« VorigeDoorgaan »
LONDON QUARTERLY REVIEW.
LONDON QUARTERLY REVIEW.
FOR JANUARY, 1860.
ART. I.-1. The Three Colonies of Austra lia: New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia; their Pastures, Copper Mines, and Gold-Fields. By Samuel Sidney, Author of the Australian Handbook.' London, 1852.
2. Further Papers relative to the Discovery of Gold in Australia, presented to both Houses of Parliament by command of Her Majesty, in continuation of Papers presented February 14, 1854. 3. Life in Victoria; or, Victoria in 1853 and Victoria in 1858, showing the march of improvement made by the Colony within those periods in Town and Country, Cities and Diggings. By William Kelly, Esq., Author of Across the Rocky Mountains, Great Salt Lake Valley, and Great Sierra Nevada,' and "A Stroll through the Diggings of California. London, 1859. 4. The Hand-book to Australasia. Edited by William Fairfax. Melbourne, 1859. 5. Australian Facts and Prospects. By R. H. Horne. London, 1859.
WHENEVER the day shall arrive for writ ing the history of the great island-continent of Australia, the task will be one of transcendent interest, and the story one verging on romance. The historian will have to describe the first settlement of a country which by that time will probably be unsurpassed for its riches and inferior to none of the States of Europe in political importance; and to describe the early government, and trace the gradual changes which converted a transmarine gaol into one of the greatest communities of free men on the earth. He will have to relate the VOL. CVII. 1
progress of that vast pastoral interest, the source of incalculable wealth, from the eight merinos imported by an enterprising emigrant to the hundreds of millions of fine-woolled sheep which will then wander over its enormous plains; he will have to record the process of emigration, from a few scattered farmers and government officials, who for more than a quarter of a century formed the only voluntary additions to the population, to the time when emigrants were shipped by thousands and tens of thousands from the parent state; he will have to note the price of land, from the period when the bribe of free rations and convict labour was needed to induce a colonist to accept it, until the time when lots were sold at the rate of thousands of pounds per acre; the wonderful expansion of trade, from almost primitive barter to a steady export of many millions sterling in wool, tallow, copper, and gold; and above all that marvellous transformation, by which a territory long known only as the despised and abhorred convict colony of Great Britain became the place in all the world in which labour was best rewarded, population most rapidly augmented, and life most easily sustained.
We are lost in astonishment when we look back at the early history of New South Wales. Under an absolute, and too often a tyrannical government, the first settlers were crowded together on a narrow strip of ground, a promontory partially cleared of a dense forest. The soil was a barren sand, and every yard required for cultivation had to be gained by felling