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the English race cling to their original modes of living, wherever they settle, and, however different their adopted may be, to their native climate: it is to the abuse of strong wines, malt liquors, and spirits, and particularly to the excessive consumption of animal food of the richest description, and even to the mode of clothing and housing, that individual diseases, such as dyspepsia, premature decay of teeth, and affection of the brain, may be attributed.
The climate of New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land, farther, has never been shown to have exercised any of those deadly or deleterious effects on the constitutions of the first European emigrants, or of those who have followed them, which many climates, highly vaunted for their excellency, have done.
In that delicious abode, the Island of Penang, there was pointed out to me the talus of a range of the richest growth of nutmeg, coffee, and mangustine trees, blending into a not less luxurious platform of. gardens and plantations, but which, before it was brought to its present admirable state of cultivation, cost the lives of thousands of Europeans and natives. The clearing of the talus and the plain from the dense forest caused a sudden access of air, light, and heat, which accelerated the decomposition of the vegetable deposits accumulated for ages, and the consequent disengagement of all the noxious gases most prejudicial to animal life. The West of the United States of North America, nay even the Eastern States, including East shore of the beautiful Hudson itself, are afflicted with the constant presence of fever and ague! On the banks of the Ohio and Mississippi, where the fertility of the soil is great beyond comparison, I still saw it raging, which it will continue to do until the virgin soil shall, by cultivation, clearing, introduction of European flocks, &c., be purged from those noxious elements, which now, in chemical combination with
the atmosphere, render the respirable air so prejudicial to human health.
But the climate of New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land, as we see it in the present day, is very different from what it was, before those colonies were brought within the pale of civilisation. Records are wanting to show with certainty the extent of the mutation which civilisation has effected: reasoning, however, from analogous causes and effects, we cannot much err in affirming that the destruction of thick herbaceous underwood scrubbs, and thick interwoven forest, must have necessarily rendered the climate drier; just as the 250,000 acres of cultivated land in those colonies, freed from the bad conductors of heat which encumbered their surface, have developed their powers of absorption and radiation, and thus naturally contributed towards the increase of the mean annual temperature.
The climate, however, though both drier and hotter, is far from being improved. A still farther development of the science and industry of civilisation is wanted to check the evils with which the lack of moisture, and the presence of parching heat, threaten the interests of agriculture.
Already the writer's humble remarks, contained in in a Letter to His Excellency Sir John Franklin *, and in which the advantages and facilities of irrigation were pointed out, and the relative heights of lakes and rivers, and of farms suited to such operation, were given, have awakened a noble emulation amongst the settlers of Van Diemen's Land, and the introduction of this potent auxiliary of agriculture has begun on a large scale.
* See Vol. I. No. 2. of the “ Tasmanian Journal of Natural Science, Agriculture, Statistics,” &c., published at Hobart Town, under the patronage of His Excellency the Governor, Sir John Franklin,
Some most valuable results have been already attained through its agency ; others are still waiting to be developed; but all of them will react most beneficially upon the climate of the colonies, and will thus identify the struggles of the Australian settlers with the most noble conquests of modern times.
HITHERTO, whether directing our inquiry to the geology of New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land, or to their respective climates, we have met invariably with striking instances, either of identity or analogy, by which they are assimilated to Europe and America.
On examining, however, the indigenous organic forms of New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land, we find that they exhibit, in common with the rest of New Holland, a general physiognomy, which is exceptive with respect to the rest of the globe; and that this general aspect or physiognomy is especially remarkable in the peculiar vegetation which pervades the whole of Terra Australis.
Throughout the immense coast line of this continent, the aspect of the vegetation is characterised by a striking dulness and uniformity of hue, arising, according to R. Brown, from its remarkable peculiarity of structure.* The distances over which that vegetation is spread, and the different positions it occupies, produce little change in its external appear
* “Quod magis notatu dignum, ob numerum admodum insignem Arborum et Fruticum Australasiæ in quibus pagina utraque pariter glandulis instructa est; cujus structuræ prævalentia, verticali positione et exactâ similitudine paginarum sæpè comitatæ, characterem ferè peculiarem sylvis, præsertim extratropicis, Novæ Hollandiæ et Insulæ Van Diemen, impertit." - Supplementum Primum Prodromi Flora Nove Hollandiæ Præmonenda. Robertus Brown. Londini, 1830.
ance. The course of the seasons even, which in extratropical countries causes the leaves to fall, and diversifies the foliage with the fresh bright verdure of spring or the gorgeous and variegated tints of autumn, has no influence upon the unvaried mantle of olive-green which clothes the forests of Australia.
On a near examination, however, this vegetation is discovered to possess much gracefulness in the form both of species and of individual trees, and many delicate or minute shades in its verdure, which, combined with the ever changing ash-grey colour of the shedding bark of the Eucalyptæ, the undulating and often broken surface upon which it thrives, and the resplendent sky above, present a world of interest and attraction. Frequently, it is so grouped as to exhibit contrasts of surpassing beauty, the more striking because they are abrupt and little expected. Amid the apparent sameness of the forest, may be often found spots teeming with a gigantic and luxuriant vegetation, sometimes laid out in stately groves, free from thicket or underwood, sometimes opening on glades and slopes, intersected with rivulets, carpetted with the softest turf, and which lack only the thatched and gabled cottage, with its blue smoke curling amid the trees, to realise a purely European picture. Sometimes, again, the forest skirts an open country of hill and plain, gracefully sprinkled with isolated clumps of trees, covered with the richest tufted herbage, and enamelled with flowers of varied form and colour; or it is lost in immense thickets, where innumerable flowering shrubs, and elegant interwoven creepers, form bowers as impenetrable and as picturesque as those seen in the forests of Brazil.*
* Brazil, Sierra Estrella, 1835. - To explore, as it were, the recesses of the magnificent picture which we contemplate from the bay of Rio de Janeiro with an ever-increasing pleasure, to penetrate the