A History of Australia: From the Earliest Times to the Age of Macquarie

By C. M. H. Clark | Go to book overview

4
THE CHOICE OF BOTANY BAY

THE PROPOSALS for the use of a southern continent had a history almost as long though by no means so distinguished as the history of its discovery. Some saw it as land dedicated to the Holy Spirit; some saw it as a land fit only for the refuse of society, on the principle that the political body, like the human body, is often troubled with vicious humours, which one must often evacuate.1 Just as the quest for a southern continent promoted the alpha and the omega of human behaviour, so the discussion of its use revealed all the bewildering variety of human aspirations. In the reign of Elizabeth two proposals were made for trade in the south seas. In 1625 an eminent London merchant petitioned the king for the privilege of erecting colonies in 'terra australis' in return for granting land to him, his heirs and assigns. Early in the eighteenth century Captain John Webbe proposed to form a company to carry on trade with 'terra australis'. In 1718 Jean Pierre Purry urged the Governor-General of the Dutch East India Company in Batavia to begin a colony in Pieter Nuyt's land, pointing to the advantages for their commerce.2 But all such schemes came to nought, only to be resurrected from the waste-paper basket of history by the actual coming of European civilization to Australia.

The preoccupation with the material benefits of trade in the second quarter of the eighteenth century quickened European interest in the south seas. Campbell, who published an edition of Harris' Collection of Voyages and Travels in 1744, believed labour might improve, arms might extend, but that only commerce could enrich a country. He urged the English to establish a colony at New Britain in the Solomons to open up trade with 'terra australis'.3 In 1756 de Brosses had urged the use of New Holland as a receptacle for criminals, on the grounds that in every society there was a proportion of men whose only occupation was to harm others.4 In 1766 J. Callander plagiarized part of the book in his Terra Australis Cognita. When he plagiarized the other

____________________
1
The point was made by C. de Brosses: Histoire des Navigations aux Terres Australes ( Paris, 1756), vol. 1, p. 29 and borrowed by J. Callander: Terra Australis Cognita; or Voyages to the Terra Australis, or Southern Hemispbere, during the Sixteenth, Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries ( Edinburgh, 1766-8), vol. 1, p. 20.
2
For the history of these proposals see G. Mackaness: "'Some Proposals for Establishing Colonies in the South Seas', "in R. A.H.S., J & P., vol. 29, pr. 4 ( 1943), pp. 263-80.
3
J. Harris: Navigatium atque itinerantium bibliotheca . . . , rev. ed. ( London, 1744-8), vol, 1, p. 334.
4
C. de Brosses: op. cit, vol. 1, p. 29 et seq.

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A History of Australia: From the Earliest Times to the Age of Macquarie
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Preface ix
  • Contents xi
  • Errata xiii
  • Contents xiii
  • Abbreviations xv
  • Part I - The Forerunners 1
  • I - The Earliest Times to Catholic Christendom 3
  • 2 - The Contribution of The Protestants 21
  • 3 - The Sons of Enlightenment 42
  • Part II - The Foundation 57
  • 4 - The Choice of Botany Bay 59
  • 5 - The Beginning of Sydney Cove 73
  • 6 - Convicts and the Faith Of The Founders 90
  • Part III - Phillip to Bligh 111
  • 7 - Phillip 113
  • 8 - Grose, Paterson and Hunter 132
  • 9 - King, Flinders, and Port Phillip 160
  • 10 - Van Diemen's Land and The Civilization of New South Wales 186
  • II - Bligh 210
  • 12 - The Society of New South Wales In 1810 235
  • Part IV - The Age of Macquarie 261
  • 13 - Macquarie, 1810-1815 263
  • 14 - Macquarie, 1816-1819 296
  • 15 - Macquarie, 1820-1821 337
  • 16 - Macquarie and Mr Commissioner Bigge In England 367
  • Appendices 381
  • A Select Bibliography 389
  • Index 411
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