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W. C. (William Charles) Wentworth.

A statistical, historical, and political description of the colony of New South Wales, and its dependent settlements in Van Diemen's Land online

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JUNE 1,




JSARRS BUFFON.



This Day is published, price }s. 6d. with the Plates beautifully

valour ed, or Is. plain,
NUMDER I. OF A NEW EDITION



BUFFON'S




CONTAINING

THE THEORY OF THE EARTH,

A General History of Man, of the Brute Creation, of Vegetables,
Minerals, fyc.

TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH AND INTERSPERSED WITH NOTES,



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- .: - .

'

-

i.



DESCRIPTION



NEW SOUTH WALES,



A
^STATISTICAL, HISTORICAL, AND POLITICAL

DESCRIPTION




Its trepenfcent Settlements

IN

VAN DIEMBN'S LAND:

WITH

A PARTICULAR ENUMERATION OP THE ADVANTAGES WHICH THESK

COLONIES OFFER FOR EMIGRATION, A DEMONSTRATION OF THEIR

SUPERIORITY IN MANY RESPECTS OVER THOSE POSSESSED BY

THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ; AND A WORD OP

ADVICE TO EMIGRANTS.



CF&ition,

CONSIDERABLY ENLARGED, AND EMliKLLISHED WITH A VIEW Ot
THE TOWN OF SYDNEY, AND A MAP.

BY w. C.VENTWORTI^ESQ.

A NATIVE OF THE COLONY^/



LONDON:

PRINTED FOR G. AND W. B. WHITTAKER,

AVK- MARIA LANE.
1820.



W. SHACKELL, Printer, Johnson'-court,
Kleet-Mreef, London.



ou



IS2.D



PREFACE



TO THE



FIRST EDITION.



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

b

788660



VI PREFACE.

speady 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 ori-
ginated in the casual suggestions of an acquain-
tance, 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 Inns also been
under the necessity of relying in a great mea-
sure on the fidelity of his memory for the accu-
racy of many of those circumstances which he
has stated : still he is not without hope, that
five years' attentive observation will have ena-
bled 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 produc-
tion on the public, is to promote the welfare
and prosperity of the country which gave him



PREFACE. Vll



birth ; and he has judged that he could in no
way so effectually contribute his mite towards
the accomplishment of this end, as by attempt-
ing to divert to its shores from the United States
of America some part of that vast tide of emi-
gration, 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 possess-
ed 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 thorn ;
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, how-
ever, presumed on a contingency which it is thus
reasonable to believe cannot be either doubtful

b 2



Vlll PREFACE.

or remote ; but has restricted himself to an enu-
meration 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 favour-
able accounts of the United States of America
have represented them as possessing, he has
proved that this colony, labouring as it is under
all the discouragements of an arbitrary and im-
politic 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 ven-
tured 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 prin-
ciples 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 in-
ducements for giving this colony the preference
will become so weighty, as scarcely to admit
of the possibility that they should hesitate for



PREFACE. IX

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 bane-
ful system, to which the unhappy place of his
nativity has been the victim, he would have
it distinctly understood, that it has been fur-
thest 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 be-
come the subject of minute and particular inves-
tigation ; 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



PREFACE.



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 perseve-
rance in the same impolitic and oppressive
course in time of peace. Nor is it to be won-
dered 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 disa-
bilities, for the abrogation of which the most
powerful considerations of justice and expedi-
ency have been urged in vain. To remove
such just grounds for dissatisfaction and com-
plaint, and to allow them, at length, the enjoy-
ment 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 a languishing com-
merce ; 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



PREFACE. XI

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 over-
whelming 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 colo-
nists for their past and present sufferings, will
no longer be withheld.

The author is fully aware that, in the course
of this work, he has developed no new prin-
ciple 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 repeti-
tion 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.



PREFACE



TO THE



SECOND EDITION.



THE favourable manner, in which the first
edition of this work was received by the public,
has induced the author to bestow considerable
care and attention on the revision and improve-
ment of this second edition. Such of the state-
ments as he has had reason to believe were
either unfounded or exaggerated have been
omitted or rectified ; large additions to the text
have been made, principally with a view to the
information and guidance of emigrants ; an
accurate map, comprehending Hunter's River,
or the Coal River, the district of Illawarra or
the Five Islands, Shoal Haven River,' and the
more contiguous parts of the immense country
lately discovered to the westward of the Blue



XIV PREFACE.

Mountains, has been added, together with an
engraving of the town of Sydney ; and, as the
want of them was much felt and complained
of, it is trusted they will render the local
descriptions contained in the work much more
intelligible. Upon the whole the author hopes
that the present edition will be found much
more worthy the patronage f the public,
than the preceding.

In the alterations, which he has been in-
duced to make in his calculations on the profits
to be derived from the investment of capital
in the breeding of fine woolled sheep, lie has
acted in obedience to the opinions of some of
his friends rather than in conformity with his
own judgment. The present low prices of
wool are confessedly the effect of the universal
stagnation of commerce ; and, unless it be imagi-
ned that this stagnation is to continue, it cannot
be disputed that they do not afford any fair
data, by which to regulate the future average
value of this, the staple export of the colony.
And as the author is not of the number of those
who believe that the embarrassment and dis-



PREFACE. XV

tress occasioned by the late war are likely to be
permanent, he has only been persuaded to sub-
stitute these reduced prices for those higher
ones, on which the calculations in the former
edition were founded, in order to prevent the
possibility of its being attributed to him by any
person, however illiberally disposed, that he has
any intention to mislead those who are desirous
of emigrating in the choice of their future des-
tination. He feels perfectly convinced that the
preference which is due to this colony as a place
for emigration will soon be generally under-
stood and willingly conceded. The superiority
which it possesses in this respect over all other
colonies and countries is too striking to need
any fictitious embellishment ; and its real in-
trinsic advantages are such that the exaggera-
tion of its friends is as little required to promote
its future progress,- as the efforts of its enemies
will be impotent talmpede it.

The heavy discouragements to emigration,
which at the time this work was originally pub-
lished, were to be found in the nature of the
colonial government, and in the numerous op-



XVI PREPACK,

pressive and impolitic regulations to which it had
given birth, it will be seen by the notes that
have been added to this edition, have for the
most part been either removed or mitigated.
The power of taxation, hitherto arbitrarily exer-
cised by the local government, has been solemn-
ly abrogated in parliament ; the trade between
the mother country and the colony, which was
restricted to vessels of not less than 350 tons
burden, has been thrown open to vessels of all
sizes; a colonial secretary,- an officer, the
want of whom for many years has been most
severely felt, has been appointed ; a council
too, it is understood, is to be created : internal
distillation either has been or is to be permit-
ted ; the duties on oils procured in the colo-
nial vessels are to be removed, and there is little
doubt that the constitution of the courts of jus-
tice will be revised and rendered adequate to
the increased wants of the colony, as soon
as the report of the Committee of the House
of Commons, who are now occupied among
other things with an inquiry into its state,
and that of the Commissioner, who is gona
out thither to prosecute a similar inquiry on



PREFACE, XV11

the spot, shall be submitted to the conside-
ration of his Majesty's Government. In short,
it is probable that all the privileges, which the
Author has contended for, will be conceded,
excepting, perhaps, Trial by Jury, and the
establishment of a House of Assembly ; and, if
these privileges should be withheld a little lon-
ger, he feels persuaded that it will only be from
u conviction in the minds of his Majesty's mi-
nisters that the colony has not yet arrived at
a sufficient degree of maturity for the reception
and exercise of them. Government have fully
proved, by the attention which they are now
paying to this colony, that they are at length
awakened to a due sense of its importance,
and that they are really disposed to promote
its prosperity. And if the concessions, which
either have been made, or which it is in con-
templation to make, are not of so extensive and
satisfactory a description, as to leave the colo-
nists nothing further to desire ; yet they are
such, that combined with the natural superiori-
ties of the soil and situation of'this colony, they
cannot fail in the course of a few years to ren-
der it not only the most flourishing depen-



XV111 PREFACE.

dency of the British Empire ; but the most
thriving community in the world. Nor should
those persons, who are bent on emigration, and
who are not yet satisfied with the modifications
or changes made or intended in the polity of
this colony, forget that every freeman, who
may land on its shores, will tend to swell its
population to that height of respectability and
importance, the want of which is the only
barrier to the immediate erection of that free
representative system, which is essential to the
complete development of its energies, and to
the promotion of its full growth and prosperity.

To what the author has written in the suc-
ceeding pages with reference to the commercial
prospects, which the colony presents to emi-
grants, he begs to add that the markets there
are at present so glutted with every sort of
merchandize, that he would by all means dis-
suade any person from going out thither with
views purely mercantile.

In recommending emigrants to settle with
all possible celerity on their farms, he does not



PREFACE. XIX

mean to imply, that they should not allow
themselves due time to ride about and examine
the country, and to ascertain the advantages,
and disadvantages of the various unappropria-
ted districts. No stranger perhaps can do this
properly, and besides render , himself familiar
with the system of husbandry pursued in the
colony, and with the character and habits of the
people with whom he will have to deal, under
six months. The time, which he may thus
devote, he will find, will contribute most mate-
rially to his subsequent success. But the
Author again repeats, that, if the emigrant wish
to husband his resources, he should remove with
his family from Sydney as soon as possible, and
hire a temporary residence in some of the in-
land towns or townships.



NEW SOUTH WALES.



PART I.



Statistical Account of the Settlements in New
Holland.

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 and 39 of south
latitude, and the 108 and 153 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 com-
plete ; since not one of all the navigators, who
have laid down the various parts of its coast,

a



2 STATISTICAL ACCOUNT OF THK

has discovered the mouth of any considerable
river ; and it is hardly within the scope of pos-
sible 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 magnitude."

If a judgment were formed of this island
from the general aspect of the country border-
ing 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, in 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 in-
dustry.

The only metal yet discovered is iron. It
abounds in every part of the country, and in
some places the ore is remarkably rich. Coals
are found in many situations of the best quality.
There is also abundance of slate, limestone and
granite, though not in the immediate vicinity of



SETTLEMENTS IN NEW HOLLAND. 3

Port Jackson. Sand-stone, quartz, and free-
stone are found every where.

The rivers and seas team with excellent fish ;
but the eel and smelt, the mullet, whiting,
mackerel, 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, fly-
ing squirrel, flying fox, &c. &c. 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,
&c. &c. 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 vege-
table 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 dread-
ed, particularly the latter ; since there are, I

B 2



4 STATISTICAL ACCOUNT OF THE

believe, at least thirty varieties, 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 them-
selves 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. Dis-
daining all restraint, their happiness is still cen-
tered in their original pursuits ; and, they seem
to consider the superior enjoyments to be derived
from civilization, (for they are very far from be-
ing 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 resem-
blance to the African negro ; they have the
same flat nose, large nostrils, wide mouth and
thick lips : but their hair is not woolly, except



SETTLEMENTS IN NEW HOLLAND. 5

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, ex-
cept to those of New Guinea, which is only
separated from New Holland by a narrow



Online LibraryW. C. (William Charles) WentworthA statistical, historical, and political description of the colony of New South Wales, and its dependent settlements in Van Diemen's Land → online text (page 1 of 35)