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had thrown her silvery beams upon all around, then, indeed, the picture presented to us was one that a painter might dream of but barely realize. The ocean, like one vast sheet of silver, extended on one side, with ever and anon the small sail of sponge-fishers' boats, glimmering up like a bright flash, else shadowing darkly over the waves. As the vessel rose or fell with the tide-in the harbour itself things were yet indistinct-the moon capped with a silvery crown the tops of dark-looking stately houses, or sent her beams to sport like elfins amongst the dark leaves of the walnuttree, but beyond this all was misty and confused. By and by she grew paler, the tops of the mountains more distinct; often we caught sight of a goatherd, and listened to his voice as he led his flock thus early forth to graze; thousand of larks sang their morning hymn of praise; cocks crowed lustily, hens cackled; the morning star set behind a deep line in the horizon, and the first grey tinge of dawn appeared. What a time! what a prospect! to raise up one's heart with thanksgiving towards the Great Creator of all, to sing with David—
"The dawn of each returning day
Fresh beams of knowledge brings." (Psalm cxix. 2.)
The morning has fairly broke, and the people around us awake to life and activity on board the little vessel they are busy washing and scouring the decks; on shore, sweeping and preparing for the bustle of the day. Down comes an austere-looking person, wrapped round with an ermine cloak; he inspects our paper, accords the permit, and we jump on shore light-heartedly, glad to escape from the cramped-up limits of our little boat. Close to the landing-place, the jetty itself being all tiled in, are the customhouse, quarantine office, and some merchants stores on the one side; on the other, one or two convenient coffee-shops which overlook the harbour. Here seated on diminutive stools, and partaking of their morning's cup of strong coffee, we encounter a motley assembly, comprising Turks, Christians, Fellahs, and even several of the European inhabitants, who, though they live in the town a good half-mile distant from the sea-side, have contrived to get down here thus early to luxuriate in the sweet freshness of the morning air. Many, also, habituate themselves to sea-bathing, than which no recreation can be more healthful in such a climate as that of Latachia. Leaving this assemblage to the enjoyment of their keif, we, following the small donkeys that are loaded with our baggage, pass through a desolate street of lofty ominous-looking buildings, which with their closely-barred windows have more the resemblance of prisons than anything we can compare them to; these were the private residences of the more opulent citizens in bygone days, when commerce flourished, and when the population might have been reckoned by thousands, instead of by tens as is now the case. Save by the owl and the hawk, these places are now utterly forsaken; their vast courtyards serve as granaries and sheds for cattle, but scarcely a human being enlivens their solitude. Emerging from this gloomy part through a tottering gateway, we enter upon a wild and uncultivated country, and here, for the first time, journeying southward, meet with the cactus or prickly pear, growing in great luxuriance; here, also, the Arab bulbul, with its black tufted head, is twittering forth its gratitude to that careful Guardian whose forethought for the wants of all creation as abundantly supplied these wants in the spontaneous productions of the earth. The Arab bulbul, so long as the season lasts, lives almost exclusively on the fruit of the cactus; and when these are done, and winter's
gloom spreads over the land, they then, by intuitive instinct, wing their way southward to more congenial climes :
"O praise the Lord with hymns of joy,
And celebrate His fame.
He savage beasts that loosely range,
He feeds the ravens' tender brood,
And stops their hungry cries." (Psalm cxlvii. 1, 9.)
Passing over this place, a quarter of an hour's smart walking brings us to the gardens which form the environs of the present town of Latachia; these are all securely hedged in with cactus, growing so tall as to exclude the prying eyes of the inquisitive. Passing one of the gates, however, we catch a glimpse of the interior economy. The gardens contain chiefly fruit trees amongst these figs of twenty varieties, the sweet-kernelled apricot, and the sour as well as the sweet pomegranate; of these the pulp of the former is boiled down, and becomes a sharp stringent acid, much used by the natives in culinary purposes. The houses of the peasants are constructed much upon the same principle as those at Suedia—if anything, larger and better adapted for ventilation, for the heats in Latachia during the summer months are intense, and ague is oftentimes prevalent. We entered the town through a tottering archway, on either side of which immense dustheaps impregnated the air with odours of all the impurities there suffered to decay, before this matter is transferred as manure to the silk gardens of the more opulent inhabitants. Passing through a dark and filthy street, liberally bestrewed with the skins of water-melons, cucumbers, and other nauseous matter, besides a multitude of dead cats, rats, and other vermin, we rejoiced to find ourselves once again breathing the pure atmosphere of heaven, on an elevated piece of ground, to the right of which stands the principal Turkish Mosque in the town, whilst to the left are a long range of handsome modern dwelling-houses, the residences of the various native consular agents, each house boasting a flag-staff, from whose summits the banners of European nations were proudly floating in the air. Mosque, which is the handsomest one in the town, has a singular tale connected with it, for the truth of which all the more respectable inhabitants vouch. The story goes, that some years since a devout Sheik il Islam, chief of the Moslem faith, under whose charge the Mosque was, and to whom the keys were confided, on one occasion locked himself in, and for three consecutive days refused admission to any of the natives. The Turkish populace at length, being infuriated at this conduct, burst open the doors, when to their astonishment the Sheik il Islam warned them to stand off, telling them they were all infidels, and that there was no true religion in the world save the religion of the Christians-a denouncement which caused the infuriated Turks to strangle him on the spot. The Turks in Latachia are to this day the most fanatical in the whole of the Turkish empire; a bad people, addicted to every imaginable vice. Latachia is of modern years noted for the vast quantities of very superior tobacco which it annually ships into Egypt and to all ports of the Mediterranean: this leaf is chiefly grown at the small sea-side town of Gibili, ten miles to the southward of Latachia. Its present population may be estimated at about fourteen thousand; five thousand Christians, chiefly of the Greek church, four thousand Turks, and the remainder, with the exception of some hundred Catholics, Fellahs, descendants of the wild mountain tribes, and not a
single Protestant. The silk here produced is inferior to that of Antioch and Suedia; and one great drawback to the furtherance of cultivation and commerce is the great scarcity of water: large wells are dug in the gardens, and these, with wheels worked by oxen, irrigate the land, though very insufficiently. In the very heart of the bazaars massive clusters of ruins are to be seen which clearly tell a tale of bygone greatness and splendour -a striking proof of the vanity of all earthly hopes or enjoyments:"We build with fruitless cost, unless
The Lord the pile sustain ;
Unless the Lord the city keep,
The Watchman wakes in vain." (Psalm cxxvii. 1.)
A VISIT TO AUSTRALIA AND ITS GOLD REGIONS (continued).
THE COLONY OF VICTORIA, ITS EARLY HISTORY, AND RAPID
In the voyage out, as described in the first chapter, the journey terminated at the city of Adelaide, the capital of South Australia; but had the destination of our ship been Port Phillip, she would have taken a different course, and instead of wearing to the north for the Gulf of St. Vincent, would have continued to steer eastward till she reached Bass's Strait; bearing then to the northward, the land would come in sight on our left hand, and as we rapidly advanced, Cape Schank would soon make its appearance on the right, and our course would then lie between shores that stretched away on either side, bold and high, and everywhere surmounted by the evergreen forest that thence stretched inland. In the distance ahead the land gradually closes in to a narrow inlet, forming apparently the bottom of a deep and dangerous gulf, as the furious surf with which it is lined would lead us to believe. On a nearer approach, however, the rocky coast in front is seen to be parted by an opening whose smooth waters proclaim it to be the entrance to some inner haven. The contracted passage which thus comes into view so unexpectedly serves to separate two promontories scarcely three miles apart at the points nearest to each other: that on the west is called Point Lonsdale; while the other, Point Nepean, is a long strip of rocks and sand. Upon rounding the latter, we are at once shut out from the open sea, and transferred to the threshold of a magnificent bay. Port Phillip Bay, into which we have thus passed, is certainly one of the noblest of its kind; in reality it is an inland sea of considerable extent, about forty miles in length by thirty in breadth, along whose winding shores are to be found many inlets and bays, each one capable of sheltering whole fleets, the most conspicuous of which is the Bay of Geelong, a fine expanse of water running into its western shore, and called, from its extreme beauty, "the second Bay of Naples" At the upper extremity of the lake lies Hobson's Bay, the port of the city of Melbourne, which is the capital of that splendid pastoral country, formerly a district of New South Wales called the Fort Phillip District, but now the independent colony of Victoria.
Our knowledge of the existence of the Bay or Lake of Port Phillip is due to Lieut. Murray, of the Lady Nelson, who ascertained its existence in carrying out a series of exploring expeditions projected by Governor King. The description by the discoverer of the portion which he beheld, and especially of the shore, written, as it was, about fifty years ago, might nevertheless be copied by the traveller of to-day; without a word of
alteration, so exactly does it convey the principal features by which the surrounding locality is marked:-"The southern shore of this noble harbour is bold high land in general, and not clothed, as all the land of Western Port is, with thick brush, but with stout trees of various kinds; and in some places falls nothing short in beauty of appearance to Greenwich Park. Away to the eastward at the distance of about twenty miles the land is mountainous. There is one very high mountain in particular which in the meantime I named Arthur's Seat, from its resemblance to a mountain of that name near Edinburgh." Subsequently the enterprising Flinders made an accurate survey; and the report which he brought back was so favourably received as to induce the Government about a couple of years afterwards to choose it as a place for the establishment of a penal settlement. The spot, however, selected for the purpose was (fortunately) the worst within a wide circuit; it was upon Point Nepean, the headland of which, running out from the east, parts the bay in that direction from the sea. On further trial nothing was found to counteract its many disadvantages; water could only be procured at that point by digging wells in the sand, a source, however abundant at the time, far too limited to supply a growing population. The country in the immediate neighbourhood showed no prospect of being properly cultivated, and, at the same time, no vigilance could prevent the convicts from making their escape into the woods. Governor Collins therefore abandoned his original purpose, and set sail for Van Diemen's Land, and landing there on the shores of one of the finest bays in the world, laid the foundations of Hobart Town.
For many years subsequent to this attempt, the magnificent country of Port Phillip continued undisturbed by the foot of a white man; for of the many exploring parties sent out by private individuals, as well as by the Government of New South Wales, none followed the road to Port Phillip; probably deterred by the unfavourable circumstances under which the first expedition quitted it. In the year 1824, however, Messrs. Hovell and Hume, two influential settlers in the Sydney district, determined upon attempting to reach the abandoned settlement overland. The account of their journey affords one a tolerable idea of the difficulties of inland exploration, and of the indomitable energy required to overcome them. Their travelling equipage, at the commencement of their journey, consisted of two carts, containing supplies, drawn by four bullocks; these were accompanied by six men, each armed with a fowling-piece; and two horses ridden by themselves, with a spare horse, completed their outfit. Departing from Lake George, they left the last trace of civilation behind, and entered at once into the wide expanse of an unknown interior, guided only by a small compass and the calculations made with an imperfect sextant.
At the distance of eleven miles they met the Murrumbidgee. This stream, thirty or forty yards wide, presented in its swollen waters a bar to their further progress for the space of two days; after which, finding delay useless, they contrived to form a punt out of one of the carts, by tying a tarpaulin tightly round the bottom of the vehicle. From this point, having transported themselves and their goods dry and in safety to the opposite shore, they pursued a W.S.W. course for four days, when, from the mountainous character of the country before them, it was judged advisable to abandon the carts and such quantities of the provisions as could most easily be spared, concealing them till their return. From this hastily constructed depôt they advanced for seventy miles over different ranges, precipitous
ravines, and opposing streams, relieved at intervals by strips of lightly wooded pastoral grounds, until they came suddenly and unexpectedly in view of a belt of stupendous mountains-the Australian Alps. Here their course was necessarily altered a few points to the westward, to enable them to avoid the diverging branches of this enormous chain; and after a journey of eighty-five miles, they discovered a river (the Hume), the breadth of which could not have been less than eighty yards. Two or three days were spent on the banks of this beautiful stream, in the endeavour to find a convenient crossing-place. Pursuing their course, they came, at the distance of thirty-four miles, to another, though much smaller river, which they called the "Ovens ;" crossing which, they altered the course of their route to a more southerly direction, and at the distance of one hundred and nine miles they met with and crossed a fourth river, the Hovell (the Golbourn of Major Mitchell). The region passed over between these last two rivers had presented a very favourable aspect, being enriched with fertile plains, open or park-like forests, and numerous streams. The land contiguous to the Hovell was found to be of a quality fitted for every purpose, pastoral and agricultural.
The passage of this stream accomplished, they continued their journey in a S. W direction, through an agreeable and picturesque country, the soil good and the grass abundant, for eight days, when they were checked by the rugged, stony surface of a mountain they attempted to cross, and the dense and impenetrable nature of its brushwood and jungle grass. To this mountain they gave the name of Mount Disappointment; and, baffled in their attempt to find a breach in the rocky rampart which it formed across their path, they turned their steps, with the intention of passing round its flank. This they accomplished by making a long and tedious detour in a westerly direction; and then once more resuming their proper course, finally received the reward of all their toils by descrying the sea in the distance.
In thus bringing their attempts to a successful close, they had spent two months of hardship, of the severity of which none but those who enter these solitudes can form a conception, and had travelled a distance of three hundred and seventy-eight miles, reckoning in a straight line from the point of their departure. It was the misfortune of these energetic explorers, to have been guided by their anxiety to take the shortest and most direct route, and not that which presented the fewest impediments, and they thus entangled themselves amidst the lofty lateral ranges which the Australian Alps throw off to the westward. Times without number they had to climb with weary steps to the summit of a ridge, only to see Alps beyond Alps rising in the distance across their course, while on other occasions broad streams and dense jungles opposed scarcely less formidable barriers to their advance.
The road thus opened was seen to be practicable for man, though at the cost of immense labour; but it was far otherwise with regard to sheep and cattle, and no one at all acquainted with the difficulties of conveying these, especially in large numbers, through a wooded and mountainous region, would willingly pursue a track beset with so many obstacles. The expedition, therefore, was followed by no practical results, and the district of Port Phillip once more relapsed into obscurity.
The unexampled rapidity, however, with which the available land in Van Diemen's Land (situated immediately opposite to that part of the coast of Australia) had been occupied, and the necessity of finding new tracts of land for pastoral purposes, soon induced the colonists of that island to turn their atten