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2-160 (Raw)

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author,male,Governor of WA,un addressee,male
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Government English
Imperial Correspondence
Clark, 1977
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2-160-raw.txt — 12 KB

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The further extension of tillage is impeded by the want of labourers; and the very high wages demanded, compel those who principally depend on hired workmen, in rural occupations, to seek the means of employing their capital in pursuits less dependent on the whims and caprices of the labouring class. In consequence of this, the raising of wheat will be confined to those families the members of which are sufficient for the work of the farm on which they live; and the higher class of settlers will endeavour to invest their means in the rearing of live stock. The adaptation of this country to the purposes of wheat growing may be, however, considered as proved beyond all doubt; but this article cannot be profitably cultivated for exportation until there is a greater command of labour. The culture of the vine, fig, peach, and melon tribe, has been carried thus early to a considerable extent; and if ever it should be desirable for the mother country to possess a wine-growing colony, the soils and seasons of this country afford reasonable ground for anticipating a successful issue to such speculation. [85]
The return of profit on sheep-keeping may be estimated in the gross at 75 per cent. per annum. The rate is undoubtedly higher here, where the price of meat is high, and the value of land low, than it can be in New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land. After deducting the expenses of shepherding, and allowing a reasonable rent for the land on which the flock is maintained, a net profit remains to the owner of about 50 per cent, per annum. Such a profit as this, combined with the means of extending indefinitely the number of sheep farms, must attract to this branch of investment, in the course of a few years, a large amount of capital. At present the absence of funds within the colony applicable to such purposes, and the prejudices which unjustly exist in respect of its capabilities, together with the mishaps attendant on the importation of sheep from other places, impose obstacles on its extension, apart from natural increase.
Horses and cattle may be expected to multiply rapidly from this time forward. In addition to the numbers of the latter, stated in the preceding return, there are known to exist four or five wild herds in different parts of the colony, which have maintained themselves without protection against the natives for several years, and are rapidly increasing their numbers.
Looking to the small number of colonists, and to the few years they have been established in this country, the extent of land in cultivation, and the quantity of useful animals in their possession are highly satisfactory. The settlement is now enabled to feel, that in less than eight years from its foundation, it has arrived at the point of producing its own subsistence, and is entirely independent of other places for the support of its inhabitants.
The arts connected with building, and agricultural implement making, employ a considerable portion of the workmen of the settlement; and it is, in consequence, better provided with the products of the first-named of those arts, than is usual in countries so recently occupied. Many convenient and substantial houses have been erected in the towns, and by the employment thereby given to artificers, a large number have been induced to remain, who would otherwise have quitted the settlement; carpenters, masons, plasterers, blacksmiths, painters, and other artisans, have hitherto received high wages; but some of them are beginning to turn their thoughts to rural occupations, in consequence of an anticipated diminution of employment in their proper pursuits. Being usually superior in education, and in steadiness of conduct, to labourers in general, the class to which they belong is one of the most valuable in colonies, and therefore it is not to be regretted that a very large sum has been invested in buildings, by the outlay of which they have been induced to settle in this country. [86]
Since the earliest discovery of this coast, it has been known to abound in various description of fish. The Malays have carried on, for at least 200 years, an extensive and profitable tripang and tortoiseshell fishery, on the north-west coast. Dampier, Daudin, and King, at different periods, have reported the existence of astonishing numbers of whales in the adjacent seas; and our own experience since the establishment of the colony, and still more recently since whale fishing commenced in its bays, about 12 months ago, confirms the reports of the earlier navigators. This abundance of fish is probably connected with the existence of a bank, which adjoins the shore from the northern to the southern extremity of the colony. On this shoal, which extends for 30 or 40 miles from the land, and which is composed, for the most part, of calcareous, or coraline substances, there exist several varieties of edible fish, which admit of being cured for exportation.
The various descriptions of fishery which may be carried on under such circumstances must eventually employ a large amount of capital, and a great number of seamen; markets for their produce are open in China, as well as in Europe.
At present there are only four whaling establishments or associations; these are not as yet upon an efficient footing, but their success has been great enough to ensure their future improvement and extension. The catching of fish for the purposes of food gives profitable employment to a few boatmen; and the convenience afforded in the estuaries for learning in smooth water the art of managing boats, seems likely to attract to maritime pursuits a large number of young men.
Boat-building is carried on with much success by two establishments, and some of the native woods are found to be well suited to those purposes.
The operations of the miller, baker, and brewer, tanner, shoemaker, and clothier, are in course of improvement and extension; and the community, although limited to a very small number of persons, suffers no serious inconvenience from the absence of any of the arts and trades which administer to the primary wants of man.
The number of persons exclusively engaged in the civil, judicial, clerical, and military branches of the public service amounts to 160.
In other public offices, independent of the government, such as printers, inn-keepers, &c. there are employed about 34; as this description of persons, however necessary their labours may be to the general welfare, do not contribute directly to the produce of commodities, their number, together with that of their families, must be deducted from the gross population, in comparing the productive classes with the products of labour.
The internal consumption of commodities having been of late in a great measure united to the products of the land, and the importation of foreign articles having decreased in proportion, the mercantile part of the community has had much reason to complain of the want of business in general. [87] The traffic in tea, sugar, spirits, clothing, harness, earthenware, glass, and ammunition, has been carried on at very high prices, and with great profit. Traders being a class of persons whose capital is always available for any speculation which may offer, and colonial farmers being always in need of advances, the mercantile men in this community, possessed of means, have frequent opportunities of laying them out to advantage, either by monopolizing particular commodities, or by giving credits at high interest; they have therefore had their full share of the general prosperity, even in the absence of any considerable demand for merchandise. They are at this time looking forward to an increase in the exports of the colony, as the probable cause of an extension of business; in the meantime, money, in proportion to the reasonable demand for it is abundant. A joint-stock bank has been recently established, and facilitates the transaction of business. The principles on which it is founded are such as to render it an institution of a most beneficial character, while the names of the subscribers, as well as the cautious system of management adopted, ensure to the public the most judicious and equitable employment of its means. Its discounts on bills are done at the rate of 12.5 per cent, per annum, and it allows depositors, under the usual regulations of savings' banks, an interest at the rate of five per cent.
The bills of the Commissariat upon the Treasury have been hitherto negotiated at the rate of 1.5 per cent, premium, but the demand for them is gradually decreasing, and will cease entirely when the value of colonial exports is equal to the value of goods imported, unless an increase of population from without extend the demand for imported commodities. Private bills on England are usually subjected to a discount of five per cent, and this appears to be a reasonable charge where there are no considerable remittances to be effected.
[...] even those who have the smallest share in the aggregate wealth, or indeed no share at all, may attain to comparative affluence by their own labour, at the present rate of wages, &c, and it is undoubtedly in the power of the poorest individual, who is free from bodily infirmity, and from vicious propensities, to procure for himself in this country, by industry, not only the necessaries of life, but future
independence of labour.
That the climate is congenial to health, as well as to enjoyment, there is, as yet, no reason to doubt; what its effects may be on the constitution and form of the European, there has not been sufficient time to ascertain. [88] The children born in the colony appear to be of very rapid growth, and possibly may attain to a more slender frame of body than their progenitors; they are, in the meantime, exempt from many of those diseases which afflict and destroy, in childhood, so many persons in more rigorous climates. The education of youth, for very obvious reasons, has not as yet been brought under any systematic arrangement. Elementary schools have been established in the two principal towns, to which all are admissable without payment. [...] 
The state of morality, with exception of a tendency to the excessive use of spirituous liquors amongst certain individuals, is very satisfactory. Even of the small number of offences committed against the laws, the greater proportion has originated amongst those who have come to this colony from the neighbouring penal settlements. [...] 
Civil actions have decreased in number to one half of their former amount within the past year, notwithstanding that the redress of injuries has been rendered less expensive in minor cases by the reduction of fees. [...]
Divine service, according to the Established Church, is attended at Perth by about 200 persons; and in that town, as well as in Guildford and Albany, there are Independant chapels. [...]
It is deserving of record in this place, that since the foundation of the settlement in 1829, to the present date, the law has not found occasion to impose sentence of death upon any individual. [...]
At the outset of the colony various circumstances concurred to create an interest in the undertaking, and to cause a considerable influx of people; but the actual progress made in its formation for the first three or four years was by no means equal to its apparent growth, and the increase in numbers. The face of the country near the sea was uninviting; the losses consequent upon exposure to the weather, the want of experience in such adventures, and in many cases the want of means, gave rise in their several ways to doubt and despondency; very few engaged with spirit in their proper avocations, and many left or talked of leaving a place in which there was evidently much to be done and borne before success could be attained. In the meanwhile there were no returns coming in from the land, nor money to pay for imported articles; the necessaries of life were at enormous prices, and the funds of the settlers were generally exhausted in their own support, instead of being applied to the advancement of their farms and business. The disappointments experienced within the colony affected its reputation in other places, and a stop was put for a time to further immigration. [89] To complete the catalogue of difficulties, conflicts with the natives were continually occurring, and too often ended in the loss of property and life.