« VorigeDoorgaan »
Windsor. His answer was, I will venture starving, rather than it shall be said that I vote against the Duke of Marlborough's grandson, after having followed his grandfather so many hundred leagues.' The Duchess, by whom this anecdote is related, adds, 'I do not know whether they have taken away his pension, but I hope they will: for I have sent him word, if they do take it away, I will settle the same upon him for his life.'
Even his inveterate enemy, Bolingbroke, acknowledged after his death that he was the greatest general and the greatest minister that our country, or any other, had produced. He was, indeed, the main-spring, the life, the moving mind of the whole confederacy. The allies, with jarring views, contradictory interests, and oftentimes with jealous and even hostile feelings also, were kept together less by their common danger from France and their common hopes of security and advantage, than by his influence and his matchless powers of conciliation. They had no confidence in each other, and little confidence in their own councils; but they had each and all a well founded confidence in him. This was known from history. Malice and falsehood, successful as they were, could not conceal or detract from his paramount excellence as a commander and a statesman. The purity of private life was not so generally known, for this had not always been re- ; corded, as it ought to be, for edification and example. He was a faithful husband as well as a fond one. No indecent word or allusion ever passed his lips, and if any person uttered an obscenity before him, he resented it as a personal affront and an act of public immorality. His camp was not like Cromwell's, for Marlborough was neither fanatic nor hypocrite. Colonel Blackader complained of the irreligion and profligacy of his companions; and for this he may have had cause enough; but he was a man of morbid feelings, and a puritanical rigour of manners may not improbably have provoked foolish men to appear in his company worse than they were. Another officer who served in the same army describes the camp as resembling a quiet and Well-governed city; and observes, as the effect of Marlborough's regulations and example, that 'cursing and swearing were seldom heard among the officers, and the poor soldiers, many of them the refuse and dregs of the nation, became, at the close of one or two campaigns, civil, sensible and clean, and had an air and spirit above the vulgar.'
But it is only from the present Memoirs that a full knowledge of this admirable man can be obtained. Here we become acquainted with his habitual principles of action, and find in him a complete example of that moral intrepidity which is the highest and rarest of all military and political virtues. Here we behold, in
letters written without reserve or affectation of any kind, the hopes and thoughts and feelings which were revealed only to his nearest and dearest friends. The man who, after such an exposure, rises in our estimation and in our love, has stood the severest test of greatness: nor was he more fitted by his surpassing talents to direct the counsels of princes, arrange campaigns which extended over half Europe, and give his orders with unerring promptitude in the heat of battle, than by his virtues and affections for the perfect enjoyment of tranquillity and domestic life. Considering him. in all his relations, public and private, it may safely be asserted that Marlborough approaches, almost as nearly as human frailty will allow, to the perfect model of a good patriot, a true statesman, and a consummate general.
ART. II.-Michael Howe, the last and worst of the Bush Rangers of Van Diemen's Land. Narrative of the Chief Atrocities committed by this Great Murderer and his Associates, during a Period of Six Years, in Van Diemen's Land. From authentic sources of information. Hobart Town. Printed by Andrew Bent. 12mo. 1818.
THIS is the greatest literary curiosity that has yet come before us -the first child of the press of a state only fifteen years old! It will of course be reprinted here;-but our copy, the copy penes nos, is a genuine Caxton, rarissimus-nay more, it hath the title-page. Few impressions were thrown off at the Hobart Town Press, for the settlement does not greatly abound in readers; and we therefore recommend the Roxburghe Club to apply early for a copy, for this little book will assuredly be the Reynarde the Foxe' of Australian bibliomaniacs.
Van Diemen's Land (of which Hobart Town forms the capital) is an island nearly as large as Ireland, to the south of the colony of New South Wales, better known to our readers, perhaps, by the name of Botany Bay; but separated from the continent of New Holland by a strait of sixty miles in width, called after its enterprizing discoverer Mr. Bass, and a dependency upon that colony, from which it was sub-colonized. The island was first visited by Lieutenant Flinders and Mr. Bass, at the close of the year 1798, in a small decked boat built at Norfolk Island, of the
* Surgeon of the Reliance. Captain Flinders's talents were appreciated by the Admiralty, and he lived to witness the fruit of his labours; but it is a melancholy reflection that his companion, Mr. Bass, left Port Jackson, in the year 1802, as master of a trading vessel, called the Venus, which has not since been heard of. She was bound to the coast of Peru; and there are reports that Mr. Bass is still living and settled in that country.
elegant fir of that country. The first European settlement was made at Risdon Cove, in the river Derwent, on the south-east side of the island, in 1803, by Captain John Bowen, of the Navy, who was sent from Port Jackson for that purpose by Governor King; but on the arrival of Lieutenant Colonel Collins, the author of the Account of New South Wales,' it was removed to Sullivan Cove, where the rising town of Hobart now stands.
As this healthy and fertile island appears to us to be much more congenial than the sultry and unwholesome back woods of America, to such of our countrymen as possess the true feelings of Englishmen, but are nevertheless compelled to carry that name to a foreign land, we shall present them with an authentic and recent picture of its actual state.
The north coast is in latitude 40° 41', and the southern promontory in 43° 38′ S. Its breadth may be taken at 150 miles, and its length at 170. The climate has some peculiarities which cause a milder winter and a warmer summer than might be expected from the latitude of the island, allowing for the estimated difference of temperature between the corresponding parallels of the two hemispheres. The southern part of it being hilly, and towards the extremity even mountainous, the climate of Hobart Town is variable. Gales and hurricanes often occur, but they are generally of short duration. During summer the ordinary course of the weather is the alternate land and sea breeze, the former commencing early in the morning and prevailing till noon, when it is succeeded by the latter, which usually lasts till after sun-set. Occasionally however a hot: wind blows from the north or north-west, which, though re sembling that of New South Wales, which there raises the ther→ mometer to 106 degrees in the shade, is greatly mitigated in Van Diemen's Land by passing across Bass's Straits. The autumn is generally a serene and delightful season, and the weather continues fine and open to the middle or end of May. In June, rain, sleet and (in elevated situations) snow set in, with strong southerly gales; but even in winter fine weather intervenes, and neither wind nor rains can be said to be periodical. Slight frosts occur at night, but neither ice nor snow remains throughout the day in the vallies and plains. In September the spring rapidly advances, and in October the weather resembles the faithless April of an Eng lish May. During the present summer (1818) the thermometer has not exceeded 70°, except one day, on which a hot wind raised it to 80°. The range during the months of December and January has been from 54° to 70°; but this was a cool season, late rains having fallen at the beginning of it; so that the average may per haps be taken four or five degrees higher. The mean summer mid
in the shade is about 65° or 66°. These remarks were
day range made at Hobart Town: in the interior, the climate is more fixed and serene. With such a climate Van Diemen's Land must needs be healthy: no sickness belongs to the country; and the intermittent fever peculiar to new and uncleared lands is unknown here. Convicts, after a voyage from England, without touching at any port by the way, recover their health soon after they land. Hobart Town has been sixteen months together without a funeral; and in a detachment of troops varying from 70 to upwards of 100, no death occurred in three years.
Van Diemen's Land is known to possess only four principal ports.
1. At the upper end of the great Storm Bay running in from the southern ocean, and between thirty and forty miles from the southern capes, is the entrance of the river Derwent, which, besides its direct outlet into Storm Bay, has a lateral one into Storm Bay Passage, (Canal d'Entrecasteaux,) a strait about thirty miles long, dividing the large island Bruny from the main land, and continuing from two to five miles wide, till it opens to the southern ocean, at Tasman's Head. This large inlet presents every where bold shores and deep water, perfectly sheltered from all winds, and forming a magnificent port. The Derwent at its entrance is two miles broad, and takes a northerly course, which varies in breadth from one to two miles, expanding occasionally into large basins equally deep and safe, for the distance of twentyfive miles, to which point ships of 500 tons burthen can navigate with ease. Here the river begins to freshen, and continues hence for the distance of forty miles, narrowing gradually, but affording a safe passage for vessels of fifty tons as far as New Norfolk, where a ridge of rocks forms a rapid, and abruptly terminates the navigation.
About twelve miles up the Derwent, on the western bank, stands Hobart Town, picturesquely placed under a noble mountain called Table, from its shape, but more recently Wellington for its honour. Its height has been ascertained to be upwards of 4000 feet, and down its side trill several rivulets, one of the most considerable of which passes through the town, and discharges itself into Sullivan's Cove. The town is extensive, and the streets, eleven in number, are laid out with regularity and good taste. Several handsome brick houses appear in the principal one, which is sixty feet wide; but the majority of the buildings are of wood and plaster. There are very few that are not whitewashed (for lime abounds in the neighbourhood) and glazed; and each has a garden paled in. Several good public buildings are either completed or in progress
-a large church of brick and stone, a government-house, a county-gaol, a store and commissariat offices, a barrack for 100 men, and a small hospital fenced in together, a six-gun battery, with a guard-house and magazine, on the south point of the harbour, and a main guard-house in the town.
The plantations or farms of the settlers extend along the banks of the Derwent on both sides. Small farms appear even at the trance of the river from Storm Bay Passage; for the shores of Van Diemen's Land are not sandy like those of New South Wales, but a rich black mould is often found close to the cliff's head. On the Hobart side the most considerable group of settlements is New Town, which stands about two miles from Hobart Town, and is watered by a fine stream from Mount Wellington. On the opposite bank, a little below Hobart Town, is the settlement of Clarence Plains, consisting of very fertile land; but watered only by lagoons, as is the district adjoining. Farther to the eastward, upon the north and east sides of an extensive saltwater inlet, communicating with what the settlers mistakenly call Frederik Hendrik's bay, is the more considerable settlement of Pittwater, the chief granary of the island. It is watered by two streams, and presents to view a vast extent of naturally cleared ground::-it is indeed one of the characteristics of this island (in which it has the advantage of New South Wales) that it contains extensive and fertile tracts free from timber, the inconvenience and plague of all new countries. On the road from Hobart Town to Port Dalrymple, there is a plain extending in one direction for twenty miles, and clear land is frequent on that side of the island. To the north-west of Pittwater is the Coal-river settlement. About twelve miles higher up, are several farms; midway stands Mount Direction, (a remarkably picturesque hill of vast height,) and gives an air of grandeur and sublimity to the surrounding scenery. There are several scattered farms in this quarter, and on the east bank of the Derwent, as far as New Norfolk. Above the falls at this place the Derwent receives many rivulets; and a most beautiful and fertile country lies idle on its banks. All these settle-ments form together a county, under the name of Buckinghamshire, comprising about half the island, the other half being called the County of Cornwall.
¡ 2. There is a second station at Port Dalrymple, on the river Tamar, which falls into Bass's Straits. Launceston, hitherto the -seat of this establishment, is situated forty miles up the river, at the confluence of two small streams, called the North and South Esk, into which the Tamar divides itself. This town is about 120 miles across the island from Hobart Town.
The Tamar not being