Изображения страниц

Ist. Melbourne is the churchyard of infants ; but the mortality of children in the country districts is not SO great as in Britain. 2ndly. Healthy natives of the British Isles, of both sexes, who arrive in Australia in the heyday of life, and settle there, may expect to die about ten years sooner than they would had they remained at home. 3rdly. Natives of Great Britain, either male or female, who have passed the meridian of life, will in all probability add ten or twenty years to their existence by going to either of the colonies, and ending their days there. 4thly. Individuals born in Australia, or taken there in infancy, arrive at maturity earlier than they would in England, especially the females ; at fifteen a girl possesses all the charms and many of the graces of womanhood. 5thly. The climate usually cures dyspepsia, checks a tendency to consumption, increases nervous debility, and apparently develops the latent seeds of insanity. 6thly. During summer, ophthalmia, sore lips and mouths, and bilious and intermittent fevers occur. The fevers, however, are neither so violent, so fatal, nor so frequent as in India, China, and other hot countries, where marsh miasma abounds. 7thly. The frequent and sudden changes of temperature, especially at the close of spring and commencement of autumn, often induce diarrhoea and dysentery; indeed these maladies, although seldom fatal, are of common occurrence. 8thly. The climate exercises a curative effect on diseases of the kindeys, renders those of the skin more virulent than in Britain, occasionally induces derangement of the liver, is baneful to the scrofula, and beneficial to the gouty.

I may add, that considering their exposed life, the colonists suffer but little with coughs or colds at the chest. That I could elicit nothing satisfactory in regard to heart diseases, so conflicting were the evidence of cases, and the sentiments of the faculty thereon. That colds in the head, face-ache, and rheumatic pains, are not more common than in England; and that with the exception of influenza, no cases of pestilential epidemic have occurred in any of the provinces. Asiatic cholera, and plague, never have, and I trust never will, contaminate the pure air of Australia. That horrible affection delirium tremens, or the trembling madness, frequently attacks the colonial debauchee with a virulence unknown in the cooler climes of the British Isles, and very commonly terminates fatally. I believe its effects are much aggravated by the deleterious substances with which the publicans are known to adulterate their liquors. A few cases of coup de soleil, or sun stroke, occur every year during the hot weather ; and sometimes a person dies from the bite of a poisonous serpent.

Such cases ever, comparatively rare, as the reptiles are by no means numerous, only a

a few are venomous, and they seldom act on the offensive. I may here remark, that all persons who would be greatly alarmed at the sight of snakes, or who could not brave the chance of being bitten by centipedes, tarantula spiders,

are, how

mosquitoes, swarms of fleas, or ants; and who fancy that they would be plagued to death if surrounded for six months in the year by ten times as many common house-flies as exist in the height of summer in this country, had better stay at home, as they have not the nerve to brave the difficulties of the venture, if these bugbears really terrify them.

Many settlers, on first arriving in Australia, find the clearness of the air, the dazzling brightness of daylight, and the daily round of unceasing sunshine, monotonous and disagreeable, while the heat produces more or less lassitude. These impressions and feelings are usually of short duration ; the eye adapts itself to the clear bright air, and, after the lapse of a few months, the body becomes inured to the high temperature, and henceforth suffers more from cold than heat. It is, however, by no means advisable for those who enjoy buoyant health in the cold, moist winter and spring of England, and suffer lassitude in the height of summer, to settle in Australia; for the climate, although

highly salubrious in a general sense, is an extreme one-great dryness and heat being its characteristics—and as the hot winds turn green leaves yellow, so they shrivel up those individuals whose physical conformation only fits them to dwell in more temperate climes. Persons who are not scrofulous, who suffer from cold and moisture, and are most healthful in hot weather, have nothing to fear from the climate of Australia. I know instances of such individuals, after a few years' residence in the colonies, becoming quite robust, and much invigorated.

As before stated, it is an ascertained fact, that persons of a consumptive habit generally preserve their health by a residence in any of the Australian colonies. The climate, however, may only safely be recommended for instances as have simply a disposition to disease of the lungs, but on whom the enemy has as yet made no direct attack; for when once the disease has made a fatal breach on the lungs, the decay is much hastened by the

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »