Page:The new British province of South Australia.djvu/35

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than to raise corn and other products of agriculture. But settlers coming from a corresponding latitude of Europe, would have formed a different estimate of the soil and climate of Australia, and, probably, a more correct one. Moreover, the colonists of Australia have been so planted, so widely dispersed and separated from each other, that they could not have been an agricultural people, even though their soil and climate had resembled those of the plains of Lombardy or the Low Countries. For in order to raise the agricultural products of Flanders and the north of Italy, such as corn, rice, wine, tobacco, and silk, it is necessary to employ considerable masses of labour, and of capital as well, in constant combination; and this skilful application of capital and labour could not take place amongst a few scattered shepherds. But those people, it may be said, were so dispersed, and became shepherds, because the soil of their new country was unfit for agriculture; and this argument has been used to show the inexpediency of measures for preventing such dispersion.

To this argument the reply is short and conclusive.

Settlers on the very rich plains of the Ohio and the Mississippi, have been scattered quite as much as the Australians, if not more. In all modern colonies, whatever the nature of the soil, the settlers have been scattered as if the object had been to prevent them from becoming an agricultural people. It may be, therefore, that the pastoral habits of the Australians are owing rather to the mode in which the country has been colonized, than to the nature of its soil.

And this view of the subject is confirmed by observing, that in colonies of which the soil was equally fit for