« AnteriorContinuar »
erected, and an union jack displayed; when the marines fired several volleys; between which the healths of his Majesty and the Royal family, with success to the new colony, were most cordially drunk. A portable canvas house, brought over for the governor, was erected on the east side of the cove, which was named Sydney. * * * Every person belonging to the settlement being landed, the numbers amounted to 1030 persons.
"As soon as the hurry and tumult necessarily attending the disembarkation had a little subsided, the governor caused his Majesty's commission, appointing him to be his Captain-General and Governorin-chief, in and over the territory of New South Wales and its dependencies, to be publicly read, together with letters patent for establishing courts of civil and criminal judicature in the territory."
Such is the recorded account of the first settlement effected, in 1788, in Terra Australis.
In 1843, August 4th, we read in the "Australian," one of the Sydney papers *, as follows:
"Yesterday (August3d) pursuant to the Governor's intimation to the Speaker, Mr. M'Leay, on the occasion of his presentation, his Excellency, Sir George Gipps, proceeded to the Council Chamber, for the purpose of opening the session, and declaring the purposes for which he had summoned the members. At an early hour the house presented an animated and brilliant appearance; most of the seats in the body of the chamber being filled with elegantlydressed ladies, amongst whom we noticed Lady Gipps, Lady O'Connell, Mrs. Deas Thomson, Mrs. George M'Leay, Mrs. C. M. O'Connell, and the female part of most of the families of the members of council and their friends. A guard of honour was drawn up in the court-yard of the chamber, and his Excellency was received with presented arms, the band playing 'God save the Queen.'
* Since my arrival in Sydney, I cannot cease asking myself, am I really in the capital of that "Botany Bay" which has been represented as " The Community of Felons," as "the most demoralised colony known in the history of nations," as "a possession which adds a tarnish rather than a lustre to the British Crown," Sec. &c.
Let the authors of these and other epithets contained in the numerous works which they wrote on New South Wales congratulate and applaud themselves: my mystification was complete. The evening I effected my disembarkation in Sydney, I did it with all imaginable precaution, leaving my watch and purse behind me, and arming myself with a stick; being resolved to encounter inevitable and imminent dangers with the least possible risk !! • * *
I found, however, on that night, in the streets of Sydney, a decency and a quiet which I have never witnessed in any other of the ports of the United Kingdom. No drunkenness, no sailors' quarrels, no appearances of prostitution, were to be seen. George Street, the Regent Street of Sydney, displayed houses and shops modelled after the fashion of those in London; but nowhere did its lamps and the numerous lights in its windows, which reflected upon the crowd, betray any of those signs of a corrupt state of society common to the streets of other capitals. Since then how many nights like the first did I not witness, in which the silence, the feeling of perfect security, and the delicious freshness of the air, mingled with nothing that could break the charm of a solitary walk! At ten o'clock all the streets are deserted: to the bustling industry of the day succeeds a happy repose; and to that again a day of fresh struggles, successes, or failures! Extraordinary race! the only people who—to speak the language of one's own craft — seem subjected to atomic laws, immutable and independent of the varieties of climate ; aggregating by a kind of molecular attraction, constantly in the same order; and expanding, however dispersed, into a similar social structure, thus everywhere preserving those properties and tendencies which nature assigns to their primitive form.
Other races, like true children of the soil, identify themselves with it, draw from it their sustenance, their power, and their nationality; call it country; love and cherish it as such, and cling to its bosom, though at the cost of freedom, of comfort, of property, and even of life. Banished from it, they become but lost wanderers, and soon degenerate; like the alpine rose, which when transplanted even to more genial regions loses its blossoms, and sends forth only thorns.
The hardy nature of the Anglo-Saxon race is proof against the effects of transplantation: for it does not depend on the soil either for its character or its nationality: the Anglo-Saxon reproduces his country wherever he hoists his country's flag.
The United Kingdom is far from furnishing a just idea of this race. The traveller there is like one buried in the entrails of a colossus. It is in the United States, in the West Indies, in the factories of South America and China, in the East Indies, and in this town of Sydney, that the prodigious expansion of the Anglo-Saxon life, the gigantic dimensions of its stature and the energy of its functions, are fully perceived and appreciated. — MS. Journal of the Author.
"The Governor was received at the door of the council chamber by the Speaker, who conducted him to the vice-regal chair prepared for him on the left of the Speaker's chair. At this moment the appearance of the house was extremely striking; the elegant costumes of the ladies, and the brilliant uniforms of the official and military members, and of the numerous staff, which occupied places below the viceregal chair, completing the raise en scene, which was in every respect worthy of the occasion. The mayor, aldermen, and common council of the city were accommodated with seats within the bar. The strangers' gallery was crowded to excess, as was also the reporters' gallery — of which, however, we should be ungrateful to complain, inasmuch as every desire has been evinced by Mr. Lewis and the other authorities to meet the views and adopt the suggestions of the respective journals. Reverting to the brilliant appearance of the chamber, we must not omit to notice the prompt adoption of our hint by Mr. W. C. Wentworth, who, on this occasion, appeared in the usual costume of the time — a mark of good sense that we gladly recognise.
"His Excellency having taken his seat, delivered the following address: —
"Gentlemen of the Legislative Council.
"The time has at length arrived which has, for many years, been anxiously looked forward to by us all; and I have this day the pleasure to meet, for the first time, the Legislative Council of New South Wales, enlarged as it has been under the statute recently passed by the Imperial Parliament for the government of the colony. I congratulate you very sincerely on the introduction of popular representation into our constitution, and I heartily welcome to this chamber the first representatives of the people.
"The period, gentlemen, at which you enter on your functions, is one of acknowledged difficulty, and it is therefore more grateful to me to have my own labours and responsibilities lightened by your co-operation and assistance.
"I shall most readily concur with you in any measures which may be calculated to develope the resources of the colony, by calling into action the energies of the people, taking care, however, that we proceed on sure principles, and not overlooking the great truths, that the enterprise of individuals is ever most active, when left as far as possible unshackled by legislative enactment, and that industry and economy are the only sure foundations of wealth. Great as undoubtedly are the embarrassments under which numbers, even of the most respectable, of our fellow-subjects in the colony are now labouring, it is consolatory to me to think, that grievous though they lie to individuals, they are not of a nature permanently to injure us as a community; that, on the contrary, they may be looked on as forming one of those alterations in the progress of human events, which occur in all countries, and perhaps most frequently in those whose general prosperity is the greatest.
"Nor should we, gentlemen, enter upon the labours of this session, without making our grateful acknowledgments to Almighty God, for the many blessings he has showered down upon us. Our embarrassments may be the effect of our own errors — but it is to His bounty and goodness we are indebted, that the fruits of the earth, as well as the productions of industry, abound throughout the land. If, in addition to the monetary confusion which has grown out of our excessive speculations, it had pleased the Almighty further to chastise us with drought or scarcity, the condition of New South Wales, and more particularly that of the labouring classes of its population, might have been lamentable indeed. As it is I do not doubt that, by frugality and prudence, we may overcome all our difficulties; and, I am happy to say, there is nothing in what more immediately concerns the government, to lessen in any degree the confidence which I feel in the stability of the country. Cheapness and plenty cannot be permanent impediments to the advancement of any community.
"I shall immediately cause to be laid before you numerous public documents of much importance, and some projects for amendment in the law. Amongst these latter will be the draft of an Act for the establishment of a General Registry, and of one to regulate the office of sheriff. I shall also have to direct your attention to the state of the law under which the Savings' Bank of the colony is established: the propriety will, I think, be readily admitted of placing the credit of this most useful institution beyond the reach of doubt.
"I shall speedily cause the Estimates for the year 1844 to be brought under your consideration, and take advantage of that occasion to make a clear exposition of the financial state of the colony.
"The despatch from the Secretary of State, No. 181, of the 5th September, 1842, is a document of such importance, that I think it ought to appear on the record of your proceedings, and accordingly I shall lay it before you, notwithstanding it has been already printed by order of the late council.
"In this despatch, the views are explained of Her Majesty's government in respect to the Act of Parhament under the provisions of which I now meet you for the first time in this chamber.