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increase of the population of Australia is self-creative; and we can very briefly show how that principle is likely to operate. We have a large amount of tonnage at present employed in the passenger trade from Great Britain to that colony; but we have not as yet sufficient homeward freight to employ one-fourth of that tonnage. Since the discovery of the gold-fields the ordinary agricultural and other pursuits of the colonists have been neglected; and, as we might have expected, the exports of bulky raw materials and produce, which constitute freight, have diminished in quantity. Hence our emigrant ships, except in the case of those of the established lines from Liverpool and London, which now return direct from that colony, have had to go in ballast to the Eastern Seas, or to the guano islands of Peru, to seek cargoes. Where such a course has to be pursued, the passage-money outwards must range high-far above the means of the most valuable emigrants, who are agricultural labourers, practical miners, and artisans. But this state of things cannot continue to exist long. The goldfields are sufficiently tempting, no doubt; yet there are blanks there as well as prizes. The disappointed must resort to agricultural and other walks of industry. The flocks and herds of the squatters in the bush are increasing at a most rapid rate-far beyond the consumptive demand of the colony-and the supplies for export of hides, tallow, oil, and wool must very largely increase. Of the latter most important raw material the following were the shipments to this country during the past three years :
be enabled to reduce considerably the outward passage-money for emigrants to the colony, and thus add to the numbers of its population.
But we cannot regard the discoveries which have been made in the countries of the Pacific as merely tending to give an impulse to our commerce, and to afford increased employment to our shipping and to industry at home. We must regard them in a much more extended light. The important change which is taking place may fairly be termed the opening out of a new quarter of the globe, rich beyond measure in all the products which are valuable and useful to man, and the establishment, in its centre, of an Anglo-Saxon empire, whose future destiny and greatness it is almost impossible to predict rightly. A glance at the position of Australia will be sufficient to show its great commercial importance. To the northwestward it has the fertile islands of Java, Sumatra, Borneo, the Philippines, Ceylon, with the vast continent containing China and Hindostan. The extreme portions of these are at less than half the distance which lies between them and Great Britain. From Melbourne to Madras is little more than 5700 miles, whilst the nearer islands in the Indian Ocean are only distant from 3000 to 3500 miles. From Melbourne to any portion of the west coast of North and South America the distance, by the eastward Pacific route, is 8000 miles, or little over that from Great Britain to Cape Horn. It is thus in closer proximity than the mother country to San Francisco, New Granada, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chili, and La Plata. There can no want occur of any of the products of the tropics, at all events, to a country occupying a central position as regards such markets as we have named, rich in all that conduces to the comfort and the luxuries of life; whilst of those products which are raised in the temperate zone, Australia has soils of her own capable of providing her with food in abundance, and raw materials amply sufficient to pay for all that she will require to import, without drawing upon her vast stores of the precious metals. These must rapidly become available to create for her population a capital for the
purposes of commerce, a mercantile marine, railways, and other improved communications, well-built towns, substantial public works, and the usual accompaniments enjoyed by settled and prosperous communities. There can be no doubt that the absence of these are amongst the main causes which retard emigration to the colony of families belonging to the middle and superior classes, and the absence there so generally regretted of what may be called a "home circle." Such a want keeps back the influx of a female population, especially of the class required to make a home comfortable; but it will be supplied in time, and, in fact, is being rapidly supplied now. Not much more than six months ago, Melbourne, the capital of Victoria, and the seat of the government of the colony, was in a most deplorable state, and without anything like the accommodation required for its population or its commerce. Stores and warehouses there were almost none; and we heard, by every arrival, of merchandise being sacrificed on this account. But more recent advices report that
"Melbourne is branching out upon every side. Townships spring up in localities where a short time ago there was not a single dwelling of any description; houses seem, in fact, to swarm like mush rooms from the ground in a single night. A little more than twelve months since, and North Melbourne was merely the site of a few scattered tents; it now contains a population of several thousands,with comfortable homes, shops, hotels, and schools to meet the wants of its inhabitants. The suburbs, that are being formed in the opposite direction, offer a still stronger proof of the growth of a taste that has always been peculiarly English, and one that will do more than anything else to place the prosperity of this colony upon a secure foundation-namely, a desire for home comfort. In former times the pursuit of money was the whole, the engross ing passion of the community; so long as this object was attained, the feverish seeker cast not a thought upon the manner in which he lived; he appeared to have an utter disregard of the comforts of home. If he happened to have a run of luck, and was successful, what benefit did he reap from his success! He would run riot for a time, and spend the hard earnings of a month in the dearly-bought pleasure of a few hours' debauchery. The
principal reason for this, next to our abominable land-system, was, that the colony could not offer the swarming mass of new-comers any domestic comforts. Now, however, the case is becoming far different at Richmond, Prahran, St Kilda, and Brighton, the passer-by can gaze everywhere with pleasure upon pretty cottages enclosed in their own little gardens, cheerful, trim-built English-looking villas, and some dwelling-houses that may fairly lay claim to the high-sounding appellation of mansions. Each of these suburbs, hemming Melbourne in on every side, constitutes a town of some size; and we have no doubt that, in a very short space of time, they will form part of Melbourne itself, much in the same manner that Chelsea and Putney do of London; indeed, St Kilda, Windsor, and Prahran are already connected by a line of houses almost the whole of the way with the town."
A similar state of progressive improvement exists at Sydney, Geelong, Adelaide, and other towns. The population in them is becoming a more settled one; business goes on in more regular channels, and domestic comforts are more studied. Substantial stores for merchandise are also rising up on every side; and importers are now enabled to hold back their goods for a more profitable market than the previous system of selling them on landing, whatever might be the state of the demand, would admit of.
The colony, too, is assuming more and more the character, which it is destined to possess, of an important mercantile community; and its commercial firms are actively preparing for extensive transactions with the rich countries with which they have communication in every direction. The first step towards forwarding such object has naturally been to connect with each other the various ports along the coast, and the towns on the principal rivers; and accordingly we find established lines of steamers running from Sydney to the leading ports in the other provinces, and to the interior at every point and a working community and trade where river navigation is practicable, exist. The same accommodation is provided from Melbourne, Geelong, and Adelaide, to other ports and towns. Several lines of sailing packets also offer themselves to the
public between the principal ports. In fact, a large coasting-trade is carried on, both in passengers and merchandise, the route by sea being preferred to travelling by land over badlyformed, and frequently unsafe, roads. In the first instance, some difficulty existed in procuring vessels, especially for the navigation of the rivers, where a light draught of water was necessary, as such vessels could not be trusted to make the voyage out from Europe or America. They are now, however, being gradually supplied by builders in the colony. A somewhat larger class of vessels is regularly employed in the trade between New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia, and New Zealand, Van Diemen's Land, and the government settlement in West Australia, with a few for San Francisco, Callao, Manilla, and the near East Indian ports. The enterprise of the mercantile community in the colony is being gradually drawn towards this trade; and shipping of the class suitable for it is in active demand, both for purchase and charter. Attention is also being re-directed to the staple business of the colony-the export of its wool, tallow, hides, &c., which will be more cultivated as the fever for dealing in gold abates. At present, indeed, gold, as an article of merchandise, scarcely yields a profit, so numerous are the buyers of it, competing with each other, belonging to the Jewish persuasion. Employment for capital must be sought for in another direction, and it is to be hoped a legitimate one, otherwise the large sums now lying idle in the colony may be squandered in rash speculations. At the close of the last quarter, the Bank of Australia held deposits, not bearing interest, to the amount of £1,998,730 sterling; the Bank of Australasia held at the same period £2,358,390; the Victoria Branch of the Bank of New South Wales held £760,731; the Bank of Victoria, £988,244; and the London Chartered Bank of Australia £133,200, making an aggregate of deposits, not bearing interest, of £6,239,297 sterling. As might have been expected, these establishments are dividing amongst their shareholders, forty, fifteen, and twenty per cent respectively. The last mentioned has only been established nine
months, and as yet has made no dividend. A large portion of this money must be employed either in commerce or in improvements, as the colonists begin to see their way more clearly. It can never be allowed to lie thus unproductively; yet from the habits of the diggers, and their want of opportunities for investment, there must always be a large amount at their credit in the banks.
The increased employment given by Australia to the shipping of all nations is not, perhaps, sufficiently estimated by the public, and certainly goes far to account for the prosperity of the British shipowner, and for the high rates of freight prevailing throughout the world. From the 20th of January last to the 23d of March, the number of vessels cleared out from the port of Melbourne, exclusive of coasters and colonial traders, were 198, and the number of entries inwards 163, making 261 ships arriving and departing in the short period of sixty days. The bulk of these were large ships, of from 500 to 1000 tons, with some even of more than that tonnage. The arrivals and departures from Sydney, Geelong, and Adelaide would no doubt be greater in number, although of a less size than those of Melbourne. It is probably not unfair to estimate the entire number of arrivals and departures in the colony at 400 ships; and taking the tonnage at the low average of 400 tons each ship, we have the quantity employed in the two months, 160,000 tons, or 960,000 tons per annum, by this noble colony.
We must not, however, confine ourselves to Australia, although we might be excused for dwelling upon it as our own possession. It is a portion, indeed, and the most important one, as being the centre, and probably the seat, of the great Pacific empire which is to be; but still it is only a portion. We have a young and enterprising competitor for sway in the southern hemisphere, and one who is even now making vast efforts to assert that sway; a competitor who regards lightly the geographical formation of the globe itself, if it offers a barrier to his ambition. The acquisition, by the United States, of the territory of California, with its great mineral resources, has given their people a footing in the
Pacific, and opened out for them a Merchant's Magazine, republished in trade not only with the fertile coun- the Sydney Herald of February 23d, tries of South America, but also with that the following was the provision Australia itself. They outstrip us in made by the United States for their their knowledge of the wants of those traffic with California and the councountries, and in the ample provision tries of the west coast of South which they have been making for their America :profitable supply. Nay, they have even been enabled to bring their own gold-fields, notwithstanding geographical impediments, actually nearer to Great Britain than its own goldyielding colony. On the first discovery of the mineral riches of California, it became an object with the United States people to bring to their Atlantic ports, as expeditiously as possible, return remittances in gold for the large shipments of provisions, merchandise, and necessaries, sent by them round Cape Horn for the increasing population of California engaged in mining operations, and by whom agricultural and other pursuits were almost entirely neglected. In the first instance this was endeavoured to be effected by the employment of a line of steamers to make the passage round Cape Horn to New Orleans, whence mails and specie were conveyed by another line of steamers to New York. But our quick-sighted and energetic brethren soon discovered that this natural route was too long for their purposes. The time occupied by the voyage round the South American continent could be saved, if the means could be found of crossing the Isthmus of Panama, which, from Panama on the Pacific side, to Chagres, or Navy Bay, on the Atlantic, was only fifty miles in width; and notwithstanding the passage over the isthmus was at first a difficult and even an unhealthy one, it was adopted; and the mails and specie, having been transported across from Panama to Chagres, were taken on to New York via Jamaica, by the United States Mail Steam-ship Company. By the adoption of this route, the distance from San Francisco to New York was reduced to 5450 miles, of which 2100 miles was accomplished by steaming on the Atlantic, 3300 miles on the Pacific, and 50 miles by overland conveyance across the isthmus, and the time reduced to about three weeks. In September last, we find from an article in the New York
"Of the American steamers sailing between New York and the West Indies, one of the most important communications between the former port and Havanna is established by the United States Steamship Company. By virtue of the law of Congress, contracting for carrying the mails, the steamers of this company are commanded by officers of the United States navy. Of the steamers of this line plying between New York and New Orleans, embracing the alternate voyages of those ships, the aggregate tonnage is 4800. The steam-ship United States,' in her trips from New York to Aspinwall, touches at Kingston, Jamaica. The Paci
fic Mail Steam-ship Company, which, in connection with the United States Mail Steam-ship Company, carries the American mails to California and Oregon, was established in 1848. It numbers at present fourteen steamers, built at New York, with an aggregate of 15,536 tons.
"In the transportation of the mails, the United States Mail Steam-ship Company on the Atlantic side connects with the Pacific Company. This line, established in 1848 by Mr Law of New York, comprises nine ships now on the service, with one recently launched, and not yet placed on the line. They register in the aggregate 19,600 tons. The steamers of this line are despatched from New York and New Orleans for Aspinwall twice a-month.
"The Nicaragua Accessory Transit Company was established in 1850, by Mr Vanderbilt, of New York, and he receives twenty per cent of the profits of the company. This line, forming a communication between New York and San Juan del Norte on the Atlantic, and between San Juan del Sud and San Francisco on the Pacific, is composed of ten steamers, with an aggregate of 18,000 tons. Of these, two sail from New York twice a-month for San Juan del Norte, and five are plying on the Pacific side.
"The New York and San Francisco Steam-ship Company comprises four steamers, with an aggregate of 7400 tons; the
'United States,' 1500 tons; and another,
the Winfield Scott,' 2100 tons; and the Cortes,' 1500 tons, plying between Panama and San Francisco. They are equally divided upon the Pacific and the Atlantic sides. All of these vessels were built in New York,
"The Empire City Line was established in 1848, and is composed of three steamers, of an aggregate of 6800 tons. The Empire City' and the Crescent City' were the pioneers of this line, and were two of the first steamers engaged in the California trade.
"From the foregoing estimate of the California steam-ships in connection with the port of New York, it will be seen that the number of steamers engaged in that trade is forty-one, including four ships of Law's Line, which were formerly engaged in the California trade, but which now run between New York, New Orleans, and Havanna viz., the Empire City,' 'Crescent City,'' Cherokee,' and 'Falcon.' The aggregate tonnage of these forty-one ships is 67,336. But this is not all. There are ten American steamers plying between San Francisco and Stockton; there are ten also plying between San Francisco and Sacramento. The latter are for the most part of a larger size than those on the San Joaquin river, and make the trip of a hundred and twenty miles in from seven to eight hours. In the elegance of their accommodations, and the luxuries of their larders, they might compare favourably with any passenger vessels in the world. There are ten other steamers plying from Sacramento to different places above that city. One year ago, there was but one steamboat in Oregon, the 'Columbia;' now there are eleven steamboats of different kinds running in the Columbia and Willamette rivers, not including the Pacific steamers, Sea Gull' and 'Columbia,' running between Oregon and California. At this rate of progress the United States will soon be mistress of the
Pacific. American steam-ship lines will, in a few years, be running from San Francisco to Australia, China, and the East Indies."
There can be little doubt of the truth of one of the prophecies with which our extract concludes, that American steam-ship lines "will, in a few years, be running from San Francisco to Australia, China, and the East Indies;" but what a great future for Australia does this suggest! There must spring up a vast trade between her population and the entire Pacific seaboard of South America. When her agriculture is more fully developed, it is not at all doubtful that, whilst supplying even California with breadstuffs, &c., she may also supply the west coast of South America with the products of the temperate zone, and with the copper and other minerals abounding
in her soil. We doubt, however, the truth of the prophecy that the United States is likely to be soon "the mistress of the Pacific;" to prevent, in fact, the trade between Australia, China, the East Indies, &c., and San Francisco, being carried on by Australian enterprise, aided by British capital. Fortunately the same enterprise, aided by the capital of this country, might be so directed as to confer a vast boon upon Great Britain herself. One of the leading sources of her present influence in the Pacific is evidently considered by the writer, from whom we have quoted above, to be the adoption by America of the short route to the Pacific via Panama. That route, however, is equally as available to the commerce of Great Britain and Australia as it is to that of the United States; and the fact leads us to the consideration of one of the greatest wants of Australia, which has very materially retarded its progress, whilst it has also been severely felt by the mercantile community of this country-viz., the want of a regular, frequent, and expeditious mail-communication between Great Britain and her southern colonial empire. We have already stated that during the past spring serious commercial losses have been occasioned by the want in question, no Government mail having been received in this country from Australia during a period last, whilst we have been exporting of four months, up to the 27th July actually at random. The colony and this country have been mocked by postal arrangements, proposed, but never efficiently carried out. The "Peninsular and Oriental Company " have been subsidised for the purpose of conveying mails once a-month; but their efforts have been a failure. Not once in three times have we had a mail without a mistake occurring at some point of the route. Sometimes the steamers employed from Australia have arrived at Singapore or Point de Galle a day or two after the steamers for England have started. Occasionally a few letters have come, whilst the newspapers, containing the most important news for the publicshipping and market intelligence have been left behind. A while ago, we heard of the "Chusan" steamer