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Conclusion.

August 9th.—The vessel in which I had taken a passage for my family and myself being advertised to sail on the 15th instant, I repaired on board this morning with some of the luggage. What was my dismay, to


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find that there was not a single able-bodied seaman on board! All had deserted, or were believed to have deserted for the diggings. I had broken up my establishment, sold off furniture, horses, &c., closed my accounts, and was ill-disposed to await for an indefinite period the subsidence of the gold-fever, in order to obtain a passage to England.

Our great, round-ribbed vessel was loaded up to her hatches with a few bales of wool, and an “intolerable quantity” of tallow, hides, horns, and hoofs, and such-like abominations, the usual exports at this time of the year. The passengers' baggage was on board, and some of the passengers themselves. The Captain was at his wit's end. Three mates and as many cabin-boys to work a ship of eight or nine hundred tons! In vain he moved land police and water police to recover his runaways. A few of them indeed came draggling in, from sheer satiety of Sydney back-slums—yet there was not even a nucleus to form a crew upon. By a happy accident one resource was left to us. “If I can't get my men by dint of stimulating the local authorities”—exclaimed the worthy Captain in a transport of inspiration—“Acheronte movebo, I will try the Acheron!”

H. M. Steamer of that name was in the act of being paid off at Sydney, or rather she was to remain in this port for orders, and the officers and crew were to be disposed of in such manner as the senior naval officer might appoint. H. M. S. Havannah, which sailed for


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England on the 18th August, gave passages, I believe, to most of the officers and seamen; and Sir Everard Home, in compassion to our distress, allotted fifteen or sixteen good hands to the Mount Stuart Elphinstone. These men, as well as the merchant seamen whom the master was enabled to pick up, stipulated for the high rate of wages of 4l. 10s. a-month, or three shillings a-day, with a double allowance of grog. Thus did the gold-find affect certain interests.

On Sunday, the 24th August, the vessel got under weigh. On the following day we lost sight of the coasts of New Holland; and on the 11th January, 1852, we reached England, viâ Cape Horn, after a protracted and tedious passage;—the author, a somewhat slower fellow than Ariel—having “put a girdle round about the earth in” rather less than six years.

I have had enough of new, raw colonies! Glad am I to exchange a country—replete indeed with grand natural qualities, wonderful, it is true, in its crude, awkward, infantine strength; but a country without a yesterday; without a single link, moral or material, connecting the Present and the Past with anything like pleasing retrospection; a country still hammering at its “little go” in the arts and sciences as well as the conveniences and embellishments of life;—for a “land of old renown,” whose every corner has its story, its hero, or its victim, its memories of glory or of guilt;—where the dim traditions


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of successive generations, through endless centuries, arrest the sympathies of the passer-by, chaining them to the time-honoured spots;—a land of “cloud-capp'd towers, and gorgeous palaces, and solemn temples,” where the hoary ruin, standing grandly aloft and aloof amid modern innovations, reminds the votary of Progress, that there were days of wealth and power and splendour and enjoyment before Steam and Reform and the Crystal Palace had ever been dreamt of; before the extravagance of one order and the skill and energy of another had housed the cotton-spinner and the clothier in the ancestral halls of the baron and the squire, and when the yeoman and the retainer were to the full as happy and twice as contented as the farmer and cottier of to-day;—the land of the oak and the holly, and the “clustering filberds”—a land of statues and pictures—of French cooks and Italian singers!—of parks and pleasure-grounds and gardens, of lakes and rivers and railways; the land of the fleet fox-hound, the feathery gorse covert, the flying fence and the echoing woodland—of the gun and the grouse, the moor and the marsh, the deep dark salmon-hole and the rippling trout-stream, the emerald meadow and the fresh springy down, where elf and fairy (or legends lie!) still “dance their ringlets to the whistling wind;”—and, to contract the scene of my aspirations—to draw nearer home and to grow warmer as I draw nearer—the land, where, with a rapture tempered by pious sorrow, I shall stand once again on the


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family hearth, whose circle, alas! has been narrowed by more than one grievous loss since I last sat within it, but in which there yet remain loving hearts and open arms to welcome back the wayworn pilgrim to his native home.

This journal may find its way to the country of my late sojourn. I feel pleasure in devoting its latest paragraph to the acknowledgment of how many happy hours I passed and how many kind friends I possessed within the boundaries of New South Wales.

If I could think that in ever so slight a degree these my humble and desultory volumes may tend to modify any impressions imbibed to her prejudice, and may heighten the favourable aspect in which she is viewed at Home—the reflection would afford me the highest gratification.

Whether or not it may be my destiny to revisit the Colony, it is impossible for me to foresee;—but, so long as I live, I shall watch her progress with interest and solicitude; and, while predicting for her a prosperous future, I shall be disappointed if she achieve not a brilliant one.

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