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cultivation, that soil situated in latitudes having such a range as to be adapted to the growth of every useful vegetable, and the rearing of every useful animal; and, great part at least, enjoying a climate much better adapted to the constitution and health of Europeans than any other country to which Englishmen resort for the purpose of settling. When indeed one compares those extensive colonies and dependencies into which Britons have carried their own activity, and the means and the example of civilization to others, one can hardly avoid fixing upon Australia as the only one in which the settler can find a permanent home for himself and his descendants. Hindustan, the shores of South America, the islands of the Colombian Archipelago, and (as experiment has proved) the territories of Southern Africa, are not adapted for the permanent residence of Englishmen ; and the fact is, that of those who do resort to these places, the principal object is, to earn as speedily as they can, an independence, with which they may return to the mother country. Now, such views strike at the root of improvement to the country visited; and hence, in the places alluded to, Britons may, in as far as the progress of civilization is concerned, be said to be sojourners, not inhabitants. Thus the only British territory which can be put in competition with Australia, is the British portion of North America; and it requires but little comparison to discover on which side the advantage lies.
It requires no extended argument to prove, that
in order properly to bring out the capabilities of a country, the people must consider it as their own, and thus the colonization of Australia, if completely effected, would add to the industrious, enjoying and rational world, more than could be added by any other means or measure, to which reference can at present be made. And the discovery of those vast regions, when the interior has been as carefully explored as the coasts, will give to the conquest of knowledge as much as the Macedonian conqueror fancied he had given to the conquest of the sword, and the feeling will be far different,-they may rejoice that the field of improvement is so extensive, and the means so ample.
But the advantages and the interest of Australia are not confined to the Australian settler: to the stu-. dent and the lover of nature, it is a new world in almost all its particulars-in the modification of its seasons; in the character of its surface; in the courses of its rivers; in the appearance of its plants; in the nature of its animals; and in the character and habits of its original inhabitants. So striking, indeed, is the contrast that it forms, in all these respects, and in many subordinate ones, that the full investigation of it will add to the book of human knowledge a volume as singular as it is new. When, too, its geographical position is considered, it forms as it were a connecting link between three of the quarters of the world, as marked out by the elder geographers its communication with Asia, with
Africa, and with America, being more easy than that of the average of any of those divisions of the world with the other two. Over every other quarter of the world it has this farther advantage, that it can be circumnavigated with ease, and, comparatively speaking, at all seasons. This is not the case with any of the four quarters. Both the old continents are unapproachable on their northern shores; and from the Mediterranean, which forms the boundary of Europe, Asia, and Africa, a vessel must circumnavigate the entire quarter to reach the nearest opposite sea. The passage by the South of America is one of great hardship and danger; and even where that continent is the narrowest, it is a voyage of many thousand miles before the opposite shore can be reached. But Australia may be sailed round with the same facility as Great Britain; and, considering the extent, the dangers are not greater. The passage to Asia is direct and short; that to Africa and the West of Ame rica is equally direct; and even to Europe the passage may be made in less time than from the East of Asia or the West of America. If therefore the resources of Australia were properly called forth by a numerous and industrious population, the commercial advantages that it might derive from other lands, and bestow upon them in return, might be greater than can at present be even imagined.
That general notion of so extensive a country, which is essential to the forming of a proper estimate
of its value, can be best obtained by arranging the facts into several sections.
I. GEOGRAPHICAL POSITION AND EXTENT.
Australia, in the most comprehensive meaning of the term, is the general name of very numerous portions of land, all insulated from the rest of the world, and varying in size, from a continent equal to full three-fourths of Europe, to small islets and banks which barely lift their heads above the surrounding ocean, are swept over by the spray of every storm, hardly contain one living vegetable, and most likely have been raised from an unfathomable depth, by small insects, within a period comparatively brief. The whole of those islands lie contiguous to one another, to the South-east of Asia. They may be, in fact, regarded as a continuation of that great cluster of islands, which, beginning at the west point of Sumatra, off the coast of Malaya, in about 5o north latitude, and 95° east longitude from London, stretches eastward almost to 180° northward, as far as 18° north, and southward to nearly 50° south. The portion of them lying northward of 10° south and eastward as far as 130° were known long before the large islands, and very long before the English were established on these; so that a notice relating chiefly to British Australia, may be restricted to the large island of New Holland, the comparatively smaller one of Van Diemen's Land, and the
little isles and islets with which the shores of these are surrounded.
At one time, indeed, a British colony was established much farther to the east, upon Norfolk Island, a small spot, situated in about latitude 30° south, and longitude about 170° east, being about four hundred miles north of New Zealand, and a thousand miles east of the coast of New Holland. That island has a surface of about eleven thousand acres, and the level parts, where the soil is not liable to be washed away by the heavy rains, are very fertile. The island also abounds in Norfolk pines, (Auracaria excelsa), a tree resembling the spruce, and growing to a great height; but the island is surrounded by reefs, contains no natural harbour, and on that account the settlement has been abandoned.
NEW HOLLAND lies to the south-east of Asia, nearly between the meridians of Macao in China, and the Kurile Isles on the north-east of Japan. The nearest continental land is Malaya, the south-east point of Asia, and its distance in a straight line is about one thousand seven hundred miles. The nearest land immediately to the north of it is part of New Guinea, from which it is distant rather more than one hundred miles; and the next in that quarter is the Island of Timor, the largest and southernmost of the Spice Islands, distant about three hundred miles. On the east, the nearest land of any consequence, toward the north part, is New Caledonia, about nine