Australian Access Federation

You are here: Home Corpora Corpus of Oz Early English 2-115 (Raw)

2-115 (Raw)

Item metadata
author,male,Van Diemen's Land Monthly,un addressee
Newspaper Article
Word Count :
Plaint Text :
Public Written
Newspapers & Broadsides
Clark, 1977
Document metadata

2-115-raw.txt — 3 KB

File contents

Generally speaking, the Free Emigrants are either men who have been reduced, by misfortunes or imprudence, from wealth to comparative poverty; or those who, although they have never possessed wealth, are yet eager to realise their expectations of acquiring it : - expectations, which perhaps erroneous representations, and a sanguine temperament, have alone led them to entertain. All are poor, at least in proportion to their views of aggrandizement; for we believe few leave their native land, to settle in another, who either possess a competency, or have no other object in view than to earn a mere subsistence. To make a fortune, therefore, or at least to better themselves in a pecuniary point of view, is the aim of all; nor do we deny that it is a laudable one. Their previous conceptions, however, of the mode in which this is to be done, are frequently vague and unformed; and their knowledge of the difficulties they have to encounter is very imperfect; while their pecuniary means are generally inadequate to the end in view. [436]
Men so circumstanced, and actuated by such motives, are not likely to be deficient in enterprise, and industry; though, perhaps, not always judiciously or perseveringly exerted. But it were unreasonable to suppose, that Science and Literature would under such a state of things be generally cultivated; and without these it were perhaps equally unreasonable, to look for a high standard of National character. Yet even a money-making and illiterate population may be distinguished by candour, integrity, and sobriety.
Next to the engrossing desire of wealth, considered as affecting the morals of the Community, we may class the love of tavern-haunting and tippling. The number of taverns, which exist and continue to multiply around us, is but too convincing a proof of the existence of these vices, which we fear will out-last the causes in which they probably originated; - namely, the want of domestic comfort, and female society. It is to be hoped, however, that drunkenness will not continue to be a pervading vice, even amongst the lowest classes, in a Country in which the wealthy may possess all the luxuries, and many of the intellectual enjoyments of civilized life, - in which all who are able and willing to work, can procure employment, and in which every industrious and sober individual, can live in comfort and independence.
We have already observed, that we consider the too engrossing pursuit of riches as prejudicial to the cultivation of science and literature; and that the means occasionally employed in the Colonies to acquire it, are too frequently subversive of candour and integrity. We may add that, in a money-making community, the shame of poverty is often more powerful than the fear of it. Hence arises on the part of many individuals a display of opulence, which their real circumstances are far from justifying. Hence also, those incongruities in buildings, furniture, dress, and equipage, which we fear cannot fail to strike the observant stranger. This love of display, so inconsistent with the character and situation of settlers in a new country, may indeed have partly originated. in each wishing to impress upon his neighbour a due sense of his previous circumstances, and standing in society. But, whatever the cause, the effect is too apparent.