HISTORY OF TASMANIA:
Minister of St. John Square Chapel, Launceston.
Tasmania: Henry Dowling, Launceston. 1852.
Tasmania: Printed By J. S. Waddell, Launceston
Facsimile edition 1966
TO HENRY HOPKINS, OF HOBART TOWN, ESQ.,
HISTORY OF TASMANIA,
UNDERTAKEN AT HIS REQUEST, IS RESPECTFULLY INSCRIBED
LAUNCESTON, SEPTEMBER, 1852.
The author takes this opportunity to thank the gentlemen who have allowed him, for several years, the use of their works on the colonies, and valuable original papers; especially the trustees of Lady Franklin's Museum, Messrs. R. Lewis, Hone, Gunn, Joseph Archer, Henty, P. Roberts, Wooley, and Pitcairn.
The public are indebted to Ronald Gunn, Esq., for the section on Tasmanian Zoology; and to Mr. F. Wales for a useful list of the chief places in this country.
SECTION I. p. 1.
Anthony Van Diemen, governor of Batavia—Sir Joseph Banks obtains Tasman's charts and journal—brass hemispheres at Amsterdam—discovery of Van Diemen's Land—Maria Island—visit of Captains Marion, Furneaux, Cook, Clerke, Cox, Bligh, D'Entrecasteaux—discovery of Bass' Straits by Bass and Flinders—Flinders' misfortunes and death—Baudin—misfortunes of our eminent navigators—monument erected by Sir John Franklin to Flinders.
SECTION II. p. 20.
Colonel Purry's project—opinion of Dalrymple—Cook's account of New South Wales—fleet assemble at Motherbank—Phillip governor—various opinions of the prospects of the colony.
FROM 1803 TO 1824.
SECTION I. p. 27.
Van Diemen's Land occupied—state of Port Jackson at the time—Port Phillip occupied—abandoned—account of Buckley—debarkation at Sullivan's Cove—names of officers—Paterson occupies at Port Dalrymple—account of Collins—Burke's remarks—Collins' history—Lord Hobart.
SECTION II. p. 34.
Hobart Town named—York Town—Tamar river—Launceston—the first house—Norfolk Island vacated—settlers conveyed to Van Diemen's Land—overflow of the Hawkesbury—destitution—deposition of Bligh—he visits the Derwent—conduct of Collins—establishes a newspaper—his death—monument erected by Franklin to his memory.
SECTION III. p. 48.
Lieutenant E. Lord acting lieutenant-governor—ditto Captain Murray—visit of Governor Macquarie—Davey lieutenant-governor —improvements effected—St. David's church built—Bent's newspaper—death of Colonel Davey.
SECTION IV. p. 53.
Form of colonial government—courts—legislative orders—administration of justice—Abbot judge-advocate of Van Diemen's Land—opinions of Mackintosh—Bentham—torture—arbitrary conduct of Macquarie—governor's court—Abbot's death.
SECTION V. p. 66.
Lieutenant-Governor Sorell—checks bushranging—immigration of settlers—their privileges—Macquarie's account of Van Diemen's Land.
SECTION VI. p. 70.
Sheep introduced—Merino lambs imported into Van Diemen's Land—wool purchased by Mr. Hopkins.
SECTION VII. p. 73.
Whaling—duties on colonial oil—fetters of trade—Captain Howard's misfortunes—currency of Van Diemen's Land—trading habits.
SECTION VIII. p. 78.
Religious efforts—notices of Reverends Johnson, Marsden, Knopwood—Wesleyan first Sunday school—Reverends Horton, Mansfield, Macarthur—bible society—Reverend J. Youl—Reverend P. Connolly.
SECTION IX. p. 86.
Bill for better administration of justice—supreme court established—colonial agent—departure of Sorell—Leith company—Sorell's character—agricultural societies—advantages of immigrants at the present time.
FROM 1824 TO 1836.
SECTION I. p. 95.
Lieutenant-Colonel Arthur, superintendent at Honduras—dispute with Colonel Bradley—with the slaveholders—state of Van Diemen's Land—court proclaimed—trial by jury—charges against Mr. J. T. Gellibrand, jun.—Talfourd's opinions—Van Diemen's Land declared independent of New South Wales—police magistrates appointed.
SECTION II. p. 106.
Rise of the Australian press—restraint of the press by Arthur—Dr. Ross government printer—colonists maintain the freedom of the press.
SECTION III. p. 110.
Van Diemen's Land Company formed—its investments—Jorgen Jorgenson.
SECTION IV. p. 115.
State of society at Hobart—Judge Forbes—Governor Darling—punishment of Thomson and Sudds—trial of Dr. Wardell—Major Honor's case—Mr. Humphrey police magistrate—petitions for an elective assembly— disagreements with Arthur—Gellibrand, sen., dismissed from the magistracy—act of parliament for the colony—Marshall's proposal for a colonial association.
SECTION V. p. 120.
Dispute between Jennings and Montagu—rate on returned bills of exchange fixed—trial of Dillon—treasury robbed—Ikey Solomon's arrest—conduct of a jury—races at Ross—pirates take the Cumberland.
SECTION VI. p. 124.
Grammar school—orphan school—mechanic institution—Dr. Ross—Dr. Henderson.
SECTION VII. p. 127.
Bank of Van Diemen's Land—state of trade—Gatenby farmers—treasury robbed—Cox's conveyance established—dearth in New South Wales.
SECTION VIII. p. 131.
Liabilities of publicans—impounding cattle—dog act—usury law.
SECTION IX. p. 134.
Endowment of emigrants with land—early regulations—quantities of land given—early price of land.
SECTION X. p. 136.
Van Diemen's Land divided into counties—land commissioners appointed—conditions of grants—land obtained by fictitious capital.
SECTION XI. p. 139.
Brisbane grants—proof of ownership—resumption resisted by juries—defect in titles discovered—defect in description—caveat board established—Major Abbot's claim—quit rents—free grants terminated—Lord Ripon's regulations.
SECTION XII. p. 148.
Wakefield's colonization scheme—Wilmot Morton's views—Swan River settlement—sufferings of first settlers—colony of South Australia—mineral wealth—Port Phillip occupied—emigration of females and mechanics—important consequences—table of land regulations.
SECTION XIII. p. 160.
Bank of Australasia—state of the currency—Tamar bank—Union bank.
SECTION XIV. p. 161.
Glorious 23rd of May!—Baxter appointed judge—set aside—police and gaols—land revenue.
SECTION XV. p. 165.
Mr. W. Bryan's disagreement with Arthur—Arnold condemned for cattle stealing—case of Lewis—of Bryan, jun.—murder of Captain Sergeantson—perjury—trial by jury.
SECTION XVI. p. 174.
"True Colonist"—state of the press—charges against Arthur—increase of newspapers—political association.
SECTION XVII. p. 177.
Recall of Arthur—- advancement during his administration—his great ability—his views of public works—his departure—death of Mr. J. T. Gellibrand.
FROM 1836 TO 1843.
SECTION I. p. 191.
Snodgrass acting-governor—arrival of Sir John Franklin—views of the colony—his reception—efforts to reconcile parties—magistrates increased—council chamber opened.
SECTION II. p. 195.
Difficulties respecting the churches—Dr. Lang—church and school corporation erected—dissolved by the crown—Sir G. Murray's views—Bourke's plan—Arthur's views—bishopric established in New South Wales—claims of the Presbyterians—declare for the established church of Scotland—Sir G. Grey's decision—act of general assembly—appellate jurisdiction refused—synod proclaimed—assembled and dissolved—controversy between the churches—church act passed—rivalry of the churches—act amended—demands on the treasury—bishopric of Tasmania established—Bishop Nixon enthroned—differences with clergy—ecclesiastical courts—refused by Wilmot—conference at Sydney—ecclesiastical titles arranged—free church of Scotland—tolerance of laity—respect for religion.
SECTION III. p. 215.
Education—Franklin proposes a college—Dr. Arnold's views—Mr. Gell appointed—foundation of college laid—abandoned—- schools in New South Wales—British system established in Van Diemen's Land—British system abandoned.
SECTION IV. p. 219.
Distillation forbidden—emigration promoted—interference of commissioners—libel on Mr. Dowling—emigrants prosper—effects of probation—distress in the colonies—causes of distress—revival.
SECTION V. p. 225.
Franklin arranges probation system—dispute with Captain Montagu—dismisses him—Lord Stanley justifies Captain Montagu—Franklin recalled—his amiable character—last expedition.
FROM 1843 TO 1847.
SECTION I. p. 233.
Sir E. Wilmot arrives—his connexions—opinion of the Times—his popular manners—the agricultural association—bushranging—Wilmot's promises to the legislature—remodels the Tasmanian Society—his difficulties—central committee—usury law—fetters of trade—Hutt's motion—road bill—irrigation—expense of police—public debt—Wilmot adheres to his instructions—duties raised from five to fifteen per cent.—taxation defeated—quarrel with the Courier—Mr. Bicheno's political opinions—discussion in the council—Mr. Dry's motion—council adjourned—despatches respecting police and public works—injustice of Lord Stanley—anti-colonial character of probation system—Lord Stanley's restrictions—proposes to raise produce for commissariat— inadequate surveillance—Wilmot's representations—Stanley's reply—council meet—estimates unintelligible—motions rejected by the governor's deliberative and casting votes—Mr. Smith's opinion—six members resign—obligation of official members—defence of the six—remarks— popular sympathy.
SECTION II. p. 252.
Development of probation system—location of gangs—Mr. Pitcairn's petition—Wilmot's counter representation—Wilmot rejected as patron of the Van Diemen's Land agricultural association—vacancies filled up in the council—members resign—L24,000 allowed by home government— differential duties bill—Hobart Town commissioners—dog act—recall of Wilmot—defended the probation system—blame cast on him—Wilmot's last address—Mr. Gladstone's despatch—his decision respecting the six—Wilmot slandered—Gladstone's letter—debates in parliament— remarks—Wilmot's death—Mr. La Trobe's administration.
FROM 1847 TO 1852.
SECTION I. p. 265.
Sir William Denison meets the twelve—re-appoints the six—errors in commission discovered—refers home—the six appointed—dog tax declared illegal—actions of merchants—dismissal of Judge Montagu—Judge Pedder refuses leave of absence—Mr. Horne appointed—doubts' bill passed—decision of home government—charge against the merchants—their defence—appeals to Downing-street—public petitions for an assembly—plans proposed—council of New South Wales—discontent at Port Phillip—report of Sir William Denison—plan of Earl Grey rejected—privy council report—opinions of their report—bill passed—rejoicings at Port Phillip—at Van Diemen's Land—college at Bishopsbourne—Hutchins' school—high school.
SECTION II. p. 276.
Struggle against transportation—Mr. McLachlan—English press—state of colony—pardons extended—North Australia—squatters hire expirees—exiles received at Port Phillip—abolition proposed—Mr. McLachlan's letter to Mr. Gladstone—petition presented to the Lords—Mr. Ewart's motion—Earl Grey and Mr. Hawes receive the seals of the colonial office—avow the principles of Whately—Sir W. Denison's circular—discussion—committees appointed—public meetings.
SECTION III. p. 283.
London agency—meeting—Lord Grey's despatch announcing the views of government—address of Sir W. Denison—his despatch in favor of transportation—Norfolk Island prisoners—proposal to New South Wales accepted on both sides—repudiation by Earl Grey, and a new proposal to New South Wales rejected—circular letter to the colonies—convicts sent to the Cape rejected—rejected at Port Phillip—effect of the treatment of Van Diemen's Land on other colonies—prospects of 1848.
SECTION IV. p. 289.
Lord J. Russell's speech—conduct of ministers—great number of petitions—Sir W. Denison's views—resolution of colonists—rapid changes of systems—the intentions of Earl Grey—evils of ticket system—resolution of the Legislative Councils—views of different parties—state of the colony—Earl Grey accused of breach of faith—Earl Grey's speech—declares his determination to proceed—the effect of his speech on Van Diemen's Land—Leagues formed—Neptune arrived—protest— petitions of all classes—convict party form an association—it is dissolved—weakness of the colony—feelings of other colonies towards Van Diemen's Land.
SECTION V. p. 298.
The "Australias are One"—address to the colonies—Earl Grey renews his application to New South Wales—decision of the people—response of the colonies—meeting of abolitionists at Hobart—declare against transportation to any of the colonies—a conference appointed—delegates meet in Victoria—the Australian League formed—large subscriptions—fire in Port Phillip—meeting of delegates in New South Wales—proceedings of conference—the elections—the discovery of gold—effects on employers—League assailed by the convict party—delegates visit Adelaide—League adopted at New Zealand—people return opponents of transportation—conduct of emancipists—not one supporter of transportation returned—resolutions of the Legislative Councils of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, and Van Diemen's Land.
* * * * *
SECTION I. p. 321. Mammalia.—SECTION II. p. 328. Birds.—SECTION III. p. 332. Fishes.—SECTION IV. p. 333. Reptiles.—SECTION V. p. 335. Insects.—SECTION VI. p. 335.—Mollusca.
HISTORY OF TASMANIA.
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Nearly fifty years have elapsed, since Van Diemen's Land was numbered with the colonies of the British empire. A generation has risen up and is passing away. Thousands, while they venerate the land of their European ancestors, with an amiable fondness love Tasmania as their native country. They will, hereafter, guide its affairs, extend its commerce, and defend its soil; and, not inferior in virtue and intelligence, they will fill an important position in the vast system of Australasia.
To gratify their curiosity, and offer to their view the instructive and inspiriting events of the past, is the purpose of this history.
The difficulty of the task can be appreciated only by experience. To collect from scattered records, facts worthy of remembrance; to separate reality from romance; to remove partial coloring from statements made long ago; and to exhibit useful truth without disguise and without offence, required much research and deliberation.
It is not the intention of this history to relate every event which, when passing, may have been deemed momentous; much less to recal from obscurity the errors, absurdity, and wickedness which exercised no distinct influence on the common welfare. The author has endeavoured to realize the feelings and sympathies of the benevolent and just of another age, and to confine his pen to details which may maintain their interest, when the passions with which they were associated shall subside for ever.
In calling this work THE HISTORY OF TASMANIA, a designation is chosen generally preferred by the colonists, and which their successors will certainly adopt. "Van Diemen" is a name affixed to the north coast of New Holland; and this country is the first known discovery of Tasman.
The name of Tasman is recognised by the royal patent constituting the diocese; by several literary societies and periodical works: it forms the term by which we distinguish our Tasmanian from our European youth.
Tasmania is preferred, because "Van Diemen's Land" is associated among all nations with the idea of bondage and guilt; and, finally, because while Tasmania is a melodious and simple sound, "Van Diemen" is harsh, complex, and infernal.
* * * * *
During the reign of Charles I. (Frederick Henry, grandfather of William III. being Stadtholder of Holland) the Dutch discovered this island. The enterprise of that people had raised them to the zenith of their power: unless by England, they were unrivalled in nautical science and commercial opulence. More for the purposes of trade than the acquisition of knowledge, they were anxious to discover unknown countries, and to conceal the information they possessed from the rest of the world.
At this time, Anthony Van Diemen was governor-general of Batavia: by him, Abel Jans Tasman was commissioned to explore the "Great South Land," the name by which New Holland was known until 1665, when, by the authority of the Netherland government, it received its present designation. A fragment of the journal of Tasman, containing an account of his discovery, was first published by Dirk Rembrant, and afterwards translated into most European tongues. In this abstract nautical details respecting Van Diemen's Land were omitted, but were described in the journal itself, and by thirty-eight charts, views, and figures. These were purchased by Sir Joseph Banks, on his return from his voyage to these seas. Tasman's journal was translated by a Netherland clergyman: he considered the age of the manuscript confirmed by the spelling: that it was genuine he had no doubt, although he questioned whether written by Tasman, or transcribed at his command. Sir Joseph Banks acquired at the same time a copy of instructions to Tasman, given by the Governor of Batavia in 1644, for a second expedition, and which recapitulated the various voyages of his predecessors. These, however, have no connection with Van Diemen's Land.
To adorn the new stadthouse of Amsterdam, erected in 1665, three hemispheres were wrought in stone, of twenty-two feet in diameter: the circles were inlaid with brass, and were executed by a celebrated artist. The southern hemisphere exhibited the discoveries of Tasman and his predecessors: they formed the pavement of the hall, until obliterated by the tread of several generations. They were quite forgotten when Sir Joseph Banks sought information from the inhabitants. A copy of these works of art was preserved, and displayed the extent to which New Holland and Van Diemen's Land were known.
The journal of Tasman has been greatly admired: it is clear, laconic, and devout. It opens with an invocation: "May God Almighty be pleased to give his blessing to this voyage. Amen." The document is, indeed, full of pious sentiments: when a long desired breeze liberated the vessel from port, or refreshment was obtained, or safe anchorage found, he dots down a thanksgiving. He reckoned his longitude from the Peak of Teneriffe: the hours he called glasses; his miles were German, fifteen to a degree.
On the 14th of August, 1642, Tasman embarked at Batavia, on board the Heemskirk, the fly-boat Zeehaan, Jerit Zanzoon, master, in company. They set sail for the Mauritius, and arrived on the 5th of September. That island, then commanded by Van Steelan, was but little cultivated, and gave slight promise of its present importance. On the 4th October, they were ready to depart, but were delayed by contrary winds until the 8th, when on a change in their favor they stood eastward to sea. On the 27th, a council being called, it was resolved that a man should constantly look out at the topmast head; and to encourage vigilance it was determined, that the first discoverer of land should receive three reals and a pot of arrack. On the 4th November they saw patches of duckweed and a seal, and inferred their vicinity to land. The first pilot, Francis Jacobzs, on the 7th, supported by the advice of the steersman, thus delivered his opinion:—"We should keep to the 44 deg. south latitude, until we have passed 150 deg. longitude; then make for latitude 40 deg. south, and keeping in that parallel to run eastward to 220 deg. longitude, and then steering northward search with the trade wind from east to west for the Solomon Islands. We imagine, if we meet with no main land till we come to 150 deg. longitude, we must then meet with islands." On the 17th, they were in latitude 44 deg. 15' and longitude 147 deg. 3': they concluded that they had already passed the south land then known. On the 22nd they found their compass was not still within eight points, which they attributed to the influence of loadstone, and which kept the needle in continual motion. On the 24th, at noon, they found their latitude 42 deg. 25' south, longitude 163 deg. 31': in the afternoon, at 4 o'clock, they observed land, Point Hibbs, bearing east by north. The land was high, and towards evening they saw lofty mountains to the east south-east, and to the north-east two smaller mountains: here their compass stood right. They resolved to run off five hours to sea, and then to run back towards the land. On the 25th, the morning was calm, and at 5 o'clock they were within three miles of the shore, and had soundings at sixty fathoms. They approached a level coast, and reckoned their latitude 42 deg. 30', and middle longitude 163 deg. 50'. On this day they named their discovery: "we called it Anthony Van Diemen's Land, in honor of our high magistrate and governor-general, and the islands near (Boreels) we named in honor of the council of India, as you may see by the little map we made." Next day they lost sight of land. They fixed the longitude 163 deg. 50', and gave orders to the master of the Zeehaan to adopt that reckoning. On the 28th land reappeared, and in the evening they came near three small islands, one of which they thought like the head of a lion (Mewstone, of Furneaux). On the following morning they passed two cliffs, one (the Swilly, of Furneaux) like the Pedra Branca, near the coast of China; the other, the eastern cliff, resembling a high misshapen tower (the Eddystone, of Cook). Between the cliff and the main land they passed, until they came almost to Storm Bay, where they found it impossible to anchor, and were driven by the wind to sea—so far, that land could scarcely be sighted in the morning. In the afternoon of the 1st December, they anchored in a good port (marked Frederick Hendrik Bay in the chart), with twenty-two fathoms water, and bottom of fine light grey sand.
On the following morning the boats were despatched to the shore: on their return, the steersman informed them that they had heard the sound of voices, and of a little gong; but saw no one. They remarked two trees, sixty feet from the ground to the branches, and two and a-half in circumference: the bark taken off with flint stones, and steps cut to climb for birds' nests, full five feet from each other, and indicative of a very tall people. They saw marks, such as are left by the claws of a tiger, and brought on board the excrements of some quadruped; gum lac, which dropped from trees, and greens "which might be used in place of wormwood." They saw people at the east corner of the bay: they found no fish, except mussels: many trees were burned hollow near the ground; they were widely separated, and admitted an extensive view.
On the 3rd, they went to a little bay, south-west from their ships, in search of water: the surf prevented their landing, but the carpenter swam on shore; and near four remarkable trees, standing in the form of a crescent, he erected a post, on which a compass was carved, and left the Prince's flag flying upon it. "When the said carpenter had done this in the sight of me, Abel Jans Tasman, of the master Jerit Zanzoon, and under merchant Abraham Coomans, we went in the shallop as near as possible, and the said carpenter swam back through the surf. We then returned on board, and left this memorial to the posterity of the inhabitants. They did not show themselves, and we suspected some to be not far from thence, and watching carefully our doings." The last object they noticed was a large round mountain (St. Patrick's Head), on the eastern coast, of which they lost sight on the 5th December.
From Van Diemen's Land they proceeded to New Zealand, where by an encounter with the natives several lives were lost: thence they passed Tongataboo, Amsterdam, and Rotterdam, and arrived at Batavia on the 15th June, 1643. Tasman closes his journal with his usual devotion: "God be praised for this happy voyage. Amen."
That Maria Island was named after the daughter of Van Diemen, and that Tasman went over the ocean writing down her name in the imperishable records of his discoveries, is a pleasing tale; but the evidence on which it rests is far from conclusive. Thus at Amsterdam he called the anchorage Van Diemen's Road, and where the boats went for water Maria's Bay, "in honor of our governor-general and his lady." That a daughter of the same name existed is not improbable, but who can tell whether the Maria Island of Tasmania's coast was named in complaisance to the daughter, or to conciliate the mother! In hope to confirm the agreeable fiction the journal of Tasman has been examined, but in vain.
The spirit of discovery revived in Europe after a long slumber; and a succession of illustrious navigators, in their passage to regions deemed more important, touched at Van Diemen's Land, and thus rapidly developed its geography. After Tasman, the next visitor was Captain Marion, of the Mascarin and Castries, who in 1772 arrived from the Mauritius, in search of the "southern continent," then the grand object of nautical inquiry, and anchored in Frederick Hendrik Bay, the 4th March. The visit is chiefly memorable for a fatal collision with the natives, who, according to the French, exhibited uncommon ferocity. On his stepping on shore they offered Captain Marion a fire stick, which he supposed a ceremony of friendship; but when he lighted a heap of wood, as he imagined in compliance with their custom, they retired to a hill, and threw a shower of stones. The French fired their muskets, and the natives fled: their pursuers found in the wood a dying savage—the first victim of European intrusion. Marion and some others were injured slightly by the missiles of the natives, and a black servant was wounded by a spear.
The remarks they made are of no great value: they entered the country, and saw everywhere the effects of fire, which they supposed was intended to drive wild animals from the coast. They could not discover a tree suitable for a mast, and were unsuccessful in obtaining water. A small map, which sketched the form of the coast with considerable exactness, accompanied the account of this voyage, and tended to awaken the French to the importance of these seas.
The next visit was accidental, but most important: Captain Cook, in 1772, left Great Britain to explore the icy region near the Pole. There the vessels separated in a fog: they were unable to rejoin, and while Cook proceeded to New Zealand in the Resolution, Captain Tobias Furneaux, his second in command, touched at Van Diemen's Land in the Adventure. He made the south-west cape on the 9th of March, 1773, exactly one year after Marion left the island. After passing the Mewstone, a boat's crew sent on shore reported favorably of the country, and that they had seen beautiful cascades pouring from rocks two hundred feet high. Finding no anchorage, Furneaux passed the black rocks (the Boreels of Tasman), which he called the Friars, and discovered Adventure Bay, which is separated from Storm Bay by Cape Frederick Henry. There they found anchorage in seven fathoms, within half a mile of either shore, and obtained wood and water in abundance. The numerous islets and tortuous navigation of the coasts led Furneaux into several errors. To discuss them would tire the patience of nine readers in ten, and afford no pleasure to the tenth.
The Adventure sailed along the eastern coast to the latitude of 40 deg. 50', where Furneaux observed the land turned towards the westward. He, however, narrowly missed the discovery of the straits, and turned off for New Zealand, convinced "that there was no strait between New Holland and Van Diemen's Land, but a very deep bay." The impression he adopted, he conveyed to Captain Cook, who had intended to visit Van Diemen's Land for the solution of this geographical problem, which now he considered determined.
On his third and final voyage to the Pacific, Captain Cook touched at Van Diemen's Land in the Resolution, then accompanied by Captain Clerke. He sighted the island bearing north-west half-west, distant three leagues from Mewstone. A neighbouring rock, unnoticed by Furneaux, he called the Eddystone, from its resemblance to an English lighthouse of that name. Detained by calms, he did not reach Adventure Bay until the 26th, where at 4 P.M. he dropped anchor in twelve fathoms, within a mile of the shore. The officers were delighted with the country, and particularly with its gigantic forests. Mr. Anderson, the surgeon, spent his leisure wandering on the beach of Adventure Bay; angling in a lake, or ascending the neighbouring hills. Captain Cook left swine on the shore, which were driven into the bush when the natives were not present; in the hope they might escape them, and thus add to the resources of the country. He departed on the 30th for New Zealand. The account left by Cook is chiefly interesting for its description of the natives, and will be noticed in the history of that unfortunate people.
On the 3rd July, 1789, the brig Mercury, John Henry Cox, master, entered a deep bay on the south side of Van Diemen's Land, and was about ten miles from the Mewstone: attempting Adventure Bay, he was carried to the eastward, and afterwards accidentally discovered Oyster Bay.
Captain Wm. Bligh, subsequently governor of New South Wales, touched at Van Diemen's Land in 1788, when on his voyage to Tahiti, whence he was instructed to convey the bread fruit tree to the West India Islands. His object was frustrated by the mutiny of his crew; and after a passage in an open boat, attended with extraordinary perils, he reached Great Britain. The Providence and Assistant were placed under his command: he was sent on the same errand, in which he was successful, and re-appeared in Adventure Bay in 1792. During his stay he planted several fruit trees, acorns, and vegetables.
An inscription found by the French crew on a tree, signified that near by, "Captain William Bligh planted seven fruit trees: Messrs. T. and W., botanists." They consisted of one fig, two pomegranates, and four quinces. An apple tree was found by Labillardiere on the coast. They doubtless all perished. The Frenchman was greatly scandalised by the despotism which condemned men of science to initials, and gave a sea captain a monopoly of fame.
This celebrated naturalist was attached to the expedition of Rear-Admiral Brune D'Entrecasteaux, sent out by the government of France to ascertain the fate of La Perouse, whose amiable reputation conciliated the good-will of all parties. Although concluded that the vessel he commanded must be lost, it was fondly hoped that he still survived. The national assembly paused in the midst of its conflict with the king, to request that vessels might be dispatched, and rewards offered, for his relief. In his decree, Louis XVI. describes the expedition as intended, beyond its primary design, to perfect the description of the globe. On the day the first colonists of New South Wales entered Port Jackson, the expedition of La Perouse was seen by the astonished English approaching the coast. After an interchange of those civilities which dignify the intercourse of polished nations, he left New Holland.
In a letter, dated September, 1787, Perouse stated his intention "to employ six months in visiting the Friendly Islands to procure refreshments; the south-west coast of Mendana, the land of the Arsacides, with that of Louisiade, as far as New Guinea."
Many years after, relics were recovered, which demonstrated the vicinity of his misfortunes. A lascar informed Captain Peter Dillon, of the East India Company's service, that two Frenchmen survived at Manicola; he therefore visited the island, where he found several relics of the lost admiral, although the Frenchmen were dead; among the rest his sword guard, marked with his cypher. Dillon was honored by the French government with the title of Chevalier, and received a pension.
In 1792, D'Entrecasteaux in the Recherche, and Captain Huon Kermandee in the Esperance, reached Van Diemen's Land. On the 20th April, when looking for Adventure Bay, they discovered the channel which bears the name of D'Entrecasteaux. They remained a month, when they departed on their search, and returned on the 20th January, 1793, to complete their observations. They found that the channel extended to the Storm Bay of Tasman: they entered and named the Huon, and the Rivere du Nord, now the Derwent, and examined the different harbours. Their charts are said to exhibit the finest specimen of marine surveying ever made in a new country. Of D'Entrecasteaux's Channel, then deemed the most important discovery since the time of Tasman, Rossel, who recorded the events of the voyage, writes with rapture:—"A harbour, twenty-four miles in length, and equally safe in every part. Such a retreat, in a gulph which bears the menacing name of Storm Bay, is a luxury that, to be able to express, must be felt."
Captain John Hayes, of the Bombay marine, with the private ships Duke and Duchess, examined Storm Bay and D'Entrecasteaux's Channel, in 1794. He passed up the Rivere du Nord much farther than the French, which he called the Derwent; and in his passage affixed names to various places, which have effaced those given by the original French discoverers—whose survey, however, to the extent of their navigation, was more correct than his own.
The form of Van Diemen's Land had long been a nautical problem. Captain Hunter, observing the swell of the ocean, deemed the existence of a strait highly probable. Mr. George Bass, surgeon of the royal navy, a gentleman to whom his generous friend Flinders refers with great admiration, resolved to test the conjecture. He had already given proof of intrepidity: in company with Flinders and a boy, he embarked in a boat, eight feet long, called Tom Thumb. After escaping great dangers, they returned to Port Jackson with valuable information respecting the coast.
In 1798, Bass obtained from Governor Hunter a six-oared whale boat, six men, and six weeks provisions: with this outfit he proceeded along the eastern coast of New Holland, occasionally landing and obtaining supplies, which enabled him to prolong his absence to eleven weeks. He continued his course until the agitation of the water convinced him that the open sea was not far distant: he discovered Western Port, and a country of great attraction. He explored six hundred miles of coast, one-half of which was hitherto unknown; an enterprise beyond example in nautical adventure, and entitling him to that renown which belongs to his name.
To test this discovery, the governor authorised Lieutenant Flinders and Mr. Bass to sail through the strait in the Norfolk, a colonial sloop, of 25 tons. Twelve weeks only were allowed for the voyage, which compelled the navigators to content themselves with a cursory survey.
In October, 1798, they left Port Jackson: after spending some time among the islands which crowd the straits, they sighted Cape Portland, a name given it in honor of the Duke of Portland, then secretary for the colonies; thence they passed Port Waterhouse, so called after the captain of the Reliance. The first important discovery was Port Dalrymple, called after the hydrographer of the admiralty, Alexander Dalrymple. Green Isle, Western Arm, Middle Island, Whirlpool Reach, Swan Point, and Crescent Shore, preserve memorials of the visit in their designations.
They reported Port Dalrymple an excellent place for refreshments: black swans, whose quills covered the beach in countless thousands; kangaroos, of the forest kind; flocks of ducks and teal, and mussels and oysters, were found in abundance.
Proceeding along the coast, they came to a headland, which they called Circular Head, from its resemblance to a Christmas cake. They now approached the solution of the question which had dictated their voyage. They remarked a long swell from the south-west breaking on the western shore: they hailed it with joy and mutual gratulation, and passed in safety the clustering islets in their course: the extreme north-west they called Cape Grim. Proceeding round the western coast, they observed the mountains noticed by Tasman when he visited the island, which in memory of his vessels they called Mount Heemskirk and Mount Zeehaan. They named Point Hibbs after the master of the Norfolk. The discoveries of Flinders here may be said to terminate, until he proceeded up the Derwent.
The utility of the strait was highly rated. It secured perpetual renown to Bass, whose name it bears: this was given by Governor Hunter at the recommendation of Flinders, whose candour is always conspicuous in awarding the palm of discovery to those to whom it is due! Not only does the strait curtail a voyage from the Cape by four degrees, but vessels avoid the winds which obstruct navigation round the South Cape and Cape Pillar of Van Diemen's Land, which prolong the passage several days; a point of great importance in the conveyance of passengers.
The Norfolk steered into the Derwent by the chart of Hayes. Both Flinders and Bass observe, with indignation, how creeks are magnified into rivers, coves into bays, and a few acres into plains: as Risdon River, Prince of Wales's Bay, and King George's Plains. They corrected his definitions, but left him the honors of discovery. Flinders proceeded to Herdsman's Cove, which he so distinguished for its extensive pasture and plentiful waters.
Bass depicts the Derwent as a dull and lifeless stream, respectable only because the Tasmanian rivers are insignificant! To a bay they entered on the western side of Tasman's Peninsula, they gave the name of their vessel, which was built at Norfolk Island, of the pine peculiar to that place.
Flinders continued, after the departure of Bass, to prosecute researches on the coast of New Holland, until the Reliance returned home. In that vessel his charts were conveyed, and were published. On a plan being offered by Sir Joseph Banks for completing the survey, the Investigator was placed under the command of Flinders, who was promoted to the rank of commander, furnished with a chosen crew, and attended by Westall, a painter, and Brown, a naturalist whose collection added largely to his department of science. Flinders received a passport from the French government, expressed with the usual amplitude. It inhibited all vessels of war from molesting the Investigator, and gave right of entry to all ports subject to France, for refitting or refreshment, on condition that nothing were done hostile to that power. This protection was demanded by Lord Hawksbury, of M. Otto, the celebrated representative of the Republic in England. Flinders had proposed to visit Van Diemen's Land, but had been partly anticipated by the Lady Nelson, sent from England to be employed as tender to the Investigator, and fitted with a keel suited to shallow waters. Brown, the naturalist, remained some time after the expedition was interrupted. He wandered on the banks of the Derwent and Tamar, collecting shrubs and flowers during a stay of several months; and although some specimens of plants were lost in the Porpoise, not one out of 3,900 species was wanting.
In June, 1803, Flinders passed the north coast of Van Diemen's Land: eighteen men were lying in their hammocks almost hopeless of recovery, some of whom died before the vessel entered Port Jackson, and several afterwards. A survey was instantly held, and the Investigator was condemned: the hull was found rotten, both plank and timbers, and it was declared that reparation was impossible. On inspecting her condition, Flinders expressed great astonishment, and remarked that a hard gale must have sent her to the bottom.
The volumes of Captain Flinders, though of vast scientific worth, are not greatly interesting to the general reader, except when he tells of his trials, which were many. His work was patronised by the admiralty, and he had the prospect of reward; but on the day of publication, fame ceased to be valuable to him,—he cast that anchor which is never weighed.
A long imprisonment in the Isle of France, and the mental anxiety inseparable from a strong sense of injustice, it is said, destroyed him. His case may be told in few words: the Investigator was condemned as unfit for service, and Flinders embarked at Port Jackson on board the Porpoise, in company with the Cato and the Bridgewater. When passing through Torres Straits, at between eight and nine knots, they saw breakers a-head. Before signals could be made, the other vessels were seen hastening to the same destruction. They hauled to the wind across each other; a collision seemed inevitable: a death-like silence prevailed during the awful crisis; but happily they passed off side by side. Instantly, however, the Cato struck on the reef, and was totally lost. All hands were preserved, except three boys; of these, one spent the night on a spar, bewailing his unhappy lot: four times he had embarked in different vessels, and each time had been wrecked; this was the last, for before morning he disappeared. The Bridgewater was yet safe: she was seen at dawn; but while awaiting her help, the captain, with a selfishness happily not common—without even sending a boat to pick up a cast-away—proceeded on his voyage. He reached India in safety; sailed for Europe, and was never heard of more: the people he had abandoned were all rescued.
This was effected by Flinders. A cutter was built and provisioned from the stores saved on the reef: in this, which he called the Hope, he set out for Port Jackson, 750 miles distant. There he obtained the assistance of two vessels, beside the Cumberland, a colonial schooner of 29 tons. The inhabitants, unsolicited, sent many presents to the sufferers, who soon hailed the arrival of Flinders with rapturous cheers.
Having performed this duty, he proceeded towards England in the Cumberland, with seven men and three officers; but finding that she was unable to bear the voyage, he resolved to confide in the honor of the French, and present his passport at the Mauritius. There he was detained a prisoner six years; first charged with imposture, then treated as a spy; and when these imputations were refuted, he was accused of violating his passport. The French had found in his journal a wish dotted down to examine the state of that settlement, written when a stranger to the renewal of war. Some doubt seems to have been really entertained, for the moment, respecting him; but his long detention after his release was promised, was ascribed to the ambition of Napoleon, and the dishonesty of the French Institute, who from Flinders' papers were appropriating to Baudin the honor of discoveries he never himself claimed.
Before the Investigator left England, the Geographe and Naturaliste, under Captains Baudin and Hamelin, visited this island. During a pause in the hostilities of Europe, the French government obtained from Mr. Addington, then premier, a safe conduct for this expedition. The terms granted entitled them to freedom from search; to supplies in any English colony, notwithstanding the contingency of war: it being well said by the French, that the promoters of scientific knowledge were the common benefactors of mankind. While Flinders was prosecuting his voyage he met Baudin on the coast of New Holland, at a place thence called Encounter Bay. The interview was civil, rather than cordial; both nations were competitors in science, and rivals are rarely kind. Yet the suffering of the French may be mentioned with pity: of twenty-three scientific men who accompanied the expedition, three only survived. The vessels were ill-provisioned, the water corrupt, and they encountered fearful tempests, in attempting to circumnavigate this island.
Captain Baudin had been directed by his government to examine the eastern coast of Van Diemen's Land, the discoveries of D'Entrecasteaux, and the channels and rivers of the coast. The surgeon of the Geographe, Monge, fell by an attack of the natives, and was buried on the spot which bears his name. The French surveyed the eastern coast, and finally determined the position of the Frederick Henry Bay of Tasman. They examined the intricacies which had escaped the observation of earlier navigators, who erroneously numbered the islands on their charts, and thus overlooked the bays. They coasted between the main and the Schoutens, and gave the name of Fleurieu to the Oyster Bay of Cox. They then passed through a strait heretofore unnoticed, which divides the Schoutens and Freycinet's Peninsula. Their survey was minute, and sometimes three boats were employed in different directions. The French vessels parted company, and the Naturaliste, after a long search for her consort, proceeded to New South Wales.
Baudin, of the Geographe, was far more unfortunate. Having touched at his land of Napoleon, instead of returning through Bass's Strait to Port Jackson, he resolved to pass the south cape of Van Diemen's Land. Throughout the passage he experienced the most fearful storms: the darkness at night often prevented the execution of naval manoeuvres, and the vessel was drenched with water. The condition of the crew was terrible; "cries of agony made the air ring:" four only, including the officers of the watch, were able to keep the decks. After beating about Port Jackson for several days, a boat appeared which had been dispatched by the governor, who saw the French were unable to manage the vessel. By a change of diet, they speedily recovered.
When at Port Jackson, Flinders showed his discoveries to the French, who admitted the justice of his prior claim, but with little sincerity.
M. Baudin died: Captain Hamilin, of the Naturaliste, returned to the Mauritius. He eulogised the conduct of the colonists to extravagance; but it is mortifying to find, that soon after, having captured a small English settlement, he burned the property he could not carry off; and invited upon deck the ladies, his prisoners, to witness the devastations of their late peaceful dwellings.
The misfortunes of the distinguished navigators, whose success has been recorded, fully equalled their fame. The fate of Cook belongs to a story which mingles with our early remembrance. A child need scarcely be told, that after a career eminently glorious to his country and profession, while attempting to restrain his men who were firing to protect him, he fell by the dagger of a savage.
His colleague, Captain Clerke, who attended him through all his expeditions, did not long survive him. Resolved to complete his instructions, he remained in the neighbourhood of Kamschatka, which hastened the crisis of a consumption. He was buried beneath a tree at the harbour of St. Peter and St. Paul, and an inscription pointed to his grave. This was found by M. Perouse defaced, who restored it. On his arrival at Botany Bay, he interred the naturalist of his expedition: the memorial he set up was destroyed by the natives, and Governor Phillip repaid, by the substitution of another, the honor done to his own countryman.
De L'Angle, the companion of Perouse, with eleven officers and men, lost their lives by a misunderstanding at the Navigators' Isles: the manner of his own death may be inferred from the native tradition.
The end of D'Entrecasteaux and Huon, was hardly less melancholy: both commanders were buried by their crews; the admiral at Louisiade, and Huon at New Caledonia. The vessels were detained by the Dutch at Java, and many of the seamen died in captivity. There the calamities of their country became known to them: some sided with the royalists, others with the jacobins, but few regained their native land; among these, however, was Labillardiere.
The fate of Captain Flinders is already told; that of Dr. Bass is involved in obscurity. A rumour that he was alive in 1812, in South America, was circulated in London. In the colonies it was reported, that the vessel in his charge foundered at sea; others alleged that he attempted a contraband trade in the Spanish colonies, was taken prisoner, and with his companions sent to the quicksilver mines, and there died.
The whale-boat of Bass, which first swept the waters of the strait, was long preserved at Port Jackson. Of its keel snuff boxes were wrought, and regarded as valuable relics. A fragment, mounted with silver, engraven with the particulars of the passage, was presented to M. Baudin, as a memorial of the man whose example had stimulated colonial discovery.
Flinders predicted that the name of Bass would be conspicuous among the benefactors of mankind: the glory of his own will enlarge with the value of his discoveries. They resulted not from accident, which may give reputation to success without merit, but were the reward of prudent enthusiasm. A small community cannot, indeed, rear a monument worthy the destinies of their names: private memorials may be perishable, like the sympathies which inscribed them, but a future and opulent era will display the moral grandeur of their enterprise, and posterity will pay public honors to their fame.
At the cost of L250, Sir John Franklin erected an obelisk on the rock of Stamford Hill, Port Lincoln, with the following inscription:—
This place, from which the gulf and its shores were first surveyed, on the 26th of Feb., 1802, by MATTHEW FLINDERS, R. N.. commander of H.M.S. Investigator, and the discoverer of the country now called South Australia, was on 12th Jan., 1841, with the sanction of Lieut.-Colonel GAWLER, K.H., then Governor of the Colony, then set apart for, and in the first year of the Government of Captain G. GREY, adorned with this monument, to the perpetual memory of the illustrious navigator, his honoured commander, by JOHN FRANKLIN, Captain R.N., K.C.H., K.R., Lt.-Governor of Van Diemen's Land.
[Footnote 1: The following is its title:—Journal of Discovery, by me, Abel Jans Tasman, of a Voyage from Batavia for making discoveries of the unknown South Land, 1642.—Burney's Chronological History, 1813.]
[Footnote 2: Discovered in the year 1505, by Don Pedro Mascarequas, a Spanish navigator: he gave it the name of "Cerne." It was uninhabited, and destitute of every species of quadruped. In 1598 it was visited by the Dutch Admiral Van Neck, who finding it unoccupied gave it its present name, in honor of Maurice, Prince of Holland. In 1601 a Frenchman was found on the island by a Dutch captain. He had been left by an English vessel, and had remained two years subsisting on turtle and dates: his understanding was impaired by his long solitude. The Dutch had a small fort, when it was visited by Tasman, which is represented in the drawings that illustrated his journal. The Dutch afterwards abandoned the island, and it has passed through many changes, until it was conquered by Great Britain.—Grant's History of the Mauritius.]
[Footnote 3: Probably their fires: had they seen them, they could not have fallen into error respecting their height.]
[Footnote 4: "The same romantic little rock, with its fringe of grey ironstone shingle, still shelters itself under the castellated cliffs of trap rock, on its northern and southern horns; embosomed in its innermost recesses by a noble forest, whose green shades encroach upon the verge of the ocean. It is less than half-a-mile across, and nearer its northern than its southern extremity, the sea has cast up a key of large grey rounded ironstone, which interrupts the equal curve of the beach, and doubtless marks the spot where the ship's carpenter swam ashore."—Gell's Remarks on the First Discovery: Tasmanian Journal, vol. ii. p. 327.]
[Footnote 5: Cook's Voyages.]
[Footnote 6: A folio edition of Cook's Voyages, published in the last century, at the "King's Arms," Paternoster-row, London, contains the following sentence, which, as perhaps the first example of invention in reference to the country, may deserve remembrance:—"Stately groves, rivers, and lawns, of vast extent." "Thickets full of birds of the most beautiful plumage, of various notes, whose melody was truly enchanting. It was now the time (29th January!) when nature poured forth her luxuriant exuberance, to clothe this country with rich variety."—Vol. ii. p. 425.]
[Footnote 7: Voyage of Perouse (translation). London, 1799.
Letters buried in a bottle, beneath a tree in Adventure Bay, were found by Captain Bunker, of the Venus, in 1809, to which he was directed by the words, still legible, "dig underneath;" and supposed, from his imperfect knowledge of the language, that they were left by Perouse. In this he was mistaken: they were deposited by D'Entrecasteaux, at his second visit. Bent's Almanack, 1828, adopted Bunker's mistake: it was copied by Mr. Widowson, who adds—"these letters were dated one month after his departure from Port Jackson, and led to the opinion that the expedition must have perished on some reef of Van Diemen's Land. In consequence of this idea, the French government in 1791," &c. The first mistake can be allowed for; but not that a discovery of letters in 1809, prompted an expedition in 1791.]
[Footnote 8: Hobart Town Gazette, 1827.]
[Footnote 9: Flinders' Introduction, &c.]
Position of Low Head:—Lat. 41 deg. 3' 30" S. Long. 146 deg. 48' 15" E.—Flinders.]
[Footnote 11: Collins, vol. ii. p. 183.]
[Footnote 12: Remarks by Robert Brown, F.R.S. Appendix to Flinders, vol. ii. p. 533.]
[Footnote 13: Flinders, vol. ii. p. 275. Jorgenson, the Dane, who was a seaman on board the Lady Nelson, tender to the Investigator, stated, in his rattling way, that she was in good condition, and absurdly insinuated foul play. The Investigator was cut down, and returned to Europe in charge of Captain Kent, R.N.]
[Footnote 14: Quarterly Review, 1814.]
[Footnote 15: See Flinders, vol. i. p. 305.]
[Footnote 16: This statement, after Rev. Mr. Gell, is erroneous. Mouge died from diseases occasioned by the climate of Timor, and the hardships of the voyage (See Peron's work). He arrived in an exhausted and consumptive state: when he attempted to land (20th January, 1802), he fainted, and was instantly conveyed on board. He went no more on shore, but to the grave. He was buried at the foot of a tree, at Maria Island, and the name Point Mouge was given to the spot.
On the 17th January, the French were attacked by natives at Swan Port, and Mouge was probably of the party. A native attempted to snatch the drawings; "then to strike down our weak friend, when he was prevented by those who ran to his assistance." The French say, they loaded them with favors, and did not avenge this violence. It is, no doubt, this account which Mr. Gell confused with the death of Mouge.]
[Footnote 17: "The famous northern confederacy placed England on the verge of destruction, and Captain Hamilin had reason to fear that he should not have been allowed to remain in port, or at least should be refused succour; but the English received him with liberality, grande et loyale: the first houses at Port Jackson were open, and the whole resources of the colony were at the disposal of the French captain." "Oftentime did they repeat that excellent maxim, that France first inscribed on the code of nations: causa scientiarum causa populorum"—the cause of science is the people's cause. So writes M. Peron; but the benefit of these sentiments was denied Captain Flinders.]
[Footnote 18: Cook's Voyages.]
[Footnote 19: Tench's Narrative, p. 99.]
[Footnote 20: "The Astrolabe, M. de la Perouse, and the Boussole, M. de L'Angle, were lost on the S. W. side of Manicolo. On one stormy dismal night, the oldest natives state, the vessels were blown upon a reef. One was a complete wreck by day-light, and all hands perished! From the other, however, some of the crew managed to effect a landing, when many of them were massacred as they gained the shore, the natives taking them for white spirits, with long noses (their cocked hats being considered a part of the face!). As soon as the unfortunate mariners were proved to be human beings, those that had escaped death from the waves and the savages were allowed to remain unmolested. A small vessel was built from the wrecks, which spot Captain Dillon saw; and as soon as the bark was ready, the survivors, with the exception of two, left Manicolo, and have never been heard of since! The natives further represented, whilst on the island, that the strangers were continually looking at the sun, and taking their usual observations. So late as six years ago, the two Frenchmen were alive; but one joined a party of the natives in a war, who were defeated: the other died at Manicolo about three years since. Captain Dillon has secured several nautical instruments, many silver spoons, a silver salver, which are all marked with the fleur-de-lis; a pair of gold buckles, some China ware, a Spanish dollar, a piece of the ornamental work of the stern of a ship (with the arms of France) much decayed; several brass sheaves belonging to a frigate's topmast, a composition pump, copper cooking utensils, a large quantity of iron knees; the silver handle of a sword-guard that was taken to Calcutta in the St. Patrick, which led to this important discovery, and which bears the ciphers of the unfortunate Count; several large brass guns, which were found where one vessel was totally wrecked; together with about four or five tons of other valuable and recognisable articles. Most of the houses, or huts, were found to have bags suspended to their sides, and those contained human sculls in a decaying condition; but whether they were of European or aboriginal extraction, in the absence of an able phrenologist, could not be ascertained."—Sydney Gazette, January, 1828.
The following curious relation, is of a dream of John Maatzuiker, whose name is given by Tasman to a rock on the coast. On the 11th of Feb., 1662, he dreamed, "that he saw Arnold de Vlaming, member of the council of India and admiral of the fleet, who sailed for his native country on the 23rd of December, 1661, in extreme danger, and heard him call several times for help." The dream was repeated: "he then remained awake, noted the day," &c., "sealed it, and gave it to the other members of government." "Accounts were brought from the Cape, that the same day his ship and some others had sunk with man and mouse." "The paper still remains at Batavia, or did twenty years ago."—Collection of remarkable Dreams, by Dr. Wm. Greve. Amsterdam, 1819. The story is taken from Old and New West Indies. By Francois Valentijn. vol. iv. p. 312.]
[Footnote 21: Rossel, the editor of D'Entrecasteaux's Voyage, on returning homeward was captured by the English, and being a royalist was employed in the admiralty; but when emigrants were permitted to return, he went home, and was patronised by Napoleon. His account of D'Entrecasteaux is more favorable than that in the work of Labillardiere.]
[Footnote 22: Penny Cyclopaedia: art. Bass.]
[Footnote 23: Ross's Almanack, 1835.]
The settlement of New Holland was proposed by Colonel Purry, in 1723: he contended that in 33 deg. south, a fertile region would be found, favorable to European colonisation. He offered his theory to the British government, then to the Dutch, and afterwards to the French; but with little encouragement. His views were submitted to the Academy of Sciences at Paris, who replied that "they could not judge of countries they had not seen." Thus the project slept, until the great English navigator in 1770 gave certainty to what had been conjecture.
To Dalrymple, the hydrographer, the impulse of this enterprising era is largely due. He fully believed that a vast southern continent must exist, to balance the antipodes. So firm was his conviction, that he defined its extent as "greater than the whole civilised part of Asia, from Turkey to the extremity of China. Its trade would be sufficient to maintain the power of Great Britain, employing all its manufactories and ships." The position of this region of fancy was traversed by Cook, who found nothing but ocean. The doctrine of terrestial counterpoise was disturbed; he, however, alighted on a great reality.
The description of New South Wales by Cook and his companions, which charmed the public, attracted the attention of the crown; and Botany Bay, named on account of the variety and beauty of its vegetation—long known through Europe as a region of gibbets, triangles, and chains; to be celebrated hereafter as the mistress of nations—was selected for a settlement. 565 men and 192 women, the pioneers of a larger division, were embarked under the charge of a military force composed of volunteers; comprehending, besides the staff, sixteen commissioned officers.
The fleet consisted of H.M.S. Sirius, Hyena, and Supply; six transports and three victuallers: they assembled at the Motherbank on the 16th March, and sailed on the 13th May, 1787. They touched at Teneriffe, and then at the Cape. Separated into two divisions, they reached their destination within forty-eight hours of each other. On the day of their junction, dense clouds threw a gloom over the sea; but they rejected the omen, and believed that they had seen "the foundation, and not the fall of an empire." Having found the bay unsuitable for location, they proceeded to examine the port called after Jackson, a seaman, who observed it from the mast, and immortalised his name. As they passed the capes, which form an entrance, they were in raptures with the scene:—the tall mouldering cliffs; the trees, which touched the water's edge; and the magnificent harbour, four miles in length, begirt with a luxuriant shore.
It was on the 7th February, 1788, that the Governor was inaugurated: an area being cleared for the purpose, the military marched to the ground with music, and colors flying; 750 convicts, 212 marines and their officers, were assembled. The standard of England was unfurled, the commission of Phillip, the first governor, published, and the courts of justice proclaimed. The usual formalities being complete, Phillip turned to the prisoners, and declared his intentions. He had resolved to cherish and render happy such as might deserve his favour; but to allow the law its course with the impenitent and unreformed. In such language we discern the sentiments which prevailed: banishment, not punishment for past crimes, was implied in the cheering alternative. From that moment he possessed authority to manumit not less absolute than the sovereign, but immeasurably more power to avenge.
Those who first entered New Holland, and witnessed the elevation of the royal standard on the shores of Port Jackson, described in terms of despondency its barren soil, barely compensated by its salubrious atmosphere. Contemporary political writers looked coldly on the infant establishment, as the diseased and hopeless progeny of crime: one, which could never recompense the outlay of the crown, either by its vigour or its gratitude. The projects entertained, in connection with commerce, were the growth of flax and the supply of naval timber, both of which had been reported by Cook as indigenous to Norfolk Island. "When viewed in a commercial light," Captain Tench observes (writing in 1789), "the insignificance of the settlement is very striking." "Admitting the possibility," he continues, "that the country will hereafter yield a sufficiency of grain, the parent state must long supply the necessaries of life. The idea of breeding cattle sufficient to meet the consumption, must be considered very chimerical." Such desponding sentiments mostly attend the first stages of colonisation; but in a much later period, the enterprise was regarded with scarcely less suspicion: "Why," said a celebrated critic, "we are to erect penitentiaries and prisons, at the distance of half the diameter of the globe, and to incur the enormous expense of feeding and transporting its inhabitants, it is extremely difficult to discover. It is foolishly believed, that the colony of Botany Bay unites our moral and commercial interests, and that we shall receive, hereafter, an ample equivalent in the bales of goods, for all the vices we export." With what obstinacy an idea once mooted is cherished, may be inferred from an opinion afterwards expressed by an authority of still greater pretension:—"The most sanguine supporter of New South Wales system of colonisation, will hardly promise himself any advantage from the produce it may be able to supply." Its corn and wool, its timber and hemp, he excludes from the chances of European commerce, and declares that the whale fishery, after repeated failures, had been relinquished!
It is not less instructive than pleasing, to notice the past epochs of opinion: we find consolation against the dark clouds overshadowing the future, by discovering how many forebodings of ancient seers have vanished before the light of the event.
These discouraging views were not, however, universal. Many distinguished men imagined an advancement, which our age has been sufficient to realise. To commemorate the foundation of the colony the celebrated artist, Wedgewood, modelled, from clay brought from the neighbourhood of Sydney, an allegorical medallion, which represented Hope encouraging Art and Labor, under the influence of Peace.
The French, however, always represented this colony as a masterpiece of policy; an element of Anglican power, pregnant with events. Peron, when dwelling on the moral prodigies of the settlement, declared that these but disguised the real objects of its founders, which, however, could not escape the discernment of statesmen: they saw the formidable germ of great revolutions.
The expedition of Baudin was connected by English politicians with a project of French colonisation. His instructions directed him to inspect narrowly the places eligible for occupation, and it was expected that an Australian Pondichery would become a new focus of rivalry and intrigue. The special injunctions to survey the inlets of Van Diemen's Land, seemed to indicate the probable site of an establishment so obnoxious.
Dr. Bass had, however, already examined this country with similar views, especially the margin of the rivers. To him no spot on the eastern side of the Derwent appeared to equal the neighbourhood of Risdon Creek, around which he observed an expanding area of fertile land. He delineated not less favorably the valley of the Tamar. This country he considered preferable to New South Wales: with a greater proportion of fertile soil, more amply supplied with water, and well adapted for colonisation.
[Footnote 24: Introduction. p. 120.]
[Footnote 25: Literary Chronicle, 1822.]
[Footnote 26: The incidents of the voyage are related by Captain Tench.]
[Footnote 27: Edinburgh Review, 1803.]
[Footnote 28: Quarterly Review, 1814.]
[Footnote 29: On this medal an author, quoted in Phillip's Voyages, ventured a poetical prophecy, which has at least the merit of truthfulness:—
VISIT OF HOPE TO SYDNEY COVE.
Written by the author of the Botanic Garden, 1791.
Where Sydney Cove her lucid bosom swells, Courts her young navies, and the storm repels; High on a rock, amid the troubled air, HOPE stood sublime, and wav'd her golden hair. "Hear me," she cried, "ye rising realms record Time's opening scenes, and Truth's unerring word: There shall broad streets their stately walls extend, The circus widen, and the crescent bend; There, ray'd from cities o'er the cultur'd land, Shall bright canals and solid roads expand. Embellish'd villas crown the landscape scene, Farms wave with gold, and orchards blush between; While with each breeze approaching vessels glide, And northern treasures dance on every tide!" Then ceas'd the nymph: tumultuous echoes roar, And Joy's loud voice was heard from shore to shore. Her graceful stops descending press'd the plain, And Peace, and Art, and Labor, joined the train.
—Governor Phillip's Voyage to Botany Bay.]
[Footnote 30: Vol. i. p. 12.]
[Footnote 31: Quarterly Review.]
[Footnote 32: Collins's New South Wales, vol. i. p. 180.]
HISTORY OF TASMANIA.
FROM 1803 TO 1824.
FROM 1803 TO 1824.
The establishment of a settlement in Van Diemen's Land, perhaps thus hastened by the jealousy of a rival power, was at first chiefly intended to relieve Port Jackson. Fifteen years had elapsed since its foundation, and from six to seven thousand prisoners had been transported thither: dispersion became necessary to security—to repress alike the vices of the convicts, and the growing malversation of their taskmasters. The want of prisons, or places of punishment, and the indolence and intemperance of emancipist settlers, endangered authority.
In 1800, the transportation of the defenders from Ireland, appears to have created continual anxiety: a committee of officers was formed to examine persons suspected, when Harold, a priest, was arrested, and accused his fellow prisoners. His testimony was insidious, and discredited; but the alarm led to the formation of a volunteer company of a hundred persons, who armed for the suppression of rebellion. The more distrusted of the Irish prisoners were conveyed to Norfolk Island; there, some months after, a conspiracy was detected to massacre the officers, and seize the island. On the night fixed for action, the plot was discovered. An Irish servant, muttering words of compassion, was overheard by his master: he was induced to explain, and was immediately taken to Major Foveaux, the officer in command. The danger was imminent: the warmth of the season (December) had tempted the soldiers to slumber with open doors, and it was said that the sentinels were implicated who that night kept watch. These being changed, and other precautions adopted, the plotters postponed their design; and next day were marched to church without suspicion. The door was beset with soldiers: the leaders were arrested; one executed—and on the following day, the blacksmith, charged with fabricating arms, was also hung. The necessity for dispensing with the forms of law was not made out, and these summary punishments were censured. That the danger was not imaginary, may, however, be inferred from the after attempts at Port Jackson.
The military force of New South Wales, drawn together by a love of adventure, or the hope of gain, when their own status was assailed, were often exacting and severe: but they slightly sustained the moral strength of the government. To select mistresses from the female prisoners was one of their earliest and most valued prerogatives, who, standing in this equivocal relation, became their agents and sold their rum.
The Governor, after struggling to abate the abuses around him, yielded to a pressure which seemed irresistible. He endeavoured to mollify by his liberality, those he could not govern by restraint: he multiplied licenses for the sale of rum, and emancipists aspired to commercial rivalry with the suttlers in commission. The chief constable was himself a publican, and the chief gaoler shared in the lucrative calling, and sold spirits opposite the prison.
The moral laxity which prevailed, produced its natural consequences—violations of discipline, which led to great crimes. The offenders, to escape immediate punishments, retreated to the remote districts; occasionally sheltered by the emancipist cotters. The feeble resistance offered to their depredations, inspired, and almost justified the prisoners in the hope, that the common bondage might be broken. A large agricultural establishment, belonging to the government, at Castle-hill, Parramatta, employed many Irishmen implicated in the recent disorders of their country. These prompted the rest to attempt to recover their liberty, but they were subdued by the military under Major Johnstone: some were shot, and several executed.
In this unsatisfactory condition was the colony of Port Jackson, when Van Diemen's Land was occupied. Its remote distance, its comparatively small extent and insular form, fitted it for the purposes of penal restraint—a place where the most turbulent and rapacious could find no scope for their passions. Its ports closed against commerce, afforded few means of escape. In New Holland, labor and produce were redundant: overwhelming harvests reduced the price of grain so low, that it was rejected by the merchants; goods could not be obtained in exchange; and the convicts at the disposal of government were a burden on its hands—almost in a condition to defy its authority. Thus, Van Diemen's Land was colonised; first, as a place of exile for the more felonious of felons—the Botany Bay of Botany Bay—
"And in the lowest deep, a lower deep!"
Lieutenant Bowen, in the Lady Nelson, set sail from Sydney, and in August, 1803, landed at Risdon, on the east bank of the Derwent: his party included a few soldiers and prisoners, and Dr. Mountgarrat, the surgeon. A far more important immigration soon followed.
Port Phillip, on the east coast of New Holland, first discovered by Captain Murray in the Lady Nelson, 1799, was surveyed by Flinders in 1802, and in 1803 by Grimes, the surveyor-general. They reported the country to be lightly timbered, to abound in herbage, and gentle slopes suitable to the plough. The port offered an asylum against both war and tempests, sufficient for the fleets of all nations.
The establishment of a settlement at Port Phillip being determined on by the ministry of Great Britain, an expedition was forwarded, which consisted of the Calcutta, 50 guns, Captain Woodriff, and the Ocean, a transport of 500 tons. In addition to the convicts, there were forty marines, four hundred male prisoners, twelve free settlers and their families, six unmarried women, six the wives of prisoners, and six children. It is scarcely necessary to remark, that the morals of the officers, or of the women, were not superior either to the service or to the times. The events of the voyage, worthy of remembrance, were not numerous; it was disturbed by rumours of plots and conspiracies; punishments were not infrequent, and one woman was flogged for stealing the cap of a companion.
The Calcutta did not convey the settlers to the Derwent. On her return to Great Britain, Lieutenant Tuckey published an account of the voyage to Port Phillip, which he surveyed. In the year following (1805), the Calcutta was convoy to St. Helena, and encountered the Rochefort squadron. Captain Woodriff determined to engage the whole division: the merchantmen escaped; but the Calcutta, in the unequal contest, became unmanageable, and struck her colors. Captain Woodriff was soon exchanged, but Lieutenant Tuckey remained in captivity until the allied armies entered France.
Promoted to the rank of commander, he received charge of the expedition in 1816, sent to explore the Zaire; but with most of his people fell a martyr to the spirit of African discovery. He is said to have been handsome in person, and generous in hand. "He knew nothing of the value of money, except as it enabled him to gratify the feelings of a benevolent heart."
The spot selected at Port Phillip, was ill-chosen as the site of a town, and they found great difficulty in obtaining pure water. These circumstances, represented by Collins to the Governor-in-chief, were thought sufficient to justify a removal to Van Diemen's Land, and long postponed the occupation of a country, inferior to few in this hemisphere; a measure lamented by several of the settlers. A lady, writing to her friends from the banks of the Derwent, censured, in terms of great contempt, the relinquishment of Port Phillip, which she described in glowing language: she seemed alone capable of estimating its future importance; but she pronounced Van Diemen's Land a dreary and desert region, destined never to prosper—thus she forfeited the credit of prophecy.
Several prisoners attempted to escape; in one instance, with a singular result. Buckley, a man of gigantic stature, and two others, set off, it was said, for China! They rambled for some distance together, and suffered great misery: at last, they parted. Of his companions, Buckley saw no more, and when he returned to the settlement all was deserted. After months of solitary wandering, he found a tribe of natives, by whom he was adopted: he remained among them for three-and-thirty years, conforming to their barbarous customs, and forgetting his own language. Once only he saw the faces of white men; a boat's crew landed to bury a seaman: he endeavoured to arrest their attention; they looked at him earnestly, but took him for a savage—he was dressed in a rug of kangaroo skin, and was armed with spears. This man still survives: he contributed to the friendly reception of his countrymen; but during his long sojourn, he had imparted no ideas of civilisation.
The Lady Nelson and the Ocean conveyed the party from Port Phillip to the Derwent. The situation of the camp at Risdon had been found undesirable, they therefore landed at Sullivan's Cove. They arrived in two divisions, on the 30th January and 16th February, 1804. The names of the principal persons are as follows:—Lieutenant-Governor Collins; Rev. R. Knopwood, chaplain; E. Bromley, surgeon superintendent; W. Anson, colonial surgeon; M. Boden, W. Hopley, assistant surgeons; P. H. Humphrey, mineralogist; Lieutenant Fosbrook, deputy-commissary-general; G. P. Harris, deputy-surveyor; John Clarke and William Patterson, superintendents of convicts; Lieutenants W. Sladen, J. M. Johnson, and Edward Lord; 39 marines, 3 sergeants, 1 drummer, 1 fifer; and 367 male prisoners.
Meantime, the Lady Nelson was dispatched to Port Dalrymple, and surveyed the entrance of the Tamar: the report being favorable, a small party of prisoners were sent from Port Jackson, under Colonel Paterson, to form a settlement, who landed in October, 1804, and for some time held little intercourse with the settlement on the Derwent. Such were the pioneers of this important colony; and to so many casual but concurring incidents, we owe its existence.
The first annals of the settlement offer few events worthy of record. The transactions of a community, which in 1810 did not comprehend more than thirteen hundred and twenty-one persons,—the greater part subject to penal control—could not, unassociated with the present, detain attention for a moment. The discipline which prevailed in Van Diemen's Land, and the results which it produced, will be hereafter related to illustrate transportation; for who would load the colonial fame with details, from which the eyes of mankind turn with natural disgust, or blend them with the fabric of Tasmanian history?
The first Governor-in-chief of Van Diemen's Land, the third of New South Wales, was Philip Gidley King, son of Philip King, a draper, of Launceston, Cornwall, England. At twelve years of age he entered the royal navy: by Admiral Byron he was made lieutenant, and holding that rank in the Sirius, he attended the expedition of Phillip in 1788. He was employed to establish the settlement of Norfolk Island, where his proceedings, recorded in his official journal, and afterwards published in various forms, afforded great amusement and satisfaction. There he united in his person, for some time, the priest and the ruler: he experienced during his residence, most of the anxieties and difficulties incident to such stations, and detailed them with curious minuteness. As a cultivator he was energetic and persevering; but the rats devoured his seed, or torrents washed it away: or a tropical hurricane, which tore up huge trees, overthrew the frail buildings he reared. His people conspired to seize his government; he detected, and forgave them: yet he was not scrupulous in his methods of punishment. A woman he repeatedly flogged, for stealing the provisions of her neighbours. He, however, saw the little settlement gradually improve: it became the favorite residence of the officers; and, as the climate was better understood, the fertility of the soil yielded a surpassing abundance.
King was not inattentive to his own interest, and became the owner of considerable stock. Anecdotes of his humour circulate through the colonies: being asked by a settler to find him a man to perform certain work, he took him into his room and pointed him to a mirror. Again, when a marine was the suitor for some favour, in rejecting his petition he put him through his exercises, which ended in quick march. He had the frankness of the sailor, and neither aspired to state nor exacted homage.
David Collins, Esq., long judge advocate of New South Wales, was the first Lieutenant-Governor of Van Diemen's Land. He was present with his father, General Collins, at the battle at Bunker's Hill, and thus witnessed an event accepted by exulting Europe as a signal that British sway over that region was lost. It was the lot of Collins to proclaim the dominion of Great Britain at the inauguration of Phillip, and thus announced the first day of a second and not less valuable empire.
Such incidents teach us that a single life may embrace events beyond the scope of imagination. We are reminded of the most brilliant passage in the oratory of Burke, delivered while the authority of the crown was trembling in the balance of fate. When illustrating how far the realities of the future might exceed the visions of the present moment, he stated that a venerable nobleman, Lord Bathurst, could remember when American interests were a little speck, but which during his life had grown to greater consequence than all the commercial achievements of Great Britain in seventeen hundred years. "Fortunate man," he exclaimed, "he has lived to see it: fortunate, indeed, if he lives to see nothing which will vary the prospect, and cloud the setting of his day."
Collins was favorably known to the public by his Account of the English Colony in New South Wales: his work was distinguished by the reviewers, amidst a crowd of publications, as superior to them all. The stateliness of his style, and the pomp with which he ushers trivial events, were less apparent when the topics were new. In the last page he, however, complains that he had spent nine years in the colonial service, which intercepted the honors of his profession; a case of hardship, he remarks, everywhere admitted, both by those who could compensate, and those who could only condole.
In his dedication to Lord Hobart, the principal secretary of state, he drops the tone of complaint and disappointment: he tells that nobleman that his private virtues were rendered more conspicuous by the splendour of his talents as a statesman, and that praise could not be interpreted as flattery, when devoted to a name which commanded the veneration of the world. Remonstrances so skilfully advanced could not be unnoticed: Collins was at once raised to the rank of colonel, and the intelligence with which he delineated the proper objects and agents of penal government, exalted him still higher. He dated his dedication in 1802, and embarked the following year as governor of the settlement it had been resolved to form.
[Footnote 33: Wentworth's New South Wales, p. 210.]
[Footnote 34: Flinders, vol. i.]
[Footnote 35: Narrative: published by authority of the Admiralty, 1818.]
[Footnote 36: "We arrived in October, 1803: my pen is not able to describe half the beauties of that delightful spot: we were four months there. Much to my mortification, as well as loss, we were obliged to abandon the settlement, through the whim and caprice of the Lieutenant-Governor: additional expense to government, and additional loss to individuals, were incurred by removing to Van Diemen's Land, which can never be made to answer. Port Phillip is my favorite, and has my warmest wishes. During the time we were there, I never felt one ache or pain, and I parted from it with more regret than I did from my native land." The following is the endorsement of this letter:—"Dated May 23rd, 1805; received October 10th, 1805—half a year! From an officer's wife, Mrs. Hartley (quere Hopley?), to her sister."—Collection of Letters, for a History of New South Wales. By a Merchant. London: Valpy, 1812.]
[Footnote 37: Report of Commons on Transportation, 1812.]
[Footnote 38: Phillip's Voyage, p. 95.]
[Footnote 39: The reader will not be displeased to see the whole passage. On the 22nd of March, 1775, upon moving his resolutions for conciliation with America, Edmund Burke thus addressed the house:—
"Mr. Speaker,—I cannot prevail on myself to hurry over this great consideration. It is good for us to be here. We stand where we have an immense view of what is, and what is past. Clouds indeed, and darkness rest upon the future. Let us, however, before we descend from the noble eminence, reflect that this growth of our national prosperity has happened within the short period of the life of man: it has happened within sixty-eight years. There are those alive whose memory might touch the two extremities. For instance, my Lord Bathurst might remember all the stages of the progress. He was in 1704, of an age, at least, to be made to comprehend such things. He was then old enough—acta parentum jam legere et quae sit poterit cognoscere virtus. Suppose, Sir, that the angel of this auspicious youth, foreseeing the many virtues which made him one of the most amiable, as he is one of the most fortunate men of his age, had opened to him in vision, that when in the fourth generation the third prince of the house of Brunswick had sat twelve years on the throne of that nation, which (by the happy issue of moderate and healing councils) was to be made Great Britain, he should see his son, Lord Chancellor of England, turn back the current of hereditary dignity to its fountain, and raise him to higher rank of peerage whilst he enriched the family with a new one. If, amidst these bright and happy scenes of domestic honor and prosperity, that angel should have drawn up the curtain and unfolded the rising glories of his country, and whilst he was gazing with admiration on the then commercial grandeur of England, the genius should point out to him a little speck, scarce visible in the mass of national interest—a small seminal principle rather than a formed body—and should tell him: Young man, there is America, which at this day serves for little more than to amuse you with stories of savage men and uncouth manners; yet shall, before you taste death, show itself equal to the whole of that commerce which now attracts the envy of the world. Whatever England has been growing to by a progressive increase of improvement, brought in by varieties of people, by succession of civilising conquests, civilising settlements in a series of seventeen hundred years, you shall see as much added to her by America in the course of a single life! If this state of his country had been foretold to him, would it not require all the fervid glow of enthusiasm to make him believe it? Fortunate man, he has lived to see it: fortunate indeed, if he lives to see nothing that shall vary the prospect, and cloud the setting of his day."—Parl. Hist., vol. xviii. p. 487.]