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were in cultivation 118,000 acres. lent on mortgages of land was £202,646, and on security of live stock and wool £328,000. Sydney, its capital, situated on one of the finest ports in the world, is estimated to contain nearly 50,000 inhabitants, enjoying institutions in most respects similar to those in Great Britain.
In 1836, it appears, that out of a population of 100,000, rather more than one-half were under punishment for their crimes; a state of things most prejudicial to the morals, and therefore to the true interests of the community-engendering ill feeling and party spirit, and giving a pernicious influence to a class which should always have been kept in a very different position from that which it was suffered to assume. Now, however, in consequence of the large free emigration which has taken place, the death of some, and the emancipation of others, of the convict class, such predominance is secured to the free colonists as most effectually to cure this evil. By the last returns only about 5,000 remain in bond, which number must daily continue to diminish.
Among a population which produces wealth so great in proportion to its numbers, in a
territory of boundless extent, it is clear that nothing can be wanting to secure prosperity to the emigrant but industry and honesty. Where the progress of a place is so rapid, it must be the fault of the individual if success does not crown his labour. True it is that progress is more marked in some parts of New South Wales than in others; indeed, about Parramatta, Windsor, and in their neighbourhoods, it is apparent that, to a certain degree, even retrogression prevails. This, however, is accounted for by the fact that the best country in New South Wales is situated at a distance from the coast, to which part the population of the earlier districts is now attracted. The large profits of squatting in the interior also draw off the inhabitants of the agricultural districts. Sydney itself is, and must always continue to be, a great seaport. Its magnificent harbour alone will secure to it a pre-eminence as a seat of trade. This, and the original enormous convict establishment, have made it what it is. Indeed, without the latter, it is hard to suppose that the rocks and barren sands with which it is surrounded would have been colonised at all. It may be a matter of curious speculation what the
VAN DIEMEN'S LAND.
result would have been had this same forcing system been applied in the fertile and comparatively moist country of Port Phillip, where the good land is in the immediate vicinity of the harbours. On the whole, perhaps, it is fortunate that the original mistake was made, which has formed a colony, in spite of all its drawbacks and the perils and hardships of its early settlers, now one of the most valuable dependencies of the British Crown.
Van Diemen's Land has continued to the present time the receptacle of the convicts of the United Kingdom. In January 1847 there were 30,476 convicts undergoing sentence there, almost all of whom were males; the whole free population was about 44,000! the number of free adults must therefore have been far inferior to that of the prisoners, and many even of these must have been originally derived from the latter class. To the state of morals in such a community allusion need not be made; suffice it to say that it is blot upon Great Britain's legislation which it will take years to efface.
In the above-named year the Imports of this colony were £724,593, Exports £600,876; leaving a balance against the colony of £123,717.
Its Revenue amounted to £150,474, its Expenditure to £142,497.
The climate is equal, if not superior, to that of any of the Australasian colonies for agriculture, which forms the chief branch of industry there; and wages are very much below those paid in the neighbouring countries. The latter fact alone would render it ineligible as a place for mere labourers to go. This amply bears out the statement of the Emigration Commissioners, that there is no demand for labour there. All the inducements they so judiciously hold out for capitalists to settle there, will, it is to be feared, be unavailing, so long as the actual state of things is such that many of all classes are daily migrating thence to Port Phillip and South Australia.
New Zealand, the colony to which it is at present most fashionable to emigrate, especially among the higher ranks of society, holds out many reasons to secure a preference to itself. Its fine geographical position; its soil, containing the source of agricultural wealth, coal and many valuable ores; its climate, which is represented as unsurpassed; its harbours and great extent of coast, all point it out as the embryo of a
great nation; while the peculiar intelligence of the natives, the fact that it never was a penal colony, and that its immigrants were of a class superior to the generality, render this settlement an object of great interest to many. But it must be confessed that the season of its greatness probably will not be until the times of future generations.
Agriculture, as yet, has formed the chief pursuit of New Zealand: it is to be regretted that all the Australasian group must depend upon their own consumption for a market for their agricultural produce. The consequence is, that in a rich boundless country, with a good climate and a virgin soil, all provisions are often drugs in the market. If they cannot be grown to profit in New South Wales, as experience has proved, how can they in New Zealand, where the expense of reclaiming the land is so heavy? In most localities New Zealand is so densely timbered as to cost from £3 to £27 per acre in clearing, according as it may be fern or forest; how, under these circumstances, can agriculture pay in New Zealand, with wages nearly three times as high as in Van Diemen's Land, and the original cost of the land se much greater?