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THE

MONTHLY MAGAZINE.

No. 189.]

SEPTEMBER 1, 1809.

[2 of VOL. 28.

**As long as thofe who write are ambitious of making Converts, and of giving for their Opinions a Maximum of Influence and Celebrity, the most extenfively circulated Mifcellany will repay with the greatest Effect the Curiofty of those who read either for Amusement or Inftruation."-JOHNSON.

ORIGINAL COMMUNICATIONS,

For the Monthly Magazine.
DESCRIPTION of SYDNEY TOWN, the CA-
PITAL of the ENGLISH COLONIES, in
NEW SOUTH WALES; translated from
the new work of M. PERON, the NATU-
RALIST, who accompanied the VOYAGE
of DISCOVERY made by order of BUO-
NAPARTE, in the SOUTHERN
PHERE, between 1800, and 1804.*

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T was on the 27th of June, in the evening, says M. Peron, that our vessel arrived in sight of Port Jackson, and a few days afterwards, the other two ships got safe into the harbour, after having, through the obstinacy of Captain Hamelin, the commander of the expedi-tion, been for a considerable time in the greatest danger.

Our arrival at Port Jackson, did not excite so much surprise amongst the co. lonists, as might have been expected; but for ourselves, we were completely astonished at the flourishing state in which we found this singular, and distant, establishment: the beauty of the -Port, at first attracted our whole attention. From an entrance, says Commodore Philip, (whose description is not in the least exaggerated,) of not more than two miles across, Port Jackson gradually opens, till it forms a spacious harbour, with sufficient depth of water for the largest ships, and room enough to contain, in perfect safety, all that could on any occasion be collected. Even a thousand ships of the line might manœuvre here with ease. The bay takes

Our readers may recollect, that this expedition was sent out by Buonaparte, soon after his assumption of the dignity of First Consul. It consisted of the ships named, Le Geographe, le Naturaliste, and le Casuarina.

They touched first at the Isle of France, and afterwards visited several other islands in the Indian ocean; but the grand object of the men of science, who accompanied it, seems to have been, to ascertain the present state, and natural advantages of our colony of Botany Bay; of which they have given an ample, and interesting report.

MONTHLY MAG. No. 189,

a western direction, extends to the distance of thirteen miles inland, and has at least a hundred little creeks, formed by ford excellent shelter against winds, frojn very narrow tongues of land, which af any point of the compass.

Towards the middle of this magnificent port, and on its southern bank, in one of the principal creeks, rises Sydney Town, the capital of the county of Cumberland, and of all the English colonies in this part of the world: seated at the base of two hills, that are contiguous to each other, and having the advantage of a rivulet, which runs completely through it, this infant town affords a view, at once agreeable and picturesque. To the right, and at the north point of Sydney which is built upon a rock, difficult of Cove, you perceive the signal battery, access: six pieces of cannon, protected by a turf entrenchment, cross their fire with that of another battery, which I shall presently mention; and thus defend, in the most effectual manner, the approach to the harbour and the town. Farther on, appear the large buildings that form the hospital, and which are capable of containing two or three hundred sick.

there is one particularly worthy of noAmongst these buildings, tice, as all the parts of it were prepared in Europe, and brought out in Commo days after its arrival, there was an hosdore Philip's squadron; so that in a few pital ready to receive such of the crews as were sick. On the same side of the town, at the sea shore, you observe a very fiue magazine, to which the largest ships can come up, and discharge their cargoes. In the same direction are several private docks, in which are built brigs and cutters, of different sizes, for the purpose of trading either inland, or beyond the colony. These vessels, which are from fifty, to three hundred tons burthen, are built entirely with the native wood; even their masts are obtained from the forests of the colony.

The discovery of the Strait, which separates New Holland from Van R Diemen's

Diemen's land, was made in a simple whale-sloop, commanded by Mr. Bass, the surgeon of the Reliance. This ves. sel may be said to have been consecrated to that great discovery, and hazardous, navigation; for it is preserved in the har bour, with a sort of religious veneration: some snuff-boxes have been made out of its keel, of which the possessors are both proud and jealous; and the governor himself thought he could not make a more acceptable present to our chief, than a piece of the wood of this sloop, enchased in a large silver tooth-pick box; round which were engraved the principal particulars of the discovery of Bass's Straits.

are deposited all the dried pulse and corn, belonging to the state. It is a sort of public granary, intended for the support of the troops, and the people who receive their subsistence from the government. The barracks occupy a considerable square, and have in front several field-pieces; the edifices, for the accommodation of the officers, form the lateral parts, or ends of the building; and the powder magazine is in the middle. Near this, in a small private house, thre principal civil and military oflicers assemble. It is a sort of coffee-house, maintained by subscription,' in which there are several amusements, but particularly billiards; at which any person may play, free of expence Behind the armoury, is a large square tower, which serves for an observatory to those English officers, who study astronomy: at the base of this tower, the foundation of a church has been laid, of which the building, just mentioned, is intended to form the steeple; but a structure of this kind, requiring considerable time, labour, and expence, the governors have hitherto neglected to carry it into execution; preferring the formation of such establish

It is at the spot called, Hospital Creek, that the ships of individuals unload their cargoes. Beyond the hospital, in the same line, is the prison, which has several dungeons, capable of holding from an hundred and fifty, to two hundred prisoners; it is surrounded by a high and strong wall, and has a numerous guard on duty, both by day and night. A short distance from the prison is the storehouse, for the reception of wines, spirituous liquors, salt provisions, &c. In the front of it is the armoury, where the garments, as are more immediately neces rison is drawn up every morning; accompanied by a numerous and well composed band, belonging to the New South Wales regiment. The whole western part of this spot, is occupied by the house of the lieutenant-governor-general; behind which is a vast garden, which is worth the attention both of the philoSopher and the naturalist, on account of the great number of useful vegetables which are cultivated in it; and which have been procured from every part of the world, by its present respectable possessor, Mr. Paterson, a distinguished traveller, and member of the Royal Society of London. Between the house and the magazine, just mentioned, is the public school: here are educated in the principles of religion, morality, and virtue, those young females, who are the hope of the rising colouy; but whose parents are either too degenerate, or too poor, to give them proper instruction. In the public school, however, under respectable matrons, they are taught, from their earliest years, all the duties of a good mother of a family. Such is one great advantage of the excellent colonial system, established in these distant regions.

Behind the house of the lieutenantgovernor-general, in a large magazine,

sary for the preservation of the colony. While waiting, however, for the erection of a church, divine service is performed in one of the apartments of the great corn-magazine. Two fine wind-mills teminate on this side the series of the principal public edifices. Over the rivulet that intersects the town, there was a wooden bridge, which, together with a strong causeway, may be said to occupy all the bottom of the valley. We passed over this bridge, in order to take a rapid view of the eastern part of Sydney Town. Before our departure, the wooden bridge was destroyed, to make way for one which they were about to build of stone; at the same time, a water-mill was built here by the govern ment, and strong locks had been formed, either to keep in the water of the rivulet, or to stop that of the marshes, which runs to a considerable distance into the valley, and might be advantageously employed in turning the mill.

At the east point of the creek is a second battery, the fire of which crosses that of the signal station. The one of which I am now speaking, was dismantled

at the time of our arrival at Port Jackson; but it has been put in order since our departure. Ou the shore, as you approach the town, is a small salt-pit,

where.

where the Americans, who were allowed to settle for the purpose at Port Jackson, iu 1795, prepared most of the salt used in the colony. Farther on, and towards the bottom of the harbour, is the part called Government Creek, because it is reserved for the agents and vessels of the state. Between this creek and the saltpit, is the place for docking and careening the ships. The natural quays are so perpendicular, and well formed, that without any kind of labour or expeuse, on the part of the English, the largest ships might be laid along them in perfect security. Near the Government Creek, are three public magazines, one of which contains all the articles necessary for the various purposes of domestic life, such as earthenware, household furniture, culinary utensils, instruments of agricul ture, &c. The number of these articies that is here amassed, is truly astonishing, and the mode in which they are delivered out, is wise and salutary. In this distant country, the merchandizes of Europe bear so high a price, that it would have been next to impossible for the population to procure such as are indispensable to the common wants of life: the English government has therefore anticipated these wants, by filling large storehouses with every article that can be required, all of which are delivered to the colonists, at fixed prices, that are extremely moderate; sometimes even below what they cost in Europe. But in order to prevent avaricious speculations, or waste, no one is admitted into these depots without a written order from the governor; in which are specified the articles that the bearer is in need of In another house are preserved, the different uniforms and cloathing for the troops and convicts, as well as vast quantities of sail-cloth and cordage for the government Ships. The last of the three buildings just mentioned, is a kind of públic manufactory; in which are em ployed female convicts. Behind these magazines is the governor's house, which is built in the Italian style, surrounded by a colonnade, as simple as it is elegant, and in front of which is a fine garden, that descends to the sea-shore: already in this garden may be seen, the Norfolk Island pine, the superb Columbia, grow ing by the side of the bambou of Asia: farther on is the Portugal orange, and Canary fig, ripening beneath the shade of the French apple-tree: the cherry, peach, pear, and apricot, are interspersed

amongst the Banksia, Metrosideros, Correa, Melaleuca, Casuarina, Eucalyptus, and a great number of other indigenous trees. Beyond the government garden, on the other side of a neighbouring hill, is the windmill, the bakehouse, and the state ovens, that are used for making ship biscuit: these are capable of furnishing from fifteen, to eighteen hundred pounds per day. Not far from a contiguous creek, at a spot which the natives call, Wallamoula, is the charming habitation of Mr. Palmer, the commissary general; a rivulet of fresh water runs before it, and empties itself into the creek, which here forms a safe and convenient basin. Here Mr. Palmer bas built several small vessels, which he employs in whale fishing, and catching phoce, or sea elephants, either at New Zealand, or in Bass's Straits. The neighbouring brick-fields, furnish a consider able quantity of bricks and tiles, for the public and private buildings of the colony.

A short distance to the southward of Sydney Town, to the left of the great road that leads to Parramatta, you ob serve the remains of the first gibbet that was erected on the Continent of New Holland. The increase of habitations having caused it to be, as it were, surrounded, it has been succeeded by another, that has been erected farther off, in the same direction, and near the vil lage of Brick-field. This village, which consists of about two score of houses, contains several manufactories of tiles, earthen-ware, crockery, &c. its scite is agreeable, and the soil, less sterile than that of Sydney, is better adapted to the different kinds of cultivation that have been introduced into these distant regions.

The great road just mentioned, passes through the middle of Brick-field; while a small rivulet intersects it, in an opposite direction; between this village and Sydney Town, is the public burying-ground, which is already rendered an object of interest and curiosity, by several striking monuments that have been erected in it; and the execution of which is much better, than could reasonably have been expected from the state of the arts, in so young a colony.

A crowd of objects, equally interesting, demanded our notice in every direction. In the port we saw, drawn up together, a number of vessels that had arrived from different parts of the world, and

most

to them.

the influence of social institutions proved
in a manner more striking and honour-
able to the distant country in question.
Here we found united, like one family,
those banditti, who had so long been the
terror of their mother country: repelled
from European society, and sent off to the
extremity of the globe; placed from the
very hour of their exile, in a state be-
tween the certainty of chastisement, and
the hope of a better fate; incessantly
subjected to an inspection, as inflexible
as it is active, they have been compelled
to abandon their anti-social manners;

and the majority of them, having ex-
piated their crimes, by a hard period of
slavery, have been restored to the rank
which they held amongst their fellow-
men. Obliged to interest themselves in
the maintenance of order and justice,
for the purpose
the proper
of preserving
ty which they have acquired; while they
behold themselves in the situation of hus-
bands and fathers, they have the most
interesting and powerful motives for be-
coming good meinbers of the community
in which they exist.

most of which were destined to perform new and difficult voyages. Some of them had come from the banks of the Thames, or the Shannon, to pursue whale-fishing, on the frigid shores of New Zealand: others, bound to China, after depositing the freight which they had received from the English government, for this colony, were preparing to sail for the mouth of the Yellow-river; while some, laden with pit-coal, were about to convey that precious combustible to India, and the Cape of Good Hope. Several smaller vessels were on their way to Bass's Straits, to receive skins, collected by a few individuals, who bad established themselves on the isles of those Straits, to catch the marine animals that resort Other ships, stronger built than those just alluded to, and manned by more numerous and daring crews, who were provided with all kinds of arms, were on the point of sailing for the western coast of America. Laden with various sorts of merchandize, these vessels were intended to carry on, by force of arms, a contraband trade on the Peruvian shores, The same revolution, effected by the which could not fail to prove extremely some means, has taken place amongst the advantageous to the adventurers. Here women: and those who were wretched they were preparing an expedition, to carry on a skin trade, with the people of prostitutes, have imperceptibly been the north-west shores of America; there brought to a regular mode of life; and now form intelligent and laborious mothers of all hands were engaged in sending off a ficet of provision-ships to the Navigators', families. But it is not merely in the moral character of the women, that these the Friendly, and the Society, islands, to procure for the colony a stock of salt important alterations are discoverable, provisions. At the same time, the in- but also in their physical condition, the results of which are worthy the considertrepid Captain Flinders, after effecting a Junction with his companion-ship, the ation, both of the legislator and the phi Lady Nelson, was getting ready to con- losopher. For example, every body tinue his grand voyage round New Hol- knows that the common women of great capitals, are in general unfruitful; at land; a voyage which was soon afterwards terminated by the greatest mis- Petersburgh, and Madrid, at Paris, and fortunes. In short, at this period, the London, pregnancy is a sort of phenomenon amongst persons of that descriptiharbour of Port Jackson had become on; though we are unable to assign any familiar to the American navigators, and their flag was continually flying in it, other cause, than a sort of insusceptibility of conception: the difficulty of reduring our residence. searches, as to this subject, has prevented philosophers from determining how far this sterility ought to be attributed to the mode of life of such women; and to what degree it may be modified or altered, by a change of condition and manners.

All these great maritime operations gave to the place a character of importance and activity, far beyond what we expected to meet with on shores, scarcely known to Europeans, even by name, and the interest we took in the scene, was only equalled by our admiration.

The population of the colony, was to us a new subject of astonishinent and contemplation. Perhaps there never was a more worthy object of study, presented to the philosopher;-never was

But both these problems are resolved, by what takes place in the singular establishment that we are describing. After residing a year or two at Port Jackson, most of the English prostitutes become remarkably fruitful; and what, in my opinion, clearly proves that the ef

fect

fect arises much less from the climate, the English government behaved to us, than from the change of manners amongst with such generosity, that they acquired the women, is, that those prostitutes in our warmest gratitude. the colony, who are permitted by the police to continue in their immoral way of life, remain barren the same as in Europe. Hence we may be permitted to deduce the important physiological resuit, that an excess of sexual intercource destroys the sensibility of the female organs, to such a degree, as to render them incapable of conception; while, to restore the frame to its pristine activity, nothing is necessary but to renounce those fatal excesses.

While we were reflecting on these numerous and interesting subjects, all the officers and principal citizens of the co lony were unremitting in their assiduities towards us. Our numerous sick were received into the government hospital, where the English surgeons paid them all possible attention. Doctor THOMSON, the chief physician of the colony, directed the mode of treatment with the greatest tenderness: and whatever we were in need of, that the place could furnish, was put at our disposal. The governorgeneral gave us an unlimited credit on the public treasury, and our Commodore was furnished with royal printed checks, to fill up, with any sum that he might wish for; and these checks, without any other security than the signature of the French commandant, were accepted by the inhabitants, with a confidence highly honourable to the government of our country. Our salt provisions, spirits, and biscuits, were exhausted; but by means of these checks we obtained fresh supplies; and several times the magazines of the colony were opened to supply us with articles, which our agents could not procure. Thus, by this generous relief, we were enabled to re-clothe our crews, who were in want of every thing; repair our ships, purchase one, instead of that we had lost; and be completely prepared for continuing our voyage.

At the same time, our scientific researches met with every encouragement; a guard of English soldiers was appointed expressly to protect our observatory, which we placed on the north point of the eastern bank of Sydney Cove. The whole of the country was open to the excursions of our naturalists, and we were even permitted to wear our arms, as were the persons of our suite: while guides and interpreters were furnished us, for our longest journies. In short,

The principal object of our stay at Port Jackson, was, that we might devote proper attention to every part of the surrounding country. While our crews were repairing the damages the ships had sustained, and getting in fresh supplies of provisions, the naturalists extended their researches to every branch of the physical history of this interesting country. The scurvy, which had affected all my joints with swellings and stiffness, had already begun to yield to the influence of diet and the climate; and as soon as I was able, I went down to the coast of Botany Bay, the harbour of which is situated some leagues to the south of Port Jackson. A large and commodious road leads from Sydney Town, to this great bay: all the intermediate country is sandy and barren, and appears unfit for any kind of cultivation; consequently one does not meet with any European habitations. After passing the high hill, at the foot of which is the establishment of Mr. Palmer, the country opens upon a sandy plain, which extends as far as the swampy banks of Cook's river. Various species of Hakea, Styphelia, Eucalyptus, Banksia, Embothryum, and Casuarina, grow amidst these sands, and large spaces are occupied entirely with the Xanthorea, the gigantic stalks of which grow to the height of from eighteen to twenty feet. In the distance may be perceived the smoke of a few huts, belonging to those unfortunate hordes of natives, who exist on these desolate shores.

As you approach towards Botany Bay, the land gradually sinks, till you reach the dangerous swamps formed by the brackish waters of Cook's river, towards the north, and of George river, to the south. These marshes are so extensive, and often so deep, that it is impossible in many parts to pass them, if you want to reach the sea. On their banks, and all along the two rivers just mentioned, vegetation is very active: a thousand species of trees and shrubs, which cover the surface of the soil, afforded to that part of the country which we occupied, a delightful appearance; it was this circumstance which deceived Captain Cook, and his brave companions; for they supposed the land to be unparalleled in point of fertility. It would have been well, however, if this bay, so celebrated by those navigators, had justified the great ideas which they

formed

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