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practicable for large vessels farther than seven or eight miles, a new town is begun near its entrance, called George Town, to which the establishment of Launceston is now removing, a good brick gaol (the sine quâ non of colonies like these) being already erected there. The distance between these towns is about forty miles.
3. On the western coast of the island are two ports, the one called Macquarie, extending in a south-east direction, and forming a basin of about forty miles long, and from seven to eight miles broad; but unfortunately it has a very narrow entrance. The channel inwards, which is formed between an island and the westhead of entrance, is very deep, but not more than thirty yards wide: the basin is navigable, but shoally for about eight miles, after which there is deep water in all parts. In its cliffs are veins of coal, and on its shores abundance of useful and valuable timber, particularly a sort of cedar called the Huon pine, much esteemed in the colony and in India for its peculiar property of repelling insects. These productions have attracted the attention of government; and it is intended to form an establishment here.
4. Port Davey, on the same coast, is more to the southward, and is a spacious port with an open entrance; but the country is rocky and barren, and the timber difficult of access.
Into these two ports fall several rivers; one of them, called Gordon's river, has been traced along its sinuosities for about fifty miles. Those to the westward descend from a vast range of mountains which extends north and south the whole length of the island, but nearer to the western than the eastern coast. Upon these mountains, which have terraces at various heights, there are numerous lakes-one said to be sixty miles in cir cumference, another thirty, a third twelve, and several two or three. Various rivers also run from them to the eastward; as Blackman's river, which divides the counties, and Lake river, which joins the South Esk, about fourteen miles above Launceston. Several others run northerly into Bass's Strait to the westward of the Tamar, of which one forms a shoal port; and there are some from the eastern mountains which fall into the strait to the eastward. It is in the south-east part of this range of mountains that the Derwent rises, as does the Huon, a considerable river to the southward, which falls into Storm Bay Passage near its entrance. Thus every part of the island is well watered...... Farming in an infant and remote colony is necessarily defective in many points; but the wheat of Van Diemen's land averages 60 lbs. to the bushel, and the general produce of an acre is thirty bushels. All the grain and pulse of Europe flourish here; but the
climate is not warm enough for maize. In return, that destructive insect, the weevil, will not live in Van Diemen's Land.
With all these advantages of soil and sun, no country appears to have been poorer in indigenous productions of all kinds than this island; in which respect, as in the botany and natural history of what it does produce, it resembles the neighbouring continent. Here also are the eucalyptus, (but by no means so large as that of New South Wales,) the casuarina and mimosa, the kangaroo, the opossum, the emu or cassowary, the ornithorynchus paradoxus, venemous snakes of various kinds, the black swan, parrots, parroquets, and cocketoos, pelicans, pigeons, quail, snipe and ducks. Peculiar to this island, but of rare occurrence, is the hyæna opossum, so called from its resemblance to the hyæna, It is the only beast of prey in the island; for the native dog, which is so destructive to the sheep of New South Wales, does not exist here.
Of exotic animals, horned cattle, horses, and particularly sheep, thrive and increase the last, in a prodigious degree; the ewes lambing twice a year, and generally dropping twins. Goats and pigs run wild upon the islands in the Tamar and in the woods.
In the shape of fruit or vegetables nothing edible was found in Van Diemen's Land; but nearly all the fruits of Europe have been successfully introduced there. The grape requires a warm aspect, and the orange and lemon will not ripen except in very favourable situations.
Van Diemen's Land is not, as has been supposed, the Botany Bay of Botany Bay—
in the lowest deep a lower deep;'
convicts are transported for further offences from Port Jackson to a settlement called Newcastle, on the coast of New South Wales, to the northward of Port Jackson; and it is intended to establish a new Botany Bay at the recently discovered Port of Macquarie on the eastern coast of New Holland. Van Diemen's Land has a lieutenant-governor and judge-advocate of its own, commissioned by his Majesty; but it has not yet obtained the benefit of a separate criminal jurisdiction, so that prisoners for trial, prosecutors and witnesses, are compelled to make the voyage to Port Jackson. Its civil jurisdiction is confined to causes of 501. value; but the Judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales has lately made a circuit to the island for the trial of causes of greater value. The colony is peopled by free settlers and convicts from England as well as from New South Wales; and, though the pamphlet before us gives a frightful picture of outlawry and rapine, we understand that under the skilful adminis
tration of the present lieutenant-governor (Sorell) the whole island is now quiet and orderly. The necessaries of life are cheap, and mere labour is paid at the rate of 7s. 6d. per day; but as there is little specie in the island, promissory notes form the currency, and, -as in America, barter (too often of rum) liquidates the debt.
The following is an abstract statement of the population, land in cultivation, and stock, on Van Diemen's Land; taken from the books of the general muster in September, 1818:
At the Settlements on the DERWENT.
At PORT DALRYMPLE.
483 Children of do.
S Male Horses Female Horned Male
Population (exclusive of the Civil
7,019 11,687 Cattle
- 30,680 -62,90993,589
On which are growing crops of Wheat 3,529
Peas and Beans
145 Peas and Beans
In cultivation besides gardens (acres) 4,057 In cultivation besides gardens(acres) 1,624
3,557 Horned Cattle
150 Children of do.
On which are growing crops of Wheat 1,5201⁄2
TOTAL ON VAN DIEMENS LAND,
The trade of the island is principally with India and the Isle of France. The Derwent offers a convenient rendezvous for the whale fishery, and the oil would find a sure market in India. Salted meat might be sent in great quantities both to the Isle of France and Ceylon; and the wool might be improved, as that of New South Wales has been, for the British maket. Wheat, which is grown in quantities considerably exceeding the consumption of the island, has hitherto supplied the deficiencies of the parent colony. Port Dalrymple affords the same assistance to the seal fishery of Bass's Straits as the Derwent does to the southern whale fishery,
The following statement will shew the imports and exports at Hobart Town for the years 1817 and 1818:
IMPORTS (exclusive of Government Stores, British Goods, und India Piece-Goods.) Spirits. Wine, Beer. Sugar. Soap. Tobacco. Tea. (Gallons.)(Gallons.) (Casks.) (Tons.) (Boxes.) (Baskets.)(Chests.)
1817. 10,313 2,291 47 1818. 13,537 4,982 152
1817. 24,000 20 tons 1818. 8,000 70 casks
EXPORTS (exclusive of 250 Tons of Oil taken home by the licensed whaler Anne.)
The natives of Van Diemen's Land are few in number considering the extent of country which they yet hold free from European invasion. It is probable that their extreme wretchedness forbids their increase. They have been always hostilely inclined, and by no means avail themselves of the freedom of our streets and houses, like the natives of Port Jackson. This feeling is ascribed to a fatal quarrel at the first settling, in which several of them were killed, and the memory of which has been kept alive by occasional encounters in the interior between them and the solitary Europeans employed as stock-keepers. These are frequently assaulted by spears and stones, and are compelled to use fire-arms in their defence. The two parties live in mutual suspicion and dread; and time and conciliation towards such of the natives as afford opportunities of intercourse can alone obliterate the present impression of long cherished animosity. Some intercourse has lately been effected with those of the western coast, and they appear free from all oppression of the colonists. Hence it would seem that, on the other side of the island, the native hostility arises from some ancient grudge, particularly since, from the difficult if not wholly impracticable nature of the western range of mountains, it is very doubtful whether the tribes have any communication unless by the northern extremity of the island. The savages do not eat the cattle or sheep; but they often destroy them and burn the carcasses. They subsist chiefly on kangaroos, opossum, and 'such small deer,' down to the kangaroo-rat, migrating in times of scarcity to the coast for fish.
The great difference between the Indians of Van Diemen's and those of New Holland, though the countries are separated
rated by a strait not a hundred miles wide, and studded with islands by means of which canoes might safely pass, and though the rest of nature's productions are nearly the same in both lands, affords a subject of curious speculation. The islanders resemble the African negro in physiognomy much more than the natives of the continent; and the hair of the former is woolly, whereas that of the latter is coarse and straight. Both races are equally free from any tradition of origin, or acquaintance with each other, although their barbarism seems at the extreme pitch. Their languages are entirely different, and it is probable that they never had any connexion with each other.
A similar phenomenon occurs in the Great Andaman island, in the Bay of Bengal, whither the native Indian convicts are now transported. The barbarism of the few inhabitants of this island. is said to be equal to that of the New Hollanders; and the following passages from Symes's Embassy to Ava might have been written of the natives of Van Diemen's Land.
'Their sole occupation is to rove along the margin of the sea quest of a precarious meal of fish. In stature they seldom exceed five feet. Their limbs are disproportionately slender, their bellies protuberant, with high shoulders and large heads; and, strange to find in this part of the world, they are a degenerate race of negroes with woolly hair, flat noses and thick lips. They go quite naked, and are insensible of any shame from exposure. Hunger may (but these instances are rare) induce them to put themselves in the power of strangers; but the moment that want is satisfied, nothing short of coercion can prevent them from returning to a way of life more congenial to their savage nature. Their habitations display little more ingenuity than the dens of wild beasts; four sticks stuck in the ground are bound together at the top, and fastened transversely by others, to which branches of trees are suspended: an opening is left on one side just large enough to admit of entrance: leaves compose their bed.
The reader is now prepared to enter into the little maiden pamphlet before us, if that epithet can, with any propriety, be applied to so monstrous a birth as the Life of Michael Howe.' He was born at Pontefract in 1787, and was apprenticed to a merchant vessel at Hull; but he 'shewed his indentures a fair pair of heels,' (as Prince Henry says,) and entered on board a man of war, from which he got away as he could. He was tried at York in 1811 for a highway robbery, and sentenced to seven years transportation. He arrived in Van Diemen's Land in 1812, and was assigned by government as a servant to a settler; from this service he absconded into the woods, and joined a party of twentyeight bush-rangers, as they are called. In this profession he lived
VOL. XXIII. NO. XLV.