A Narrative of the Expedition to Botany-Bay eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 73 pages of information about A Narrative of the Expedition to Botany-Bay.

CHAPTER XVII.

Some Thoughts on the Advantages which may arise to the Mother Country from forming the Colony.

The author of these sheets would subject himself to the charge of presumption, were he to aim at developing the intentions of Government in forming this settlement.  But without giving offence, or incurring reproach, he hopes his opinion on the probability of advantage to be drawn from hence by Great Britain, may be fairly made known.

If only a receptacle for convicts be intended, this place stands unequalled from the situation, extent, and nature of the country.  When viewed in a commercial light, I fear its insignificance will appear very striking.  The New Zealand hemp, of which so many sanguine expectations were formed, is not a native of the soil; and Norfolk Island, where we made sure to find this article, is also without it.  So that the scheme of being able to assist the East Indies with naval stores, in case of a war, must fall to the ground, both from this deficiency, and the quality of the timber growing here.  Were it indeed possible to transport that of Norfolk Island, its value would be found very great, but the difficulty, from the surf, I am well informed, is so insuperable as to forbid the attempt.  Lord Howe Island, discovered by Lieut.  Ball, though an inestimable acquisition to our colony, produces little else than the mountain cabbage tree.

Should a sufficient military force be sent out to those employed in cultivating the ground, I see no room to doubt, that in the course of a few years, the country will be able to yield grain enough for the support of its new possessors.  But to effect this, our present limits must be greatly extended, which will require detachments of troops not to be spared from the present establishment.  And admitting the position, the parent country will still have to supply us for a much longer time with every other necessary of life.  For after what we have seen, the idea of being soon able to breed cattle sufficient for our consumption, must appear chimerical and absurd.  From all which it is evident, that should Great Britain neglect to send out regular supplies, the most fatal consequences will ensue.

Speculators who may feel inclined to try their fortunes here, will do well to weigh what I have said.  If golden dreams of commerce and wealth flatter their imaginations, disappointment will follow:  the remoteness of situation, productions of the country, and want of connection with other parts of the world, justify me in the assertion.  But to men of small property, unambitious of trade, and wishing for retirement, I think the continent of New South Wales not without inducements.  One of this description, with letters of recommendation, and a sufficient capital (after having provided for his passage hither) to furnish him with an assortment of tools for clearing land, agricultural and domestic purposes; possessed also of a few household utensils, a cow, a few sheep and breeding sows, would, I am of opinion, with proper protection and encouragement, succeed in obtaining a comfortable livelihood, were he well assured before he quitted his native country, that a provision for him until he might be settled, should be secured; and that a grant of land on his arrival would be allotted him.

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