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with civilized people in their active occupations. They maintain a brisk intercourse with the British settlements in New South Wales, and the colonial shipping is in a great measure manned by them. The colonists, on the other haud, resort inuch to New Zealand for naval timber and the flax plant, and large vessels of 300 tons have been already built by them on that island.
Christianity has been a long time established in the Sandwich Islands, and has been mainly conducive to the rapid strides of civilization made by the inhabitants of that group." In the island of Hevaee, also, one of the most important of the Friendly Islands, it was adopted, in 1830, by the king, under whose protection a body of missionaries established themselves on the island. Thus it is probable, that ere long the propagation of a purer religion will wholly extirpate the frivolous and cruel superstitions which contribute not a little to impede the progress of civilization among the South Sea islanders; and will serve as a new tie to connect them to the most active and enlightened portion of mankind.
THE COASTS OF AUSTRALIA.
Unknown Coasts of New Holland.-Establishment of a Colony at Port Jackson.
-Coal discovered on the Coast.-Voyages of Bass and Flinders in a small Boat.-Bass proceeds to the South.-Discovers Port Western.-Flinders visits the Furneaux Islands.-Flinders and Bass discover Port Dalrymple.Circumnavigate Van Diemen's Land.-Bass's Straits.-Flinders appointed to survey the Coasts of New Holland. He examines the Southern Coast. Spencer's Gulf.-Port Philip.-Examination of the Eastern Coast.-Flinders passes Torres Straits.-Surveys the Gulf of Carpentaria.-Meets a Fleet of Malays.-Repairs to Timor.-Returns to Port Jackson.-Sails in the Lady Nelson.-The Cato and Lady Nelson wrecked.--The Crews saved.-Flinders goes to Port Jackson in an open Boat.-Returns and rescues the Crews. Sets sail for England in a small Schooner.-Touches at Mauritius, and is detained as a Prisoner.-Expedition of Baudin.—The French meet Flinders, -Explore the Swan River. --Sharks' Bay.--Their Encomiums on the Colony at Port Jackson.
The first voyage of Cook had completed the general survey of the Australian continent, and fixed a limit to its extension towards the east; but still its coasts remained to be accurately examined, and many parts were still wholly unknown. It was traditionally recollected that the Spanish navigator, Torres, had sailed to the south of New Guinea; but his voyage met with little attention or credit till 1762, when, on the taking of Manilla, a manuscript journal of his voyage was discovered, which gave authenticity to the almost forgotten rumours of his discoveries. Still Cook seems to have doubted the existence of a strait between New Guinea and Terra Australis; and when he sailed between them in 1770, his achievement had the brilliancy of a new discovery.
The Dutch navigators had coasted the northern shores at a very early period, and Tasman is supposed to have completed the survey of that part of the continent; but as the jealous policy of the Dutch government suppressed the publication of these voyages, other nations remained incredulous as to the reality of discoveries which were in some measure concealed from them. The Dutch themselves, it appears, had never solved to their own satisfaction the most important questions respecting the great Australian land, as they still remained ignorant of a great por.. tion of the eastern and western coasts. They thought it probable that the lands discovered on the north and on the south were separated from each other by a great strait running from east to west. The first voyage of Cook, by establishing the continuity of the eastern coast, overturned this hypothesis. The vagueness and uncertainty, however, which hung over the ancient surveys of the Gulf of Carpentaria, and the total ignorance of a large portion of the southern coast, still left ample space for the indulgence of theories, It was now, therefore, assumed, that Terra Australis was divided into two great islands by a stait running from north to south. The time, however, was arrived, when the activity and intelligence of Europeans were about to be transplanted to those distant shores, and when the civilized world was to become accurately acquainted with a fifth quarter of the globe.
The favourable report which captain Cook had made of the harbour and country in the neighbourhood of Botany Bay, with the commercial advantages likely to be developed from the proximity of New Zealand, had made a due impression on the British government; and, in 1788, captain Philip sailed with a large convoy to establish a colony in Botany Bay. It was soon found that Port Jackson, a few miles to the north, offered a far more advantageous situation for the new settlement, which was accordingly removed thither. The colony, although composed in a great measure of convicts, rose at once into prosperity; and the knowledge of the extensive country in which they were settled gradually extended, by a succession of those accidents which must take place wherever there exists the spirit of mercantile enterprise.
Seven years after the establishment of the colony, captain Hunter was appointed its governor; and in one of the ships which accompanied him to New South Wales were two young men, Messrs. Flinders and Bass, the former a midshpman, the latter a surgeon in the navy, both enthusiastically bent on ex
ploring unknown countries. In preparing an expedition, however, for this purpose, they were left wholly to their own resources, and were unable to provide themselves with any better vessel than a little boat eight feet long, to which they gave the name of Tom Thumb. In this our bold adventurers embarked, with only a boy to assist them. Directing their course to the south, they examined minutely every little cove along the shore, and explored George's River about twenty miles beyond the extension of the government survey: the report which they made of the country led to the establishment of a colony on the banks of this river. In the following year, 1796, they again put to sea in Tom Thumb; and after encountering numberless difficulties and dangers, arising from the slenderness of their means and the frailness of their vessel, they returned with no result of their voyage but a minute practical acquaintance with a long line of coast. They had also given such proofs of courage, skill, and perseverance, as recommended them to be chosen as the instruments of important discoveries.
On the return from this second excursion they found at the colony Mr. Clark, the supercargo of an East Indiaman, which, having sprung a leak, was run on shore at Furneaux Islands. Mr. Clark and some of the crew put to sea in the long boat, in order to reach the English colony, and to procure assistance for their shipwrecked comrades; but the boat was thrown on shore and stove to pieces at Cape Howe, 300 miles from Port Jackson. Mr. Clark and his companions were thus obliged to travel overland along the coast. In this perilous and fatiguing journey some of them perished of famine, others were cut off by the natives; so that of the whole number only three reached Port Jackson. They reported, that in the course of their march they had passed a great number of small rivers, fording some at their mouths, while they were obliged to ascend others some miles to gain a passage. In one place, while lighting a fire upon the beach, they accidentally discovered that the black stones strewed around them were coal. About the same time lieutenant Shortland, having gone northward in pursuit of some convicts that had escaped, discovered, in lat. 33°, a harbour, which he named Port Hunter, round which the cliffs displayed a stratum of fine coal, so close to the water that vessels could load from it without difficulty. A settlement called Newcastle was soon after formed here. In the same year Mr. Flinders made an excursion to Furneaux Islands, and brought back such an account of the number of seals that frequented that group, as rendered them at once an object of commercial speculation. All these accidental discoveries were so many incitements to awaken the energy and call forth the exertions of the young colony.
Messrs. Flinders and Bass had now become distinguished for
their zeal and enterprise; and, as the prospects of the colony began to enlarge, the government felt a greater interest in the prosecution of distant researches, and gladly availed itself of the zeal which lay within its reach. In December, 1797, while Mr. Flinders was employed on a voyage to Norfolk Island, Mr. Bass was provided with a fine whale-boat and a crew of six men, to proceed on a voyage of discovery to the south. On approaching one of the small islands which lie at the south-eastern angle of New South Wales, he was surprised to find on it signs of inhabitants; and still greater was his surprise, to find that its occupants were seven convicts, who, having escaped from Port Jackson in a boat, had run ashore here, and had for some time supported a miserable existence on seals, shell-fish, and petrels. Thus we find that Europeans no sooner reached the South Seas and the Australian countries, than they found means by their ingenuity and audacity to penetrate into the most sequestered portions of them. The chief object of Mr. Bass's voyage was to ascertain whether there did not exist an open strait between New Holland and Van Diemen's Land. Cook and other navigators had given it as their opinions that these countries were connected; and the popular voice was supposed of course to assent to these eminent authorities : yet the question was by no means decided; and Mr. Bass experienced not a little joy on finding that the coast of New Holland began to turn towards the north and west, and offered evidence of being exposed to the billows of the great ocean. He continued this new course till he arrived at a capacious harbour, which, from its relative situation, he named Port Western: his provisions were now consumed, and, notwithstanding his strong desire to make an accurate survey of his new discoveries, he felt himself obliged to return. He had taken out provisions for only six weeks, yet, by replenishing his stock with fish and sea fowls which he found in great abundance, he contrived to protract his voyage to the eleventh week, besides bringing home with him two of the convicts whom he had discovered. This voyage of 600 miles in an open boat is one of the most remarkable on record: it was undertaken not through necessity, but with the deliberate intention of exploring unknown and dangerous shores; it enriched geography with a knowledge of 300 miles of coast, and ascertained that the shores of New Holland, instead of running towards Van Diemen's Land, took an opposite direction, and had all the appearance of being exposed to an open sea. So highly did the colonists appreciate the merit of Mr. Bass's discoveries, that the boat in which he made this voyage was long preserved as a curiosity; and snuff-boxes, or other toys, made of its keel, were considered as peculiarly valuable.
In order to prove that Van Diemen's Land was separated
from the Australian continent by the strait, nothing now remained but to circumnavigate the former: all conjectures were in favour of the supposition.
Mr. Bass returned from his voyage in February, 1798, and, in October of the same year, he accompanied Mr. Flinders in a small schooner of twenty-five tons to complete this important discovery. As they proceeded along the northern shore of Van Diemen's Land, they discovered a wide inlet, which appeared to branch off into several great rivers; one of these branches was explored to a considerable distance, and found to bear a resemblance to a chain of lakes, into which descended several streams from the distant mountains. The shores were fertile and well wooded, and our hardy voyagers found an abundant supply in the multitude of black swans that covered the stream. This opening was named Port Dalrymple; and, five years later, when a colony was established here by colonel Patterson, the great western branch was called the Tamar, and its chief auxiliary streams received the names of the North and South Esks.
After devoting some time to this interesting discovery, our voyagers proceeded to the west; and at length, with a mixture of joy and alarm, doubled the north-west cape of Van Diemen's Land, and discerned the coast trending to the south. They were gratified in thus solving a geographical problem which had baffled so many eminent navigators, while at the same time they felt not a little trepidation when their little bark became at once exposed to the great swell of the Southern Ocean: they had the good fortune, however, to escape the dangers which continually threatened them in their voyage to the south. On reaching the south-eastern shore they proceeded to ascend the River Derwent, which had been discovered by D'Entrecasteaux, who named it Rivière du Nord. The country around this fine river was found to be generally fertile, and abounding with good timber. The description which Mr. Bass gave of it on his return was so flattering, as to give rise to the establishment of a colony there in 1803. Our voyagers soon after returned triumphantly to Port Jackson, having now established the insularity of Van Diemen's Land, and made such discoveries, as to its harbours and rivers, as were of the utmost importance to schemes of colonization. The strait though which they effected their passage was named from the person who had first ventured to explore it, Bass's Strait.
In the following year, Mr. Flinders was employed to survey Harvey and Glass-House Bays to the north of Port Jackson; and, on his return to England immediately after, he met with the reward due to his zeal and ability: he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant, and appointed to command the Investigator, a