Hints on emigration to the new settlement on the Swan and Canning Rivers, on the west coast of Australia

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Hints on emigration to the new settlement on the Swan and Canning Rivers, on the west coast of Australia  (1829) 
by Joseph Cross
Hints on emigration to the new settlement on the Swan and Canning Rivers, on the west coast of Australia.djvu



HINTS

ON

EMIGRATION

TO THE

New Settlement

ON THE

SWAN AND CANNING RIVERS,

ON THE

WEST COAST OF

AUSTRALIA.





LONDON:
PRINTED AND PUBLISHED BY J. CROSS, 18, HOLBORN,
OPPOSITE FURNIVAL'S INN.

MDCCCXXIX.



HINTS ON EMIGRATION,

&c. &c.





To Persons, who from various circumstances may have it in contemplation to quit their native Country, either for a limited or extended period, it is desirable to have such information as may be most useful in guiding their determination, and save them loss of time and waste of property.

With this view, the following Document, which has been issued by the Colonial Department for the encouragement of a new Settlement on the West Coast of New Holland, is placed under consideration; with a few Remarks, for the use of those who may wish either to secure increased comforts during their life time for themselves and families, or, by an exercise of talent and adventure, found for their posterity certain wealth.

"1. His Majesty's Government do not intend to
"incur any expense, in conveying Settlers to the New
"Colony on the Swan River; and will not feel bound
"to defray the cost of supplying them with Provisions,
"or other necessaries, after their arrival there, nor to
"assist their removal to England, or to any other place,
"should they be desirous of quitting the Colony.

"2. Such persons as may arrive in that Settlement,
"before the end of the year 1830, will receive, in the
"order of their arrival, Allotments of Land, free of
"Quit-rent, proportioned to the Capital which they may
"be prepared to invest in the improvement of the Land,
"and of which Capital they may be able to produce
"satisfactory proofs to the Lieutenant Governor (or
"other Officer Administering the Colonial Govern-
"ment), or to any two Officers of the local Govern-
"ment appointed by the Lieutenant Governor for that
"purpose, at the rate of 40 acres for every sum of £3.
"which they may be prepared so to invest.

"3. Under the head of investment of Capital will be
"considered stock of every description, all Implements
"of Husbandry, and other Articles which may be appli-
"cable to the purposes of productive industry, or which
"may be necessary, for the establishment of the Set-
"tler on the Land where he is to be located. The
"amount of any Half-pay or Pension which the appli-
"cant may receive from Government, and which he
"may be prepared to invest as before mentioned; will
"also be considered as so much Capital.

"4. Those who may incur the expense of taking out
"laboring persons, will be entitled to an allotment of
"Land, at the rate of £15., that is, of 200 acres of
"Land, for the passage of every such laboring person,
"over and above any other investment of Capital. In
"the class of 'laboring persons' are included Women,
"and Children above ten years old. With respect to
"the Children of laboring people under that age, it is
"proposed to allow 40 Acres for.every such Child, above
"three years old; 80 Acres for every such Child, above
"six years old; and 120 for every such Child, above
"nine, and under ten years old. Provision will be
"made, by Law, at the earliest opportunity, for ren-
"dering those Capitalists, who may be engaged in
"taking out laboring persons to this Settlement, liable
"for the future maintenance of those persons, should
"they, from infirmity, or any other cause, become
"unable to maintain themselves there.

"5. The Licence to Occupy will be given to the
"Settler, on satisfactory proof being exhibited to the
"Lieutenant Governor (or other Officer administering
"the local Government) of the amount of Property
"brought into the Colony, to be invested as above
"specified. The proofs required of this property will
"be such satisfactory Vouchers of Expenses, as would
"be received in auditing Public Accounts. But the
"Title to the Land will not be granted, in fee simple,
"until the Settler has proved, to the satisfaction of the
"Lieutenant Governor (or other Officer administering
"the local Government) that the sum required by
"Article 2 (viz. 1s. 6d. per Acre), has been actually
"expended in some investment of the nature specified
"in Article 3 or in the cultivation of the Land, or in
"solid improvements, such as buildings, Roads, or
"other Works of that kind.

"6. Any Land, thus allotted of which a fair propor-
"tion, at least one fourth, shall not have been brought
"into cultivation, or otherwise improved to the satis-
"faction of the local Government, within three years
"from the date of the Licence of Occupation, shall at the
"end of the three years, be liable to one further payment
"of 6d. per Acre for all the land not so cultivated or im-
"proved, into the Public Chest of the Settlement; and
"at the expiration of seven years more, so much of the
"whole Grant as shall still remain in an uncultivated
"or unimproved state, will revert absolutely to the
"Crown. And in every Grant will be contained a Con-
"dition, that, at any time within ten years from the
"date thereof, the Government may resume without
"compensation, any Land not then actually cultivated,
"or improved as before mentioned, which may be re-
"quired for Roads, Canals, or Quays, or for the site
"of Public Buildings.

"7. After the year 1830, Land will be disposed of,
"to those Settlers who may resort to the Colony, on
"such conditions as His Majesty's Government shall
"determine.

"8. It is not intended that any Convicts be trans-
"ported to this new Settlement.

"9. The Government will be administered by Cap-
"tain Stirling, of the Royal Navy, as Lientenant
"Governor of the Settlement; and it is proposed that
"a Bill shall be submitted to Parliament in the course
"of the next Session to make provision for its Civil
"and Judicial Administration."

For convenience in the consideration of the subject, a skeleton Map of the World is annexed; and a Chart of the Swan and Canning Rivers, Cockburn Sound, and the adjacent coast and inland survey, upon a large scale, can be obtained from Mr. Cross, 18, Holborn.

By these it will be seen, that the proposed situation of Cockburn Sound, near the Swan and Canning Rivers, is one of peculiar advantage, placed without the tropics, in lat. 32 S.

The climate will be nearly of the same temperature as those parts of the Continent of Europe which are most agreeable, and productive of all articles of necessity; the best grain, seeds, horses, cattle, &c. as well as those of general European commerce, between 35 and 50 N. latitude; and it may be presumed such a situation will agree with the health and constitutions of persons accustomed to such latitudes.[1] But, however admirably gifted by nature any situation may be deemed for the purpose of forming a new settlement, many weighty considerations must press upon the mind, and much privation will be endured, before any individual will determine to quit his native land, in search of ease or affluence in a distant uninhabited world. Therefore, the difficulties and embarrassments ought to be considered, as well as the prospects of comfort and independence. And one material object should always be borne in mind—whether the step can be retraced without an excessive sacrifice, in case of disappointment.

One point of consideration in the proposed measure (although in reality of no essential importance to pecuniary success) is of considerable magnitude, as regards moral feeling and the pride of many—that is, there being no admission of convicts into the proposed Colony!—Those who establish property and families, will feel that their names and fortunes cannot be mixed hereafter with any dubious idea as to their origin. They can return to their mother country and to society with the certainty of possessing purity of character, and without risk of rejection, into every situation to which fortune, talent and character may justify their aspiring.

Without any illiberal sentiment, this is a disadvantage under which Port Jackson and Van Diemen's Land certainly suffer. Nevertheless these thriving Colonies, in the course of 30 or 40 years, have made surprising progress in agriculture, popuation, commerce and wealth. The situation of Port Jackson was the most distant from the Mother Country; its position was not peculiarly adapted to production or traffic with any part of the Globe; therefore, the improvement can only be attributed to a favorable soil, free from the taxations of old European Governments, a low fee cost, or a nominal pepper corn rent, which circumstances have not only been capable of maintaining those who adventured, but of yielding a profit for capital sufficient to induce others to pursue the same course?[2] If independent persons of correct character and a little property, others of some rank in society, such as honorable servants of the Crown, retired from the Army, Navy, and Public Establishments, with moderate but certain incomes, embark in a new Colony, and act simultaneously for the promotion of their own and the general interests, the probabilities of a speedy and favorable result are greatly increased.

To such persons these remarks are intended; and, in the consideration of them, it is proposed by parties of respectability, to offer a Plan for individuals to visit the Settlement and judge for themselves.

They shall be provided with passage in first class ships, commanded by experienced officers, at a fixed charge.

They will be provided with every requisite for the passage out, according to rations accompanying the engagement.

Six months' provisions in the Settlement according to the same rations.

A free passage home, in the event of not remaining.

Should the individual determine to remain in the Settlement, he shall receive a proportion of his advanced money, in provisions or stock, equal to six months' maintenance, according to the same rations; and money or stock at his option, in lieu of his passage home.

This Plan offers many advantages.—An individual may form his own opinion by an absence of 12 or 14 months, and a six months' observation on the spot, of the prospect of success.—Should he be disappointed, his expenditure will probably not exceed that of his residence at home; and, if he is a man with a family and approves of the Settlement, he can fix his locality and return for his family at a certain expence, or he can make arrangements for his family to join him when his situation may be determined and in some forwardness.

It is not intended in these remarks to encourage any individual in views of emigration. They are addressed to those whose minds are in some measure fixed; and it is to those who have to choose the most advantageous situations in new Settlements for their future residence, that any practical knowledge is offered.

Their attention is therefore drawn to the following leading features of the proposed new Settlement on the West Coast of New Holland:—

The climate between 30 and 35 S.[3] must be excellent, and congenial to all European constitutions.—The soil is represented as rich, and the country well wooded. The Swan and Canning Rivers, taking their sources at the foot of elevated lands, 30 miles from the coast, and 1200 feet above the level of the sea, pass through plains, joining in one outlet, near Cockburn Sound, at which place the principal Settlement is intended to be formed. At the mouth of the river there is a rocky bar, therefore, Cockburn Sound, securely land-locked at the distance of five to six miles from the river, will be the great anchorage for ships, while small craft will navigate the rivers to the interior for many miles. So situated, every article may be produced for its own maintenance in the most convenient places, while its productions of export can be conveyed to the place of shipment by water carriage, with little trouble and expense. The safety of the harbour and coast, its contiguity to the islands and markets in the East Indian Archipelago, Java, Timor, the Celebee and Molucca Islands; its clear passage to the Continent of India, the short distance to the Mauritius, and favorable run to and from the Cape of Good Hope, and its convenient intercourse with Van Diemen's Land, being also nearer to England by 2000 miles, or 20 days' passage, are circumstances highly in its favor. How it has happened that this portion of Australia has remained so long unexplored, is difficult to conjecture; for certainly no spot appears more eligibly situated for receiving tropical luxuries at least cost and repaying their value both directly and circuitously in productions of utility!

It may now not be inapplicable to consider what raw productions of Europe and Asia, for which Great Britain is so large a customer to other countries, (which she either consumes, or again sends forth in a manufactured state,) can be cultivated advantageously by the Settlers at Cockburn Sound or its neighbourhood; and in the production of which, they may be enabled to compete in price and quality with those of Europe or Asia. If this can be shown, it is to be expected his Majesty's Government will give to the Colony a decided support, upon the wisest, genuine and simple principles of political economy and self interest—that of getting the most for their money!

In this country's traffic with Russia,[4] Great Britain receives from St. Petersburg, Riga, and Archangel alone, in hemp, flax, and tallow, two millions sterling.

From Prussia and Poland,[5] through the Ports of Memel, Konigsburg, and Dantzig, considerable supplies of hemp and flax are received; likewise much flax manufactured into yarn.

Let two articles of cultivation be selected for consideration, out of the number that will hereafter offer: viz. hemp and flax.

1st. A new rich soil cannot be otherwise than well suited for their cultivation.

2nd. The climate and temperature will also be suited, because these articles are grown in Russian Poland, the Ukraine, Austria, and Italian States, and in New Zealand,[6] of a peculiarly fine quality. Yorkshire and Ireland likewise produce excellent flax.

It may therefore be taken for granted, an equal quality can be grown, with immediate convenience of shipment upon navigable rivers; whereas the cultivator in the Ukraine and distant parts of Siberia, Russian Poland, &c. must deliver his produce at Archangel, St. Petersburg, or Riga, partly by land carriage and partly by navigation, at different seasons. A view of the map of Russia will show how great a proportion of the value of the article must be expended in its transport.

The present price of hemp at St. Petersburg

is about . . . . . . . £32 0 per ton
English Duty . . . . . . 3 10
Freight . . . . . . . 3 0
London Charges . . . . . . 3 0

£41 10
which is about the present value in England.

Suppose hemp of Australia the

same value . . . . . . . 41 10

It is presumed the Government will allow its importation nearly duty free, merely to mark the quantity imported. Allowing an average of four months for voyages to the Baltic and White Sea, and ten months for an Australian voyage, an increased rate of freight must be charged equal to

two and a half voyages[7] . . . £7 10
London Charges the same in both cases . . . . . . . . 3 0
Additional Premium for Insurance 1 0

11 10
Leaving for the Cultivator, per ton 30 0

£41 10

What may be the exact cost of the cultivation of hemp in Russia and Poland it is very difficult to conjecture; but it is known to be generally produced on the estates of, perhaps, the most expensive aristocracy in the world. It passes under the control of Managers and Agents, until it reaches the first dealers in contracts; it then comes to others upon a more extended scale, and finally arrives at the ports of shipment, with all its accumulated charges of commissions, profits, transits and Government dues. Therefore, if a moiety is netted of the £32 per ton, it is as much or more than can be expected;[8] and no apprehension need be entertained of any competition from an increase of quantity or reduction of price. It cannot be afforded in Russia under its present cost; and recently, whenever the price has declined below the rate now paid, a decrease of produce has followed.

With regard to the article of flax, none need be mislead; an excellent estimate may be made from the experience of those who have grown flax in the neighbourhood of Thorne and Goole in Yorkshire, and. others on a larger scale in Ireland. The price of very fine Yorkshire groom. flax is about 7s. per stone, or £56 per ton.

The price of best Russian flax is about £38 to £40 per ton.

Supposing therefore the same quality grown in Australia and to produce in England £56 per ton

The deductions will be, Freight . £7 0
Premium for Insurance . . . 2 0
London Charges . . . . . . 3 0

£12 0

Leaving for the Colonist £44 per ton, or 5s.6d. per stone.

The question in this case is simple—Whether land, rent free, unencumbered with poor rates, tythes, and taxes, cannot be cultivated for the produce of flax to much greater advantage than the difference between 7s. and 5s. 6d. per stone? Any person will answer that the cost will be more considerably reduced, and certain and early returns may be relied upon.

It is unnecessary to trouble ourselves with speculations upon the cost of flax in Russia, Poland, Holland or elsewhere; we have here a data that cannot deceive the Adventurer.[9] From these facts it is not unreasonable to believe that, in a few years, several thousand tons of both hemp and flax may be shipped from Cockburn Sound, with great advantage to the Settlers and increase of wealth to the Colony.

Here then are two articles of produce, in an unmanufactured state, which the commerce of Great Britain requires, and which the Government can in a direct manner encourage. Other articles will gradually succeed, as the Colony advances in population and prosperity; because there exists no fundamental impediment either in climate, voyage or distance, to opening an intercourse with the whole world. Linseed, tallow, hides, bristles, wool, fish, oils, &c. will become valuable exports, while it is probable the finest grain will be produced for its own maintenance.

Should His Majesty's Government be actuated by a sincere desire to promote the success of the Colony, the Navy Board may be directed to accept tenders for a given quantity of hemp, according with a sample from the early growths. Should the quality in the first instance not satisfy the rigid scrutiny of their officers, it is well known that inferior hemp can be applied to inferior purposes; consequently a moderate encouragement may be given, without detriment to the public service; and supposing 1000 tons so obtained, what will be the sacrifice, and what the benefit of the state?

The loss to Government by the relinquishment of the duty on hemp to the general consumer, on 1000 tons, would be . . . . . . £3500

The benefits will be as follow: 600 tons increased employment for mercantile shipping, in consequence of performing one voyage in ten months, instead of one in four months. Employment of 40 additional seamen in the navigation of 600 tons of shipping, shipwrights, ropers, sailmakers, blockmakers, anchorsmiths, coppersmiths, iron manufacturers, canvas, slops, ship chandler's stores, &c. &c. &c., to the amount of £10,000 for the cost and equipment of 600 tons of shipping, renewable every few years.

Thirty thousand pounds returned to the Colony in the produce of the mines (iron, lead, tin, and copper) of England; and in every description of its manufactures-woollens, cottons, earthenware, ironmongery, rum, porter, and ale, &c. &c. too numerous to mention.[10]

In the infancy of a Colony, the certain maintenance of the Settlers should be well established; and it is also right to know with what facility and at what cost, an adequate supply of necessaries, comforts, and even luxuries may be obtained.

Adjacent, and favorably situated to Cockburn Sound, are the Mauritius, Cape of Good Hope, Timor, Java, Sumatra, and the East Indian Presidencies.

Rice, from Java, can be obtained in five weeks, at or under 1d. per pound.

The bantam fowls and China pigs at equally moderate prices.

Sugar, from the Mauritius, Java, or Calcutta, at 3d. per pound.

Coffee, from Java, 4d. per pound.

Spices, the production of the Moluccas, Celebees, &c. &c. at the lowest possible rate :—viz. pepper, nutmegs, cloves, &c.

Algoa Bay, the Cape of Good Hope, furnishes cattle and sheep. The coast of Cockburn Sound and Swan and Canning Rivers, promises plenty of fish for the table—also, oil for use. Tea will not cost more than 2s.6d. per pound through Java; from whence stock of cattle, poultry and pigs can be added of the best quality.

There is no intention in these remarks to show the extent of production of which the soil and climate are capable; time and prosperity will be requisite to bring forward all their capabilities. Nothing, therefore, has been said of the articles grown in similar latitudes in Asia, and carried to Smyrna and other Turkish Ports at immense distances, for export to England, France and Holland. There is, however, no reason for supposing that silk, (equal to that of Brussa,) opium, madder roots, goats wool, senna, gums, currants, raisins, and the highly esteemed Turkish tobacco, and various other productions, may not be cultivated to advantage half a century hence. But, in the commencement, it is sufficient to look to early, certain, and profitable returns; without calculating upon chances of wealth, which may not be realized in the lifetime of the present Adventurers.



J, Cross, Printer, 18, Holborn, opposite Furnival's Inn.


  1. It appears from Captain Stirling's Report on that Coast, the Thermometer in the hot months of January, February, and March, averaged in the Morning about 60°; at Noon about 78°; and in the Evening 65°. The Barometer averaged about 30° weather generally fine,—some rain and showery weather, and occasionally thunder and lightning.
  2. It may likewise be remarked, the progress of Botany Bay and Van Diemen's Land was during a war; while every individual and the capital of the country found ample employment. How much greater will be encouragement at this moment, with a superabundant population and an unemployed capital! There is much also to be said on the want of direction to the Settlers in Van Diemen's Land and Port Jackson. They never had pointed out to them those articles of utility and necessity of the mother country's consumption, which, by cultivation, would have enriched both, had they been attended to;—but every thing has been left to nature and to chance—wool, wood, and lately oil and whalebone, have been the only exports from thence for Europe, and coals for India.
  3. De Freycinet's account of Baudin's Voyage, places Swan River in lat. 32.4.31.S. lon. 115.46.43. East of Greenwich.
  4. It is too notorious to need comment, that the Russian Government has for a number of years acted with great hostility towards English Commerce. Every new Tariff contains some additional or prohibitory duty upon British Manufactures:—woollens are nearly excluded—cotton goods are under rigid restrictions—Colonial produce 4s heavily taxed—in fact no object is forgotten that can annoy this country.
  5. Some of the remarks in the preceding note are appllicable to Prussia: now greatly encompassed by Russian Poland in her rear, and the sources of her rivers commanded by Russia, her produce and consumption are greatly curtailed, and our intercourse consequently much altered. She does not however evince much disposition towards a fair and liberal reciprocity in her trade with England, and, therefore, our Ministers may as well endeavour to ascertain whether this country cannot obtain a greater quantity of every article of necessity and use, at a cheaper rate elsewhere. If this is real economy, how much more will its importance be increased, when accomplished through the employment of a superabundant population in a new Colony!
  6. That the Settler may know there is no deception in these representations, he can have the means of ascertaining the quality of hemp and flax grown in New Zealand and likewise the hemp or grass of Manilla, now becoming the favorite article for cordage in America.
  7. This rate of homeward peace freight is higher than need be calculated, because the ships employed to Russia make very little or scarcely any outward freight while new settlements require constant supplies, and receive a regular augmentation of inhabitants. The outward freights and passage money contribute greatly to reduce the rate homewards, and £5 per ton for hemp and flax, properly screwed and stowed, will be sufficient. In such calculations, however, every thing ought to be allowed liberally for deductions.
  8. It is not more than forty years since hemp cost no more than £15 per ton at Petersburgh, and was sold in England to advantage at £23 per ton; therefore the expense of cultivation cannot be great. The advance has occurred from taxation in Russia, and other political causes.
  9. Hemp and flax are well adapted for new settlements; they require extent of land, without the necessity of a great population. The labour required is not great; but attention is requisite when the article is ready to be cut, gathered, and prepared, to be cleared from the stem or pith. The process is simple, and easily acquired a knowledge of; and, if thought desirable, a few labourers from countries where these articles are brought to the greatest perfection, may be obtained at an expence very little beyond the supply of food and clothing.
  10. If the benefits derived by Government from duties of excise, &c. chargeable through all the ramifications of employment in the production of £30,000 of manufactures, could be accurately calculated, no doubt the balance would be greatly in favour of a sacrifice of £3500 duty upon one thousand tons of hemp!