        0  0  6
   Sexton                                                       0  0  6
Funerals, free persons--Clergyman                               0  3  0
   Clerk                                                        0  1  0
   Bell                                                         0  0  6
   Grave digger                                                 0  2  6

Post Office Charges

Every letter, English or Foreign                                0  0  8
Every parcel not exceeding 20lbs.                               0  1  6
Every ditto if exceeding 20lbs.                                 0  3  0
Every colonial letter from any part of the territory            0  0  4
Soldiers' letters, or those addressed to their wives            0  0  1

_Market Duties at Sydney_.--Grain, etc. lodged in the
store to be paid for as follows; viz. wheat or barley 3d. per
bushel; maize or oats 2d. per ditto; potatoes 3d. per cwt. and if
not sold the same day shall pay store-room rent every succeeding
market day the articles continue there, to the clerk, who is not
to deliver up such articles until the same be paid.

_Market and Fair Duties at Parramatta_.

For each horse, mare, gelding, or foal, if sold              0  1  6
Ditto ditto, ditto, if not sold                                 0  0  6
For each bull, cow, ox, or calf, if sold                        0  1  0
Ditto ditto, ditto, if not sold                                 0  0  4
Sheep, lambs, or pigs, per score, if sold                       0  2  0
Ditto, ditto, ditto, if not sold                                0  0  8
And any number of sheep, lambs, or pigs, under a score,
for each sold                                                   0  0  1½
Ditto, ditto, ditto, if not sold                                0  0  0½

_Ferry_ across the River Hawkesbury, called _Nowland's Ferry:_

Tolls for each foot passenger                                   0  0  3
A saddle horse                                                  0  1  6
A foal                                                          0  0  6
A horse and chaise                                              0  2  6
A cart with 1 horse or two bullocks                             0  2  6
A ditto with 2 horses or 3 bullocks                             0  3  0
A waggon with 4 horses or 6 bullocks                            0  4  0
For horned cattle 1s. per head
For do. if more than 1, and not exceeding 20, 9d. per ditto
For ditto, if upwards of twenty, 6d. per ditto
For sheep 2s. per score, or 7s. 6d. per hundred
For hogs and goats 2d. each, or 2s. per score
Passengers to pass and repass the same day for one payment.

Toll Gates between Sydney and Parramatta:

For each head of horned cattle                                  0  0  2
For each score of sheep or swine                                0  0 10
For every single horse                                          0  0  3
For every cart drawn by a single horse or bullock               0  0  4
For every cart drawn by 2 horses or bullocks                    0  0  6
For every cart drawn by 3 horses or bullocks                    0  0  9
For every cart drawn by 4 horses or bullocks                    0  0 10
For every waggon drawn by 2 horses or bullocks                  0  0 10
For every waggon drawn by 3 horses or bullocks                  0  1  0
For every waggon drawn by 4 horses or bullocks, or more         0  1  2
For every single horse chaise                                   0  1  0
For every curricle with two horses                              0  1  6
For a four-wheel carriage drawn by 2 horses                     0  2  0
For the same drawn by three horses                              0  2  6
For the same drawn by four horses                               0  3  0

N. B. The tolls between Parramatta and Windsor are exactly the
same as those between Sydney and Parramatta, only at the former a
cart drawn by 4 horses or bullocks is 10d.

_Tolls at the New Bridge over the South Creek at Windsor, called Howe Bridge_.

For each foot passenger                                         0  0  2
Ditto ditto single horse                                        0  0  6
Ditto ditto ditto, or bullock in draft                          0  1  0
A cart, with 2 horses or bullocks                               0  1  2
For each horse or bullock above that number                     0  0  2
Waggons, or four wheeled carriages with two horses or bullocks  0  1  6
For each head of cattle not in draft, under a score             0  0  6
For every score                                                 0  5  0
Ditto ditto per hundred                                         1  0  0
Ditto ditto sheep, goat, or pig, under a score                  0  0  1
Ditto ditto a score                                             0  1  0

The Governor and Family, the Lieutenant Governor, and all
persons on public duty to pass free.

_Tolls to be taken at the Ferry across the River Hawkesbury_.

(This is Mr. Howe's Ferry).

For each foot passenger                                         0  0  3
A single horse                                                  0  1  0
A single horse chaise                                           0  1  6
A chaise with 2 or more horses                                  0  2  6
A cart with 1 horse or bullock                                  0  2  6
Each additional horse or bullock                                0  0  3
Waggons, or 4 wheeled carriages, with 3 horses or bullocks      0  2  0
Each horse or bullock                                           0  0  3
Each head of cattle not in draft, under 6                       0  0  9
Ditto ditto under 20                                            0  0  6
Every score                                                     0  7  6
Every sheep, goat, or pig, under a score                        0  0  1
Ditto ditto per score                                           0  1  0
Ditto ditto per hundred                                         0  4  0

The unweaned young of every kind, half price.

_Tolls to be taken at the Bridge over the Chain of Ponds, near Windsor_.

For a single horse                                              0  0  3
A cart and horse, or two bullocks                               0  0  6
Ditto with more than two                                        0  0  9
A waggon with 3 horses or 4 bullocks                            0  1  0
Ditto with more                                                 0  1  3
A single horse chaise                                           0  1  0
A four-wheel carriage                                           0  1  6
Horned cattle, each                                             0  0  2
Sheep and pigs, per score                                       0  1  0

The Colonial Garden.


For a general winter crop in field or garden, should be
planted from the end of January to the end of February, or even
the beginning of March, rather than lose the planting; and they
will come into use in winter, when cabbages and other vegetables
run to seed. The ground should if possible be prepared a month
before the planting, and a preference given by the country
gardener to new ground, or dry wheat stubble, where the soil is
light. The town gardener should keep his ground in a good state
by frequent light manuring.

The sets made choice of should be the produce of the last
winter crop; and when planted should have a covering of light
manure; without which the ground will be impoverished; but with
such assistance be improved.

The best potatoes to preserve for sets are of a middle size,
as well for profit as security; for if the largest are made use
of, there must be a considerable waste; and those of the dwarf
kind should be rejected, from their degeneracy and weakness.

An experienced gardener, who has been a settler here more than
twenty years, plants his seed potatoes uncut for the winter crop;
his reason for which is, that if they are cut they are likely to
perish in the ground, from the rains of March; which will not be
the case if put in whole.

In July the ground should be prepared for the summer crop, at
which time the winter crop will be fit for digging; in which
process every care should be taken to prevent their being
bruised; and if possible they should be dug in cloudy weather, to
avoid exposure to the sun, which would rot them; whereas if
carefully preserved they will keep sound for a length of time;
which will be the more desirable, as at this season vegetables
are mostly scarce and dear.

In August the planting should be made, or even in September,
if necessary; and at the end of the latter, or in October, they
will require to be hilled and earthed, and well cleansed from
weeds, which must also now and then be done as weeds make their
appearance. In the choice of seed for this crop, a middle sized
potatoe should be preferred, without any objection to their being
cut, as is the customary mode of planting.

_Manure_.--Fresh stable dung, and litter, or decayed
thatch, answers better for manure than that which is very rotten;
but if the ground be fresh and light, they will want no manure,
and the potatoes be of a better quality, though probably less

In October you may also plant potatoes for a latter crop; and
this, though perhaps less abundant than that sown in August or
the beginning of September, will nevertheless be sufficiently
productive to pay well the expence and labour of planting.

The potatoe is so essential and desirable an article of food,
that too much care cannot be bestowed in their culture and
preservation; for should other crops fall short, this will afford
the grower a certain means of supporting his family.

Carrots and Parsnips

For a general crop, may be best sown in December and January.
The ground should be dug deep, and broke up very fine. If the
soil be light, the seed should be sown on a calm day, and trod

_Carrots_ and _Parsnips_ may also be planted in
July, and also in November. They thrive best in an open
situation, or a light sandy soil; and after they come up, should
be thinned and set out with a small two inch garden hoe.


For a constant supply may be sown in January, April, May,
July, August, October, and early in November, at a time when the
ground is in a moist state. The plants sown in April will not run
to seed. Care should be taken to set out the plants in a richer
and stronger ground than the bed they are taken from; otherwise
the crop will be poor. Their first bed should now and then be
weeded with the hand, in dry weather, and the freshest and
strongest plants removed first. In setting them out, a passage
should be allowed between the rows of at least two feet, and in
the rows the plants kept eighteen or twenty inches distant from
each other, which will allow them a free circulation of air. As
they grow up, they should occasionally be earthed up a little,
and carefully weeded, as nothing has a more negligent and
slovenly appearance than a foul bed of cabbage. In very dry hot
weather, their first bed should be watered now and then; after
rain they should be set out, but not during its continuance, as
it would wash the mould from the roots, and numbers decay without
taking root at all in the new bed. Cabbages run to seed in August
and September.

A gardener of long experience in the Colony has favored us
with the following remarks on the culture of the cabbage:
"Although cabbage seed may be here sown with advantage at several
times of the year, yet I have of late years confined myself to
two sowings only; namely, in January, and as near the middle of
May as I could find the weather most favorable, for two general
crops. That sown in January comes well in for a winter supply;
but must be taken great care of, or will come to nothing; for as
January is one of our hottest months, they will require to be
shaded from the sun's excessive heat by boughs, which if closely
twined together will continue their shelter even after the leaves
are withered; and also, to be watered at least once in every two
or three days, until they get pretty strong in the ground. The
other crop, sown in May, will come into use early in summer; and
do not require any care more than they usually receive."


The ground should be prepared in February; and at the latter
end of the month some may be planted; for which purpose gentle
showery weather is most favourable.

Turnips for a general crop should be sown early in March, and
they will be ready for food for sheep in the beginning of May.
During their growth they require hoeing once or twice, to thin
and keep them clean, if the land be foul.

Turnips for table use may be sown at any time between March
and September, or the beginning of November, when absolutely

_Turnips for Sheep_.--The ground should be prepared in
January and February, by the plough or hoe, harrowing, manuring,
and totally cleansing it from all weeds whatever, so that it be
brought into the best state possible.

_The Seed_.--To raise turnip seed properly is an object
worthy of the strictest attention. To do this, the bed should be
examined carefully when the turnips have attained about a third
of their size, and the largest, smoothest, and most healthy taken
up and transplanted into a richer bed, in rows a foot wide, and
about six inches between the plants that are in the same
row.--The seed will be fit to cut the latter end of November.


The seed may be sown at any time between November and
February; but best in December. Some sow about the middle of May
for a summer crop, and this practice is found to answer.


The seed should be sown in October, in drills, four drills in
a bed four feet wide, the ground being first well prepared, and
richly manured. At the latter end of April, or beginning of May,
the haulm should be cut down within two inches of the bed (though
some cut it nearly level), and constantly kept from weeds. The
ground should be dug with a three pronged fork, and not with a
spade, as the latter will cut the crown of the roots, and destroy
the plants. A professed gardener of twenty-three years practice
in the colony assures us, that he has now a bed of twenty years
standing, which constantly yielded a good crop until the year
before last, the failure of which he attributed to the ground
being worn out, and therefore set out a fresh bed. In this
country it requires a cool soil, and that the beds should not be
laid too high, four or five inches being a sufficient height.


In March prepare the ground, by breaking it up well, and
richly manuring it. At the end of the month, and beginning of
April, sow for a light crop of onions for immediate use.

In April prepare for a general crop, which should be sown at
the latter end of the month, or beginning of May, to keep them
from going to seed. When they grow to a proper size, which will
be from the latter end of October to the beginning of November,
they should be carefully laid down, so as not to break the tops;
for should the tops be broke, and the wet penetrate, the onions
will inevitably spoil. When fit to draw, they should be gathered
on a fine dry day, and lain under cover, so as not to be at all
exposed to the sun.

Pease and Beans of all kinds.

The ground should be prepared in March, by well working and
manuring; and at the end of the month, and in April, they may be
sown for a spring crop. Some sow from the beginning of March till
the middle of June, as occasion may require.

Prepare in August for a latter crop; and

French beans may be as well sown in October as at any other

Cucumbers, Pumpkins, and Melons.

The ground should be got ready for these in August, and they
should be sown in September.


May be sown when turnips are sown.

Lettuces and Small Sallad

Are sown every month, for a constant supply; but lettuces are
best sown in April and November, and small sallads in May, and
the latter end of November.

Grass and Clover.

Turnip ground, on which either is intended to be sown, should
be cleared, cleaned, and broke up in August, great care being
taken to leave no weeds or large clods.


Is best sown in March and September.

Brocoli, brown and white

Should be sown the beginning of January, and treated as
cabbage sown at that time. Some observe the practice of sowing
from November until February, but this is a vague method, and not
to be depended on.


March is the proper season for planting this fruit. The
runners and leaves should be all cut close away before they are
set, which will strengthen them greatly, and before winter they
will have new leaves. If planted in clumps, the fruit will be
larger than if suffered to run over the bed; but by the latter
method they preserve a more delicate appearance, and are
certainly less likely to contract filth.

As soon as planted, a sprinkling of fresh earth should be
thrown over the beds, which should be plentifully watered twice
or thrice a week, if the season turn out dry; and as the plants
require much air, they should be thinned, in order to preserve a
free circulation.

When sown in beds, the following mode of treatment should be
observed:--When the bed is well prepared, plant the rows of the
large kinds, such as the Chili and Carolina, two feet apart, and
allow one foot between each of the plants in the same row. The
smaller kinds do not require so much space; eighteen inches
between the rows, and eighteen between the plants will be
sufficient; but as much greater space may be given as the ground
will admit of.

In April all strawberry beds should be well dressed and
cleaned, in order to prevent the lodging of insects; and in July
they should be gone well over, and have their spring dressing; in
doing which the runners must be taken off from the plants, and
the weeds cleared away. The ground will then also require to be
loosened, and would be much benefited by a layer of fine manure
and fresh earth between the rows, as this treatment will
strengthen the plants, and produce the largest and finest


Should also be dressed and cleaned in July.


Begin in April to pinch and prune the vines, which must be
cleaned from all cankered and unhealthy leaves or other
substances, to preserve them from insects. In July they should
also be gone over, and pruned and nailed, where requisite. All
walls and stakes should then be attentively examined, to prevent
the harbouring of insects, which will otherwise destroy the young
wood and fruit.

Pine Apples.

In the management of Pinery, should gentlemen incline their
attention thitherward, the following observances will be useful.
In May let them be unplunged, and lain down on their sides, till
all their leaves be free from water. Take off all yellow leaves,
and suckers, and let these suckers be plunged into fresh pots of
earth, and in a fresh bed of heat, by means whereof the Pinery
will always be kept full. The spider is their chief enemy, and
therefore should not be permitted to harbour near them, as the
smallest of the tribe will kill the crown, and destroy the

Trees of all Kinds

In JANUARY and FEBRUARY should be BUDDED. A competent judge
will best inform himself of the proper time for this operation by
the ripe appearance of the buds themselves. For this use the
practical gardener chooses a small instrument which may be made
of bone, with wrappers of worsted, which being elastic, is better
than bark, or any other substitute. The tops of the budded stocks
are by some left uncut until the August or September following;
but a gardener of much experience in the Colony makes it a rule
to cut his tops off immediately, as the buds strike much sooner
with this practice.

PEACHES and PLUMS are best budded upon their own stocks.

APRICOTS may be budded upon peach stocks.

The ENGLISH MULBERRY upon the cherry; or Cape; and ORANGES
will succeed best upon lemons; and all tender trees are better to
be budded in summer than in spring.

It may be here proper to observe, for the better information
of those who have not given themselves the trouble of dividing
the year into seasons, and which it would indeed be difficult to
do by a comparison with those to which in Europe we were
accustomed, that the spring months are, _September,
October_, and _November_; the summer months, _December,
January_, and _February_; the autumn months, _March,
April_, and _May_; and the winter months, _June,
July_, and _August_. Hence it is observable, that our
wheat harvesting begins in the last of the spring months,
November, and is entirely over before the end of summer.

In March, all fruit trees should be examined, and the broken
or decayed limbs taken off.

In May, all fruit trees should be pruned, except evergreens,
and such branches as are necessary to be taken off cut close to
the tree, that the wound may heal the sooner, and thus prevent
the tree from injury by rain or dew.

In May, orange trees may be safely transplanted, as well as

June; which is the general season for transplanting fruit
trees: in doing which, the roots should be carefully taken up,
and planted as near to the surface as possible, taking care at
the same time that the whole be covered, being first spread out
like an open hand; after which the covering may be thickened with
a little rich manure; and when the hole is filled, the earth
about the root should be trodden gently, so as to fix the
position of the plant.

June is also the best time for making layers, and planting
cuttings from hardy trees.

In July, such fruit trees as were not transplanted in June
should be removed, and stocks to bud and graft upon

In August, evergreens may be transplanted, in which great care
must be observed, as they are very tender; and as their roots
will not bear exposure to the sun, they must be so carefully dug
round as to admit their being taken up with as large a ball of
earth clinging to the root as can be done, in which exact state
they always should be fresh planted.

In August, also, the nursery will require to be well gone over
and cleaned, and young trees prepared for grafting. Wall fruit
and shrubs must be now particularly attended to, in divesting
them of every foul or decayed substance.

In this month, also, all gardens should be cleaned and
dressed. The gardener ought to be particularly attentive in
keeping off weeds and insects, as grubs frequently make their
appearance at this time, which very much injure all vegetable

This month also the nursery wants cleaning, and the young
trees must be prepared for grafting: the weeds preparatory to
which, must be cut down and destroyed, or they will afterwards
give much trouble. Decayed branches should likewise be taken from
fruit trees; and such trees as appear stunted should have the
ground opened about the roots.

SEPTEMBER is a good month for grafting fruit trees, the scions
intended for grafts being cut off a fortnight or three weeks
before, and the ends which are cut stuck in the ground until
wanted for use.

Trees budded at the beginning of the year must now be cut down
within about two inches of the bud; this space above the bud
being left to tie the young shoots to, to prevent their being
broken off by the wind. No shoots should be suffered to grow but
the eye that was budded, and all others should be rubbed off as
soon as they appear.

OCTOBER.--Young trees that were grafted in September should
now be examined, and all the young shoots broken off, but one or
two, both from the grafts and stocks:--The clay must be taken
off, and the bandages loosened. The ground between the rows of
all young trees should also be kept clear of weeds, or they will
deprive the trees of a great part of their nourishment.

Apricot and peach trees should be examined this month, and
where the fruit appears to be set too thick, which will be mostly
the case in prolific seasons, they must be reduced to a moderate
quantity. This must nevertheless be done with care, and only such
of the fruit as is proper to remain left upon the tree.

In this month the garden should be cleaned all through, and
walls and fruit trees well examined, to prevent insects from

In NOVEMBER such trees as were inoculated the previous summer
will want the young shoots tying, either to the top of the stock,
or to have a stake driven in near them to tie the shoot to, that
they may not be broken off by the wind. All budded and grafted
trees will in November want constant attention. All shoots that
do not grow from the eye of the bud, or from the graft, must be
taken off, that the graft or bud may receive all the nourishment
the stock can afford.

In November evergreens may be propagated by layers, from the
young shoots of the summer's growth.

In December the same observance is to be attended to with
respect to evergreens; and peach trees should now be thinned of
their fruit, where it appears too thick.

_Observations on some particular Fruit Trees_.

The Orange.

In pruning, the knife should be as little used as possible, if
you wish them to bear. The southerly winds are very unfavorable
to their growth, and parts opened by the knife admit the air, and
kill the bloom. This tree is perhaps more infested by ants than
any other; and the black contracted appearance of the leaves is
much attributed to this insect. From this persuasion, which is
pretty general, various methods have been tried to keep them off.
Human ordure laid round the boll of the tree will prevent their
appearing so long as it retains moisture, but not longer; tar has
been applied round both the trunk and branches, and only answered
while moist; yet a cure, if the ant be really inimical, is
certain to be found, with little trouble, and without expence, in
common suds from a wash tub, in which ley has been used. This
wash should be laid well about the roots in the evening, when the
ants have left the tree, which will be mostly the case, and in
wet weather always so, and there need be little apprehension of
their return next morning; a woollen bandage, dipped in oil, will
also be found a preventative to their ascending the tree. This
application, whenever ants appear, will have the desired effect;
but whether these insects are injurious to the tree or not, is to
be doubted upon this principle, namely, that the ant, being
excessively carnivorous, is instinctively led to the orange tree
in quest of the eggs, exuviae, larvae, etc. of some very minute
insect, whose eggs are attached to the leaves by a glutinous
substance, emitted by themselves in such quantity as to discolour
the leaf, the pores of which being thus stopped, it becomes hard
and tusky, and gradually closes. It seems impossible that this
change should be produced by the ant: for if it even attacked or
destroyed the blossom, this would not affect the leaves when the
tree is not in bloom; and therefore it is rational to conclude
that their changed appearance proceeds from some other cause,
perhaps from some other insect, perhaps from the assaults of the
weather, or some peculiarity in its soil or situation, or from a
combination of these and other causes; in exemplification whereof
it is worthy to be remarked, that a gardener in the Brickfields
planted a number of seed sixteen years ago, all from the same
tree; of which forty-four came up, and were all treated with
equal care. None shewed fruit until about seven years since; when
one produced about two-hundred oranges, and four or five others
had from thirty down to ten or a dozen each. The following year
the same trees were full; and afterwards others began to bear.
This very great disparity in their time of bearing, keeping in
mind at the same time that the seeds were from the same tree, all
sown at once, and all equally well attended to, would be
sufficient to excite astonishment, were we not to make allowance
for the various causes that might have tended to accelerate or
retard their growth.

The gardener himself says, that the chief of the defaulters
were a good deal shaded from the sun by a range of peach trees,
which depriving them of a great proportion of the warmth
necessary to a fruit which thrives best in the hottest climates,
he considers sufficient to occasion all the difference spoken

The Apple

Has a great enemy in a minute insect called the Cochineal,
owing more, perhaps, to its being nearly of the same colour, than
from any resemblance to the Spanish insect of that name. A
gentleman who had eight trees that had for several years borne a
delicious apple, had the mortification to find the whole of his
trees at once infested by those insects in excessive number;
after which they left off bearing, and after failing in many
experiments to relieve them, he came unwillingly to the
resolution of cutting down the trees. These insects are of a dark
red, approaching to a purple, and combine in such numbers on the
roots as well as branches, as to shew in protuberated clusters,
exhibiting a downy whiteness on the surface. A gardener of the
colony, who has attended a good deal to this matter, affirms that
a weed called the Churnwort presents a perfect remedy to the
disaster; with this weed, the roots, cleared of the earth, and
the branches also, he advises to be thoroughly well rubbed.

[Table not included in this text version--see html version. Ed.]

The End

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Statistical, Historical and Political Description of the Colony of New South Wales and its Dependent Settlements in Van Diemen's Land - With a Particular Enumeration of the Advantages Which These Colonies - Offer for Emigration, and Their Superiority in Many Respects Over - Those Possessed by the United States of America" ***

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