A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 14 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 822 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 14.
different artificers, soon involved the people in very embarrassing intricacies and much bodily labour, occasioned by the prodigious variety and numbers of climbers, briars, shrubs, and ferns, interwoven through the forests, and almost totally precluding access to the interior of the country.  From the appearance of these impediments, and the quantity of rotten trees which had been either felled by the winds, or brought low from age, it is conjectured, and plausibly enough, that the forests in the southern parts of New Zealand had escaped the hand of human industry since the origin of their existence.  But nature, we may often see, is prodigal of life, and in the very act of dissolving one generation, seems to rejoice in providing for another that is to succeed it.  Thus, we are told, there sprouted out young trees from the rich mould, to which the old ones were at last reduced.  A deceitful bark, it is added, sometimes still covered the interior rotten substance, in which a person attempting to step on it, might sink to the waist.  Such were the common disappointments in this Utopia.  The naturalists had to add to them, the appropriate mortification of seeing numerous trees and shrubs, of which, as the time of flowering was past, it was impossible to make any scientific examination, and which, accordingly, only tantalized them with the idea of the profusion of new vegetables in this interesting country.  A short residence here, especially during wet gloomy weather, proved that all was not so perfect in this climate as had been fondly imagined.  The land about Dusky Bay, and indeed throughout most of the southern extremity of this island, was found to consist of steep rocky mountains, with craggy precipices, either clad with impenetrable forests, or quite barren, and covered with snow on the tops.  No meadows or lawns were to be seen, and the only spot of flat land that was found, presented so much wood and briars as to be useless for either garden ground or pasture, without very considerable toil.  This heartless description is somewhat relieved by a glowing picture of the scenery about what was called Cascade Cove, which seems to have arrested the attention of Mr F., and which, he says, could only have justice done it by the very successful pencil of Mr Hodges.  The soil here was found to be quite like to what had elsewhere been found, and the rocks and stones consisted of granite, moor-stone, and brown talcous clay-stone.  In one of the excursions to the country, it was observed, that as they receded from the sea, the mountains became much higher, and were more steep and barren, and that the trees dwindled in size, so as to resemble shrubs, circumstances rather the reverse of what is usually noticed in other countries.  The climate of Dusky Bay is spoken unfavourably of, as its greatest inconvenience, and to this must be added its being deficient in celery, scurvy-grass, and other antiscorbutics.  But with all its defects, Mr G.F. admits, that Dusky
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