Page:The new British province of South Australia.djvu/36

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SOUTH AUSTRALIA

agriculture and pasturage (the deep and rich, but clear and grassy plains of Buenos Ayres are a striking example), the settlers, being widely dispersed, and not having slaves whose labour might be used in combination, have invariably adopted the pastoral life. In fact, when a colony is planted so that the labour of each settler is separated from that of all the other settlers, and still further weakened by being divided amongst a great number of different occupations, the easiest, not the most productive, kind of industry must he adopted; the easiest, that is, under the circumstance of dispersion. Now, under the circumstance of dispersion, the easiest kind of industry, in countries that happen to be clear by nature, is the pastoral life; while, in countries covered with wood, it is the exhaustion, by over-cropping, of the natural richness of virgin land. Thus the colonist of Buenos Ayres or Australia depends, even for his support, on the grasses supplied by nature, while the settler in the forests of Canada depends on the great but perishable fertility of rotten leaves. In either case, the skill of man contributes but little to production: nearly the whole work is left to nature. But we cannot say that the former case establishes the unfitness of Australia and Buenos Ayres for agricultural production; any more than that the latter case proves the soil of North America to be unfit for the support of sheep and cattle. Both cases, on the contrary, show, that in judging of the productive capacity of land about to be colonized, the intended mode of colonization is a circumstance of equal importance, at least, with the natural features of the country. It were idle