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tion to the advantage of establishing a settlement in a district so proximate and accessible to them; and with this view an association was formed, which, in the month of May, 1835, despatched Mr. Batman as an agent to open up a friendly intercourse with the aborigines, and, if successful, to effect a purchase of as much land as it was possible to procure; and this gentleman succeeded in obtaining the consent of the aboriginal chiefs, the three brothers, "Jagajaga, Jagajaga, Jagajaga," to assign by deed (of the legal beauties of which they must have been excellent critics) a tract of land of about six hundred thousand acres, the present value of which is almost incalculable, " for and in consideration of" about forty pairs of blankets, one hundred and thirty knives, forty tomahawks, forty looking-glasses, forty pairs of scissors, twelve red shirts, four flannel jackets, four suits of clothes, one hundred and fifty pounds of flour, two hundred and fifty handkerchiefs, and half a dozen shirts, and an annual tribute of two tons of flour, and another "assorted collection" of knives, tomahawks, scissors, lookingglasses, &c., but making the proportion of handkerchiefs to shirts a little more equal. The treaty, however, was not destined to be carried out, for the Government refused to recognise it, as they considered it subversive of the sovereignty which the crown asserted over the ceded territory; and the natives were thus deprived of the opportunity of becoming acquainted with the excellence of our Sheffield cutlery, or of contemplating their beauties in any other mirrors than those natural ones which their own streams and "water-holes" presented to them.
But though compelled to relinquish their position as proprietors, the sociation were not inclined to abandon a country so valuable, and they therefore began to occupy the land as unlicensed squatters; and such was the eagerness with which their fellow-settlers in Van Diemen's Land appreciated the district, so soon as the veil which had shrouded its real merits had been drawn aside, that within twelve months the infant settlement had risen to the status of a village: gardens had been formed; about fifty acres of rich land prepared for tillage; thirty-five vessels had arrived, principally conveying live stock from Van Diemen's Land; the population amounted to upwards of two hundred; the number of sheep amounted to 20,000; and the country in the interior had been located to the distance of fifty miles.
This settlement, from its very commencement, exhibits a spectacle not to be found in the records of any other colony with which we are acquainted. Its founders not only carried with them their own servants and their own food-all, in short, that was necessary to their existencebut in the immense numbers of sheep transported, they conveyed the elements of a wealth at once boundless and self-productive. With a fair wind, a vessel may run over from Launceston to Port Phillip in twentyfour hours, and this easy and rapid communication gave to Port Phillip all the advantages of a mother-country, as it were, within that distance from which every aid might be furnished as soon as demanded.
The rapid progress of the settlement soon attracted the attention of the Sydney government, and Sir Richard Bourke despatched a police magistrate, accompanied by a small surveying staff, to lay the foundations of a local government; and to the personal exertions and sound views of this enlightened governor the colony owes a deep debt of gratitude. In May 1837 he proceeded in person to the settlement, and laid out the plans of two towns, to which were given the names of Melbourne and Geelong; and before the month of August in the following year, so rapid had been its
progress, as to render it impossible for the memory to keep pace with the movement; brick buildings were numerous, some boasting of two and three stories; little inns were transformed into handsome and commodious hotels; the lines of streets had been cleared, marked, and in some instances were undergoing a process of macadamization; branches of two Sydney banks were in active operation; the population had quadrupled; the country in the interior was occupied to a distance of 120 miles, and the settlers were still pushing on to regions still more remote; and in the month of October following, the first newspaper was published, under the title of the Port Phillip Gazette. Thus, in less than two years and a half from the time when the rich plains of Port Phillip were untrodden save by the foot of their aboriginal natives, or their verdure disturbed except by the leap of the kangaroo, the Saxon energy had planted all the elements of modern civilization, which had not only taken root, but were flourishing in full vigour.
It is not within our limits to trace the history of the colony through all its rapid phases. We will therefore pass over a period of fourteen years of rapid development, and by an extract from the Melbourne Herald we shall convey a better idea of the progress which the colony had made during that period than by a more lengthened description:
Yesterday, July 15, 1851, the first important epoch in our new-born colony was observed as a sort of gala-day in Melbourne, and from an early hour it was evident, from the closed shops and appearance of the citizens, that the hour when at length, after long and harassing years of expectation, their adopted country would be officially declared free, was looked forward to with heartfelt interest. According to previous notification, his Honour the late Superintendent would be sworn in to the public offices at eleven o'clock, and as that hour approached, groups might be seen hurrying towards the spot to witness the ceremonial. At the appointed time there could not have been less than two thousand persons in the area fronting the Government buildings, whilst the upper windows of the edifice were crowded with ladies, who manifested just as much curiosity, and perhaps a little more, to have a peep at the proceedings, as the other portion of the community. "The police and military shortly arrived, and filed in square, and some pieces of artillery were placed in an adjacent position to boom forth at the proper season the joyful intelligence. Just at eleven o'clock the new Governor, C. J. La Trobe, Esq. appeared in the porch of the building, attended by the resident Judge, the newly appointed Attorney-general, and all the principal officials, the Bishop of Melbourne, the Archdeacon of Geelong, and others of the clergy, and various members of the deputations appointed to wait upon his Excellency with addresses of congratulation.
"E. Bell, Esq., the Lieutenant-governor's private secretary and aide decamp, proceeded to read the commission of the Queen appointing Sir Charles FitzRoy the Captain-general and Governor-in-chief of the Australasian colonies; and next, the commission appointing Charles Joseph La Trobe, Esq., Lieutenant-governor of the colony of Victoria.
"The oaths of office were then read over to his Excellency by W. F. Stawell, Esq., the newly-appointed Attorney-general, and duly subscribed in the presence of his Honour the resident Judge.
"Captain Lonsdale next read the proclamation of the Lieutenant-governor appointing his executive council. As he commenced, a discharge of artillery commenced also, and continued at intervals until eleven guns were fired. The national anthem followed, the multitude remaining uncovered. This concluded the ceremony of inauguration.
"The first levee of the first Governor of Victoria was held at two P.M., at which upwards of four hundred and fifty visitors were present; and the day's proceedings were concluded by a ball at the Benevolent Asylum, which was attended by all the rank and fashion of Melbourne. The road from the city was lighted all the way, and lined with policemen. The next morning the proclamation and notices of the various official and judicial appointments, &c., were published in a supplement to the Government 'Gazette.'
Now, although at first sight this appears to be a very ordinary newspaper paragraph, it is in reality pregnant with information; for it informs us that within the short space of sixteen years, a settlement founded by a few squatters from Van Diemen's Land had progressed so rapidly that its principal city could furnish a crowd of two thousand people as mere spectatators at a fete day; that the usual divisions of society in the Old World were already fully apparent, as was evidenced by the presentation of four hundred and fifty visitors to the representative of Her Majesty; that the city was furnished with its properly-organized police, and that the constituted authorities were duly supported by the presence of "the military;" that its ecclesiastical affairs had been so carefully attended to as to have insured the superintendence of a bishop, and that its second town of importance had its archdeacon; that there were a variety of interests or classes, sufficiently distinct and important to appoint each their deputations. And, to complete the picture, we may add that the colony has not only been a self-supporting one from the first, having never cost the mothercountry a single shilling, but has attained this position in spite of the Greatest opposition on the part of the Government.
(To be continued.)
HISTORY OF GUTTA PERCHA.
GUTTA percha-pronounced pertsha-is, as all are aware, a substance whose history is of only yesterday. If the Spaniards or the French can boast of having introduced caoutchouc to European notice, one of our own countrymen has the merit of the introduction of what will ultimately become a far more important substance than it. Dr. W. Montgomery is generally considered to have been the earliest to draw attention to this important product. In a letter addressed by him to the Mechanics' Magazine" in 1846, the following concise account of its early discovery is contained, and may be requoted with advantage :-" As far back as 1822, when I was on duty at Singapore as assistant-surgeon to the Presidency, I had obtained the name of it while making inquiries relative to caoutchouc, of which there are several varieties, and some very fine specimens were brought me, particularly one called 'gutta girek;' and I was told there was another variety called 'gutta percha,' and sometimes 'gutta tuban,' which they said was harder than the 'gutta girek;' but none of it was brought to me at that time, and I lost sight of it, having returned to the Bengal Presidency. But being again sent on duty to the Straits settlements, and while at Singapore in 1842, I on one occasion observed in the hands of a Malayan woodman the handle of a parang made of a substance which appeared quite new to me. My curiosity was excited, and on inquiry I found it was made of the gutta percha, and that it could be moulded into any form by simply dipping it into boiling water until it became heated throughout, when it becomes as plastic as clay, and when cold
regained unchanged its original hardness and rigidity. I immediately possessed myself of the article, and desired the man to fetch me as much more of it as he could get. On making some experiments with it, I at once discovered that, if procurable in large quantities, it would become extensively useful; and even if only in small quantities, it would still be invaluable in the formation of many surgical instruments which were made of caoutchouc, which had been dissolved in naphtha or other solvents, which became speedily damaged and totally useless in the damp and hot climate of the tropics. I therefore wrote to the Medical Board in Calcutta, strongly recommending its adoption, and sent specimens of the substance. After having examined it, the Board highly approved of my suggestion, and directed me to procure and send some of it to Calcutta, which was done. I also addressed a communication to the secretary of the Society of Arts, London, and sent some of the substance for investigation and analysis, for which, after my return to England, I had the honour to receive the Society's gold medal. I ascertained that the tree producing it is one of the largest of the forest, growing to the size of three or four feet diameter; that the wood is of no value as timber, but that an edible concrete oil is procurable from the fruit, and often used by the natives with their food."
It appears, however, that a Spaniard, Sir Joze d'Almerida, again contests the honour of first discovery in reference to a substance so closely allied to caoutchouc. This gentleman, having been a long resident at Singapore, came over to England in the beginning of 1843, and brought several samples of the gutta percha with him, some of which he presented to the Royal Asiatic Society, for which he received their letter of acknowledgment and thanks, dated in April in that year. It appears that his attention to the substance had been attracted by noticing the material of which some whips were made. These were brought by some Malays into the town and sold, and so the gutta percha came into his hands. We have no means of stating which of these claims is the most valid, but would leave them where they lie for others to decide. It is highly amusing to find our neighbours the French also trying to establish a claim to the discovery of gutta percha, which is described in some of their journals as one of the happy results of their expedition to China. At the very period of . the despatch of this expedition gutta percha was already patented in England!
The introduction of gutta percha into England is thus described by a writer in the "Illustrated London News":
"It is not quite eight years since the substance called gutta percha was transmitted from Singapore to the secretary to the Society of Arts, for the purpose of subjecting it to a rigid examination, in order to ascertain whether it would be desirable to collect it in large quantities, which were easily obtainable in that island, so that as a new article of commerce it might, with as little delay as possible, be introduced to this country. The samples sent to the Adelphi, by Dr. Montgomery, were contained in a small deal box, and consisted, first, of the juice of gutta percha in a bottle; second, thin pieces of the substance, in appearance somewhat resembling leather; third, the gutta percha in its concrete state; and, lastly, lumps of the gutta percha formed by agglutinating the thin pieces together by means of hot water.
"Chemists, manufacturers, and others were all anxious to obtain small pieces of the material, for the purpose of making experiments therewith. Among these applicants, Mr. Charles Hancock was foremost; and while
the chemical committee of the Society were waiting for the reports of practical men on the subject, this enthusiastic gentleman having had permission to possess a very small piece of the substance, made himself so thoroughly master of the nature of gutta percha, that it was not very long before he took out patents for machinery suitable to the manufacture of articles for various useful purposes to which it has been applied.
"In the meantime, however, the secretary of the Society of Arts had made a variety of experiments with this highly-interesting substance; the result of which was, that, at one of their weekly meetings, he was enabled to repeat his experiments before a full meeting, and produced on that occasion a pipe and a lathe-band, and covered a soda-water bottle with a thin coating of the substance. Impressions of medals which had been produced by the same gentleman were also laid before the meeting."
Two of the staple articles of the gutta percha manufacture, viz., a pipe and a lathe-band, as made by hand, previously to the introduction of machinery for that purpose, were shown in the Great Exhibition. It is an interesting fact, also, that the original specimens sent by Dr. Montgomery to the East India House were likewise exhibited on that occasion, and might have been seen in the Indian collection.
BOTANICAL HISTORY OF GUTTA PERCHA.
The trees which yield it appear widely diffused over the Indian Archipelago; they are common in many places in the island of Singapore, and also in the forests of Johore, at the extremity of the Malayan peninsula. It is also said to be abundant on the south-eastern coast of the island of Borneo. In the forests on the west coast, in the vicinity of Sarawak, Sir James Brooke says, "The tree is called Niato by the Sarawak people, but they are not acquainted with the properties of its sap; it attains a considerable size, even as large as six feet diameter; is plentiful in Sarawak, and most probably all over the island of Borneo." It appears also to be abundant in the thousand islands that cluster to the south of the Straits of Singapore. A writer in the Journal of the Indian Archipelago states, that it is found all up the Malayan peninsula as far as Parang. In the vicinity of the latter place it is abundant; yet so ignorant are the inhabitants of the valuable property they have at their own doors, that several mercantile houses, at an early period in the commercial history of gutta percha, sent down to Singapore for supplies of an article that might have been obtained on the spot!
The localities in which the trees delight are the alluvial terraces along the foot of the hills, where they flourish luxuriantly, forming in many spots the principal portion of the jungle. The profusion of vegetation which adorns the Indian Archipelago, and of which the gutta percha tree forms so conspicuous a portion, can scarcely be conceived. The greater part of it is clothed to the water's edge with wood. Passing into the deep shade of its mountain forests, trees of gigantic forms and exuberant foliage rise on every side, each species shooting up its trunk to its utmost measure of development, and striving, as it seems, to escape from the dense crowd; others, as if no room were left for them to grow in the ordinary way, emulate the shape of serpents, compass their less pliant neighbours in their folds, twine their branches into one connected canopy, or hang down, here loose, and swaying in the air or in festoons from tree to tree, and there stiff and rooted. No sooner has decay diminished the green array of a branch,