4 JUNE 1853, Page 13


NiaTE ships arrived from Australia this week, within a few hours of each other, bringing more than 1,000,000/. in gold, and accounts that attest the constantly growing estimate of the productiveness of the colony in the precious metal. By the preceding mail had arrived a careful statistical review of the gold produce of Victoria, which showed an annual amount estimated as worth something more than 14,000,0001.; but by this mail the revised estimate— still retrospective, and still, we believe, under the mark—is calcu- lated at above 19,000,0001., exclusively of the produce of New South Wales, which is probably under 3,000,000/. The footsteps of the "prospeoter " continue to show that the richest beds are con- nected by something like a continuous chain, and that the intervals 'which at present are unproductive only await the hands of the labourer to yield their full share. But even some of the diggings already familiar to the public are proved to yield unexpected riches. A. hole in the Ballarat diggings is found to contain a nugget weigh- ing nearly 135 pounds and containing 126 pounds of pure gold ; something over 7000/. for the four men who found it ! They offered to sell the-hole, but found no purchasers : 70001. was supposed to be all the truth at the bottom of that well. A little more digging, however, and another nugget was found ; a trifle, indeed, to the one which had preceded it, but sufficient to refute the idea that even that one hole was exhausted. From day to day, therefore, experi- ence continues to strengthen the old calculation,—old, that is, in Australian chronology, in which six months reckons for antiquity, —that the produce of gold in Australia is proportionate to the amount of labour expended upon it, and will continue to be so for a period of future time that cannot at present be calculated. It has been remarked that gold is not in itself of more value than it proved to Midas, and that it only becomes valuable when it is brought into the market for exchange ; which is true. Never- theless, its existence in Australia is an irremoveable guarantee, that by the most available of exchangeable commodities labour in that continent is absolutely certain of its reward. It is therefore a guarantee that enterprise in Australia is deprived of much of the uncertainty which attends enterprise in any other country however promising it may be. Whatever may be the failure of any emigrants to Australia, there is the gold to fall back upon; whatever may be the uncertainty attending the consignments to other countries, in Australia there is a working population pos- sessing a bank richer than any known to exist in the world ; and hence the statistics of the population in Australia mark the mini- mum of the capacity for producing exchangeable wealth, or for con- suming consumeable goods. This lends a peculiar species of cer- tainty to every kind of enterprise that may be undertaken for that region.

Now, there are many kinds of enterprise open to those who have foresight and energy : there is, for example, the new region which is to be opened to settlement by exploration in the North-west ; there is the whole valley of the Murray, which is to be opened by an improved navigation. The former is as yet unknown, and be- cause unknown, offering peculiar advantages to the first enterpriser who will buy in, of course at the minimum price. But the valley of the Murray is important in many respects. That stream with its numerous branches ranges the inner half of New South Wales and Victoria, and is therefore the actual high-road for the transport of the gold-diggings which lie nearer to that river than to the sea. From the coast of New South Wales it is divided by the longi- tudinal range of the "Australian Alps," which is probably the backbone of the gold district. Already on the upper banks of the Murray and its tributaries innumerable flocks are wandering; and the first machinery for its navigation is sure to be the means of creating a new and considerable trade in wool, tallow, hides, &c. For a considerable part of its course the Murray passes under banks wooded with timber, available in every sense, and of course easily transported down the stream. The people of New South Wales allege, in accounting for the comparatively small produce of gold in that province, that there has not been by any means the same transfer of labour from other employments as there has been in Victoria : and the statement is true; the people of New South Wales being compensated by the much greater comparative steadiness of business amongst them, in- dicated by the greater steadiness of prices in Sydney. In South Australia, as we have had occasion to remark before, the attach- ment of the small holders to the soil has been very keenly tested by the gold mania, and it has proved to be too strong for rupture. There is therefore a disposition amongst the colonists of Australia to attend to the homelier labours of industry, and to the tranquil occupations of agriculture, too strong for the distraction of the gold-hunting. Now, occupations of commerce will derive a cer- tainty of value from the proximity of the gold-digging population' as a consuming population with a highly exchangeable commodity, in return ; and they also derive a peculiar certainty in the circu- lating process of commerce by their close connexion with that na- tural bank. Thus, the actual settler, the merchant, the dealer, the shipper, all have an unusual guarantee for enterprise directed to

Australia. If the gold only derives its real value by being brought into the market of the world, the market which immediately abuts upon it derives a peculiar facility from being the means for trans- mitting that exchangeable commodity to the market of the world. Emigration to Australia has been proceeding spontaneously at a vast rate, so great that the colonists have held in contempt the official emigration. The people of New South Wales, in particular, have felt that the emigrants sent to them by the official machinery were too few and too ill-selected to be worth much ; and they have sent other regulations to this country as a condition for the em- ployment of their own funds, which would place the emigrant under indentures, binding him to a particular service—neither to return home nor to go to the gold-diggings. The readers whom we have had for any number of years will know that we put no faith in indentures : they never are strong enough to bind those whom they seek to restrain; • they will either deter the sponta- neous emigrant, or they will be accepted by those who will not scruple to break them when opportunity occurs. The condition only marks the discontent of the Sydney people with the offi- cial emigration. The Commissioners seem almost to have given up the work of directing emigration, as being too much for their strength ; and we do not wonder at their despairing mo-

desty. At the same time, it is to be observed that emigra- tion from this country has proceeded for the last five years on a scale unprecedented ; and according to the last authentic statements it has continued to increase. It is observed that an in- creasing proportion of that emigration has directed itself South- ward, and that the increase continued to expand towards the latter part of last year, out of all comparison with the earlier part ; some.

thing more than 100,000 persons must have left this country for Australia, but during the latter months at a rate very far exceed- ing 100,000 a year. It is evident, therefore, that the disposition to emigrate is excessively strong in this country, and that the incli- nation to turn Southwards has been incalculably increased. Now, anything which the Government of this country can do to facilitate or promote emigration to Australia, tends to render it as ad- vantageous as it is possible to be both to the colony and the mother- country. In no quarter of the globe does the population take so much of the English manufacturers per head as in Australia. The growth of Australia promises to lay a province at the service of Indian commerce, which cannot fail to be of inestimable value. Even if the apprehensions, that the Chinese trade in opium may suffer by the removal of restrictions upon its growth in China should fail to be realized, the circumstances of India are such that a market for its produce, either in provisions or in raw material, must be regarded with great favour ; and there is no market that offers such a probability of rapid extension as that of Australia. These considerations show the advantage of placing as large a pro- portion as possible of the emigration continually flowing from this country upon the shores of Australia ; and although our present official machinery has practically confessed itself too weak for the service, we are impressed with the conviction, that upon an adequate conception of the service to be rendered, upon a ,just ex- amination of actual facts, a vigorous administration would readily find the means of facilitating the turn of the current Southwards.