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merely from motives of curiosity and friendship. The havoc occasioned among them by this murderous discharge was dreadful; and since then all communication with them has ceased, and the spirit of animosity and revenge, which this unmerited and atrocious act of barbarity engendered, has been fostered and aggravated to the highest pitch by the incessant rencontres that have subsequently taken place between them and the settlers. These, whenever an occasion offers, destroy as many of the natives as possible, and they in their turn never let slip an opportunity of retaliating on their blood-thirsty neighbours. Fortunately, however, for the colonists, the natives have seldom or never been known to act on the offensive, except when they have met some of their persecutors singly. Two persons armed with muskets may traverse the island from one end to the other in the most perfect safety. And for the last three or four years the natives have discontinued from being either hostile or trouble
Van Diemen's Land has not so discouraging and repulsive an appearance from the coast as Australia. Many fine tracts of land are found on the very borders of the sea, and the interior is almost invariably possessed of a soil admirably adapted to all the purposes of civilized man.
This island is upon the whole mountainous, and consequently abounds in streams. On the summits of many of the mountains there are large lakes, some of which are the sources of considerable rivers. Of these the Derwent, Huon, and Tamar, rank in the first class.
There is, perhaps, no island in the world of the same size, except Ireland, which can boast of so many fine harbours. The best are the Derwent, Port Davy, Macquarie Harbour, Port Dalrymple, and Oyster Bay: the first is on its southern side, the second and third on its western, the fourth on its northern, and the fifth on its eastern; so that it has excellent harbours in every direction. This circumstance cannot fail to be productive of the most beneficial effects, and will most materially assist the future march of colonization.
There is almost a perfect resemblance between the animal and vegetable kingdoms of this island and of Australia. In their animal kingdoms in particular, there is scarcely any variation. The native dog, indeed, is unknown here; but there is an animal of the panther tribe in its stead, which, though not found in such numbers as the native dog is in New Holland, commits depredation among the flocks. It is true that its attacks are not so frequent;
but, when they happen, they are more extensive. This animal is of considerable size, and has been known, in some few instances, to measure six feet and a half from the tip of the nose to the extremity of the tail; still it is cowardly, and by no means formidable to man : and unless when taken by surprise, it invariably flies on his approach.
In the feathered tribes of the two islands, there is scarcely any diversity; of this the wattle bird, which is about the size of a snipe, and considered a very great delicacy, is the only instance I can cite.
Like Australia it has many varieties of poisonous reptiles, but they are neither so venomous, nor so numerous as in that island.
Its rivers and seas too, abound with the same species of fish. Oysters are found in much greater perfection, though not in greater abundance. The rocks, that border the coasts and harbours, are literally covered with muscles, as the rocks at Port Jackson are with oysters.
There is not so perfect a resemblance in the vegetable kingdoms of the two islands; but still the dissimilarity, where it exists, is chiefly
confined to their minor productions. In the trees of the forest there is scarcely any difference. Van Diemen's Land wants the cedar, mahogany, and rose wood; but it has very good substitutes for them in the black wood and Huon pine, which is a species of the yew tree, and remarkable for its strong odoriferous scent and extreme durability.
The principal mineralogical productions of this island are, iron, copper, alum, coals, slate, limestone, asbestos, and basaltes; all of which, with the exception of copper, are to be had in the greatest abundance.
Hobart Town, which is the seat of the Lieutenant Governor of Van Diemen's Land, stands nine miles up the river Derwent. It was founded only nineteen years since; and considering the recency of its origin, is a handsome thriving town. It is laid out in regular streets, and the houses are in general good substantial buildings, several of them two stories high, spacious and not deficient in architectural taste. The town is principally built on two hills, between which there is a fine stream of water, that issues from Table Mountain, and falls into Sul
livan's Cove. On this stream, four water mills have been erected for grinding grain. grain. The principal public buildings which have been erected are a Government house, a handsome church, a commodious military barrack, strong jail, a well constructed hospital, a roomy barrack for convicts, and a chapel belonging to the Wesleyan Methodists. The town contained in 1821, four hundred and twenty-one houses, and two thousand seven hundred souls, now increased to little less than four thou sand; a neat battery has been erected on Mulgrave Point, at the entrance of Sullivan's Cove, and a large substantial pier or quay has been constructed in the Cove, for the convenience of loading and unloading ships; which work, combined with the natural facilities of the place, renders Sullivan's Cove one of the best and safest anchorages in the world. A signal post and telegraph have also been erected on Mount Nelson.
The elevation of the Table Mountain, (now Mount Wellington,) which was so called from the great resemblance it bears to the mountain of the same name at the Cape of Good Hope, has not been determined: but it is generally estimated at about four thousand feet above the level of the sea. During three-fourths of the year it is covered with snow, and the