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rom the mountainst must havearger than
beyond its proper dimensions by mountainous floods, nor contracted by summer droughts. From its being at least four times larger than it is at Bathurst, even in a favourable season, it must have received great accessions of water from the mountains north-easterly.' pp. 184-6.
For five days they proceeded down the banks of this enchanting river; sometimes contracted between rocky cliffs; sometimes expanded between forests, or hills clothed with the most luxuriant grass to the very summits. The timber was various and excellent. Limestone, slate, and granite overhung the river, everywhere navigable for boats; and confined, in its highest inundations, by secondary banks, which operated as a complete security to the contiguous land. A great number of streams from either bank empty themselves into the Macquarie. Fish and game were found in great abundance. On the 24th, they quitted the banks of the river, and, on the 29th, arrived at Bathurst, after an absence of nineteen weeks.
Such a description as Mr Oxley brought back of the parts of the Macquarie he had seen, it was impossible to put up with. An universal joy was diffused over the whole colony, Larceny reared her drooping head; the Children of the Antient Bailey magnified themselves into importers and exporters; and thought they were at last within the reach of wealth, which no jury could find guilty, and no judge punish with the rope of the law. Forth went the indefatigable Oxley, and, with him, the usual apparatus of dogs, bat-horses, boats, and instructions signed (perhaps read) by Lord Bathurst. Their journey was begun on the 5th of June, from nearly the same spot where they had at first touched upon the Macquarie in their former expedition. From this period till the 25th of June, the river Macquarie appeared to be much the same as they had found it at first: the country not perhaps quite so good; but fully entitled to be considered a land of great promise and fertility. The only new useful substances they found upon the banks, were fullers' earth and freestone. On the 23d, the expedition began to quake, and the Macquarie to lose the character it had hitherto maintained. The gravelly beaches and rocky points disappeared; the banks became lower; and in many parts, the floods swept over them. A second Lachlan began to be suspected.
They had scarcely gone six miles, on the 26th, before they perceived the waters spreading over the plain on which they were travelling, and that with a rapidity which reduced their safety to a fair trial of speed between them and the river. They gained a secure place; and from thence Mr Oxley, with two or three men, proceeded down the river in a small boat.
• After going about twenty miles, we lost the land and trees. The channel of the river, which lay through reeds, and was from one to three feet deep, ran northerly. This continued for three or four miles farther ; when, although there had been no previous change in the breadth, depth, and rapidity of the stream for several miles, and I was sanguine in my expectations of soon entering the long sought for Australian sea, it all at once eluded our farther pursuit by spread. ing on every point from north-west to north-east, among the ocean of reeds which surrounded us, still running with the same rapidity as before. There was no channel whatever among those reeds, and the depth varied from three to five feet. This astonishing change (for I cannot call it a termination of the river), of course left me no alternative but to endeavour to return to some spot, on which we could effect a landing before dark. I estimated that during this day we had gone about twenty-four miles, on nearly the same point of bearing as yesterday. To assert positively that we were on the margin of the lake or sea into which this great body of water is discharged, might reasonably be deemed a conclusion which has nothing but conjecture for its basis ; but if an opinion may be permitted to be hazarded from actual appearances, mine is decidedly in favour of our being in the immediate vicinity of an inland sea, or lake, most probably a shoal one, and gradually filling up by immense deposi. tions from the higher lands left by the waters which flow into it, It is most singular, that the high lands on this continent seem to be confined to the sea-coast, or not to extend to any great distance from it.' pp. 243–4.
It does not exactly appear from this narrative, why Mr Oxley stopped and turned back. He was victualled for a month, and had only been out three days; he had from three to five feet water; and his boat did not, as he says, draw more than one foot. The waters set strongly to the north. He thought himself upon the eve of entering a great inland sea. Twenty or thirty miles further would in all probability have determined the point. Possibly the reeds may have been so thick, that it was impossible either to pull or push the boat any further. If this were the case, he should in justice to himself have said so. At present, we know that he had arrived at the point where geographical curiosity was on the very point of receiving its gratification; yet we remain as ignorant as we were before, and unable to divine why our darkness has not been illumined. We dare to say Mr Oxley can give very good reasons—but he does not give them in his book.
From this point the expedition returns, in a direction nearly east, to the coast, and in the parallel of 31–20 south latitude. By the 26th of August, they had reached a good fertile country, where water ran, and kangaroos hopped-where the eye. was gratified, and the belly filled. In their way thither, they passed a large and impetuous river, to which they gave the name of Castlereagh. Why grandeur and impetuosity should have brought to their recollection this polished Member of the Cabinet, we do not exactly perceive; but we cannot help admiring the officiality of the nomenclature. There is hardly now a clerk in the pay of Government, who has not some portion of land named after him in Botany Bay.
In their way to the sea, they pass over hills 3000 feet high, with good pasture up to the very summit; and look into glens 3000 feet deep, three miles broad at the top, and sloping to 100 feet at the bottom. On the 23d of September they saw the sea from the top of the mountains; and upon the coast discovered a good harbour for coasting vessels. Their journey was finished at Sydney on the 5th of November. It is very remarkable, in so mild a climate, in such a latitude, and with such plenty of fish and game, that they should have found the countries through which they passed so badly peopled. Mr Oxley attributes this circumstance in some measure to the great want of ingenuity in the natives. They cannot kill kangaroos, except by some lucky accident;--they cannot catch fish;-they live by necessity upon rats and squirrels. Whatever the fertility of New Holland may be, it contributes little more than this reptile fecundity to their support. Why the New Hollanders are so inferior to other savage nations in the arts of life --why they cannot fish like the New Zealanders-why they do not catch large animals in traps, or shoot them with arrowswhy they are only elevated a few degrees in capacity above these animals which they cannot kill, -we do not presume to conjecture. There is no other instance of such an intellectual state in the midst of such physical advantages. It must be considered as a prodigious advantage to this country, that rabid tygers, and the cruel seeds of lions, are absent. This makes the thinness of population more surprising. The most noxious animals appear to be native dogs: they are very mischievous to sheep.
The result of these two journies is certainly very singular. All the water falling on the west side of the Blue Mountains, between 30° and 34o S. latitude, and all the streams on that side of this great dividing range, seem to be employed for the formation, as far as we know at present, of one immense marsh, receiving the alluvial matter poured into it from the higher grounds. The Lachlan river, one of the main carriers, receives no tributary streams for a course of 1200 miles, but pours into
the marsh the original water which it received at the commencement of its course almost neat as imported. The other main channel, the Macquarie, passes through a well watered country; collects all the tributary rivers; and pours them, in the same way, into the great muddy magazine. The curious points now are, to discover whether ihese immense supplies of water do not end in an inland sea; and whether this inland sea, if it exists, has any communication with the ocean. The nearest part of the coast about Cape Bernouilli, is distant 180 miles from the farthest part of the Lachlan reached by Mr Oxley in his first expedition; by which expedition it is clearly demonstrated, that no great river flows from the eastward into the sea between Cape Otway and Spencer's Gulf. A land expedition from the eastern part of Spencer's Gulf, would soon determine the fate of the western side of the Lachlan Marshes. The waters of the Macquarie point to the north-west; and the promised sea of Mr Oxley may there perhaps penetrate deeply into this fifth quarter of the globe. The solid gain to the Com lony is the disclosure of a beautiful tract of land, for 200 or 300 miles on the Macquarie, and the discovery of a good port to the north of Port Jackson.
This publication is not well drawn up; and the maps are indifferent. At the end are some Statistical Tables, by which it appears that the population of New South Wales has increased from 13,000 in the year 1815, to 17,000 in the year 1817, and to 22,000 in the year 1818; and that, with the population of Van Diemen's Land, the total amount is 25,000. In spite of this increase of population, the cleared land has diminished from 93,000 acres in 1817, to 44,000 acres in 1818; while the total of land held has increased, in the same period, above 60,000 acres. We are totally unable to account for this diminution of the cultivated lands. The Colony possessed in the year 1813, 12,000' horned cattle; in 1817, 33,000 ditto; in 1818, 40,000 ditto. In the same periods, the horses were 1800, 2800, 3300. The sheep were 48,000, 66,000, 73,000. The pumber of sheep returned from Van Diemen's Land is 128,000; this is quite astonishing. The hogs are, in the same periods, 14,000, 15,000, 22,000.-So that every thing which cultivated land supports has increased : Cultivated land, however, is said to have diminished more than one half. We suspect some false print--but we give the Tables as we find them; and there is no correction in the errata.
Art. IX. The Bakerian Lecture. On the Composition and
Analysis of the Inflammable Gaseous Compounds resulting from the Destructive Distillation of Coal and Oil ; with some Remarks on their relative Heating and Illuminating Powers. By W. T. BRANDE, Esq., Sec. R. S. Prof. Chem. R. I. From the Philosophical Transactions for 1820.
TT can hardly be laid to our charge, that a considerable period 1 has elapsed since any thing relating to Chemical inquiry has appeared in this Journal: For in fact, the labours of persons learned in that department of science, have lately furnished but little matter for speculation. The discoveries of Sir Humphry Davy-splendid in every sense of the word, and not less remarkable for the brilliancy than for the rapidity with which they were produced-have made us perhaps too un-. reasonable; and caused us to form an estimate of the labours of those who have succeeded him, less favourable than they really deserve. We have been spoilt by plenty ;-and because every year does not give birth to some great discovery, we exclaim that there is a famine in the land. Although Mr Brande, who succeeded Sir H. Davy in the Royal Institution, has been less successful than his great predecessor in the path of discovery, his researches, and, above all, his skill in analytical operations, have done much for Chemistry in general; and we willinglý take this opportunity of bearing witness to the utility of labours which-however great their excellence and intrinsic value may be-are too apt to be passed over without due estimation, because they happen to be wanting in originality and invention.
The paper before us contains some observations and experiments made on the inflammable gases used for the purposes of illumination. The inquiry was undertaken, in the first instance, with a view of ascertaining the mixture and quality of the gases best suited for such purposes; and as some novelties relative to the constitution of the gaseous compounds presented themselves in the course of the investigation, Mr Brande conceived the matter to be of sufficient importance to form the subject of the Bakerian Lecture.
When pit-coal is distilled, and the products collected in proper vessels, they are found to contain, besides other substances, a highly elastic fluid, which was long supposed to consist of two gases, compounds of carbon and hydrogen ;-the one called the heavy hydrocarburet, or olefiant gas, the other,' light hydrocarburet., The first of these is composed of equal portions of carbon and hydrogen ; the second, of one portion of Vol. XXXIV. No. 68.
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