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" Nor could the fervour with which experience can tell, but we presume it he was impressed have exceeded my must be ranked among the wonders of sense of gratitude for being allowed to a new country; at all events, the Jourmake such a discovery. From that nalist returned without having done rock the scene was so extensive as to the very thing for which his expedileave no room for doubt as to the tion had been fitted out, and left the course of the river, which, then and object to be completed by his subordithere revealed to me alone, seemed like nate, who was subsequently despatched a reward direct from Heaven for per- in the direction of the north-west. severance, and as a compensation for Thus, though probabilities are in favour the many sacrifices which I had made, of the river, which the Colonel named in order to solve the question as to the Victoria, the point is by no means the interior rivers of tropical Aus- settled, and Australian curiosity may tralia."
be disappointed after all. From the 16th to the 24th of Sep- As the party approached the river, tember the course of the river was they saw considerable numbers of followed, which still was north-west, the natives. On reaching one of the but at this period the party returned. lagoons, the shrieks of many women The reason stated is the failure of pro- and children, and the angry voices of visions. This must have been a most men, apprised them that they had at vexatious disappointment—so vexati- length overtaken the tribe, and unforous, that we cannot comprehend how it tunately had come on them by surcould have been submitted to without prise. " Aya, minya!” was vocifesome more remarkable effort than any rated repeatedly, and was understood thing that we find recorded in these to mean, “ What do you want?” I pages. That an expedition equipped steadily adhered to my own tactics for a four months' journey should have towards the aborigines, and took not turned back at the very moment when the slightest notice of them, but rode a few days', perhaps a few hours', on according to my compass-bearing. march, might have completed its On looking back for my men, I saw object, is altogether incomprehensible, one beckoning me to return. He had while it had any conceivable means of observed two natives with spears and subsistence. In such a condition of clubs hide themselves behind a bush things, the traveller ought to have in the direction in which I was adeaten his horse, if he could get nothing vancing. On my halting, they stole else. But there was actually, at no away. The whole seemed to have great distance behind, a depôt of their been amusing themselves in the water own bullocks and sheep, all feeding during the noonday heat, which was comfortably, and, as the party found excessive, and the cool shades round on marching back to them, " Sheep the lagoon looked most luxuriant. and cattle fat, the whole a sort of Our position, on the contrary, was farm." A good stackyard had been any thing but enviable. Even there, set up, a storehouse had been built in the heart of the interior, on a river a garden had been fenced in, and con- utterly unheard of by white men, an tained lettuce, radishes, melons, and iron tomahawk glittered in the hand cucumbers. Indeed, the whole estab- of a chief. The anxious care of the lishment exhibited the effects of good females to carry off their children order and discipline.
seemed the most agreeable feature of • Why, then, did not the Journalist the scene. Some had been digging in return on his track, and establish the the mud for worms, others searching discovery which was the express for fresh-water mussels, and if the object of his mission? This exceeds whole could have been witnessed unour knowledge. The only direct inti- perceived, such a scene of domestic mation of his necessities in these pages life among the aborigines had been is, " our provisions were nearly outworth a little more risk. The strong the sun having reduced the mess sugar men assumed a strange attitude, which and melted the bacon, which had been seemed very expressive of surprise, boiled before we set out." Whether the having the right knee bent, the left leg lean of Australian bacon may liquefy forward-the right arm dropping, but in the sun is more than our European grasping clubs—the left arm raised,
and the fingers spread out. " Aya, in a civilised state, does not necesaya, minya,” they continually shouted. sarily injure his bodily organs. The However, the party rode on, and the fool who cannot stir, or even sit, withshouts died away.
out a cigar in his mouth, or the drunkThe Journalist occasionally recovers ard who continually sacrifices health from his enthusiasm for savagery. We and understanding to intoxication, have no more bursts in his earlier style, has only to condemn himself. But, "Such truth and exemption from dis- give the savage tobacco and rum, and ease, such intensity of existence, in he will as speedily destroy his organs, short, must be far beyond the enjoy- and bring himself to the grave, as the ments of civilised men, with all that most civilised profligate in existence. art can do for them. And the proof And as to the grand supposed use of of this is to be found, in the failure of civilisation—the fixing our minds on all attempts to persuade these free “immortal shadows"—if by this be denizens of uncultivated earth to for- meant giving us ideas of religion, sake it for the tilled ground. They there are many highly civilised nations prefer the land, unbroken and free which think but very little of religion, from the earliest curse pronounced and many highly civilised persons who against the first banished and first think of it nothing at all. Yet, it is only created man." All this unfortunately justice to the gallant Colonel to quote shows nothing, but that the gallant this sentence." Animal gratification Colonel would be the wiser for going is transient and dull compared to the back to his Bible, where he would find acquisition of knowledge, the gratifithe words, “ I will not again curse the cation of mind,-the raptures of ground any more for man's sake." the poet, or the delight of the enthuBut at last (page 328) we have a sketch siast, however imaginary. Such were of the reality. “It would appear my reflections on this day of rest, in that, the finer the climate and the the heart of a desert, while protected fewer man's wants, the more he sinks from the sun's rays by a blanket.” towards the condition of the lower But even his metaphysics are entirely animals. Where the natives had a misconception. The original purpassed the night, no huts, even of pose of civilisation is, to enable man bushes, had been set up. A few tufts to live in society; that is, in peace, of dry grass only marked the spot, with the advantages of mutual assistwhere, beside a small fire, each person ance. That those objects are powerhad sat, folded up like the capital fully aided by religion is true, and letter N. Their occupation during that science may be best cultivated in the day was only wallowing in a settled life, is equally true; but those muddy hole, in no respect cleaner are merely collateral. Civilisation than swine. They have no idea of means the work of law, of safe interany necessity for washing themselves course, of secure property, and of all between their birth and the grave, the safeguards of society which ultiwhile groping in mud for worms. mately enable man to polish the geAfter admitting the filth, the indolence, neral manners, and to improve the and the uselessness of the savage; general mind.' Religion is not the contrasting, however, his teeth and consequence, but the origin of Civilitongue favourably with those of the sation. civilised man or child, of which he We now take leave of the journey, pronounces it to be “ten to one but with the sketch of the rivers. After he should find only impurity and de- moving for some distance between cay,” (a point in which we are wholly two streams, they approached the juncat issue with him,) he asks, “what tion, which formed the broad, deep, then is civilisation in the economy of and placid waters of a river as deep the human animal ?". He answers, as the Murray. Pelicans and ducks * Cultivated man despises the perish- floated upon it, and mussel shells of able substance, and pursues the im- extraordinary size
lay in such mortal shadow." We are but little quantities, where the natives had satisfied with the language of this solu- been in the habit of eating them, as tion, nor is its meaning much more to resemble snow covering the ground. intelligible. In the first place, man, But even that reach seemed diminu
tive, when compared with the vast away; and that the poor, idle, and body of water of which traces had useless being, whom Sir Thomas will been left there ; affording evidence, persist in calling the noble savage, that though wide, they must have must be left to eat rats and mice, to been impetuous in their course. live in misery and wretchedness, and Verdure alone shone now, over the to be inevitably pushed into the wilwide extent to which the waters derness, to make way for a superior sometimes rose. Beyond that chan- class of human capability. nel lay the almost boundless plains ; But, regarding the condition of the the whole together forming the finest natives as utterly beyond European region I had ever seen in Australia." influence, except so far as it may and
Still the luckless character of the ought to be exerted to protect them Australian rivers appears; and after from all injury, - there are other expecting that this fine channel, which questions of high importance, relative there seemed navigable for steamers, to the condition of the convicts. The would continue, in a few miles more preamble of the Transport Act made it exhibited only ponds. Whether the the reformation of the culprit a primary great central stream may not exhibit object. There never was any use of the same caprice, is still the question forced labour so effective. The galley
The party returned to Sydney in slaves of France and Italy were in January 1847; and in March, Mr general made more wicked, if possible, Kennedy, the second in command, by their imprisonment and work. We was sent, as has been already stated, think it also next to an impossibility to explore the course of the Victoria. that any culprit, punished by tempo
There are some valuable observa- rary imprisonment, and then thrown tions on the aborigines. It is said out again among his associates, can that they have good natural faculties, change his habits. Who will employ and one of them named Uranigh, an a known felon? A single act of attendant on the expedition, obtains robbery may give him more means of especial praise for sagacity, fidelity, gross gratification, than he could and courage. But, from inevitable cir- obtain by the severest toil in a twelvecumstances, it appears to be the fate of month. The temptation is too strong. the natives to waste away before the The only hope of his recovery, is in European blood, and, even without any his being sent where his bad character violence or oppression, gradually to will not utterly prevent his getting a vanish. To teach them to earn their good one; where he will have profitbread, to adopt European habits of able work, (let the profit be more or any kind, or even to live with any less ;) where he will have few temptasense of comfort in the vicinity of tions, and none of his old ones; and European settlers, seems impossible, where he may have a prospect of and thus they gradually retire into bettering his condition among his the interior. This process has so fellows. All these he had, and has, uniformly occurred in all colonised in New South Wales. countries, where a new civilisation has But it is remarkable and unfortunate, been introduced, that it may be re- that we seldom have a new head of the garded as almost a law of nature. colonial department who does not bring ** Fire, grass, and kangaroos,” are with him some new theory; and the essential to native life; and when the fashionable theory now is, to try the pastures are no longer suffered to be effect of prison discipline. We have burned, and when the kangaroos dis- no hesitation in denouncing this theappear, the savage must retire. Sirory, as ineffectual, intolerably costly, T. Mitchell's favourite project would highly dangerous, and even actually be, to send away a young married cruel. We take the points in succespair to the south of Europe, where sion : we doubt whether it has really they might learn the cultivation of the reformed one prisoner out of a thousand, grape and olive, fig, &c.; then to Its expense is enormous : the single bring them back with their chiidren. prison at Millbank cost a million sterBut we are afraid they would make ling, and probably £100,000 a-year but few converts; that the benevolent for its support. The model prison at experiment would be totally thrown Pentonville is an architectural bijou,
but terribly expensive. Men cannot Sir Thomas Mitchell, the very best be reformed by turnkeys in the most authority on such subjects, tells us, moral costume, or by locks of the most “There is no country in which labour exquisite invention. It is dangerous: appears to be more required to render because those felons, once let loose, it available to, and habitable by civialmost invariably become felons lised man, than New South Wales. again ; and a general jail-delivery Without labour, the inhabitants must once a year, from handcuffs and be savages, or such helpless people as shackles, may people the streets with find the Aborigines. With ruffianism. It is even cruel. The equal truth, it may be asserted that prisoners are not merely deprived, for there is no region of earth susceptible a long succession of years, of all of so much improvement sclely by healthful exercise-for who ever could the labour and ingenuity of man.” take healthful exercise within prison There are no unwholesome savannahs; walls ?—but shut out from all the the rocky ranges afford the means of view and enjoyment of nature, and es- forming reservoirs, &c., of water, pecially from matrimony; they cannot which,
under the tropics, is life, abunbe husbands or fathers. It is true, that dance, and health ; there is an imthe felon forfeits all rights, if they are mensity if it be properly used, and found incompatible with the public Australia might be made the finest safety ; but we have no right to in- scene of vegetation and luxuriance in flict on him any suffering beyond that the world. which is absolutely necessary. If by We take our leave of this volume sending him to Australia we can ac- with regret. It is strikingly written; complish, without cruelty, those ob- it excites and rewards curiosity, and jects which we cannot accomplish (a few rambling ideas excepted) it without cruelty at home, it is our powerfully increases our interest in duty to send bim to Australia. Australian discovery, and in that
We know that a middle system of whole mighty region of the Pacific, imprisonment, to be followed by trans- which God's providence has given into portation, has been attempted, but we the hands of England, for the happihave no faith in its operations. The ness of mankind. true place is Australia.
Of no important portion of the views, have been recorded for the most dominions of the five great European part in a similar spirit. Either an arpowers are such vague and imperfect dent love of science and zeal for its notions entertained, as of the vast advancement, or the strong encouragetract comprised between Russia in ment and liberal subsidies of an enEurope and the Kamschatkan sea, lightened government, are requisite between the Chinese empire and the inducements to brave the perils and Arctic Ocean. Courageous explorers hardships of Siberian travel. The have not been wanting, of the incle- mere inquisitive and speculative trament steppes and rugged mountains veller has difficulty in persuading forming Europe's bulwark against the himself, that the country can reward Mongul and the Tartar. Men of him for the discomfort and inconvenienterprise and distinction have under- ence he must endure in traversing it. taken the task, and executed it well. Not that Siberia is entirely devoid of But their journeys, usually performed wild attractions and romantic associawith special objects and scientific tions. To the adventurous hunter, its
Travels in Siberia : including Excursions Northwards, down the Obi to the Polar Circle, and Southwards to the Chinese Frontier. By Adolph ERMAN. Translated from the German by W. R. COOLEY. Two vols. London, 1848.
vast forests and thinly-peopled plains has just now appeared in a clever give assurance of sport. The motley English dress. The son of a man character of its native and immigrant of great learning and high attainpopulation affords to the philosopher ments, Mr Adolph Erman treads curious matter of consideration. A nobly in his father's footsteps. Still place of deportation for traitors and young, he has done much to incriminals—and not unfrequently for crease the lustre of the honourable the innocent-its name is inseparably name transmitted to him. Born in connected with the memory of innu- the year 1806, he was but two-andmerable unfortunates who have there twenty years of age when he underpined out their existence in expiation took, at his own cost, a journey round of crime, or in obedience to mandates the world, having for its chief object often as anjust as arbitrary. Fallen a series of magnetical observations. favourites of the Czars, rebels against The expedition was completely suctheir tyranny, traitors to their per- cessful. Starting from Berlin' to St son, murderers, and other malefac- Petersburg, he crossed northern Asia, tors, and even prisoners of war, have with occasional digressions of a few here found a living grave till released by hundred leagues, took ship at Okhotsk death, clemency, or flight. Did the for Kamschatka, thence proceeded to tears of exiles fertilise, Siberia should California, visited Otaheite, and came be a teeming land. Since its first subju- round by Cape Horn and Rio Janeiro gation by Ivan the Terrible, how many to Europe and Berlin. Then he sat a Russian magnate, lord of thousands down to write of what he had seen, of serfs, owner of millions of rubles, entitling his work—"Journey round proud of his position, and confident of the Earth, across North Asia and both imperial favour, has suddenly found Oceans.” But the tale of travel so himself travelling eastward under extensive takes time to tell; and, up escort, banished and a beggar. How to the present date, he has not promany mournful trains of minor of- tracted his narrative beyond Okhotsk. fenders have plodded their weary way What he has done, however, is comacross the Uralian chain, guarded by plete in itself, very interesting, and barbarian Bashkirs, to labour in the withal somewhat voluminous, since mines of Nerchinsk, or to lead a its abridged translation forms two peasant's toilsome life on the margin heavy octavos, heavy in amount of of the Frozen Sea. From those vast and paper and print, but not, we must in ice-bound regions, escape can rarely be justice admit, in the nature of their accomplished. But at intervals, during contents. Whilst recording scientific the last five-and-thirty years, bearded investigations, the author does not and toil-worn men of martial aspect neglect subjects more generally intehave crossed the German frontier, and resting. Upon all he brings to bear astonished those they accosted by wild an extraordinary amount of reading tales of suffering, and ignorance of the and research. The result is a book of most notorious events. Some have travels of no ephemeral nature, but inquired for Napoleon, and wept when that will long be esteemed as a stanthey learned he was a captive, or dard work, and respected as a valuable dead. Circumstances of current his authority. tory, known to each child and peasant, Mr Erman commences his narrative were to them a mystery and a marvel. of travel on the day of his departure These strange wanderers, escaped from Berlin ; but its earlier portion from long bondage in Siberia, were has been compressed by the transamongst the last survivors of that lator, in order to escape as soon countless host led northwards by a as possible from Europe, and get Corsican's ambition, and whose fune- upon the less trodden ground east ral pile was lighted in Moscow's city. of Tobolsk. Much has been written
Amongst the delineators of Siberia of late years concerning European and its inhabitants, of the produce, Russia and its inhabitants, and it was customs, and peculiarities of the coun- hardly to be expected that even so try and its people, one of the most acute an observer as Mr Erman successful is the German gentleman should find any thing particularly and scholar whose admirable work novel to say about them. He takes