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The following statement will shew the imports and exports at Hobart Town for the years 1817 and 1818:
IMPORTS (exclusive of Government Stores, British Goods, and India Piece-Goods.)
Spirits. Wine. Beer. Sugar. Soap. Tobacco. Tea.
The natives of Van Diemen's Land are few in number considering the extent of country which they yet hold free from European invasion. It is probable that their extreme wretchedness forbids their increase. They have been always hostilely inclined, and by no means avail themselves of the freedom of our streets and houses, like the natives of Port Jackson. This feeling is ascribed to a fatal quarrel at the first settling, in which several of them were killed, and the memory of which has been kept alive by occasional encounters in the interior between them and the solitary Europeans employed as stock-keepers. These are frequently assaulted by spears and stones, and are compelled to use fire-arms in their defence. The two parties live in mutual suspicion and dread; and time and conciliation towards such of the natives as afford opportunities of intercourse can alone obliterate the present impression of long cherished animosity. Some intercourse has lately been effected with those of the western coast, and they appear free from all oppression of the colonists. Hence it would seem that, on the other side of the island, the native hostility arises from some ancient grudge, particularly since, from the difficult if not wholly impracticable nature of the western range of mountains, it is very doubtful whether the tribes have any communication upless by the northern extremity of the island. The savages do not eat the cattle or sheep; but they often destroy them and burn the carcasses. They subsist chiefly on kangaroos, opossum, and
such small deer,' down to the kangaroo-rat, migrating in times of scarcity to the coast for fish.
The great difference between the Indians of Van Diemen's Land and those of New Holland, though the countries are sepa
rated by a strait not a hundred miles wide, and studded with islands by means of which canoes might safely pass, and though the rest of nature's productions are nearly the same in both lands, affords a subject of curious speculation. The islanders resemble the African negro in physiognomy much more than the natives of the continent; and the hair of the former is woolly, whereas that of the latter is coarse and straight. Both races are equally free from any tradition of origin, or acquaintance with each other, although their barbarism seems at the extreme pitch. Their languages are entirely different, and it is probable that they never had any connexion with each other.
A similar phenomenon occurs in the Great Andaman island, in the Bay of Bengal, whither the native Indian convicts are now transported. The barbarism of the few inhabitants of this island is said to be equal to that of the New Hollanders; and the following passages from Symes's Embassy to Ava might have been written of the natives of Van Diemen's Land.
Their sole occupation is to rove along the margin of the sea in quest
of a precarious meal of fish. In stature they seldom exceed five feet. Their limbs are disproportionately slender, their bellies protuberant, with high shoulders and large heads; and, strange to find in this part of the world, they are a degenerate race of negroes with woolly hair, flat noses and thick lips. They go quite naked, and are insensible of any shame from exposure. Hunger may (but these instances are rare) induce them to put themselves in the power of strangers; but the moment that want is satisfied, nothing short of coercion can prevent them from returning to a way of life more congenial to their savage nature. Their habitations display little more ingenuity than the dens of wild beasts; four sticks stuck in the ground are bound together at the top, and fastened transversely by others, to which branches of trees are suspended: an opening is left on one side just large enough to admit of entrance: leaves compose their bed.
The reader is now prepared to enter into the little maiden pamphlet before us, if that epithet can, with any propriety, be applied to so monstrous a birth as the Life of Michael Howe. He was born at Pontefract in 1787, and was apprenticed to a merchant vessel at Hull; but he shewed his indentures a fair pair of heels,' (as Prince Henry says,) and entered on board a man of war, from which he got away as he could. He was tried at York in 1811 for a highway robbery, and sentenced to seven years transportation. He arrived in Van Diemen's Land in 1812, and was assigned by government as a servant to a settler; froin this service he absconded into the woods, and joined a party of twentyeight bush-rangers, as they are called. In this profession he lived
VOL. XX111. NO. XLV.
six years of plunder and cruelty, during which he appears to have twice surrendered himself to justice, under proclamations of pardon, but was both times unaccountably suffered to escape again to the woods. It is reproachful to the government of the colony to think that it was after the second of these flights from justice, or at least from confinement, that he committed the murder of the two men who had, as they thought, secured him. By this means he again escaped, to be shot at last by a private soldier of the 48th regiment and another man; for so desperate was this villain, that he was only to be taken dead, and by stratagem.
Howe was without a spark of even the honour of an outlaw; he betrayed his colleagues upon surrendering himself to government, and he fired upon the native girl, his companion, when she became an impediment to his flight. He was reduced at last to abandonment, even by his own gang; and 100 guineas, and (if a convict should take him) a free pardon and a passage to England, were set upon his head. He was now a wretched, conscience-haunted solitary, hiding in dingles, and only tracked by the sagacity of the native girl, to whom he had behaved so ungratefully, and who was now employed by the police to revenge his cruelty to her. His arms, ammunition, dogs and knapsack were first taken from him; and in the last was found a little memorandum-book of kangaroo skin, written by himself in kangaroo blood. It contained a sort of journal of his dreams, which shewed strongly the wretched state of his mind, and some tincture of superstition. It appears that he frequently dreamt of being murdered by natives, of seeing his old companions, of being nearly taken by a soldier; and in one instance only, humanity asserts itself even in the breast of Michael Howe, for we find him recording that he dreamt of his sister. It also appears from this little book, that he had once an idea of settling in the woods; for it contains long lists of such seeds as he wished to have, vegetables, fruits, and even flowers!
We are happy to hear that these bush-rangers are at length exterminated. They were a heavy drawback upon the industry of a young colony; and settlers were fain to pay them black-mail as a composition for escape from worse plunder. It was more than conjectured in Van Diemen's Land that these freebooters could not have maintained themselves so long, had not they found abettors, concealers, and receivers of their spoils. They would lift a flock of sheep from one farmer and turn it into the pasture of another, marking the animals as his; and the destruction of this staple stock of the colony was immense, for the outlaws were often compelled to secrete themselves in recesses till a score of sheep (sometimes their only fare) was devoured or wasted by them.
We repeat our hope that this narrative (which by the way might have been drawn up with more plainness and simplicity) will be hereafter as merely a matter of curious history in Van Diemen's Land, as it is in this country; and we desire to see the next literary production of the Hobart Town press more pleasing in the manner, and less tragical in the matter. It is natural that the early literature of such a colony should consist of last dying speeches and confessions; but even such literature is better than none; and we understand that Hobart Town now publishes a weekly Gazette, and that the government, whose organ it is, is administered by a man of talent and reading.
ART. III.--Voyage dans le Levant en 1817 et 1818. Tome I.
Large folio. Par le Comte de Forbin. Paris. THE THE precise object of the Count de Forbin's Voyage dans le
Levant' is not quite apparent from its fruits.--It may have been undertaken with the view of enabling the 'Director General of Museums' to exhibit his talent as an artist in seventy or eighty indifferent specimens of lithography, of which half-a-dozen of the worst bear his name ;-or to gratify his royal patron Louis XVIII., by presenting to him a volume equal at least in dimensions to the
Grand Livre on Egypt, which the Savans of the Institute laid at the feet of Napoleon Buonaparte :--for the purpose of collecting information, it could hardly have been undertaken; for it literally contains none. It would be equally difficult to discover on what grounds an old and meritorious servant, who, like Denon, had distinguished himself by his knowledge of antiquities, by his taste and execution in the fine arts, and by his zeal for their promotion among his countrymen, was dismissed to make room for the present Apollo of the Museum, who has not the good fortune to be gifted with science, art, or taste, or even with the semblance of zeal or respect for any
of them. If we did not happen to know Count Forbin to be the most dapper and the best dressed gentleman in all Paris,—the very dandy of the Museum,—we should not have failed to suspect as much from a hint modestly conveyed to us in the opening of his work:--SO greatly, it seems, is he recherché in Paris, that he was afraid to give the least intimation of the difficult and hazardous enterprize' he was about to undertake, lest he should find himself unable to resist the remonstrances of his friends, or to tear himself away from their embraces.
When the important day arrived on which our daring adventurer was 'to confide his destiny to chance,' he set off (secretly, of course) for Marseilles; and having collected into his train a skilful
architect, a celebrated panoramist, an aspiring artist, and a clerical cousin, embarked with them on board the Cleopatra frigate, one of the squadron destined for the Levant. They left Toulon on the 21st of August, and fell in with the coast of Africa on the 25th. On the 2d September they reached Milo, where our traveller, for his coup d'essai, scrambled to the top of a mountain which he calls Marrouticho, (Mauroteiché, we presume,) and, from the door of a solitary monastery inhabited by one poor Greek priest, enjoyed, he says, a magnificent view of the whole Grecian archipelago, 'tout l'archipel de la Grèce:'--and as extensive, we may add, as • magnificent, since it embraced a circuit of about 450 English miles !
He was now transferred to the Hazard brig, bound to Athens, where he arrived on the 5th September. We know not what portion of the fortnight which our author passed here, he dedicated to the .examination of the remains of antiquity in the city of Minerva, as he terms it; nor to what specific description of them his attention was principally directed: but if he gives us little information on these points, we have at least no reason to complain of a want of vapid declamation and mawkish sentiment, or, as he is pleased to call it, rêverie;' of which the following may serve as a specimen.
* It was my frequent custom to walk out at night, because the hour of darkness seemed to put me in communication with the past. It is then that the imagination without effort reaches the most splendid edifices; and the dubious light of the moon aids these magnificent resurrections, I peopled the porticoes and the public places with illustrious shades; I agitated the multitude by the uncertainty of a defeat or a triumph ; the temples opened, and I fancied that I heard the warlike spirits of the citizens ; the impassioned accents of the orators, and the tumult of a free people, jealous of their glory, devoting to the infernal deities all the enemies of their independence.' (p. 14.)
He was not, however, so entirely engrossed by these sublime speculations, but that he found leisure (besides assisting at a number of weddings, dances, &c.) to fill his portfolio; and we have no doubt that, when the other elephantine volume (with which we are to be favoured) shall be launched, he will be ready to say, as one of his countrymen did to a gentleman about to set out on his travels into Egypt, Attendez, Monsieur,'-laying his hand on the great book of the Savans of the Institute,— il n'y a rien à faire, il n'y a rien à voir, soyez tranquille, ici vous trouverez tout:'— there is nothing to see, nothing to do, make yourself easy, here you will find every thing!
Our readers already know that Lord Elgin (following the example of the French) removed several of the decaying metopes from