The Settlement of Australia

1888 English Historical Review  
Ov so recent recognition is the fact that the importance of modern English history Hes in the colonial extension of England, that most of us are still ready to assent to the statement that our colonies were acquired by accident, and that if we have to thank anybody for our present strength, our benefactors are certainly not to be found in the persons of our statesmen. In truth, there is a rare chance of epigrammatic amusement at the expense of a nation whose American colonies were peopled by
more » ... were peopled by fugitives from the law, and whose Australian colonies were peopled by criminals despatched by the law. In such an epigram it is taken for granted that a criminal establishment was the one object of Australian colonisation. But as epigrams are proverbially untrue, it may be worth while to examine into the accuracy of this particular one, and to inquire whether other and nobler motives were not present in the minds of the statesmen who in 1787 despatched Captain Phillip and his momentous expedition to the coast of New Holland. It is not denied that the discovery of a suitable station of transportation had much to do with the expedition ; but it is not acknowledged that this was the chief aim that the ministry of Mr. Pitt had in view in this undertaking. Another point of considerable interest relates to the connexion existing between the American colonies and those in Australia, and here I hope to show that between the possessions' in the New World, at that date so recently lost, and the settlements in the still newer world, now so great and powerful, there is a connecting chain, and that, curiously enough, one of the most important links in that chain was the system of transportation. Here, at least, it is unnecessary to attempt anything like a dis-
doi:10.1093/ehr/iii.xii.625 fatcat:pd243rjvjnbtji7qcpyzo55arq