Page:The life of Matthew Flinders.djvu/567

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
452
LIFE OF MATTHEW FLINDERS

vignerons have been introduced at great expense to promote this object. It is true that their first attempts have not been very happy, but the lack of success is due entirely to the obstinacy of the English Governor, who, in spite of the representations of these men, compelled them to make their first plantations upon the side of a small, pleasant terrace forming a kind of semi-circle round Government House at Parramatta. This was, unfortunately, exposed to the north-west winds, burning winds like the mistral of Italy and Provence, the khamsin of Egypt, etc. The French vignerons whom I had occasion to see at Parramatta, in company with the Lieutenant-Governor, Mr. Paterson, assured me that they had found a piece of country very favourable to their new plantations, and that they hoped for the greatest success from their fresh efforts. Choice plants had been imported from Madeira and the Cape.

In all the English establishments on these coasts traces of grand designs for the future are evident. The mass of the people, being originally composed of the unfortunate and of wrong-doers, might have propagated immorality and corruption, if the Government had not taken in good time means to prevent such a sad result. A house was founded in the early days of the settlement for the reception of young girls whose parents were too poor and too constrained in their circumstances at the commencement of their sojourn there to be able to devote much care to them; while if parents, when emancipated, so conduct themselves that their example or their course of life is likely to have an evil effect on their offspring, the children are taken from them and placed in the home to which I have referred. There they pursue regular studies; they are taught useful arts appropriate to their sex; they are instructed in reading, writing, arithmetic, sewing, etc. Their teachers are chosen with much care, and the wife of the Governor himself is