Page:Life and Adventures of William Buckley.djvu/209

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
186
LIFE OF BUCKLEY.

by paying thirty, shillings monthly for license, would thereby purchase a right to dig for gold;—that within a few years of his thus writing, one Province of the British Empire should show evidence of wealth enough within reach of the present generation, to pay off the so called "National Debt."

But let us see what say the Statistics, dated the 1st February, 1852:—

The past month has been characterised chiefly by the large accessions to the population of this colony from the adjacent settlements. South Australia and Van Diemen's Land in particular are being rapidly depopulated by the efflux of their able bodied and industrious male colonists. In the former locality a serious commercial reaction has arisen, in consequence of the almost total cessation of trade, the unmarketable character of property, and the stoppage of operations (and necessarily of dividends too) at the great Burra mines, which the workmen are said to have abandoned for the Victoria gold fields.

The gold diggings in New South Wales, although less prolific than those of this colony, have as yet prevented a proportionate emigration from that quarter; and some accessions to the population are now being received at Sydney from California, consisting chiefly of colonists who had previously gone thither, but whom the news, of May and June last have induced to return.

The immigration from all quarters during the last month into the Port of Melbourne, independently of some arrivals at Geelong and the smaller Ports, has been 6,640 persons. Deducting 481 who, have left the colony during the same period, there remain 6209 persons thus added to the population in one month. These arrivals, deducting departures, appear severally as follows:—From Britain, 556; New South Wales, besides overland parties, 870, Van Diemen's Land, 2137; South Australia, besides overland parties, 2646. Arrivals from, other parts of the colony are not counted.

These particulars, extracted from the Customs' Records, are probably much below the actual truth, the vessels being usually overcrowded with passengers, and the returns given short by the agents, from apprehension of interference on the part of the au-