― 234 ―
view facsimile




“I REGRET to learn from your letter, that your affairs in England are not going on prosperously, and that you are obliged to turn your attention to some new method of obtaining an income, and, indeed, as you express it, of saving your remaining capital. As to your inquiries about the prudence of emigration, and of bringing your family to this colony, I will reply to them as well as I can, and at least you may be certain that I would not wilfully mislead you. But I may, perhaps, be imbued with the feeling which one acquires in this place, and I suppose it is the same in all colonies; I mean, the desire which one conceives of inducing others to come out. This feeling, I

  ― 235 ―
view facsimile

think, is often prompted by the consideration that all new-comers help to keep up the price of stock and to increase the value of land; for the more inhabitants there are in a country, the more valuable stock and land must neeessarily become. I don't know how far such a feeling may possess me in writing to you this letter; but I trust that I am actuated by a better motive; by the sincere desire of preventing you from gradually eating up your remaining capital in England, and of assisting you to realise an independence in this part of the globe for yourself and your family. Mind, I do not advise any one to quit an established country, in which all the arts of civilisation and refinement are in full operation, and to change an old country for a new one, if his means will allow him to remain on the soil where he was born, with a fair prospect of settling his children well in life; for that is the main point, after all. It seems to me, that, voluntarily to remove to a new colony is like putting yourself back in the age of the world for some hundreds of years, by relinquishing the point of civilisation and progress reached by the old country. I regard emigration merely as a question of necessity; and taking for

  ― 236 ―
view facsimile

granted that such a necessity has arisen in your case, according to the expressions in your letter, I will give you my reasons for advising you not to waste your time and money by useless delay. The great inducement for your leaving England for this colony is the certainty of gaining an independence here for your family, which it seems is a very uncertain matter at home. Perfect ease is out of the question in this, as well as in every other country; but a country life may be passed here very pleasantly, and every day society is getting better. You can easily imagine that there cannot be a very numerous society in a country where, of necessity, settlers must live widely apart, in order to have room for the breed of the sheep and cattle; but the colonists here are of a good class, and as they are all of an active and adventurous turn of mind—as their coming here proves—they are always pleasant companions, full of thoughts and inventions, to which their position incessantly incites them.

“A great point in selecting a part of the world for emigration is the climate; and for those who can afford the cost, I am decidedly of opinion, that, in this respect, Australia is incomparably

  ― 237 ―
view facsimile

superior to the United States or the Canadas. The Canadas have a prodigious advantage in locality over these remote countries, inasmuch as they are much nearer home; but, for my own part, I look on climate as so essential a point, that I think it more than counterbalances the comparative propinquity of the Canadas to the mother-country. The climate of all parts of Australia, so far as experience has tested it, is healthy; but I think the climate of Van Diemen's Land superior to all the other territories of Australia, if you except, perhaps, New Zealand. You will observe by the map, that Van Diemen's Land lies to the south of the large continental island of New South Wales, and consequently, the climate is of a lower temperature, more congenial to an English constitution. It is very variable, and the mornings and evenings for eight months of the year—I mean the early mornings, from four o'clock till eight—are cold enough to make a fire agreeable; but the variableness of the climate does not make it unhealthy; and in the middle of summer, although it is hot, I have never hesitated to do any out-door work the same as in England. As to illness, I really may say it is scarcely known

  ― 238 ―
view facsimile

in the colony. For seven years that I have been here, not one member of my family has had a day's illness. I don't know whether it is imagination or reality, but I fancy that the air of this country is singularly pure and exhilarating; this state of the atmosphere may be caused by its insular position, and from its being exposed to the gales and regular sea-breezes from the south, which, from the small size of the island, are able to sweep over it from end to end, and to clear it constantly from all atmospherical impurities. So much for the climate; now for the land.

“A critical examiner of the soil would pronounce the land in this colony to be, generally, far from first rate; and a very great deal of it very poor land indeed. But whatever may be the quality of the soil, everything that you put in it grows well. It is a truth, that all crops—wheat, barley, oats, potatoes, all sorts of vegetables, and all sorts of garden trees and fruits—are so positively sure of succeeding in this country, that most of the agricultural and horticultural anxieties, vexations, and disappointments, and it may be added, losses, so heart-breaking to a farmer or gardener in England, are here unknown. I cannot

  ― 239 ―
view facsimile

exactly vouch for the fact, that if you stick a crow-bar into the ground overnight, it will sprout out into tenpenny nails the next morning; but really, without exaggeration, vegetation in this country is most extraordinary. Whatever is put in the soil of Van Diemen's Land will grow, almost without distinction of seasons; for if you put your seed or your sprig in at the wrong time, if it can't grow as it ought, it will make a desperate try at it. When I first came here, I asked the proper season for sowing wheat, and I was told April; I remember I put some in, as an experiment, in the middle of November; by the middle of January it was in full ear; and though the soil in which it was put had never been ploughed before, and then only once in a rough manner, and the grass was growing all the time on the huge sods between which the seed was cast, it produced more than fifteen bushels an acre; the following year it produced forty bushels; so great is the fertility of this virgin soil, and so genial to growth is the climate.

“As to the garden, you may grow almost what you please in it, and how you please. Our raspberries are the finest I ever saw, and as to currants

  ― 240 ―
view facsimile

and gooseberries, particularly the currants, they revel in their luxuriance. We take no great pains in our transplanting and grafting. Stick in your cutting, and it is sure to grow. I have not done anything yet in the way of grapes; we have not the patience to wait for the slow growth of the vine; we are spoiled by the quick growth of our fruits and flowers; but I see no reason why the vine should not succeed here, particularly the more hardy sorts. But of all the things that grow, the most astonishing, certainly, are our pumpkins and vegetable marrows. It is hardly too much to say that you may see them grow; but we don't care much for them.

“I ought to mention that we export a good deal of wheat to Sydney. From some cause or other, that part of Australia is subject to droughts; and the wheat grown there is not so good as that grown in Van Diemen's Land; at least the dealers and millers prefer our wheat, and will give a higher price for it than for the Sydney-grown wheat. I think that the port of Sydney may always be depended on as a sure market for a large quantity of Van Diemen's Land wheat. I may say also, that, from the greater warmth of the

  ― 241 ―
view facsimile

climate at Sydney, they cannot grow good potatoes, and they are always glad to buy ours. While I am on this part of the subject, I may add, that we have a good market for hams in Calcutta at no great distance; and I need not tell a practical farmer like yourself, that the grain and vegetable produce of a farm may often be profitably turned into another substance in the shape of hams and bacon.

“As to the price of wheat, the average since I have been here has been about eight shillings a bushel; the present price while I write is seven shillings; it has been ten shillings within a year or two; but the price varies as in the old country according to the time of the year. Six shillings a bushel will pay, and if you can afford to keep your wheat for a year or two the chances are in your favour that you will get from eight to ten. Barley varies from five to six shillings a bushel; oats a little higher. But, for my own part, I don't think a tillage farm the best pursuit to engage in if you have capital enough to buy stock. Sheep and cattle increase of themselves with little trouble and with little expense; and, as the land they graze over costs nothing to bring into pasture, the profits

  ― 242 ―
view facsimile

are proportionably great. I grow as much wheat as I want for my own use, and I sell the rest to those round about, to new settlers and others who do not grow wheat or not enough for their own consumption. But cattle and sheep are the best things to invest your money in; both very profitable, but I think sheep the best of the two, because they are the easiest to manage, and their wool is sure to be a valuable and saleable commodity, in the event of the increase of the flocks and herds on the island causing meat to be too cheap to make it worth while to breed them for the carcase.

“I have made a calculation of the probable increase of a flock of five hundred ewes, which may be useful to you and perhaps to others who may think of emigrating to these colonies; but you must observe that this calculation of increase is made on the supposition that the sheep are allowed to increase; for if the emigrant is obliged to eat his breeding stock the result would be, of course, very different. In order to arrive at the largest possible increase, it is necessary that the emigrant should possess sufficient capital to support himself in the interim; for if he eats his

  ― 243 ―
view facsimile

flocks he will be in the same condition as the farmer who is obliged to eat his seed-wheat; he can have no crop; and every ewe, and, indeed, by every wether that the grazier eats he destroys the compound-interest profit which would otherwise accrue to him—for he might exchange his wether for a breeding ewe—from the increase in a geometrical ratio of the breeding animal. The sheep-farmer ought to be a sort of stoic for some years: he must be content to live in a humble cottage instead of a large house; and he must eat and drink frugally; carefully avoiding the seductive expenses of the town, and the many temptations to lead him from his grand object. I must confess that I have never seen such a resolution completely carried out; but my calculation of the possible increase of sheep is beyond a question an accurate statement of what might be done by any one determined to do it.

“As to diseases of sheep, we have no such things here; of course, if the sheep are neglected to be sheared at the proper season, their coats will hang about them in rags, presenting a very unseemly appearance, and they will shew the usual symptoms of disease; but a little tobacco quickly

  ― 244 ―
view facsimile

sets them to rights; and with ordinary care there is no fear of losing a single sheep from disease in a dozen years. Among the great advantages attendant on the breeding of sheep is this freedom of disease. They are not touched by the fly; they never have the foot-rot; and are not affected with the scab, so common in England, except from neglect. No extra care is requisite in the lambing season; and every ewe is certain to produce three lambs in two years; and their wool is always a saleable article either here or in England.

Calculation shewing the increase of 500 ewes in six years and a half, from July, 1824, to December, 1830.

“I shall take the cost price to be about the present price of a breeding ewe, namely, twenty shillings, currency, for a ewe heavy with lamb, and of the sort of sheep the carcase of which weighs about sixty pounds, and the fleece of which weighs about three pounds. The calculation of the produce of sheep in Van Diemen's Land is three lambs in two years; but I shall calculate only one lamb a year, to make up for the loss of time in selling the wethers and purchasing

  ― 245 ―
view facsimile

ewes to breed from instead, as the following calculation is made on the presumption that the wether lambs are replaced by ewe lambs at the proper time, which can easily be done, as for a considerable portion of the year the wether is worth much more to the butcher and for home consumption than the ewe.

First year to December, 1824. 
The first year the 500 ewes drop 500 lambs, namely, on September of the same year. 
Original ewes, A  500 
Their lambs, B  500 
Total  1,000 
Second year to December, 1825. 
Original ewes, A  500 
Their lambs, B  500 
Ewes A will drop 500 lambs, C  500 
Total  1,500 
Third year to December, 1826. 
Ewes A, B, C  1,500 
Ewes A and B will drop 1,000 lambs, D  1,000 
Total  2,500 
Fourth year to December, 1827. 
Ewes A, B, C, D  2,500 
A, B, C, D will drop 1,500 lambs, E  1,500 
Total  4,000 

  ― 246 ―
view facsimile

Fifth year to December, 1828. 
Ewes A, B, C, D, E  4,000 
A, B, C, D will drop 2,500 lambs, F  2,500 
Total  6,500 
Sixth year to December, 1829. 
Ewes A, B, C, D, E, F  6,500 
A, B, C, D, E will drop 4,000 lambs, G  4,000 
Total  10,500 
Seventh year to December, 1830. 
Ewes A, B, C, D, E, F, G  10,500 
A, B, C, D, E, F will drop 6,500 lambs, G  6,500 
Total  17,000 

“So that if the emigrant can keep his hands off his flock for six years and a half, he will have at the end of that time a flock, or rather many flocks, consisting of seventeen thousand sheep. There are points of detail into which I do not enter, such as fatting old ewes for the butcher, and replacing them by younger ones; but these are not necessary to enlarge on in the present statement. Observe, that I all along presume that the emigrant can sustain himself without eating or realizing one of his increasing sheep. If he must consume

  ― 247 ―
view facsimile

some of them the profits will be, of course, less in proportion.

“Now, as to the expenses attending this operation during six years and a half; I mean the expenses of keeping the flocks, not the personal expenses of the owner of them; those expenses may be much or little according to his habits, his tastes, and his prudence.

“A flock of sheep in this colony ought not to consist of more than six hundred; you may run a few more, but the weak sheep will suffer by it; in some few places, and at the best season of the year, you may run more together, but six hundred is a fair average.

“The first and second year your flock of five hundred sheep and five hundred lambs will require one shepherd at an expense of wages and food of forty pounds. So that the account will stand thus: —

First year  one shepherd  £40 
Second year  two ditto  80 
Third year  four ditto  160 
Fourth year  six ditto  240 
Fifth year  nine ditto  360 
Sixth year  thirteen ditto  520 
Seventh year  twenty-four ditto  960 
Carried forward  £2,360 

  ― 248 ―
view facsimile

Brought forward  £2,360 
Various incidental expenses, such as building stock-keepers' huts, and providing pots and pans, &c., averaging £100 a year  700 
To which add original cost of 500 ewes  500 
..  £3,560 
To these must be added the cost of merino or other fine-wool rams. In order to improve the quality of the wool I will allow a liberal sum for that supply; and I think the calculation of one hundred and twenty rams in the course of the six years and a half, at £15 per head will be sufficient. You must add, therefore, to the sum of  £3,560 
120 rams at £15 per head  1,800 

“In aid of these expenses you would have the proceeds of your wool. I will take the average weight of the fleece at only two pounds; and observe, that every year the value of your wool will increase from the improvement of the breed. It is impossible to say exactly what the value of wool may be in the market for the next six years, but the account according to experience will stand nearly thus:—

  ― 249 ―
view facsimile

First year  1,000 fleeces,  averaging 21bs. each,at 9d. per lb.  £75 
Second year  1,500  at 1s.  150 
Third year  2,500  at ls. 3d.  312 
Fourth year  4,000  at ls. 6d.  600 
Fifth year  6,500  at 2s.  1,300 
Sixth year  10,500  at 2s. 6d.  2,625 
Seventh year  17,000  at 2s. 6d.  4,250 
..  43,000  ..  £9,312 

“I shall deduct sixpence per fleece for all expenses of shearing and carting to town; and six-pence per fleece for expenses of packing, freight, and commission in London, which will amount to £2,150.

From the sum, therefore, the proceeds of the sales of the wool in London to the amount of  £9,312 
Are to be deducted the expenses  2,150 
Reducing the amount to  £7,162 
To set against the expenses and outlay of  £5,360. 

“With respect to the mode of selling your wool, there are two ways; you may sell it in the colony, or you may send it to England for sale on commission. By selling it in the colony you get your money quicker; by sending it to England you get a much higher price. By colonial sales,

  ― 250 ―
view facsimile

therefore, you must make great sacrifices; for in proportion as the value of money is great in the colony from the facility of putting it out to profitable uses, so is the discount large on the purchase of wool, the returns of which cannot be realized by the merchant for fiffteen or, perhaps, eighteen months. But something may always be got for wool in the colony; because it makes a good remittance to England. In the above estimate I have considered that the wool is to be sold in the colony; but I have calculated also that such wool would be much finer, cleaner, and better sorted, than the ordinary dirty stuff which is at present packed in heaps and sent home for sale; much of which does not realize more than nine-pence per lb., whereas the fine wools from the continental part of New South Wales, which is much in advance of Van Diemen's Land in respect to the quality of the wool and the manner of preparing it for the home market, will readily command, in the London sales, from two shillings and sixpence to three shillings and sixpence per pound.

“I will say one word here, as to the transport of wool from one side of the globe to the other. The

  ― 251 ―
view facsimile

weight of the fleeces of 17,000 sheep would be, at 2 lbs. to the fleece, 34,000 lbs., about 15 tons. The freight from Van Diemen's Land to London I will put so high as to be above all ordinary calculations; I will put it as high as £10 per ton; this would be about one penny per pound for the carriage of the wool. This cost of freight on the ship carriage of wool, saleable at two shillings and sixpence per pound, is so small as to make but a very trifling diminution of the receipts; showing that wool is a valuable commodity, which will well bear the expense of transport from one side of the globe to the other.

“You will perceive by this statement, that an emigrant, carrying on the occupation of a sheep-farmer as I have described, may fairly calculate on receiving for his wool, during six and a half years, the sum of £7,162; but I will make a deduction from this of twenty per cent—one-fifth—freely to cover all possible incidental expenses and losses; that reduces £7,162 to £5,730.

“This sum of £5,730, you will perceive, is sufficient to cover the original cost of his 500 ewes, the expenses of his shepherds, the incidental expenses of his sheep-walks, and of the purchase

  ― 252 ―
view facsimile

of his rams; that is, he will have £5,730 to put against £5,360.

“At the end of the six and a half years' course, therefore, the account will stand thus:


500 ewes  £500 
Expense of shepherds  2,360 
Their incidental expenses  700 
Merino rams  1,800 
..  £5,360 


Sales of wool, clear of all expenses  £5,730 
17,000 sheep, at 20s. per head  17,000 
..  £22,730 

“With respect to my valuation of the 17,000 sheep, at 20s. per head, at the end of six and a half years, I may as well take that estimate as any other, for if, on the one hand, their value may be less from the increase of flocks on the island, on the other hand, their value may be greater from the increased influx of emigrants to these colonies, and very likely to new colonies on the western coast of the continental island, who will buy sheep from this colony. But supposing the emigrant were to disregard the increase of his

  ― 253 ―
view facsimile

flocks beyond the 17,000 which I have enumerated; supposing he were to kill his lambs as soon as they were born; he would still have the wool of 17,000 sheep to depend on, producing at least about £5,000 a year.

“These prospects appear very flattering, but the calculations are strictly correct. I am showing what may be done with sufficient capital, and that capital not much; such a capital, indeed, as would not be sufficient to enable a man to enter into any extensive operations in farming or in merchandizing in the old country. The reason of these great advantages to be derived from sheep-farming in these colonies is obvious enough. You have the land for nothing; there is no house rent; no taxes; no rates; no pens wanted for the sheep, summer or winter, the genial nature of the climate allowing them to lie out in the open air during the whole year; there is no artificial food necessary for winter keep; the sheep are subject to no diseases, and any ordinary person, whether used to sheep and farming or not, makes a passable shepherd in Van Diemen's Land. I might say something here on the importance of the Home Government encouraging,

  ― 254 ―
view facsimile

by all possible means, the establishment of extensive sheep farms in these colonies, inasmuch as every pound of wool exported from this colony gives rise to an equivalent value of manufacture at home; for we are British to the back-bone in our tastes, our habits, and our allegiance, and are desirous of remaining so as long as you will let us, and not play tricks with us, as you did with the American colonies, which you have lost. But my letter would be too long if I dilated on such matters, so I will proceed now—supposing that you have determined to come out—to show you the best way to go about it.

“The first thing that I should advise you to do when you have determined to emigrate is to turn into money all the property that you do not intend to take out with you; and, in doing this, bear in mind that your great object is to change articles of luxury and finery, which are misplaced and often worse than useless in the bush, into sheep and cattle, which will go on increasing while you are sleeping. I advise you, therefore, not to keep any article of furniture nor any other article that cannot be immediately turned to profitable use in the colony, and especially not to

  ― 255 ―
view facsimile

bring out such articles as silver spoons and forks or silver plate of any description, nor articles of jewellery, nor watches valuable for their gold cases; for the money produced by the sale of such things laid out in sheep will in a short time enable you to repurchase them tenfold. With respect to watches, I advise you to procure one or two or three really good watches, not of a curiously exact sort, but of a very plain and unattractive nature and set in silver, or better in pinchbeck cases, so as to afford no temptation for theft. In selling off your superfluous articles, take care to reserve all articles of bedding, but the bedding-furniture is not wanted; if of a costly description sell it; if not bring it. Reserve also all articles of dress, as if not wanted they meet with a ready sale as second-hand clothes; and every scrap and rag of linen and cotton stuff that you may have about the house. Reserve also all your chests of drawers; they are the handiest things that you can have on board ship and in your first rough dwelling in the colony; and they make nearly as cheap packing-cases as you can buy. Keep also one or two small and strong common washing-stands for the ship and for use afterwards. And pack up all

  ― 256 ―
view facsimile

your crockery, and every pot and pan in the house. While you are at work about this you must be looking out for the articles that it will be necessary for you to take out with you; and lose no time about it, for after you have made up your mind, every day that you remain is a grievous loss of time, and every shilling that you spend is almost as grievous a loss of money. I will specify some things that it will be proper for you to bring with you; and your own judgment will suggest to you various other necessary articles and conveniences which I do not enumerate: —

4 American axes, with handles complete.  A large grindstone. 
2 Broad axes.  12 Socket chisels, assorted. 
Cask of shingle nails.  Strong stock and bits. 
2 Cwt. spike nails.  2 Spoke shaves. 
Cask of nails assorted.   2 Extra large jack-planes. 
6 American augers assorted.  1 Dozen whetstones. 
2 Cross-cut saws.  1 Dozen saw-edged reap-hooks. 
2 Ripping saws; one light.  12 Pair of shears. 
A carpenter's chest of strong tools.  Portable corn-mill. 
A bolting machine, desirable.  2 Fine sieves. 
Ditto, small thrashing machine.  2 Coarse ditto. 
Complete apparatus for a forge.  Copper-mill. 
Small plain medicine chest.   Pepper-mill. 
Two trowels.  Papin's digestor. 
Plastering trowels.  Hand-bill. 
Swan-shot.  Chopper. 

  ― 257 ―
view facsimile

Shot, No. 4.  Balls of candle wick. 
Gunpowder.  Small churn. 
3 Pewter basins and jugs.  Milk pans. 
4 Muskets and bayonets.  Window glass, 12 by 10. 
2 Dozen pannikins (tin).  A large filter. 
6 Tripods.  Gun-flints. 
Plastering brush.  Hinges for windows. 
Hinges for gates and various.  4 Pocket-compasses. 
Window-frames.  1 Watch-seal compass. 
Pipe-bowls.  6 Paint brushes. 
Tobacco.  Lots of pins and needles. 
Curtain-rings.  2 Brace of large pistols. 
Small assortment of screws; some very large.  A side-saddle or two. 
2 Sets of harrow tines. 
Axles and boxes for 2 carts; and 2 wheels each for ditto. 
2 Iron wheels for barrows. 

“I put down the articles that are useful just as they occur to me, without care for the order in which I place them. The want of a piece of pack-thread at this moment suggests to me that you would do well to bring with you a small assortment of cordage. About 14 lbs. of carpenter's chalk-lines, and 14 lbs. of bricklayer's ditto, and about the same quantity of sash-lines would be a good assortment; any surplus of which you might readily sell; but I by no means advise you to attempt merchandizing. Generally speaking that cannot be done profitably, except in a large way, and you might have to

  ― 258 ―
view facsimile

wait for a market, which would not serve your turn. You must choose between keeping a shop, or a store as they call it in the town, and a farm in the bush. To my fancy farming is far better than shop-keeping; but that's a matter of taste and of habit.

“I must not forget seeds. There are plenty of seeds here of all sorts nearly; but it will be easier for you to bring them with you than to be running after them when you arrive and have many things to attend to.

“The following are the proportions that I should recommend, and perhaps the quantities are as much as you would want the first year:

1 quart Early peas.  4 oz. Early round turnip. 
2 quarts Prussian ditto.  4 oz. Garlick. 
1 quart Sword and pod beans.  4 lb. Red clover. 
1 quart Windsor ditto.  4 lb. White ditto. 
1 pint China dwarf ditto.  1 peck Meadow-hay seed. 
1 oz. Red beet.  1 lb. White round turnip. 
2 oz. Thousand-headed cabbage.  1 lb. Yellow Swede ditto. 
1/2 oz. Red ditto.  2 lb., Mangel wurzel. 
8 oz. Carrot.  4 quarts Cocksfoot. 
1/2 oz. Leek.  2 oz. Sweet briar. 
2 oz. Deptford onion.  1 quart Spanish chesnuts. 
1 oz. White ditto.  2 oz. Larch. 
2 oz. Parsnip.  1 pint Hiccory nuts (2 sorts). 
1/2 lb. Radish. 

  ― 259 ―
view facsimile

“I don't pretend to give you an exact list of all the articles that it would be proper or advantageous for you to bring out with you; that must depend on your means and your particular views; but the articles which I have mentioned will give you a general idea of what is wanted, and will serve to suggest other things. For instance, if your means are sufficient to place you during the first year in a position, which other emigrants of less capital cannot attain for several or for many years; if you have capital to spare to build a good house at once, instead of waiting for some years before you can compass that desirable object, then, in such case, bring out with you all the furniture—the chairs, and tables, and sofas, and curtains, of a commodious and well-furnished house. By-the-bye, do not neglect to bring a couple of commodious tents which you may pick up cheap in London second hand. You may live delightfully in a tent for at least six months of the year; but take care they are double tents, to defend you from the rain. I read in the London newspapers of various projects of frame-houses; but I do not advise you to think of that expedient.

  ― 260 ―
view facsimile

The best house to build is a log house for a temporary habitation, and a stone house for a permanent one. Having said thus much about your preparations for emigrating, I will give you a little advice as to your passage on board ship; but first I must say a word about servants. Don't think of bringing out any servant either for domestic or for field purposes, in the expectation that they will remain with you unless you give them the same high wages which are obtained by good free servants in the colony. Some have brought out ploughmen and sawyers, blacksmiths and carpenters, in the hope of making a sort of profit by their labour, at the low rate of English wages, to compensate for the speculation of bringing them out; and to ensure their services they have bound them to their service by regular legal indentures. But what has been almost invariably the result? As soon as they have arrived in the colony, and have ascertained the rate of wages, so far above the rate for which they bound themselves, they have become discontented, and have refused to work. I remember in one case at which I was present, when the master brought an indentured servant before a

  ― 261 ―
view facsimile

bench of magistrates for breach of his covenant, the refractory servant was committed to prison for a month, for refusing to work. But how did that help his master? Putting the man in prison was all very well as a vindication of the law, but of what use was the imprisonment to the master, or to anybody else? The man would not work a bit the more for it; and as to the example, it was totally useless in preventing other such servants from being affected by the same discontent—a discontent, I should say, almost unavoidable under the circumstances. As to female servants, they are so much in request, that if they are at all marriageable, you must not expect to keep them long, and if they are pretty or young, they are snapped up in a moment. The best thing you can do is to select some old crone, not past work, who is very ugly, and even then you must not count on keeping her for certain; or else bring out a married couple on whom you can depend, and make it worth their while to stay with you, and look after your property. Now as to the ship: —

“In choosing your ship, prefer a large one to a small one, and a new one to an old one; and

  ― 262 ―
view facsimile

if it is the vessel of some old-established house with a character to lose, the better. There are two ways of taking your passage; in the cabin or in the steerage. The first is best for a single man; but for a family I should advise the steerage. The cabin you are aware is considered the most genteel, and there you are victualled without trouble by the captain; but in the steerage you can come out for half the money, and provide yourselves more abundantly and much better than in the cabin; and as to being looked down at either in the ship from being in the steerage, or in the colony, snap your fingers at that. Conduct, character, and dollars will assign you your due position here, without any one caring a fig whether you came out in the cabin or the steerage. I will give you just one word of advice as to your arrangements for a steerage-passage. Take care to agree for a particular part of the steerage boarded off to yourselves; provide yourself with a ten-gallon water-cask charred inside, and a moderate-sized filter. Lay in a liberal provision of the preserved meats which are sold in London in air-tight tin cannisters. Have abundance of rice and

  ― 263 ―
view facsimile

good biscuit in tin cases; the tin cases will sell for the cost of them in the colony. A respectable chemist—Allen, of Plough Court, Lombard Street, is the best that I know of—will advise you as to the quantity of carbonate of soda, and of citric or tartaric acid, to have by you to make effervescing draughts, which will help to keep your family in health during the hot period of your passage. You will not want much wine; very little; but don't be short of good French brandy. For children it is well to be provided with some good treacle—plenty of it—instead of butter, which you should entirely refrain from; treacle is a preventive of the scurvy in a long voyage. I must not forget the rice; have plenty of it; and I need not say that all sorts of jams form capital sea-stock—but pack them all in tin.

“You will expect me to say something about sea-sickness, as I have been a long voyage.

“The best preventive of sea-sickness is RESOLUTION, with exercise on deck, and temperance. I don't think there is any remedy for it when it once begins; but it may be checked, and its return prevented or lessened by resolution. By beginning

  ― 264 ―
view facsimile

in time, and carefully following a preventive system, I did not suffer a single minute's uneasiness from sea-sickness, I remember, during the whole voyage. Reading, writing, playing at chess, backgammon—almost any occupation in which the mind can be engaged, I have either experienced or observed, has the effect of preventing this troublesome malady. The best restorative after sickness is cold brandy and water. On board ship, fresh air should always be welcomed however cold; the deck is the place, and there you should wear a rough, coarse dress, which you are not afraid of having spoiled, and pull at all the ropes, and help in anything that will give you exercise; and wear thick-soled shoes. Never mind the wet of sea-water; I never knew it do anybody any harm.

“When you arrive in the colony, you will find me, I trust, ready to receive you, and to give you all sorts of information useful to you in taking your land and stocking your farm.”

I may as well say here, that my letter had the effect of determining my friend to emigrate with his family to Van Diemen's Land, and

  ― 265 ―
view facsimile

he is now one of our most flourishing settlers. He has often thanked me for having been the means of assisting him to a decision on the most important undertaking of his life, and he says that he owes his present prosperous condition to my letter. As this letter has done so much good, and as its general hints are applicable to all colonies, I have given it as I wrote it, without abridgement or alteration, in these colonial reminiscences.