On the Advantages which the Colony offers for Emigration.

After the gloomy picture which I have drawn of the actual condition of the colony; after having represented both its agricultural and commercial interests as being already not only in a state of impair, but also of increasing

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dilapidation and ruin, it may appear somewhat paradoxical that I should attempt to wind up the account with an enumeration of the advantages which it holds out to emigration. If due consideration, however, be given to the nature of the ingredients of which the agricultural body is composed; if it be recollected that it consists principally of persons, who have been since their earliest years habituated to every sort of vice and debauchery; of persons bred up in cities, and unacquainted with the arts of husbandry, who had, therefore, to contend against the combined force of an inveterate propensity to the profligate indulgences of their ancient mode of life, and of utter ignorance of the laborious occupations and thrifty arts of their new: I say if all these serious impediments to success be impartially weighed, it will be seen that the anomaly is rather apparent than real. Nevertheless I do not mean to imply that this colony or its dependencies, present at this moment any very flattering prospects for the mere agriculturist. That the skilful farmer would be enabled to obtain an independent and comfortable subsistence is, however, indubitable; and the larger his family, provided they were of sufficient age to afford him an effectual co-operation, the greater would be his chance of a successful establishment. Hundreds of this laborious class of people, who

  ― 404 ―
in spite of unremitting toil and frugality, find themselves every day getting behind-hand with the world, would undoubtedly better their condition by emigrating to this colony, if there were only a probability that they would be enabled to go on from day to day as they are doing here. In this country they are at best but tenants of the soil they cultivate; whereas there they would be proprietors, and the mere advance which would be taking place in the value of their farms, would before many years not only render them independent but even wealthy. Of the truth of this assertion, we shall be fully convinced by referring to the price of land on the banks of the Hawkesbury and Nepean rivers, the only parts which can be said to be even tolerably colonized. It has already been stated that as far as the river Hawkesbury is navigable, the unimproved land is worth five pounds per acre, and improved land double this amount. This land was at first of no value whatever; because in the infancy of societies, so long as there is an unlimited scope of land of the first quality, which any one may occupy as far as his occasions require, it is evident that there would be no purchasers; since it is absurd to imagine that any one would buy that which he could obtain for nothing. It is only, as Mr. Ricardo has demonstrated, when land of an inferior quality is

  ― 405 ―
brought into cultivation, and when the difference in the produce of the two sorts gives the occupier of the one a superiority over the occupier of the other, and renders it as eligible for a person to cultivate land of the first description as a tenant, and to pay the proprietor the difference of produce by way of rent, as to be himself the proprietor of land of the second description; or when the situation of the different appropriated tracts of land does not admit of the conveyance of their produce to market at an equal cost; and thus again gives the owners of those farms which are more contiguous, an advantage over the owners of those which are more remote: I say it is only when societies have made that progress, which begets one or other of these contingencies, or both, that land is of any value whatever. In the course, therefore, of thirty-one years, the tract of land in question, taking the unimproved part as our criterion, since the improvements made in that portion of it, which is in a state of cultivation, may be considered tantamount to the difference in value between the one and the other, has evidently risen to this enormous price, from having been of no worth whatever: or in other words, each acre of land has increased in value during the interval that has elapsed since the foundation of the colony at the rate of 3s. 2½d. per annum; and this too under the

  ― 406 ―
most impolitic and oppressive system, to which any colony, perhaps, was ever subjected. How much greater then, will be the future rise in the value of landed property, if, as there is now every reason to hope from the attention which the government are at this moment paying to the state of this colony, the whole of the disabilities under which its inhabitants have been so long groaning, should at length be abandoned? Without taking at all into the estimate the immediate amelioration which a radical change in the polity of this colony, would occasion in the condition of the agricultural body; without depending on the probability that it will soon be in the power of the laborious and frugal settler to rise rapidly to wealth and independence; it must be evident that the mere increase which is yearly taking place in the value of landed property, affords of itself the strongest inducement to emigration; since if it does not hold out to the industrious man the prospect of acquiring immediate wealth, it relieves him from all apprehensions for his family, should a premature destiny overtake himself. He at least knows that every succeeding year will be augmenting in a rapid manner the value of his farm, and that the same spot which administers to his and their present wants, cannot fail to suffice for their future. This is of itself a most consolatory prospect; it

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at all events prevents the present good from being embittered with any dread of future evil; it permits the industrious man the tranquil enjoyment of the fruits of his labours, and rescues him from the necessity of hoarding up against the approach of gathering calamity, against the stormy season of impending poverty.

The amelioration, that would take place in the condition of the mere labourer, who should emigrate to this colony, without funds adequate to the formation of an agricultural establishment, would not be so considerable. Still there can be no doubt that the honest and industrious man would always be able to provide for himself and his family a sufficiency of food and clothing; comforts which with his utmost endeavours he can hardly obtain in this country without having recourse to parochial relief. He would, therefore, at all events emancipate himself from this humiliating,—this demoralizing necessity; for although there is confessedly a greater portion of labour in the colony than can at present be maintained in activity, any person who might emigrate thither voluntarily would easily find employment, when those who are, or have been under the operation of the law. would seek for it in vain. A good character is a jewel of greater value there than in this country, because it is more difficult to

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be met with; and consequently all the advantages which it procures its possessor in the one place, it will insure him at least in a two-fold measure in the other.

The colony offers very little encouragement to the manufacturer. The manufacturing interests are not at present in the most prosperous situation; and if the government should, as there is every probability, at length adopt those measures which are called for by every consideration of justice and expediency, a few years will annihilate them entirely. To this class therefore, with reference both to the proprietor and workman, a removal to this colony would undoubtedly be prejudicial.

For the artisan and mechanic, who are skilled in the works of utility, rather than of luxury, there is, as it has been already remarked, no part of the world, perhaps, which affords an equal chance of success. To any, therefore, who have the means of transporting themselves and families to this colony, the removal would be in the highest degree advantageous. They could not fail to find immediate employment, and receive a more liberal return for their labour, than they would be able to procure elsewhere. The blacksmith, carpenter, cooper, stone-mason, brick-layer, brick-maker, wheel and plough-wright,

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harness-maker, tanner, shoe-maker, taylor, cabinet-maker, ship-wright, sawyer, &c. &c. would very soon become independent, if they possessed sufficient prudence to save the money which they would earn. For the master artisan and mechanic, the prospect of course is still more cheering; since the labour they would be enabled to command would be proportioned to the extent of their capital.

The advantages, however, which the colony offers to this class of emigrants, great as they undoubtedly are, when considered in an isolated point of view, are absolutely of no weight when placed in the balance of comparison against those which it offers to the capitalist, who has the means to embark largely in the breeding of fine woolled sheep. It may be safely asserted that of all the various openings which the world at this moment affords for the profitable investment of money, there is not one equally inviting as this single channel of enterprize offered by the colony. The proof of this assertion I shall rest on a calculation so plain and intelligible, as I hope to be within the scope of the comprehension of all. Before we proceed, however, it is necessary to settle a few points, as the data on which this calculation is to be founded; viz. the value of wool, the weight of the fleece, and the number of sheep to be kept in a

  ― 410 ―
flock. With regard to the value of the wool grown in this colony, the last importations of the best quality averaged five shillings and sixpence per pound in the fleece. This was sold last month;note and as the market was at that time overcharged, and as moreover the best description of wool yet produced in this colony, is far from having attained the perfection of which it is capable, and which a few more crosses with the pure breed will undoubtedly effect in it, it may be safely concluded, that this is the lowest price at which this sort of wool will ever be sold. This will be more evident, if we contemplate the gradual rise in value, which the wool from the same gentleman's flocks has been experiencing during the last four years. In 1816, it was sold for 2s. 6d. per pound in the fleece; in March, 1818, for 3s. 6d. per pound; in July, 1818, for 4s. 4d. per pound; and in March, 1819, for 5s. 6d. per pound in the fleece. For some of this last quantity of wool, properly sorted and washed, Mr. Hurst of Leeds was offered 9s. per pound, and refused it. To take the future average price of wool at 5s. 6d. per pound, is, therefore, forming an estimate, which in all probability will fall far short of the truth. However, let this be one of our data; and let us allow three pounds, which is also an estimate equally moderate, as

  ― 411 ―
the average weight of each fleece. The weight of a yearling's fleece may be taken at three quarters of a pound, and the value of the wool at 2s. 9d. per pound. The number of ewes generally kept in a flock by the best breeders are about 330, and we will suppose that the emigrant has the means of purchasing a flock of this size of the most improved breed: this with a sufficient number of tups may be had for £1000. These points being determined, let us now proceed to our calculation.

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£  s d
330 Two-year old ewes of the most improved breed will cost  1000 
They will produce as many lambs, ½ wether lambs, and ½ ewe, which valuing the former at 20s. per head, and the latter at 40s. per ditto, will be worth  495 
Value of this year's wool, 990lbs. at 5s. 6d. per lb. 
Value of the lambs' wool, 247½lbs. at 2s. 9d. 
Expence of shepherd 
Ditto of hurdles, &c. 
Ditto of shearing 5s. per score 
Deduct 7s. 6d. per head for the deterioration of the ewe flock  118  15 
Deduct 10 per cent. for casualties  137  12 
Net value of stock at the end of this year  £1238  12 
Total expence  £98 
34  7½ 
306  7½ 
Deduct 10 per cent. for casualties  30  12  6¾ 
275  13  0¾ 
Deduct freight, insurance, commission, &c. at the rate of 9d. per lb. 10 per cent.  41  14 
Net value of this year's shearing  233  18 
Deduct expence  98 
Profit on wool  135  13  3¾ 
Ditto on stock  238  12 
Total profit the first year  £374  9¾ 

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Second Year's Profit.

£  s d
Value of stock at the end of the 1st year  1238  12 
The original flock of ewes, 10 per cent. being allowed for the casualties of the last year, will only produce this year 297 lambs, ½ wether and ½ ewe lambs, which will be worth at the former rate of valuation  445 
Increase in the value of the 1st year's lambs, 10s. per head for the wethers, and 20s. for the ewes  222 
The shearing this year will yield 594 fleeces, or 1782, at 5s. 6d. per lb. 
Lambs' wool, 297 fleeces, or 222¾lbs. at 2s. 9d. per lb. 
Expence of two shepherds 
Additional hurdles, &c. 
Expence of shearing, &c. 44 score 11, 5s. per score 
Deduct 7s. 6d. per head for the further deterioration in the ewe flock  111 
Deduct 10 per cent. for casualties  179  10 
Net value of stock at the end of this year  1615  10 
Ditto, ditto, at the end of last  1238  12 
Profit on stock the second year  £376  17 
11  11 
Total expence  £151  11 
£  s d
30  12  6¾ 
520  13  6¾ 
Deduct 10 per cent. for casualties  52  3¾ 
468  12 
Deduct freight, insurance, &c. 2004¾lbs.—10 per cent. at the rate 9d. per lb.  67  12  4¼ 
Net value of this year's shearing  400  19  9¾ 
Deduct expence  151  11 
Profit on wool  249  16  10¾ 
Ditto on stock  376  17 
Total profit the second year  £626  14  4¾ 

  ― 414 ―

Third Year's Profit.

£  s d
Value of stock at the end of the 2d year  1615  10 
The ewe lambs dropped the first year, will be added to the original flock this year. The breeding flock, therefore, will be increased to 401, which will produce as many lambs, ½ wether and ½ ewe, which will be worth at the former rate of valuation  602 
Increase in the value of the second year's lambs, 10s. per head for the wethers, and 20s. for the ewes  200 
The shearing this year will yield 802 fleeces, or 2406lbs. of wool, at 5s. 6d. per lb. 
Lambs' wool, 401 fleeces, or 300¾ lbs. at 2s. 9d. per lb. 
Expence of shepherds 
Additional hurdles, &c. 
Expence of shearing 60 score and 3, at 5s. per score 
2417  19 
Deterioration in the ewe flock, at 7s. 6d. per head  150 
2267  11 
10 per cent. for casualties  226  15 
Net value of stock this year  2040  15  11 
Ditto, last year  1615  10 
Profit on stock the third year  £425  11 
Total expence  £205 
£  s d
661  13 
41  0¾ 
703  0¾ 
10 per cent. for casualties  70 
632  14  0¾ 
Freight, insurance, &c. &c. 2706¾lbs.—10 per cent. at 9d. per lb.  60  17  1½ 
Net value of this year's shearing  571  16  11¼ 
Deduct expence  205 
Profit on wool  366  15  8¼ 
Ditto on stock  425  11 
Total profit the third year  £790  7¼ 

  ― 415 ―

It would be useless to prosecute this calculation, since any person who may be anxious to ascertain its further results, may easily follow it up himself. It will be seen that with the most liberal allowances for all manner of expenses, casualties and deteriorations, capital invested in this channel will yield the first year an interest of 13½ per cent. besides experiencing itself an increase of nearly 24 per cent.; that the second year it will yield an interest of nearly 25 per cent. besides experiencing itself a further increase of rather more than 37½ per cent.; and that the third year it will yield an interest of nearly 37 per cent. besides experiencing itself an additional increase of about 42½ per cent. or, in other words, money sunk in the rearing of sheep in this colony will, besides paying an interest of about 75½ per cent. in the course of three years, rather more than double itself. Here then is a mode of investing capital by which the proprietor may insure himself not only an annual interest, the ratio of which would augment every year in the most astonishing progression, but by which the capital itself also would experience an advance still more rapid and extraordinary. Any person, therefore, who has the means of embarking in this speculation, could not fail with common attention to realize a large fortune in a few years. His chance of so doing would be still greater

  ― 416 ―
if he should happen to be acquainted with the management of sheep; but this is by no means an indispensable qualification; for such is the fineness of the climate, both in the settlements in New Holland and Van Diemen's Land, that all those precautions which are necessary to be observed in this country, in order to shelter this animal from the inclemency of the seasons, are there, quite superfluous: sheds, indeed, are not only useless, but injurious; the flocks never do so well as when they are continually exposed to the weather. It is only necessary that the folds should be shifted every other day, or if the sheep are kept by night in yards, to take care that these are daily swept out.

The extent to which capital might thus be invested is boundless; since if the breeder did not possess as much land as would feed the number of sheep that he might wish to keep, he would only have to send his flocks beyond the limits of colonization, and retire with them as the tide of population approached. His hurdles, and the rude huts or tents of his shepherds, might always be removed with very little difficulty and expense; and if his and his neighbours' flocks should happen to come into contact, such is the immensity of the wilderness which would lie before him, that he might exclaim in the language of Abram to Lot: “Let there

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be no strife I pray thee between me and thee, and between my herdsmen and thy herds-men; for we be brethren. Is not the whole land before us? Separate thyself I pray thee from me. If thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.” Such, should any of these disputes occur, might always be their amicable termination. There is, and will be for ages to come, whatever may be the extent of emigration, more land than can possibly be required. The speculation, therefore, of growing wool can meet with no checks from the want of pasturage in the colony, and it is equally improbable that it can be impeded by the want of a market in this country. It is well known that the Saxon wool cannot be sold under the present prices without loss to the growers. The severity of the climate of Saxony, renders it indispensable for the sheep-holders to take a variety of precautions which are not only useless in this colony, but would even prove highly detrimental to the constitution of this valuable animal. In the former country, the flocks are kept almost invariably in sheds of a very costly construction both by day and night, and are fed almost wholly upon hay; in the latter, they are always better when kept in the open air and fed on the spontaneous herbage of the forest. The mildness of the

  ― 418 ―
seasons, therefore, spares the colonists two immense sources of expence, and will without doubt in the end, enable them to undersell and ruin the Saxon wool growers; since the only point of superiority these latter can pretend to is their greater contiguity to the market, and this, in consequence of the extreme value of the commodity, is of too trifling import to demand consideration. The freight of wool from the colony, has already been reduced to three pence per pound, which is very little more than is paid for the transport of wool from Saxony; and all the other expences, with the exception of insurance, as brokerage, store-room, &c. are precisely the same. Upon these grounds, therefore, I am contented to rest the support of my assertion, that the world does not at present contain so advantageous, and I might also add, so extensive an opening for the investment of capital as the one in question.

With reference to the commercial prospects presented by this colony, they are certainly much more limited, but still of very considerable scope. The extraordinary fluctuations which are incessantly taking place in the prices of all sorts of merchandize, are evidently capable of being turned to great account by a skilful and cool calculator. Any person of this character possessed of sufficient capital to

  ― 419 ―
enable him to buy goods when the market should happen to be in a state of depression, and to keep them in his store till the glut should pass by, could not fail to realize a rapid fortune. The only event that could prevent his success, would be an imprudent avidity. If he should be once tempted to go out of his depth, so that he would be compelled to sell whether at gain or loss, in order to make good his payments, he would most probably sink never more to rise. But if he would never speculate beyond the compass of his actual means, he might easily clear fifty per cent. per annum on the amount of his trading capital.

Were I asked to particularize any avenue of industry not strictly included in any of the foregoing general classes, in which persons inclined to emigrate to this colony, might embark with a fair chance of success, I should say that any one who had the means of taking out a steam engine of six or eight-horse-power with the requisite machinery for sawing boards, would make it answer his purposes very well; that a timber merchant also, possessing a capital of three or four thousand pounds, might employ his funds very advantageously by establishing a timber yard; and that a skilful brewer who could command five thousand pounds and upwards, would succeed either

  ― 420 ―
at Sydney or Hobart Town. It would be necessary, however, that he should understand the process of making malt, since there are no regular maltsters yet in the colony, and that he should also grow his own hops.note Until, therefore, he had established a hop plantation sufficient for his concern it would be requisite that he should make arrangements to be supplied with hops from this country. There are already several breweries in New South Wales, but the beer which is made in them is so bad, that many thousand pounds worth of porter and ale imported from this country, is annually consumed in these settlements. This is in some measure occasioned by the inferiority of the barley grown at Port Jackson; but more, I am inclined to believe, by the want of skill in the brewers. If the indifferent quality of the beer, however, be attributable to the badness of the barley, this impediment to success would be removed by emigrating to Van Diemen's Land; since the barley raised in both the settlements in this island is equal to the best

  ― 421 ―
produced in this country. I should also say, that the skilful dairyman who could take out with him a capital of from one to two thousand pounds, would do well in any of these settlements, but more particularly in New South Wales. Butter, as it has been already remarked, is still as high as 2s. 6d. per pound, notwithstanding the immense increase which has taken place in the black cattle. The extreme dearness of this article arises principally from the natural grasses not being sufficiently nutritive to keep milch cattle in good heart, and from the colonists not having yet got into the proper method of providing artificial food. Any one, therefore, who would introduce the dairy system practised in this country, could hardly fail of finding his account in it.

These various advantages which this colony and its dependencies offer for emigration, have many points of superiority over any to which the United States of America can lay claim; if we even admit the truth of all that the most enthusiastic admirers of that country have written, respecting its flourishing condition. Mr. Birbecknote, whose “Letters,” if not “Notes,” contain

  ― 422 ―
strong marks of an exaggerated anticipation of their resources and capabilities, has not, though evidently under the influence of feelings quite incompatible with a correct and disinterested judgment, ventured to rate his imaginary maximum of the profit to be derived from farming in the Illinois, (which appears to be the principal magnet of attraction possessed by the United States,) so high as I have proved by a calculation, to which I defy any one to attach the character of hyperbolical, that the investment of capital in the growth of fine wool in this colony will infallibly produce. This too, although certainly the most inviting and extensive channel of enterprize which it contains, is not its only ground of preference: it has many temptations besides for emigration, of which the United States are wholly destitute: among these the following are perhaps the most considerable.

First, Any person of respectability upon emigrating to this colony, is given as much land as would cost him four hundred pounds in the United States.

Secondly, He is allowed as many servants as he may require; and the wages which he is bound to pay them, are not one third the amount of the price of labour in America.

  ― 423 ―

Thirdly, He, his family and servants, are victualled at the expence of the government for six months.

These are three considerations of great importance to the emigrant, and quite peculiar to this colony: added to which the value of the produce of this gratuitous land and labour is three times as great as in the Illinois, as will be seen by a comparison of the prices of produce there as given by Messrs. Birbeck and Fearon, and the prices of similar produce as stated in the first part of this work. It is true that there is not the same unlimited market as in America; but it must be evident, that, if the price of labour were even equal, the colonist who could dispose of one third of his crops, would be in a better condition than if he were established in the Illinois, and could find vent for the whole. The market, however, has never been circumscribed to this degree in periods of the greatest abundance; and the immense arrivals of convicts, that have been daily taking place for the last three years, have increased the consumptive powers of the colony so considerably, that there has at most been but a very trifling surplus in the barns of the farmers at the close of the year. On the other hand, all articles of foreign growth and manufacture are in general much cheaper than in the

  ― 424 ―
Illinois, and the other remote parts of the American Union, provided the purchaser has ready money, and is not under the necessity of having recourse to secondary agents for goods on long credit.

Here, then, are many powerful reasons why persons bent on emigration should prefer this colony to America. The only point is whether the latter can throw any weightier arguments into the opposite scale. What may be urged on the other side of the question, may, I apprehend, be comprised under these two heads: first, the greater contiguity of the United States to this country, and the consequent ease and cheapness with which emigration thither may be effected; and, secondly, the superiority of their government.

The first of these points merits very little consideration, except in the instance of those who have not the means of choosing between the two countries. If a person only possess the power of removing to that which is the more contiguous, eligibility is out of the question: he is no longer a free agent. But the difference in the cost of emigrating is far from being so considerable as might be imagined on a mere view of their comparative distances from this country. I understand that a gentleman of

  ― 425 ―
great experience and respectability in the commercial world, has presented a calculation to the committee of the House of Commons, which is now occupied with an inquiry into the state of this colony, from which it appears that a family, consisting of a man, his wife and two children, with five tons for their accommodation and for the reception of their baggage, might emigrate to the colony for one hundred pounds, inclusive of every contingent expense, provided a sufficient number of families could be collected to freight a ship. The same gentleman calculates that a single man might be taken out thither for thirty pounds.note The difference, therefore, in the mere cost of emigrating to the two places is so trifling, that the superior locality of the one cannot be admitted as any sort of set off against the superior advantages of the other. With respect, however, to the last plea, that has been adduced in favour of emigration to the United States, the superiority which they possess in a free government, it must be admitted, that this is a decisive ground of preference, and a blessing to which the greatest pecuniary advantages cannot

  ― 426 ―
be considered a sufficient counterpoise. And if it be imagined that the present arbitrary system of government is not drawing to a conclusion; if it be apprehended that it has not yet reached its climax of oppression and iniquity, and that it will be enforced until all who are within the sphere of its influence are reduced to a state of moral degradation and infamy, and the colony becomes one vast stye of abomination and depravity; the emigrant will do well to discard from his mind every mercenary consideration, and to turn away with disgust from all prospects of gain; so long as they are only to be realized by entering into so contagious and demoralizing an association. But if he believe that the hour is at hand when the present system is to be abolished; when oppression is to be hurled from the car in which it has driven triumphantly over prostrate justice, virtue, and religion; and when the dominion of right and morality is to be asserted and established; then I have no hesitation in recommending him to give a preference to this colony. In the agonies of approaching dissolution, the efforts of tyranny will be feeble and impotent. Moral corruption, though the inevitable result of a voluntary submission to the will, is not the consequence of an indignant and impatient sufferance of its rule for a season; and the chance of personal injury

  ― 427 ―
would be still more precarious and uncertain. Under the most arbitrary governments the vengeance of the despot has seldom been known to extend beyond the circle of his court; his victims have been among the ambitious candidates for power and distinction. The retired pursuits of unobtrusive industry have proved a sanctuary, which has remained inviolate in all ages.

“The lifted axe, the agonizing wheel,
Luke's iron crown, and Damien's bed of steel,
To men remote from pow'r but rarely known,
Leave reason, faith, and conscience all our own.”