DEATH OF SIR THOMAS MITCHELL.
(From the Empire, Oct. 6.)
It is our melancholy duty, this morning, to announce the death of one of our most
distinguished colonists, Sir Thomas Living- stone Mitchell, who expired at his residence, Darling Point, about a quarter past five o'clock yesterday afternoon. The immediate cause of death was a severe attack of bronchitis, which defied all the efforts of medical skill, and terminated fatally after a few days' illness. We are partly indebted to an English paper for the following particu- lars of the deceased gentleman's life :
Lieutenant Colonel Sir Thomas Living- stone Mitchell, Knight, D.C.L., was nephew of the late T. Livingstone, Esq., of Park Hall, Stirlingshire, by whom he was brought up from childhood. Joining the British army in Portugal, on the death of his uncle, he served with it as a volunteer at the age of sixteen. With this regiment, the 1st Batta- lion Rifle Brigade, he was at the storming of the fortresses of Ciudad Rodrigo and Bada- jos; and, subsequently, served on the gene- ral staff of Lord Wellington, to whose dis- crimination he owed his first commission, and all promotion afterwards, in the army. He was sent by Wellington, after the war was over, back into Spain and Portugal, with orders to survey the different battle fields. The model he made of all the Lower Pyrenees is to be seen in the United Service Museum, in London. In Portugal he sur- veyed the lines of Torres Vedras, and all the positions of Marshal Massena in his retreat out of Portugal ; also, the fields of battle of Busaco, Fuentes d'Onoro, Sabugal, and
those of other minor actions on that frontier. On returning to England this service was acknowledged by giving him the unusual rank of Brevet Captain. Under the direc-
tion of the Duke of York and the late Sir Henry Torrens, Captain Mitchell drew the manœouvres of the army according to a plan of his own invention, by which their accu- racy could be tested on mathematical prin- ciples, and under which test many old errors of movement in échellon and wheeling were exploded, and new methods of forming squares were introduced from his draw- ings.
In 1827 he was requested by the English Government to undertake the survey and division of Eastern Australia into counties, and to lay out towns, roads, and reserves for public purposes. He arrived in this colony in the latter part of that year, having pre- viously received promotion to the rank of Major. His first civil appointment in the colony was that of Deputy Surveyor-General, which he held till the death of Mr. Oxley, when he succeeded to the office of Surveyor General of the colony. During the last twenty-eight years of his life, the scientific talents of the late Sir Thomas Mitchell were devoted to the survey of New South Wales. We believe he cut all the passes that lead through the mountains into the interior; planned upwards of 200 towns and villages ; conducted four expeditions of discovery into the interior, during one of which he con- quered, as it were, from the aborigines, and surveyed at the same time, Australia Felix, now the colony of Victoria. Early in the present session of the Legislative Council, a sum of money was voted to defray the ex- pense of printing an elaborate report by Sir Thomas Mitchell, on the public works planned and executed under his direction. This report, which, we presume, is now in a forward state in the hands of the printer, will be accompanied by a large number of valu- able illustrations from his own drawings. Sir Thomas Mitchell paid two visits to Europe since his first appointment to office in the colony, the first being in 1838, when he re- ceived the honour of knighthood from her Majesty in acknowledgment of his Austra- lian discoveries. Whilst in England, he published, in two volumes, his " Three Expe- ditions into the Interior of Eastern Aus- tralia, with Descriptions of the Recently Explored Region of Australia Felix, and of the present colony of New South Wales." In 1848, he issued from the press his second work on his Australian discoveries, " A Journal of an Expedition into the Interior of Tropical Australia, in Search of a Route from Sydney to the Gulf of Carpentaria." Both these works were illustrated from very interesting drawings by Sir Thomas; and his travels have gained for him from a popular author the appellation of " the Cook of the Australian interior." Besides these, Sir Thomas was author of several other works. More than thirty years ago, he published some works of acknowledged authority on
military science. His " Manual" and "Pla- toon Exercises" appeared about this time, consisting of ninety figures of soldiers, with the proper position of the fingers in every part of the exercise in loading and firing a musket. These works long formed part of the requisite equipment of young officers joining the army, as his plans of battles still form studies at the Royal Military College
for senior students.
When last in England, he published a beautiful trigonometrical survey of Port Jackson on a large scale, and a translation of the Lusiad of Camoens. The principal object of Sir Thomas's last voyage to Eng-
land was to introduce into scientific circles his invention of the boomerang propeller for steamships. On his obtaining leave of absence, the Legislative Council voted to Sir Thomas Mitchell his full salary as Surveyor General during his absence, in considera- tion of his long and useful services, and specially considering the importance of his
On the establishment of an elective legis- lature in the colony, in 1843, Sir Thomas Mitchell was elected as one of the members
for the district of Port Phillip, but as he and one or two gentlemen similarly situated fre- quently voted against the measures of the Government, their independence was made a matter of complaint to the colonial office, and a despatch came out from the then Secretary of State (the present Earl Derby), laying down as a principle of official con- duct that those officers of the Government who might allow themselves to be elected, must support the Government policy. On
receipt of this despatch, Sir Thomas Mit- chell, with others, immediately resigned
We believe Sir Thomas Mitchell had it in contemplaiion to retire from office, and that
a communication had been received from tbe colonial office, within the last few weeks, intimating that the rank of Major General would be conferred on him on his retirement. He was a fellow of the Royal Society, the Royal Geographical Society, and other
learned bodies. We understand he was in his fifty-second year at his death.
The Legislative Council adjourned last evening in testimony of respect to his
WAGGA WAGGA RACES.-These races oc- cupied three days. On the first day the Squatters' Purse of £60 was won by Mr. Barnes's Mosstrooper, beating Mountain Maid. The Farmers' Purse of £35 was won by Mr. Stedunthy's Harkaway, beating Muleyson. The Maiden Plate of £40 was won by Mr. Burns's Joker, beating Mr. Burke's Cooramin (who took the first heat), Tease-em, and Jenny. Second Day. " The Trial Stakes of £50 was won by Mr. Bent's Chester, beating Callender, Ajax, and Wind- sor. The Albert Stakes of £20 was won by Mr. Byrne's Joker, beating Happy Jack, Mountain Maid, and Bandicoot. Third Day. The Wagga Wagga Town Plate of £100 was won by Mr. Barnes's Mosstrooper, beating
Joker and Bandicoot. The Publicans' Purse of £60 was won by Mr. Nichol's Muleyson, beating Tease-em. The Ladies' Purse of £40 was won by Mr Stedunthy's Harkaway, beating Mosstrooper and Muleyson. The Consolation Stakes of £20 was won by Mr. Byrne's Tease-em, beating Bandicoot, Happy Jack, Cooramin, and Jenny.-Abridged from Bell's Life, Oct. 6.
THE FLOWER SHOW.-The spring exhibi- tion of the Australasian Botanic Society was held on Thursday in the Botanic Gardens. The weather wus unfortunately very unpro- pitious, a cold boisterous wind, accompanied
with rain, prevailing throughout the day. This was not only sufficient to account for a very thin attendance, but it interfered mate- rially with the character of the exhibition itself. The peculiar crisis of the season was very unfavourable to any brilliant or interest- ing display of flowers. The time for spring flowers is for the most part gone by, whilst the roses and other summer flowers are only very partially in bloom. The display, there- fore, was a very meagre one, and did not pos- sess anything like the attractions of former exhibitions. There was only one collection of twelve miscellaneous plants, for which the society's gold medal is awarded. We do not remember that this prize has ever previously been allowed to go without competition. If the display of flowers was limited and some- what inferior, we are sorry not to be able to say even so much in commendation of the fruit exhibition. There were only two exhi- bitors. The vegetable show, we were also surprised to find, was inferior to what we have been accustomed to witness, as we anti- cipated from the season that in this depart- ment, at all events, a decided superiority would have been shown. This, however, was not the case, and although there was nothing to find fault with in the collections, they were certainly not equal to what we have before seen.- Abridged from S. M. Herald,
THE SYDNEY INSURANCE COMPANY.-We must notice that the advertisements of the
new Sydney Insurance Company has been published, and that they have commenced business. Their operations will extend to larger risks than heretofore, and all kinds of goods will be covered. - S. M. Herald,
FRIGHTFUL RAILWAY ACCIDENT.-Yes- terday, as a poor creature was attempting to cross the line about 150 yards from the terminus, the up train suddenly came up, and the entire line of carriages passed over it, occasioning instantaneous death. Its remains were discovered flattened to the
consistency of a pan-cake, and, upon exami- nation, were found to have originally con- stituted the frame of a garden-snail. How it eluded the vigilance of the guard on duty is unaccounted for; but it is supposed to have escaped from an adjoining vegetable bed, where a party of youthful naturalists were busied in putting salt upon the tails of its species.-Bell's Life, Oct. 6.
COMMUTATION OF CAPITAL SENTENCE. The point reserved on the trial of Patrick Maher, convicted of murder, and sentenced to death at the late Goulburn Assizes, viz , the inadmissibility of evidence from a witness who had been allowed to refresh his memory by the perusal of his deposition out of Court, in a private apartment, was most ably and successfully argued by Mr. Holroyd on Tuesday and Wednesday, on behalf of the prisoner. Their Honors yesterday pro- nounced their decision, Mr. Justice Dickin- son in favor of the conviction being quashed, and the Chief Justice and Mr. Justice Therry in favor of substituting the maximum punishment short of death, on the ground that the evidence objected to was not sufficiently material to have influenced the verdict. The prisoner's sentence has there- fore been commuted to fifteen years' labor on the roads or public works of the colony, the first three years in irons.-Bell's Life,
RUMOURED RAILWAY ACCIDENT. - A rumour obtained some currency in town yesterday evening to the effect that an accident had occurred on the railway by which one man was all but killed, and two others seriously injured. We have been at some pains to ascertain the truth of the rumour, and the result of our inquiries has been to prove that no such accident had occurred in connection with the railway or the railway works.-Empire, Oct. 6.