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CHAPTER XV.

CONCLUSION.

I HAVE but little more to add to these memoirs. The recent events in the colony are too well known to render it necessary for me to enter into a description of them. But I cannot refrain from contrasting the present condition of Van Diemen's Land with that which it presented in 1817, now more than two and twenty years ago.

At that time scarcely an emigrant had arrived, and the colony was a purely penal settlement; now the farms of the emigrants are spread over a large part of the island. In 1817, when I arrived in the colony, the population was not much more than two thousand, of whom very few were free inhabitants; the population is now not less than forty-five thousand, of whom more than twenty-three thousand are free. In 1817 there was not a


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single pound of wool exported from the colony; in ten years after, in 1827, 192,075 lbs. were exported; and, in 1838, 1,942,000 lbs. were exported, selling at ls. 6d. to 2s. 6d. per lb. Until 1824, there was no attempt at the establishment of a bank; now there are not less than six banks which may be considered as firmly established, with a paid-up capital of about £200,000. In twelve years the exports have been increased from £14,000 to £420,000 per annum. Churches have been built and ministers appointed in most of the populous districts of the island. There is a greater security for life and property all over the country. The natives have long since been removed, in 1830, to an island in Bass's Straits, and they are now known in the colony only by tradition. Bushranging, from the spread of free inhabitants, is now seldom attempted; and sheep-stealing never occurs in the wholesale way in which it was carried on, as many remember, some years ago.

In Hobart-Town, the changes and improvements are great and striking. Handsome country-houses have been erected in the neighbourhood of the town; and the streets and bridges have been increased and improved. Vessels of 400 tons


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burthen may now load and unload by the side of a commodious wharf; and a vast improvement has taken place in the general aspect of the town and in the state of its society.

With respect to my own individual case, I may fairly take it as an instance of what may be done by industry, frugality, and perseverance; and of the advantages to be derived from settling in a colony, in its early stage, when its lands are unoccupied and almost worthless, and easy, therefore, to be obtained; but which, in the progress of years, and by the increase of inhabitants, grow into valuable estates.

I am now declining in years, but my health is strong and firm, and I have never had a day's illness since I have been in the colony.

My old friend, the magistrate, who is now grown very rich and very fat, has been for some months past curiously inquiring into the nature of my occupations, seeing me always so busily employed in writing without any ostensible reason for such a labour. I shewed the pile of manuscript to him, the other day, which had accumulated to a formidable heap, and told him, in confidence, what I had been about.


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“And what are you going to do with it?” said he, “why there is more than enough to make three volumes in print.”

“If I thought the printing of it would be useful,” said I, “although I did not begin it with that intention, I would not object to its being published.” And, therefore, I offered to read to him the whole of the manuscript from the beginning to the end. I thought my worthy friend changed countenance at this offer, and not liking to give me so much trouble, I suppose, he replied,

“For Heaven's sake don't think of such a thing:—I'll take it all for granted. But what is it all about?Have you been writing a history of the island?”

“The island,” I replied, “or rather the colony, is too young as yet to have a history to write about.—I have been describing,” I continued, “minutely, and from my own experience, the individualprocess of emigration. And I have endeavoured,” I added, “to give such descriptions of the colony, from my own observation, as will enable those who may read them to form a tolerably correct idea of what Van Diemen's Land


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really is; and to teach those who have a mind to emigrate how to set about it.”

“Well,” my excellent friend was pleased to say, “you have shut yourself up for a long time; I hope you have finished your task now? You don't intend to write any more of your adventures?”

“No!”—said I;—“HERE ENDS THE SETTLER'S JOURNAL.”

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