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Title: An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, Volume 1 - With Remarks on the Dispositions, Customs, Manners, Etc. of The - Native Inhabitants of That Country. to Which Are Added, Some - Particulars of New Zealand; Compiled, By Permission, From - The Mss.         of Lieutenant-Governor King.
Author: Collins, David, 1754-1810
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, Volume 1 - With Remarks on the Dispositions, Customs, Manners, Etc. of The - Native Inhabitants of That Country. to Which Are Added, Some - Particulars of New Zealand; Compiled, By Permission, From - The Mss.         of Lieutenant-Governor King." ***






Many might be saved who now suffer an ignominious and an early death;
and many might be so much purified in the furnace of punishment and
adversity, as to become the ornaments of that society of which they had
formerly been the bane. The vices of mankind must frequently require the
severity of justice; but a wise State will direct that severity to the
greatest moral and political good.






One of His Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council,
Chief Justice in Eyre South of Trent,
A Governor of the Charter-house,
and a Vice-President of the Asylum


The honour that your Lordship has done me, in permitting this volume to
go forth into the world under the sanction of your name, demands my
warmest acknowledgments. I can only wish that the Work had been more
worthy of its patron.

The originator of the plan of colonization for New South Wales was too
conspicuous a character to be overlooked by the narrator of its rise and
progress. The benevolent mind of your Lordship led you to conceive this
method of redeeming many lives that might be forfeit to the offended
laws; but which, being preserved, under salutary regulations, might
afterward become useful to society: and to your patriotism the plan
presented a prospect of commercial and political advantage. The following
pages will, it is hoped, serve to evince, with how much wisdom the
measure was suggested and conducted; with what beneficial effects its
progress has been attended; and what future benefits the parent country
may with confidence anticipate.

That your Lordship may long live to enjoy those grateful reflections
which a sense of having advanced the public welfare must be presumed to
excite; and that our most gracious sovereign, the father of his people,
may long, very long reign over these kingdoms, and continue to be served
by statesmen of tried talents and integrity, is the earnest prayer of,

Your Lordship's much obliged,
and most devoted servant,

Poland Street,
May 25, 1798

* * * * *


To the public the following work is with respectful deference submitted
by its author, who trusts that it will be found to comprise much
information interesting in its nature, and that has not been anticipated
by any former productions on the same subject. If he should be thought to
have been sometimes too minute in his detail, he hopes it will be
considered, that the transactions here recorded were penned as they
occurred, with the feelings that at the moment they naturally excited in
the mind; and that circumstances which, to an indifferent reader, may
appear trivial, to a spectator and participant seem often of importance.
To the design of this work (which was, to furnish a complete record of
the transactions of the colony from its foundation), accuracy and a
degree of minuteness in detail seemed essential; and on reviewing his
manuscript, the author saw little that, consistently with his plan, he
could persuade himself to suppress.

For his labours he claims no credit beyond what may be due to the
strictest fidelity in his narrative. It was not a romance that he had to
give to the world; nor has he gone out of the track that actual
circumstances prepared for him, to furnish food for sickly minds, by
fictitious relations of adventures that never happened, but which are by
a certain description of readers perused with avidity, and not
unfrequently considered as the only passages deserving of notice.

Though to a work of this nature a style ornamental and luxuriant would
have been evidently inapplicable, yet the author has not been wholly
inattentive to this particular, but has endeavoured to temper the dry and
formal manner of the mere journalist, with something of the historian's
ease. Long sequestered, however, from literary society, and from
convenient access to books, he had no other models than those which
memory could supply; and therefore does not presume to think his volume
proof against the rigid censor: but to liberal criticism he submits, with
the confidence of a man conscious of having neither negligence nor
presumption to impute to himself. He wrote to beguile the tedium of many
a heavy hour; and when he wrote looked not beyond the satisfaction which
at some future period might be afforded to a few friends, as well as to
his own mind, by a review of those hardships which in common with his
colleagues he had endured and overcome; hardships which in some degree he
supposes to be inseparable from the first establishment of any colony;
but to which, from the peculiar circumstances and description of the
settlers in this instance, were attached additional difficulties.

In the progress of his not unpleasing task, the author began to think
that his labours might prove interesting beyond the small circle of his
private friends; that some account of the gradual reformation of such
flagitious characters as had by many (and those not illiberal) persons in
this country been considered as past the probability of amendment, might
be not unacceptable to the benevolent part of mankind, but might even
tend to cherish the seeds of virtue, and to open new streams from the
pure fountain of mercy*.

[* "It often happens," says Dr. Johnson, "that in the loose and
thoughtless and dissipated, there is a secret radical worth, which may
shoot out by proper cultivation; that the spark of heaven, though dimmed
and obstructed, is yet not extinguished, but may, by the breath of
counsel and exhortation, be kindled into flame . . .

"Let none too hastily conclude that all goodness is lost, though it may
for a time be clouded and overwhelmed; for most minds are the slaves of
external circumstances, and conform to any hand that undertakes to mould
them; roll down any torrent of custom in which they happen to be caught;
or bend to any importunity that bears hard against them."

_Rambler_, No. 70.]

Nor was he without hope, that through the humble medium of this history,
the untutored savage, emerging from darkness and barbarism, might find
additional friends among the better-informed members of civilized

With these impressions, therefore, he felt it a sort of duty to offer his
book to the world; and should the objects alluded to be in any degree
promoted by it, he shall consider its publication as the most fortunate
circumstance of his life.

Occurrences such as he has had to relate are not often presented to the
public; they do not, indeed, often happen. It is not, perhaps, once in a
century that colonies are established in the most remote parts of the
habitable globe; and it is seldom that men are found existing perfectly
in a state of nature. When such circumstances do occur, curiosity, and
still more laudable sentiments, must be excited. The gratification even
of curiosity alone might have formed a sufficient apology for the author;
but he has seen too much of virtue even among the vicious to be
indifferent to the sufferings, or backward in promoting the felicities of
human nature.

A few words, he hopes, may be allowed him respecting the colony itself,
for which he acknowledges what, he trusts, will be considered as at least
an excusable partiality. He bore his share of the distresses and
calamities which it suffered; and at his departure, in the ninth year of
its growth, with pleasure saw it wear an aspect of ease and comfort that
seemed to bid defiance to future difficulties. The hardships which it
sustained were certainly attributable to mischance, not to misconduct.
The Crown was fortunate in the selection of its governors, not less with
respect to the gentlemen who were sent out expressly in that capacity,
than in those on whom the temporary administration occasionally devolved.

Under Governor Hunter, who at present presides there, the resources of
the country and the energies of the colonists will assuredly be called
forth. The intelligence, discretion, and perseverance of that officer
will be zealously applied to discover and fix every local advantage. His
well-known humanity will not fall to secure the savage islander from
injury or mortification; reconcile him to the restraints, and induce him
to participate in the enjoyments, of civilized society; and instruct him
to appreciate justly the blessings of rational freedom, whose salutary
restrictions are not less conducive to individual benefit than to the
general weal.

With respect to the resources of the settlement, there can be little
doubt, that at this moment it is able to support itself in the article of
grain; and the wild stock of cattle to the westward of the Nepean will
soon render it independent on this country in the article of animal food.
As to its utility, beside the circumstance of its freeing the mother
country from the depraved branches of her offspring, in some instances
reforming their dispositions, and in all cases rendering their labour and
talents conducive to the public good, it may prove a valuable nursery to
our East India possessions for soldiers and seamen.

If, beside all this, a whale fishery should be established, another great
benefit may accrue to the parent country from the coast of New South

The island, moreover, abounds with fine timber in every respect adapted
to the purposes of ship-building: iron too it possesses in abundance.
Coal has been found there, and some veins of copper; and however
inconsiderable the quantity of these articles that has been hitherto
found, yet the proof of their existence will naturally lead to farther
research, and most probably terminate in complete success.

The flax plant grows spontaneously, and may, with the assistance of
proper implements and other necessaries, be turned to very profitable

The climate is for the most part temperate and healthy; cattle are
prolific; and fruits and culinary vegetables thrive with almost a
tropical luxuriance.

To be brief: Such is the English Colony in New South Wales, for which the
author is anxiously solicitous to obtain the candid consideration of his
countrymen; among whom it has been painful to him to remark a disposition
too prevalent for regarding it with odium and disgust.

London, May 25, 1798

* * * * *



Section I

Transports hired to carry convicts to Botany Bay
The _Sirius_ and the _Supply_ commissioned
Preparations for sailing
Tonnage of the transports
Persons left behind
Two convicts punished on board the _Sirius_
The _Hyaena_ leaves the Fleet
Arrival of the fleet at Teneriffe
Proceedings at that island
Some particulars respecting the town of Santa Cruz
An excursion made to Laguna
A convict escapes from one of the transports, but is retaken
The fleet leaves Teneriffe, and puts to sea

Section II

Proceed on the voyage
Altitude of the peak of Teneriffe
Pass the isles of Sal, Bonavista, May, and St. Iago
Cross the equator
Arrive at the Brazils
Transactions at Rio de Janeiro
Some particulars of that town
Sail thence
Passage to the Cape of Good Hope
Transactions there
Some particulars respecting the Cape
Depart for New South Wales

Section III

Proceed on the voyage
Captain Phillip sails onward in the _Supply_, taking with him three of
the transports
Pass the island of St. Paul
Weather, January 1788
The South Cape of New Holland made
The _Sirius_ and her convoy anchor in the harbour of Botany Bay.


Arrival of the fleet at Botany Bay
The governor proceeds to Port Jackson, where it is determined to fix the
Two French ships under M. de la Perouse arrive at Botany Bay
The _Sirius_ and convoy arrive at Port Jackson
Commission and letters patent read
Extent of the territory of New South Wales
Behaviour of the convicts
The criminal court twice assembled
Account of the different courts
The _Supply_ sent with some settlers to Norfolk Island


Broken Bay visited
M. de la Perouse sails
The _Supply_ returns
Lord Howe Island discovered
The ships for China sail
Some convicts wounded by the natives
New store-house
Necessary orders and appointments
Excursions into the country
New branch of the harbour into Port Jackson


Transports sail for China
The _Supply_ sails for Lord Howe Island
Return of stock in the colony in May
The _Supply_ returns
A convict wounded
Rush-cutters killed by the natives
Governor's excursion
His Majesty's birthday
Behaviour of the convicts
Cattle lost
Transports sail for England
_Supply_ sails for Norfolk Island
Convicts wounded


Heavy rains
Public works
Sheep stolen
Prince of Wale's birthday
Imposition of a convict
Apprehensive of a failure of provisions
Judicial administration
A convict murdered


Settlement of Rose Hill
The _Golden Grove_ returns from Norfolk Island
The storeships sail for England
James Daley tried and executed for housebreaking
Botany Bay examined by the governor
A convict found dead in the woods
Christmas Day
A native taken and brought up to the settlement
Report of deaths from the departure of the fleet from England to the
31st of December 1788


New Year's Day
Convicts, how employed
Their disposition to idleness and vice
Her Majesty's birthday kept
Captain Shea dies
Regulations respecting the convicts
Instances of their misconduct
The _Supply_ sails for Norfolk Island
Public Works
Convicts killed
Stores robbed
The _Supply_ returns
Insurrection projected at Norfolk Island
Hurricane there
Transactions at Rose Hill


Neutral Bay
Smallpox among the natives
Captain Hunter in the _Sirius_ returns with supplies from the Cape of
Good Hope
Middleton Island discovered
Danger of wandering in the forests of an unknown country
The King's birthday kept
Convicts perform a play
A reinforcement under Lieutenant Cresswell sent to Norfolk Island
Governor Phillip makes an excursion of discovery
Hawkesbury River discovered
Progress at Rose Hill
Important papers left behind in England


Intelligence from Norfolk Island
Police established at the principal settlement
A successful haul of fish
A soldier tried for a rape
Provisions begin to fail
A launch completed
Ration reduced to two-thirds
_Sirius_ returns to the Cove
One of her mates lost in the woods
_Supply_ sails for Norfolk Island
Utility of the night watch
A female convict executed for house-breaking
Two natives taken
Serious charge against the assistant commissary satisfactorily cleared up
Lieutenant Dawes's excursion
The _Supply_ returns


A convict made a free settler
A pleasing delusion
Extraordinary supply of fish
Caesar's narrative
Another convict wounded by the natives
The _Supply_ arrives from Norfolk Island
A large number of settlers sent thither on board the _Sirius_ and
Heavy rains
Scarcity of provisions increasing in an alarming degree
Lieutenant Maxwell's insanity
News brought of the loss of the _Sirius_
Allowance of provisions still further reduced
The _Supply_ sent to Batavia for relief
Robberies frequent and daring
An old man dies of hunger
Rose Hill
Salt and fishing-lines made
The native escapes


The _Lady Juliana_ transport arrives from England
_The Guardian_
His Majesty's birthday
Thanksgiving for His Majesty's recovery
The _Justinian_ storeship arrives
Full ration ordered
Three transports arrive
Horrid state of the convicts on board
Sick landed
Instance of sagacity in a dog
A convict drowned
Mortality and number of sick on the 13th
Convicts sent to Rose Hill
A town marked out there
Works in hand at Sydney
Instructions respecting grants of land
Mr. Fergusson drowned
Convicts' claims on the master of the _Neptune_
Criminal Court


Governor Phillip wounded by a native
Intercourse opened with the natives
Great haul of fish
Convicts abscond with a boat
Want of rain
_Supply_ returns from Batavia
Transactions there
Criminal Courts
James Bloodworth emancipated
Oars found in the woods
A convict brought back in the _Supply_
A boat with five people lost
Public works
A convict wounded by a native
Armed parties sent out to avenge him
A Dutch vessel arrives with supplies from Batavia
Decrease by sickness and casualties in 1790


New Year's Day
A convict drowned
A native killed
Signal colours stolen
_Supply_ sails for Norfolk Island
H. E. Dodd, Superintendant at Rose Hill, dies
Public works
Terms offered for the hire of the Dutch snow to England
The _Supply_ returns
State of Norfolk Island
Fishing-boat overset
Excessive heats
Officers and seamen of the _Sirius_ embark in the snow
_Supply_ sails for Norfolk Island, and the _Waaksamheyd_ for England
William Bryant and other convicts escape from New South Wales
Ruse, a settler, declares that he can maintain himself without assistance
from the public stores
Ration reduced
Orders respecting marriage
Port regulations
Public works


A Musket found by a native
Reports of plans to seize boats
_Supply_ arrives from Norfolk Island
The King's birthday
A canoe destroyed
Its evil effects
Corn sown
Battery begun
One hundred and forty acres inclosed for cattle
The _Mary Ann_ arrives
Two criminal courts held
Ration improved
The _Matilda_ arrives
The _Mary Ann_ sails for Norfolk Island
The _Atlantic_ and _Salamander_ arrive
Full ration issued
The _William and Ann_ arrives
Public works


The _Salamander_ sails for, and the _Mary Ann_ arrives from Norfolk
Bondel, a native, returns
A seaman, for sinking a canoe, punished
The _Gorgon_ arrives
Commission of emancipation, and public seal
The _Active_ and _Queen_ arrive
Complaints against the master of the _Queen_
_Supply_ ordered home
_Albemarle_ arrives
Mutiny on board
_Britannia_ and _Admiral Barrington_ arrive
Future destination of the transports
The _Atlantic_ and _Queen_ hired
_Atlantic_ sails for Bengal
_Salamander_ returns from Norfolk Island
Public works


A party of Irish convicts abscond
The _Queen_ sails for Norfolk Island
Whale fishery
Ration altered
The _Supply_ sails for England
Live stock (public) in the colony
Ground in cultivation
Run of water decreasing
Two transports sail
Whale fishery given up
The _Queen_ arrives from Norfolk Island
The Marines embark in the _Gorgon_ for England
Ration further reduced
Convicts who were in the _Guardian_ emancipated
Store finished
Deaths in 1791


The _Queen_ sails for Norfolk Island
Whalers on their fishing voyages
Convicts missing
Various depredations
Dispensary and bake-house robbed
A criminal court held
Convict executed
The _Pitt_ with Lieutenant-Governor Grose arrives
Military duty fixed for Parramatta
Goods selling at Sydney from the _Pitt_
The _Pitt_ ordered to be dispatched to Norfolk Island
Commissions read
The _Pitt_ sails
Mr. Burton killed
Stormy weather
Public works
Regulations respecting persons who had served their terms of


Mortality in April
Appearance and state of the convicts
Ration again reduced
Quantity of flour in store
State of transactions with the natives
Indian corn stolen
Public works
Average prices of grain, etc at Sydney, and at Parramatta
Mortality decreases
King's birthday
The _Atlantic_ returns from Bengal
Account received of Bryant and his companions
Ration farther reduced
_Atlantic_ cleared
Sheep-pens at Parramatta attempted
Quality of provisions received from Calcutta
The _Brittania_ arrives from England
Ration increased
A convict emancipated
Public works


The _Britannia_ cleared
Survey of provisions
Total of cargo received from Bengal
_Atlantic_ sails with provisions for Norfolk Island
General behaviour of convicts
Criminal Courts
Prisoner pardoned conditionally
Another acquitted
New barracks begun
The _Atlantic_ returns from Norfolk Island
Settlers there discontented
Principal works
The _Britannia_ taken up by the officers of the New South Wales Corps to
procure stock
The _Royal Admiral_ East Indiaman arrives from England
Regulations at the store
A Burglary committed
Criminal Court
The _Britannia_ sails
Shops opened
Bad conduct of some settlers
Oil issued
Slops served
Governor Phillip signifies his intention of returning to England


A vessel from America arrives
Part of her cargo purchased
George Barrington and others emancipated conditionally
The _Royal Admiral_ sails
Arrival of the _Kitty_ Transport
£1001 received by her
Hospital built at Parramatta
Harvest begun at Toongabbie
Ration increased
The _Philadelphia_ sails for Norfolk Island
State of the cultivation previous to the governor's departure
Governor Phillip sails for England
Regulations made by the Lieutenant Governor
The _Hope_, an American Ship, arrives
Her cargo purchased for the colony
The _Chesterfield_ whaler arrives
Grant of land to an officer
Extreme heat and conflagration
Deaths in 1792
Prices of Stock, etc


Order respecting. spirits
Seamen punished
Convicts enlisted into the new corps
Regulations respecting Divine Service
The _Hope_ sails
The _Bellona_ arrives
Cargo damaged
Two women and a child drowned
The _Kitty_ sails for Norfolk Island
An Officer sent up to inspect the cultivation at Parramatta
A theft committed
Kangaroo Ground opened
Liberty Plains
_Bellona_ sails
The _Shah Hormuzear_ from Calcutta arrives
Information received by her
The Dholl expended
Sickness and death occasioned by the American spirits
The _Chesterfield_ sent to Norfolk Island
Convicts sell their clothing
Two Spanish ships arrive
A Criminal Court
The _Kitty_ returns from Norfolk Island
Fraud at the store at Parramatta


The Spanish ships sail
The _Chesterfield_ returns from Norfolk Island
A contract entered into for bringing cattle from India to this country
Provisions embarked on board the Bengal ship for Norfolk Island
The _Daedalus_ arrives
Cattle lost
Discoveries by Captain Vancouver
Two natives of New Zealand brought in
Bengal ship sails
Phenomenon in the sky
The hours of labour and ration altered
Lead stolen
Detachment at Parramatta relieved
Accident at that settlement
Lands cleared by officers
Mutiny on board the _Kitty_
The _Kitty_ sails for England
His Majesty's birthday
State of the provision store
The _Britannia_ arrives
Loss of cattle
General account of cattle purchased, lost in the passage, and landed in
New South Wales


The _Daedalus_ sails for Nootka
A temporary church founded
Criminal court
The colonial vessel launched
A scheme to take a longboat
Two soldiers desert
Counterfeit dollars in circulation
A soldier punished
The _Boddingtons_ arrives from Cork
General Court Martial held
The _Britannia_ hired and chartered for Bengal
The new church opened
Provisions in store
Corn purchased from settlers
The _Britannia_ sails for Bengal, and the _Francis_ Schooner for New
Irish convicts steal a boat
The _Sugar Cane_ arrives
Intended mutiny on board prevented
Excursion to the westward
Public works


The _Boddingtons_ and _Sugar Cane_ sail
A mill erected
Thefts committed
Convicts emancipated
Two persons killed by lightning
The _Fairy_ arrives
Farms sold
Public works
The _Francis_ returns from New Zealand
The _Fairy_ sails
Ration altered
Harvest begun
Criminal Court held
A convict executed
Mill at Parramatta
Christmas Day
Grants of land
Public works
Expenses how to be calculated
Deaths in 1793
Prices of grain, stock, and labour


A murder committed near Parramatta
The _Francis_ sails for Norfolk Island
Storm of wind at Parramatta
A Settlement fixed at the Hawkesbury
A burglary committed
Samuel Burt emancipated
Death of William Crozier Cook
The watches recovered
The _Francis_ returns from Norfolk Island
The New Zealand natives sent to their own country
Disturbance at Norfolk Island
Court of inquiry at Sydney
The _Francis_ returns to Norfolk Island
Natives troublesome
State of provisions


Alarming State of the provisions
The _William_ arrives with supplies from England, and the _Arthur_ from
The amor patriae natural to man in all parts of the earth
Mr. Bampton
Captain Bligh
_Admiral Barrington_ transport lost
Full ration issued
Ingratitude and just punishment of the settlers
Buffin's corn-mill set to work
Honesty of a native
The _Daedalus_ arrives from America
Female inconstancy, and its consequences
The _Arthur_ sails
The _Francis_ returns from Norfolk Island
A boat stolen
Natives killed
A new mill
Disorder in the eyes prevalent


The _William_ sails
Excursion in search of a river
A storeship arrives
Captain Bampton
Full ration
The _Britannia_, _Speedy_, and _Halcyon_ arrive
The _Indispensable_ and _Halcyon_ sail
The _Fanny_ arrives from Bombay
Two convicts executed
The _Hope_ sails


The _Speedy_ sails and returns
Excursion to the western mountains
The _Francis_ returns from Norfolk Island
Corn bills not paid
The _Britannia_ sails for the Cape, and the _Speedy_ on her fishing
Notification respecting the corn bills
The _Resolution_ and _Salamander_ arrive from England
Irish prisoners troublesome
Gales of wind
_Daedalus_ sails for Norfolk Island
_The Fancy_ sails
A death
Bevan executed
A settler murdered at Parramatta
The _Mercury_ arrives
Spanish ships
Settlers and natives
Civil Court
The _Surprize_ arrives
_Resolution_ and _Salamander_ sail
The _Daedalus_ returns from Norfolk Island
The _Mercury_ sails for America
The Lieutenant-Governor leaves the Settlement
The _Daedalus_ sails for England, and the _Surprize_ for Bengal
The Experiment arrives
Captain Paterson assumes the government _pro tempore_
Deaths in 1794


Gangs sent to till the public grounds
The _Francis_ sails
Regulations for the Hawkesbury
Produce at the river
Transactions there
The _Francis_ arrives from the Cape
The _Fancy_ from New Zealand
The _Experiment_ sails for India
A native killed
Criminal Court
Ration reduced
The _Britannia_ hired to procure provisions
Natives at the Hawkesbury
The _Endeavour_ arrives with cattle from Bombay
Returns of ground sown with wheat
The _Britannia_ sails for India
The _Fancy_ for Norfolk Island


A Criminal and a Civil Court held
Circumstances of the death of Francis T. Daveney
Salt made
Wilson, Knight, and the natives
The new mill
_Providence_ arrives from England
Four convicts brought from Port Stephens
Public labour
The _Fancy_ arrives from Norfolk Island
The _Supply_ and _Reliance_ arrive
Governor Hunter's commission read
The India ships sail
Another arrival from England
Military promotions
Colonial regulations
The _Providence_, _Supply_, and _Young William_ sail
The _Sovereign_ storeship arrives from England
Criminal court held
Convict executed
Printing-press employed
Information from Norfolk Island
The Cattle lost in 1788 discovered
Bennillong's Conduct after his return from England
Civil Court held
Meteorological phenomenon at the Hawkesbury
Mr. Barrow's death
Deaths in 1795


The _Arthur_ arrives from India
_Francis_ from Norfolk Island
A playhouse opened
Her Majesty's birthday kept
Stills destroyed
_Ceres_ storeship arrives
and _Experiment_ from India
Ship _Otter_ from America
Harvest got in
A hut demolished by the military
A Transport arrives with prisoners from Ireland
A criminal court held
Caesar shot
General court martial
_Otter_ takes away Mr. Muir
_Abigail_ from America arrives
A forgery committed
The _Reliance_
Particulars respecting Mr. Bampton, and of the fate of Captain Hill and
Mr. Carter
A Schooner arrives from Duskey-Bay
Crops bad
Robberies committed
_Supply_ for Norfolk Island
_Cornwallis_ sails
Gerald and Skirving die


Slops served
Licences granted
The _Supply_ returns from Norfolk Island
The _Susan_ from North America and the _Indispensable_ from England
A Criminal and Civil Court held
Thefts committed
The _Britannia_ arrives from Bengal
Mr. Raven's opinion as to the time of making a passage to India
A Civil Court
The _Cornwallis_ and _Experiment_ sail for India
Caution to masters of ships
A Wind-mill begun
Thefts committed
State of the settlers
The Governor goes to Mount Hunter
Public works


Two men killed; consequent regulations
The _Britannia_ hired to proceed to England
Report of the natives
The _Francis_ arrives from Norfolk Island
Public works
A criminal court assembled
A settler executed for murder
The _Susan_ sails
A civil court held
An American ship arrives from Boston
A long-boat lost
A temporary church opened at Parramatta
The _Supply_ sails for Norfolk Island and the Cape
Account of stock
Land in cultivation, and numbers in the colony
A murder committed
_Britannia_ sails for England
General observations


Comprising particulars of the _Britannia's_ voyage to England; with
remarks on the state of Norfolk Island, and some account of New Zealand.

Particulars of the state of Norfolk Island to the time when the ships
left it:

Court of Judicature
Number of Inhabitants
Male Convicts
State of Cultivation
Appropriation of the Land
Statement of the Stock belonging to Government and individuals on the
18th October 1796
Hours of Labour
Ordinary Price of Labour
Average Prices of Provisions raised on the Island
Account of Grain raised on Norfolk Island, from the 6th of March 1788
(when it was first settled) to October 1796
Account of Births and Deaths from November 12th, 1791, to September 31st,
State of the Flax Manufactory
An Account of New Zealand and its inhabitants
A Short Vocabulary of the New Zealand Language


General Remarks:
Government and Religion
Stature and Appearance
Mode of Living
Courtship and Marriage
Customs and Manner
Funeral Ceremonies



Chart of the three harbours of Botany Bay, Port Jackson, and Broken Bay,
  showing the cultivated grounds in and about the different settlements,
  with the course of the Rivers Hawkesbury and Nepean, and the situation
  of the wild cattle to the westward of the last-mentioned river.
View of the Governor's house at Rose Hill in the township of Parramatta
By water to Parramatta, with a distant view of the western mountains
Eastern view of Sydney
Western view of Sydney Cove
Direct south view of Sydney
South-east view in Sydney, including the church, etc.
North view of Sydney Cove
Baker's Farm on the banks of the river
Western view of Toongabbie
Portraits of Ben-nil-long, Wo-lar-ra-bar-ray, Wo-gul-trow-el Boin-ba,
  and Bun-de-bun-da
The Brick Field, or High Road to Parramatta
View of Sydney in Norfolk Island
Facsimile of a chart of New Zealand, drawn by Too-gee
Saunderson's Farm
Yoo-long Erah-ba-diang, No. 1
Ditto                   No. 2
Ditto                   No. 3
Ditto                   No. 4
Ditto                   No. 5
Ditto                   No. 6
Ditto                   No. 7
Ditto                   No. 8
Ceremony of burning a corpse

* * * * *




Transports hired to carry convicts to Botany Bay
The _Sirius_ and the _Supply_ commissioned
Preparations for sailing
Tonnage of the transports
Persons left behind
Two convicts punished on board the _Sirius_
The _Hyaena_ leaves the Fleet
Arrival of the fleet at Teneriffe
Proceedings at that island
Some particulars respecting the town of Santa Cruz
An excursion made to Laguna
A convict escapes from one of the transports, but is retaken
The fleet leaves Teneriffe, and puts to sea

The Commissioners of his Majesty's Navy, near the end of the
year 1786, advertised for a certain number of vessels to be taken up for the
purpose of conveying between seven and eight hundred male and female felons
to Botany Bay in New South Wales, on the eastern coast of New Holland;
whither it had been determined by Government to transport them, after
having sought in vain upon the African coast for a situation possessing
the requisites for the establishment of a colony.

The following vessels were at length contracted for, and assembled in the
River to fit, and take in stores and provisions, _viz_ the _Alexander_,
_Scarborough_, _Charlotte_, _Lady Penrhyn_, and _Friendship_, as
transports; and the _Fishbourn_, _Golden Grove_, and _Borrowdale_, as
store-ships. The _Prince of Wales_ was afterwards added to the number of
transports, on a representation being made to the Treasury Board that
such an addition was necessary. The transports were immediately prepared
for the reception of the convicts, and the store-ships took on board
provisions for two years, with tools, implements of agriculture, and such
other articles as were considered necessary to a colonial establishment.

October.] On the 24th of October, Captain Arthur Phillip hoisted a
pendant on board his Majesty's ship the _Sirius_ of 20 guns, then lying
at Deptford. This ship was originally called the _Berwick_, and intended
for the East India Company; but having, while on the stocks, met with
some accident by fire, was purchased by Government for a store-ship, and
as such had performed one voyage to America. Her burden was about 520
tons; and being, from her construction, well-calculated for this
expedition, she was taken into the service as a man of war, and with her
capacity changed also her name.

As the government of the intended colony, as well as the command of the
_Sirius_, was given to Captain Phillip, it was thought necessary to
appoint another captain to her, who might command her on any service in
which she might be employed for the colony, while Captain Phillip should
be engaged in his government. For this purpose an order was signed by his
Majesty in Council, directing the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to
appoint John Hunter esquire (then a master and commander) second captain
of the Sirius, with the rank of post. Although this ship mounted only 20
guns, and those but six-pounders, yet on this particular service her
establishment was not confined to what is usual in a ship of that class;
but, with a first and second captain, she had also three lieutenants, a
master, purser, surgeon and two mates, a boatswain, a gunner, and a
subaltern's detachment of marines.

The _Supply_ brig was also put into commission, and the command given to
Lieutenant Henry Lidgbird Ball. This vessel was to accompany the Sirius
as an armed tender; and both ships, having completed their equipment at
Deptford-yard, dropped down on the 10th of December to Long Reach, where
they took in their guns, powder, and other stores.

January.] They were here joined by some of the transports, and continued
waiting for orders until the 30th of January 1787, when they sailed for
Spithead; which port, however, they were prevented from reaching, by
heavy and contrary gales of wind, which they continued to experience both
in the Downs and on their passage, until the latter end of the following

One or two of the transports had in the mean time arrived at Portsmouth,
and the _Charlotte_ and _Alexander_ proceeded to Plymouth, where they
were to receive the male and female convicts that were ready for them.

March.] On the 5th of March, the order for their embarkation, together
with that of the detachment of marines provided as an escort, was sent
from the Secretary of State's office, with directions for their
immediately joining the other ships of the expedition at the Motherbank.
This was done accordingly; and, every necessary arrangement having taken
place, the troops intended for the garrison embarked, and the convicts,
male and female, were distributed in the different transports.

May.] On Monday the 7th of May Captain Phillip arrived at Portsmouth, and
took the command of his little fleet, then lying at the Motherbank.
Anxious to depart, and apprehensive that the wind, which had for a
considerable time been blowing from the quarter favourable to his passage
down the Channel, might desert him at the moment when he most wished for
its continuance, he on the Thursday following made the signal to prepare
for sailing. But here a demur arose among the sailors on board the
transports, who refused to proceed to sea unless they should be paid
their wages up to the time of their departure, alleging as a ground for
this refusal, that they were in want of many articles necessary for so
long a voyage, which this money, if paid, would enable them to purchase.
The custom of their employ, however, being against a demand which yet
appeared reasonable, Captain Phillip directed the different masters to
put such of their people as refused to proceed with them to sea, on board
of the _Hyaena_ frigate, and to receive an equal number of her seamen,
who should afterwards be re-exchanged at sea, her captain being directed
to accompany the fleet to a certain distance.

This difficulty being removed, and the ship's companies of the _Sirius_
and the _Supply_ having received the usual advance of two months' wages,
on Saturday the 12th the men of war and some of the transports got under
sail, with a view of dropping down to St. Helen's, and thence proceeding
to sea; but the wind falling short, and proving unfavourable, they
brought up at Spithead for the night, and at day-break next morning the
whole fleet weighed with a fresh breeze, and, having a leading wind,
passed without any accident through the Needles.

The transports were of the following tonnage, and had on board the
undermentioned number of convicts, and other persons, civil and military,

The _Alexander_, of 453 tons, had on board 192 male convicts; 2
lieutenants, 2 sergeants, 2 corporals, 1 drummer, and 29 privates, with 1
assistant surgeon to the colony.

The _Scarborough_, of 418 tons, had on board 205 male convicts; 1
captain, 2 lieutenants, 2 sergeants, 2 corporals, 1 drummer, and 26
privates, with 1 assistant surgeon to the colony.

The _Charlotte_, of 346 tons, had on board 89 male and 20 female
convicts; 1 captain, 2 lieutenants, 2 sergeants, 3 corporals, 1 drummer,
and 35 privates, with the principal surgeon of the colony.

The _Lady Penrhyn_, of 338 tons, had on board 101 female convicts; 1
captain, 2 lieutenants, and 3 privates, with a person acting as a
surgeon's mate.

The _Prince of Wales_, of 334 tons, had on board 2 male and 50 female
convicts; 2 lieutenants, 3 sergeants, 2 corporals, 1 drummer, and 24
privates, with the surveyor-general of the colony.

The _Friendship_, (snow,) of 228 tons, had on board 76 male and 21 female
convicts; 1 captain, 2 lieutenants, 2 sergeants, 3 corporals, 1 drummer,
and 36 privates, with 1 assistant surgeon to the colony.

There were on board, beside these, 28 women, 8 male and 6 female
children, belonging to the soldiers of the detachment, together with 6
male and 7 female children belonging to the convicts.

The _Fishbourn_ store-ship was of 378 tons; the _Borrowdale_ of 272 tons;
and the _Golden Grove_ of 331 tons. On board this last ship was embarked
the chaplain of the colony, with his wife and a servant.

Not only these as store-ships, but the men of war and transports, were
stored in every part with provisions, implements of agriculture, camp
equipage, clothing for the convicts, baggage, etc.

On board of the _Sirius_ were taken, as supernumeraries, the major
commandant of the corps of marines embarked in the transports*, the
adjutant and quarter-master, the judge-advocate of the settlement, and
the commissary; with 1 sergeant, 3 drummers, 7 privates, 4 women, and a
few artificers.

[* This officer was also lieutenant-governor of the colony.]

Proper day and night signals were established by Captain Phillip for the
regulation of his convoy, and every necessary instruction was given to
the masters to guard against separation. On board the transports a
certain number of prisoners were allowed to be upon deck at a time during
the day, the whole being properly secured at night: and as the master of
each ship carrying convicts had indented for their security in a penalty
of forty pounds for every one that might escape, they were instructed
constantly to consult with the commanding marine officer on board the
transports, both as to the number of convicts that were to be suffered to
come on deck during the passage, and the times when such indulgence
should be granted. To the military was left the care of those essential
services, the preservation of their health, the inspection of their
provisions, and the distribution of the sentinels who were to guard them.
Their allowance of provisions during the voyage (two-thirds of the usual
allowance to a seaman in the navy) was contracted for in London*; and Mr.
Zachariah Clark was sent out in one of the transports as the agent
responsible for the due performance of the contract. This allowance was
to be suspended on their arrival at any foreign port, the commissary of
the settlement being then to furnish them with fresh provisions.

[* By William Richards jun. esquire, of Walworth in the county of Surry.]

At our outset we had the mortification to find that two of our convoy
were very heavy sailers, and likely to be the occasion of much delay in
so long a voyage as that in which we had embarked. The _Charlotte_ was on
the first and second day taken in tow by the _Hyaena_, and the _Lady
Penrhyn_ fell considerably astern. As the separation of any of the fleet
was a circumstance to be most sedulously guarded against and prevented,
the _Sirius_ occasionally shortened sail to afford the sternmost ships
time to come up with her; at the close of evening she was put under an
easy sail for the night, during which time she carried, for the guidance
of the whole, a conspicuous light in the main-top.

On the 15th the signal was made for the transports to pass in succession
within hail under the stern of the _Sirius_, when, on inquiry, it
appeared, that the provost-marshal of the settlement (who was to have
taken his passage on board the _Prince of Wales_) was left behind,
together with the third mate of the _Charlotte_ transport, and five men
from the _Fishbourn_ store-ship; the loss of these five persons was
supplied by as many seamen from on board the _Hyaena_.

Light or unfavourable winds prevented our getting clear of the Channel
until the 16th, at which time we had the satisfaction of finding that we
had accomplished it without returning, or putting in at any of the ports
which offered themselves in our way down.

Sunday the 20th was marked by the discovery of a design formed among the
convicts on board the _Scarborough_ transport to mutiny and take
possession of the ship. The information was given by one of the convicts
to the commanding marine officer on board, who, on the lying-to of the
convoy at noon to dispatch Captain De Courcy to England, waited on the
major-commandant on board the _Sirius_, and communicated the particulars
to him and Captain Phillip, who, after some deliberation, directed that
the ringleaders (two in number) should be brought on board the _Sirius_,
there punished, and afterwards secured in the _Prince of Wales_
transport. This was accordingly put in execution, and two dozen lashes
were inflicted by the boatswain's mate of the Sirius on each of the
offenders, who stedfastly denied the existence of any such design as was
imputed to them.

A boat from each of the transports coming on board the _Sirius_ with
letters for England, some additional signals were given to the masters,
with directions to those who had convicts on board to release from their
irons such as might by their behaviour have merited that indulgence; but
with orders to confine them again with additional security on the least
appearance among them of irregularity.

These necessary regulations being adjusted, and the _Hyaena_ sent off
with the commanding officer's letters, the fleet made sail again in the
evening. But it should have been observed, that when the _Hyaena's_ boat
came on board she brought some necessaries for the five men belonging to
her, who had been lent to the _Fishbourn_ store-ship, and who, animated
with a spirit of enterprise, chose rather to remain in her than return in
the frigate to England.

The wind was more favourable to the _Hyaena's_ return to Plymouth (which
port she was directed to make) than to our progress southward, for the
two following days; but it then coming round to the NW, by the 24th we
had reached the latitude of Cape Ortegal.

On the 25th, the signal was made for Lieutenant Shortland, the agent on
board the Alexander, who, at his coming on board, was directed to visit
the several transports, and collect from each a list of the different
trades and occupations of the respective convicts, agreeably to a form
given him for that purpose by Captain Phillip. From this time to the 29th
the wind continued favourable, but blowing exceedingly fresh, and
attended with a heavy rolling sea. The _Supply_ was now directed to make
sail and keep six miles ahead during the day, and two during the night;
and to look out for the land, as it was expected that the fleet would on
the morrow be in the neighbourhood of the Madeira Isles. Accordingly,
soon after day-break the following morning, she made the signal for
seeing land, and at noon we were abreast of the Deserters--certain high
barren rocks so named, to the SSE of the Island of Madeira, and distant
about three leagues.

In the afternoon of the 31st, the _Supply_ ahead again made the signal
for seeing land; and shortly after we were abreast of the ridge of rocks
situated between the Madeira and Canary Isles, called the Salvages.

June.] Our strong trade-wind appeared to have here spent its force, and
we were baffled (as frequently happens in the vicinity of islands) by
light airs or calms. With these and contrary winds our patience was
exercised until the evening of the 2nd of June, when a favourable breeze
sprang up, which continued during that night. At six the next morning the
island of Teneriffe was seen right ahead; and about seven in the evening
the whole fleet came to an anchor in the road of Santa Cruz. The ships
were immediately moored, taking the precaution of buoying their cables
with empty casks, to prevent their being injured by rocks or foul ground,
an inconvenience which had frequently been experienced by navigators in
this road. We found riding here a Spanish packet, an English brig bound
to London, and some smaller vessels.

Captain Phillip designed to have sent an officer forward in the _Supply_,
to announce his arrival to the governor, and to settle as well the hour
of his waiting upon him, as some necessary arrangements respecting fresh
provisions, water, etc.; but as it was growing dark before the fleet
anchored, and night coming on, when business of that nature could not
well be transacted, his visit was postponed until the morning. Before we
came to an anchor the port-officer, or harbour-master, came on board to
make the customary inquiries, accompanied by some Spanish officers and
gentlemen of the town. The ceremony of a salute was on their side
declined, having, as was alleged, but two or three guns mounted for use;
and on our part this omission was readily acquiesced in, as expediting
the service which brought us thither, that of watering the ships, and
taking on board wine and such other refreshments as could be procured; an
object of more consequence than the scrupulous observance of compliment
and etiquette, particularly in the then necessarily crowded state of the
_Sirius_. And as it was afterwards understood, that it was not usual at
this place to return an equal number of guns upon those occasions (a
circumstance always insisted on by his Majesty's ships when they salute),
unpleasant discussion of this point was thereby avoided.

Early in the morning the officer was dispatched on shore by Captain
Phillip to learn at what time he might pay his respects to the governor.
The hour of noon was appointed for that ceremony; and accordingly at that
time Captain Phillip, accompanied by the civil, military, and naval
officers under his orders, waited on his excellency the Marquis De
Branceforte, and were received by him with the utmost politeness.

The same reasons which induced Captain Phillip to acquiesce in omitting
to salute on his arrival at this port, operated against his taking public
notice of his Majesty's birthday, which he would otherwise have made a
point of celebrating with every mark of respect.

In the afternoon of this day the marquis sent an officer on board the
_Sirius_, politely offering Captain Phillip whatever assistance he might
stand in need of, and that was in his power to furnish. In the forenoon
of Wednesday the 6th, he came in person on board, attended by several of
his officers, to return Captain Phillip's visit; and afterwards
entertained him, the lieutenant-governor, and other officers of the
settlement, navy, and marines, to the number of ten, at dinner.

The next being the day of Corpus Christi, a day of great religious
observance and ceremony in Roman Catholic countries, no boats were sent
from the transports to the shore. The business of watering, getting off
wine, etc. was suspended by Captain Phillip's directions until the
morrow, to prevent the least interruption being given by any of the
people under his command to the ceremonies and processions which were to
take place. Those officers, whose curiosity led them to observe the
religious proceedings of the day, very prudently attended uncovered, and
knelt, wherever kneeling was required, in the streets, and in their
churches; for, when it was considered that the same great Creator of the
universe was worshipped alike by Protestant and Catholic, what difficulty
could the mind have in divesting their pageant of its tinsel, its
trappings, and its censers, and joining with sincerity in offering the
purest incense, that of a grateful heart?

The Marquis De Branceforte, whom we found in the government of the Canary
Isles, was, we were informed, a major-general in the Spanish service, and
having been three years in the government, only waited, it was said, for
his promotion to the rank of lieutenant-general to return to Spain. The
salary annexed to this government, as we understood, was not quite equal
to fifteen hundred pounds a year. His Excellency's house was situated at
the upper end of the High Street, or Square, as it was called, and was by
no means the best in the town. Mr. Carter (the treasurer) and some
private merchants appearing to reside in larger and much better
habitations. The houses in most of the streets were built with
quadrangles, a gallery running round the interior sides of the first
floor, on which indeed the families chiefly resided, appropriating the
ground floor to offices for domestic purposes. The dwelling-rooms were
not ceiled, but were open to the roof of the building, which rarely
exceeded two stories in height. The upper part of the windows was glazed
with very bad glass; the lower part consisted of close lattice-work,
through the small apertures of which, as we traversed the streets, we had
now and then opportunities of noticing the features of the women, whom
the custom of the country had confined within doors to the lattice, and
in the street to the _roba zilia_, or veil. There were but few objects in
the town sufficiently striking to draw the attention of a stranger.

The landing-place was commodious, being formed by a stone pier, alongside
of which two boats at a time might lie with great ease and take in their
fresh water. It appeared by an inscription in Spanish, that the pier,
having fallen nearly into a state of entire ruin, was indebted for its
present convenience to the liberality of the governor assisted indeed by
some merchants, who superintended and contributed largely to its repair,
which was completed in the year 1786.

At the lower end of the High Street was observed a light and
well-finished monument of white marble, commemorating the marvellous
appearance of the image or bust of Our Lady at Candelaria, to the
Guanches, the aborigines of the country, who were thereby converted to
Christianity 104 years before the preaching of the gospel. The four sides
of the monument bore long inscriptions to this effect, and further
intimated, that it was erected, as an act of piety and cordial devotion,
at the expense of Don Bartholomi di Montagnes, perpetual captain of the
Royal Marine Castle at Candelaria.

In the centre of this street were a stone basin and fountain, from which
the inhabitants were supplied with a stream of very good water, conveyed
from the neighbouring hills by wooden troughs supported on slight posts,
and reaching quite to the town. At the head of the street, near the
government-house, stood a large stone cross, and at a small distance the
church of St Francis, annexed to which was a monastery of Franciscans.
The name of Santa Cruz, the Holy Cross, seemed not inapplicable to this
town, for one or more crucifixes of wood or stone were to be found in
most of the streets, and in others the form of the Cross was painted upon
the walls of the houses. Over the entrances of some houses we observed,
inclosed in small glass-cases, the images and pictures of favourite
saints, with lamps before them, which were lighted in the evenings and on
certain public occasions.

There were not any fortifications upon the commanding ground above the
town; but at each end of the bay stood a fort, between which were erected
three or four circular redoubts, connected with each other by a low
parapet wall, wearing the appearance of a line of communication between
the forts; but very few cannon were to be seen in the works.

On the skirts of the town to the southward we visited a workhouse, which
had been originally designed for the reception of the mendicants with
which the town had been very much infested. About forty families had
subscribed a certain sum to erect this building, and to furnish in a
manner every way convenient and consistent with such a design. But we
were informed that the governor had filled it with the daughters of the
labouring poor, who were here instructed in weaving and spinning, and
were brought up in industry and cleanliness, remaining in the house until
of a marriageable age, when a portion equal to ten pounds sterling was
given with each on the day of her nuptials. This and the other expenses
of the house were furnished by a fund produced from the labour of the
young people, who appeared all in the same dress, plain indeed, but
cleanly and neat.

We heard with surprise, and not without regret, that this institution was
likely to fall to the ground whenever the governor's departure should
take place, the subscribers being dissatisfied with the plan that was
then pursued, alleging that their money had been given to get rid of
their beggars, whose numbers were not diminished; and that the children
were only taught what they could learn from their mothers at home. To us
however, judging without prejudice or partiality, the design of the
institution appeared to have been more effectually answered by striking
at the root of beggary, than if the charity had been merely confined to
objects who would have been found daily to multiply, from the comfortable
provision held out to them by that charity.

A whole-length picture of the governor was hung up in the working-rooms
of the house. He was represented, agreeably to the end that was at first
proposed by the institution, conducting a miserable object to the gate of
the workhouse; a front view of which was also given.

These islands, known to the Romans by the appellation of the Fortunate
Islands, appeared even at this day to deserve that epithet; for the
inhabitants were so fortunate, and the soil so happy, that no venomous
creature had been found to live there; several toads, adders, and other
poisonous reptiles, which had been brought thither for proof, having died
almost immediately after their arrival. The air of this place is very
salubrious; an instance of which was remarked in a gentleman who was said
to be 113 years of age, and who had been happy enough to preserve his
faculties through such a series of time, nearly entire, his memory alone
appearing to be impaired. He came from Waterford in Ireland, and had been
vice-consul at this port ever since the year 1709.

We were informed that a slight shock of an earthquake had been felt here
in the month of February preceding, but was unattended with any eruption
from the Peak, which had not alarmed the island since the year 1703, when
it destroyed the port of Guarrachica.

When the weather was very hot at Santa Cruz, the better sort of the
inhabitants chose cooler residences higher up in the mountains, and these
they could establish in whatever degree of temperature they chose; for in
proportion as they ascended the air became cooler, the famous Peak being
(though a volcano) clad in perpetual snow at its summit. We understood
that the rain fell very heavy at certain seasons; and, on the sides of
the hills which surrounded the town, ridges or low walls of stone were
constructed at short distances, with intervals in them, to break the
force of the water, which otherwise, descending in torrents, would sweep
away every thing before it. Around Santa Cruz, indeed, there appeared but
little vegetation for which to be apprehensive, nor did the prospect
brighten till we came within view of the town named Laguna, an inland
settlement, and once the capital of the island.

For this place a party of us set forward on the 8th, mounted, according
to the custom of the country, upon mules or asses. Our route lay over
hills and mountains of rock continually ascending, until within a short
distance of the town, at which we arrived in between two and three hours
from our leaving Santa Cruz. The road over which we passed was wide, but
for the greatest part of it we travelled over loose stones that bore all
the appearance of cinders; in some places resembling a regular pavement,
and in others our beasts were compelled to scramble as well as they could
over the hard solid rock. We found that Laguna, which was somewhat better
than three English miles distant from Santa Cruz, had formerly been a
populous city; the streets were spacious, and laid out at right angles
with each other.

Here were two monasteries and as many convents. The monastery of St
Augustine we visited; and the good fathers of it with great civility
conducted us to their chapel, though it was preparing for the celebration
of some religious ceremony. We found the altar-piece, on which was
commonly displayed all their finery and taste, neat, light, and elegant.
Few paintings were to be seen; the best were half-lengths of some of the
saints disposed round the pulpit. The form of this building was a
quadrangle, the centre of which was laid out in garden-ground, elegantly
divided into walks, bordered with roses, myrtle, and a variety of other
shrubs and flowers. Hence we proceeded to the retreat of religious
females, but had not chosen the proper time for paying our respects,
which ceremony we therefore deferred until our return in the evening from
an excursion into the adjacent country.

The town of Laguna (a name which signifies Lake or Swamp) is situated
upon a plain surrounded by high hills, and watered by the same means as
Santa Cruz, from a great distance up the country. We noticed, indeed, two
stone-basins, and fountains playing in different streets of the place.
The buildings here had a manifest superiority over those of Santa Cruz,
the streets were far more spacious, and the houses larger. In some of the
former we perceived a regular line of shops filled chiefly with articles
from England. The insalubrity of the air of this place, however, had
driven, and was continuing to drive, such numbers almost daily from its
influence, that it had more the appearance of a deserted than of an
inhabited town, weeds and grass literally growing in the streets. As this
town decreased in its population, Santa Cruz, with some others on the
island, received the benefit; and it must be acknowledged, that although
in quitting Laguna they removed from fertile fields and a romantic
pleasant country, to uncouth and almost barren rocks at Santa Cruz, they
changed a noxious for a very healthy situation.

After viewing the town we remounted our beasts, and proceeded by the side
of the aqueduct into a most delightful country, where we found the people
cheerfully employed in gathering their harvest, and singing their rural
roundelays. The soil produced oats, barley, wheat, and Indian corn; but,
though it bore always two, and sometimes three crops, it was nevertheless
unequal in the whole of its produce to the consumption of the island, the
deficiency being supplied from the Grand Canary.

The sides of the hills were clothed with woods, into one of which we
rode, and arriving at a place named Il Plano de los Vieios, or the Plain
of the Old People, we rested for some little time, and afterward,
crossing through a cultivated valley, ascended the hill on the opposite
side, where we visited the source of the stream that supplied the
aqueduct. Returning thence, we refreshed under the walls of a small
chapel, where a friar occasionally performed mass for the neighbouring
country people. About five o'clock we again entered Laguna, with the
intention of paying our compliments to the sisterhood of the convent
which we had visited in the morning; but whether our party was too
numerous, or from what other cause it proceeded we could not learn, we
were only favoured with the company of four or five of the elder ladies
of the house, who talked very loud and very fast. After purchasing some
few bunches of artificial fruit, we took our leave, and proceeded to
Santa Cruz, cautiously indeed, down the hills and rocks which we had
ascended in the morning, and arrived about sun-set.

An outward-bound Dutch East-Indiaman had anchored in the road since the

In the evening of this day John Powers, a convict, made his escape from
the _Alexander_ transport, in a small boat which by some accident was
suffered to lie unattended to alongside the ship, with a pair of oars in
it; he was however retaken at day-break the next morning, by the activity
of the master and a party of marines belonging to the transport, and
brought on board the _Sirius_, whence he was removed to his own ship,
with directions for his being heavily ironed.

It appeared that he had at first conceived hopes of being received on
board the Dutch East India ship that arrived in the morning; but, meeting
with a disappointment there, rowed to the southern part of the island,
and concealed himself among the rocks, having first set his boat and oars
adrift, which fortunately led to a discovery of the place he had chosen
for his retreat. The Marquis de Branceforte, on hearing of his escape,
expressed the greatest readiness to assist in his recovery; and Captain
Phillip offered a considerable reward for the same purpose.

Having completed the provisioning and watering of the fleet, and being
again ready to proceed on our voyage, in the afternoon of Saturday the
9th the signal was made from the _Sirius_ for all boats to repair on
board; shortly after which she unmoored, and that night lay at single

At daybreak the following morning the whole fleet got under way.


Proceed on the voyage
Altitude of the peak of Teneriffe
Pass the isles of Sal, Bonavista, May, and St. Iago
Cross the equator
Arrive at the Brazils
Transactions at Rio de Janeiro
Some particulars of that town
Sail thence
Passage to the Cape of Good Hope
Transactions there
Some particulars respecting the Cape
Depart for New South Wales

Light airs had, by the noon of Monday the 11th, carried the fleet midway
between the islands of Teneriffe and the Grand Canary, which latter was
now very distinctly seen. This island wore the same mountainous
appearance as its opposite neighbour Teneriffe, from which it seemed to
be divided by a space of about eleven leagues. Being the capital of the
Canary Islands, the chief bishop had his residence there, and evinced in
his diocese the true spirit of a primitive Christianity, by devoting to
pious and charitable purposes the principal part of a revenue of ten
thousand pounds _per annum_. The chief officers of justice also reside in
this island, before whom all civil causes are removed from Teneriffe and
the other Canary Islands, to be finally decided.

While detained in this spot, we had a very fine view of the Peak of
Teneriffe, lifting its venerable and majestic head above the neighbouring
hills, many of which were also of considerable height, and perhaps rather
diminished the grandeur of the Peak itself, the altitude of which we
understood was 15,396 feet, only 148 yards short of three miles.

On the 14th, the wind began to blow steady from the north-east; and on
the 15th, about eleven in the forenoon, we crossed the tropic of Cancer.
Our weather now became hot and close, and we rolled along through a very
heavy sea, the convoy, however, keeping well together.

At six o'clock in the morning of the 18th, the _Supply_, then ahead of
the fleet, made the signal for seeing land. The weather being very hazy,
we had but an indistinct view of the Isle of Sal, one of the Cape de Verd
islands, bearing NW by W ¼ W distant eight leagues; and at one the same
day, we came in sight of the Island of Bonavista, bearing S.W. distant
two leagues.

Captain Phillip designing to anchor for a few hours at the Island of St.
Iago, to procure water and other refreshments, if he could get in without
any risk or difficulty, in the evening shortened sail, and made the
convoy's signal to close, the run from thence to that island being too
great to admit of our reaching it before dark. The _Supply_ was directed
at the same time to keep ahead with a light during the night; and at
twelve o'clock the night signal was made for the fleet to bring-to.

At six the next morning we made sail again, and soon after passed the
Isle of May, distant about four leagues, bearing NW by W of us. Between
nine and ten o'clock we made the south end of the Island of St. Iago and
at the distance of about two leagues. The wind freshening soon after we
saw the island, at noon we were ranging along the south side of it, with
the signal flying for the convoy to prepare to anchor; but at the moment
of our opening Praya-bay, and preparing to haul round the southern
extremity of it, the fleet was suddenly taken aback, and immediately
after baffled by light airs. We could however perceive, as well by the
colours at the fort, as by those of a Portuguese snow riding in the bay,
that the wind blew directly in upon the shore, which would have rendered
our riding there extremely hazardous; and as it was probable that our
coming to an anchor might not have been effected without some accident
happening to the convoy, Captain Phillip determined to wave, for the
superior consideration of the safety of the fleet under his care, the
advantages he might otherwise have derived from the supply of fresh
provisions and vegetables to be procured there: the breeze therefore
coming off the land, and with sufficient effect to carry us clear of the
island and its variable weather, the anchoring signal was taken in, and
we made sail about two o'clock, the fleet standing away due south. Our
sudden departure from the island, we imagined, must have proved some
disappointment to the inhabitants, as we noticed that a gun was fired at
the fort, shortly after our opening the bay; a signal, it was supposed,
to the country people to bring down their articles for trade and barter.

July.] On the 14th of July the fleet crossed the equator in the 26th
degree of east longitude. Such persons as had never before crossed the
Line were compelled to undergo the ridiculous ceremonies which those who
were privileged were allowed to perform on them.

From this time our weather was pleasant, and we had every appearance of
soon reaching our next port, the Rio de Janeiro, on the Brazil coast.

The track which we had to follow was too beaten to afford us any thing
new or interesting. Captain Phillip proposed making the Island of
Trinidada; but the easterly winds and southerly currents which we had met
with to the northward of the Line having set us so far to the westward
when we crossed it, he gave up all expectation of seeing it, and on the
28th altered his course, steering SW. Trinidada is laid down in 20
degrees 25 minutes south latitude, and 28 degrees 35 minutes west
longitude, while we at noon on the 29th were in 19 degrees 36 minutes
south latitude, and 33 degrees 18 minutes west longitude.

The longitude, when calculated by either altitudes of the sun, for the
time-piece (of Kendal's constructing, which was sent out by the Board of
Longitude), or by the means of several sets of lunar observations, which
were taken by Captain Hunter, Lieutenant Bradley, and Lieutenant Dawes,
was constantly shown to the convoy, for which purpose the signal was made
for the whole to pass under the stern of the _Sirius_, when a board was
set up in some conspicuous part of the ship with the longitude marked on
it to that day at noon.

A good look-out (to make use of the sea-phrase usual on these occasions)
was kept for an island, not very well known or described, which was laid
down in some charts, nearly in the track which we were to cross, but it
was not seen by any of the ships of the fleet; nor was implicit credit
given to its existence, although named (the island of Ascension) and a
latitude and longitude assigned to it. It was conjectured, that the
islands of Martin Vas and Trinidada, lying within about five leagues of
each other, had given rise to the idea of a new island, and that
Ascension was in reality one or other of those islands.

Only two accidents happened during the passage to the Brazils. A seaman
belonging to the _Alexander_ was so unfortunate as to fall overboard, and
could not be recovered--and a female convict on board the _Prince of
Wales_ was so much bruised by the falling of a boat from off the booms
(which, owing to the violent motion of the ship, had got loose) that she
died the following day, notwithstanding the professional skill and humane
attention of the principal surgeon; for as the boat in launching forward
fell upon the neck and crushed the vertebrae and spine, all the aid he
could render her was of no avail.

August.] On Thursday the 2nd of August we had the coast of South America
in sight; and the head-land, named Cape Frio, was distinctly seen before
the evening closed in. Our time-piece had given us notice when to look
out for it, and the land was made precisely to the hour in which it had
taught us to expect it. It was not, however, until the evening of the 4th
that we anchored within the islands at the entrance of the harbour of Rio
de Janeiro.

At day-break the next morning an officer was dispatched from the _Sirius_
to inform the viceroy of the arrival of the fleet; and he most readily
and politely promised us every assistance in his power. A ship bound to
Lisbon passing us about noon, that opportunity was taken of sending an
account to England of the fortunate progress which we had so far made in
the long voyage before us; soon after which the port-officer, or
harbour-master, came on board, and, the seabreeze beginning to blow, the
fleet got under sail. About five in the afternoon we crossed the bar, and
soon after passing the fort of Santa Cruz, saluted it with thirteen guns,
which were returned by an equal number of guns from the fort. While
saluting, it fell calm; but by the assistance of a light breeze which
afterwards sprung up, and the tide of flood, the _Sirius_ was enabled to
reach far enough in by seven o'clock to come to an anchor in the harbour
of Rio de Janeiro; the convoy also anchored as they came up, at the
distance of about a mile and a half from the landing-place, which was
found very commodious.

Our passage from Teneriffe, although rather a long one, had fortunately
been unattended with any disease, and the surgeon reported that we had
brought in only ninety-five persons sick, comprehending every description
of people in the fleet. Many, however, of this number were bending only
under the pressure of age and its attendant infirmities, having no other
complaints among them.

On the morning after our arrival the intendant of the port, with the
usual officers, repaired on board the _Sirius_, requiring the customary
certificates to be given, as to what nation she belonged to, whither
bound, the name of her commander, and his reason for coming into that
port; to all which satisfactory answers were given; and at eleven o'clock
the day following Captain Phillip, accompanied by the officers of the
settlement, civil and military, waited upon Don Louis Vasconcellos, the
viceroy of the Brazils, at his excellency's palace, who received them
with much politeness, readily assenting to a tent being pitched on shore
for the purpose of an observatory; as well as to the drawing of the Seine
in different parts of the bay for fish; only pointing out the
restrictions that would be necessary to prevent the sailors from
straggling into the country. On their taking leave, it was most politely
intimated, that no restraint would be imposed upon the officers, whenever
they came on shore to the town, in which they were free to pass wherever
they desired. A conduct so opposite to that in general observed to
foreigners in this port could by us be attributed only to the great
esteem in which Captain Phillip was held here by all ranks of people
during the time of his commanding a ship in the Portuguese service; for
on being informed of the employment he now held, the viceroy's guard was
directed to pay him the same honours during his stay here, that were paid
to himself as the representative of the crown of Portugal.

The palace of the viceroy stood in the Royal Square, of which, together
with the public prison, the mint, and the opera-house, it formed the
right wing. Of these buildings the opera-house alone was shut up; and we
were informed, that the gloom which was thrown over the court and kingdom
of Portugal by the death of the late king, had extended in full force to
the colonies also; all private and public amusements being since that
time discouraged as much as possible, the viceroy himself setting the
example. Once a week, indeed, his excellency had a music-meeting at the
palace for the entertainment of himself and a few select friends; but
nothing more.

The town of St. Sebastian (or, as it is more commonly named, the town of
Rio de Janeiro, which was in fact the name of the river forming the bay,
on the western side of which was built the town) is large, and was
originally designed to have had an elevated and airy situation, but was,
unfortunately for the inhabitants, erected on low ground along the shore,
and in a recess almost wholly out of the reach of the refreshing
seabreeze, which was observed to be pretty regular in its visitations.
The inhabitants, nevertheless, deemed the air salubrious; and we were
informed that epidemic distempers were rare among them. In their streets,
however, were frequently seen objects of wretchedness and misery,
crawling about with most painful and disgusting swellings in their legs
and privities. The hospital, which had formerly been a Jesuit's convent,
stood near the summit of the hill, in an open situation, at the back of
the town. From the great estimation in which English surgeons were held
here, it would seem that the town is not too well provided in that
respect. Senor Ildefonse, the principal in the place had studied in
England, where he went under the course of surgical education called
walking the hospitals, and might by his practice in this place, which was
considerable, and quite as much as he could attend to, have soon realised
a handsome fortune; but we understood, that to the poor or necessitous
sick he always administered _gratis_.

The township of the Rio de Janeiro was said to contain on the whole not
less than 40,000 people, exclusive of the native Indians and negroes.
These last appear to be very numerous, of a strong robust appearance, and
are brought from the coast of Guinea, forming an extensive article of
commerce. With these people of both sexes the streets were constantly
filled, scarcely any other description of people being seen in them.
Ladies or gentlemen were never seen on foot in the streets during the
day; those whose business or inclination led them out being carried in
close chairs, the pole of which came from the head of the vehicle, and
rested on the shoulders of the chairmen, having, notwithstanding the
gaudiness of the chair itself, a very awkward appearance.

The language spoken here by the white people was that of the mother
country--Portuguese. The ecclesiastics in general could converse in
Latin; and the negro slaves spoke a corrupt mixture of their own tongue
with that of the people of the town. The native Indians retained their
own language, and could be distinctly discerned from the natives of
Guinea, as well by the colour of the skin, as by the hair and the
features of the face. Some few of the military conversed in French; but
this language was in general little used.

The town appeared to be well supplied with water, which was conveyed into
it from a great distance by means of an aqueduct (or carioca) which in
one place having to cross a road or public way was raised upon a double
row of strong lofty arches, forming an object that from the bay, and at
the entrance of the harbour, added considerably to the beauty of the
imagery. From this aqueduct the water was received into stone fountains,
constructed with capacious basins, whither the inhabitants sent their
linen, to have the dirt rather beaten than washed out of it, by slaves.
One of these fountains of a modern construction was finished with great
taste and neatness of execution.

We also observed several large and rich convents in the town. The chief
of these were, the Benedictine and the Carmelite; one dedicated to St.
Anthony, another to Our Lady of Assistance, and another to St. Theresa.
The two last were for the reception of nuns; and of the two, that of St.
Theresa was reported the severest in its religious duties, and the
strictest in its restraints and regulations. The convent D. Ajuda, or of
Assistance, received as pensioners, or boarders, the widows of officers,
and young ladies having lost their parents, who were allowed to remain,
conforming to the rules of the convent, until married, or otherwise
provided for by their friends. There were many inferior convents and
churches, and the whole were under the spiritual direction of a bishop,
whose palace was in the town, a short distance from one of the principal

Near the carioca, or aqueduct, stood the seminary of St. Joseph, where
the servants of the church received their education, adopting on their
entrance the clerical habit and tonsure. The chapel to the seminary was
neat, and we were conducted by a sensible well-informed father of the
Benedictine Order to a small library belonging to it.

To a stranger nothing could appear more remarkable than the innumerable
religious processions which were to be seen at all hours in this town. At
the close of every day an image of the Virgin was borne in procession
through the principal streets, the attendants arrayed in white surplices,
and bearing in their hands lighted tapers; chanting at the same time
praises to her in Latin. To this, as well as to all other religious
processions, the guards turned out, grounded their arms, kneeled, and
showed the most submissive marks of respect; and the bells of each church
or convent in the vicinity of their progress sounded a peal while they
were passing.

Every church, chapel, or convent, being under the auspices of some
tutelary saint, particular days were set apart as the festival of each,
which were opened with public prayers, and concluded with processions,
music, and fireworks. The church and altars of the particular saint whose
protection was to be solicited were decorated with all the splendor of
superstition*, and illuminated both within and without. During several
hours after dark, on these solemn festivals, the inhabitants might be
seen walking to and from the church, dressed in their best habiliments,
accompanied by their children, and attended by their slaves and their

[* We were informed that they never permitted any base metals near their
altars, all their vessels, etc. being of the purest gold or silver.]

An instance was related to us, of the delay that was thrown in the way of
labour by this extravagant parade of public worship, and the strict
observance of saints' days, which, though calculated, no doubt, by the
glare which surrounds the shrine, and decorates the vesture of its
priests, to impress and keep in awe the minds of the lower sort of
people, Indians and slaves, had nevertheless been found to be not without
its evil effects:

A ship from Lisbon, laden chiefly with bale goods, was burnt to the
water's edge, with her whole cargo, and much private property, the fourth
day after her anchoring in the harbour, owing to the intervention of a
sabbath and two saints' days which unfortunately ensued that of her
arrival. All that could be done was, to tow the vessel on shore near the
Island of Cobres, clear of the shipping in the bay, where grounding, she
was totally consumed. One of the passengers, whose whole property was
destroyed with her, came out to fill an high judicial employment, and had
with all his family removed from Lisbon for that purpose, bringing with
him whatever he had valuable in Europe.

At a corner of almost every street in the town we observed a small altar,
dedicated generally to the Virgin, and decorated with curtains and lamps.
Before these altars, at the close of every evening, the negroes assembled
to chant their vespers, kneeling together in long rows in the street. The
policy of thus keeping the minds of so large a body, as that of the black
people in this town, not only in constant employment, but in awe and
subjection, by the almost perpetual exercise of religious worship, was
too obvious to need a comment. In a colony where the servants were more
numerous than the masters, a military, however excellent, ought not to be
the only control; to keep the mind in subjection must be as necessary as
to provide a check on the personal conduct.

The trades-people of the town have adopted a regulation, which must prove
of infinite convenience to strangers, as well as to the inhabitants. We
found the people of one profession or trade dwelling together in one,
two, or as many streets as were necessary for their numbers to occupy.
Thus, for instance, the apothecaries resided in the principal street, or
Rua Direita, as it was named; one or more streets were assigned to the
jewellers; and a whole district appeared to be occupied by the mercers.
By this regulation the labour of traversing from one street to another,
in search of any article which the purchaser might wish to have a choice
of, was avoided*. Most of the articles were from Europe, and were sold at
a high price.

[* The same useful regulation is observed at Aleppo.]

Houses here were built, after the fashion of the mother-country, with a
small wooden balcony over the entrance; but to the eye of one accustomed
to the cheerful appearance of glass windows, a certain sombre cast seemed
to pervade even their best and widest streets, the light being conveyed
through window-frames of close lattice-work. Some of these, indeed, being
decorated on the outside with paint and some gilding, rather improved the
look of the houses to which they belonged.

The winter, we were informed, was the only season in which the
inhabitants could make excursions into the country; for when the sun came
to the southward of the Line, the rain, as they most energetically
assured us, descended for between two and three months rather in seas
than in torrents. At this season they confined themselves to their houses
in the town, only venturing out by the unscorching light of the moon, or
at those intervals when the rains were moderated into showers. But,
though the summer season is so extremely hot, the use of the cold bath,
we found, was wholly unknown to the inhabitants.

The women of the town of Rio de Janeiro, being born within the tropics,
could not be expected to possess the best complexions; but their features
were in general expressive--the eye dark and lively, with a striking
eye-brow. The hair was dark, and nature had favoured them with that
ornament in uncommon profusion: this they mostly wore with powder,
strained to a high point before, and tied in several folds behind. By
their parents they were early bred up to much useful knowledge, and were
generally mistresses of the polite accomplishments of music, singing, and
dancing. Their conversation appeared to be lively, at times breaking out
in sallies of mirth and wit, and at others displaying judgment and good
_sense_. In their dress for making or receiving visits, they chiefly
affected silks and gay colours; but in the mornings, when employed in the
necessary duties of the house, a thin but elegant robe or mantle thrown
over the shoulders was the only upper garment worn. Both males and
females were early taught to dress as men and women; and we had many
opportunities of seeing a hoop on a little Donna of three years of age,
and a bag and a sword on a Senor of six. This appearance was as difficult
to reconcile as that of the saints and virgins in their churches being
decorated with powdered perukes, swords, laced clothes, and full-dressed

Attentions to the women were perhaps carried farther in this place than
is customary in Europe. To a lady, in the presence of a gentleman, a
servant never was suffered to hand even a glass of water, the gentleman
(with a respect approaching to adoration) performing that office; and
these gallantries appeared to be received as the homage due to their
superior rank in the creation. It was said, indeed, that they were not
disinclined to intrigues, but in public the strictest decorum and
propriety of behaviour was always observed in the women, single as well
as married. At houses where several people of both sexes were met
together, the eye, on entering the room, was instantly hurt, at
perceiving the female part of the company ranged and seated by themselves
on one side, and the gentlemen on the other, an arrangement certainly
unfavourable to private or particular conversation. These daughters of
the sun should, however, neither be censured nor wondered at, if found
indulging in pleasures against which even the constitutions of colder
regions are not proof. If frozen chastity be not always found among the
children of ice and snow, can she be looked for among the inhabitants of
climates where frost was never felt? Yet heartily should she be welcomed
wherever she may be found, and doubly prized if met with unexpectedly.

The mines, the great source of revenue to the crown of Portugal, and in
the government of this place the great cause of jealousy both of
strangers and of the inhabitants, were situated more than a week's
journey hence, except some which had been lately discovered in the
mountains near the town. Sufficient employment was found for the Mint, at
which was struck all the coin that was current here, besides what was
sent to Europe. The diamond-trade had been for some time taken into the
hands and under the inspection of Government; but the jewellers' shops
abounded with topazes, chrysolites, and other curious and precious

Beside the forts at the entrance of the harbour, there were two others of
considerable force, one at either extremity of the place, constructed on
islands in the bay. On an eminence behind the town, and commanding the
bay, stood the Citadel. The troops in these works were relieved regularly
on the last day of every month, previous to which all the military in the
garrison passed in review before the viceroy in the quadrangle of the
palace. About 250 men with officers in proportion were on duty every day
in the town, distributed into different guards, from which sentinels were
stationed in various parts of the place, who, to keep themselves alert,
challenge and reply to each other every quarter of an hour. In addition
to these sentinels, every regiment and every guard sent parties through
the streets, patrolling the whole night for the preservation of peace and
good order.

An officer from each regiment attended every evening at the palace to
take orders for the following day, which were delivered by the adjutant
of orders, who himself received them directly from the viceroy. At the
palace every transaction in the town was known, and thence, through the
adjutant of orders, the inhabitants received the viceroy's commands and
directions whenever he thought it necessary to guide or regulate their

The regiments that came here from Lisbon had been twenty years in the
country, although, on leaving Europe, they were promised to return at the
expiration of the third. They were recruited in the Brazils; and such
officers as might wish to visit Portugal obtained leave of absence on
application to the court, through the viceroy. To each regiment is
attached an officer, who is styled an Auditor, and whose office is to
inquire into all crimes committed by the soldiers of his regiment. If he
sees it necessary, he has power to inflict corporal punishment, or
otherwise, as the offender may in his judgment merit; but his authority
does not extend either to life or limb. For exercising his employment he
is allowed the pay of a captain of infantry.

The barracks for the troops appeared to be commodious, and to be kept in
good order. A small number of cavalry were always on duty, employed in
the antichamber of the palace, or in attending the viceroy either on days
of parade, or in his excursions into the country. A captain's guard of
infantry with a standard mounted every day at the palace.

During our stay in this port all the transports struck their yards and
top-masts, and overhauled their rigging preparatory to our passage to the
Cape of Good Hope. An observatory was erected on the Island of Enchados,
where Lieutenant Dawes, with two young gentlemen from the _Sirius_ as
assistants, went on shore, taking with them the instruments requisite for
ascertaining the exact rate of going of the time-piece; and for making
other necessary observations. Sailmakers were also sent to the island;
and some of the camp-equipage of the settlement was landed to be
inspected and thoroughly aired, with proper guards for its security.

Some propensities to the practice of their old vices manifesting
themselves among the convicts* soon after their arrival in this port had
given them an opportunity, the governor, with the lieutenant-governor,
visited the transports, and informed the prisoners, both male and female,
that in future any misbehaviour on their part should be attended with
severe punishment, while on the other hand propriety of conduct should be
particularly distinguished and rewarded with proportionate indulgence.

[* Counterfeit coin was offered by some of them to a boat which came
alongside one of the transports.]

On the 21st, being the birthday of the prince of Brazil, the _Sirius_, in
compliment to the court of Portugal, displayed a Portuguese flag at her
fore-top-masthead, and, on the saluting of the fort on the Island of
Cobres, saluted also with twenty-one guns. At ten o'clock the same
morning, Captain Phillip, with the principal officers of the settlement
and garrison. went on shore to pay their compliments to the viceroy in
honour of the day, who on this and similar occasions had a court, at
which all the civil and military officers and principal inhabitants of
the town attended to pay their respects to his excellency as the
representative of the sovereign, who received them standing under a
canopy in the presence-chamber of the palace.

September.] Preparations were now making for putting to sea; and on
Saturday the 1st of September, having appointed to sail on the Monday
following, the governor, lieutenant-governor, and other officers, waited
upon and took leave of the viceroy, who expressed himself in the
handsomest terms at their departure.

During their stay in this port of refreshment, the convicts were each
served daily with a pound of rice and a pound and an half of fresh meat
(beef), together with a suitable proportion of vegetables. Great numbers
of oranges were at different times distributed among them, and every
possible care was taken to refresh and put them into a state of health
and condition to resist the attacks of the scurvy, should it make its
appearance in the long passage over the ocean which was yet between them
and New South Wales. The Reverend Mr. Johnson gave also his full share of
attention to their welfare, performing divine service on board two of the
transports every Sunday of their stay in port.

We were unluckily not in season for any other of the fruits of this
country than oranges and bananas; but these were truly delicious, and
amply compensated, both in quantity and quality, for the want of others.
Some few guavas, and a pine-apple or two, were purchased; but we were
informed that their flavour then, and when in perfection, was not to be
compared. Vegetables (which were brought from the opposite shore) were in
great plenty. The beef was small and lean, and sold at about two-pence
halfpenny _per_ pound: mutton was in proportion still smaller, and
poultry dear, but not ill-tasted. The marketplace was contiguous to the

On the evening of Sunday the 2nd of September, a Portuguese boat, just at
the close of the day, after once or twice rowing round the _Sirius_,
dropped a soldier of the island on board, who, it appeared from his own
account, had been for five or six days absent from his duty, and dreading
perhaps to return, or perhaps wishing to change his situation, requested
that he might be received on board, and permitted to sail to New Holland
with Captain Phillip; who, however, not choosing to comply with his
request, caused him to be immediately conveyed on shore in one of the
ship's boats; but with great humanity permitted him to be landed wherever
he thought he might chance to escape unobserved, and have an opportunity
of returning to his duty.

An officer was this day sent to signify Captain Phillip's intention of
saluting the forts when he took his departure, which would be the
following morning, and presuming that an equal number of guns would be
fired in return. The viceroy answered, that no mark of attention or
respect should on his part be omitted that might testify his esteem for
Captain Phillip, and the high sense he entertained of the decorum
observed by those under his command during their stay in that port.

The land-wind not blowing on Monday morning, all idea of sailing was
given up for that day. In the afternoon the signal was made for
unmooring, and for all boats to cease communication with the shore.

At day-break the following morning the harbour-master came on board the
_Sirius_, and, a light land breeze favouring her departure, took charge
of that ship over the bar; the _Supply_ and convoy getting under sail,
and following her out of the bay. When the _Sirius_ arrived nearly
abreast of the fort of Santa Cruz, it was saluted with twenty-one guns; a
marked compliment paid by the viceroy to Captain Phillip, who immediately
returned it with the like number of guns. Shortly after this the
harbour-master left the ship, taking with him Mr. Morton, the master of
the _Sirius_, who from ill health was obliged to return to England in the
_Diana_, a whaler, which was lying here on our arrival. By this gentleman
were sent the public and private letters of the fleet.

The land-breeze carrying us clear of the islands in the offing, the
_Supply_ was sent to speak a ship that was perceived at some little
distance ahead, and which proved to be a ship from Oporto. By her we
learned that the viceroy was superseded in his government, and it was
imagined that his successor was standing into the harbour in a royal
yacht which we then saw under the land. Toward evening it fell calm, and
the islands and high land were still in sight. The calm continued during
the greatest part of the following day; but toward evening a light and
favourable breeze sprung up, which enabled us to cross the tropic of
Capricorn, and bend our course toward the Cape of Good Hope.

On the night of Friday the 7th we had heavy squalls of rain, thunder, and
lightning. From that time until the 1lth the wind was rather
unfavourable; but shifting to the northward on that day, it blew during
the two following in strong gales, with squalls of heavy rain, attended
with much sea.

 These strong gales having, on Friday the 14th, terminated in a calm,
Lieutenant Shortland, the day following, reported to the commanding
officer, that there were eleven soldiers sick on board the _Alexander_
and five or six convicts on board the _Charlotte_. The calm continued
until the 16th, when a favourable breeze sprung up; but those ships of
the fleet which could sail were prevented from making the most of the
fair wind, by the _Lady Penrhyn_ transport and others, which were
inattentive, and did not make sail in proper time.

On the 19th the wind was fresh, and frequently blew in squalls, attended
with rain. In one of these squalls the _Charlotte_ suddenly hove-to, a
convict having fallen overboard; the man, however, was drowned. Our
weather was at this time extremely cold; and the wind, which had for some
days been unfavourable, shifting on the 22nd, we again looked towards the
Cape. At one o'clock the next morning it came on to blow very hard,
accompanied with a great sea; we had nevertheless the satisfaction to
observe that the convoy appeared to get on very well, though some of them
rolled prodigiously. This gale continued with very little variation until
the morning of the 28th, when it moderated for a few hours, and shifted
round to the SE. It now again blew in fresh gales, attended with much
rain and sea. But a calm succeeding all this violence shortly after, on
Sunday morning the 30th the weather was sufficiently clear to admit of
some altitudes being taken for the time-keeper, when our longitude was
found to be 3 degrees 04 minutes.

October.] Thence to the 4th of October both wind and weather were very
uncertain, the wind sometimes blowing in light airs, very little
differing from a calm, with clear skies; at others, in fresh breezes,
with rain. On the 4th, Captain Phillip was informed that thirty of the
convicts on board of the _Charlotte_ were 111; some of them, as it was
feared, dangerously. To render this information still more unpleasant,
the wind was foul during the two succeeding days.

In the forenoon of Saturday the 6th, four seamen of the _Alexander_
transport were sent on board the _Sirius_, under a charge of having
entered into a conspiracy to release some of the prisoners while the ship
should be at the Cape of Good Hope, and of having provided those people
with instruments for breaking into the fore-hold of the ship (which had
been done, and some provisions stolen thereout). The four seamen were
ordered to remain in the _Sirius_, a like number of her people being sent
in lieu of them on board the transport.

On Thursday the 11th, by an altitude of the sun taken that morning, the
fleet was found to be in the longitude of 15 degrees 35 minutes E at
which time there was an unfavourable change of the wind, and the sick on
board the _Charlotte_ were not decreasing in number.

On the next day, as it was judged from the information given by the
time-keeper that we were drawing nigh the land, the _Supply_ was sent
forward to make it; but it was not seen until the following morning.

At noon on the 13th the _Supply_ was sent to instruct the sternmost ships
of the convoy in what direction they should keep to enter the bay; and
about four in the afternoon, the harbour-master getting on board the
_Sirius_, that ship was brought safely to an anchor in Table Bay, the
convoy doing the same before dark; having crossed over from one Continent
to the other, a distance of upwards of eleven hundred leagues, in the
short space of five weeks and four days, fortunately without separation,
or any accident having happened to the fleet.

Immediately on our anchoring, an officer from the _Sirius_ was sent on
shore to the governor, who politely promised us every assistance in his
power; and at sun-rise the next morning the _Sirius_ saluted the garrison
with thirteen guns, which were returned by an equal number from the fort.

From the great uncertainty of always getting readily on shore from the
bay, and the refreshments found at the Cape of Good Hope being so
necessary after, and so well adapted to the fatigues and disorders
consequent on a long voyage, we found it a custom with most strangers on
their arrival to take up their abode in the town, with some one or other
of the inhabitants, who would for two rix-dollars (eight shillings of
English money) or a ducatoon (six shillings English) per week, provide
very good lodgings, and a table amply furnished with the best meats,
vegetables, and fruits which could be procured at the Cape. This custom
was, as far as the nature of our service would admit, complied with by
several officers from the ships; and, on the second day after our
arrival, Captain Phillip, with the principal officers of the navy and
settlement, proceeded to the government-house in the Company's garden,
where they were introduced to Mr. Van de Graaf (the governor, for the
Dutch East India Company, of this place and its dependencies) and by him
politely received.

With a requisition made by Captain Phillip of a certain quantity of flour
and corn, the governor expressed his apprehensions of being unable to
comply, as the Cape had been very lately visited by that worst of
scourges--a famine, which had been most severely felt by every family in
the town, his own not excepted. This was a calamity which the settlement
had never before experienced, and was to be ascribed rather to bad
management of, than any failure in, the late crops. Measures were however
taking to guard, as much as human precaution could guard, against such a
misfortune in future; and magazines were erecting for the reception of
grain on the public account, which had never been found necessary until
fatal experience had suggested them. Captain Phillip's request was to be
laid before the Council, without whose concurrence in such a business the
governor could not act, and an answer was promised with all convenient
dispatch. This answer, however, did not arrive until the 23rd, when
Captain Phillip was informed that every article which he had demanded was
ordered to be furnished.

November.] In the meantime the ships of the fleet had struck their yards
and topmasts (a precaution always necessary here to guard against the
violence of the south-east wind, which had been often known to drive
ships out of the bay) and began filling their water. On board of the
_Sirius_ and some of the transports, the carpenters were employed in
fitting up stalls for the reception of the cattle that was to be taken
hence as stock for the intended colony at New South Wales. These were not
ready until the 8th of the next month, November, on which day, 1 bull, 1
bull-calf, 7 cows, 1 stallion, 3 mares, and 3 colts, together with as
great a number of rams, ewes, goats, boars, and breeding sows, as room
could be provided for, were embarked in the different ships, the bulls
and cows on board the _Sirius_, the horses on board the _Lady Penrhyn_;
the remainder were put into the _Fishbourn_ store-ship and _Friendship_

Shortly after our arrival in the bay, a soldier belonging to the Swiss
regiment of Muron, quartered here, swam off from his post and came on
board one of the transports, requesting to be permitted to proceed in her
to New South Wales; but, as an agreement had been mutually entered into
between the Dutch and English commanders, that deserters in the service
of, or subjects of either nation, should be given up, Captain Phillip
sent him on shore, previously obtaining a promise of his pardon from the

On the 9th the watering of the fleet being completed, corn and hay for
the stock, and flour, wine, and spirits for the settlement, being all on
board, preparations were made for putting to sea, and on the 10th the
signal was made to unmoor.

The convicts while in this port had been served, men and women, with one
pound and an half of soft bread each _per diem_; a pound of fresh beef,
or mutton, and three quarters of a pound for each child, together with a
liberal allowance of vegetables.

While in this harbour, as at Rio de Janeiro, Mr. Johnson, the chaplain,
preached on board two of the transports every Sunday; and we had the
satisfaction to see the prisoners all wear the appearance of perfect
health on their being about to quit this port, the last whereat any
refreshment was to be expected before their arrival in New South Wales.

As it was earnestly wished to introduce the fruits of the Cape into the
new settlement, Captain Phillip was ably assisted in his endeavours to
procure the rarest and the best of every species, both in plant and seed,
by Mr. Mason, the king's botanist, whom we were so fortunate as to meet
with here, as well as by Colonel Gordon, the commander in chief of the
troops at this place; a gentleman whose thirst for natural knowledge
amply qualified him to be of service to us, not only in procuring a great
variety of the best seeds and plants, but in pointing out the culture,
the soil, and the proper time of introducing them into the ground.

The following plants and seeds were procured here and at Rio de Janeiro:


Coffee--both seed and plant
Cocoa-in the nut
Oranges--various sorts, seed and plant
Lemon--seed and plant
Prickly pear-plant, with the cochineal on it
Eugenia, or Pomme Rose--a plant bearing a fruit in shape like an apple,
and having the flavour and odour of a rose
Ipecacuana--three sorts


The Fig-tree
Spanish Reed
Sugar Cane
Vines of various sorts

To these must be added all sorts of grain, as Rice, Wheat, Barley,
Indian corn, etc. for seed, which were purchased to supply whatever
might be found damaged of these articles that were taken on board
in England.

During our stay here, the Ranger packet, _Captain Buchanan_, arrived
after a passage of twelve weeks from Falmouth, bound to Bengal. She
sailed again immediately. One officer alone of our fleet was fortunate
enough to receive letters by her from his connexions in England.

At the time of our arrival the inhabitants of this agreeable town had
scarcely recovered from the consternation into which they had been thrown
by one of the black people called Malays, with whom the place abounded;
and who, taking offence at the governor for not returning him to Batavia
(where, it seemed, he was of consequence among his own countrymen, and
whence he had been sent to the Cape as a punishment for some offence),
worked himself up to frenzy by the effect of opium, and, arming himself
with variety of weapons, rushed forth in the dusk of the evening, killing
or maiming indiscriminately all who were so unfortunate as to be in his
route, women alone excepted. He stabbed the sentinel at the gate of the
Company's gardens, and placed himself at his post, waiting some time in
expectation of the governor's appearance, who narrowly escaped the fate
intended for him, by its falling on another person accidentally passing
that way. On being pursued, he fled with incredible swiftness to the
Table Mountain at the back of the town, whence this single miscreant,
still animated by the effect of the opium, for two days resisted and
defied every force that was sent against him. The alarm and terror into
which the town was thrown were inconceivable; for two days none ventured
from within their houses, either masters or slaves; for an order was
issued (as the most likely means of destroying him, should he appear in
the town) that whatever Malay was seen in the streets should be instantly
killed by the soldiery. On the evening of the second day, however, he was
taken alive on the Table Mountain, having done much injury to those who
took him, and was immediately consigned to the death he merited, being
broken on the wheel, and his head and members severed after the
execution, and distributed in different parts of the country.

Of this man, who had killed fourteen of the inhabitants, and desperately
wounded nearly double that number, it was remarked, that in his progress
his fury fell only on men, women passing him unhurt; and it was as
extraordinary as it was unfortunate, that among those whom his rage
destroyed, were some of the most deserving and promising young men in the
town. This, at Batavia, was called running a muck, or amocke, and
frequently happened there, but was the first instance of the kind known
at the Cape. Since that time, every Malay or other slave, having business
in the street after a certain hour in the evening, is obliged to carry a
lighted lantern, on pain of being stopped by the sentinel and kept in
custody until morning. Murder and villany are strongly depicted on the
features of the slaves of that nation; and such of them as dared to speak
of this dreadful catastrophe clearly appeared to approve the behaviour of
their countryman.

The government of the Cape we understood to be vested in a governor and
council, together with a court of justice. The council is composed of the
governor, the second or lieutenant-governor, the fiscal, the commanding
officer of the troops for the time being, and four counsellors. With
these all regulations for the management of the colony originate; and
from them all orders and decrees are issued. The court of justice is
composed of the fiscal, the second governor, a secretary, and twelve
members, six of whom are from among the burghers, and six from among the
bourgeoisie. The fiscal, who was the first magistrate, had hitherto been
styled independent, that is to say, his decisions were not subject to the
interference of the governor and council; but we were informed, that
since the death of the late fiscal, M. Serrurier, it had been determined
by the States, that the decrees of the fiscal should be subject to the
revision of the council. Before this officer were tried all causes both
civil and criminal. He had a set of people belonging to him who
constantly patrolled the streets armed, to apprehend all vagrant and
disorderly persons. Every fourteen days offences were tried. The prison
was adjacent to and had communication with the court-house. The place
where all sentences were executed stood to the left of the landing-place,
a short distance above the fort or castle. The ground on which it stood
was raised by several steps above the road. Within the walls were to be
seen (and seen with horror) six crosses for breaking criminals, a large
gibbet, a spiked pole for impalements, wheels, etc., etc. together with a
slight wooden building, erected for the reception of the ministers of
justice upon execution-days. Over the entrance was a figure of justice,
with the usual emblems of a sword and balance, and the following apposite
inscription: 'Felix quem faciunt aliena pericula cautum.' The bodies of
those broken on the wheel were exposed in different parts of the town,
several instances of which, and some very recent ones, were still to be

It had been always imagined, that the police of the Cape-town was so well
regulated as to render it next to impossible for any man to escape, after
whom the fiscal's people were in pursuit. This, however, did not appear
to be the case; for very shortly after our arrival four seamen belonging
to a ship of our fleet deserted from her; and although rewards were
offered for apprehending them, and every effort made that was likely to
insure success, two only were retaken before our departure.

Since the attempt meditated upon the Cape by the late Commodore
Johnstone, the attention of the government appeared to have been directed
to its internal defence. To this end additional works had been
constructed on each side of the town, toward the hill called the Lion's
Rump, and beyond the castle or garrison. But the defence in which they
chiefly prided themselves, and of which we were fortunate enough to
arrive in time to be spectators, consisted of two corps of cavalry and
one of infantry, formed from the gentlemen and inhabltants of the town.
We understood that these corps were called out annually to be exercised
during seven days, and were reviewed on the last day of their exercise by
the governor attended by his whole council. They appeared to be stout and
able-bodied men, particularly those who composed the two corps of
cavalry, and who were reputed to be excellent marksmen. Their horses,
arms, and appointments were purchased at their own expense, and they were
expected to hold them selves in readiness to assemble whenever their
services might be required by the governor. For uniform, they wore a blue
coat with white buttons, and buff waistcoat and breeches. Their parade
was the Square or Market-place, where they were attended by music, and
visited by all the beauty of the place, who animated them by their smiles
from the balcony of the town-hall, and if the weather was favourable
accompanied them to the exercising ground, where tents were pitched for
their reception, and whence they beheld these patriotic Africans (for few
of them knew Holland but by name) enuring themselves to the tolls of war,
'_pro aris et focis_'. We were however told, that at the least idea of an
enemy coming on the coast, the women were immediately sent to a distance
in the country.

The militia throughout the whole district of the Cape were assembled at
this time of the year, exercised for a week, and reviewed by the governor
or his deputy, commencing with the militia of the Capetown.

The present governor of the Cape, Mr. Van de Graaf, though a colonel of
engineers in the service of the States, yet holds his commission as
governor under the authority of the Dutch East India Company, to which
body the settlement wholly belongs. Every ship or vessel wearing a
pendant of the States, be her rate what it may, is on entering the
harbour saluted by the fort, which salute she returns with an inferior
number of guns. The governor, at the landing-place, with his officers and
carriages, attends the coming on shore of her captain or senior officer,
to receive his commands, and escort him to his lodgings in the town,
treating him with every mark of respect in his power. Such an humiliation
of the Company's principal servant and officers in a commercial community
bore, it must be confessed, rather an extraordinary appearance; but such,
as we were informed, was the distinction between the two services; and
Mr. Van de Graaf was obliged to obtain his prince's permission before he
could accept of the government of the Cape from the East India Company.

Residence at the Cape would be highly agreeable, were it not for the
south-east wind. This during the summer season blows with such violence,
and drives every where such clouds of sand before it, that the
inhabitants at certain times dare not stir out of their houses. Torrents
of dust and sand, we were told, had been frequently known to fall on
board of ships in the road. This circumstance accounted for every thing
we got here being gritty to the taste; sand mixing with their flour,
their rice, their sugar, and with whatever was capable of receiving it,
finding its way in at doors, windows, and wherever there was an entrance
for it. From the great height of the Table Mountain*, whatever clouds are
within its influence are attracted when the south-east wind prevails; and
as it increases in violence, these clouds hang over the side of the
mountain, and descend into the valley, sometimes rolling down very near
the town. From the curling of the vapour over the mountain, the
inhabitants predict the arrival of the south-easter, and say, 'The
Table-cloth is spread;' but with all its violence, and the inconvenience
of the dust and sand, it has a good effect, for the climate and air of
the Cape Town (though wonderfully beneficial and refreshing to strangers
after a long voyage) is not reckoned salubrious by the inhabitants, who,
we understood, were at times visited by pains in the chest, sore throats,
and putrid fevers; and the place would certainly be still more unhealthy
were it not for this south-east wind, which burns as it blows, and while
it sweeps disorder before it purifies the air.

[* 3353 Rhineland feet--a Rhineland foot being twelve inches and 5/12

The Cape is celebrated for producing in the highest perfection all the
tropical and other fruits; but of the few that were in season during our
stay we could not pronounce so favourably. The oranges and bananas in
particular were not equal to those of Rio de Janeiro. The grape we could
only taste from the bottle; that of Constantia, so much famed, has a very
fine, rich, and pleasant flavour, and is an excellent cordial; but much
of the wine that is sold under that name was never made of the grape of
Constantia; for the vineyard is but small, and has credit for a much
greater produce that it could
possibly yield: this reminds us of those eminent masters in the art of
painting, to whom more originals are ascribed than the labour of the
longest life of man could produce.

Wines of their own growth formed a considerable article of traffic here;
and the neatness, regularity, and extent of their wine-vaults, were
extremely pleasing to the eye; but a stranger should not visit more than
one of them in a day; for almost every cask has some peculiarity to
recommend it, and its contents must be tasted.

We found the paper currency here very inconvenient, from its lightness;
as more than one instance occurred among ourselves during our stay, of
its being torn from our hands by the violence of the south-east wind,
when we were about to make a payment in the street, or even at the door
of a shop.

The meat of the Cape was excellent; the black cattle were large, very
strong, and remarkable for the great space between their horns. It was
not uncommon to see twelve, fourteen, or sixteen oxen yoked in pairs to a
waggon, and galloping through the streets of the town, preceded by a
Hottentot boy, who accompanied them on foot, conducting the foremost
couple by a leathern thong, which caution they are compelled to observe
by an order of government, some accidents having formerly happened from
some of these large teams having been imprudently driven through the
streets without any one to lead them; the lash of the charioteer (for the
driver of such a team deserves a more honourable appellation than that of
waggoner) had been sometimes heard, we were told, on board of ships in
the bay.

The sheep are fat, well-flavoured, and remarkable for the weight and size
of their tails. Wonders have been related of them by travellers; but
travellers from this part of the world are privileged to exaggerate in
their narrations, if they choose so to do; the truth however is, that
their tails weigh from eight to sixteen pounds; some few perhaps may be
heavier by a pound or two; but though the sheep itself will very well
endure the voyage to Europe, yet its tall considerably decreases in size
and weight during the passage.

Strangers coming into the bay are served with beef, mutton, etc. by the
Company's butcher, who contracts to supply the Company, its officers and
ships, with meat at a certain price, which is fixed at about three
halfpence per pound, although he may have to purchase the cattle at three
or four times that sum; but in return for this exaction, he has the sole
permission of selling to strangers, and at a much higher price, though
even in that instance his demand is not allowed to exceed a certain
quota. Four-pence _per_ pound was the price given for all the meat served
to our ships after we came in.

During our stay here we made frequent visits to the Company's garden,
pleasantly situated in the midst of the town. The ground on each side of
the principal walk, which was from eight to nine hundred paces in length,
was laid out in fruit and kitchen gardens, and at the upper end was a
paddock where we saw three large ostriches, and a few antelopes. Behind
this paddock was a menagerie, which contained nothing very curious--a
vicious zebra, an eagle, a cassowary, a falcon, a crowned falcon, two of
the birds called secretaries, a crane, a tiger, an hyaena, two wolves, a
jackal, and a very large baboon, composed the entire catalogue of its

In the town are two churches, one for the Calvinists, and another for the
followers of Luther. In the first of these was a handsome organ; four
large plain columns supported the roof, and the walls were ornamented
with escutcheons and armorial quarterings. The body of the church was
filled with chairs for the women, the men sitting in pews round the
sides. By the pulpit stood an hour-glass, which, we were told, regulated
the duration of the minister's admonition to his congregation. In the
churchyards the gravestones, instead of bearing the names of the
deceased, were all numbered, and the names were registered in a book kept
for the purpose.

Weddings were always solemnized on a Sunday at one or other of these
churches, and the parties were habited in sables, a dress surely more
congenial with the sensations felt on the last than on the first day of
such an union.

To the care of an officer belonging to a regiment in India, who was
returning to Europe in a Danish vessel, Captain Phillip committed his
dispatches; and by this ship every officer gladly embraced the last
opportunity of communicating with their friends and connections, until
they should be enabled to renew their correspondence from the new world
to which they were now bound.

Nothing remaining to be done that need detain the convoy longer in this
port, every article having been procured that could tend to the present
refreshment of the colonists, or to the future advantage of the colony,
the _Sirius_ was unmoored in the evening of Sunday the llth, Captain
Phillip purposing to put to sea the following morning; but the wind at
that time not being favourable, the boats from the _Sirius_ were once
more sent on shore for a load of water, in order than no vessel which
could be filled with an article so essential to the preservation of the
flock might be taken to sea empty.

The south-east wind now beginning to blow, the signal was made for
weighing, and at ten minutes before two in the afternoon of Monday the
12th of November the whole fleet was under sail standing out with a fresh
of wind to the northward of Robin Island.

It was natural to indulge at this moment a melancholy reflection which
obtruded itself upon the mind. The land behind us was the abode of a
civilized people; that before us was the residence of savages. When, if
ever, we might again enjoy the commerce of the world, was doubtful and
uncertain. The refreshments and the pleasures of which we had so
liberally partaken at the Cape, were to be exchanged for coarse fare and
hard labour at New South Wales. All communication with families and
friends now cut off, we were leaving the world behind us, to enter on a
state unknown; and, as if it had been necessary to imprint this idea more
strongly on our minds, and to render the sensation still more poignant,
at the close of the evening we spoke a ship from London*. The metropolis
of our native country, its pleasures, its wealth, and its consequence,
thus accidentally presented to the mind, failed not to afford a most
striking contrast with the object now principally in our view.

[* The _Kent_--southern whaler.]

Before we quitted the Cape Captain Hunter determined the longitude of the
Cape-town in Table-bay to be, by the mean of several sets of lunar
observations taken on board the _Sirius_, 18 degrees 23 minutes 55
seconds east from Greenwich.


Proceed on the voyage
Captain Phillip sails onward in the _Supply_, taking with him three of
the transports
Pass the island of St. Paul
Weather, January 1788
The South Cape of New Holland made
The _Sirius_ and her convoy anchor in the harbour of Botany Bay.

Every precaution being absolutely necessary to guard against a failure of
water on board the different ships, the whole were put upon an allowance
of three pints _per_ man _per diem_ soon after our departure from the
Cape. This regulation was highly proper, as from the probable continuance
of the easterly wind which then blew, the fleet might be detained a
considerable time at sea.

For several days after we had sailed, the wind was unfavourable, and
blowing fresh, with much sea, some time elapsed before we had reached to
the eastward of the Cape of Good Hope. On the 16th, Captain Phillip
signified his intention of proceeding forward in the _Supply_, with the
view of arriving in New South Wales so long before the principal part of
the fleet, as to be able to fix on a clear and proper place for the
settlement. Lieutenant Shortland was at the same time informed, that he
was to quit the fleet with the _Alexander_, taking on with him the
_Scarborough_ and _Friendship_ transports. These three ships had on board
the greater part of the male convicts, whom Captain Phillip had sanguine
hopes of employing to much advantage, before the _Sirius_, with that part
of the fleet which was to remain under Captain Hunter's direction, should
arrive upon the coast. This separation, the first that had occurred, did
not take place until the 25th, on which day Captain Phillip went on board
the _Supply_, taking with him, from the _Sirius_, Lieutenants King and
Dawes, with the time-keeper. On the same day Major Ross, with the
adjutant and quarter-master of the detachment, went into the
_Scarborough_, in order to co-operate with Captain Phillip in his
intention of preparing, as far as time might allow, for the reception of
the rest of the convoy.

The _Supply_ and the three transports having taken their departure,
Captain Hunter drew his little convoy into the order of sailing
prescribed for them; and the boats, which had been employed passing and
repassing between the _Sirius_ and the transports, being hoisted in,
about noon the fleet made sail to the south-east, having a fresh breeze
at west-north-west.

December.] On Sunday the 16th of December, by computation, we were
abreast of the Island of St. Paul, passing it at the distance of about
sixty leagues.

The following day, on the return of a boat from the _Fishbourn_
store-ship which had been sent to inquire into the state of the stock, we
heard that several of the sheep were dead, as well as eight of the hogs
belonging to the public stock.

Christmas day found us in the latitude of 42 degrees 10 minutes south,
and steering, as we had done for a considerable time, an east-south-east
course. We complied, as far as was in our power, with the good old
English custom, and partook of a better dinner this day than usual; but
the weather was too rough to admit of much social enjoyment.

With the wind at south-west, west-south-west, and south and by west, the
weather was clear and cold, while to the northward of east or west it
generally blew in strong gales.

We now often noticed pieces of sea-weed floating by the ships; and on the
28th the sun just appeared in time to show us we were in the latitude of
42 degrees 58 minutes south.

On the 29th, being in latitude 43 degrees 35 minutes south, the course
was altered to east and by south half south, in order to run down our
easting without going any further to the southward. The run at noon on
this day was found to be the greatest we had made in any twenty-four
hours since our departure from England, having 182 miles on the log-board
since twelve o'clock the preceding day.

By lunar observations taken on the 30th the longitude was found to be 118
degrees 19 minutes east.

January.] The new year opened with a gale of wind from the northward,
which continued with much violence all the day, moderating towards

The evening of the third proved fine and moderate, and the sun setting
clear gave a good observation for the amplitude, when the variation was
found to be 1 degree 00 minutes east. At noon the fleet was in the
latitude of 44 degrees 00 minutes south, and longitude by lunar
observation 135 degrees 32 minutes east, of which the convoy was

At noon on the 4th preparations were made on board the _Sirius_ for
falling in with the land; her cables were bent, signal-guns prepared, and
every possible precautions taken to ensure the safety of the fleet.

About ten at night on the 5th, a very beautiful aurora australis was
observed bearing about south-west of the fleet; and for some nights a
luminous phenomenon had been seen resembling lights floating on the
surface of the water.

By a lunar observation taken at ten o'clock of the forenoon of Monday the
7th, the fleet was then distant seventeen leagues from the South Cape of
New Holland; and at five minutes past two in the afternoon the signal was
made for seeing the land. The rocks named the Mewstone and Swilly were
soon visible, and the fleet stood along shore with fair moderate weather
and smooth water, the land of New Holland distant from three to five

Nothing could more strongly prove the excellence and utility of lunar
observations, than the accuracy with which we made the land in this long
voyage from the Cape of Good Hope, there not being a league difference
between our expectation of seeing it, and the real appearance of it.

A thick haze hanging over the land, few observations could be made of it.
What we first saw was the South-west Cape of New Holland, between which
and the South Cape the land appeared high and rocky, rising gradually
from the shore, and wearing in many places a very barren aspect. In small
cavities, on the summit of some of the high land, was the appearance of
snow. Over the South Cape the land seemed covered with wood; the trees
stood thick, and the bark of them appeared in general to have a whitish
cast. The coast seemed very irregular, projecting into low points forming
creeks and bays, some of which seemed to be deep; very little verdure was
any where discernible; in many spots the ground looked arid and sterile.
At night we perceived several fires lighted on the coast, at many of
which, no doubt, were some of the native inhabitants, to whom it was
probable our novel appearance must have afforded matter of curiosity and

In all the preceding passage we had been scarcely a day without seeing
birds of different kinds; and we also met with many whales. The weather
was in general very rough, and the sea high, but the wind favourable,
blowing mostly from north-west to south-west.

The convoy behaved well, paying more attention and obedience to signals
than ships in the merchant service are commonly known to do. The ships,
however, began to grow foul, not one of them being coppered, and we now
anxiously wished for a termination of the voyage, particularly as the hay
provided for the horses was on the point of being wholly expended.

The fair wind which had accompanied us to New Holland suddenly left us,
shifting round to north-east and by east; we were obliged to lay our
heads off-shore, in order to weather Swilly and the Eddystone (a
perpendicular rock about a league to the eastward of Swilly) and the next
day we had the mortification of a foul wind, a thing to which we had been
long unaccustomed.

In the night of the 9th the _Golden Grove_ shipped a sea, which stove in
all her cabin windows: it was nearly calm at the time, with a confused
heavy swell*.

[* This circumstance has since occurred to other ships nearly in the same

At two o'clock in the afternoon of the following day a very heavy and
sudden squall took the _Sirius_ and laid her considerably down on her
starboard side: it blew very fresh, and was felt more or less by all the
transports, some of which suffered in their sails.

Our progress along the coast to the northward was very slow, and it was
not until the 19th that we fell in with the land, when we were nearly
abreast of the Point named by Captain Cook Red Point. Before evening,
however, we were gratified with the sight of the entrance into Botany
Bay, but too late to attempt standing into it with the transports that
night. The convoy therefore was informed by Captain Hunter how the
entrance of the bay bore, and directed to be very attentive in the
morning when the _Sirius _made sail or bore up.

When the morning came we found the fleet had been carried by a current to
the southward as far as a clump of trees which had the preceding day
obtained, from some resemblance in the appearance, the name of Post-down
Clump; but with the assistance of a fine breeze we soon regained what we
had lost in the night; and at ten minutes before eight in the morning the
_Sirius_ came to an anchor in Botany Bay. The transports were all safe in
by nine o'clock.



Arrival of the fleet at Botany Bay
The governor proceeds to Port Jackson, where it is determined to fix the
Two French ships under M. de la Perouse arrive at Botany Bay
The _Sirius_ and convoy arrive at Port Jackson
Commission and letters patent read
Extent of the territory of New South Wales
Behaviour of the convicts
The criminal court twice assembled
Account of the different courts
The _Supply_ sent with some settlers to Norfolk Island

When the _Sirius_ anchored in the bay, Captain Hunter was informed that
the _Supply_ had preceded him in his arrival only two days; and that the
agent Lieutenant Shortland, with his detachment from the fleet, had
arrived but the day before the _Sirius_ and her convoy.

Thus, under the blessing of God, was happily completed, in eight months
and one week, a voyage which, before it was undertaken, the mind hardly
dared venture to contemplate, and on which it was impossible to reflect
without some apprehensions as to its termination. This fortunate
completion of it, however, afforded even to ourselves as much matter of
surprise as of general satisfaction; for in the above space of time we
had sailed five thousand and twenty-one leagues; had touched at the
American and African Continents; and had at last rested within a few days
sail of the antipodes of our native country, without meeting any accident
in a fleet of eleven sail, nine of which were merchantmen that had never
before sailed in that distant and imperfectly explored ocean: and when it
is considered, that there was on board a large body of convicts, many of
whom were embarked in a very sickly state, we might be deemed peculiarly
fortunate, that of the whole number of all descriptions of persons coming
to form the new settlement, only thirty-two had died since their leaving
England, among whom were to be included one or two deaths by accidents;
although previous to our departure it was generally conjectured, that
before we should have been a month at sea one of the transports would
have been converted into an hospital ship. But it fortunately happened
otherwise; the high health which was apparent in every countenance was to
be attributed not only to the refreshments we met with at Rio de Janeiro
and the Cape of Good Hope, but to the excellent quality of the provisions
with which we were supplied by Mr. Richards junior, the contractor; and
the spirits visible in every eye were to be ascribed to the general joy
and satisfaction which immediately took place on finding ourselves
arrived at that port which had been so much and so long the subject of
our most serious reflections, the constant theme of our conversations.

The governor, we found, had employed the time he had been here in
examining the bay, for the purpose of determining where he should
establish the settlement; but as yet he had not seen any spot to which
some strong objection did not apply. Indeed, very few places offered
themselves to his choice, and not one sufficiently extensive for a
thousand people to sit down on. The southern shore about Point Sutherland
seemed to possess the soil best adapted for cultivation, but it was
deficient in that grand essential fresh water, and was besides too
confined for our numbers. There was indeed a small run of water there;
but it appeared to be only a drain from a marsh, and by no means promised
that ample or certain supply which was requisite for such a settlement as
ours. The governor, therefore, speedily determined on examining the
adjacent harbours of Port Jackson and Broken Bay, in one of which he
thought it possible that a better situation for his young colony might be
found. But as his search might possibly prove fruitless, and that the few
days which it should occupy might not be altogether thrown away, he left
the lieutenant-governor at Botany Bay, with instructions to clear the
ground about Point Sutherland, and make preparations for disembarking the
detachment of marines and the convicts on his return, should that place
at last be deemed the most eligible spot. At the same time Lieutenant
King, of the _Sirius_, was directed to examine such parts of the bay as,
from want of time, the governor had not himself been able to visit.

The governor set off on Monday the 21st, accompanied by Captain Hunter,
Captain Collins (the judge-advocate), a lieutenant, and the master of the
_Sirius_, with a small party of marines for their protection, the whole
being embarked in three open boats. The day was mild and serene, and
there being but a gentle swell without the mouth of the harbour, the
excursion promised to be a pleasant one. Their little fleet attracted the
attention of several parties of the natives, as they proceeded along the
coast, who all greeted them in the same words, and in the same tone of
vociferation, shouting every where 'Warra, warra, warra' words which, by
the gestures that accompanied them, could not be interpreted into
invitations to land, or expressions of welcome. It must however be
observed, that at Botany Bay the natives had hitherto conducted
themselves sociably and peaceably toward all the parties of our officers
and people with whom they had hitherto met, and by no means seemed to
regard them as enemies or invaders of their country and tranquillity*.

[* How grateful to every feeling of humanity would it be could we
conclude this narrative without being compelled to say, that these
unoffending people had found reason to change both their opinions and
their conduct!]

The coast, as the boats drew near Port Jackson, wore so unfavourable an
appearance, that Captain Phillip's utmost expectation reached no farther
than to find what Captain Cook, as he passed by, thought might be found,
shelter for a boat. In this conjecture, however, he was most agreeably
disappointed, by finding not only shelter for a boat, but a harbour
capable of affording security to a much larger fleet than would probably
ever seek for shelter or security in it. In one of the coves of this
noble and capacious harbour, equal if not superior to any yet known in
the world, it was determined to fix the settlement; and on the 23rd,
having examined it as fully as the time would allow, the governor and his
party left Port Jackson and its friendly and peaceful inhabitants (for
such he everywhere found them), and returned to Botany Bay.

In the report, of the survey made by Lieutenant King, during the
governor's absence, the latter found nothing to induce him to alter his
resolution of fixing in Port Jackson: directions were therefore given,
that the necessary supply of water and grass for the stock should be
immediately sent off to the ships, and the next morning was appointed for
their departure from Botany Bay.

Several trees had been cut down at Point Sutherland, a saw-pit had been
dug, and other preparations made for disembarking, in case the governor
had not succeeded as, to the great satisfaction of every one, it was
found he had; for had he been compelled to remain in Botany Bay, the
swampy ground every where around it threatened us with unhealthy
situations; neither could the shipping have ridden in perfect security
when the wind blew from the SE to which the bay lay much exposed, the sea
at that time rolling in with a prodigious swell. A removal therefore to
Port Jackson was highly applauded, and would have taken place the next
morning, but at daylight we were surprised by the appearance of two
strange sail in the offing. Of what nation they could be, engaged the
general wonder for some time, which at last gave way to a conjecture that
they might be the French ships under M. de la Perouse, then on a voyage
round the world. This was soon strengthened by the view of a white
pendant, similar in shape to that of a commodore in our service, and we
had no longer a doubt remaining that they were the ships above mentioned.
They were, however, prevented by a strong southerly current from getting
into the bay until the 26th, when it was known that they were the
_Boussole_ and _Astrolabe_, French ships, which sailed, under the command
of M. de la Perouse, from France in the year 1785, on a voyage of
discovery. As Captain Hunter, with whom the governor had left the charge
of bringing the _Sirius_ and transports round to Port Jackson (whither he
had preceded them in the _Supply_ the day before), was working out when
M. de la Perouse entered Botany Bay, the two commanders had barely time
to exchange civilities; and it must naturally have created some surprise
in M. de la Perouse to find our fleet abandoning the harbour at the very
time he was preparing to anchor in it: indeed he afterwards said, that
until he had looked round him in Botany Bay, he could not divine the
cause of our quitting it, which he was so far from expecting, that having
heard at Kamschatka of the intended settlement, he imagined he should
have found a town built and a market established; but from what he had
seen of the country since his arrival, he was convinced of the propriety
and absolute necessity of the measure. M. de la Perouse sailed into the
harbour by Captain Cook's chart of Botany Bay, which lay before him on
the binnacle; and we had the pleasure of hearing him more than once pay a
tribute to our great circumnavigator's memory, by acknowledging the
accuracy of his nautical observations.

The governor, with a party of marines, and some artificers selected from
among the seamen of the _Sirius_ and the convicts, arrived in Port
Jackson, and anchored off the mouth of the cove intended for the
settlement on the evening of the 25th; and in the course of the following
day sufficient ground was cleared for encamping the officer's guard and
the convicts who had been landed in the morning. The spot chosen for this
purpose was at the head of the cove, near the run of fresh water, which
stole silently along through a very thick wood, the stillness of which
had then, for the first time since the creation, been interrupted by the
rude sound of the labourer's axe, and the downfall of its ancient
inhabitants; a stillness and tranquillity which from that day were to
give place to the voice of labour, the confusion of camps and towns, and
'the busy hum of its new possessors.' That these did not bring with them,
'Minds not to be changed by time or place,' was fervently to have been
wished; and if it were possible, that on taking possession of Nature, as
we had thus done, in her simplest, purest garb, we might not sully that
purity by the introduction of vice, profaneness, and immorality. But
this, though much to be wished, was little to be expected; the habits of
youth are not easily laid aside, and the utmost we could hope in our
present situation was to oppose the soft harmonising arts of peace and
civilisation to the baneful influence of vice and immorality.

In the evening of this day the whole of the party that came round in the
_Supply_ were assembled at the point where they had first landed in the
morning, and on which a flag-staff had been purposely erected and an
union jack displayed, when the marines fired several vollies; between
which the governor and the officers who accompanied him drank the healths
of his Majesty and the Royal Family, and success to the new colony. The
day, which had been uncommonly fine, concluded with the safe arrival of
the _Sirius_ and the convoy from Botany Bay--thus terminating the voyage
with the same good fortune that had from its commencement been so
conspicuously their friend and companion.

The disembarkation of the troops and convicts took place from the
following day until the whole were landed. The confusion that ensued will
not be wondered at, when it is considered that every man stepped from the
boat literally into a wood. Parties of people were every where heard and
seen variously employed; some in clearing ground for the different
encampments; others in pitching tents, or bringing up such stores as were
more immediately wanted; and the spot which had so lately been the abode
of silence and tranquillity was now changed to that of noise, clamour,
and confusion: but after a time order gradually prevailed every where. As
the woods were opened and the ground cleared, the various encampments
were extended, and all wore the appearance of regularity.

February.] A portable canvas house, brought over for the governor, was
erected on the East side of the cove (which was named Sydney, in
compliment to the principal secretary of state for the home department)
where also a small body of convicts was put under tents. The detachment
of marines was encamped at the head of the cove near the stream, and on
the West side was placed the main body of the convicts. The women did not
disembark until the 6th of February; when, every person belonging to the
settlement being landed, the numbers amounted to 1030 persons. The tents
for the sick were placed on the West side, and it was observed with
concern that their numbers were fast increasing. The scurvy, that had not
appeared during the passage, now broke out, which, aided by a dysentery,
began to fill the hospital, and several died. In addition to the
medicines that were administered, every species of esculent plants that
could be found in the country were procured for them; wild celery,
spinach, and parsley, fortunately grew in abundance about the settlement;
those who were in health, as well as the sick, were very glad to
introduce them into their messes, and found them a pleasant as well as
wholesome addition to the ration of salt provisions.

The public stock, consisting of one bull, four cows, one bull-calf, one
stallion, three mares, and three colts (one of which was a stone-colt)
were landed on the East point of the cove, where they remained until they
had cropped the little pasturage it afforded; and were then removed to a
spot at the head of the adjoining cove, that was cleared for a small
farm, intended to be placed under the direction of a person brought out
by the governor.

Some ground having been prepared near his excellency's house on the East
side, the plants from Rio-de-Janeiro and the Cape of Good Hope were
safely brought on shore in a few days; and we soon had the satisfaction
of seeing the grape, the fig, the orange, the pear, and the apple, the
delicious fruits of the Old, taking root and establishing themselves in
our New World.

As soon as the hurry and tumult necessarily attending the disembarkation
had a little subsided, the governor caused his Majesty's commission,
appointing him to be his captain-general and governor in chief in and
over the territory of New South Wales and its dependencies, to be
publicly read, together with the letters patent for establishing the
courts of civil and criminal judicature in the territory, the extent of
which, until this publication of it, was but little known even among
ourselves. It was now found to extend from Cape York (the extremity of
the coast to the northward) in the latitude of 20 degrees 37 minutes
South, to the South Cape (the southern extremity of the coast) in the
latitude of 43 degrees 39 minutes South; and inland to the westward as
far as 135 degrees of East longitude, comprehending all the islands
adjacent in the Pacific Ocean, within the latitudes of the
above-mentioned capes.

By this definition of our boundaries it will be seen that we were
confined along the coast of this continent to such parts of it solely as
were navigated by Captain Cook, without infringing on what might be
claimed by other nations from the right of discovery. Of that right,
however, no other nation has chosen to avail itself. Whether the western
coast is unpromising in its appearance, or whether the want of a return
proportioned to the expense which the mother-country must sustain in
supporting a settlement formed nearly at the farthest part of the globe,
may have deterred them, is not known; but Great Britain alone has
followed up the discoveries she had made in this country, by at once
establishing in it a regular colony and civil government.

The ceremony of reading these public instruments having been performed by
the judge-advocate, the governor, addressing himself to the convicts,
assured them, among other things, that 'he should ever be ready to show
approbation and encouragement to those who proved themselves worthy of
them by good conduct and attention to orders; while on the other hand,
such as were determined to act in opposition to propriety, and observe a
contrary conduct, would inevitably meet with the punishment which they
deserved.' He remarked how much it was their interest to forget the
habits of vice and indolence in which too many of them had hitherto
lived; and exhorted them to be honest among themselves, obedient to their
overseers, and attentive to the several works in which they were about to
be employed. At the conclusion of this address three volleys were fired
by the troops, who thereupon returned to their parade, where the
governor, attended by Captain Hunter and the principal officers of the
settlement, passed along the front of the detachment, and received the
honours due to a captain-general; after which he entertained all the
officers and gentlemen of the settlement at dinner, under a large tent
pitched for the purpose at the head of the marine encampment.

The convicts had been mustered early in the morning, when nine were
reported to be absent. From the situation which we had unavoidably
adopted, it was impossible to prevent these people from straggling.
Fearless of the danger which must attend them, many had visited the
French ships in Botany Bay, soliciting to be taken on board, and giving a
great deal of trouble. It was soon found that they secreted at least
one-third of their working tools, and that any sort of labour was with
difficulty procured from them.

The want of proper overseers principally contributed to this. Those who
were placed over them as such were people selected from among themselves,
being recommended by their conduct during the voyage; few of these,
however, chose to exert the authority that was requisite to keep the
gangs at their labour, although assured of meeting with every necessary
support. Petty thefts among themselves began soon to be complained of;
the sailors from the transports, although repeatedly forbidden, and
frequently punished, still persisted in bringing spirits on shore by
night, and drunkenness was often the consequence.

To check these enormities, the court of criminal judicature was assembled
on the 11th of February, when three prisoners were tried; one for an
assault, of which being found guilty, he was sentenced to receive one
hundred and fifty lashes; a second, for taking some biscuit from another
convict, was sentenced to a week's confinement on bread and water, on a
small rocky island near the entrance of the cove; and a third, for
stealing a plank, was sentenced to receive fifty lashes, but, being
recommended to the governor, was forgiven.

The mildness of these punishments seemed rather to have encouraged than
deterred others from the commission of greater offences; for before the
month was ended the criminal court was again assembled for the trial of
four offenders, who had conceived and executed a plan for robbing the
public store during the time of issuing the provisions. This crime, in
its tendency big with evil to our little community, was rendered still
more atrocious by being perpetrated at the very time when the difference
of provisions, which had till then existed, was taken off, and the
convict saw the same proportion of provision issued to himself that was
served to the soldier and the officer, the article of spirits only
excepted. Each male convict was that day put upon the following weekly
ration of provisions, two-thirds of which was served to the female
convicts, viz 7 pounds of biscuit; 1 pound of flour; 7 pounds of beef, or
4 pounds of pork; 3 pints of peas; and 6 ounces of butter.

It was fair to suppose that so liberal a ration would in itself have
proved the security of the store, and have defended it from depredation;
but we saw with concern, that there were among us some minds so
habitually vicious that no consideration was of any weight with them, nor
could they be induced to do right by any prospect of future benefit, or
fear of certain and immediate punishment. The charge being fully proved,
one man, James Barrett, suffered death: his confederates were pardoned,
on condition of their being banished from the settlement. Another culprit
was sentenced to receive three hundred lashes; but, not appearing so
guilty as his companions, was pardoned by the governor, the power of
pardoning being vested in him by his Majesty's commission.

His excellency, having caused one example to be made, extended lenity to
some others who were tried the following day; and one convict, James
Freeman, was pardoned on condition of his becoming the public

It appeared by the letters patent under the great seal of Great Britain,
which were read after the governor's commission, that 'the appointment of
the place to which offenders should be transported having been vested in
the crown by an act of parliament, his Majesty, by two several orders in
council, bearing date the 6th of December 1786, had declared, that
certain offenders named in two lists annexed to the orders in council
should be transported to the eastern coast of New Holland, named New
South Wales, or some one or other of the islands adjacent:' and it being
deemed necessary that a colony and civil government should be established
in the place to which such felons should be transported, and that a court
of criminal jurisdiction should also be established therein, with
authority to proceed in a more summary way than is used within the realms
of Great Britain, according to the known and established laws thereof,
his Majesty, by the 27th Geo. 3. cap. 56. was enabled to authorise, by
his commission under the great seal, 'the governor, or in his absence the
lieutenant-governor of such place, to convene from time to time, as
occasion may require, a court of criminal jurisdiction, which court is to
be a court of record, and is to consist of the judge-advocate and such
six officers of the sea and land service as the governor shall, by
precept issued under his hand and seal, require to assemble for that
purpose.' This court has power to inquire of, hear, determine, and punish
all treasons, misprisions of treasons, murders, felonies, forgeries,
perjuries, trespasses, and other crimes whatsoever that may be committed
in the colony; the punishment for such offences to be inflicted according
to the laws of England as nearly as may be, considering and allowing for
the circumstances and situation of the settlement and its inhabitants.
The charge against any offender is to be reduced into writing, and
exhibited by the judge-advocate: witnesses are to be examined upon oath,
as well for as against the prisoner; and the court is to adjudge whether
he is guilty or not guilty by the opinion of the major part of the court.
If guilty, and the offence is capital, they are to pronounce judgment of
death, in like manner as if the prisoner had been convicted by the
verdict of a jury in England, or of such corporal punishment as the
court, or the major part of it, shall deem meet. And in cases not
capital, they are to adjudge such corporal punishment as the majority of
the court shall determine. But no offender is to suffer death, unless
five members of the court shall concur in adjudging him to be guilty,
until the proceedings shall have been transmitted to England, and the
king's pleasure signified thereupon. The provost-marshal is to cause the
judgment of the court to be executed according to the governor's warrant
under his hand and seal.

The resemblance of this to the military courts may be easily traced in
some particulars. The criminal court is assembled, not at stated times,
but whenever occasion may require. It is composed of military officers
(the judge-advocate excepted, whose situation is of a civil nature) who
assemble as such in their military habits, with the insignia of duty, the
sash and the sword. Their judgments are to be determined by the majority;
and the examination of the witnesses is carried on by the members of the
court, as well as by the judge-advocate. But in other respects it differs
from the military courts. The judge-advocate is the judge or president of
the court; he frames and exhibits the charge against the prisoner, has a
vote in the court, and is sworn, like the members of it, well and truly
to try and to make true deliverance between the king and the prisoner,
and give a verdict according to the evidence.

When the state of the colony and the nature of its inhabitants are
considered, it must be agreed, that the administration of public justice
could not have been placed with so much propriety in any other hands. The
outward form of the court, as well as the more essential part of it, are
admirably calculated to meet the characters and disposition of the people
who form the major part of the settlement. As long confinement would be
attended with a loss of labour, and other evils, the court is assembled
within a day or two after the apprehension of any prisoner whose crime is
of such magnitude as to call for a criminal proceeding against him. He is
brought before a court composed of a judge and six men of honour, who
hear the evidence both for and against him, and determine whether the
crime exhibited be or be not made out; and his punishment, if found
guilty, is adjudged according to the laws of England, considering and
allowing for the situation and circumstances of the settlement and its
inhabitants; which punishment, however, after all, cannot be inflicted
without the ratification of the governor under his hand and seal.

Beside this court for the trial of criminal offenders, there is a civil
court, consisting of the judge-advocate and two inhabitants of the
settlement, who are to be appointed by the governor; which court has full
power to hear and determine in a summary way all pleas of lands, houses,
debts, contracts, and all personal pleas whatsoever, with authority to
summon the parties upon complaint being made, to examine the matter of
such complaint by the oaths of witnesses, and to issue warrants of
execution under the hand and seal of the judge-advocate. From this court,
on either party, plaintiff or defendant, finding himself or themselves
aggrieved by the judgment or decree, an appeal lies to the governor, and
from him, where the debt or thing in demand shall exceed the value of
three hundred pounds, to the king in council: but these appeals must be
put in, if from the civil court, within eight days, and if from the
governor or superior court, within fourteen days after pronouncing the
said judgments.

To this court is likewise given authority to grant probates of wills and
administration of the personal estates of intestates dying within the
settlement. But as property must be acquired in the country before its
rights can come into question, few occasions of assembling this court can
occur for many years.

In addition to these courts for the trial of crimes, and the cognisance
of civil suits, the governor, the lieutenant-governor, and the
judge-advocate for the time being, are by his Majesty's letters patent
constituted justices for the preservation of the peace of the settlement,
with the same power that justices of the peace have in England within
their respective jurisdictions. And the governor, being enabled by his
Majesty's commission, soon after our arrival, caused Augustus Alt esq.
(the surveyor-general of the territory) to be sworn a justice of the
peace, for the purpose of sitting once a week, or oftener as occasion
might require, with the judge-advocate, to examine all offences committed
by the convicts, and determine on and punish such as were not of
sufficient importance for trial by the criminal court.

There is also a vice-admiralty court for the trial of offences committed
upon the high seas, of which the lieutenant-governor is constituted the
judge, Mr. Andrew Miller the registrar, and Mr. Henry Brewer the
marshall. The governor has, beside that of captain-general, a commission
constituting him vice-admiral of the territory; and another vesting him
with authority to hold* general courts-martial, and to confirm or set
aside the sentence. The major-commandant of the detachment had the usual
power of assembling regimental or battalion courts-martial for the trial
of offences committed by the soldiers under his command.

[* Captain Collins, the judge-advocate of the settlement, had also a
warrant from the Admiralty appointing him judge-advocate to the marine

By this account of the different modes of administering and obtaining
justice, which the legislature provided for this settlement, it is
evident that great care had been taken on our setting out, to furnish us
with a stable foundation whereon to erect our little colony, a foundation
which was established in the punishment of vice, the security of
property, and the preservation of peace and good order in our community.

The governor having also received instructions to establish a settlement
at Norfolk Island, the _Supply_ sailed for that place about the middle of
the month of February, having on board Lieutenant King of the _Sirius_,
named by Capt. Phillip superintendant and commandant of the settlement to
be formed there. Lieutenant King took with him one surgeon (Mr. Jamieson,
surgeon's mate of the _Sirius_), one petty officer (Mr. Cunningham, also
of the _Sirius_), two private soldiers, two persons who pretended to some
knowledge of flax-dressing, and nine male and six female convicts, mostly
volunteers. This little party was to be landed with tents, clothing for
the convicts, implements of husbandry, tools for dressing flax, etc. and
provisions for six months; before the expiration of which time it was
designed to send them a fresh supply.

Norfolk Island is situated in the latitude of 29 degrees south, and in
longitude 168 degrees 10 minutes east of Greenwich, and was settled with
a view to the cultivation of the flax plant, which at the time when the
island was discovered by Captain Cook was found growing most luxuriantly
where he landed; and from the specimens taken to England of the New
Zealand flax (of which sort is that growing at Norfolk Island), it was
hoped some advantages to the mother country might be derived from
cultivating and manufacturing it.

Mr. King, previous to his departure for his little government, was sworn
in as a justice of the peace, taking the oaths necessary on the occasion,
by which he was enabled to punish such petty offences as might be
committed among his people, capital crimes being reserved for the
cognisance of the criminal court of judicature established here.

Our own preservation depending in a great measure upon the preservation
of our stores and provisions, houses for their reception were immediately
begun when sufficient ground was found to be cleared; and the persons who
had the direction of these and other works carrying on, found it most to
the advantage of the public service to employ the convicts in task work,
allotting a certain quantity of ground to be cleared by a certain number
of persons in a given time, and allowing them to employ what time they
might gain, till called on again for public service, in bringing in
materials and erecting huts for themselves. But for the most part they
preferred passing in idleness the hours that might have been so
profitably spent, straggling into the woods for vegetables, or visiting
the French ships in Botany Bay. Of this latter circumstance we were
informed by M. de Clonard, the captain of the _Astrolabe_, in an
excursion he made from the ships, to bring round some dispatches from M.
de la Perouse, which that officer requested might be forwarded to the
French ambassador at the court of London by the first of our transports
that might sail from hence for Europe. He informed us, that they were
daily visited by the convicts, many of whom solicited to be received on
board before their departure, promising (as an inducement) to be
accompanied by a number of females. M. de Clonard at the same time
assured us, that the general (as he was termed by his officers and
people) had given their solicitations no kind of countenance, but had
threatened to drive them away by force.

Among the buildings that were undertaken shortly after our arrival, must
be mentioned an observatory, which was marked out on the western point of
the cove, to receive the astronomical instruments which had been sent out
by the Board of Longitude, for the purpose of observing the comet which
was expected to be seen about the end of this year. The construction of
this building was placed under the direction of Lieut. Dawes of the
marines, who, having made this branch of science his particular study,
was appointed by the Board of Longitude to make astronomical observations
in this country.

The latitude of the observatory was 33 degrees 52 minutes 30 seconds S;
the longitude, from Greenwich, 151 degrees 19 minutes 30 seconds E.

Governor Phillip, having been very much pressed for time when he first
visited this harbour, had not thoroughly examined it. The completion of
that necessary business was left to Captain Hunter, who, with the first
lieutenant of the _Sirius_, early in the month of February, made an
accurate survey of it. It was then found to be far more extensive to the
westward than was at first imagined, and Captain Hunter described the
country as wearing a much more favourable countenance toward the head or
upper part, than it did immediately about the settlement. He saw several
parties of the natives, and, treating them constantly with good humour,
they always left him with friendly impressions.

It was natural to suppose that the curiosity of these people would be
attracted by observing, that, instead of quitting, we were occupied in
works that indicated an intention of remaining in their country; but
during the first six weeks we received only one visit, two men strolling
into the camp one evening, and remaining in it for about half an hour.
They appeared to admire whatever they saw, and after receiving each a
hatchet (of the use of which the eldest instantly and curiously showed
his knowledge, by turning up his foot, and sharpening a piece of wood on
the sole with the hatchet) took their leave, apparently well pleased with
their reception. The fishing-boats also frequently reported their having
been visited by many of these people when hauling the seine, at which
labour they often assisted with cheerfulness, and in return were
generally rewarded with part of the fish taken.

Every precaution was used to guard against a breach of this friendly and
desirable intercourse, by strictly prohibiting every person from
depriving them of their spears, fizgigs, gum, or other articles, which we
soon perceived they were accustomed to leave under the rocks, or loose
and scattered about upon the beaches. We had however great reason to
believe that these precautions were first rendered fruitless by the ill
conduct of a boat's crew belonging to one of the transports, who, we were
told afterwards, attempted to land in one of the coves at the lower part
of the harbour, but were prevented, and driven off with stones by the
natives. A party of them, consisting of sixteen or eighteen persons, some
time after landed on the island* where the people of the _Sirius_ were
preparing a garden, and with much artifice, watching their opportunity,
carried off a shovel, a spade, and a pick-axe. On their being fired at
and hit on the legs by one of the people with small shot, the pick-axe
was dropped, but they carried off the other tools.

[* Since known by the name of Garden Island.]

To such circumstances as these must be attributed the termination of that
good understanding which had hitherto subsisted between us and them, and
which Governor Phillip laboured to improve whenever he had an
opportunity. But it might have been foreseen that this would unavoidably
happen: the convicts were every where straggling about, collecting
animals and gum to sell to the people of the transports, who at the same
time were procuring spears, shields, swords, fishing-lines, and other
articles from the natives, to carry to Europe; the loss of which must
have been attended with many inconveniences to the owners, as it was soon
evident that they were the only means whereby they obtained or could
procure their daily subsistence; and although some of these people had
been punished for purchasing articles of the convicts, the practice was
carried on secretly, and attended with all the bad effects which were to
be expected from it. We also had the mortification to learn, that M. De
la Perouse had been compelled to fire upon the natives at Botany Bay,
where they frequently annoyed his people who were employed on shore. This
circumstance materially affected us, as those who had rendered this
violence necessary could not discriminate between us and them. We were
however perfectly convinced that nothing short of the greatest necessity
could have induced M. De la Perouse to take such a step, as we heard him
declare, that it was among the particular instructions that he received
from his sovereign, to endeavour by every possible means to acquire and
cultivate the friendship of the natives of such places as he might
discover or visit; and to avoid exercising any act of hostility upon
them. In obedience to this humane command, there was no doubt but he
forbore using force until forbearance would have been dangerous, and he
had been taught a lesson at Maouna, one of the Isles des Navigateurs,
that the tempers of savages were not to be trusted too far; for we were
informed, that on the very day and hour of their departure from that
island, the boats of the two ships, which were sent for a last load of
water, were attacked by the natives with stones and clubs, and M. De
l'Angle, the captain of the _Astrolabe_, with eleven officers and men,
were put to death; those who were so fortunate as to get off in the small
boats that attended on the watering launches (which were destroyed),
escaped with many wounds and contusions, some of which were not healed at
the time of their relating to us this unfortunate circumstance. It was
conjectured, that some one of the seamen, unknown to the officers, must
have occasioned this outrage, for which there was no other probable
reason to assign, as the natives during the time the ships were at the
island had lived with the officers and people on terms of the greatest
harmony. And this was not the first misfortune that those ships had met
with during their voyage; for on the north-west coast of America, they
lost two boats with their crews, and several young men of family, in a

Notwithstanding the pressure of the important business we had upon our
hands after our landing, the discharge of our religious duties was never
omitted, divine service being performed every Sunday that the weather
would permit: at which time the detachment of marines paraded with their
arms, the whole body of convicts attended, and were observed to conduct
themselves in general with the respect and attention due to the occasion
on which they were assembled.

It was soon observed with satisfaction, that several couples were
announced for marriage; but on strictly scrutinizing into the motive, it
was found in several instances to originate in an idea, that the married
people would meet with various little comforts and privileges that were
denied to those in a single state; and some, on not finding those
expectations realised, repented, wished and actually applied to be
restored to their former situations; so ignorant and thoughtless were
they in general. It was however to be wished, that matrimonial connexions
should be promoted among them; and none who applied were ever rejected,
except when it was clearly understood that either of the parties had a
wife or husband living at the time of their leaving England.

The weather during the latter end of January and the month of February
was very close, with rain, at times very heavy, and attended with much
thunder and lightning. In the night of the 6th February, six sheep, two
lambs, and one pig, belonging chiefly to the lieutenant-governor, having
been placed at the foot of a large tree, were destroyed by the lightning.
But accidents of this kind were rather to be expected than wondered at,
until the woods around us could be opened and cleared.


Broken Bay visited
M. de la Perouse sails
The _Supply_ returns
Lord Howe Island discovered
The ships for China sail
Some convicts wounded by the natives
New store-house
Necessary orders and appointments
Excursions into the country
New branch of the harbour into Port Jackson

March.] Early in March the governor, accompanied by some officers from
the settlement and the _Sirius_, went round by water to the next
adjoining harbour to the northward of this port, which is laid down in
the charts by the name of Broken Bay, from the broken appearance of the
land by which it is formed. The intention of this visit was, not only to
survey the harbour, if any were found to exist, but to examine whether
there were within it any spots of ground capable of cultivation, and of
maintaining a few families; but in eight days that he was absent, though
he found an harbour equal in magnitude to Port Jackson, the governor saw
no situation that could at all vie with that which he had chosen for the
settlement at Sydney Cove, the land at Broken Bay being in general very
high and in most parts rocky and barren. The weather proved very
unfavourable to an excursion in a country where the residence for each
night was to be provided by the travellers themselves; and some of the
party returned with dysenteric complaints. The weather at Port Jackson
had been equally adverse to labour, the governor finding at his return
upwards of two hundred patients under the surgeon's care, in consequence
of the heavy rains that had fallen. A building for the reception of the
sick was now absolutely necessary, and one, eighty-four feet by
twenty-three, was put in hand, to be divided into a dispensary, (all the
hospital stores being at that time under tents,) a ward for the troops,
and another for the convicts. It was to be built of wood, and the roof to
be covered in with shingles, made from a species of fir that is found
here. The heavy rains also pointed out the necessity of sheltering the
detachment, and until barracks could be built, most of them covered their
tents with thatch, or erected for themselves temporary clay huts. The
barracks were begun early in March; but much difficulty was found in
providing proper materials, the timber being in general shakey and
rotten. They were to consist of four buildings, each building to be
sixty-seven feet by twenty-two, and to contain one company. They were
placed at a convenient distance asunder for the purpose of air and
cleanliness, and with a space in the centre for a parade.

On or about Monday the 10th of March, the French ships sailed from Botany
Bay, bound, as they said, to the northward, and carrying with them the
most unfavourable ideas of this country and its native inhabitants; the
officers having been heard to declare, that in their whole voyage they no
where found so poor a country, nor such wretched miserable people. During
their stay in Botany Bay, they set up the frames of two large boats which
they brought out from Europe, to replace those they lost at Maouna, and
on the north-west coast of America. We had, during their stay in this
country, a very friendly and pleasant intercourse with their officers,
among whom we observed men of abilities, whose observations, and
exertions in the search after knowledge, will most amply illustrate the
history of their voyage: and it reflected much credit on the minister
when he arranged the plan of it, that people of the first talents for
navigation, astronomy, natural history, and every other science that
could render it conspicuously useful, should have been selected for the

We found after their departure the grave of the Abbé L. Receveur, who
died but a short time before they sailed: he was buried not very far from
the spot where their tents were erected, at the foot of a tree, on which
were nailed two pieces of board with the following inscription:

Hic jacet
L. Receveur
Ex F. F. Minoribus
Galliae Sacerdos
Physicus in Circumnavigatione Mundi
Duce D. de la Perouse
Obiit Die 17 Febr. Anno

Governor Phillip, on hearing that these boards had fallen down from the
tree, caused the inscription to be engraven on a plate of copper, which
was put up in place of the boards; but rain, and the oozing of gum from
the tree, soon rendered even that illegible.

We continued to be still busily employed; a wharf for the convenience of
landing stores was begun under the direction of the surveyor-general: the
ordnance, consisting of two brass six-pounders on travelling carriages,
four iron twelve-pounders, and two iron six-pounders, were landed; the
transports, which were chartered for China, were clearing; the long-boats
of the ships in the cove were employed in bringing up cabbage-tree from
the lower part of the harbour, where it grew in great abundance, and was
found, when cut into proper lengths, very fit for the purpose of erecting
temporary huts, the posts and plates of which being made of the pine of
this country, and the sides and ends filled with lengths of the
cabbage-tree, plastered over with clay, formed a very good hovel. The
roofs were generally thatched with the grass of the gum-rush; some were
covered with clay, but several of these failed, the weight of the clay
and heavy rain soon destroying them.

A gang of convicts was employed, under the direction of a person who
understood the business, in making bricks at a spot about a mile from the
settlement, at the head of Long Cove; at which place also two acres of
ground were marked out for such officers as were willing to cultivate
them and raise a little grain for their stock; it not being the intention
of government to give any grants of land until the necessary accounts of
the country, and of what expectations were likely to be formed from it,
should be received.

Great inconvenience was found from the necessity that subsisted of
suffering the stock of individuals to run loose amongst the tents and
huts; much damage in particular was sustained by hogs, who frequently
forced their way into them while the owners were at labour and destroyed
and damaged whatever they met with. At first these losses were usually
made good from the store, as it was unreasonable to expect labour where
the labourer did not receive the proper sustenance; but this being soon
found to open a door to much imposition, and to give rise to many
fabricated tales of injuries that never existed, an order was given, that
any hog caught trespassing was to be killed by the person who actually
received any damage from it.

The principal street of the intended town was marked out at the head of
the cove, and its dimensions were extensive. The government-house was to
be constructed on the summit of a hill commanding a capital view of Long
Cove, and other parts of the harbour; but this was to be a work of
after-consideration; for the present, as the ground was not cleared, it
was sufficient to point out the situation and define the limits of the
future buildings.

On the 19th the _Supply_ returned from Norfolk Island, having been absent
four weeks and six days. We learned that she made the island on the 29th
of last month, but for the five succeeding days was not able to effect a
landing, being prevented by a surf which they found breaking with
violence on a reef of rocks that lay across the principal bay. Lieutenant
King had nearly given up all hopes of being able to land, when a small
opening was discovered in the reef wide enough to admit a boat, through
which he was so fortunate as to get safely with all his people and
stores. When landed, he could nowhere find a space clear enough for
pitching a tent; and he had to cut through an almost impenetrable
wilderness before he could encamp himself and his people. Of the flock he
carried with him, he lost the only she-goat he had, and one ewe. He had
named the bay wherein he landed and fixed the settlement Sydney Bay, and
had given the names of Phillip and Nepean to two small islands which are
situated at a small distance from it.

Lieutenant King, the commandant, wrote in good spirits, and spoke of
meeting all his difficulties like a man determined to overcome them. The
soil of the island appeared to be very rich, but the landing dangerous,
Sydney Bay being exposed to the southerly winds, with which the surf
constantly breaks on the reef. The _Supply_ lost one of her people, who
was washed off the reef and drowned. There is a small bay on the other
side of the island, but at a distance from the settlement, and no
anchoring ground in either. The flax plant (the principal object in view)
he had not discovered when the _Supply_ sailed. Lieutenant Ball, soon
after he left this harbour, fell in with an uninhabited island in lat. 31
degrees 56 minutes S and in long. 159 degrees 4 minutes East, which he
named Lord Howe Island. It is inferior in size to Norfolk Island, but
abounded at that time with turtle, (sixteen of which he brought away with
him,) as well as with a new species of fowl, and a small brown bird, the
flesh of which was very fine eating. These birds were in great abundance,
and so unused to such visitors, that they suffered themselves to be
knocked down with sticks, as they ran along the beach.

Pines, but no small trees, grow on this island, in which there is a good
bay, but no anchoring ground. Of the pines at Norfolk Island, one
measured nine feet in diameter, and another, that was found lying on the
ground, measured 182 feet in length.

As the scurvy was at this time making rapid strides in the colony, the
hope of being able to procure a check to its effects from the new island,
rendered it in every one's opinion a fortunate discovery.

The _Scarborough_, _Charlotte_, and _Lady Penrhyn_ transports being
cleared, were discharged from government service in the latter end of the
month, and the masters left at liberty to proceed on their respective
voyages pursuant to the directions of their owners.

In the course of this month several convicts came in from the woods; one
in particular dangerously wounded with a spear, the others very much
beaten and bruised by the natives. The wounded man had been employed
cutting rushes for thatching, and one of the others was a convalescent
from the hospital, who went out to collect a few vegetables. All these
people denied giving any provocation to the natives: it was, however,
difficult to believe them; they well knew the consequences that would
attend any acts of violence on their part, as it had been declared in
public orders early in the month, that in forming the intended
settlement, any act of cruelty to the natives being contrary to his
Majesty's most gracious intentions, the offenders would be subject to a
criminal prosecution; and they well knew that the natives themselves,
however injured, could not contradict their assertions. There was,
however, too much reason to believe that our people had been the
aggressors, as the governor on his return from his excursion to Broken
Bay, on landing at Camp Cove, found the natives there who had before
frequently come up to him with confidence, unusually shy, and seemingly
afraid of him and his party; and one, who after much invitation did
venture to approach, pointed to some marks upon his shoulders, making
signs they were caused by blows given with a stick. This, and their
running away, whereas they had always before remained on the beach until
the people landed from the boats, were strong indications that the man
had been beaten by some of our stragglers. Eleven canoes full of people
passed very near the _Sirius_, which was moored without the two points of
the cove, but paddled away very fast upon the approach of some boats
toward them.

The curiosity of the camp was excited and gratified for a day or two by
the sight of an emu, which was shot by the governor's game-killer. It was
remarkable by every stem having two feathers proceeding from it. Its
height was 7 feet 2 inches, and the flesh was very well flavoured.

The run of water that supplied the settlement was observed to be only a
drain from a swamp at the head of it; to protect it, therefore, as much
as possible from the sun, an order was given out, forbidding the cutting
down of any trees within fifty feet of the run, than which there had not
yet been a finer found in any one of the coves of the harbour.

April.] As the winter of this hemisphere was approaching, it became
absolutely necessary to expedite the buildings intended for the
detachment; every carpenter that could be procured amongst the convicts
was sent to assist, and as many as could be hired from the transports
were employed at the hospital and storehouses. The long-boats of the
ships still continued to bring up the cabbage-tree from the lower part of
the harbour, and a range of huts was begun on the west side for some of
the female convicts.

Our little camp now began to wear the aspect of distress, from the great
number of scorbutic patients that were daily seen creeping to and from
the hospital tents; and the principal surgeon suggested the expediency of
another supply of turtle from Lord Howe Island: but it was generally
thought that the season was too far advanced, and the utmost that could
have been procured would have made but a very trifling and temporary
change in the diet of those afflicted with the disorder.

On the 6th, divine service was performed in the new storehouse, which was
covered in, but not sufficiently completed to admit provisions. One
hundred feet by twenty-five were the dimensions of this building, which
was constructed with great strength; yet the mind was always pained when
viewing its reedy combustible covering, remembering the livid flames that
had been seen to shoot over every part of this cove: but no other
materials could be found to answer the purpose of thatch, and every
necessary precaution was taken to guard against accidental fire.

An elderly woman, a convict, having been accused of stealing a flat iron,
and the iron being found in her possession, the first moment she was left
alone she hung herself to the ridge-pole of her tent, but was fortunately
discovered and cut down before it was too late.

Although several thefts were committed by the convicts, yet it was in
general remarked, that they conducted themselves with more propriety than
could have been expected from people of their description; to prevent,
however, if possible, the commission of offences so prejudicial to the
welfare of the colony, his excellency signified to the convicts his
resolution that the condemnation of any one for robbing the huts or
stores should be immediately followed by their execution. Much of their
irregularity was perhaps to be ascribed to the intercourse that
subsisted, in spite of punishment, between them and the seamen from the
ships of war and the transports, who at least one day in the week found
means to get on shore with spirits.

Notwithstanding it was the anxious care of every one who could prevent
it, that the venereal disease might not be introduced into the
settlement, it was not only found to exist amongst the convicts, but the
very sufferers themselves were known to conceal their having it. To stop
this evil, it was ordered by the governor, that any man or woman having
and concealing this disorder should receive corporal punishment, and be
put upon a short allowance of provisions for six months.

Lieutenant Dawes of the marines was directed in public orders to act as
officer of artillery and engineers; in consequence of which the ordnance
of the settlement, and the constructing of a small redoubt on the east
side, were put under his direction.

Mr. Zachariah Clark, who came out of England as agent to Mr. Richards the
contractor, was at the same time appointed an assistant to the
commissary; and the issuing of the provisions, which was in future to be
once a week, was put under his charge.

In the course of this month a stone building was begun on the west side
for the residence of the lieutenant-governor, one face of which was to be
in the principal street of the intended town.

The governor, desirous of acquiring a knowledge of the country about the
seat of his government, and profiting by the coolness of the weather,
made during the month several excursions into the country; in one of
which having observed a range of mountains to the westward, and hoping
that a river might be found to take its course in their neighbourhood, he
set off with a small party, intending if possible to reach them, taking
with him six days provisions; but returned without attaining either
object of his journey--the mountains, or a river.

He penetrated about thirty miles inland, through a country most amply
clothed with timber, but in general free from underwood. On the fifth day
of his excursion he had, from a rising ground which he named Belle Vue,
the only view of the mountains which he obtained during the journey; and
as they then appeared at too great a distance to be reached on one day's
allowance of provisions, which was all they had left, he determined to
return to Sydney Cove.

In Port Jackson another branch extending to the northward had been
discovered; but as the country surrounding it was high, rocky, and
barren, though it might add to the extent and beauty of the harbour, it
did not promise to be of any benefit to the settlement.

The governor had the mortification to learn on his return from his
western expedition, that five ewes and a lamb had been destroyed at the
farm in the adjoining cove, supposed to have been killed by dogs
belonging to the natives.

The number of sheep which were landed in this country were considerably
diminished; they were of necessity placed on ground, and compelled to
feed on grass, that had never before been exposed to air or sun, and
consequently did not agree with them; a circumstance much to be lamented,
as without stock the settlement must for years remain dependent on the
mother-country for the means of subsistence.


Transports sail for China
The _Supply_ sails for Lord Howe Island
Return of stock in the colony in May
The _Supply_ returns
A convict wounded
Rush-cutters killed by the natives
Governor's excursion
His Majesty's birthday
Behaviour of the convicts
Cattle lost
Transports sail for England
_Supply_ sails for Norfolk Island
Convicts wounded

May.] The month of May opened with the trial, conviction, and execution
of James Bennett, a youth of seventeen years of age, for breaking open a
tent belonging to the _Charlotte_ transport, and stealing thereout
property above the value of five shillings. He confessed that he had
often merited death before he committed the crime for which he was then
about to suffer, and that a love of idleness and bad connexions had been
his ruin. He was executed immediately on receiving his sentence, in the
hope of making a greater impression on the convicts than if it had been
delayed for a day or two.

There being no other shelter for the guard than tents, great
inconvenience was found in placing under its charge more than one or two
prisoners together. The convicts, therefore, who were confined at the
guard until they could be conveyed to the southward, were sent to the
Bare Island at the entrance of this cove, where they were to be supplied
weekly with provisions from the store, and water from the _Sirius_, until
an opportunity offered of sending them away.

The three transports sailed on the 5th, 6th, and 7th of this month for
China. The _Supply_ also sailed on the 6th for Lord Howe Island, to
procure turtle and birds for the settlement, the scurvy continuing to
resist every effort that could be made to check its progress by medicine;
from the lateness of the season, however, little hope was entertained of
her success.

The governor having directed every person in the settlement to make a
return of what livestock was in his possession, the following appeared to
be the total amount of stock in the colony:

1 Stallion  2 Bulls  19 Goats  5 Rabbits   35 Ducks
3 Mares     5 Cows   49 Hogs  18 Turkeys  122 Fowls
3 Colts    29 Sheep  25 Pigs  29 Geese     87 Chickens

There having been found among the convicts a person qualified to conduct
the business of a bricklayer, a gang of labourers was put under his
direction, and most of the huts which grew up in different parts of the
cleared ground were erected by them. Another gang of labourers was put
under the direction of a stonemason, and on the 15th the first stone of a
building, intended for the residence of he governor until the
government-house could be erected, was laid on the east side of the cove.
The following inscription, engraven on a piece of copper, was placed in
the foundation:

His Excellency
Governor in Chief and Captain General
in and over the Territory of New South Wales,
landed in this Cove
with the first Settlers of this Country,
the 24th Day of January 1788;
and on the 15th Day of May
in the same Year,
being the 28th of the Reign of His present Majesty
The First of these Stones was laid.

The large store-house being completed, and a road made to it from the
wharf on the west side, the provisions were directed to be landed from
the victuallers, and proper gangs of convicts placed to roll them to the

Carpenters were now employed in covering in that necessary building the
hospital, the shingles for the purpose being all prepared; these were
fastened to the roof (which was very strong) by pegs made by the female

The timber that had been cut down proved in general very unfit or the
purpose of building, the trees being for the most part decayed, and when
cut down were immediately warped and split by the heat of the sun. A
species of pine appeared to be the best, and was chiefly used in the
frame-work of houses, and in covering the roofs, the wood splitting
easily into shingles.

The _Supply_ returned in the afternoon of the 25th from Lord Howe Island,
without having procured any turtle, the weather being much too cold and
the season too late to find them so far to the southward.

To the southward and eastward of Lord Howe Island there is a rock, which
may be seen at the distance of eighteen leagues, and which from its shape
Lieutenant Ball has named Ball Pyramid.

On the 26th a soldier and a sailor were tried by the criminal court of
judicature for assaulting and dangerously wounding James McNeal, a
seaman. These people belonged to the _Sirius_, and were employed on the
island where the ship's company had their garden, the seamen in
cultivating the ground, and the soldier in protecting them; for which
purpose he had his firelock with him. They all lived together in a hut
that was built for them, and on the evening preceding the assault had
received their week's allowance of spirits, with which they intoxicated
themselves, and quarrelled. They were found guilty of the assault, and,
as pecuniary damages were out of the question, were each sentenced to
receive five hundred lashes.

Farther and still more unpleasant consequences of the ill-treatment which
the natives received from our people were felt during this month. On the
evening of the 21st a convict belonging to the farm on the east side was
brought into the hospital, very dangerously wounded with a barbed spear,
which entered about the depth of three inches into his back, between the
shoulders. The account he gave of the transaction was, that having
strayed to a cove beyond the farm with another man, who did not return
with him, he was suddenly wounded with a spear, not having seen any
natives until he received the wound. His companion ran away when the
natives came up, who stripped him of all his clothes but his trousers,
which they did not take, and then left him to crawl into the camp. A day
or two afterwards the clothes of the man that was missing were brought
in, torn, bloody, and pierced with spears; so that there was every reason
to suppose that the poor wretch had fallen a sacrifice to his own folly
and the barbarity of the natives.

On the 30th an officer, who had been collecting rushes in a cove up the
harbour, found and brought to the hospital the bodies of two convicts who
had been employed for some time in cutting rushes there, pierced through
in many places with spears, and the head of one beaten to a jelly. As it
was improbable that these murders should be committed without
provocation, inquiry was made, and it appeared that these unfortunate men
had, a few days previous to their being found, taken away and detained a
canoe belonging to the natives, for which act of violence and injustice
they paid with their lives.

Notwithstanding these circumstances, a party of natives in their canoes
went alongside the _Sirius_, and some submitted to the operation of
shaving: after which they landed on the western point of the cove, where
they examined every thing they saw with the greatest attention, and went
away peaceably, and apparently were not under any apprehension of
resentment on our parts for the murders above-mentioned.

June.] The governor, however, on hearing that the two rushcutters had
been killed, thought it absolutely necessary to endeavour to find out,
and, if possible, secure the people who killed them; for which purpose he
set off with a strong party well armed, and landed in the cove where
their bodies had been found; whence he struck across the country to
Botany Bay, where on the beach he saw about fifty canoes, but none of
their owners. In a cove on the sea-side, between Botany Bay and Port
Jackson, he suddenly fell in with an armed party of natives, in number
between two and three hundred, men, women, and children. With these a
friendly intercourse directly took place, and some spears, etc. were
exchanged for hatchets; but the murderers of the rush-cutters, if they
were amongst them, could not be discovered in the crowd. The governor
hoped to have found the people still at the place where the men had been
killed, in which case he would have endeavoured to secure some of them;
but, not having any fixed residence, they had, perhaps, left the spot
immediately after glutting their sanguinary resentment.

His Majesty's birthday was kept with every attention that it was possible
to distinguish it by in this country; the morning was ushered in by the
discharge of twenty-one guns from the _Sirius_ and _Supply_; on shore the
colours were hoisted at the flag-staff, and at noon the detachment of
marines fired three volleys; after which the officers of the civil and
military establishment waited upon the governor, and paid their respects
to his excellency in honor of the day. At one o'clock the ships of war
again fired twenty-one guns each; and the transports in the cove made up
the same number between them, according to their irregular method on
those occasions. The officers of the navy and settlement were entertained
by the governor at dinner, and, among other toasts, named and fixed the
boundaries of the first _county_ in his Majesty's territory of New South
Wales. This was called Cumberland County, in honor of his Majesty's
second brother; and the limits of it to the northward were fixed by the
northernmost point of Broken Bay, to the southward by the southernmost
point of Broken [sic] Bay, and to the westward by Lansdown and Carmarthen
Hills (the name given to the range of mountains seen by the governor in
an excursion to the northward). At sunset the ships of war paid their
last compliment to his Majesty by a third time firing twenty-one guns
each. At night several bonfires were lighted; and, by an allowance of
spirits given on this particular occasion, every person in the colony was
enabled to drink his Majesty's health.

Some of the worst among the convicts availed themselves of the
opportunity that was given them in the evening, by the absence of several
of the officers and people from their tents and huts, to commit
depredations. One officer on going to his tent found a man in it, whom
with some difficulty he secured, after wounding him with his sword. The
tent of another was broken into, and several articles of wearing apparel
stolen out of it; and many smaller thefts of provisions and clothing were
committed among the convicts. Several people were taken into custody, and
two were afterwards tried and executed. One of these had absconded, and
lived in the woods for nineteen days, existing by what he was able to
procure by nocturnal depredations among the huts and stock of
individuals. His visits for this purpose were so frequent and daring,
that it became absolutely necessary to proclaim him an outlaw, as well as
to declare that no person must harbour him after such proclamation.

Exemplary punishments seemed about this period to be growing daily more
necessary. Stock was often killed, huts and tents broke open, and
provisions constantly stolen about the latter end of the week; for among
the convicts there were many who knew not how to husband their provisions
through the seven days they were intended to serve them, but were known
to have consumed the whole at the end of the third or fourth day. One of
this description made his week's allowance of flour (eight pounds) into
eighteen cakes, which he devoured at one meal; he was soon after taken
speechless and senseless, and died the following day at the hospital, a
loathsome putrid object.

The obvious consequence of this want of economy was, that he who had
three days to live, and nothing to live on, before the store would be
again open to supply his wants, must steal from those who had been more
provident. Had a few persons been sent out who were not of the
description of convicts, to have acted as overseers, or superintendants,
regulations for their internal economy, as well in the articles of
clothing as provisions, might have been formed which would have prevented
these evils: it would then too have been more practicable to detect them
in selling or exchanging the slops which they received, and their
provisions would have been subject to a daily inspection. But overseers
drawn from among themselves were found not to have that influence which
was so absolutely necessary to carry any regulation into effect. And
although the convicts, previous to the birthday, were assembled, and
their duty pointed out to them, as well as the certain consequence of a
breach or neglect thereof, both by his excellency the governor and the
lieutenant-governor, yet it soon appeared that there were some among them
so inured to the habits of vice, and so callous to remonstrance, that
they were only restrained until a favourable opportunity presented

The convicts who had been sent to the rock, in the hope that lenity to
them might operate also upon others, were, on the occasion of his
Majesty's birthday, liberated from their chains and confinement, and his
excellency forgave the offences of which they had been respectively
guilty, and which had occasioned their being sent thither.

By some strange and unpardonable neglect in the convict who had been
entrusted with the care of the cattle, the two bulls and four cows were
lost in the beginning of this month. The man had been accustomed to drive
them out daily to seek the freshest grass and best pasturage, and was
ordered never on any pretence to leave them. To this order, as it
afterwards appeared, he very seldom attended, frequently coming in from
the woods about noon to get his dinner, leaving them grazing at some
little distance from the farm where they were kept; and in this manner
they were lost. They had strayed from the spot he expected to find them
on, or perhaps had been driven from it by the natives, and he spent two
days in searching for them before the governor was made acquainted with
the accident.

Several parties were successively sent out to endeavour the recovery of
stock so essential to the colony; but constantly returned without

On the 27th a party of the natives, supposed to be in number from twenty
to thirty, landed at the point on the east side of the cove, between the
hours of eleven and twelve at night, and proceeded along close by the
sentinels, stopping for some time at the spot where the governor's house
was building, and in the rear of the tents inhabited by some of the
women. It was said that they appeared alarmed on hearing the sentinels
call out 'All is well,' and, after standing there for some time, went off
toward the run of water. The sentinels were very positive that they saw
them, and were minute in their relation of the above circumstances;
notwithstanding which, it was conjectured by many to be only the effect
of imagination. It is true, the natives might have chosen that hour of
the night to gratify a curiosity that would naturally be excited on
finding that we still resided among them; and perhaps for the purpose of
observing whether we all passed the night in sleep.

The cold weather which we had at this time of the year was observed to
affect our fishing, and the natives themselves appeared to be in great
want. An old man belonging to them was found on the beach of one of the
coves, almost starved to death.

It having been reported, that one of the natives who had stolen a jacket
from a convict had afterwards been killed or wounded by him in an attempt
to recover it, the governor issued a proclamation, promising a free
pardon, with remission of the sentence of transportation, to such male or
female convict as should give information of any such offender or
offenders, so that he or they might be brought to trial, and prosecuted
to conviction; but no discovery was made in consequence of this offer.

In the afternoon of the 22nd a slight shock of an earthquake was
observed, which lasted two or three seconds, and was accompanied with a
distant noise like the report of cannon, coming from the southward; the
shock was local, and so slight that many people did not feel it.

July.] The _Alexander_, _Prince of Wales_, and _Friendship_ transports,
with the _Borrowdale_ storeship, having completed their preparations for
sea, sailed together on the 14th of the month for England. Two officers
from the detachment of marines, Lieutenant Maxwell and Lieutenant
Collins, were embarked as passengers; these gentlemen having obtained
permission to return to Europe for the recovery of their healths, which
had been in a bade state from the time of their arrival in the country.

The following report was made by the principal surgeon, of the state of
the sick in the settlement, at the time of the departure of the ships:

The number of marines under medical treatment were     36
The number of convicts under medical treatment were    66
Convicts unfit for labour from old age and infirmities 52

And if idleness might have been taken into the account, as well it might,
since many were thereby rendered of very little service to the colony,
the number would have been greatly augmented.

It was now necessary to think of Norfolk Island; and on the 20th the
_Supply_ sailed with stores and provisions for that settlement.

Only two transports remained of the fleet that came out from England;
these were the _Golden Grove_ and _Fishburn_, and preparations were
making for clearing and discharging them from government service. The
people were employed in constructing a cellar on the west side for
receiving the spirits which were on board the _Fishburn_, and in landing
provisions from the _Golden Grove_, which were stowed in the large
storehouse by some seamen belonging to the _Sirius_, under the inspection
of the master of that ship.

From the nature of the materials with which most of the huts occupied by
the convicts were covered in, many accidents happened by fire, whereby
the labour of several people was lost, who had again to seek shelter for
themselves, and in general had to complain of the destruction of
provisions and clothing. To prevent this, an order was given, prohibiting
the building of chimneys in future in such huts as were thatched.

Several thefts were committed by and among the convicts. Wine was stolen
from the hospital, and some of those who had the care of it were taken
upon suspicion and tried, but for want of sufficient evidence were
acquitted. There was such a tenderness in these people to each other's
guilt, such an acquaintance with vice and the different degrees of it,
that unless they were detected in the fact, it was generally next to
impossible to bring an offence home to them. As there was, however,
little doubt, though no positive proof of their guilt, they were removed
from the hospital, and placed under the direction of the officer who was
then employed in constructing a small redoubt on the east side.

The natives, who had been accustomed to assist our people in hauling the
seine, and were content to wait for such reward as the person who had the
direction of the boat thought proper to give them, either driven by
hunger, or moved by some other cause, came down to the cove where they
were fishing, and, perceiving that they had been more successful than
usual, took by force about half of what had been brought on shore. They
were all armed with spears and other weapons, and made their attack with
some show of method, having a party stationed in the rear with their
spears poised, in readiness to throw, if any resistance had been made. To
prevent this in future, it was ordered that a petty officer should go in
the boats whenever they were sent down the harbour.

No precautions, however, that could be taken, or orders that were given,
to prevent accidents happening by misconduct on our part, had any weight
with the convicts. On the evening of the 27th one of them was brought in
wounded by the natives. He had left the encampment with another convict,
to gather vegetables, and, contrary to the orders which had been
repeatedly given, went nearly as far as Botany Bay, where they fell in
with a party of the natives, who made signs to them to go back, which
they did, but unfortunately ran different ways. This being observed by
the natives, they threw their spears at them. One of them was fortunate
enough to escape unhurt, but the other received two spears in him, one
entering a little above his left ear, the other in his breast. He took to
an arm of the bay, which, notwithstanding his wounds, he swam across, and
reported that the natives stood on the bank laughing at him.

Much credit, indeed, was not to be given to any of their accounts; but it
must be remarked, that every accident that had happened was occasioned by
a breach of positive orders repeatedly given.

Still, notwithstanding this appearance of hostility in some of the
natives, others were more friendly. In one of the adjoining coves resided
a family of them, who were visited by large parties of the convicts of
both sexes on those days in which they were not wanted for labour, where
they danced and sung with apparent good humour, and received such
presents as they could afford to make them; but none of them would
venture back with their visitors.


Heavy rains
Public works
Sheep stolen
Prince of Wale's birthday
Imposition of a convict
Apprehensive of a failure of provisions
Judicial administration
A convict murdered

August.] All public labour was suspended for many days in the beginning
of the month of August by heavy rain; and the work of much time was also
rendered fruitless by its effects; the brick-kiln fell in more than once,
and bricks to a large amount were destroyed; the roads about the
settlement were rendered impassable; and some of the huts were so far
injured, as to require nearly as much labour to repair them as to build
them anew. It was not until the 14th of the month, when the weather
cleared up, that the people were again able to work. The public works
then in hand were, the barracks for the marine detachment; an observatory
on the west point of the cove; the houses erecting for the governor and
the lieutenant-governor; and the shingling of the hospital.

Thefts among the convicts during the bad weather were frequent; and a
sheep was stolen from the farm on the east side a few nights prior to the
birthday of his royal highness the Prince of Wales, for celebrating of
which it had been for some time kept separate from the others and
fattened; and although a proclamation was issued by the governor offering
a pardon, and the highest reward his excellency could offer,
emancipation, to any male or female convict who should discover the
person or persons concerned in the felony, except the person who actually
stole or killed the sheep, no information was
given that could lead to a discovery of the perpetrators of this offence.

The anniversary of the Prince of Wales's birth was observed by a
cessation from all kinds of labour. At noon the troops fired three
volleys at the flag-staff on the east side, after which the governor
received the compliments usual on this occasion. The _Sirius_ fired a
royal salute at one o'clock, and a public dinner was given by the
governor. Bonfires were lighted on each side of the cove at night, with
which the ceremonies of the day concluded.

It had been imagined in England, that some, if not considerable savings
of provisions might be made, by the quantities of fish that it was
supposed would be taken; but nothing like an equivalent for the ration
that was issued to the colony for a single day had ever been brought up.

We were informed, that the French ships, while in Botany Bay, had met
with one very successful haul of large fish, that more than amply
supplied both ships companies; but our people were not so fortunate. Fish
enough was sometimes taken to supply about two hundred persons; but the
quantity very rarely exceeded this. Three sting-rays were taken this
month, two of which weighed each about three hundred weight, and were
distributed amongst the people.

His royal highness Prince William Henry's birthday was distinguished by
displaying the colours at the flag-staff; and this compliment was paid to
other branches of the royal family whose birthdays were not directed to
be observed with more ceremony.

On the 26th the _Supply_ returned from Norfolk Island, having been absent
five weeks and two days. From the commandant the most favourable accounts
were received of the richness and depth of the soil and salubrity of the
climate, having been visited with very little rain, or thunder and
lightning. His search after the flax-plant had been successful; where he
had cleared the ground he found it growing spontaneously and luxuriant: a
small species of plaintain also had been discovered. His gardens promised
an ample supply of vegetables; but his seed-wheat, having been heated in
the long passage to this country, turned out to be damaged, and did not
vegetate. The landing was found to be very dangerous, and he had the
misfortune to lose Mr. Cunningham, the midshipman, with three people, and
the boat they were in, by the surf on the reef, a few days before the
_Supply _sailed. Short, however, as the time was, the carpenter of chat
vessel replaced the boat by building him a coble of the timber of the
island, constructed purposely for going without the reef, and for the
hazardous employ she must often be engaged in.

The settlement at Sydney Cove was for some time amused with an account of
the existence and discovery of a gold mine; and the impostor had
ingenuity enough to impose a fabricated tale on several of the officers
for truth. He pretended to have found it at some distance down the
harbour; and, offering to conduct an officer to the spot, a boat was
provided; but immediately on landing, having previously prevailed on the
officer to send away the boat, to prevent his discovery being made public
to more than one person, he made a pretence to leave him, and, reaching
the settlement some hours before the officer, reported that he had been
sent up by him for a guard. The fellow knew too well the consequences
that would follow on the officer's arrival to wait for that, and
therefore set off directly into the woods, whence he returned the day
following, when he was punished with fifty lashes for his imposition.
Still, however, persisting that he had discovered a metal, a specimen of
which he produced, the governor, who was absent from the settlement at
the opening of the business, but had now returned, ordered him to be
taken again down the harbour, with directions to his adjutant to land him
on the place the man should point out, and keep him in his sight; but on
being assured by that officer, that if he attempted to deceive him he
would put him to death, the man saved him the trouble of going far with
him, and confessed that his story of having discovered a gold mine was a
falsehood which he had propagated the hope of imposing on the people
belonging to the _Fishburn_ and _Golden Grove_, from whom, being about to
prepare for Europe, he expected to procure cloathing and other articles
in return for his promised gold-dust; and that he had fabricated the
specimens of the metal which he had exhibited, from a guinea and a brass
buckle; the remains of which he then produced.

For this imposture he was afterwards ordered by the magistrates before
whom he was examined to receive a hundred lashes, and to wear a canvas
frock, with the letter R cut and sewn upon it, to distinguish him more
particularly from others as a rogue.

Among the people of his own description, there were many who believed,
notwithstanding his confession and punishment, that he had actually made
the discovery he pretended, and was induced to say it was a fabrication
merely to secure it to himself, to make use of at a future opportunity.
So easy is it to impose on the minds of the lower class of people!

The natives continued to molest our people whenever they chanced to meet
any of them straggling and unarmed; yet, although forcibly warned by the
evil and danger that attended their straggling, the latter still
continued to give the natives opportunity of injuring them. About the
middle of the month a convict, who had wandered beyond the limits of
security which had been pointed out for them, fell in with a party of
natives, about fourteen in number, who stripped and beat him shockingly,
and would have murdered him had they not heard the report of a musket,
which alarming them, they ran away, leaving him his clothes. On the 21st
a party of natives landed from five canoes, near the point where the
observatory was building, where, some of them engaging the attention of
the officers and people at the observatory, the others attempted forcibly
to take off a goat from the people at the hospital; in which attempt
finding themselves resisted by a seaman who happened to be present, they
menaced him with their spears, and, on his retiring, killed the animal
and took it off in a canoe, making off toward Long Cove with much
expedition. They were followed immediately by the governor, who got up
with some of the party, but could neither recover the goat, nor meet with
the people who had killed it.

It was much to be regretted, that none of them would place a confidence
in and reside among us; as in such case, by an exchange of languages,
they would have found that we had the most friendly intention toward
them, and that we would ourselves punish any injury they might sustain
from our people.

September.] The seed-wheat that was sown here did not turn out any better
than that at Norfolk Island; in some places the ground was twice cropped,
and there was reason to apprehend a failure of seed for the next year.
The governor, therefore, early in this month, signified his intention of
sending the _Sirius_ to the Cape of Good Hope, to procure a sufficient
quantity of grain for that purpose; together with as much flour for the
settlement as she could stow, after laying in a twelvemonth's provisions
for her ship's company. Her destination was intended to have been to the
northward; but on making a calculation, and comparing the accounts of
those navigators who had procured refreshments among the islands, it was
found, that although she might provide very well for herself, yet, after
an absence of three or four months, which would be the least time she
would be gone, she could not bring more than would support the colony for
a fortnight. At the same time his excellency made known his intention of
establishing a settlement on some ground which he had seen at the head of
this harbour when he made his excursion to the westward in April last,
and which, from its form, he had named the Crescent. This measure
appeared the more expedient, as the soil in and about the settlement
seemed to be very indifferent and unproductive, and by no means so
favourable for the growth of grain as that at the Crescent.

The _Sirius_ was therefore ordered to prepare for her voyage with all
expedition; and as she would be enabled to stow a greater quantity of
flour by not taking all her guns, eight of them were landed on the west
point of the cove, and a small breast-work thrown up in front of them.

The master of the _Golden Grove_ storeship also was ordered to prepare
for sea, the governor intending to employ that ship in taking provisions
and stores, with a party of convicts, to Norfolk Island.

The stores of the detachment having been kept on board the _Sirius_ until
a building could be erected for their reception, and a storehouse for
that purpose being now ready, they were removed on shore.

Two boats, one of eight and another of sixteen oars, having been sent out
in frame for the use of the settlement, the carpenter of the _Supply_ was
employed in putting them together during that vessel's day in port, and
one of them, the eight-oared boat, was got into the water this month; but
the want of a schooner or two, of from thirty to forty tons burden, to be
employed in surveying this coast, was much felt and lamented.

We had now given up all hope of recovering the cattle which were so
unfortunately lost in May last; and the only cow that remained not being
at that time with calf, and having since become wild and dangerous, the
lieutenant-governor, whose property she was, directed her to be killed;
she was accordingly shot at his farm, it being found impracticable to
secure and slaughter her in the common way.

About the middle of September several canoes passed the _Sirius_, and
above 30 natives landed from them at the observatory or western point of
the cove. They were armed, and, it was imagined, intended to take off
some sheep from thence; but, if this was their intention, they were
prevented by the appearance of two gentlemen who happened
to be there unarmed; and, after throwing some stones, they took to their
canoes and paddled off.

On the 25th the people in the fishing-boat reported that several spears
were thrown at them by some of the natives; for no other reason, than
that, after giving them freely what small fish they had taken, they
refused them a large one which attracted their attention.

On the 30th one midshipman and two seamen from the _Sirius_, one
sergeant, one corporal, and five private marines, and twenty-one male and
eleven female convicts, embarked on board the _Golden Grove_ for Norfolk
Island, and the day following she dropped down, with his Majesty's ship
_Sirius_, to Camp Cove, whence both ships sailed on the 2nd of October.

October.] Captain Hunter, having been sworn as a magistrate soon after
the arrival of the fleet, continued to act in that capacity until his
departure for the Cape of Good Hope, sitting generally once a week, with
the judge-advocate and the surveyor-general, to inquire into petty
offences. Saturday was commonly set apart for these examinations; that
day being given to the convicts for the purpose of collecting vegetables
and attending to their huts and gardens.

The detachment also finding it convenient to collect vegetables, and
being obliged to go for them as far as Botany Bay, the convicts were
ordered to avail themselves of the protection they might find by going in
company with an armed party; an never, upon any account, to straggle from
the soldiers, or go to Botany Bay without them, on pain of severe
punishment. Notwithstanding this order and precaution, however, a
convict, who had been looked upon as a good man (no complaint having been
made of him since his landing, either for dishonesty or idleness), having
gone out with an armed party to procure vegetables at Botany Bay,
straggled from them, though repeatedly cautioned against it, and was
killed by the natives. On the return of the soldiers from the bay, he was
found lying dead in the path, his head beat to a Jelly, a spear driven
through it, another through his body, and one arm broken. Some people
were immediately sent out to bury him; and in the course of the month the
parties who went by the spot for vegetables three times reported that his
body was above ground, having been, it was supposed, torn up by the
natives' dogs. This poor wretch furnished another instance of the
consequences that attended a disobedience of orders which had been
purposely given to prevent these accidents; and as nothing of the kind
was known to happen, but where a neglect and contempt of all order was
first shown, every misfortune of the kind might be attributed, not to the
manners and disposition of the natives, but to the obstinacy and
ignorance of our people.

On the departure of the _Sirius_, one pound of flour was deducted from
the weekly ration of those who received the full proportion, and
two-thirds of a pound from such as were at two-thirds allowance. The
settlement was to continue at this ration until the return of the
_Sirius_, which was expected not to exceed six months. But public labour
was not affected by this reduction. The cellar being completed and ready
for the reception of the spirits that were on board the _Fishburn_, they
were landed from that ship; and she, being cleared and discharged from
government employ, hove down, and prepared for her return to England.

A gang of convicts were employed in rolling timber together, to form a
bridge over the stream at the head of the cove; and such other public
works as were in hand went on as usual; those employed on them in general
barely exerting themselves beyond what was necessary to avoid immediate
punishment for idleness.

A warrant having about this time been granted by the governor, for the
purpose of assembling a general court-martial, a defect was discovered in
the marine mutiny act; and it was determined by the officers, that, as
marine officers, they could not sit under any other than a warrant from
the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty. The marines are so far distinct
from his Majesty's land forces, that while on shore in any part of his
Majesty's dominions, they are regulated by an act of parliament passed
expressly for their guidance; and when it was found necessary to employ a
corps of marines during the late war in America, they were included in
the mutiny act passed for his Majesty's forces employed in that country.
This provision having been neglected on the departure of the expedition
for this country, and not being discovered until the very instant when it
was wanted, all that could be done was to state their situation to the
governor, which they did on the 13th. and at the same time requested,
'That they might be understood to be acting only in conformity with an
act of the British legislature, passed expressly for their regulation
while on shore in any part of his Majesty's dominions; and that they had
not in any shape been wanting in the respect that belonged to the high
authority of his Majesty's commission, or to the officer invested with it
in this country.'

On the 24th a party of natives, meeting a convict who had straggled from
the settlement to a fence that some people were making for the purpose of
inclosing stock, threw several spears at him; but, fortunately, without
doing him any injury. The governor, on being made acquainted with the
circumstance, immediately went to the spot with an armed party, where
some of them being heard among the bushes, they were fired at; it having
now become absolutely necessary to compel them to keep at a greater
distance from the settlement.


Settlement of Rose Hill
The _Golden Grove_ returns from Norfolk Island
The storeships sail for England
James Daley tried and executed for housebreaking
Botany Bay examined by the governor
A convict found dead in the woods
Christmas Day
A native taken and brought up to the settlement
Report of deaths from the departure of the fleet from England to the
31st of December 1788

November.] The month of November commenced with the establishment of a
settlement at the head of the harbour. On the 2nd, his excellency the
governor went up to the Crescent, with the surveyor-general, two
officers, and a small party of marines, to choose the spot, and to mark
out the ground for a redoubt and other necessary buildings; and two days
after a party of ten convicts, being chiefly people who understood the
business of cultivation, were sent up to him, and a spot upon a rising
ground, which his excellency named Rose Hill, in compliment to G. Rose
Esq. one of the secretaries of the treasury, was ordered to be cleared
for the first habitations. The soil at this spot was of a stiff clayey
nature, free from that rock which every where covered the surface at
Sydney Cove, well clothed with timber, and unobstructed by underwood.

The party of convicts having, during the course of the month, been
gradually increased, the subaltern's command was augmented by a captain
with an additional number of private men; and it being found necessary
that the commanding officer should be vested with civil power and
authority sufficient to inflict corporal punishment on the convicts for
idleness and other petty offences, the governor constituted him a justice
of the peace for the county of Cumberland for that purpose.

10th. While this little settlement was establishing itself, the _Golden
Grove_ returned from Norfolk Island, having been absent five weeks and
four days. It brought letters from Lieutenant King, the commandant, who
wrote in very favourable terms of his young colony. His people continued
healthy, having fish and vegetables in abundance; by the former of which
he was enabled to save some of his salted provisions. He had also the
promise of a good crop from the grain which had been last sown, and his
gardens wore the most flourishing appearance.

A coconut perfectly fresh, and a piece of wood said to resemble the
handle of a fly-flap as made at the Friendly Islands, together with the
remains of two canoes, had been found among the rocks, perhaps blown from
some island which might lie at no great distance.

The _Golden Grove_, on her return to this port, saw a very dangerous
reef, the south end of which, according to the observation of Mr.
Blackburn (the master of the _Supply_) who commanded her for the voyage,
lay in the latitude of 29 degrees 25 minutes South, and longitude 159
degrees 29 minutes East. It appeared to extend, when she was about four
leagues from it, from the NE by N to N.

The _Golden Grove_ brought from Norfolk Island a lower yard and a
top-gallant-mast for herself, and the like for the _Fishburn_.

A soldier belonging to the detachment, who was employed with some others
in preparing shingles at a little distance from the settlement, was
reported by his comrades, toward the latter end of last month, to be
missing from the hut or tent, and parties were sent out in search of him;
but returning constantly without success, he was at length given up; and
a convict who was employed in assisting the party, and who had been the
last person seen with him, was taken into custody; but on his examination
nothing appeared that could at all affect him.

Another soldier of the detachment died at the hospital of the bruises he
received in fighting with one of his comrades, who was, with three
others, taken into custody, and afterward tried upon a charge of murder,
but found guilty of manslaughter. Instead of burning in the hand, (which
would not have been in this country an adequate punishment), each was
sentenced to receive two hundred lashes.

The two storeships sailed for England on the 19th. By these ships the
governor sent home dispatches, and he strongly recommended to the masters
to make their passage round by the south cape of this country; but it was
conjectured that they intended to go round Cape Horn, and touch at Rio de

The small redoubt that was begun in July last being finished, a
flag-staff was erected, and two pieces of iron ordnance placed in it.

In order to prevent, if possible, the practice of thieving, which at
times was very frequent, an order was given, directing that no convict,
who should in future be found guilty of theft, should be supplied with
any other clothing than a canvas frock and trousers. It was at the same
time ordered, that such convicts as should in future fail to perform a
day's labour, should receive only two thirds of the ration that was
issued to those who could and did work.

Unimportant as these circumstances may appear when detailed at a distance
from the time when they were necessary, they yet serve to show the nature
of the people by whom this colony (whatever may be its fate) was first
founded; as well as the attention that was paid by those in authority,
and the steps taken by them, for establishing good order and propriety
among them, and for eradicating villany and idleness.

December.] James Daley, the convict who in August pretended to have
discovered an inexhaustible source of wealth, and was punished for his
imposition, was observed from that time to neglect his labour, and to
loiter about from hut to hut, while others were at work. He was at last
taken up and tried for breaking into a house, and stealing all the
property he could find in it; of this offence he was convicted, and
suffered death; the governor not thinking him an object of mercy. Before
he was turned off, he confessed that he had committed several thefts, to
which he had been induced by bad connections, and pointed out two women
who had received part of the property for the acquisition of which he was
then about to pay so dear a price. These women were immediately
apprehended, and one of them made a public example of, to deter others
from offending in the like manner. The convicts being all assembled for
muster, she was directed to stand forward, and, her head having been
previously deprived of its natural covering, she was clothed with a
canvas frock, on which was painted, in large characters, R. S. G.
(receiver of stolen goods) and threatened with punishment if ever she was
seen without it. This was done in the hope that shame might operate, at
least with the female part of the prisoners, to the prevention of crimes;
but a great number of both sexes had too long been acquainted with each
other in scenes of disgrace, for this kind of punishment to work much
reformation among them. This, however, must be understood to be spoken
only of the lowest class of these people, among whom the commission of
offences was chiefly found to exist; for there were convicts of both
sexes who were never known to associate with the common herd, and whose
conduct was marked by attention to their labour, and obedience to the
orders they received.

On the 11th, the governor set off with a small party in boats, to examine
the different branches of Botany Bay, and, after an excursion of five
days, returned well satisfied that no part of that extensive bay was
adapted to the purpose of a settlement; thus fully confirming the reports
he had received from others, and the opinions he had
himself formed.

A convict having been found dead in the woods near the settlement, an
enquiry into the cause of his death was made by the provost-marshal; when
it appeared from the evidence of Mr. Balmain, one of the
assistant-surgeons who attended to open him, and of the people who lived
with the deceased, that he died through want of nourishment, and through
weakness occasioned by the heat of the sun. It appeared that he had not
for more than a week past eaten his allowance of provisions, the whole
being found in his box. It was proved by those who knew him, that he was
accustomed to deny himself even what was absolutely necessary to his
existence, abstaining from his provisions, and selling them for money,
which he was reserving, and had somewhere concealed, in order to purchase
his passage to England when his time should expire.

Mr. Reid, the carpenter of the _Supply_, now undertook the construction
of a boat-house on the east side, for the purpose of building, with the
timber of this country, a launch or hoy, capable of being employed in
conveying provisions to Rose Hill, and for other useful and necessary
purposes. The working convicts were employed on Saturdays, until ten
o'clock in the forenoon, in forming a landing-place on the east side of
the cove. At the point on the west side, a magazine was marked out, to be
constructed of stone, and large enough to contain fifty or sixty barrels
of powder.

Christmas Day was observed with proper ceremony. Mr. Johnson preached a
sermon adapted to the occasion, and the major part of the officers of the
settlement were afterward entertained at dinner by the governor.

It being remarked with concern, that the natives were becoming every day
more troublesome and hostile, several people having been wounded, and
others, who were necessarily employed in the woods, driven in and much
alarmed by them, the governor determined on endeavouring to seize and
bring into the settlement, one or two of those people, whose language it
was become absolutely necessary to acquire, that they might learn to
distinguish friends from enemies.

Accordingly, on the 30th a young man was seized and brought up by
Lieutenant Ball of the _Supply_, and Lieutenant George Johnston of the
marines. A second was taken; but, after dragging into the water beyond
his depth the man who seized him, he got clear off. The native who was
secured was immediately on his landing led up to the governor's, where he
was clothed, a slight iron or manacle put upon his wrist, and a trusty
convict appointed to take care of him. A small hut had been previously
built for his reception close to the guardhouse, wherein he and his
keeper were locked up at night; and the following morning the convict
reported, that he slept very well during the night, not offering to make
any attempt to get away.

The weather, during the month of December, was for the first part hot and
close; the middle was fine; the latter variable, but mostly fine--upon
the whole the month was very hot. The climate was allowed by every one,
medical as well as others, to be fine and salubrious. The rains were
heavy, and appeared to fall chiefly on or about the full and change of
the moon. Thunder and lightning at times had been severe, but not
attended with any bad effects since the month of February last.

The following report of the casualties which had happened from the day of
our leaving England to the 31st of December 1788, was given in at this
time, viz.

Casualties from May 13, 1787,      Garrison         Convicts
to December 31, 1788            Man Woman Child  Man Woman Child Total
Died on the passage, from May 13,
1787, to Januarv 26, 1788,       1   1     1     20   4     9     36
Died between January 26, 1788,
and January 1, 1789,             5   0     1     28  13     9     56
Killed by the natives in the above
time,                            0   0     0      4   0     0      4
Executed in the above time,      0   0     0      5   0     0      5
Missing in the above time,       1   0     0     12   1     0     14
Total                            7   1     2     69  18     18   115


New Year's Day
Convicts, how employed
Their disposition to idleness and vice
Her Majesty's birthday kept
Captain Shea dies
Regulations respecting the convicts
Instances of their misconduct
The _Supply_ sails for Norfolk Island
Public Works
Convicts killed
Stores robbed
The _Supply_ returns
Insurrection projected at Norfolk Island
Hurricane there
Transactions at Rose Hill


January.] The first day of the new year was marked as a holiday by a
suspension of all kinds of labour, and by hoisting the colours at the
fort. The ration of provisions, though still less by a pound of flour
than the proper allowance, was yet so sufficient as not to be complained
of, nor was labour diminished by it. Upon a calculation of the different
people employed for the public in cultivation, it appeared, that of all
the numbers in the colony there were only two hundred and fifty so
employed--a very small number indeed to procure the means of rendering
the colony independent of the mother-country for the necessaries of life.
The rest were occupied in carrying on various public works, such as
stores, houses, wharfs, etc. A large number were incapable, through age
or infirmities, of being called out to labour in the public grounds; and
the civil establishment, the military, females, and children, filled up
the catalogue of those unassisting in cultivation.

The soil immediately about the settlement was found to be of too sandy a
nature to give much promise of yielding a sufficient produce even for the
small quantity of stock it possessed. At Rose Hill the prospect was
better; indeed whatever expectations could be formed of successful
cultivation in this country rested as yet in that quarter. But the
convicts by no means exerted themselves to the utmost; they foolishly
conceived, that they had no interest in the success of their labour; and,
if left to themselves, would at any time rather have lived in idleness,
and depended upon the public stores for their daily support so long as
they had any thing in them, than have contributed, by the labour of their
hands, to secure themselves whereon to exist when those stores should be

Idleness, however, was not the only vice to be complained of in these
people. Thefts were frequent among them; and one fellow, who, after
committing a robbery ran into the woods, and from thence coming at night
into the settlement committed several depredations upon individuals, and
one upon the public stores, was at length taken and executed, in the hope
of holding out an example to others. His thefts had been so frequent and
daring, that it became necessary to offer a reward of one pound of flour
to be given weekly, in addition to the ration then issued, for his
apprehension. Another convict, named Ruglass, was tried for stabbing Ann
Fowles, a woman with whom he cohabited, and sentenced to receive seven
hundred lashes, half of which were inflicted on him while the other
unhappy wretch was suffering the execution of his sentence.

The 19th was observed as the birthday of her Majesty; the colours were
displayed at sunrise; at noon the detachment of marines fired three
rounds; after which the governor received the compliments of the day; and
at one o'clock the _Supply_, the only vessel in the country, fired
twenty-one guns. The governor entertained the officers at dinner, and the
day concluded with a bonfire, for which the country afforded abundant

A day or two after this the place was agitated by a report that a great
gun had been fired at sea; but on sending a boat down without the
harbour's mouth, nothing was seen there that could confirm a report which
every one anxiously wished might be true.

A boat having been sent down the harbour with some people to cut rushes,
a party of natives came to the beach while they were so employed, and
took three of their jackets out of the boat. On discovering this theft,
the cockswain pursued a canoe with two men in it as far as a small island
that lay just by, where the natives landed, leaving the canoe at the
rocks. This the cockswain took away, contrary to an order, which had been
made very public, on no account to touch a canoe, or any thing belonging
to a native, and towed it to the bay where they had been cutting rushes.
The natives returned to the same place unobserved, and, while the
cockswain and his people were collecting what rushes they had cut, threw
a spear at the cockswain, which wounded him in the arm, notwithstanding
they must have known that at that time we had one of their people in our
possession, on whom the injury might be retaliated. He, poor fellow, did
not seem to expect any such treatment from us, and began to seem
reconciled to his situation. He was taken down the harbour once or twice,
to let his friends see that he was alive, and had some intercourse with
them which appeared to give him much satisfaction.

For fifteen days of this month the thermometer rose in the shade above
eighty degrees. Once on the 8th, at one in the afternoon, it stood at 105
degrees in the shade.

February 2nd.] Captain John Shea, of the marines, who had been for a
considerable time in a declining state of health, died, and was interred
with military honours the day following; the governor and every officer
of the settlement attending his funeral. The major commandant of the
detachment shortly after filled up the vacancy which this officer's death
had occasioned by appointing Captain Lieutenant Meredith to the company;
and First Lieutenant George Johnston succeeded to the
captain-lieutenancy. Second Lieutenant Ralph Clarke was appointed a
First, and volunteer John Ross a Second Lieutenant; but their commissions
were still to receive the confirmation of the lords commissioners of the

The convicts being found to continue the practice of selling their
clothing, an order was issued, directing, that if in future a convict
should give information to the provost-marshal against any person to whom
he had sold his clothes, the seller should receive them again, be
permitted to keep whatever was paid him for them, and receive no
punishment himself for the sale. It was also found necessary to direct,
that all stragglers at night who, on being challenged by the patrole,
should run from them, should be fired at; but orders, in general, were
observed to have very little effect, and to be attended to only while the
impression made by hearing them published remained upon the mind; for the
convicts had not been accustomed to live in situations where their
conduct was to be regulated by written orders. There was here no other
mode of communicating to them such directions as it was found necessary
to issue for their observance; and it was very common to have them plead
in excuse for a breach of any regulation of the settlement, that they had
never before heard of it; nor had they any idea of the permanency of an
order, many of them seeming to think it issued merely for the purpose of
the moment.

It was much to be regretted, that there existed a necessity for placing a
confidence in these people, as in too many instances the trust was found
to be abused: but unfortunately, to fill many of those offices to which
free people alone should have been appointed in this colony, there were
none but convicts. From these it will be readily supposed the best
characters were selected, those who had merited by the propriety of their
conduct the good report of the officers on board the ships in which they
were embarked, and who had brought with them into those ships a better
name than their fellows from the prisons in which they had been confined.
Those also who were qualified to instruct and direct others in the
exercise of professions in which they had superior knowledge and
experience, were appointed to act as overseers, with gangs under their
direction; and many had given evident proofs or strong indications of
returning dispositions to honest industry.

There were others, however, who had no claim to this praise. Among these
must be particularised William Bryant, to whom, from his having been bred
from his youth to the business of a fisherman in the western part of
England, was given the direction and management of such boats as were
employed in fishing, every encouragement was held out to this man to keep
him above temptation; an hut was built for him and his family; he was
always presented with a certain part of the fish which he caught; and he
wanted for nothing that was necessary, or that was suitable to a person
of his description and situation. But he was detected in secreting and
selling large quantities of fish; and when the necessary enquiry was
made, this practice appeared to have been of some standing with him. For
this offence he was severely punished, and removed from the hut in which
he had been placed; yet as, notwithstanding his villainy, he was too
useful a person to part with and send to a brick cart, he was still
retained to fish for the settlement; but a very vigilant eye was kept
over him, and such steps taken as appeared likely to prevent him from
repeating his offence, if the sense of shame and fear of punishment were
not of themselves sufficient to deter him.

A person of the name of Smith having procured a passage from England in
the _Lady Penrhyn_, with a design to proceed to India in the event of his
not finding any employment in this country, on his offering his services,
and professing to have some agricultural knowledge was received into the
colony, and, being judged a discreet prudent man, was placed about the
provision store under the assistant to the commissary at Rose Hill, and
was moreover sworn in as a peace-officer, to act as such immediately
under the provost-marshal; a line wherein, from the circumstance of his
being a free man, it was supposed he might render essential aid to the
civil department of the colony. It was farther intended, at a future
period, to place some people under his direction, to give him an
opportunity of exercising the abilities he was said to possess as a
practical farmer.

14th.] The magazine at the Point being now completed, the powder
belonging to the settlement was lodged safely within its walls.

It being of importance to the colony to ascertain the precise situation
and extent of the reefs seen by Mr. Blackburn, in the _Golden Grove_
storeship, in November last, Leiutenant Ball (who was proceeding to
Norfolk Island with provisions and convicts) was directed to perform that
duty on his return. He sailed with the vessel under his command on the
17th, having on board twenty-one male and six female convicts, and three
children; of the latter two were to be placed under Mr. King's care as
children of the public. They were of different sexes; the boy, Edward
Parkinson, who was about three years of age, had lost his mother on the
passage to this country, the girl, who was a year older, had a mother in
the colony; but as she was a woman of abandoned character*, the child was
taken from her to save it from the ruin which would otherwise have been
its inevitable lot. These children were to be instructed in reading and
writing, and in husbandry. The commandant of the island was directed to
cause five acres of ground to be allotted and cultivated for their
benefit, by such person as he should think fit to entrust with the charge
of bringing them up according to the spirit of this intention, in
promoting the success of which every friend of humanity seemed to feel an

[* The same who was wounded by Ruglass, earlier this chapter]

The cove was now, for the first time, left without a ship; a circumstance
not only striking by its novelty, but which forcibly drew our attention
to the peculiarity of our situation. The _Sirius_ was gone upon a long
voyage to a distant country for supplies, the arrival of which were
assuredly precarious. The _Supply_ had left us, to look after a dangerous
reef; which service, in an unknown sea, might draw upon herself the
calamity which she was seeking to instruct others to avoid. Should it
have been decreed, that the arm of misfortune was to fall with such
weight upon us, as to render at any time the salvation of this little
vessel necessary to the salvation of the colony, how deeply was every one
concerned in her welfare! Reflection on the bare possibility of its
miscarriage made every mind anxious during her absence from the

From the evident necessity that existed of maintaining a strict
discipline among the military employed in this country, it became a
requisite to punish with some severity any flagrant breach of military
subordination that might occur. Joseph Hunt, a soldier in the detachment,
having been found absent from his post when stationed as a sentinel, was
tried by a court-martial, and sentenced to receive seven hundred lashes;
which sentence was put in execution upon him at two periods, with an
interval of three weeks.

Toward the end of this month the detachment took possession of their
barracks; two of which, having been nearly twelve months in hand, were
now completed, and ready for their reception. A brick house, forty feet
by thirteen, was begun on the east side for the commissary; and materials
were preparing for a guard-house.

At Rose Hill the people were principally employed in clearing and
cultivating land; but the labour of removing the timber off the ground
when cut down very much retarded the best efforts of the people so
employed. The military and convicts still lived under tents; and, as a
proof of the small space which they occupied, two Emus or Cassowaries,
who must have been feeding in the neighbourhood, ran through the little
camp, and were so intermingled with the people, who ran out of their
tents at so strange an appearance, that it became dangerous to fire at
them; and they got clear off, though literally surrounded by a multitude
of people, and under the very muzzles of some of their muskets.

Very little molestation was at this time given by the natives; and had
they never been ill treated by our people, instead of hostility, it is
more than probable that an intercourse of friendship would have

March.] The impracticability of keeping the convicts within the limits
prescribed for them became every day more evident. Almost every month
since our arrival had produced one or more accidents, occasioned
principally by a non-compliance with the orders which had been given
solely with a view to their security; and which, with thinking beings,
would have been of sufficient force as examples to deter others from
running into the same danger. But neither orders nor dangers seemed to be
at all regarded where their own temporary convenience prompted them to
disobey the one, or run the risk of incurring the other. A convict
belonging to the brick-maker's gang had strayed into the woods for the
purpose of collecting sweet tea; an herb so called by the convicts, and
which was in great estimation among them. The leaves of it being boiled,
they obtained a beverage not unlike liquorice in taste, and which was
recommended by some of the medical gentlemen here, as a powerful tonic.
It was discovered soon after our arrival, and was then found close to the
settlement; but the great consumption had not rendered it scarce. It was
supposed, that the convict in his search after this article had fallen in
with a party of natives, who had killed him. A few days after this
accident, a party of the convicts, sixteen in number, chiefly belonging
to the brick-maker's gang, quitted the place of their employment, and,
providing themselves with stakes, set off toward Botany Bay, with a
determination to revenge, upon whatever natives they should meet, the
treatment which one of their brethren had received at the close of the
last month. Near Botany Bay they fell in with the natives, but in a
larger body than they expected or desired. According to their report,
they were fifty in number; but much dependance was not placed on what
they said in this respect, nor in their narrative of the affair; it was
certain, however, that they were driven in by the natives, who killed one
man and wounded six others. Immediately on this being known in the
settlement, an armed party was sent out with an officer, who found the
body of the man that had been killed, stripped, and lying in the path to
Botany Bay. They also found a boy, who had likewise been stripped and
left for dead by the natives. He was very much wounded, and his left ear
nearly cut off. The party, after burying the body of the man, returned
with the wounded boy, but without seeing any of the perpetrators of this
mischief; the other wounded people had reached the settlement, and were
taken to the hospital. The day following, the governor, judging it highly
necessary to make examples of these misguided people, who had so daringly
and flagrantly broken through every order which had been given to prevent
their interfering with the natives as to form a party expressly to meet
with and attack them, directed that those who were not wounded should
receive each one hundred and fifty lashes, and wear a fetter for a
twelvemonth; the like punishment was directed to be inflicted upon those
who were in the hospital, as soon as they should recover from their
wounds; in pursuance of which order, seven of them were tied up in front
of the provision store, and punished (for example's sake) in the presence
of all the convicts.

The same day two armed parties were sent, one toward Botany Bay, and the
other in a different direction, that the natives might see that their
late act of violence would neither intimidate nor prevent us from moving
beyond the settlement whenever occasion required.

Such were our enemies abroad: at home, within ourselves, we had enemies
to encounter of a different nature, but in their effects more difficult
to guard against. The gardens and houses of individuals, and the
provision store, were overrun with rats. The safety of the provisions was
an object of general consequence, and the commissary was for some time
employed in examining into the state of the store. One morning, on going
early to the store, he found the wards of a key which had been broken in
the padlock that secured the principal door, and which it was the duty of
the patrols to visit and inspect every night. Entering the storehouse, he
perceived that an harness-cask had been opened and some provisions taken
out. It being supposed that the wards of the key might lead to a
discovery of the perpetrator of this atrocious act, they were sent to a
convict blacksmith, an ingenious workman through whose hands most of the
work passed that was done in his line, who immediately knew them to
belong to a soldier of the name of Hunt, the same who in the course of
the preceding month received seven hundred lashes, and who had some time
back brought the key to this blacksmith to be altered. On this
information, Hunt was taken up; but offering to give some material
information, he was admitted an evidence on the part of the crown, and
made an ample confession before the lieutenant-governor and the
judge-advocate, in which he accused six other soldiers of having been
concerned with him in the diabolical practice of robbing the store for a
considerable time past of liquor and provisions in large quantities. This
crime, great enough of itself, was still aggravated by the manner in
which it was committed. Having formed their party, seven in number, and
sworn each other to secrecy and fidelity, they procured and altered keys
to fit the different locks on the three doors of the provision store; and
it was agreed, that whenever any one of the seven should be posted there
as sentinel during the night, two or more of the gang, as they found it
convenient, were to come during the hours in which they knew their
associate would have the store under his charge, when, by means of their
keys, and sheltered in the security which he afforded them (by betraying
in so flagrant a manner the trust and confidence reposed in him as a
sentinel), they should open a passage into the store, where they should
remain shut up until they had procured as much liquor or provisions as
they could take off. If the patrols visited the store while they chanced
to be within its walls, the door was found locked and secure, the
sentinel alert and vigilant on his post, and the store apparently safe.

Fortunately for the settlement, on the night preceding the discovery one
of the party intended to have availed himself of his situation as
sentinel, and to enter the store alone, purposing to plunder without the
participation of his associates. But while he was standing with the key
in the lock, he heard the patrol advancing. The key had done its office,
but as he knew that the lock would be examined by the corporal, in his
fright and haste to turn it back again, he mistook the way, and, finding
that he could not get the key out of the lock, he broke it, and was
compelled to leave the wards in it; the other part of the key he threw

On this information, the six soldiers whom he accused were taken up and
tried; when, the evidence of the accomplice being confirmed by several
strong corroborating circumstances, among which it appeared that the
store had been broken into and robbed by them at various times for
upwards of eight months, they were unanimously found guilty, and
sentenced to suffer that death which they owned they justly merited.
Their defence wholly consisted in accusing the accomplice of having been
the first to propose and carry the plan into execution, and afterwards
the first to accuse and ruin the people he had influenced to associate
with him. A crime of such magnitude called for a severe example; and the
sentence was carried into execution a few days after their trial.

Some of these unhappy men were held in high estimation by their officers,
but the others, together with the accomplice Hunt, had been long verging
toward this melancholy end. Four of them had been tried for the death of
their comrade Bulmore, which happened in a contest with one of them in
November last; and their manner of conducting themselves at various times
appeared to have been very reprehensible. The liquor which they procured
from the store was the cause of drunkenness, which brought on affrays and
disorders, for which, as soldiers, they were more than once punished. To
these circumstances must be added (what perhaps must be considered as the
root of these evils) a connexion which subsisted between them and some of
the worst of the female convicts, at whose huts, notwithstanding the
internal regulations of their quarters, they found means to enjoy their
ill-acquired plunder.

On the morning of their execution, one of them declared to the clergyman
who attended him, that the like practices had been carried on at the
store at Rose Hill by similar means and with similar success. He named
two soldiers and a convict as the persons concerned; these were
afterwards apprehended, and underwent an examination of several hours by
the lieutenant-governor and the judge-advocate, during which nothing
being drawn from either that could affect the others, they were all
discharged. It was, however, generally believed, that the soldier would
not in his dying moments have falsely accused three men of a crime which
they had never committed; and that nothing but their constancy to each
other had prevented a discovery of their guilt.

While these transactions were passing at Sydney, the little colony at
Norfolk Island had been threatened with an insurrection. The _Supply_
returned from thence the 24th, after an absence of five weeks, and
brought from Lieutenant King, the commandant, information of the
following chimerical scheme. The capture of the island, and the
subsequent escape of the captors, was to commence by the seizure of Mr.
King's person, which was intended to be effected on the first Saturday
after the arrival of any ship in the bay, except the _Sirius_. They had
chosen that particular day in the week, as it had been for some time Mr.
King's custom on Saturdays to go to a farm which he had established at
some little distance from the settlement, and the military generally
chose that day to bring in the cabbage palm from the woods. Mr. King was
to be secured in his way to his farm. A message, in the commandant's
name, was then to be sent to Mr. Jamison, the surgeon, who was to be
seized as soon as he got into the woods; and the sergeant and the party
were to be treated in the same manner. These being all properly taken
care of, a signal was to be made to the ship in the bay to send her boat
on shore, the crew of which were to be made prisoners on their landing;
and two or three of the insurgents were to go off in a boat belonging to
the island, and inform the commanding officer that the ship's boat had
been stove on the beach, and that the commandant requested another might
be sent ashore; this also was to be captured: and then, as the last act
of this absurd scheme, the ship was to be taken, with which they were to
proceed to Otaheite, and there establish a settlement. They charitably
intended to leave some provisions for the commandant and his officers,
and for such of the people as did not accompany them in their
escape--this was their scheme. Not one difficulty in the execution of it
ever occurred to their imagination: all was to happen with as much
facility as it was planned; and, had it not been fortunately revealed to
a seaman belonging to the _Sirius_, who lived with Mr. King as a
gardener, by a female convict who cohabited with him, there was no doubt
but that all these improbabilities would have been attempted.

On being made acquainted with these circumstances, the commandant took
such measures as appeared to him necessary to defeat them; and several
who were concerned in the scheme confessed the share which they were to
have had in the execution of it. Mr. King had hitherto, from the
peculiarity of his situation--secluded from society, and confined to a
small speck in the vast ocean, with but a handful of people--drawn them
round him, and treated them with the kind attentions which a good family
meets with at the hands of a humane master; but he now saw them in their
true colours, and one of his first steps, when peace was restored, was to
clear the ground as far as possible round the settlement, that future
villainy might not find a shelter in the woods for its transactions. To
this truly providential circumstance, perhaps, many of the colonists
afterwards were indebted for their lives.

On Thursday the 26th of February the island was visited by a hurricane
which came on early in the morning in very heavy gales of wind and rain.
By four o'clock several pines of 180 and 200 feet in length, and from 20
to 30 feet in circumference, were blown down. From that hour until noon
the gale increased to a dreadful hurricane, with torrents of heavy rain.
Every instant pines and live oaks, of the largest dimensions, were borne
down by the fury of the blast, which, tearing up roots and rocks with
them, left chasms of eight or ten feet depth in the earth. Those pines
that were able to resist the wind bent their tops nearly to the ground;
and nothing but horror and desolation everywhere presented itself. A very
large live oak tree was blown on the granary, which it dashed to pieces,
and stove a number of casks of flour; but happily, by the activity of the
officers and free people, the flour, Indian corn, and stores, were in a
short time collected, and removed to the commandant's house, with the
loss only of about half a cask of flour, and some small stores. At noon
the gale blew with the utmost violence, tearing up whole forests by the
roots. At one o'clock there were as many trees torn up by the roots as
would have required the labour of fifty men for a fortnight to have
felled. Early in the forenoon the swamp and vale were overflowed, and had
every appearance of a large navigable river. The gardens, public and
private, were wholly destroyed; cabbages, turnips, and other plants, were
blown out of the ground; and those which withstood the hurricane seemed
as if they had been scorched. An acre of Indian corn which grew in the
vale, and which would have been ripe in about three weeks, was totally

[* The direction of the hurricane was across the island from the
South-east; and as its fury had blown down more trees than were found
lying on the ground when Mr. King landed on it, he conjectured that it
was not an annual visitant of the island. This conjecture seems now to be
justified, as nothing of the kind has since occurred there.]

His people continued to be healthy, and the climate had not forfeited the
good opinion he had formed of it. He acquainted the governor, that for
his internal defence he had formed all the free people on the island into
a militia, and that a military guard was mounted every night as a picket.
There were at this time victualled on the island sixteen free people,
fifty-one male convicts, twenty-three female convicts, and four children.

The arrival of the _Supply_ with an account of these occurrences created
a temporary variety in the conversation of the day; and a general
satisfaction appeared when the little vessel that brought them dropped
her anchor again in the cove. Lieutenant Ball, having lost an anchor at
Norfolk Island, did not think it prudent to attempt to fall in with the
shoal seen by the _Golden Grove_ storeship; his orders on that head being

We now return to the transactions of the principal settlement. The person
who was noticed in the occurrences of the last month as being employed at
Rose Hill under the commissary, had been also entrusted with the
direction of the convicts who were employed in clearing and cultivating
ground at that place; but, being advanced in years, he was found
inadequate to the task of managing and controlling the people who were
under his care, the most of whom were always inventing plausible excuses
for absence from labour, or for their neglect of it while under his eye.
He was therefore removed, and succeeded by a person who came out from
England as a servant to the governor. This man joined to much
agricultural knowledge a perfect idea of the labour to be required from,
and that might he performed by the convicts; and his figure was
calculated to make the idle and the worthless shrink if he came near
them. He had hitherto been employed at the spot of ground which was
cleared soon after our arrival at the adjoining cove, since distinguished
by the name of Farm Cove, and which, from the natural poverty of the
soil, was not capable of making an adequate return for the labour which
had been expended on it. It was, however, still attended to, and the
fences kept in repair; but there was not any intention of clearing more
ground in that spot.

Toward the latter end of the month two of the birds distinguished in the
colony by the name of Emus were brought in by some of the people employed
to shoot for the officers. The weight of each was seventy pounds.


Neutral Bay
Smallpox among the natives
Captain Hunter in the _Sirius_ returns with supplies from the Cape of
Good Hope
Middleton Island discovered
Danger of wandering in the forests of an unknown country
The King's birthday kept
Convicts perform a play
A reinforcement under Lieutenant Cresswell sent to Norfolk Island
Governor Phillip makes an excursion of discovery
Hawkesbury River discovered
Progress at Rose Hill
Important papers left behind in England

April.] The governor thinking it probable that foreign ships might again
visit this coast, and perhaps run into this harbour for the purpose of
procuring refreshments, directed Mr. Blackburn to survey a large bay on
the north shore, contiguous to this cove; and a sufficient depth of water
being found, his excellency inserted in the port orders, that all foreign
ships coming into this harbour should anchor in this bay, which he named
Neutral Bay, bringing Rock Island to bear SSE and the hospital on the
west side of Sydney Cove to bear SW by W.

Early in the month, and throughout its continuance, the people whose
business called them down the harbour daily reported, that they found,
either in excavations of the rock, or lying upon the beaches and points
of the different coves which they had been in, the bodies of many of the
wretched natives of this country. The cause of this mortality remained
unknown until a family was brought up, and the disorder pronounced to
have been the smallpox. It was not a desirable circumstance to introduce
a disorder into the colony which was raging with such fatal violence
among the natives of the country; but the saving the lives of any of
these people was an object of no small importance, as the knowledge of
our humanity, and the benefits which we might render them, would, it was
hoped, do away the evil impressions they had received of us. Two elderly
men, a boy, and a girl were brought up, and placed in a separate hut at
the hospital. The men were too far overcome by the disease to get the
better of it; but the children did well from the moment of their coming
among us. From the native who resided with us we understood that many
families had been swept off by this scourge, and that others, to avoid
it, had fled into the interior parts of the country. Whether it had ever
appeared among them before could not be discovered, either from him or
from the children; but it was certain that they gave it a name
(gal-gal-la); a circumstance which seemed to indicate a preacquaintance
with it.

The convicts, among other public works, were now employed in forming a
convenient road on the west side from the hospital and landing-place to
the storehouses; and in constructing a stable at Farm Cove, with some
convenient out-houses for stock.

May.] Of the native boy and girl who had been brought up in the last
month, on their recovery from the smallpox, the latter was taken to live
with the clergyman's wife, and the boy with Mr. White, the surgeon, to
whom, for his attention during the cure, he seemed to be much attached.

While the eruptions of this disorder continued upon the children, a
seaman belonging to the _Supply_, a native of North America, having been
to see them, was seized with it, and soon after died; but its baneful
effects were not experienced by any white person of the settlement,
although there were several very young children in it at the time.

From the first hour of the introduction of the boy and girl into the
settlement, it was feared that the native who had been so instrumental in
bringing them in, and whose attention to them during their illness
excited the admiration of every one that witnessed it, would be attacked
by the same disorder; as on his person were found none of those traces of
its ravages which are frequently left behind. It happened as the fears of
every one predicted; he fell a victim to the disease in eight days after
he was seized with it, to the great regret of every one who had witnessed
how little of the savage was found in his manner, and how quickly he was
substituting in its place a docile, affable, and truly amiable

6th.] After an absence of seven months and six days, to the great
satisfaction of every one, about five in the evening his Majesty's ship
_Sirius_ anchored in the cove from the Cape of Good Hope. Captain Hunter
sailed from this port on the 2nd of October 1788, and, during the space
which had elapsed between his departure and his return, had
circumnavigated the globe. He made his passage by Cape Horn, arriving on
the 2nd of last January at the Cape of Good Hope, from which place he
sailed on the 20th of the following month. Off the southern extremity of
this country the _Sirius_ met with a gale of wind, when so close in with
the land that it was for some time doubtful whether she would clear it.
In this gale she received considerable damage; the head of the ship, the
figure of the Duke of Berwick, was torn from the cutwater, and she was
afterwards found to have been very much weakened.

The _Sirius_ brought 127,000 weight of flour for the settlement, and a
twelvemonth's provisions for her ship's company; but this supply was not
very flattering, as the short space of four months, at a full ration,
would exhaust it. It was, however, very welcome, and her return seemed to
have gladdened every heart. Eager were our inquiries after intelligence
from that country from which we had been now two years divided, and to
whose transactions we were entire strangers. With joy, mingled with
concern that we were not personal sharers in the triumph, did we hear of
our country's successful efforts in the cause of the Stadtholder, and of
the noble armaments which our ministers had fitted out to support it. We
trusted, however, that while differently employed, our views were still
directed to the same object; for, though labouring at a distance, and in
an humbler scene, yet the good, the glory, and the aggrandizement of our
country were prime considerations with us. And why should the colonists
of New South Wales be denied the merit of endeavouring to promote them,
by establishing civilization in the savage world; by animating the
children of idleness and vice to habits of laborious and honest industry;
and by showing the world that to Englishmen no difficulties are

We heard with concern that Lieutenant Shortland was near five months in
reaching Batavia in the _Alexander_, in which ship he sailed from this
port on the 14th of last July, in company with the _Friendship_,
_Borrowdale_, and _Prince of Wales_. From this ship and the _Borrowdale_
he parted company very shortly after leaving our harbour; they proceeded
round Cape Horn, to Rio de Janeiro, where in last December they were left
lying ready for sea. The _Alexander_ and _Friendship_ proceeding to the
northward kept company together as far as the island of Borneo, where,
the crews of both ships being so much reduced by the scurvy (the
_Alexander_ had buried seventeen of her seamen) that it was impossible to
navigate both vessels against the strong currents which they met with,
and the western monsoon which had then set in, both ships were brought to
an anchor, and most of the _Friendship's_ stores, with all her people,
being taken out and received on board the _Alexander_, she was scuttled
and sunk. When the Alexander arrived at Batavia, she had, of both ship's
crews, but one man who was able to go aloft.

Lieutenant Shortland, in his letter, noticed some discoveries which he
had made; particularly one of an extensive and dangerous shoal, which
obtained the name of Middleton Shoal, and was reckoned to be in the
latitude of 29 degrees 20 minutes South, and in the longitude of 158
degrees 40 minutes East. He had also discovered an island, which he
placed in the latitude of 28 degrees 10 minutes South, and in the
longitude of 159 degrees 50 minutes East, and named Sir Charles Middleton
Island: his other discoveries, not being so immediately in the vicinity
of this territory, were not likely to be of any advantage to the
settlement; but it was of some importance to it to learn that an
extensive reef was so near, and to find its situation ascertained to be
in the track of ships bound from hence to the northward; for if Sir
Charles Middleton Island should hereafter be found to possess a safe and
convenient harbour, it might prove an interesting discovery for this

A Dutch ship, bound for Europe, sailing from the Cape of Good Hope on the
9th of last January, Captain Hunter took that opportunity of forwarding
the dispatches with which he had been charged by Governor Phillip. He was
informed by the master of the _Harpy Whaler_, who had put into Table Bay,
that in England there had been a general anxiety to hear of our safety
and arrival in this country, and that ships to be taken up had been
advertised for, but had not been engaged, as the government waited for
accounts from Governor Phillip.

Of these accounts it was hoped that ministers had been some time in
possession, and that in consequence supplies were at this hour on their
passage to New South Wales.

Our attention was now directed to receiving from the _Sirius_ the
provisions she had brought us; and as the flour had been packed in bags
at the Cape of Good Hope, the coopers were immediately employed in
setting up and preparing casks for its reception on shore. These being
soon completed, the flour was landed and deposited in the store. This,
with the building and covering-in of a new hut for the smith's work,
formed the principal labour of the convicts at Sydney during this month.

The boats in the colony not being found sufficient for the purpose of
transporting provisions from the store at Sydney to the settlement at
Rose Hill, a launch or hoy was put upon the stocks, under the direction
of Mr. Reid, the carpenter of the _Supply_, to be employed for that and
other necessary purposes. She was to be built of the timber of the
country, and to carry ten tons.

From that settlement, early in the month, two soldiers of the detachment
doing duty there were reported to be missing; and, though parties had
been sent out daily in different directions to seek for them, yet all was
unavailing. It was supposed that they must have lost their way in some of
the thick and almost impenetrable brushes which were in the vicinity of
Rose Hill, and had there perished miserably. They had gone in search of
the sweet tea plant already mentioned; and perhaps when they resigned
themselves to the fate which they did not see how to avoid, oppressed
with hunger, and unable to wander any farther, they may have been but a
short distance from the relief they must so earnestly have desired. A dog
that was known to have left the settlement with them reached Rose Hill,
almost famished, nine days after they had left it. The extreme danger
attendant on a man's going beyond the bounds of his own knowledge in the
forests of an unsettled country could no where be more demonstrable than
in this. To the westward was an immense open track before him, in which,
if unbefriended by either sun or moon, he might wander until life were at
an end. Most of the arms which extended into the country from Port
Jackson and the harbour on each side of Port Jackson, were of great
length, and to round them without a certain and daily supply of
provisions was impossible*.

[* In many of these arms, when sitting with my companions at my ease in a
boat, I have been struck with horror at the bare idea of being lost in
them; as, from the great similarity of one cove to another, the
recollection would be bewildered in attempting to determine any relative
situation. It is certain, that if destroyed by no other means, insanity
would accelerate the miserable end that must ensue.]

To guard as much as possible against these accidents every measure which
could be suggested was adopted. A short time after the settlement was
established at Rose Hill, the governor went out with some people in a
direction due South, and caused a visible path to be made; that if any
person who had strayed beyond his own marks for returning, and knew not
where he was, should cross upon his path, he might by following it have a
chance of reaching the settlement; and orders were repeatedly given to
prohibit straggling beyond the limits which were marked and known.

Toward the end of the month, some convicts having reported that they had
found the body of a white man lying in a cove at a short distance from
the settlement, a general muster of the convicts at Sydney was directed;
but no person was unaccounted for except Caesar, an incorrigibly stubborn
black, who had absconded a few days before from the service of one of the
officers, and taken to the woods with some provisions, an iron pot, and a
soldier's musket, which he had found means to steal.

Garden robberies, after Caesar's flight, were frequent, and some leads
belonging to a seine being stolen, a reward of a pardon was held out to
any of the accomplices on discovering the person who stole them; and the
like reward was also offered if, in five days, he should discover the
person who had purchased them; but all was without effect. It was
conjectured that they had been stolen for the purpose of being converted
into shot by some person not employed or authorized to kill the game of
this country.

The weather during the latter part of this month was cold;
notwithstanding which a turtle was seen in the harbour.

June 4.] The anniversary of his Majesty's birthday, the second time of
commemorating it in this country, was observed with every distinction in
our power; for the first time, the ordnance belonging to the colony were
discharged; the detachment of marines fired three volleys, which were
followed by twenty-one guns from each of the ships of war in the cove;
the governor received the compliments due to the day in his new house, of
which he had lately taken possession as the government-house of the
colony, where his excellency afterwards entertained the officers at
dinner, and in the evening some of the convicts were permitted to perform
Farquhar's comedy of the Recruiting Officer, in a hut fitted up for the
occasion. They professed no higher aim than 'humbly to excite a smile,'
and their efforts to please were not unattended with applause.

In addition to the steps taken by the commandant of Norfolk Island for
his internal security, the governor thought an increase of his military
force absolutely necessary. Accordingly, the day after his Majesty's
birthday, Lieutenant Creswell, with fourteen privates from the detachment
of marines, embarked on board the _Supply_ for Norfolk Island; and at the
same time he received a written order from his excellency to take upon
himself the direction and execution of the authority vested in Mr. King,
in the event of any accident happening to that officer, until a successor
should be formally appointed and sent from hence.

The _Supply_, on her return from Norfolk Island, was to visit the island
seen by Lieutenant Shortland, and laid down by him, in the latitude of 28
degrees 10 minutes South. She was also to cruise for the shoal seen by
that officer, and stated to be in the latitude of 29 degrees 20 minutes
South, and for the shoal seen by Mr. Blackburn, the south end of which
lay in the latitude of 29 degrees 25 minutes South; all of which, if the
observations of both officers were equally correct, would, it was
supposed, be found contiguous to each other. Lieutenant Ball was directed
to land upon the island, if landing should be found practicable; and to
determine, if he could, the extent and situation of the shoals.

On these services the _Supply_ sailed the 6th of this month; on which day
the governor set off with a party on a second excursion to Broken Bay, in
the hope of being able, from the head of that harbour, to reach the
mountains inland. His excellency returned to the settlement on the
evening of the 16th, having discovered a capacious freshwater river,
emptying itself into Broken Bay, and extending to the westward. He was
compelled to return without tracing it to its source, not having a
sufficient quantity of provisions with him; but immediately made the
necessary preparations for returning to finish his examination of it; and
set off on that design with an increased party, and provisions for
twenty-one days, on Monday the 29th.

Caesar, being closely attended to, was at length apprehended and secured.
This man was always reputed the hardest working convict in the country;
his frame was muscular and well calculated for hard labour; but in his
intellects he did not very widely differ from a brute; his appetite was
ravenous, for he could in any one day devour the full ration for two
days. To gratify this appetite he was compelled to steal from others, and
all his thefts were directed to that purpose. He was such a wretch, and
so indifferent about meeting death, that he declared while in
confinement, that if he should be hanged, he would create a laugh before
he was turned off, by playing off some trick upon the executioner.
Holding up such a mere animal as an example was not expected to have the
proper or intended effect; the governor therefore, with the humanity that
was always conspicuous in his exercise of the authority vested in him,
directed that he should be sent to Garden Island, there to work in
fetters; and in addition to his ration of provisions he was to be
supplied with vegetables from the garden.

The _Sirius_ had, in the gale of wind which she met with off Tasman's
Head, sustained much more damage, and was, upon inspection, found to have
been weakened much more than was at first conjectured. This was the more
unfortunate, as, from the nature of our situation, many important
services were yet to be rendered by her to the colony. It became,
therefore, a matter of public concern to have her damages repaired and
the ship strengthened as expeditiously and as efficaciously as our
abilities would admit. A convenient retired cove on the north shore being
fixed on for the purpose of a careening cove, she dropped down and took
possession of it toward the latter end of the month. She could have been
refitted with much ease at Sydney; but there was no doubt that the work
necessary to be done to her would meet with fewer interruptions, if the
people who were engaged in it were removed from the connections which
seamen generally form where there are women of a certain character and

The gang under the direction of the overseer employed at the brick fields
had hitherto only made ten thousand bricks in a month. A kiln was now
constructed in which thirty thousand might be burnt off in the same time,
which number the overseer engaged to deliver.

The carpenter of the _Supply_, who had undertaken the construction of the
hoy, being obliged to proceed with that vessel on her going to sea, the
direction of the few people employed upon her was left with the carpenter
of the _Sirius_ during his absence.

July 14.] The governor returned from his second visit to the river, which
he named the Hawkesbury, in honor of the noble lord at the head of the
committee of council of trade and plantations. He traced the river to a
considerable distance to the westward, and was impeded in his further
progress by a shallow which he met with a short distance above the hill
formerly seen, and then named by him Richmond Hill, to the foot of which
the course of the Hawkesbury conducted him and his party. They were
deterred from remaining any time in the narrow part of the river, as they
perceived evident traces of the freshes having risen to the height of
from twenty to forty feet above the level of the water. They represented
the windings of the river as beautiful and picturesque; and toward
Richmond Hill the face of the country appeared more level and open than
in any other part. The vast inundations which had left such tokens behind
them of the height to which they swell the river seemed rather
unfavourable for the purpose of settling near the banks, which otherwise
would have been convenient and desirable, the advantages attending the
occupation of an allotment of land on the margin of a fresh-water river
being superior to those of any other situation. The soil on the banks of
the river was judged to be light; what it was further inland could not be
determined with any certainty, as the travellers did not penetrate to any
distance, except at Richmond Hill, where the soil appeared to be less
mixed with sand than that on the branches.

During the governor's absence the sail-maker of the _Sirius_ had strayed
into the woods about the cove where she was repairing, and, not knowing
the country, wandered so far that he could not find his way back to the
ship. Fortunately for him, the governor, on his return from Broken Bay,
met with him in the north arm of this harbour, but so weakened by hunger
and fatigue, as to have all the appearance of intoxication when first
discovered and spoken to, and in a situation so remote from a probability
of assistance, that perhaps a few days more would have fixed the period
of his existence.

On visiting the settlement at Rose Hill, the convicts were all found
residing in very good huts, apparently under proper regulations, and
encouraged to work in the gardens, which they had permission to cultivate
during those hours which were not dedicated to public labour. A barrack
for the soldiers was erected in the small redoubt which had been
constructed, and in which also stood the provision store. Some ground had
been opened on the other side of the stream of water which ran into the
creek, where a small house had been built for the superintendant Dodd,
under whose charge were to be placed a barn and granaries, in which the
produce of the ground he was then filling with wheat and barley was to be
deposited. The people of all descriptions continued very healthy; and the
salubrity of the climate rendered medicine of little use.

Notwithstanding little more than two years had elapsed since our
departure from England, several convicts about this time signified that
the respective terms for which they had been transported had expired, and
claimed to be restored to the privileges of free men. Unfortunately, by
some unaccountable oversight, the papers necessary to ascertain these
particulars had been left by the masters of the transports with their
owners in England, instead of being brought out and deposited in the
colony; and as, thus situated, it was equally impossible to admit or to
deny the truth of their assertions, they were told to wait until accounts
could be received from England; and in the mean time by continuing to
labour for the public, they would be entitled to share the public
provisions in the store. This was by no means satisfactory, as it
appeared that they expected an assurance from the governor of receiving
some gratuity for employing their future time and labour for the benefit
of the settlement. One of these people having, in the presence of his
excellency, expressed himself disrespectfully of the lieutenant-governor,
he was brought before a criminal court and tried for the same, of which
offence being found guilty, he was sentenced to receive six hundred
lashes, and to wear irons for the space of six months.

It must be acknowledged, that these people were most peculiarly and
unpleasantly situated. Conscious in their own minds that the sentence of
the law had been fulfilled upon them, it must have been truly distressing
to their feelings to find that they could not be considered in any other
light, or received into any other situation, than that in which alone
they had been hitherto known in the settlement.

In the infancy of the colony, however, but little was to be gained by
their being restored to the rights and privileges of free people, as no
one was in possession of such abundance as to afford to support another
independent of the public store. Every man, therefore, must have wrought
for his provisions; and if they had been gratified in their expectation
of being paid for their labour, the price of provisions in this country
would certainly have been found equal, if not superior, to any value they
could have set upon their time and labour for the public. As these
considerations must have offered themselves to the notice of many good
understandings which were among them, it was rather conjectured, that the
dissatisfaction which evidently prevailed on this subject was set on foot
and fomented by some evil-designing spirits and associates in former
iniquities. The governor, however, terminated this business for the
present, by directing the judge-advocate to take the affidavits of such
persons as would make oath that they had served the term prescribed by
the law, and by recommending them to work for the public until some
information was received from government on that head.

The observatory which was erected on our first landing being found small
and inconvenient, as well for the purpose of observing as for the
residence of Lieutenant Dawes and the reception of the astronomical
instruments, the stone-cutters began preparing stone to construct
another, the materials for which were found in abundance upon the spot,
the west point of the cove.


Intelligence from Norfolk Island
Police established at the principal settlement
A successful haul of fish
A soldier tried for a rape
Provisions begin to fail
A launch completed
Ration reduced to two-thirds
_Sirius_ returns to the Cove
One of her mates lost in the woods
_Supply_ sails for Norfolk Island
Utility of the night watch
A female convict executed for house-breaking
Two natives taken
Serious charge against the assistant commissary satisfactorily cleared up
Lieutenant Dawes's excursion
The _Supply_ returns

August.] Of the four barracks which were begun in March 1788, and at that
time intended to be finished as such, two had been for some time occupied
by the detachment, two companies residing in each; a third was at the
beginning of this month converted into a storehouse; and the wood-work of
the fourth was taken down and applied to some other purpose; the labour
and time required to finish it being deemed greater than the utility that
would be derived from it as a barrack, the two that were already occupied
conveniently and comfortably accommodating the detachment.

As every circumstance became of importance that might in its tendency
forward or retard the day whereon the colony was to be pronounced
independent of the mother-country for provisions, it was soon observed
with concern, that hitherto by far a greater proportion of males than
females had been produced by the animals we had brought for the purpose
of breeding. This, in any other situation, might not have been so nicely
remarked; but here, where a country was to be stocked, a litter of twelve
pigs whereof three only were females became a subject of conversation and
inquiry. Out of seven kids which had been produced in the last month, one
only was a female; and many similar instances had before occurred, but no
particular notice was attracted until their frequency rendered them
remarkable. This circumstance excited an anxious care in every one for
the preservation of such females as might be produced; and at the moment
now spoken of no person entertained an idea of slaughtering one of that
sort; indeed males were so abundant that fortunately there was no

On the 7th Lieutenant Ball returned from Norfolk Island, and from an
unsuccessful cruise of nearly six weeks in search of the island and
shoals for which he was directed to look. He sailed over the identical
spot on which Mr. Shortland had fixed the latitudes and longitudes of his
island and his shoal, without seeing either, and therefore concluded,
that they had not been placed far enough to the northward. The error
might have lain in copying the account from his log-book into his letter.

From Norfolk Island Lieutenant King wrote, that he had cleared seventeen
acres of ground upon the public account, all of which were either sown or
ready for sowing; that caterpillars had done much damage to some wheat
which had just come up; and that he was erecting a storehouse capable of
containing a large quantity of stores and provisions, and had made a
visible road from Sydney Bay to Cascade Bay. The pine trees, of the
utility of which such sanguine hopes had been entertained, were found to
be unfit for large masts or yards, being shakey or rotten at thirty or
forty feet from the butt; the wood was so brittle that it would not make
a good oar, and so porous that the water soaked through the planks of a
boat which had been built of it. Mr. King also lamented their ignorance
of the proper mode of preparing the flax plant, which rendered it useless
to them. A single pod of cotton had been found on the island, and a tree
had been discovered, the bark of which was strong, and of a texture like
cotton. A species of bird also had been met with, which burrowed in the
ground, and had been seen in such numbers about the summit of Mount Pitt,
the highest hill on the island, that they were contemplated as a resource
in any future season of distress, should they be found to visit the
island at stated periods, and to deposit their eggs on it. Mr. King spoke
well of the general behaviour of the subjects of his little government
since the detection of their late scheme to overturn it.

From the frequent commission of offences in this settlement and at Rose
Hill, where scarcely a night passed but complaint was made on the
following morning of a garden being robbed, or a house broken into, so
favourable a report could not be given of the general conduct of the
people. The frequency of these enormities had become so striking, that it
appeared absolutely necessary to devise some plan which might put a stop
to an evil that was every day increasing. The convicts who were employed
in making bricks, living in huts by themselves on the spot where their
work was performed, were suspected of being the perpetrators of most of
the offences committed at Sydney; and orders had been given, forbidding,
under pain of punishment, their being seen in town after sunset. These
depredations continuing, however, a convict of the name of Harris
presented to the judge-advocate a proposal for establishing a
night-watch, to be selected from among the convicts, with authority to
secure all persons of that description who should be found straggling
from the huts at improper hours. This proposal being submitted to the
governor, and the plan thoroughly digested and matured, the first attempt
toward a police in this settlement commenced on Saturday the 8th of
August. The following are the heads of the plan:

The settlement was divided into four districts, over each of which was
placed a watch consisting of three persons, one principal and two
subordinate watchmen. These, being selected from among those convicts
whose conduct and character had been unexceptionable since their landing,
were vested with authority to patrol at all hours in the night, to visit
such places as might be deemed requisite for the discovery of any felony,
trespass, or misdemeanor, and to secure for examination all persons that
might appear to be concerned therein; for which purpose they were
directed to enter any suspected hut or dwelling or to use any other means
that might appear expedient. They were required to detain and give
information to the nearest guardhouse of any soldier or seaman who should
be found straggling after the taptoo had been beat. They were to use
their utmost endeavours to trace out offenders on receiving accounts of
any depredation; and in addition to their night duty, they were directed
to take cognizance of such convicts as gamed, or sold or bartered their
slops or provisions, and report them for punishment. A return of all
occurrences during the night was to be made to the judge-advocate; and
the military were required to furnish the watch with any assistance they
might be in need of, beyond what the civil power could give them. They
were provided each with a short staff, to distinguish them during the
night, and to denote their office in the colony; and were instructed not
to receive any stipulated encouragement or reward from any individual for
the conviction of offenders, but to expect that negligence or misconduct
in the execution of their trust would be punished with the utmost rigour.
It was to have been wished, that a watch established for the preservation
of public and private property had been formed of free people, and that
necessity had not compelled us, in selecting the first members of our
little police, to appoint them from a body of men in whose eyes, it could
not be denied, the property of individuals had never before been sacred.
But there was not any choice. The military had their line of duty marked
out for them, and between them and the convict there was no description
of people from whom overseers or watchmen could be provided. It might,
however, be supposed, that among the convicts there must be many who
would feel a pride in being distinguished from their fellows, and a pride
that might give birth to a returning principle of honesty. It was hoped
that the convicts whom we had chosen were of this description; some
effort had become necessary to detect the various offenders who were
prowling about with security under cover of the night; and the convicts
who had any property were themselves interested in defeating such
practices. They promised fidelity and diligence, from which the scorn of
their fellow-prisoners should not induce them to swerve, and began with a
confidence of success the duty which they had themselves offered to

The _Sirius_, on being closely inspected and surveyed by her own
carpenter and the carpenter of the _Supply_, was found to be so much
weakened, that the repairs which were requisite to put her in a state fit
to encounter the storms of this coast would require the labour of four
men for six months and twenty-four days, not including Sundays in the
calculation. This was unfortunate; the resources of a king's yard were
not to be found in the careening cove in Port Jackson; people who looked
forward beyond the event of the morrow began to think that her services
might be wanted before she could be in a condition to render them; and it
was considered a matter of the utmost moment, to bestow the labour that
she required in as little time and with as much skill as the
circumstances of our situation would admit.

12th.] Such attentions as were within our power were shown to the
anniversary of his royal highness the Prince of Wales's birthday; and
although the table of our festivity was not crowned with luxuries or
delicacies, yet the glass that was consecrated on that occasion to his
royal highness's name was in no part of the British dominions accompanied
with more sincere wishes for his happiness.

On the 20th, Daniel Gordon, a convict, was brought to trial for stealing
a quantity of provisions and clothes, the property of persons employed by
the lieutenant-governor at some ground which he had in cultivation near
the settlement. The prisoner appearing wild and incoherent on being
brought before the court, the principal surgeon of the settlement was
directed to examine him, and giving it as his opinion, upon oath, that
the man's pulse very strongly indicated either a delirium or
intoxication, his trial was put off until the following morning, when,
the same appearances of wildness continuing on him, witnesses were
examined as to the tenor of his conduct during his being in confinement
for the offence; and the court were of opinion from their testimony,
'That the prisoner was not in a state of mind to be put upon his trial.'
He was therefore placed under the care of the surgeon at the hospital,
and the court broke up.

It was generally supposed, that a firm belief that his offence would be
fixed upon him occasioned the derangement of intellect which appeared. He
was a notorious offender, and had been once pardoned in this country
under the gallows. Many of his fellow-prisoners gave him credit for the
ability with which he had acted his part, and perhaps he deserved their
applause; but disordered as he appeared before the court, their humanity
would not suffer them to proceed against a wretch who either had not, or
affected not to have, a sufficient sense of his situation.

Slops were served to the convicts during this month, and the detachment
received the remainder of the shoes which they brought from England.

September.] In England some dependence had been placed on fish as a
resource for the settlement, but sufficient for a general distribution
had not hitherto been caught at any one time. On the 4th of this month
the people belonging to the _Supply_ had a very large haul; their seine
was so full, that had they hauled it ashore it must have burst; the ropes
of it were therefore made fast on shore, and the seine was suffered to
lie until left dry by the tide. The fish were brought up to the
settlement, and distributed among the military and convicts. A night or
two after this, a fishing-boat caught about one hundred dozen of small
fish; but this was precarious, and, happening after the provisions were
served, no other advantage could be derived from the circumstance, than
that of every man's having a fish-meal.

On the 10th a criminal court of judicature was assembled for the trial of
Henry Wright, a private soldier in the detachment, for a rape on a child
of eight years of age; of which heinous offence being found guilty, he
received sentence to die; but being recommended by the court to the
governor, his excellency was pleased to pardon him, on condition of his
residing, during the term of his natural life, at Norfolk Island. This
was an offence that did not seem to require an immediate example; the
chastity of the female part of the settlement had never been so rigid, as
to drive men to so desperate an act; and it was believed, that beside the
wretch in question there was not in the colony a man of any description
who would have attempted it.

On the 12th, the butter, which had hitherto been served at six ounces per
week to each man in the settlement, being expended, the like quantity of
sugar was directed to be issued in its stead. This was the first of the
provisions brought from England which had wholly failed; and, fortunately,
the failure was in an article which could be the best spared. It never
had been very good, and was not, strictly speaking, a necessary of life.

A small boat belonging to a gentleman of the settlement, having been too
deeply laden with cabbage-trees which had been collected in a bay down
the harbour for the purpose of building, was overset on her return to the
cove, by touching on a rock which lay off one of the points. There were
three people in her, two of whom swam on shore; the third remained five
hours on her keel, and was accidentally met with and picked up by the
people of a fishing boat.

Captain Hunter, unwilling to lose any opportunity of rendering a service
to the colony, while the repairs of his ship were going on, surveyed the
two adjoining harbours of Broken Bay and Botany Bay; and correct charts
were thus obtained of these two harbours, so admirably situated with
relation to Port Jackson.

The natives, who had for some time past given very little interruption,
toward the end of the month attacked Henry Hacking, one of the
quarter-masters of the _Sirius_, who, being reckoned a good shot, was
allowed to shoot for the officers and ship's company. His account was,
that, being in the woods, a stone was thrown at him from one of two
natives whom he perceived behind him, and that on looking about he found
dispersed among the trees a number that could not be less than forty.
Wishing to intimidate them, he several times only presented his piece
toward them; but, finding that they followed him, he at last gave them
the contents, which happened to be small shot for birds. These he
replaced with buckshot, and got rid of his troublesome and designing
followers by discharging his piece a second time. They all made off; but
some of them stumbling as they ran, he apprehended they had been wounded.
This account met with more credit than could usually be allowed to such
tales, as the person who gave it was held in great estimation by the
officers of his ship both as a man and as a seaman.

Mr. Palmer, the purser of the _Sirius_, having occasion to cut timber in
a cove down the harbour, was visited by some natives, who took an
opportunity of concealing two of his axes in the bushes. On his missing
the implements, the natives went off in some consternation, leaving two
children behind them, whom Mr. Palmer detained, and would have brought up
to the settlement, had not their friends ransomed them with the property
that had been stolen.

At Rose Hill, where the corn promised well, an Emu had been killed, which
stood seven feet high, was a female, and when opened was found to contain
exactly fifty eggs.

October.] The launch that was begun in May last by the carpenter of the
_Supply_, being completed, was put into the water the 5th of October.
From the quantity of wood used in her construction she appeared to be a
mere bed of timber, and, when launched, was named by the convicts, with
an happiness that is sometimes visible in the allusions of the lower
order of people, The Rose Hill Packet*. She was very soon employed in
transporting provisions to Rose Hill, and going up with the tide of
flood, at the top of high water, passed very well over the flats at the
upper part of the harbour.

[* She was afterwards generally known by the name of The Lump, a word
more strictly applying to her size and construction.]

Our enemies the rats, who worked unseen, and attacked us where we were
most vulnerable, being again observed in numbers about the provision
store, the commissary caused the provisions to be moved out of one store
into another; for, alas! at this period they could be all contained in
one. These pernicious vermin were found to be very numerous, and the
damage they had done much greater than the state of our stores would
admit. Eight casks of flour were at one time found wholly destroyed. From
the store, such as escaped the hunger of the different dogs that were
turned loose upon them flew to the gardens of individuals, where they
rioted upon the Indian corn which was growing, and did considerable

The presence of a captain being no longer deemed necessary at Rose Hill,
the military guard there for the protection of the stores was reduced to
a subaltern officer, and a proportionate number of privates. Mr. Dodd,
who had for some time been authorized by the governor to inflict corporal
punishment on the convicts for idleness, rioting, or other misdemeanors,
had obtained such an influence over them, that military coercion was not
so necessary as when the settlement was first established. Of this
person, the officers who had been on duty at Rose Hill from time to time
gave the most favourable reports, speaking of him as one in every respect
qualified to execute the trust which had been reposed in him by the

During this month a gang of convicts were employed at Sydney in forming a
convenient road from the hospital to the magazine and observatory on the
point; and a small hut, for the reception of a corporal's guard at the
hospital, was erected.

Of the few people who died in October, (one soldier, three women, and one
child), one was an unhappy woman who had been sent on board in a state of
insanity, and who had remained in that condition until the day of her
death; she and another of the three women died in child-bed; and the
soldier was carried off by a disorder which he brought with him into the
country. These circumstances tended to establish the good opinion
which was at first formed of the salubrity of the climate of New South

November.] This month opened with a serious, but prudent and necessary
alteration in our provisions. The ration which had hitherto been issued
was, on the first of the month, reduced to two thirds of every species,
spirits excepted, which continued as usual. This measure was calculated
to guard against accidents; and the necessity of it was obvious to every
one, from the great uncertainty as to the time when a supply might arrive
from England, and from the losses which had been and still were
occasioned by rats in the provision store. Two years provisions were
landed with us in the colony: we had been within two months of that time
disembarked, and the public store had been aided only by a small surplus
of the provisions which remained of what had been furnished by the
contractor for the passage, and the supply of four months flour which had
been received by the _Sirius_ from the Cape of Good Hope. All this did
not produce such an abundance as would justify any longer continuance of
the full ration; and although it was reasonable to suppose, as we had not
hitherto received any supplies, that ships would arrive before our
present stock was exhausted; yet, if the period of distress should ever
arrive, the consciousness that we had early foreseen and strove to guard
against its arrival would certainly soften the bitterness of our
reflections; and, guarding thus against the worst, that worst
providentially might never happen. The governor, whose humanity was at
all times conspicuous, directed that no alteration should he made in the
ration to be issued to the women. They were already upon two thirds of
the man's allowance; and many of them either had children who could very
well have eaten their own and part of the mother's ration, or they had
children at the breast; and although they did not labour, yet their
appetites were never so delicate as to have found the full ration too
much, had it been issued to them. The like reduction was enforced afloat
as well as on shore, the ships' companies of the _Sirius_ and _Supply_
being put to two thirds of the allowance usually issued to the king's
ships. This, as a deduction of the eighths allowed by custom to the
purser was made from their ration, was somewhat less than what was to be
issued in the settlement.

Thus opened the month of November in this settlement; where, though we
had not the accompanying gloom and vapour of our own climate to render it
terrific to our minds, yet we had that before us, in the midst of all our
sunshine, which gave it the complexion of the true November so inimical
to our countrymen.

It was soon observed, that of the provisions issued at this ration on the
Saturday the major part of the convicts had none left on the Tuesday
night; it was therefore ordered, that the provisions should be served in
future on the Saturdays and Wednesdays. By these means, the days which
would otherwise pass in hunger, or in thieving from the few who were more
provident, would be divided, and the people themselves be more able to
perform the labour which was required from them. Overseers and married
men were not included in this order.

On the 7th Captain Hunter brought the _Sirius_ into the cove completely
repaired. She had been strengthened with riders placed within board, her
copper had been carefully examined, and she was now in every respect fit
for sea. Previous to her quitting the careening cove, Mr. Hill, one of
the master's mates, having had some business at Sydney, was landed on his
return early in the morning on the north shore, opposite Sydney Cove,
from whence the walk to the ship was short; but he was never afterwards
heard of. Parties were sent day after day in quest of him for several
days. Guns were fired from the _Sirius_ every four hours, night and day,
but all to no effect. He had met with some fatal accident, which deprived
a wife of the pleasurable prospect of ever seeing him return to her and
to his friends. He had once before missed his way; and it was reported,
when his loss was confirmed, that he declared on the fatal morning, when
stepping out of the boat, that he expected to lose himself again for a
day or two. His conjecture was more than confirmed; he lost himself for
ever, and thus added one to the number of those unfortunate persons who
had perished in the woods of this country.

On the 11th the _Supply_ sailed for Norfolk Island, having on board
provisions and six male and eight female convicts for that colony. She
was to stop at Lord Howe Island, to endeavour to procure turtle for this
settlement; a supply of which, in its present situation, would have been
welcomed, not as a luxury, but as a necessary of life.

The night-watch was found of infinite utility. The commission of crimes,
since their institution, had been evidently less frequent, and they were
instrumental in bringing forward for punishment several offenders who
would otherwise have escaped. The fear and detestation in which they were
held by their fellow-prisoners was one proof of their assiduity in
searching for offences and in bringing them to light; and it possibly
might have been asserted with truth, that many streets in the metropolis
of London were not so well guarded and watched as the small, but rising
town of Sydney, in New South Wales.

By their activity, a woman (a female convict of the name of Ann Davis
alias Judith Jones), was apprehended for breaking into the house of
Robert Sidaway (a convict) in the daytime, and stealing several articles
of wearing apparel thereout. The criminal court being assembled, she was
tried and found guilty. On receiving sentence to die, she pleaded being
quick with child; but twelve of the discreetest women among the convicts,
all of whom had been mothers of children, being impanelled as a jury of
matrons, they pronounced that she was not pregnant; on which she was
executed the Monday following, acknowledging at that fatal moment which
generally gives birth and utterance to truth, that she was about to
suffer justly, and that an attempt which she made, when put on her
defence, to criminate another person (a woman whose character was so
notorious that she hoped to establish her own credit and innocence upon
her infamy), as well as her plea of pregnancy, were advanced merely for
the purpose of saving her life. She died generally reviled and unpitied
by the people of her own description.

The summer was observed to be the chief season of fish. A fishing-boat
belonging to the colony had so many fish in the seine, that had it not
burst at the moment of landing, it was imagined that a sufficiency would
have been taken to have served the settlement for a day; as it was, a
very considerable quantity was brought in; and not long after a boat
belonging to the _Sirius_ caught forty-seven of the large fish which
obtained among us the appellation of Light Horse Men, from the peculiar
conformation of the bone of the head, which gave the fish the appearance
of having on a light-horse man's helmet.

The governor, after the death of the native who was carried off by the
smallpox in May last, never had lost sight of a determination to procure
another the first favourable opportunity. A boat had several times gone
down the harbour for that purpose; but without succeeding, until the 25th
of this month, when the first lieutenant of the _Sirius_, accompanied by
the master, fortunately secured two natives, both men, and brought them
up to the settlement without any accident. Being well known to the
children, through their means every assurance was given them of their
perfect safety in our possession. They were taken up to the governor's,
the place intended for their future residence, where such restraint was
laid upon their persons as was judged requisite for their security.

The assurances of safety which were given them, and the steps which were
taken to keep them in a state of security, were not perfectly
satisfactory to the elder of the two; and he secretly determined to take
the first opportunity which offered of giving his attendants no further
trouble upon his account. The negligence of his keeper very soon gave him
the opportunity he desired; and he made his escape, taking with him into
the woods the fetter which had been rivetted to his ankle, and which
every one, who knew the circumstance, imagined he would never be able to
remove. His companion would have joined him in his flight, but fear
detained him a few minutes too late, and he was seized while tremblingly
alive to the joyful prospect of escaping.

During the month of November a brick house was begun on the east side of
the cove for the judge-advocate. The huts which were got up on our first
landing were slight and temporary; every shower of rain washed a portion
of the clay from between the interstices of the cabbage-tree of which
they were constructed; their covering was never tight; their size was
necessarily small and inconvenient; and although we had not hitherto been
so fortunate as to discover limestone any where near the settlement, yet
to occupy a brick house put together with mortar formed of the clay of
the country, and covered with tiles, became in point of comparative
comfort and convenience an object of some importance.

December.] Among the various business which came before the magistrates
at their weekly meetings, was one which occupied much of their time and
attention. The convicts who were employed about the provision store
informed the commissary, by letter, that from certain circumstances, they
had reason to accuse Mr. Zachariah Clark, his assistant, of embezzling
the public provisions. A complaint of such a nature, as well on account
of its importance to the settlement, as of its consequence to the person
accused, called for an immediate enquiry; and the judge-advocate and
Captain Hunter lost no time in bringing forward the necessary
investigation. The convicts charged Mr. Clark with having made at
different times, and applied to his own use, a considerable over-draught
of every species of provisions, and of the liquor which was in store. A
dread of these circumstances being one day discovered by others, when the
blame of concealment might involve them in a suspicion of participation,
induced them to step forward with the charge. The suspicious appearances,
however, were accounted for by Mr. Clark much to the satisfaction of the
magistrates under whose consideration they came. He stated, that
expecting to be employed in this country, he had brought out with him
large quantities of provisions, wine, rum, draught and bottled porter,
all of which he generally kept at the store; that when parties have
applied to him for provisions or spirits at an hour when the store was
shut, he had frequently supplied them from his own case, or stock which
he had for present use in his tent or in his house, and afterwards repaid
himself from the store; and that being ill with the scurvy for several
months after his arrival, he did not use any salt provisions, which gave
him a considerable credit for such articles at the store: from all which
circumstances the convicts who accused him might, as they were unknown to
them, be induced to imagine that he was taking up more than his ration
from time to time.

With Mr. Clark's ample and public acquittal from this accusation, a
commendation equally public was given to the convicts, who, noticing the
apparent over-draught of spirits and provisions, and ignorant at the same
time of the causes which occasioned it, had taken measures to have it

From the peculiarity of our situation, there was a sort of sacredness
about our store; and its preservation pure and undefiled was deemed as
necessary as the chastity of Caesar's wife. With us, it would not bear
even suspicion.

In the course of this month the harvest was got in; the ground in
cultivation at Rose Hill produced upwards of two hundred bushels of
wheat, about thirty-five bushels of barley, and a small quantity of oats
and Indian corn; all of which was intended to be reserved for feed. At
Sydney, the spot of ground called the Governor's Farm had been sown only
with barley, and produced about twenty-five bushels.

A knowledge of the interior parts of this extensive country was anxiously
desired by every one; but the difficulty of attaining it, and the various
employments in which we had all been necessarily engaged, had hitherto
prevented any material researches being made. The governor had penetrated
to the westward as far as Richmond Hill, perhaps between fifty and sixty
miles inland; but beyond that distance all was a blank. Early in this
month Lieutenant Dawes with a small party, taking with them just as much
provisions as they could conveniently carry, set off on an attempt to
reach the western mountains by and from the banks of the fresh water
river, first seen, some time since, by Captain Tench, and supposed to be
a branch of the Hawkesbury. From this excursion he returned on the ninth
day, without accomplishing his design, meeting with nothing, after
quitting the river, but ravines that were nearly inaccessible. He had,
notwithstanding the danger and difficulty of getting on through such a
country, reached within eleven miles of the mountains, by computation.
During his toilsome march he met with nothing very remarkable, except the
impressions of the cloven feet of an animal differing from other cloven
feet by the great width of the division in each. He was not fortunate
enough to see the animal that had made them.

In this journey Lieutenant Dawes's line of march, unfortunately and
unpleasantly for him, happened to lie, nearly from his setting out,
across a line of high and steep rocky precipices, which required much
caution in descending, as well as labour in ascending. Perhaps an open
country, which might have led him readily and conveniently to the point
he proposed to attain, was lying at no great distance from him either to
his right or left. To seek for that, however, might have required more
time than his stock of provisions would have admitted; and he was
compelled to return through the same unprofitable country which he had

On the 21st, between ten and eleven o'clock at night, the _Supply_
returned from Norfolk Island, having been absent six weeks within a day.
From thence Lieutenant King wrote that he expected his harvest would
produce from four to six months flour for all his inhabitants, exclusive
of a reserve of double feed for twenty acres of ground. Beside this
promising appearance, he had ten acres in cultivation with Indian corn,
which looked very well. His gardens had suffered much by the grub worm
and from a want of rain, of which they had had scarcely any since the
23rd of September last. The ground which was cleared for the crown
amounted to about twenty-eight acres, and he was busied in preparations
for building a redoubt on an eminence named by him Mount George.

The _Supply_, in her visit at Lord Howe Island, turned eighteen turtle;
several of which unluckily dying before she reached Norfolk Island, she
could leave only four there, and but three survived the short voyage
thence to this place.

Several thefts having been lately committed by the convicts, and the
offenders discovered by the vigilance of the members of our new police,
several of them were tried before the criminal court of juidicature.
Caesar the black, whose situation on Garden Island had been some time
back rendered more eligible, by being permitted to work without irons,
found means to make his escape, with a mind insensible alike to kindness
and to punishment, taking with him a canoe which lay there for the
convenience of the other people employed on the island, together with a
week's provisions belonging to them; and in a visit which he made them a
few nights after in his canoe, he took off an iron pot, a musket, and
some ammunition.

The working convicts at Sydney had lately been principally employed in
constructing two convenient kitchens and ovens for the use of the
detachment, adjoining to the quarters; building a house for the
judge-advocate; forming roads either in or leading to the town; and
removing the provisions from the old thatched storehouse to that in the
marine quarters, which, by being covered in with tiles, was not so liable
to an accident by fire, nor likely to prove so great an harbour for rats,
to guard against whom it had become necessary to take as many precautions
as against any other enemy. They, however, in defiance of every care
which was taken to shut them out, when the provisions were removed, found
means, by working under ground, to get in; and as it was now a matter of
much moment to preserve every ounce of provisions that belonged to us,
they were all taken out, and restowed with an attention suitable to their
important value.

At Rose Hill, where as yet there was not any night-watch established,
petty thefts and depredations were frequently committed, particularly on
the wheat as it ripened. The bakehouse also was robbed of a quantity of
flour by a person unknown. These offences were generally attributed to
the reduction which had taken place in the ration of provisions; and
every one dreaded how much the commission of them might be increased, if
accident or delay should render a still greater reduction necessary.

Mr. Dodd, the superintendant at that settlement, a few days before
Christmas, cut and sent down a cabbage which weighed twenty-six pounds.
The other vegetables productions of his garden, which was by no means a
rich mould, were plentiful and luxuriant.

Some people who had been out with a gun from Rose Hill brought in with
them, on their return, a tinder-box, to which chance conducted them in a
thick brush distinguished by the name of the New Brush, about six miles
from the settlement. This article was known to have belonged to the two
unfortunate soldiers who had been unaccounted for since last April, and
who, in great probability, found there a miserable period to their
existence. They also picked up in the same brush a piece of linen, said
to have formed part of a petticoat which belonged to Anne Smith, a female
convict who absconded a few days after our landing in the country. This
might have been carried thither and dropped by some natives in their way
through the brush; but it gave a strong colour to the supposition of her
having likewise perished, by some means or other, in the woods.


A convict made a free settler
A pleasing delusion
Extraordinary supply of fish
Caesar's narrative
Another convict wounded by the natives
The _Supply_ arrives from Norfolk Island
A large number of settlers sent thither on board the _Sirius_ and
Heavy rains
Scarcity of provisions increasing in an alarming degree
Lieutenant Maxwell's insanity
News brought of the loss of the _Sirius_
Allowance of provisions still further reduced
The _Supply_ sent to Batavia for relief
Robberies frequent and daring
An old man dies of hunger
Rose Hill
Salt and fishing-lines made
The native escapes


January.] Early in the new year the _Supply_ sailed again for Norfolk
Island with twenty-two male and two female convicts, and one child;
Lieutenant King having in his last letters intimated, that he could very
well find employment for a greater number of people than he then had
under his orders. With those convicts and some stores she sailed on the
7th, and on her return was to touch at Lord Howe island to procure

Of the convicts the period of whose sentences of transportation had
expired, and of whom mention was made in the transactions of July last,
one, who signified a wish of becoming a settler, had been sent up to Rose
Hill by the governor; where his excellency, having only waited to learn
with certainty that he had become a free man before he gave him a grant
of land, caused two acres of ground to be cleared of the timber which
stood on them, and a small hut to be built for him. This man had been
bred to the business of a farmer, and during his residence in this
country had shown a strong inclination to be industrious, and to return
to honest habits and pursuits. Rewarding him, therefore, was but holding
out encouragement to such good dispositions. The governor had, however,
another object in view, beside a wish to hold him up as a deserving
character: he was desirous of trying, by his means, in what time an
industrious active man, with certain assistance, would be enabled to
support himself in this country as a settler; and for that purpose, in
addition to what he caused to be done for him at first, he furnished him
with the tools and implements of husbandry necessary for cultivating his
ground, with a proportion of grain to sow it, and a small quantity of
live stock to begin with. He took possession of his ground the 21st of
November 1789, and under some disadvantages. An opinion had prevailed,
and had been pretty generally disseminated, that a man could not live in
this country; and in addition to this discouragement, although he still
received a ration from the public store, yet it was not a ration that
bore any proportion to the labour which his situation required from him.
The man himself, however, resolved to be industrious, and to surmount as
well as he was able whatever difficulties might lie in his way.

The flour which had been brought from England did not serve much beyond
the beginning of this month, and that imported from the Cape now supplied
its place. Every one began to look forward with much anxiety to the
arrival of supplies from England; and as it was reasonable to conclude
that every day might bring them on the coast, Captain Hunter, accompanied
by Mr. Worgan, the surgeon of the _Sirius_, and Mr. White, with six or
eight seamen, having chosen a spot proper for their purpose, erected a
flagstaff on the South Head of this harbour, whence, on the appearance of
a ship in the offing, a signal might be made, as well to convey the
wished-for information to the settlement, as to serve as a mark for the
stranger. An hut was built for their accommodation, and this little
establishment was of such importance, that our walks were daily directed
to a spot whence it could be seen; thus fondly indulging the delusion,
that the very circumstance of looking out for a sail would bring one into

A sufficient quantity of fish having been taken one night in this month,
to admit the serving of two pounds to each man, woman, and child
belonging to the detachment, the governor directed, that a boat should in
future be employed three times in the week to fish for the public; and
that the whole quantity caught should be issued at the above rate to
every person in turn. This allowance was in addition to the ration of
provisions; and was received with much satisfaction several times during
the month.

Caesar, after his escape from and subsequent visit at Garden Island,
found his way up to Rose Hill, whence he was brought on the 30th, very
much wounded by some natives whom he had met with in the woods. Being
fearful of severe punishment for some of his late offences, he reported,
on being brought in, that he had fallen in with our cattle which had been
so long lost; that they were increased by two calves; that they seemed to
be under the care of eight or ten natives, who attended them closely
while they grazed; and that, on his attempting to drive the cattle before
him, he was wounded by another party of the natives. The circumstance of
his being wounded was the only part of his story that met with any
credit, and that could not well be contradicted, as he had several spear
wounds about him in different parts of his body; but every thing else was
looked upon as a fabrication (and that not well contrived) to avert the
lash which he knew hung over him. He was well known to have as small a
share of veracity as of honesty. His wounds however requiring care and
rest, he was secured, and placed under the surgeon's care at the

Information was also received at this time from Rose Hill, that a convict
who had been employed to strike the sting ray, with another, on the
flats, having gone on shore, engaged in some quarrel with the natives,
who took all his clothes from him, severely wounded, and would inevitably
have killed him, but for the humane, friendly, and disinterested
interference of one of their own women, who happened to be present. This
accident, and many others of the same nature, could not have happened,
had the orders which he had received, not to land upon any account, been
attended to.

The bricklayers, having finished the judge-advocate's house, were
employed in building a dispensary on the west side contiguous to the
hospital, the medicines and chirurgical instruments being much exposed to
damps in the place where they had hitherto been necessarily kept.

Garden robberies were frequent, notwithstanding the utmost care and
vigilance were exerted to prevent them. A rainy tempestuous night always
afforded a cloak for the thief, and was generally followed in the morning
by some one complaining of his or her garden having been stripped of all
its produce.

February.] The first signal from the flagstaff at the South Head was
displayed on the 10th of February; and though every imagination first
turned toward the expected stranger, yet happening about the time at
which the _Supply_ was expected from Norfolk Island, conjecture soon
fixed on the right object; and the temporary suspence was put an end to,
by word being brought up to the settlement, that the _Supply_, unable to
get into Port Jackson, had borne up for Botany Bay, in which harbour she
anchored in the dusk of the evening. The next morning the letters which
she had brought were received. Lieutenant King wrote, that his people
continued healthy, and his settlement went on well. His wheat had
returned twenty fold, notwithstanding he had had much dry weather. He had
relinquished his intention of throwing up a redoubt on Mount George; but,
instead of that work, had employed his people in constructing a stockade
of piles round his house, inclosing an oblong square of one hundred feet
by one hundred and forty, within which he purposed erecting storehouses,
and a barrack for the military. He stated, that the convicts under his
orders had in general very good gardens, and that many of them would have
a very large produce of Indian corn.

The _Supply_ having in her way to Norfolk Island touched at Lord Howe
Island, Lieutenant Ball left the gunner and a small party to turn turtle,
but they met with no success; so that no dependance was to be placed on
that island for any material relief. The gunner examined the island, and
found fresh water in cavities, but not in any current.

The _Supply_ could not get round from Botany Bay until the 12th, when she
came to anchor in the cove, whence she had been absent just five weeks.

Lieutenant King having constantly written in high terms of the richness
of the soil of Norfolk Island, the governor, on comparing the situation
of the convicts there and in this settlement, where their gardens had not
that fertility to boast of, and where the ration from the store was with
too many hastily devoured, and with most derived but an uncertain and
scanty aid from any other source, determined, and about the middle of the
month announced his determination, to detach thither a large body of
convicts, male and female, together with two companies of the marines.
Some immediate advantages were expected to be derived from this measure;
the garden ground that would be left by those who embarked would be
possessed by those who remained, while the former would instantly on
their arrival at Norfolk Island participate in the produce of luxuriant
gardens, in a more constant supply of fish, and in the assistance that
was occasionally obtained from the birds which settled on Mount Pitt.

At the same time that this intention was made public, the day of their
departure was fixed. The whole were to embark on board the _Sirius_ and
the _Supply_ in the beginning of the following month, and were, if no
ship arrived from England to prevent them, to sail on the 5th. Should,
unfortunately, the necessity of adopting the measure then exist, the
_Sirius_ was to proceed to China directly from Norfolk Island to procure
a supply of provisions for the colony. China was chosen, under an idea
that salt provisions were to be obtained there, and that it was
preferable to sending to any of the islands in those seas, or to the Cape
of Good Hope at this season of the year, when the _Sirius_ and her crew
would have had to encounter the cold and boisterous weather of a winter's
passage thither.

As the numbers on Norfolk Island would be considerably increased by the
arrival of this detachment from hence, the governor judged the presence
of Major Ross necessary there, as lieutenant-governor of the territory.
Lieutenant King was to be recalled and return to this settlement.

Preparations were immediately set on foot for the embarkation of the
marines and other persons who were to quit this colony. It had been a
part of the first determinations on this business, that the _Sirius_
should, as I have mentioned, proceed directly from Norfolk Island on her
voyage to China; but Captain Hunter having represented the absolute
necessity he should be under of touching somewhere to wood and water,
owing to the number he should have on board, that idea was given up, and
Captain Hunter was directed to return with the _Sirius_ to this port for
the above purposes of wooding and watering. An additional reason offered
itself to influence this determination; it was hoped, that before she
could return, the arrival of the expected supplies would have rendered
the voyage altogether unnecessary; and it was but reasonable to suppose
that this would happen. The governor had, in all his dispatches,
uniformly declared the strong necessity there was of having at least two
years provisions in store for some time to come; and as this information,
together with an exact account of the situation of the colony, had been
transmitted by seven different conveyances, if only one had arrived safe,
it could not reasonably be doubted that supplies would be immediately
dispatched. From the length of time too which had elapsed since the
departure of the last ships* that sailed from hence direct for England
(full fifteen months), it was as reasonable to suppose that they might
arrive within the time that the _Sirius_ would be absent.

[* The _Golden Grove_ and the _Fishburn_ sailed from this port the 19th
of November 1788, intending to make their passage round by Cape Horn, to
which the season was most favourable.]

The month passed in the arrangements and preparations requisite on this
occasion, to which the weather was extremely unfavourable, heavy rains,
with gales of wind, prevailing nearly the whole time. The rain came down
in torrents, filling up every trench and cavity which had been dug about
the settlement, and causing much damage to the miserable mud tenements
which were occupied by the convicts. By these rains, a pit which had been
dug for the purpose of procuring clay to plaister the walls of a hut, was
filled with water; and a boy upwards of two years of age, belonging to
one of the female convicts, falling into it, was drowned. The surgeons
tried, but without success, to save his life, using the methods practised
by the Humane Society. Yet bad as the weather was, several gardens were
robbed, and, as at this time they abounded with melons and pumpkins, they
became the object of depredation in common with other productions of the

A brick building, fifty-nine feet in front, designed for a guard-house,
of which the foundation had been laid a few days before the heavy rains
commenced, suffered much by their continuance. The situation of this
building was on the east side of the cove, at the upper part, contiguous
to the bridge over the run of water, and convenient for detaching
assistance to any part of the place where it might be requisite.

On the 1st of March a reduction in the allowance of spirits took place;
the half pint _per diem_, which had hitherto been issued to each man who
was entitled to receive it, was to be discontinued, and only the half of
that allowance served. Thus was the gradual decrease in our stores
followed by a diminution of our daily comforts and necessaries.

One immediate consequence, and that an evil one, was the effect of the
intended embarkation for Norfolk Island. It being found that great
quantities of stock were killed, an order was immediately given to
prevent the further destruction of an article so essential in our present
situation, until some necessary regulations could be published; but the
officers and people who were about to embark were not included in this
prohibition. The mention of future regulations in this order instantly
begat an opinion among the convicts, that on the departure of the ships
all the live stock in the colony would be called in, or that the owners
would be deprived of the benefits which might result from the possession
of it. Under colour, therefore, of its belonging to those who were
exempted in the late order, nearly all the stock in the settlement was in
the course of a few nights destroyed; a wound being thereby given to the
independence of the colony that could not easily be salved, and whose
injurious effects time and much attention alone could remove.

The expected supplies not having arrived, on the 3rd, the two companies
of marines with their officers and the colours of the corps embarked on
board the _Sirius_ and the _Supply_. With them also embarked the
lieutenant-governor, and Mr. Considen the senior assistant surgeon of the
settlement. On the day following, one hundred and sixteen male and
sixty-eight female convicts, with twenty-seven children, were put on
board; among the male convicts the governor had sent the troublesome and
incorrigible Caesar, on whom he had bestowed a pardon. With these also
was sent, though of a very different description, a person whose exemplary
conduct had raised him from the situation of a convict to the privileges
of a free man. John Irving had since our landing in the country been
employed as an assistant at the hospital. He was bred a surgeon, and in
no instance whatever, since the commission of the offence for which he
was transported, had he given cause of complaint. He was now sent to
Norfolk Island, to act as an assistant to the medical gentlemen there.

On the 5th the _Sirius_ and the _Supply_ left the cove, but did not get to
sea until the following day, when at the close of the evening they were
scarcely to be discerned from the South Head. At the little post at this
place Captain Hunter left the gunner, a midshipman, and six of the
_Sirius's_ people. Mr. Maxwell, one of her lieutenants, having been for a
considerable time past in a melancholy and declining way, and his
disorder pronounced by the surgeons to be insanity, he was discharged
from the ship, and had taken up his residence on shore under the care of
the surgeon, with proper people who were left from the ship to attend
him. This was the second officer whose situation in the _Sirius_ it
became necessary to have filled. Lieutenant King, the commandant of
Norfolk Island, had for some time been discharged from the ship's books;
and Mr. Newton Fowell, a young gentleman of the _Sirius's_ quarter-deck,
being deemed well qualified, was appointed by the governor (as the naval
commanding officer) to succeed him. To fill the vacancy occasioned by Mr.
Maxwell's unfortunate state of health, Mr. Henry Waterhouse, a young
gentleman of promising abilities, was taken from the quarter-deck. Both
these appointments were to wait the confirmation of the lords
commissioners of the admiralty.

Immediately after the departure of these ships, the governor directed his
attention to the regulation of the people who were left at Sydney, and to
the preservation of the stock in the colony. For these purposes, he
himself visited the different huts and gardens whose tenants had just
quitted them, distributing them to such convicts as were either in
miserable hovels, or without any shelter at all. It was true, that by
this arrangement the idle found themselves provided for by the labour of
many who had been industrious; but they were at the same time assured,
that unless they kept in good cultivation the gardens which they were
allowed to possess, they would be turned out from the comforts of a good
hut, to live under a rock or a tree. That they might have time for this
purpose, the afternoon of Wednesday and the whole of Saturday in each
week were given to them. Much room was made every where by the numbers
who had embarked (in all two hundred and eighty-one persons); the
military quarters had a deserted aspect; and the whole settlement
appeared as if famine had already thinned it of half its numbers. The
little society that was in the place was broken up, and every man seemed
left to brood in solitary silence over the dreary prospect before him.

With respect to the stock, his excellency directed, that no hogs under
three months old should be killed, nor were any to be butchered without
information being first given at headquarters.

Those who bred poultry were left at liberty to dispose of it in such
manner as they thought proper; and the commissary was directed to
purchase for the use of the hospital such live stock as the owners were
desirous of selling, complying with the above regulations, and receiving
one shilling a pound as the price.

Some provisions which yet remained in the old large thatched store were
removed for greater security into the store in the marine quarters. It
was strongly suspected, that an attempt had been made to obtain some part
of these provisions in the night; and some convicts were examined before
the judge-advocate on suspicion of having taken some flour from the
store; but nothing appeared that could materially affect them. The
provisions, when all collected together under one roof and into one view,
afforded but a melancholy reflection; it was well that we had even them.

On the 27th of the month, the long-expected signal not having been
displayed, it became necessary to put the colony upon a still shorter
ration of provisions. It was a painful but a necessary duty. The governor
directed that the provisions should in future be served daily; for which
purpose the store was to be opened from one to three in the afternoon.
The ration for the week was to consist of four pounds of flour, two
pounds and a half of pork, and one pound and a half of rice, and these
were to be issued to every person in the settlement without distinction;
but as the public labour must naturally be affected by this reduction,
the working hours were in future to be from sunrise, with a small
interval for breakfast, until one o'clock: the afternoons were to be
allowed the people to receive their provisions and work in their gardens.
These alterations in the ration and in the hours of labour, however, were
not to commence until the 1st of the following month.

At Rose Hill similar regulations were made by the governor. The garden
ground was enlarged; those who were in bad huts were placed in better;
and every thing was said that could stimulate them to be industrious.
This, with a few exceptions, appeared to be the principal labour both
there and at Sydney; and the nightwatch were called upon by the common
interest to be more than ever active and sedulous in their efforts to
protect public and private property; for robberies of gardens and houses
were daily and nightly committed. Damage was also received from the
little stock which remained alive; the owners, not having wherewith to
feed them, were obliged to turn them loose to browse among the grass and
shrubs, or turn up the ground for the fern-root; and as they wandered
without any one to prevent their doing mischief, they but too often found
an easy passage over fences and through barriers which were now grown
weak and perishing. It was however ordered, that the stock should be kept
up during the night, and every damage that could be proved to have been
received during that time was to be made good by the owners of the stock
that might be caught trespassing; or the animals themselves were to be

The carpenters were employed in preparing a roof for a new storehouse,
those which were first erected being now decaying, and having been always
insecure. It was never expected to get up a building of one hundred feet
in front, which this was designed to be, upon so reduced a ration as the
present; but while the people did labour, it was proper to turn that
little labour to the public account.

The working gangs being now so much reduced by the late embarkation, the
hoy was employed in bringing the timber necessary for this building from
the coves where it was cut down and deposited for that purpose. This
vessel, when unemployed for public services, was given to the officers,
and by them sent down the harbour to procure cabbage-tree for their
stock, in the preservation and maintenance of which every one felt an
immediate and anxious concern.

The weather had been very wet during this month; torrents of rain again
laid every place under water; many little habitations, which had
withstood the inundations of the last month, now suffered considerably;
several chimneys fell in; but this was owing, perhaps, as much to their
being built by job or taskwork (which the workmen hurried over in general
to get a day or two to themselves) as to the heavy rains.

April.] The reduced ration and the change in the working hours commenced,
as was directed, on the 1st of this month; much time was not consumed at
the store, and the people went away to dress the scanty allowance which
they had received.

Attention to our religious duties was never omitted. Divine service was
performed in one of our emptied storehouses on the morning of the next
day, being Good Friday; and the convicts were recommended to employ the
remainder of it in their gardens. But, notwithstanding the evident
necessity that existed for every man's endeavouring to assist himself,
very few were observed to be so profitably occupied.

As every saving that could be made in the article of provisions was of
consequence in the present situation of the stores, it was directed on
the 3rd, that such fish as should in future be taken by the public boats
should be issued at the store, in the proportion of ten pounds of fish to
two pounds and a half of pork; and one hundred and fifty pounds of fish,
which had been brought up before the issuing of provisions commenced on
that day, were served out agreeable to that order.

Mr. Maxwell, whose disorder at times admitted of his going out alone, was
fortunately brought up from the lower part of the harbour, where he had
passed nearly two days, without sustenance, in rowing from one side to
the other, in a small boat by himself. He was noticed by a sergeant who
had been fishing, and who observed him rowing under the dangerous rocks
of the middle-head, where he must soon have been dashed to pieces, but
for his fortunate interposition. After this escape he was more narrowly

While occupied in listening to the tale, of his distresses, the _Supply_
returned from Norfolk Island, with an account that was of itself almost
sufficient to have deranged the strongest intellect among us. A load of
accumulated evils seemed bursting at once upon our heads. The ships that
were expected with supplies were still to be anxiously looked for; and
the _Sirius_, which was to have gone in quest of relief to our
distresses, was lost upon the reef at Norfolk Island, on the 19th of last
month. This was a blow which, as it was unexpected, fell with increased
weight, and on every one the whole weight seemed to have fallen.

This untoward accident happened in the following manner:

Captain Hunter was extremely fortunate in having a short passage hence to
Norfolk Island, arriving there in seven days after he sailed. The
soldiers, and a considerable part of the convicts, were immediately
landed in Cascade Bay, which happened at the time to be the leeward side
of the island. Bad weather immediately ensued, and for several days, the
provisions could not be landed, so high was the surf occasioned by it.
This delay, together with a knowledge that the provisions on the island
were not adequate to the additional numbers that were now to be
victualled, caused him to be particularly anxious to get the provisions
on shore. The bad weather had separated the _Sirius_ from the _Supply_;
but meeting with a favourable slant of wind on the 19th, Captain Hunter
gained the island from which he had been driven, and stood for Sydney
Bay, at the south end of it, where he found the _Supply_; and it being
signified by signal from the shore (where they could form the best
judgment) that the landing might be effected with any boat, he brought to
in the windward part of the bay, with the ship's head off the shore, got
out the boats, and loaded them with provisions. When the boats had put
off from the ship, it being perceived that she settled very much to
leeward, the tacks were got on board, and every sail set that was
possible to get her free from the shore. Notwithstanding which, she could
not weather the reef off the south-west end of the bay, the wind having
at that time very unfavourably shifted two points. The ship was then
thrown in stays, which she missed, being with great difficulty wore clear
of the breakers, and brought to the wind on the other tack, when every
sail was again set. Finding that she still drifted fast upon the shore,
another attempt was made to stay her; but being out of trim, it did not
succeed. All the sheets and hallyards were then ordered to be let fly,
and an anchor to be cut away; but before it reached the ground, she
struck with violence on the reef, very soon bulged, and was irrecoverably
lost. Her officers and people were all saved, having been dragged on
shore, through the surf, on a grating.

This day, which untoward circumstances had rendered so gloomy to us, was
remarkably fine, and at the unfortunate moment of this calamity there was
very little wind. On the next or second day after, permission was given
to two convicts (one of whom, James Brannegan, was an overseer) to get
off to the ship, and endeavour to bring on shore what live hogs they
might be able to save; but with all that lamentable want of resolution
and consideration which is characteristic of the lower order of people
when temptations are placed before them, they both got intoxicated with
the liquor which had escaped the plunder of the seamen, and set the ship
on fire in two places. A light on board the ship being observed from the
shore, several shot were fired at it, but the wretches would neither put
it out, nor come on shore; when a young man of the name of Ascott, a
convict, with great intrepidity went off through the surf, extinguished
the fire, and forced them out of the ship.

The lieutenant-governor, immediately after the loss of the Sirius, called
a council of all the naval and marine officers in the settlement, when it
was unanimously determined that martial law should be proclaimed; that
all private stock, poultry excepted, should be considered as the property
of the state; that justice should be administered by a court-martial to
be composed of seven officers, five of whom were to concur in a sentence
of death; and that there should be two locks upon the door of the public
store, whereof one key was to be in the keeping of a person to be
appointed by Captain Hunter in behalf of the seamen; the other to be kept
by a person to be appointed in behalf of the military. The day following,
the troops, seamen, and convicts, being assembled, these resolutions were
publicly read, and the whole confirmed their engagement of abiding by
them by passing under the king's colour, which was displayed on the

In the _Supply_ arrived the late commandant of Norfolk Island, two
lieutenants, four petty officers, twenty-four seamen, and two marines,
lately belonging to the _Sirius_. These officers spoke in high terms of
the activity and conduct of Mr. Keltie the master, Mr. Brooks the
boatswain, and Mr. Donovan a midshipman of the _Sirius_, who ventured off
to the ship in one of the island boats through a very dangerous surf, and
brought on shore the end of the hawser, to which was slung the grating
that saved the lives of the officers and people. They likewise somewhat
blunted the edge of this calamity, by assurances that it was highly
probable, from the favourable appearance of the weather when the _Supply_
left Norfolk Island, that all or at least the greatest part of the
provisions would be landed from the _Sirius_.

The general melancholy which prevailed in this settlement when the above
unwelcome intelligence was made public need not be described; and when
the _Supply_ came to an anchor in the cove every one looked up to her as
to their only remaining hope.

In this exigency the governor thought it necessary to assemble all the
officers of the settlement, civil and Military, to determine on what
measures were necessary to be adopted. At this meeting, when the
situation of the colony was thoroughly weighed and placed in every point
of view, it was determined to reduce still lower what was already too
low; the ration was to be no more then two pounds and a half of flour,
two pounds of pork, one pint of peas, and one pound of rice, for each
person for seven days. This allowance was to be issued to all
descriptions of people in the colony, children under eighteen months
excepted, who were to have only one pound of salt meat. Every exertion
was to be made here, and at Botany Bay, in fishing for the general
benefit. All private boats were to be surrendered to the public use;
every effort was to be put in practice to prevent the robbing of gardens;
and, as one step toward this, all suspicious characters were to be
secured and locked up during the night. People were to be employed to
kill, for the public, the animals that the country afforded; and every
step was to be taken that could save a pound of the salt provisions in
store, It was proposed to take all the hogs in the settlement as public
property; but as it was absolutely necessary to keep some breeding sows,
and the stock being small and very poor, that idea was abandoned.

In pursuance of these resolutions, the few convicts who had been employed
to shoot for individuals were given up for the public benefit; and a
fishery was established at Botany Bay, under the inspection of one of the
midshipmen of the _Sirius_. But this plan, not being found to answer, was
soon relinquished. The quantity of fish that was from time to time taken
was very inconsiderable, and the labour of transporting it by land from
thence was greater than the advantage which was expected to be derived
from it. The boats were therefore recalled, and employed with rather more
success at Sydney.

It was well known, that the integrity of the people employed in fishing
could not be depended upon; the officers of the settlement therefore
voluntarily took upon themselves the unpleasant task of superintending
them; and it became a general duty, which every one cheerfully performed.
The fishing-boat never went out without an officer, either by night or by

On the 7th, about four hundred weight of fish being brought up, it was
issued agreeable to the order; and could the like quantity have been
brought in daily, some saving might have been made at the store, which
would have repaid the labour that was employed to obtain it. But the
quantity taken during this month, after the 7th, was not often much more
than equal to supplying the people employed in the boats with one pound
of fish per man, which was allowed them in addition to their ration. The
small boats, the property of individuals, were therefore returned to
their owners, and the people who had been employed in them, together with
the seamen of the _Sirius_ now here, were placed in the large boats
belonging to the settlement.

Neither was much advantage obtained by employing people to shoot for the
public. At the end of the month only three small kangaroos had been
brought in. The convicts who were employed on this service, three in
number, were considered as good marksmen, and were allowed a ration of
flour instead of their salt provisions, the better to enable them to
sustain the labour and fatigue of traversing the woods of this country.

The necessity of procuring relief became every day more pressing. The
voyage of the _Sirius_ to China was at an end; and nothing had yet
arrived from England, though hourly expected. It was the natural and
general opinion, that our present situation was to be attributed to
accident rather than to procrastination. It was more probable, that the
vessels which had been dispatched by the British government had met with
some distress, that had either compelled them to return or had wholly
prevented them from any further prosecution of the voyage, than that any
delay should have taken place in their departure. The governor,
therefore, determined on sending the _Supply_ armed tender to Batavia;
and, as her commander was most zealously active in his preparations for
the voyage, she was soon ready for sea. Her tonnage, however, was
trifling when compared with our necessities. Lieutenant Ball was,
therefore, directed to procure a supply of eight months provisions for
himself, and to hire a vessel and purchase 200,000 pounds of flour,
80,000 pounds of beef, 60,000 pounds of pork, and 70,000 pounds of rice;
together with some necessaries for the hospital, such as sugar, sago,
hogs lard, vinegar, and dongaree. The expectation of this relief was
indeed distant, but yet it was more to be depended upon than that which
might be coming from England. A given time was fixed for the return of
the _Supply_; but it was impossible to say when a vessel might arrive
from Europe. Whatever might be our distress for provisions, it would be
some alleviation to look on to a certain fixed period when it might be
expected to be removed. Lieutenant Ball's passage lay through the regions
of fine weather, and the hope of every one was fixed upon the little
vessel that was to convey him; yet it was painful to contemplate our very
existence as depending upon her safety; to consider that a rough sea, a
hidden rock, or the violence of elemental strife, might in one fatal
moment precipitate us, with the little bark that had all our hopes on
board, to the lowest abyss of misery. In the well-known ability and
undoubted exertions of her commander however, under God, all placed their
dependance; and from that principle, when she sailed, instead of
predicting mischance, we all, with one wish for her safe return, fixed
and anticipated the period at which it might reasonably be expected.

She sailed on Saturday the 17th of April, having on board Lieutenant
King, the late commandant of Norfolk Island, who was charged with the
governor's dispatches for the secretary of state, and Mr. Andrew Miller,
the late commissary, whose ill state of health obliging him to resign
that employment, the governor permitted him to return to England. and had
appointed Mr. John Palmer, the purser of the _Sirius_, to supply his

Lieutenant Newton Fowell, of the _Sirius_, was, together with the gunner
of that ship, also embarked. The _Supply_ was to touch at Norfolk Island,
if practicable, and take on board Lieutenant Bradley of the _Sirius_,
who, from his knowledge of the coast, was chosen by the governor to
proceed to Batavia, and was to return to this port in whatever vessel
might be freighted by Lieutenant Ball; Mr. Fowell and the gunner were to
be left at the island.

Mr. Palmer received his appointment from his excellency on the 12th of
this month, on which day the following was the state of the provisions in
the public store, viz

Pork    23,851 pounds,)  Which was     26th Aug.---4 months 14 days.
Beef     1,280 pounds,)  to serve
Rice    24,455 pounds,)  at the        13th Sept.--5 months  1 day.
Peas        17 bushels,) ration
Flour   56,884 pounds,)  then issued   19th Dec.---8 months  7 days.
Biscuit  1,924 pounds,)  until

The duration of the _Supply's_ voyage was generally expected to be six
months; a period at which, if no relief arrived in the mean time from
England, we should be found without salt provisions, rice, and peas.

In the above statement three hundred bushels of wheat, which had been
produced at Rose Hill, were not included, being reserved for seed.

The governor, from a motive that did him immortal honor, in this season
of general distress, gave up three hundred weight of flour which was his
excellency's private property, declaring that he wished not to see any
thing more at his table than the ration which was received in common from
the public store, without any distinction of persons; and to this
resolution he rigidly adhered, wishing that if a convict complained, he
might see that want was not unfelt even at Government house.

On the 20th of the month, the following was the ration issued from the
public store to each man for seven days, or to seven people for one day:
flour, 2½ pounds, rice, 2 pounds, pork, 2 pounds. The peas were all
expended. Was this a ration for a labouring man? The two pounds of pork,
when boiled, from the length of time it had been in store. shrunk away to
nothing; and when divided among seven people for their day's sustenance,
barely afforded three or four morsels to each.

The inevitable consequences of this scarcity of provisions ensued; labour
stood nearly suspended for want of energy to proceed; and the
countenances of the people plainly bespoke the hardships they underwent.
The convicts, however, were employed for the public in the forenoons; and
such labour was obtained from them as their situation would allow. The
guard-house on the east side was finished and taken possession of during
the month.

There being many among the convicts who availed themselves of this
peculiar situation to commit thefts, it became necessary to punish with
severity all who were fully convicted before the court of criminal
jurisdiction. One convict was executed for breaking into a house, and
several others were sentenced to severe corporal punishments. Garden
robberies were the principal offences committed. These people had been
assembled by the governor, and informed that very severe punishment would
follow the conviction of persons guilty of robbing gardens, as a
necessary step toward preventing the continuance of such an evil; and he
strongly inculcated the absolute necessity that existed for every man to
cultivate his own garden, instead of robbing that of another. To the few
who, from never having been industrious, had not any ground sown or
planted with vegetables, he allotted a small but sufficient spot for
their use, and encouraged them in their labour by his presence and
directions; but they preferred any thing to honest industry. These
people, though the major part of them were, during the night, locked up
in the building lately occupied as a guardhouse, were ever on the watch
to commit depredations on the unwary during the hours in which they were
at large, and never suffered an opportunity to escape them. A female
convict, who came down from Rose Hill, was robbed of her week's
provisions; and as it was impossible to replace them from the public
store, she was left to subsist on what she could obtain from the bounty
(never more truly laudable than at this distressing juncture) of others
who commiserated her situation.

One male convict was executed; one female convict and one child died. The
female convict occasioned her own death, by overloading her stomach with
flour and greens, of which she made a mess during the day, and ate
heartily; but, not being satisfied, she rose in the night and finished
it. This was one of the evil effects of the reduced ration.

May.] The expedient of shooting for the public not being found to answer
the expectations which had been formed of it, sixty pounds of pork only
having been saved, the game-killers were called in, and the general
exertion was directed to the business of fishing. The seine and the hooks
and lines were employed, and with various success; the best of which
afforded but a very trifling relief.

As the _Sirius_ was fated not to return to perform her intended voyage to
India, the biscuit which had been baked for that purpose was issued, in
lieu of flour, that article being served again when the biscuit was
expended; and it lasted only through seven days.

It was naturally expected, that the miserable allowance which was issued
would affect the healths of the labouring convicts. A circumstance
occurred on the 12th of this month, which seemed to favor this idea; an
elderly man dropped down at the store, whither he had repaired with
others to receive his day's subsistence. Fainting with hunger, and unable
through age to hold up any longer, he was carried to the hospital, where
he died the next morning. On being opened, his stomach was found quite
empty. It appeared, that not having any utensil of his own wherein to
cook his provisions, nor share in any, he was frequently compelled, short
as his allowance for the day was, to give a part of it to any one who
would supply him with a vessel to dress his victuals; and at those times
when he did not choose to afford this deduction, he was accustomed to eat
his rice and other provisions undressed, which brought on indigestion,
and at length killed him.

It might have been supposed, that the severity of the punishments which
had been ordered by the criminal court on offenders convicted of robbing
gardens would have deterred others from committing that offence; but
while there was a vegetable to steal, there were those who would steal
it, wholly regardless as to the injustice done to the person they robbed,
and of the consequences that might ensue to themselves. For this sort of
robbery the criminal court was twice assembled in the present month. The
clergyman had taken a convict in his garden in the act of stealing
potatoes. Example was necessary, and the court that tried him, finding
that the severity of former courts did not prevent the commission of the
same offence, instead of the great weight of corporal punishment which
had marked their former sentences, directed this prisoner to receive
three hundred lashes, his ration of flour to be stopped for six months,
and himself to be chained for that time to two public delinquents who had
been detected in the fact of robbing the governor's garden, and who had
been ordered by the justices to work for a certain time in irons.

This sentence was carried into execution; but the governor remitted,
after some days trial, that part of it which respected the prisoner's
ration of flour, without which he could not long have existed.

The governor's garden had been the object of frequent depredation;
scarcely a night passed that it was not robbed, notwithstanding that many
received vegetables from it by his excellency's order. Two convicts had
been taken up, who confessed that within the space of a month they had
robbed it seven or eight times, and that they had killed a hog belonging
to an officer. These were the people who were ordered by the justices to
work in irons. A soldier, a man of infamous character, had been detected
robbing the garden while sentinel in the neighbourhood of it, and, being
tried by a court-martial for quitting his post, was sentenced and
received five hundred lashes. Yet all this was not sufficient: on the
evening of the 26th, a seaman belonging to the _Sirius_ got into the
governor's garden, and was fired at by a watchman who had been stationed
there for some nights past, and wounded, as it afterwards appeared, but
so slightly as not to prevent his effecting his escape; leaving, however,
a bag behind him, filled with vegetables. On close examination it was
fixed upon him, and, being brought before a criminal court, he was
sentenced to receive five hundred lashes; but at the same time was
recommended to the governor's clemency, on account of a good character
which had been given him in court. The governor, as it was his garden
that was robbed, attended to the recommendation, remitting four out of
the five hundred lashes which had been ordered him*. Being, after this,
villain enough to accuse some of his shipmates of crimes which he
acknowledged existed only in his own malicious mind, he received, by
order of the justices, a further punishment of fifty lashes.

[* Sixty pounds of flour, which had been offered as a reward for bringing
to justice a garden-thief, were paid to the watchman who fired at him.]

So great was either the villainy of the people, or the necessities of the
times, that a prisoner lying at the hospital under sentence of corporal
punishment having received a part of it, five hundred lashes, contrived
to get his irons off from one leg, and in that situation was caught
robbing a farm. On being brought in, he received another portion of his

Among other thefts committed in this season of general distress, was one
by a convict employed in the fishing boats, who found means to secrete
several pounds of fish in a bag, which he meant to secure in addition to
the allowance which was to be made him for having been out on that duty.
To deter others from committing the like offence, which might, by
repetition, amount to a serious evil, he was ordered to receive one
hundred lashes.

At Rose Hill the convicts conducted themselves with much greater
propriety; not a theft nor any act of ill behaviour having been for some
time past heard of among them*.

[* They had vegetables in great abundance.]

At that settlement a kangaroo had been killed of one hundred and eighty
pounds weight; and the people reported that they were much molested by
the native dogs, which had been seen together in great numbers, and,
coming by night about the settlement, had killed some hogs which were not

The colony had hitherto been supplied with salt from the public stores, a
quantity being always shaken off from the salt provisions, and reserved
for use by the store-keepers; but the daily consumption of salt
provisions was now become so inconsiderable, and they had been so long in
store, that little or none of that article was to be procured. Two large
iron boilers were therefore erected at the east point of the cove; some
people were employed to boil the salt water, and the salt which was
produced by this very simple process was issued to the convicts.

Our fishing tackle began now, with our other necessaries, to decrease. To
remedy this inconvenience, we were driven by necessity to avail ourselves
of some knowledge which we had gained from the natives; and one of the
convicts (a rope-maker) was employed to spin lines from the bark of a
tree which they used for the same purpose.

The native who had been taken in November last convinced us how far
before every other consideration he deemed the possession of his liberty,
by very artfully effecting his escape from the governor's house, where he
had been treated with every indulgence and had enjoyed every comfort
which it was in his excellency's power to give him. He managed his escape
so ingeniously, that it was not suspected until he had completed it, and
all search was rendered fruitless. The boy and the girl appeared to
remain perfectly contented among us, and declared that they knew their
countryman would never return.

During this month the bricklayer's gang and some carpenters were sent
down to the Look-out, to erect two huts for the midshipmen and seamen of
the _Sirius_ who were stationed there, where the stonemason's gang were
employed quarrying stone for two chimneys.

The greatest quantity of fish caught at any one time in this month was
two hundred pounds. Once the seine was full; but through either the
wilfulness or the ignorance of the people employed to land it, the
greatest part of its contents escaped. Upwards of two thousand pounds
were taken in the course of the month, which produced a saving of five
hundred pounds of pork at the store, the allowance of thirty-one men for
four weeks.

Very little labour could be enforced from people who had nothing to eat.
Nevertheless, as it was necessary to think of some preparations for the
next season, the convicts were employed in getting the ground ready both
at Sydney and at Rose Hill for the reception of wheat and barley. The
quantity of either article, however, to be now sown, fell far short of
what our necessities required.


The _Lady Juliana_ transport arrives from England
_The Guardian_
His Majesty's birthday
Thanksgiving for His Majesty's recovery
The _Justinian_ storeship arrives
Full ration ordered
Three transports arrive
Horrid state of the convicts on board
Sick landed
Instance of sagacity in a dog
A convict drowned
Mortality and number of sick on the 13th
Convicts sent to Rose Hill
A town marked out there
Works in hand at Sydney
Instructions respecting grants of land
Mr. Fergusson drowned
Convicts' claims on the master of the _Neptune_
Criminal Court

June.] The first and second days of this month were exceedingly
unfavourable to our situation; heavy rain and blowing weather obstructed
labour and prevented fishing. But it was decreed that on the 3rd we
should experience sensations to which we had been strangers ever since
our departure from England. About half past three in the afternoon of
this day, to the inexpressible satisfaction of every heart in the
settlement, the long-looked-for signal for a ship was made at the South
Head. Every countenance was instantly cheered, and wore the lively
expressions of eagerness, joy, and anxiety; the whole settlement was in
motion and confusion. Notwithstanding it blew very strong at the time,
the governor's secretary, accompanied by Captain Tench and Mr. White,
immediately went off, and at some risk (for a heavy sea was running in
the harbour's mouth) reached the ship for which the signal had been made
just in time to give directions which placed her in safety in Spring
Cove. She proved to be the _Lady Juliana_ transport from London, last
from Plymouth; from which latter place we learned, with no small degree
of wonder and mortification, that she sailed on the 29th day of last July
(full ten months ago) with two hundred and twenty-two female convicts on

We had long conjectured, that the non-arrival of supplies must be owing
either to accident or delays in the voyage, and not to any backwardness
on the part of government in sending them out. We now found that our
disappointment was to be ascribed to both misfortune and delay. The _Lady
Juliana_, we have seen, sailed in July last, and in the month of
September following his majesty's ship _Guardian_, of forty-four guns,
commanded by Lieutenant Edward Riou, sailed from England, having on
board, with what was in the _Lady Juliana_, two years provisions, viz
295,344 pounds of flour, 149,856 pounds of beef, and 303,632 pounds of
pork, for the settlement; a supply of clothing for the marines serving on
shore, and for those belonging to the _Sirius_ and _Supply_; together
with a large quantity of sails and cordage for those ships and for the
uses of the colony; sixteen chests of medicines; fifteen casks of wine; a
quantity of blankets and bedding for the hospital; and a large supply of
unmade clothing for the convicts; with an ample assortment of tools and
implements of agriculture.

At the Cape of Good Hope Lieutenant Riou took on board a quantity of
stock for the settlement, and completed a garden which had been prepared
under the immediate direction of Sir Joseph Banks, and in which there
were near one hundred and fifty of the finest fruit trees, several of
them bearing fruit.

There was scarcely an officer in the colony that had not his share of
private property embarked on board of this richly freighted ship; their
respective friends having procured permission from government for that

But it was as painful then to learn, as it will ever be to recollect,
that on the 23rd day of December preceding, the _Guardian_ struck against
an island of ice in latitude 45 degrees 54 minutes South, and longitude
41 degrees 30 minutes East, whereby she received so much injury, that
Lieutenant Riou was compelled, in order to save her from instantly
sinking, to throw overboard the greatest part of her valuable cargo both
on the public and private account. The stock was all killed, (seven
horses, sixteen cows, two bulls, a number of sheep, goats, and two deer,)
the garden destroyed, and the ship herself saved only by the
interposition of Providence, and the admirable conduct of the commander.

The _Guardian_ was a fast-sailing ship, and would probably have arrived
in the latter end of January or the beginning of February last. At that
period the large quantity of live stock in the colony was daily
increasing; the people required for labour were, comparatively with their
present state, strong and healthy; the necessity of dividing the
Convicts, and sending the _Sirius_ to Norfolk Island, would not have
existed; the ration of provisions, instead of the diminutions which had
been necessarily directed, would have been increased to the full
allowance; and the tillage of the ground consequently proceeded in with
that spirit which must be exerted to the utmost before the settlement
could render itself independent of the mother country for subsistence.

But to what a distance was that period now thrown by this unfortunate
accident, and by the delay which took place in the voyage of the _Lady
Juliana_! Government had placed a naval officer in this transport,
Lieutenant Thomas Edgar*, for the purpose of seeing justice done to the
convicts as to their provisions, cleanliness, etc. and to guard against
any unnecessary delays on the voyage. Being directed to follow the route
of the _Sirius_ and her convoy, he called at Teneriffe and St. Iago, stayed
seven weeks at Rio de Janeiro, and one month at the Cape of Good Hope;
completing his circuitous voyage of ten months duration by arriving here
on the 3rd day of June 1790.

[* He had sailed with the late Captain Cook.]

On Lieutenant Edgar's arrival at the Cape he found the _Guardian_ lying
there, Lieutenant Riou having just safely regained that port, from which
he had sailed but a short time, with every fair prospect of speedily and
happily executing the orders with which he was entrusted, and of
conveying to this colony the assistance of which it stood so much in
need. Unhappily for us, she was now lying a wreck, with difficulty and at
an immense expense preserved from sinking at her anchors.

Beside the common share which we all bore in this calamity, we had to
lament that the efforts of our several friends, in amply supplying the
wants that they concluded must have been occasioned by an absence of
three years, were all rendered ineffectual, the private articles having
been among the first things that were thrown overboard to lighten the

[* The private property of the officers was all stowed, as the best and
safest place in the ship, in the gun-room. Some officers were great

Government had sent out in the _Guardian_ twenty-five male convicts, who
were either farmers or artificers, together with seven persons engaged to
serve as superintendants of convicts, for three years from their landing,
at salaries of forty pounds per annum each. Of these, two, who were
professed gardeners, were supposed to be drowned, having left the ship
soon after she struck, with several other persons in boats, and not been
heard of when the _Lady Juliana_ left the Cape. The superintendants who
remained came on in the transport; but the convicts, of whose conduct
Lieutenant Riou spoke in the highest terms, were detained at the Cape.

A clergyman also was on board the _Guardian_, the Rev. Mr. Crowther, who
had been appointed, at a salary of eight shillings per diem, to divide
the religious duties of the settlement with Mr. Johnson. This gentleman
left the ship with the master and purser in the long-boat, taking
provisions and water with them; and of five boats which were launched on
the same perilous enterprise, this was the only one that conducted her
passengers into safety. They were fortunately, after many days sailing,
picked up by a French ship, which took them into the Cape, and thence to

One-third of the stores and provisions intended for the colony were put
on board the transport, the remaining two-thirds were on board the
_Guardian_; none of which it was supposed would ever reach the
settlement, the small quantity excepted (seventy-five barrels of flour)
which was put on board the transport at the Cape. The Dutch at that place
were profiting by our misfortune, their warehouses being let out at an
immense expense to receive such of the provisions and stores as remained
on board the _Guardian_ when she got in.

In addition to the above distressing circumstances, we learned that one
thousand convicts of both sexes were to sail at the latter end of the
last year, and that a corps of foot was raising for the service of this
country under the command of a major-commandant, Francis Grose esq. from
the 29th foot, of which regiment, he was major. The transports which
sailed hence in May, July, and November 1788 (the _Friendship_ excepted)
arrived in England within a very short time of each other; and their
arrival relieved the public from anxiety upon our account.

The joy that was diffused by the arrival of the transports was
considerably checked by the variety of unpleasant and unwelcome
intelligence which she brought. We learned that our beloved Sovereign had
been attacked and for some months afflicted with a dangerous and alarming
illness, though now happily recovered. Our distance from his person had
not lessened our attachment, and the day following the receipt of this
information being the anniversary of his Majesty's birth, it was kept
with every mark of distinction that was in our power. The governor
pardoned all offenders who were under confinement, or under sentence of
corporal punishment; the ration was increased for that day, that every
one might rejoice; at the governor's table, where all the officers of the
settlement and garrison were met, many prosperous and happy years were
fervently wished to be added to his Majesty's life; and Wednesday the
9th was appointed for a public thanksgiving on occasion of his recovery.

The _Lady Juliana_ was, by strong westerly winds and bad weather,
prevented from reaching the cove until the 6th, when, the weather
moderating, she was towed up to the settlement. The convicts on board her
appeared to have been well treated during their long passage, and
preparations for landing them were immediately made; but, in the
distressed situation of the colony, it was not a little mortifying to
find on board the first ship that arrived, a cargo so unnecessary and
unprofitable as two hundred and twenty-two females, instead of a cargo of
provisions; the supply of provisions on board her was so inconsiderable
as to permit only an addition of one pound and a half of flour being made
to the weekly ration. Had the _Guardian_ arrived, perhaps we should never
again have been in want.

On the 9th, being the day appointed for returning thanks to Almighty God
for his Majesty's happy restoration to health, the attendance on divine
service was very full. A sermon on the occasion was preached by the Rev.
Mr. Johnson, who took his text from the book of Proverbs, 'By me kings
reign.' The officers were afterwards entertained at the governor's, when
an address on the occasion of the meeting was resolved to be sent to his

When the women were landed on the 11th, many of them appeared to be
loaded with the infirmities incident to old age, and to be very improper
subjects for any of the purposes of an infant colony. Instead of being
capable of labour, they seemed to require attendance themselves, and were
never likely to be any other than a burden to the settlement, which must
sensibly feel the hardship of having to support by the labour of those
who could toll, and who at the best were but few, a description of people
utterly incapable of using any exertion toward their own maintenance.

When the women were disembarked, and the provisions and stores landed, it
was found that twenty casks of flour (from the unfitness of the ship to
perform such a voyage, being old and far from tight) were totally
destroyed. This was a serious loss to us, when only four pounds of flour
constituted the allowance of that article for one man for seven days.

From this situation of distress, however, we were in a short time
afterwards effectually relieved, and the colony might be pronounced to be
restored, by the arrival (on the 20th) of the _Justinian_ storeship, Mr.
Benjamin Maitland master, from England, after a short passage of only
five months. Mr. Maitland, on the 2nd of this month, the day preceding
the arrival of the _Lady Juliana_, was off the entrance of this harbour,
and would certainly have been found by that ship at anchor within the
heads, had he not, by a sudden change of the wind, aided by a current,
been driven as far to the northward as Black Head, in latitude 32 degrees
S. where he was very nearly lost in an heavy gale of wind; but which he
providentially rode out, having been obliged to come to an anchor, though
close in with some dangerous rocks. The wind was dead on the shore, and
the rocks so close when he anchored, that the rebound of the wave
prevented him from riding any considerable strain on his cable. Had that
failed him, we should never have seen the _Justinian_ or her valuable
cargo, which was found to consist of stores and provisions, trusted, it
was true, to one ship; but as she had happily arrived in safety, and was
full, we all rejoiced that we had not to wait for the arrival of a second
before the colony could be restored to its former plenty.

We now learned that three transports might be hourly expected, having on
board the thousand convicts of whose destination we had received some
information by the _Lady Juliana_, together with detachments of the corps
raised for the service of this country. The remainder of this corps
(which was intended to consist of three hundred men) were to come out in
the _Gorgon_ man of war, of forty-four guns. This ship was also to bring
out Major Grose, who had been appointed lieutenant-governor of the
territory in the room of Major Ross, which officer, together with the
marines under his command, were intended to return to England in that

Of the change which had been effected in the system of government in
France we now first received information, and we heard with pleasure that
it was not likely to interrupt the tranquillity of our own happy
nation--happy in a constitution which might well excite the admiration
and become the model of other states not so free.

The _Justinian_ had sailed on the 17th of last January from Falmouth, and
touched only at St. Iago, avoiding, as she had not any convicts on board,
the circuitous passage by the Rio de Janeiro and the Cape of Good Hope.

On the day following her arrival, every thing seemed getting into its
former train; the full ration was ordered to be issued; instead of daily,
it was to be served weekly as formerly; and the drum for labour was to
beat as usual in the afternoons at one o'clock. How general was the wish,
that no future necessity might ever occasion another deduction in the
ration, or an alteration in the labour of the people!

That Norfolk Island, whose situation at this time every one was fearful
might call loudly for relief, should as quickly as possible reap her
share of the benefit introduced among us by these arrivals, it was
intended to send the _Lady Juliana_ thither; and as she required some
repairs, without which she could not proceed to sea, some carpenters from
the shore were sent on board her, and employed to sheath her bends, which
were extremely defective.

A shop was opened on shore by the master of this ship, at the hut lately
occupied as a bakehouse for the _Supply_, for the sale of some articles
of grocery, glass, millinery, perfumery, and stationary; but the risk of
bringing them out having been most injudiciously estimated too highly,
as was evident from the increase on the first cost, which could not be
disguised, they did not go off so quickly as the owners supposed they

A report having been circulated soon after the establishing of this
settlement, that a considerable sum of money had been subscribed in
England, to be expended in articles for the benefit of the convicts who
embarked for this country, which articles had been entrusted to the Rev.
Mr. Johnson, to be disposed of according to the intention of the
subscribers after our arrival, Mr. Johnson wrote to his friends in
England to confute this report; and by accounts lately received, it
appeared that no such public collection had ever been made; at Mr.
Johnson's request, therefore, the governor published a contradiction of
the above report in the general orders of the settlement. The convicts
had hitherto imagined that they had a right to the articles which had
from time to time been distributed among them; but Mr. Johnson now
thought it necessary that they should know it was to his bounty they were
indebted for them, and that consequently the partakers of it were to be
of his own selection.

The female convicts who had lately arrived attending at divine service on
the first Sunday after their landing, Mr. Johnson, with much propriety,
in his discourse, touched upon their situation, and described it so
forcibly as to draw tears from many who were the least hardened among

Early in the morning of the 23rd, one of the men at the Lookout discerned
a sail to the northward, but, the weather coming on thick, soon lost
sight of it. The bad weather continuing, it was not seen again until the
25th, when word was brought up to the settlement, that a large ship,
apparently under jury-masts, was seen in the offing; and on the following
day the _Surprise_ transport, Nicholas Anstis master (late chief mate of
the _Lady Penrhyn_) anchored in the cove from England, having on board
one captain, one lieutenant, one surgeon's mate, one serjeant, one
corporal, one drummer, and twenty-three privates of the New South Wales
corps; together with two hundred and eighteen male convicts. She sailed
on the 19th of January from Portsmouth in company with two other
transports, with whom she parted between the Cape of Good Hope and this

We had the mortification to learn, that the prisoners in this ship were
very unhealthy, upwards of one hundred being now in the sick list on
board. They had been very sickly also during the passage, and had buried
forty-two of these unfortunate people. A portable hospital had
fortunately been received by the _Justinian_, and there now appeared but
too great a probability that we should soon have patients enough to fill
it; for the signal was flying at the South Head for the other transports,
and we were led to expect them in as unhealthy a state as that which had
just arrived.

On the evening of Monday the 28th, the _Neptune_ and _Scarborough_
transports anchored off Garden Island, and were warped into the cove the
following morning.

We were not mistaken in our expectations of the state in which they might
arrive. By noon the following day, two hundred sick had been landed from
the different transports. The west side afforded a scene truly
distressing and miserable; upwards of thirty tents were pitched in front
of the hospital, the portable one not being yet put up; all of which, as
well as the hospital and the adjacent huts, were filled with people, many
of whom were labouring under the complicated diseases of scurvy and the
dysentery, and others in the last stage of either of those terrible
disorders, or yielding to the attacks of an infectious fever.

The appearance of those who did not require medical assistance was lean
and emaciated. Several of these miserable people died in the boats as
they were rowing on shore, or on the wharf as they were lifting out of
the boats; both the living and the dead exhibiting more horrid spectacles
than had ever been witnessed in this country. All this was to be
attributed to confinement, and that of the worst species, confinement in
a small space and in irons, not put on singly, but many of them chained
together. On board the _Scarborough_ a plan had been formed to take the
ship, which would certainly have been attempted, but for a discovery
which was fortunately made by one of the convicts (Samuel Burt) who had
too much principle left to enter into it. This necessarily, _on board
that ship_, occasioned much future circumspection; but Captain Marshall's
humanity considerably lessened the severity which the insurgents might
naturally have expected. On board the other ships, the masters, who had
the entire direction of the prisoners, never suffered them to be at large
on deck, and but few at a time were permitted there. This consequently
gave birth to many diseases. It was said, that on board the _Neptune_
several had died in irons; and what added to the horror of such a
circumstance was, that their deaths were concealed, for the purpose of
sharing their allowance of provisions, until chance, and the
offensiveness of a corpse, directed the surgeon, or some one who had
authority in the ship, to the spot where it lay.

A contract had been entered into by government with Messrs. Calvert,
Camden, and King, merchants of London, for the transporting of one
thousand convicts, and government engaged to pay £17 7s 6d per head for
every convict they embarked. This sum being as well for their provisions
as for their transportation, no interest for their preservation was
created in the owners, and the dead were more profitable (if profit alone
was consulted by them, and the credit of their house was not at stake)
than the living.

The following accounts of the numbers who died on board each ship were
given in by the masters:

                             Men  Women  Children
On board the _Lady Juliana_    0      5      2
On board the _Surprise_       42      0      0
On board the _Scarborough_    68      0      0
On board the _Neptune_       151     11      2
Total                        261     16      4

All possible expedition was used to get the sick on shore; for even while
they remained on board many died. The bodies were taken over to the north
shore, and there interred.

Parties were immediately sent into the woods to collect the acid berry of
the country, which for its extreme acetosity was deemed by the surgeons a
most powerful antiscorbutic. Among other regulations, orders were given
for baking a certain quantity of flour into pound loaves, to be
distributed daily among the sick, as it was not in their power to prepare
it themselves. Wine and other necessaries being given judiciously among
those whose situations required such comforts, many of the wretches had
recourse to stratagem to obtain more than their share by presenting
themselves, under different names and appearances, to those who had the
delivery of them, or by exciting the compassion of those who could order

Blankets were immediately sent to the hospital in sufficient numbers to
make every patient comfortable; notwithstanding which, they watched the
moment when any one died to strip him of his covering (although dying
themselves) and could only be prevented by the utmost vigilance from
exercising such inhumanity in every instance.

The detachment from the New South Wales corps, consisting of one captain,
three subalterns, and a proportionate number of non-commissioned officers
and privates, was immediately disembarked, and room being made in the
marine barracks, they took possession of the quarters allotted for them.

Lieutenant Shapcote, the naval agent on board the _Neptune_, died between
the Cape of Good Hope and this place. A son of this gentleman arrived in
the _Justinian_, to which ship he belonged, and received the first
account of his father's death, on going aboard the _Neptune_ to
congratulate him on his arrival.

An instance of sagacity in a dog occurred on the arrival of the
_Scarborough_, too remarkable to pass unnoticed; Mr. Marshall, the master
of the ship, on quitting Port Jackson in May 1788, left a Newfoundland
dog with Mr. Clark (the agent on the part of the contractor, who remained
in the colony), which he had brought from England. On the return of his
old master, Hector swam off to the ship, and getting on board, recognised
him, and manifested, in every manner suitable to his nature, his Joy at
seeing him; nor could the animal be persuaded to quit him again,
accompanying him always when he went on shore, and returning with him on

At a muster of the convicts which was directed during this month, one man
only was unaccounted for, James Haydon. Soon after the muster was over,
word was brought to the commissary, that his body had been found drowned
in Long Cove, at the back of the settlement. Upon inquiry into the cause
of his death, it appeared that he had a few days before stolen some
tobacco out of an officer's garden in which he had been employed, and,
being threatened with punishment, had absconded. He was considered as a
well-behaved man; and if he preferred death to shame and punishment,
which he had been heard to declare he did, and which his death seemed to
confirm, he was deserving a better fate.

The total number of sick on the last day of the month was three hundred
and forty-nine.

July.] The melancholy scenes which closed the last month appeared
unchanged at the beginning of this. The morning generally opened with the
attendants of the sick passing frequently backwards and forwards from the
hospital to the burying-ground with the miserable victims of the night.
Every exertion was made to get up the portable hospital; but, although we
were informed that it had been put up in London in a very few hours, we
did not complete it until the 7th, when it was instantly filled with
patients. On the 13th, there were four hundred and eighty-eight persons
under medical treatment at and about the hospital--a dreadful sick list!

Such of the convicts from the ships as were in a tolerable state of
health, both male and female, were sent up to Rose Hill, to be employed
in agriculture and other labours. A subaltern's detachment from the New
South Wales corps was at the same time sent up for the military duty of
that settlement in conjunction with the marine corps.

There also the governor in the course of the month laid down the lines of
a regular town. The principal street was marked out to extend one mile,
commencing near the landing-place, and running in a direction west, to
the foot of the rising ground named Rose Hill, and in which his
excellency purposed to erect a small house for his own residence whenever
he should visit that settlement. On each side of this street, whose width
was to be two hundred and five feet, huts were to be erected capable of
containing ten persons each, and at the distance of sixty feet one from
the other; and garden ground for each hut was allotted in the rear. As
the huts were to be built of such combustible materials as wattles and
plaster, and to be covered with thatch, the width of the street, and the
distance they were placed from each other, operated as an useful
precaution against fire; and by beginning on so wide a scale the
inhabitants of the town at some future day would possess their own
accommodations and comforts more readily, each upon his own allotment,
than if crowded into a small space.

While these works were going on at Rose Hill, the labouring convicts at
Sydney were employed in constructing a new brick storehouse, discharging
the transports, and forming a road from the town to the brick-kilns, for
the greater ease and expedition in bringing in bricks to the different

Our stores now wore a more respectable appearance than they had done for
some time. In addition to the provisions put on board the transports in
England, Lieutenant Riou had forwarded by those ships four hundred
tierces of beef and two hundred tierces of pork, which he had saved from
the wreck of the _Guardian_, and which we had the satisfaction to find
were nothing the worse for the accident which befel her. These, with the
seventy-five casks of flour which were brought on by the _Lady Juliana_,
formed the amount of what we were now to receive of the large cargo of
that unfortunate ship.

Lieutenant Riou also sent by these ships the twenty male convicts which
had been selected as artificers and put on board the _Guardian_ in
England; and with them he sent the most pointed recommendations in their
favour, describing their conduct, both before and after the accident
which happened to the ship under his command, in the strongest terms of

The _Lady Juliana_ being found on inspection to require such extensive
repairs as would too long delay the dispatching the necessary supplies to
Norfolk Island, the governor directed the _Surprise_ transport and
_Justinian_ storeship to proceed thither.

By the 19th, the _Justinian_ was cleared of her cargo, excepting about
five hundred casks of provisions, which were not to be taken out
until she arrived at Norfolk Island; and both that ship and the
_Surprise_ were preparing with all expedition for sailing. The
_Justinian_, however, from the circumstance of retaining some part of her
large cargo on board, was ready first, and sailed on the 28th. The
master, Mr. Benjamin Maitland, was directed to follow his former orders
after landing his stores and provisions at Norfolk Island, and proceed to
Canton to freight home with teas upon account of government. She was
hired by the month at fifteen shillings and sixpence per ton, and was to
be in government employ until her return to Deptford. By this ship the
governor sent dispatches to the secretary of state.

The _Lady Juliana_, having received some repairs by the carpenters of the
colony at the time when it was designed she should to Norfolk Island,
and some others by the assistance of her own carpenters, sailed a day or
two after the _Justinian_ for Canton. From the extravagant price set on
his goods by the master, his shop had turned out badly; and it was said
that he took many articles to sea, which he must of necessity throw
overboard before he reached Canton.

The governor received by these ships dispatches from the secretary of
state, containing, among other articles of information, instructions
respecting the granting of lands and the allotting of ground in
townships. Soon after their arrival it was declared in public orders:

That, in consequence of the assurances that were given to the
non-commissioned officers and men belonging to the detachment of marines,
on their embarking for the service of this country, that such of them as
should behave well should be allowed to quit the service on their return
to England, or be discharged abroad upon the relief, and permitted to
settle in the country; his Majesty had been graciously pleased to direct
the following terms to be held out as an encouragement to such
non-commissioned officers and private men of the marines as might be
desirous of becoming settlers in this country, or in any of the islands
comprised within the government of the continent* of New South Wales, on
the arrival of the corps raised and intended for the service of this
country, and for their relief, viz.

[* Now so called officially for the first time.]

To every non-commissioned officer, an allotment of one hundred and thirty
acres of land if single, and one hundred and fifty if married.

To every private man, eighty acres of land if single, one hundred if
married; and ten acres of land for each child at the time of granting the
allotment; free of all fees, taxes, quit-rents, and other
acknowledgments, for the term of five years; at the expiration of which
term to be liable to an annual quit-rent of one shilling for every fifty

As a further encouragement, a bounty was offered of three pounds per man
to every non-commissioned officer and private man who would enlist in the
new corps (to form a company to be officered from the marines) and an
allotment of double the above proportion of land if they behaved well for
five years, to be granted them at the expiration of that time; the said
allotments not to be subject to any fee or tax for ten years, and then to
be liable to an annual quit-rent of one shilling for every fifty acres.

And upon their discharge at either of the above periods they were to be
supplied with clothing and one year's provisions, with feed grain,
tools, and implements of agriculture. The service of a certain number of
convicts was to be assigned to them for their labour when they could make
it appear that they could maintain, feed, and clothe them. In these
instructions no mention was made of granting lands to officers; and to
other persons who might emigrate and be desirous of settling in this
country, no greater proportion of land was to be allotted than what was
to be granted to a non-commissioned officer of the marines.

Government, between every allotment, reserved to itself a space on either
side, which, as crown land, was equal to the largest grant, not to be
granted, but leased only to individuals for the term of fourteen years.

Provision was made for the church, by allotting in each township which
should be marked out four hundred acres for the maintenance of a
minister; and half of that number was to be allotted for the maintenance
of a school master.

If the allotments should happen to be made on the banks of any navigable
river or creek, care was to be taken that the breadth of each track did
not extend along the banks thereof more than one-third of the length of
such track, in order that no settler should engross more than his
proportion of the benefit which would accrue from such a situation. And
it was also directed, that the good and the bad land should be as equally
divided as circumstances would allow.

No new regulations were directed to take place in respect of granting
lands to convicts emancipated or discharged; the original instructions,
under which each male convict if single was to have thirty, if married
fifty, and ten acres for every child he might have at the time of
settling, remained in force.

The particular conditions required by the crown from a settler were, the
residing upon the ground, proceeding to the improvement and cultivation
of his allotment, and reserving such of the timber thereof as might be
fit for naval purposes for the use of his Majesty.

The period fixed by government for victualling a settler from the public
stores, twelve months, was in general looked upon as too short, and it
was thought not practicable for any one at the end of that period to
maintain himself, unless during that time he should have very great
assistance given him, and be fortunate in his crops.

About the latter end of this month a spermaceti whale was seen in the
harbour, and some boats from the transports went after it with harpoons;
but, from the ignorance of the people in the use of them, the fish
escaped unhurt. In a few days afterwards word was received that a punt
belonging to Lieutenant Poulden had been pursued by a whale and overset,
by which accident young Mr. Ferguson (a midshipman of the _Sirius_) and
two soldiers were unfortunately drowned. The soldiers, with another of
their companions, who saved his life by swimming, had been down the
harbour fishing, and, calling at the Look-out, took in Mr. Ferguson, who
had sat up all the preceding night to write to his father, Captain James
Ferguson, lieutenant-governor of Greenwich hospital, and was now bringing
his letters to Sydney for the purpose of sending them by the _Justinian_.

Mr. Ferguson was a steady well-disposed young man, and the service, in
all probability, by this extraordinary accident, lost a good officer.

The _Scarborough_ was cleared this month, and, being discharged from
government employ, the master was left at liberty to proceed to Canton,
where he was to load home with teas.

Much irregularity was committed by the seamen of the transports, who
found means to get on shore at night, notwithstanding the port orders;
and one, a sailor from the _Neptune_, was punished with twenty-five lashes
for being found on shore without any permission at eleven o'clock at

The sick list, now consisting of only three hundred and thirty-two
persons, was found to be daily decreasing, and the mortality was
infinitely less at the end, than at the beginning of the month.

August.] The _Surprise_ transport sailed on the first of August for
Norfolk Island, having on board thirty-five male and one hundred and
fifty female convicts, two of the superintendants lately arrived, and one
deputy commissary, Mr. Thomas Freeman, appointed such by the governor's
warrant. There came out in the _Neptune_ a person of the name of
Wentworth, who, being desirous of some employment in this country, was
now sent to Norfolk Island to act as an assistant to the surgeon there,
being reputed to have the necessary requisites for such a situation.

On the 8th, the _Scarborough_ sailed for Canton, and the _Neptune_ was
preparing to follow her as soon as she could be cleared of the cargo she
had on board upon account of government. While this was delivering, some
of the convicts who came out in that ship put in before the
judge-advocate their claims upon the master, Mr. Donald Trail, not only
for clothing and other articles, but for money, which they stated to have
been taken from them at the time of their embarkation, and had never
since been returned to them. Many of these claims were disputed by Mr.
Trail, and others were settled to the satisfaction of the claimants; but
of their clothing, knives, buckles, etc. he could give no other account,
than that he was directed by the naval agent, Lieutenant Shapcote, to
destroy them at their embarkation for obvious reasons, tending to the
safety of the ship and for the preservation of their healths.

On the 19th the _Neptune_ was cleared and discharged the service, having
landed the cargo she brought out on government account in good
condition. Preparatory to her sailing for China, she quitted the cove on
the 22nd; soon after which, information being received that several
convicts purposed to attempt making their escape in her from the colony,
a small armed party of soldiers was sent on board her, under the
direction of Lieutenant Long* of the marines, to search the ship, when
one man and one woman were found on board. The man was one who had just
arrived in the colony, and, being soon tired of his situation, had
prevailed on some of the people to secrete him among the fire-wood which
they had taken on board. In the night another person swam off to the
ship, and was received by the guard. He pleaded being a free man, but as
he had taken a very improper mode of quitting the colony, he was, by
order of the governor, punished the day following, together with the
convict who had been found concealed among the fire-wood. The _Neptune_
sailed on the 24th, leaving behind her one mate Mr. Forfar, and two
seamen; and the cove was once more without a ship.

[* Appointed by Governor Plillip, after the arrival of the New South
Wales corps, to do the duty of town-adjutant.]

An excursion into the country had been undertaken this month by Captain
Tench and some other officers. They were absent six days, and on their
return we learned, that they had proceeded in a direction SSW of Rose
Hill; that they met with fresh water running to the northward; found the
traces of natives wherever they went, and passed through a very bad
country intersected every where with deep ravines. They had reason to
think, that in rainy weather the run of water which they met with rose
above its ordinary level between thirty and forty feet. They saw a flock
of emus twelve in number.

It having been found that the arms and ammunition which were entrusted to
the convicts residing at the distant farms for their protection against
the natives, were made a very different use of, an order was given
recalling them, and prohibiting any convicts from going out with arms,
except McIntire, Burn, and Randall, who were licensed game-killers.

The clergyman complaining of non-attendance at divine service, which it
must be observed was generally performed in the open air, alike
unsheltered from wind and rain, as from the fervor of the summer's sun,
it was ordered that three pounds of flour should be deducted from the
ration of each overseer, and two pounds from that of each labouring
convict, who should not attend prayers once on each Sunday, unless some
reasonable excuse for their absence should be assigned.

Toward the latter end of the month a criminal court was held for the
trial of Hugh Low, a convict, who had been in the _Guardian_, and who was
in custody for stealing a sheep, the property of Mr. Palmer the
commissary. Being most clearly convicted of the offence by the evidence
of an accomplice and others, he received sentence of death, and, the
governor not deeming it advisable to pardon an offence of that nature,
suffered the next day, acknowledging the commission of the fact for which
he died.

The preservation of our stock was an object of so much consequence to the
colony, that it became indispensably necessary to protect it by every
means in our power. Had any lenity been extended to this offender on
account of his good conduct in a particular situation, it might have been
the cause of many depredations being made upon the stock, which it was
hoped his punishment would prevent.

On the 28th a pair of shoes were served to each convict. The female
convicts were employed in making the slops for the men, which had been
now sent out unmade. Each woman who could work at her needle had
materials for two shirts given her at a time, and while so employed was
not to be taken for any other labour.

The storehouse which was begun in July was finished this month, and was
got up and covered in without any rain. Its dimensions were one hundred
feet by twenty-two.

At Rose Hill the convicts were employed in constructing the new town
which had been marked out, building the huts, and forming the principal
street. The governor, who personally directed all these works, caused a
spot of ground for a capacious garden to be allotted for the use of the
New South Wales corps, contiguous to the spot whereon his excellency
meant to erect the barracks for that corps.

In addition to the flagstaff which had been erected on the South Head of
the harbour, the governor determined to construct a column, of a height
sufficient to be seen from some distance at sea, and the stonemasons were
sent down to quarry stone upon the spot for the building.

The body of one of the unfortunate people who were drowned at the latter
end of July last with Mr. Ferguson was found about the close of this
month, washed on shore in Rose Bay, and very much disfigured. The whale
which occasioned this accident, we were informed, had never found its way
out of the harbour, but, getting on shore in Manly Bay, was killed by the
natives, and was the cause of numbers of them being at this time
assembled to partake of the repasts which it afforded them.


Governor Phillip wounded by a native
Intercourse opened with the natives
Great haul of fish
Convicts abscond with a boat
Want of rain
_Supply_ returns from Batavia
Transactions there
Criminal Courts
James Bloodworth emancipated
Oars found in the woods
A convict brought back in the _Supply_
A boat with five people lost
Public works
A convict wounded by a native
Armed parties sent out to avenge him
A Dutch vessel arrives with supplies from Batavia
Decrease by sickness and casualties in 1790

September.] Since the escape of Bennillong the native in May last,
nothing had been heard of him, nor had any thing worthy of notice
occurred among the other natives. In the beginning of this month,
however, they were brought forward again by a circumstance which seemed
at first to threaten the colony with a loss that must have been for some
time severely felt; but which was succeeded by an opening of that
amicable intercourse with these people which the governor had always
laboured to establish, and which was at last purchased by a most
unpleasant accident to himself, and at the risk of his life.

The governor, who had uniformly directed every undertaking in person
since the formation of the colony, went down in the morning of the 7th to
the South Head, accompanied by Captain Collins and Lieutenant Waterhouse,
to give some instructions to the people employed in erecting a column at
that place. As he was returning to the settlement, he received
information, by a boat which had landed Mr. White and some other
gentlemen in the lower part of the harbour (they were going on an
excursion towards Broken Bay) that Bennillong had been seen there by Mr.
White, and had sent the governor as a present a piece of the whale which
was then lying in the wash of the surf on the beach. Anxious to see him
again, the governor, after taking some arms from the party at the
Look-out, which he thought the more requisite in this visit as he heard
the cove was full of natives, went down and landed at the place where the
whale was lying. Here he not only saw Bennillong, but Cole-be also, who
had made his escape from the governor's house a few days after his
capture. At first his excellency trusted himself alone with these people;
but the few months Bennillong had been away had so altered his person,
that the governor, until joined by Mr. Collins and Mr. Waterhouse, did
not perfectly recollect his old acquaintance. Bennillong had been always
much attached to Mr. Collins, and testified with much warmth his
satisfaction at seeing him again. Several articles of wearing apparel
were now given to him and his companions (taken for that purpose from the
people in the boat, who, all but one man, remained on their oars to be
ready in case of any accident), and a promise was exacted from the
governor by Bennillong to return in two days with more, and also with
some hatchets or tomahawks. The cove was full of natives allured by the
attractions of a whale feast; and it being remarked during the conference
that the twenty or thirty which appeared were drawing themselves into a
circle round the governor and his small unarmed party (for that was
literally and most inexcusably their situation) the governor proposed
retiring to the boat by degrees; but Bennillong, who had presented to him
several natives by name, pointed out one, whom the governor, thinking to
take particular notice of, stepped forward to meet, holding out both his
hands toward him. The savage not understanding this civility, and perhaps
thinking that he was going to seize him as a prisoner, lifted a spear
from the grass with his foot, and fixing it on his throwing-stick, in an
instant darted it at the governor. The spear entered a little above the
collar bone, and had been discharged with such force, that the barb of it
came through on the other side. Several other spears were thrown, but
happily no further mischief was effected. The spear was with difficulty
broken by Lieutenant Waterhouse, and while the governor was leading down
to the boat the people landed with the arms, but of four muskets which
they brought on shore one only could be fired.

The boat had five miles to row before it reached the settlement; but the
people in her exerting themselves to the utmost, the governor was landed
and in his house in something less than two hours. The spear was
extracted with much skill by Mr. Balmain, one of the assistant-surgeons
of the hospital, who immediately pronounced the wound not mortal. An
armed party was dispatched that evening toward Broken Bay for Mr. White,
the principal surgeon, who returned the following day, and reported that
in the cove where the whale lay they saw several natives; but being armed
nothing had happened.

No other motive could be assigned for this conduct in the savage, than
the supposed apprehension that he was about to be seized by the governor,
which the circumstance of his advancing toward him with his hands held
out might create. But it certainly would not have happened had the
precaution of taking even a single musket on shore been attended to. The
governor had always placed too great a confidence in these people, under
an idea that the sight of fire arms would deter them from approaching; he
had now, however, been taught a lesson which it might be presumed he
would never forget.

This accident gave cause to the opening of a communication between the
natives of this country and the settlement, which, although attended with
such an unpromising beginning, it was hoped would be followed with good

A few days after the accident, Bennillong, who certainly had not any
culpable share in the transaction, came with his wife and some of his
companions to a cove on the north shore not far from the settlement,
where, by means of Boo-roong, the female who lived in the clergyman's
house, an interview was effected between the natives and some officers,
Mr. White, Mr. Palmer, and others, who at some personal risk went over
with her.

At this time the name of the man who had wounded the governor was first
known, Wil-le-me-ring; and Bennillong made many attempts to fix a belief
that he had beaten him severely for the aggression. Bennillong declared
that he should wait in that situation for some days, and hoped that the
governor would be able, before the expiration of them, to visit him. On
the tenth day after he had received the wound, his excellency was so far
recovered as to go to the place, accompanied by several officers all
armed, where he saw Bennillong and his companions. Bennillong then
repeated his assurances of his having, in conjunction with his friend
Cole-be, severely beaten Wille-me-ring; and added that his throwing the
spear at the governor was entirely the effect of his fears, and done from
the impulse of self-preservation.

The day preceding the governor's visit, the fishing boats had the
greatest success which had yet been met with; near four thousand of a
fish, named by us, from its shape only, the salmon, being taken at two
hauls of the seine. Each fish weighed on an average about five pounds;
they were issued to this settlement, and to that at Rose Hill; and thirty
or forty were sent as a conciliating present to Bennillong and his party
on the north shore.

These circumstances, and the visit to the natives, in which it was
endeavoured to convince them that no animosity was retained on account of
the late accident, nor resentment harboured against any but the actual
perpetrator of the fact, created a variety in the conversation of the
day; and those who were desirous of acquiring the language were glad of
the opportunity which the recently-opened intercourse seemed to promise

In the night of the 26th a desertion of an extraordinary nature took
place. Five male convicts conveyed themselves, in a small boat called a
punt, from Rose Hill undiscovered. They there exchanged the punt, which
would have been unfit for their purpose, for a boat, though very small
and weak, with a mast and sail, with which they got out of the harbour.
On sending to Rose Hill, people were found who could give an account of
their intentions and proceedings, and who knew that they purposed
steering for Otaheite. They had each taken provisions for one week; their
cloaths and bedding; three iron pots, and some other utensils of that
nature. They all came out in the last fleet, and took this method of
speedily accomplishing their sentences of transportation, which were for
the term of their natural lives. Their names were, John Tarwood, a
daring, desperate character, and the principal in the scheme; Joseph
Sutton, who was found secreted on board the _Neptune_ and punished; George
Lee; George Connoway, and John Watson. A boat with an officer was sent to
search for them in the north-west branch of this harbour, but returned,
after several hours search, without discovering the least trace of them.
They no doubt pushed directly out upon that ocean which, from the
wretched state of the boat wherein they trusted themselves, must have
proved their grave.

The governor purposing to erect a capacious storehouse and a range of
barracks at Rose Hill, a convict who understood the business of
brickmaking was sent up for the purpose of manufacturing a quantity
sufficient for those buildings, a vein of clay having been found which it
was supposed would burn into good bricks. A very convenient wharf and
landing place were made at that settlement, and twenty-seven huts were in
great forwardness at the end of the month.

Very small hopes were entertained of the wheat of this season; extreme
dry weather was daily burning it up. Toward the latter end of the month
some rain fell, the first which deserved the name of a heavy rain since
last June.

October.] The little rain which fell about the close of the preceding
month soon ceased, and the gardens and the corn grounds were again
parching for want of moisture. The grass in the woods was so dried, that
a single spark would have set the surrounding country in flames; an
instance of this happened early in the month, with the wind blowing
strong at N W. It was however happily checked.

Bennillong, after appointing several days to visit the governor, came at
last on the 8th, attended by three of his companions. The welcome
reception they met with from every one who saw them inspired the
strangers with such a confidence in us, that the visit was soon repeated;
and at length Bennillong solicited the governor to build him a hut at the
extremity of the eastern point of the cove. This the governor, who was
very desirous of preserving the friendly intercourse which seemed to have
taken place, readily promised, and gave the necessary directions for its
being built.

19th.] While we were thus amusing ourselves with these children of
ignorance, the signal for a sail was made at the South Head, and shortly
after the _Supply_ anchored in the cove from Batavia, having been absent
from the settlement six months and two days. Lieutenant Ball arrived at
Batavia on the 6th of July last, where he hired a vessel, a Dutch snow,
which was to sail shortly after him with the provisions that he had
purchased for the colony. While the _Supply_ lay at Batavia the season
was more unhealthy than had ever been known before; every hospital was
full, and several hundreds of the inhabitants had died. Lieutenant Ball,
at this grave of Europeans, buried Lieutenant Newton Fowell, Mr. Ross the
gunner, and several of his seamen. He tried for some days to touch at
Norfolk Island, but ineffectually, being prevented by easterly winds.
Mr. King and Mr. Miller (the late commissary) had sailed on the 4th of
last August in a Dutch packet for Europe.

By the return of this vessel several comforts were introduced into the
settlement; her commander, with that attention to the wants of the
different officers which always characterised him, having procured and
taken on board their respective investments.

In his passage to Batavia, Lieutenant Ball saw some islands, to which,
conjecturing, from not finding them in any charts which he had on board,
that he might claim being the discoverer of them, he gave names
accordingly. Although anxious to make an expeditious passage, he had the
mortification to be baffled by contrary winds both to and from Batavia;
and at that settlement, instead of finding the governor-general (to whom
in his orders he was directed to apply for permission to purchase
provisions, and for a ship to bring them) ready to forward the service he
came on, which he represented as requiring the utmost expedition, he was
referred to the Sabandhaar, Mr. N. Engelhard, who, after much delay and
pretence of difficulty in procuring a vessel, produced one, a snow, which
they estimated at three hundred and fifty tons burden, and demanded to be
paid for at the rate of eighty rix dollars for every ton freight,
amounting together to twenty-eight thousand rix dollars, each rix dollar
being computed at forty-eight Dutch pennies; and the freight was to be
paid although the vessel should be lost on the passage.

As it was impossible to hire any vessel there upon cheaper terms,
Lieutenant Ball was compelled to engage for the _Waaksamheyd_ (that being
her name, which, englished, signified 'Good look out') upon the terms
they proposed. Of the provisions which he was instructed to procure, the
whole quantity of flour, two hundred thousand pounds, was not to be had,
he being able only to purchase twenty thousand and twenty-one pounds, for
which they charged ten stivers per pound, and an addition of about
one-third of a penny per pound was charged for grinding it*. Instead of
the flour Lieutenant Ball purchased two hundred thousand pounds of rice,
at one rix dollar and forty-four stivers per hundred weight over and
above the seventy thousand pounds he was directed to procure. The salt
provisions were paid for at the rate of seven stivers per pound, and the
amount of the whole cargo, including the casks for the flour, wood for
dunnage, hire of cooleys, and of craft for shipping the provisions, was
thirty thousand four hundred and forty-one rix dollars and thirty-three
stivers; which added to the freight (twenty-eight thousand rix dollars)
made a total of fifty-eight thousand four hundred and forty-one rix
dollars and thirty-three stivers, or £11,688 6s 9d sterling.

[* The flour, without the freight, including one hundred and ten rix
dollars which were charged for twenty-two half leagers in which it was
contained, amounted as nearly as possible to tenpence three farthings per

Mr. Ormsby, a midshipman from the _Sirius_, was left to come on with the
snow, which it was hoped would sail in a few weeks after the _Supply_.

The criminal court was twice assembled during this month. At the first a
soldier was tried for a felony, but acquitted. At the second William
Harris and Edward Wildblood were tried for entering a hut at Parramatta,
in which was only one man, and that a sick person, whom they knocked
down, and then robbed the hut. They were clearly convicted of the
offence, and, being most daring and flagrant offenders, were executed at
Rose Hill, near the hut which they had robbed. These people had given a
great deal of trouble before they committed the offence for which they
suffered. At the latter end of the last month they took to the woods,
having more than once or twice robbed their companions at Rose Hill. As
they were well known, the watch soon brought them in to the settlement at
Sydney. They confessed, that the night before they were apprehended they
killed a goat belonging to Mr. White. The governor directed them
immediately to be linked together by the leg, and sent them back to Rose
Hill, there to labour upon bread and water. It was in this situation
that, taking advantage of their overseer's absence for a few minutes,
they went to the hut, of the situation of which they had previous
knowledge, and robbed it of every thing they could carry away.

While these people were suffering the punishment they deserved, James
Bloodworth, mentioned before in this narrative, received the most
distinguishing mark of approbation which the governor had in his power to
give him, being declared free, and at liberty to return to England
whenever he should choose to quit the colony. Bloodworth had approved
himself a most useful member of the settlement, in which there was not a
house or building that did not owe something to him; and as his loss
would be severely felt should he quit it while in its infancy, he bound
himself by an agreement with the governor to work for two years longer in
the colony, stipulating only to be fed and clothed during that time.

Encouraged by the facility with which Tarwood and his companions made
their escape from the colony, some others were forming plans for a
similar enterprise. A convict gave information that a scheme nearly ripe
for execution was framed, and that the parties had provided themselves
with oars, masts, sails, etc. for the purpose, which were concealed in
the woods; and as a proof of the veracity of his account, he so clearly
described the place of deposit, that on sending to the spot, four or five
rude unfinished stakes were found, which he said were to be fashioned
into oars. The person who gave the information dreaded so much being
known as the author, that no further notice was taken of it than
destroying the oars, and keeping a very vigilant eye on the conduct of
the people who had been named by him as the parties in the business.

Attempts of this sort were always likely to be made, at least as long as
any difficulty occurred in their quitting the colony after the term had
expired for which by law they were sentenced to remain abroad. There must
be many among them who would be anxious to return to their wives or
children, or other relations, and who, perhaps, might not resort again to
the companions of their idle hours. If these people found any obstacles
in their way, they would naturally be driven to attempt the attainment of
their wishes in some other mode; and it would then become an object of
bad policy, as well as cruelty, to detain them.

The weather about this period was evidently becoming warmer every day;
and although the trees never wholly lost their foliage, yet they gave
manifest signs of the return of spring.

November.] James Williams, who was missing on the sailing of the _Supply_
for Batavia, was found by Lieutenant Ball to have secreted himself on
board that vessel, and on her return he delivered him up as a prisoner to
the provost-marshal. Williams owned that his flight was to avoid a
punishment which he knew awaited him; and Lieutenant Ball spoke so
favourably of his conduct while he was under his observation, that the
governor would have forgiven him, had he not feared that others might,
from such an example, think to meet the same indulgence: he therefore
directed him to receive two hundred and fifty lashes, half of the
punishment which by the court that tried him he was sentenced to receive,
and remitted the remainder.

A small boat belonging to Mr. White, which had been sent out with a
seine, was lost this month somewhere about Middle Head. She had five
convicts in her; and, from the reports of the natives who were witnesses
of the accident, it was supposed they had crossed the harbour's mouth,
and, having hauled the seine in Hunter's Bay, were returning loaded,
when, getting in too close with the rocks and the surf under Middle Head,
she filled and went down. The first information that any accident had
happened was given by the natives, who had secured the rudder, mast, an
oar, and other parts of the boat, which they had fixed in such situations
as were likely to render them conspicuous to any boat passing that way.
Mr. White and some other gentlemen, going down directly, found their
information too true. One of the bodies was lying dead on the beach; with
the assistance of Cole-be and the other natives he recovered the seine
which was entangled in the rocks, and brought away the parts of his boat
which they had secured.

This appeared to be a striking instance of the good effect of the
intercourse which had been opened with these people; and there seemed
only to be a good understanding between us and them wanting to establish
an harmony which would have been productive of the best consequences, and
might have been the means of preventing many of the unfortunate accidents
that had happened. The governor, however, thought it necessary to direct,
that offensive weapons should not be given to these people in exchange
for any of their articles; being apprehensive that they might use them
among themselves, and not wishing by any means to arm them against each

At Rose Hill a storehouse was begun and finished during the month,
without any rain; its dimensions were one hundred feet by twenty-four
feet. The bricks there, either from some error in the process, or defect
in the clay, were not so good in quality as those made at Sydney. In
their colour they were of a deep red when burned, but did not appear to
be durable.

At Sydney, a good landing-place on the east side was completed; and two
small brick huts, one for a cutler's shop, and another for the purpose of
boiling oil or melting tallow, were built on the same side. A wharf was
also marked out on the west side, which was to be carried far enough out
into deep water to admit of the loaded hoy coming along-side at any time
of tide. The hut, a brick one twelve feet square and covered with tiles,
was finished for Bennillong, and taken possession of by him about the
middle of the month.

Notwithstanding the accidents which had happened to many who had strayed
imprudently beyond the known limits of the different settlements, two
soldiers of the New South Wales corps, who had had every necessary
caution given them on the arrival of their detachment at Rose Hill,
strayed into the woods, and were missing for four or five days, in which
time they had suffered severely from anxiety and hunger.

December.] The temporary barrack which had been erected within the
redoubt at Rose Hill, formed only of posts and shingles nailed or
fastened with pegs on battens, going fast to decay, and being found
inadequate to guard against either the rain or wind of the winter months
and the heat of those of the summer, the foundation of a range of brick
buildings for the officers and soldiers stationed there was laid early in
the month. The governor fixed the situation contiguous to the storehouse
lately erected there, to which they might serve as a protection. They
were designed for quarters for one company, with the proper number of
officers, a guardroom, and two small store-rooms.

On the 10th, John McIntire, a convict who was employed by the governor to
shoot for him, was dangerously wounded by a native named Pe-mul-wy*,
while in quest of game in the woods at some considerable distance from
the settlement. When brought in he declared, and at a time when he
thought himself dying, that he did not give any offence to the man who
wounded him; that he had even quitted his arms, to induce him to look
upon him as a friend, when the savage threw his spear at about the
distance of ten yards with a skill that was fatally unerring. When the
spear was extracted, which was not until suppuration took place, it was
found to have entered his body under the left arm, to the depth of seven
inches and a half. It was armed for five or six inches from the point
with ragged pieces of shells fastened in gum. His recovery was
immediately pronounced by Mr. White to be very doubtful.

[* His name was readily obtained from the natives who lived among us, and
who soon became acquainted with the circumstances.]

As the attack on this man was wanton, and entirely unprovoked on the part
of McIntire, not only from his relation of the circumstance, but from the
account of those who were with him, and who bore testimony to his being
unarmed, the governor determined to punish the offender, who it was
understood resorted with his tribe above the head of Botany Bay. He
therefore directed that an armed party from the garrison should march
thither, and either destroy or make prisoners of six persons (if
practicable) of that tribe to which the aggressor belonged, carefully
avoiding to offer any injury to either women or children. To this measure
the governor resorted with reluctance. He had always wished that none of
their blood might ever be shed; and in his own case, when wounded by
Wille-me-ring, as he could not punish him on the spot, he gave up all
thoughts of doing it in future. As, however, they seemed to take every
advantage of unarmed men, some check appeared absolutely necessary.
Accordingly, on Tuesday the 14th a party, consisting of two captains,
Tench, of the marines, and Hill of the New South Wales corps, with two
subalterns, three sergeants, two corporals, one drummer, and forty
privates, attended by two surgeons, set off with three days' provisions
for the purpose abovementioned.

There was little probability that such a party would be able so
unexpectedly to fall in with the people they were sent to punish, as to
surprise them, without which chance, they might hunt them in the woods
for ever; and as the different tribes (for we had thought fit to class
them into tribes) were not to be distinguished from each other, but by
being found inhabiting particular residences, there would be some
difficulty in determining, if any natives should fall in their way,
whether they were the objects of their expedition, or some unoffending
family wholly unconnected with them. The very circumstance, however, of a
party being armed and detached purposely to punish the man and his
companions who wounded McIntire, was likely to have a good effect, as it
was well known to several natives, who were at this time in the town of
Sydney, that this was the intention with which they were sent out.

On the third day after their departure they returned, without having
wounded or hurt a native, or made a prisoner. They saw some at the head
of Botany Bay, and fired at them, but without doing them any injury.
Whenever the party was seen by the natives, they fled with incredible
swiftness; nor had a second attempt, which the governor directed, any
better success.

The governor now determining to avail himself as much as possible of the
health and strength of the working convicts, while by the enjoyment of a
full ration they were capable of exertion, resolved to proceed with such
public buildings as he judged to be necessary for the convenience of the
different settlements. Accordingly, during this month, the foundation of
another storehouse was laid, equal in dimensions and in a line with that
already erected on the east side of the cove at Sydney.

On the 17th the Dutch snow the _Waaksamheyd_ anchored in the cove from
Batavia, from which place she sailed on the 20th day of last September,
meeting on her passage with contrary winds. She was manned principally
with Malays, sixteen of whom she buried during the passage. Mr. Ormsby
the midshipman arrived a living picture of the ravages made in a good
constitution by a Batavian fever. He was in such a debilitated state,
that it was with great difficulty he supported himself from the wharf on
which he landed to the governor's house.

The master produced a packet from the sabandhaar (his owner) at Batavia,
inclosing two letters to the governor, one written in very good English,
containing such particulars respecting the vessel as he judged it for
his interest to communicate; the other, designed to convey such
information as he was possessed of respecting European politics, being
written in Dutch, unfortunately proved unintelligible; and we could only
gather from Mr. Ormsby and the master, who spoke bad English, that a
misunderstanding subsisted between Great Britain and Spain; but on what
account could not be distinctly collected.

On the first working day after her arrival the people were employed in
delivering the cargo from the snow. The quantity of rice brought in her
was found to be short of that purchased and paid for by Lieutenant Ball
42,900 weight, and the governor consented to receive in lieu a certain
proportion of butter*, the master having a quantity of that article on
board very good. This deficiency was ascertained by weighing all the
provisions which were landed; a proceeding which the master acquiesced in
with much reluctance and some impertinence.

[* One pound of butter to eighteen pounds of rice.]

The numbers who died by sickness in the year 1790, were two seamen, one
soldier, one hundred and twenty-three male convicts, seven females, and
ten children; in all, one hundred and forty-three persons.

In the above time four male convicts were executed; one midshipman, two
soldiers, and six male convicts were drowned; one male convict perished
in the woods, and two absconded from the colony, supposed to be secreted
on board a transport; making a total decrease of one hundred and
fifty-nine persons.


New Year's Day
A convict drowned
A native killed
Signal colours stolen
_Supply_ sails for Norfolk Island
H. E. Dodd, Superintendant at Rose Hill, dies
Public works
Terms offered for the hire of the Dutch snow to England
The _Supply_ returns
State of Norfolk Island
Fishing-boat overset
Excessive heats
Officers and seamen of the _Sirius_ embark in the snow
_Supply_ sails for Norfolk Island, and the _Waaksamheyd_ for England
William Bryant and other convicts escape from New South Wales
Ruse, a settler, declares that he can maintain himself without assistance
from the public stores
Ration reduced
Orders respecting marriage
Port regulations
Public works


January.] On the first day of the new year the convicts were excused from
all kind of labour. At Rose Hill, however, this holiday proved fatal to a
young man, a convict, who, going to a pond to wash his shirt, slipped
from the side, and was unfortunately drowned.

The Indian corn beginning to ripen at that settlement, the convicts
commenced their depredations, and several of them, being taken with corn
in their possession, were punished; but nothing seemed to deter them, and
they now committed thefts as if they stole from principle; for at this
time they received the full ration, in which no difference was made
between them and the governor, or any other free person in the colony.
When all the provisions brought by the Dutch snow were received into the
public stores, the governor altered the ration, and caused five pounds of
rice to be issued in lieu of four pounds of flour, which were taken off.

Information having been received toward the close of the last month, that
some natives had thrown a spear or fiz-gig at a convict in a garden on
the west side, where they had met together to steal potatoes, the
governor sent an armed party to disperse them, when a club being thrown
by one of the natives at the party, the latter fired, and one man was
wounded. This circumstance was at first only surmised, from tracing a
quantity of blood from the spot to the water; but in a few days afterward
the natives in the town told us the name of the wounded man, and added,
that he was then dead, and to be found in a cove which they mentioned. On
going to the place, a man well known in the town since the intercourse
between us and his countrymen had been opened was found dead, and
disposed of for burning. He had been shot under the arm, the ball
dividing the subclavian artery, and Mr. White was of opinion that he bled
to death.

It was much to be regretted that any necessity existed for adopting these
sanguinary punishments, and that we had not yet been able to reconcile
the natives to the deprivation of those parts of this harbour which we
occupied. While they entertained the idea of our having dispossessed them
of their residences, they must always consider us as enemies; and upon
this principle they made a point of attacking the white people whenever
opportunity and safety concurred. It was also unfortunately found, that
our knowledge of their language consisted at this time of only a few
terms for such things as, being visible, could not well be mistaken; but
no one had yet attained words enough to convey an idea in connected
terms. It was also conceived by some among us, that those natives who
came occasionally into the town did not desire that any of the other
tribes should participate in the enjoyment of the few trifles they
procured from us. If this were true, it would for a long time retard the
general understanding of our friendly intentions toward them; and it was
not improbable but that they might for the same reason represent us in
every unfavourable light they could imagine.

About the middle of the month a theft of an extraordinary nature was
committed by some of the natives. It had been the custom to leave the
signal colours during the day at the flagstaff on the South Head, at
which place they were seen by some of these people, who, watching their
opportunity, ran away with them, and they were afterwards seen divided
among them in their canoes, and used as coverings.

On the 18th the _Supply_ quitted the cove, preparatory to her sailing for
Norfolk Island, which she did on the 22nd, having some provisions on
board for that settlement. She was to bring back Captain Hunter, with the
officers and crew of his Majesty's late ship _Sirius_. Her commander,
Lieutenant Ball, labouring under a very severe and alarming
indisposition, Mr. David Blackburn, the master, was directed by the
governor to take charge of her until Mr. Ball should be able to resume
the command.

The wound which McIntire had received proved fatal to him on the 22nd of
this month. He had appeared to be recovering, but in the afternoon of
that day died somewhat suddenly. On opening the body, the spear appeared
to have wounded the left lobe of the lungs, which was found adhering to
the side. In the cavity were discovered some of the pieces of stone and
shells with which the weapon had been armed. This man had been suspected
of having wantonly killed or wounded several of the natives in the course
of his excursions after game; but he steadily denied, from the time he
was brought in to his last moment of life, having ever fired at them but
once, and then only in defence of his own life, which he thought in

26th. Our colours were hoisted in the redoubt, in commemoration of the
day on which formal possession was taken of this cove three years before.

On the night of the 28th Henry Edward Dodd, the superintendant of
convicts employed in cultivation at Rose Hill, died of a decline. He had
been ill for some time, but his death was accelerated by exposing himself
in his shirt for three or four hours during the night, in search after
some thieves who were plundering his garden. His body was interred in a
corner of a large spot of ground which had been inclosed for the
preservation of stock, whither he was attended by all the free people and
convicts at Rose Hill. The services rendered to the public by this person
were visible in the cultivation and improvements which appeared at the
settlement where he had the direction. He had acquired an ascendancy over
the convicts, which he preserved without being hated by them; he knew how
to proportion their labour to their ability, and, by an attentive and
quiet demeanor, had gained the approbation and countenance of the
different officers who had been on duty at Rose Hill.

Mr. Thomas Clark, a superintendant who arrived here in the last year, was
directed by the governor to carry on the duties with which Mr. Dodd had
been charged, in which, it must be remarked, the care of the public grain
was included.

At Rose Hill great progress was made in the building of the new barracks.

At Sydney, the public works in hand were, building the new storehouse,
and two brick houses, one for the Rev. Mr. Johnson, and the other for
Mr. Alt, the surveyor-general. These two buildings were erected on the east
side of the cove, and in a line with those in the occupation of the
commissary and judge-advocate.

February.] The master of the Dutch snow having received instructions from
his owner, the sabandhaar at Batavia, to offer the vessel to the
governor, either for sale or for hire, after she should be cleared of her
cargo, mentioned the circumstance to his excellency, and proposed to him
to sell the vessel with all her furniture and provisions for the sum of
thirty-three thousand rix dollars, about £6,600, or to let her to hire at
fifteen rix dollars per ton per month; in either of which cases a passage
was to be provided for his people to the Cape of Good Hope. The governor
was desirous of sending this vessel to England with the officers and
people of the _Sirius_; but it was impossible to close with either of these
offers, and he rejected them as unreasonable. Her master therefore
dropped the vessel down to the lower part of the harbour, meaning to sail
immediately for Batavia. Choosing, however, to try the success of other
proposals, he wrote from Camp Cove to the secretary, offering to let the
vessel for the voyage to England for twenty-thousand rix dollars,
stipulating that thirty thousand rix dollars should be paid for her in
the event of her being lost; the crew to be landed at the Cape, and
himself to be furnished with a passage to England. On receiving this his
second offer, the governor informed him, that instead of his proposal one
pound sterling per ton per month should be given for the hire of the
snow, to be paid when the voyage for which she was to be taken up should
be completed. With this offer of the governor's, the master,
notwithstanding his having quitted the cove on his first terms being
rejected, declared himself satisfied, and directly returned to the cove,
saluting with five guns on coming to an anchor.

In adjusting the contract or charter-party, the master displayed the
greatest ignorance and the most tiresome perverseness, throwing obstacles
in the way of every clause that was inserted. It was however at length
finally settled and signed by the governor on the part of the crown, and
by Detmer Smith, the master, on the part of his owners, he consenting to
be paid for only three hundred tons instead of three hundred and fifty,
for which she had been imposed upon Lieutenant Ball at Batavia. The
carpenter of the _Supply_ measured her in this cove.

Directions were now given for fitting her up as a transport to receive
the _Sirius's_ late ship's company and officers; and Lieutenant Edgar,
who came out in the _Lady Juliana_ transport, was ordered to superintend
the fitting her, as an agent; in which situation he was to embark on
board her and return to England.

26th. The _Supply_, after an absence of just five weeks, returned from
Norfolk Island, having on board Captain Hunter, with the officers and
people of the _Sirius_; and Lieutenant John Johnson of the marines, whose
ill state of health would not permit him to remain there any longer.

We now found that our apprehensions of the distressed situation of that
settlement until it was relieved were well founded. The supply of
provisions which was dispatched in the _Justinian_ and _Surprise_ reached
them at a critical point of time, there being in store on the 7th of
August, when they appeared off the island, provisions but for a few days
at the ration then issued, which was three pounds of flour and one pint
of rice; or, in lieu of flour, three pounds of Indian meal or of wheat,
ground, and not separated from the husks or the bran. Their salt
provisions were so nearly expended, that while a bird or a fish could be
procured no salt meat was issued. The weekly ration of this article was
only one pound and an half of beef, or seventeen ounces of pork. What
their situation might have been but for the providential supply of birds
which they met with, it was impossible to say; to themselves it was too
distressing to be contemplated. On Mount Pitt they were fortunate enough
to obtain, in an abundance almost incredible, a species of aquatic birds,
answering the description of that known by the name of the Puffin. These
birds came in from the sea every evening, in clouds literally darkening
the air, and, descending on Mount Pitt, deposited their eggs in deep
holes made by themselves in the ground, generally quitting, them in the
morning, and returning to seek their subsistence in the sea. From two to
three thousand of these birds were often taken in a night. Their seeking
their food in the ocean left no doubt of their own flesh partaking of the
quality of that upon which they fed; but to people circumstanced as were
the inhabitants on Norfolk Island, this lessened not their importance;
and while any Mount Pitt birds (such being the name given them) were to
be had, they were eagerly sought. The knots of the pine tree, split and
made into small bundles, afforded the miserable occupiers of a small
speck in the ocean sufficient light to guide them through the woods, in
search of what was to serve them for next day's meal. They were also
fortunate enough to lose but a few casks of the provisions brought to the
island in the _Sirius_, by far the greater part being got safely on
shore; but so hazardous was at all times the landing in Sydney Bay, that
in discharging the two ships, the large cutter belonging to the _Sirius_
was lost upon the reef, as she was coming in with a load of casks, and
some women; by which accident, two seamen of the _Sirius_, of whom James
Coventry, tried at Sydney in 1788, for assaulting McNeal on Garden
Island, was one, three women, one child, an infant at the breast whose
mother got safe on shore, and one male convict who swam off to their
assistance, were unfortunately drowned. The weather, notwithstanding this
accident, was so favourable at other times, that in one day two hundred
and ninety casks of provisions were landed from the ships.

The experience of three years had now shown, that the summer was the only
proper season for sending stores and provisions to Norfolk Island, as
during that period the passage through the reef had been found as good,
and the landing as practicable as in any cove in Port Jackson. But this
was by no means certain or constant; for the surf had been observed to
rise when the sea beyond it was perfectly calm, and without the smallest
indication of any change in the weather. A gale of wind at a distance
from the island would suddenly occasion such a swell, that landing would
be either dangerous or impracticable.

It was matter of great satisfaction to learn, that the _Sirius's_ people,
under the direction of Captain Hunter, had been most usefully and
successfully employed in removing several rocks which obstructed the
passage through the reef, and that a correct survey of the island had
been made by Lieutenant Bradley, by which several dangers had been
discovered, which until then had been unknown.

The lieutenant-governor had, since taking upon him the command of the
settlement, caused one hundred and fourteen acres of land to be cleared;
and the late crops of maize and wheat, it was supposed, would have proved
very productive had they not been sown somewhat too late, and not only
retarded by too dry a season but infested by myriads of grubs and
caterpillars, which destroyed every thing before them, notwithstanding
the general exertions which were made for their extirpation. These vermin
were observed to visit the island during the summer, but at no fixed
period of that season.

Two pieces of very coarse canvas manufactured at Norfolk Island were sent
to the governor; but, unless better could be produced from the looms than
these specimens, little expectation was to be formed of this article ever
answering even the common culinary purposes to which canvas can be

Those officers who had passed some time in both settlements remarked,
that the air of Norfolk Island was somewhat cooler than that of ours,
here at Sydney; every breeze that blew being, from its insular situation,
felt there.

Martial law continued in force until the supplies arrived; and of the
general demeanor of the convicts during that time report spoke

The _Lady Juliana_, passing the island in her way to China, was the first
ship that was seen; but, to the inexpressible disappointment and distress
of those who saw her, as well as to the surprise of all who heard the
circumstance, the master did not send a boat on shore. Nor were they
relieved from their anxiety until two days had passed, when the other
ships arrived.

This was the substance of the information received from Norfolk Island.
From an exact survey which had been made, it was computed, that not more
than between three and four hundred families could be maintained from the
produce of the island; and that even from that number in the course of
twenty years many would be obliged to emigrate.

On the _Supply's_ coming to an anchor, the _Sirius's_ late ship's
company, whose appearance bore testimony to the miserable fare they had
met with in Norfolk Island for several months, were landed, and lodged in
the military or portable hospital, until the _Waaksamheyd_ Dutch snow
could be got ready to receive them.

William Bryant, who had been continued in the direction of the
fishing-boat after the discovery of his malpractices, was, at the latter
end of the month, overheard consulting in his hut after dark, with five
other convicts, on the practicability of carrying off the boat in which
he was employed. This circumstance being reported to the governor, it was
determined that all his proceedings should be narrowly watched, and any
scheme of that nature counteracted. The day following this conference,
however, as he was returning from fishing with a boat-load of fish, the
hook of the fore tack giving way in a squall of wind, the boat got
stern-way, and filled, by which the execution of his project was for the
present prevented. In the boat with Bryant was Bennillong's sister and
three children, who all got safe on shore, the woman swimming to the
nearest point with the youngest child upon her shoulders. Several of the
natives, on perceiving the accident, paddled off in their canoes, and
were of great service in saving the oars, mast, etc. and in towing the
boat up to the cove.

In addition to other works in hand this month, the surveyor was employed
in clearing and deepening the run of water which supplied the settlement
at Sydney, and which, through the long drought, was at this time very
low, although still sufficient for the consumption of the place. Fresh
water was indeed every where very scarce, most of the streams or runs of
water about the cove being dried up.

At Rose Hill the heat on the 10th and 11th of the month, on which days at
Sydney the thermometer stood in the shade at 105 degrees, was so
excessive (being much increased by the fire in the adjoining woods) that
immense numbers of the large fox bat were seen hanging at the boughs of
the trees, and dropping into the water, which, by their stench, was
rendered unwholesome. They had been observed for some days before
regularly taking their flight in the morning from the northward to the
southward, and returning in the evening. During the excessive heat many
dropped dead while on the wing; and it was remarkable, that those which
were picked up were chiefly males. In several parts of the harbour the
ground was covered with different sorts of small birds, some dead, and
others gasping for water.

The relief of the detachment at Rose Hill unfortunately took place on one
of these sultry days, and the officer having occasion to land in search
of water was compelled to walk several miles before any could be found,
the runs which were known being all dry; in his way to and from the boat
he found several birds dropping dead at his feet. The wind was about
north-west, and did much injury to the gardens, burning up every thing
before it. Those persons whose business compelled them to go into the
heated air declared, that it was impossible to turn the face for five
minutes to the quarter from whence the wind blew.

                                            8 a.m.  2 p.m,  10 p.m.
The greatest height of the thermometer
   during this month was,                    90      105     84
The least height of the thermometer
   during this month was,                    62      64½     61

March.] On the 2nd of March Lieutenant Thomas Edgar hoisted a pendant on
board the snow, in quality of naval agent, on which occasion she fired
five guns. The preparations which were making on board that vessel were
not completed until toward the latter end of the month, at which time the
officers and seamen who were to go home in her were embarked.

Of the _Sirius's_ late ship's company, ten seamen and two marines chose
rather to settle here than return to their friends. Two of the seamen
made choice of their lands in this country, the others in Norfolk Island.
The majority of them had formed connections with women, for whose sake
they consented to embrace a mode of life for which the natural
restlessness of a sailor's disposition was but ill calculated. This
motive, it is true, they disavowed; but one of the stipulations which
they were desirous of making for themselves being the indulgence of
having the women who had lived with them permitted still to do so, and it
appearing not the least important article in their consideration, seemed
to confirm the foregoing opinion.

The number of officers who were to embark was lessened by Mr. Jamison,
the surgeon's mate of the _Sirius_, receiving the governor's warrant
appointing him an assistant surgeon to the colony, in which capacity he
was to be employed at Norfolk Island. For that settlement the _Supply_
was now ready to sail; and on the 21st, one captain, two subalterns, one
serjeant, one corporal, one drummer, and eighteen privates of the New
South Wales corps, embarked on board that vessel, to relieve a part of
the marine detachment doing duty there. Mr. Jamison and the ten settlers
from the _Sirius_ were also put on board, together with some stores that
had been applied for. Allotments of sixty acres each were to be marked
out for the settlers, which they were to possess under the same
conditions as were imposed on settlers in this country.

The _Supply_ sailed the following morning, carrying an instrument under
the hand and seal of the governor, restoring to the rights and privileges
of a free man John Ascott, a convict at Norfolk Island, who had rendered
himself very conspicuous by his exertions in preventing the _Sirius_ from
being burnt soon after she was wrecked.

On Monday the 28th the _Waaksamheyd_ transport sailed for England, having
on board Captain Hunter, with the officers and crew of his majesty's late
ship _Sirius_. By Captain Hunter's departure, which was regretted by
every one who shared the pleasure of his society, the administration of
the country would now devolve upon the lieutenant-governor, in case of the
death or absence of the governor; a dormant commission having been signed
by his majesty investing Captain Hunter with the chief situation in the
colony in the event of either of the above circumstances taking place.

In the course of the night of the 28th, Bryant, whose term of
transportation, according to his own account, expired some day in this
month, eluded the watch that was kept upon him, and made his escape,
together with his wife and two children (one an infant at the breast) and
seven other convicts, in the fishing-boat, which, since the accident at
the latter end of the last month, he had taken care to keep in excellent
order. Their flight was not discovered until they had been some hours
without the Heads.

They were traced from Bryant's hut to the Point, and in the path were
found a hand-saw, a scale, and four or five pounds of rice, scattered
about in different places, which, it was evident, they had dropped in
their haste. At the Point, where some of the party must have been taken
in, a seine belonging to government was found, which, being too large for
Bryant's purpose, he had exchanged for a smaller that he had made for an
officer, and which he had from time to time excused himself from
completing and sending home.

The names of these desperate adventurers were,

Came in the first fleet,
William Bryant,                        His sentence was expired.
Mary Braud his wife, and two children, She had 2 years to serve.
James Martin,                          He had 1 year to serve.
James Cox,                             He was transported for life.
Samuel Bird,                           He had 1 year and 4 months to serve.
Came in the second fleet,
William Allen,                         He was transported for life.
Samuel Broom,                          He had 4 years and 4 months to serve.
Nathaniel Lilly,                       He was transported for life.
William Morton,                        He had 5 years and 1 month to serve.

So soon as it was known in the settlement that Bryant had got out of
reach, we learned that Detmer Smith, the master of the _Waaksamheyd_, had
sold him a compass and a quadrant, and had furnished him with a chart,
together with such information as would assist him in his passage to the
northward. On searching Bryant's hut, cavities under the boards were
found, where he had secured the compass and such other articles as
required concealment: and he had contrived his escape with such address,
that although he was well known to be about making an attempt, yet how
far he was prepared, as well as the time when he meant to go, remained a
secret. Most of his companions were connected with women; but if these
knew any thing, they were too faithful to those they lived with to reveal
it. Had the women been bound to them by any ties of affection, fear for
their safety, or the dislike to part, might have induced some of them to
have defeated the enterprise; but not having any interest either in their
flight, or in their remaining here, they were silent on the subject. For
one young woman, Sarah Young, a letter was found the next morning,
written by James Cox, and left at a place where he was accustomed to work
in his leisure hours as a cabinet-maker, conjuring her to give over the
pursuit of the vices which, he told her, prevailed in the settlement,
leaving to her what little property he did not take with him, and
assigning as a reason for his flight the severity of his situation, being
transported for life, without the prospect of any mitigation, or hope of
ever quitting the country, but by the means he was about to adopt. It was
conjectured that they would steer for Timor, or Batavia, as their
assistance and information were derived from the Dutch snow.

The situation of these people was very different from that of Tarwood and
his associates, who were but ill provided for an undertaking so perilous;
but Bryant had long availed himself of the opportunities given him by
selling fish to collect provisions together, and his boat was a very good
one, and in excellent order; so that there was little reason to doubt
their reaching Timor, if no dissension prevailed among them, and they had
but prudence enough to guard against the natives wherever they might
land. William Morton was said to know something of navigation; James Cox
had endeavoured to acquire such information on the subject as might serve
him whenever a fit occasion should present itself, and Bryant and Bird
knew perfectly well how to manage a boat. What story they could invent on
their arrival at any port, sufficiently plausible to prevent suspicion of
their real characters, it was not easy to imagine.

The depredations committed on the Indian corn at Rose Hill were so
frequent and so extensive, that it became absolutely necessary to punish
such offenders as were detected with a severity that might deter others;
to this end, iron collars of seven pounds weight were ordered as a
punishment for flagrant offenders, who were also linked together by a
chain, without which precaution they would still have continued to
plunder the public grounds. The baker at that settlement absconded with a
quantity of flour with which he had been entrusted, belonging to the
military on duty there, and other persons. He was taken some days
afterward in the woods near Sydney. It must be remarked, however, that
all these thefts were for the procuring of provisions, and that offences
of any other tendency were very seldom heard of.

Some time in this month, James Ruse, the first settler in this country,
who had been upon his ground about fifteen months, having got in his crop
of corn, declared himself desirous of relinquishing his claim to any
further provisions from the store, and said that he was able to support
himself by the produce of his farm. He had shown himself an industrious
man; and the governor, being satisfied that he could do without any
further aid from the stores, consented to his proposal, and informed him
that he should be forthwith put in possession of an allotment of thirty
acres of ground in the situation he then occupied.

To secure our fresh water, which, though very low, might still be
denominated _a run_, the governor caused a ditch to be dug on each side
of it at some distance from the stream, and employed some people to erect
a paling upon the bank, to keep out stock, and protect the shrubs within
from being destroyed.

April.] The supplies of provisions which had been received in the last
year not warranting the continuing any longer at the ration now issued,
the governor thought it expedient to make a reduction of flour, rice, and
salt provisions. Accordingly, on the first Saturday in this month each
man, woman, and child above ten years of age, was to receive:

3 pounds of flour, 1 pound being taken off;
3 pounds of rice,    ditto;
3 pounds of pork,    ditto;
   or when beef should be served,
4½ pounds of beef, 2½ pounds being taken off.

A small proportion was to be given to children under ten years of age;
and this ration the commissary was directed to issue until further
orders. Of this allowance the flour was the best article; the rice was
found to be full of weevils; the pork was ill-flavoured, rusty, and
smoked; and the beef was lean, and, by being cured with spices, truly
unpalatable. Much of both these articles when they came to be dressed
could not be used, and, being the best that could be procured at Batavia,
no inclination was excited by these specimens to try that market again.

It having been reported to the governor, that Bryant had been frequently
heard to express, what was indeed the general sentiment on the subject
among the people of his description, that he did not consider his
marriage in this country as binding; his excellency caused the convicts
to be informed, that none would be permitted to quit the colony who had
wives or children incapable of maintaining themselves and likely to
become burdensome to the settlement, until they had found sufficient
security for the maintenance of such wives or children as long as they
might remain after them. This order was designed as a check upon the
erroneous opinion which was formed of the efficacy of Mr. Johnson's
nuptial benediction; and if Bryant had thought as little of it as he was
reported to do, his taking his wife with him could only be accounted for
by a dread of her defeating his plan by discovery if she was not made
personally interested in his escape.

This order was shortly after followed by another, limiting the length of
such boats as should be built by individuals to fourteen feet from stem
to stern, that the size of such boats might deter the convicts from
attempts to take them off.

About this time some information being received, that it was in agitation
to take away the sixteen-oared boat belonging to the colony, or some one
or two of the smaller boats, a sentinel was placed at night on each
wharf, and the officer of the guard was to be spoken to before any boat
could leave the cove. In addition to this regulation, it was directed,
that the names of all such people as it might be necessary to employ in
boats after sun-set should be given in writing to the officer of the
guard, to prevent any convicts not belonging to officers or to the public
boats from taking them from the wharfs under pretence of fishing or other

Mr. Schaffer, who came out from England as a superintendent of convicts,
finding himself, from not speaking the language (being a German)
inadequate to the just discharge of that duty, gave up his appointment as
a superintendant, and accepted of a grant of land; and an allotment of
one hundred and forty acres were marked out for him on the south side of
the creek leading to Rose Hill. On the same side of the creek, but nearer
to Rose Hill, two allotments of sixty acres each were marked out for two
settlers from the _Sirius_. On the opposite side the governor had placed
a convict, Charles Williams, who had recommended himself to his notice by
extraordinary propriety of conduct as an overseer, giving him thirty
acres, and James Ruse received a grant of the same quantity of land at
Rose Hill. These were all the settlers at this time established in New
South Wales; but the governor was looking out for some situations in the
vicinity of Rose Hill for other settlers, from among the people whose
sentences of transportation had expired.

During this month the governor made an excursion to the westward, but he
reached no farther than the banks of the Hawkesbury, and returned to Rose
Hill on the 6th, without making any discovery of the least importance. At
that settlement, the Indian corn was nearly all gathered off the ground;
but it could not be said to have been all gathered in, for much of it had
been stolen by the convicts. So great a desire for tobacco prevailed
among these people, that a man was known to have given the greatest part
of his week's provisions for a small quantity of that article; and it was
sold, the produce of the place, for ten and even fifteen shillings per
pound. The governor, on being made acquainted with this circumstance,
intimated an intention of prohibiting the growth of tobacco, judging it
to be more for the true interest of the people to cultivate the
necessaries than the luxuries of life.

The public works at Rose Hill consisted in building the officers
barracks; a small guardhouse near the governor's hut; a small house for
the judge-advocate (whose occasional presence there as a magistrate was
considered necessary by the governor), and for the clergyman; and in
getting in the Indian corn.

At Sydney, the house for the surveyor-general was covered in; and the
carpenters were employed in finishing that for the clergyman. Bricks were
also brought in for a house for the principal surgeon, to be built near
the hospital on the west side.

Many thefts, and some of money, were committed during the month at both
settlements. A hut belonging to James Davis, employed as a coxswain to
the public boats, was broken into; but nothing was stolen, Davis having
taken his money with him, and nothing else appearing to have been the
object of their search. His hut was situated out of the view of any
sentinel, and a night was chosen for the attempt when it was known that
he was on duty at Rose Hill.


A Musket found by a native
Reports of plans to seize boats
_Supply_ arrives from Norfolk Island
The King's birthday
A canoe destroyed
Its evil effects
Corn sown
Battery begun
One hundred and forty acres inclosed for cattle
The _Mary Ann_ arrives
Two criminal courts held
Ration improved
The _Matilda_ arrives
The _Mary Ann_ sails for Norfolk Island
The _Atlantic_ and _Salamander_ arrive
Full ration issued
The _William and Ann_ arrives
Public works

May.] Cole-be, the native who since our communication with these people
had attached himself to Mr. White, the principal surgeon, made his
appearance one morning in the beginning of the month with a musket,
which, on diving into the sea for something else, he had brought up with
him. It was supposed to have been lost from Mr. White's boat in November
last at the lower part of the harbour.

The scheme for seizing one of the boats was resumed in this month, and
appeared to be in great forwardness. The boat however was changed, the
long-boat being chosen instead of that which was at first thought of. She
was to be seized the first time she should be employed in towing the boy
with provisions to Rose Hill; out of which they were to take what
quantity they required for their purpose, land the crew, and run her
ashore. On receiving this information, the governor, instead of sending
the hoy up with different species of provisions, caused her to be loaded
with rice, and a small quantity of flour, in some measure to defeat their
scheme, at least for that time, as the information did not state that
they had collected any salt provisions. She was accordingly dispatched
with flour and rice, and returned safely, no attempt having been made to
stop her. It was then said, that they were at a loss for a person to
navigate her; and that a deposit of powder and ball was made at a farm
near the brick-fields; where however, on searching, nothing of the kind
was found. Various other reports were whispered during the month, which,
whether founded in truth or not, had this good effect, that every
necessary precaution was taken to prevent their succeeding in any attempt
of that kind which they might be desperate enough to make.

Much anxiety was excited on account of the long and unusual absence of
the _Supply_, which sailed for Norfolk Island on the 22nd day of March,
and did not return to this harbour until the 30th of this month, which
completed ten weeks within a day since she sailed. Contrary winds and
heavy gales had prevented her arrival at the time she might have been
reasonably expected. She was three weeks in her passage hither, and was
blown off the island for eleven days.

Captain Johnston, Lieutenants Creswell and Kellow, one sergeant, one
corporal, one drummer, and twenty privates of the marine detachment,
arrived in the _Supply_; with two prisoners, one a soldier for some
irregularity of conduct when sentinel, the other a convict.

The weather had been as dry at Norfolk Island as it had been here; which,
with the blighting winds, had considerably injured all the gardens, and
particularly some crops of potatoes. Of the great fertility of the soil
every account brought the strongest confirmation; and by attending to the
proper season for sowing, it was the general opinion that two crops of
corn might be got off in a year.

Their provisions, like ours, were again at so low an ebb, that the
lieutenant-governor had reduced the ration. The whole number victualled
when the _Supply_ sailed amounted to six hundred and twenty-nine persons;
and for that number there were in store at the _full_ ration, flour and
Indian corn for twenty weeks, beef for eighteen weeks, and pork for
twenty-nine weeks; and these, at the ration then issued, would be
prolonged, the grain to twenty-seven, the beef to forty-two, and the
pork to twenty-nine weeks.

It must however be remarked, that the ration at Norfolk Island was often
uncertain, being regulated by the plenty or scarcity of the Mount Pitt
birds. Great numbers of these birds had been killed for some time before
the _Supply_ sailed thence; but they were observed about that time to be
quitting the island.

On board the _Supply_ were some planks, and such part of the stores
belonging to the _Sirius_ as the lieutenant-governor could get on board.
That ship had not then gone to pieces; the side of her which was on the
reef was broken in and much injured, but the side next the sea (the
larboard side) appeared fresh and perfect.

At Sydney, by an account taken at the latter end of the month of the
provisions then remaining in store, there appeared to be at the ration
then issued of

Flour and rice 40 weeks, a supply till 31st March 1792;
Beef           12 weeks, a supply till 31st August 1791;
Pork           27 weeks, a supply till 21st December 1791.

In this account the rice and flour were taken together as one article,
but the rice bore by far the greatest proportion.

It was remarked by many in the settlement, that both at Sydney and at
Rose Hill the countenances of the labouring convicts indicated the
shortness of the ration they received; this might be occasioned by their
having suffered so much before from the same cause, from the effects of
which they had scarcely been restored when they were again called upon to
experience the hardship of a reduced ration of provisions. The convicts
who arrived in June had not recovered from the severity of their passage
to this country.

It having been said that James Ruse, who in March last had declared his
ability to support himself independent of the store, was starving, the
governor told him, that in consideration of his having been upon a short
allowance of provisions during nearly the whole of the time he had been
cultivating ground upon his own account, the storekeeper should be
directed to supply him with twenty pounds of salt provisions. The man
assured his excellency that he did not stand in need of his bounty,
having by him at the time a small stock of provisions; a quantity of
Indian corn (which he found no difficulty in exchanging for salt meat)
and a bag of flour; all which enabled him to do so well, that he
absolutely begged permission to _decline_ the offer. So very
contradictory was his own account of his situation to that which had been

The barracks at Rose Hill, being so far completed as to admit of being
occupied, were taken possession of this month by the New South Wales corps.

Several thefts of provisions were committed; two, that were of some
consequence, appeared as if the provisions had been collected for some
particular purpose; and, if so, perhaps only passed from the possession
of one thief to that of another. While a stalk of Indian corn remained
upon the ground, the convicts resolved to plunder it, and several were
severely punished; but it did not appear that they were amended by the
correction, nor that others were deterred by the example of their
punishment. So truly incorrigible were many of these people!

Finishing the clergyman's and surveyor's houses; bringing in bricks for
other buildings; posts and paling for a fence round the run of water; and
making clothing for the people, occupied the convicts at Sydney.

June.] The bad weather met with by the _Supply_ during her late voyage to
Norfolk Island had done her so much injury, that, on a careful
examination of her defects, it appeared that she could not be got ready
for sea in less than three months. In addition to other repairs which
were indispensable, her main mast was found so defective, that after
cutting off eighteen feet from the head of it and finding the heel nearly
as bad, the carpenter was of opinion that she must be furnished with an
entire new mast. This, when the difficulty of finding timber for her
foremast (which, it must be remarked, bore the heavy gales of wind she
met with, as well as could be desired even of wood the fittest for masts)
was recollected, was an unlucky and an ill-timed want; for, should it
happen that supplies were not received from England by the middle or end
of the month of July, the services of this vessel would be again
required; and, to save the colony, she must at that time have been
dispatched to some settlement in India for provisions. She was therefore
forthwith hauled along side the rocks, and people were employed to look
for sound timber fit for a mast.

On his Majesty's birthday an extra allowance of provisions was issued to
the garrison and settlements; each man receiving one pound of salt meat,
and the like quantity of rice; each woman half a pound of meat and one
pound of rice; and each child a quarter of a pound of meat and half a
pound of rice. And to make it a cheerful day to every one, all offenders
who had for stealing Indian corn been ordered to wear iron collars were

The town which had been marked out at Rose Hill, and which now wore
something of a regular appearance, on this occasion received its name.
The governor called it Parramatta, being the name by which the natives
distinguished the part of the country on which the town stood.

Notwithstanding the lenity and indulgence which had been shown on his
Majesty's birthday, in pardoning the plunderers of gardens and the public
grounds, and by issuing an extra allowance of provisions to every one,
the governor's garden at Parramatta was that very night entered and
robbed by six men, who assaulted the watchman, Thomas Ocraft, and would
have escaped all together, had he not, with much resolution, secured
three of them for punishment.

Indulgences of this nature were certainly thrown away upon many who
partook of them; but as it was impossible to discriminate so nicely
between the good and the bad as wholly to exclude the undeserving, no
distinction could be made.

The people who had assaulted the watchman were severely punished, as his
authority could never have been supported without such an example; but
either his vigilance, or the countenance which was shown to him on
account of his strict performance of his duty, created him many enemies;
and it became necessary to give him arms, as well for his own defence, as
for the more effectual protection of the district he watched over. Some
nights after, in a turnip ground at Parramatta, he was obliged to fire at
a convict, whom he wounded, but not dangerously, and secured. He was sent
down to the hospital at Sydney.

Since the establishment of that familiar intercourse which now subsisted
between us and the natives, several of them had found it their interest
to sell or exchange fish among the people at Parramatta; they being
contented to receive a small quantity of either bread or salt meat in
barter for mullet, bream, and other fish. To the officers who resided
there this proved a great convenience, and they encouraged the natives to
visit them as often as they could bring them fish. There were, however,
among the convicts some who were so unthinking, or so depraved, as
wantonly to destroy a canoe belonging to a fine young man, a native, who
had left it at some little distance from the settlement, and as he hoped
out of the way of observation, while he went with some fish to the huts.
His rage at finding his canoe destroyed was inconceivable; and he
threatened to take his own revenge, and in his own way, upon all white
people. Three of the six people who had done him the injury, however,
were so well described by some one who had seen them, that, being closely
followed, they were taken and punished, as were the remainder in a few
days after.

The instant effect of all this was, that the natives discontinued to
bring up fish; and Bal-loo-der-ry, whose canoe had been destroyed,
although he had been taught to believe that one of the six convicts had
been hanged for the offence, meeting a few days afterwards with a poor
wretch who had strayed from Parramatta as far as the Flats, he wounded
him in two places with a spear. This act of Ballooderry's was followed by
the governor's strictly forbidding him to appear again at any of the
settlements; the other natives, his friends, being alarmed, Parramatta
was seldom visited by any of them, and all commerce with them was
destroyed. How much greater claim to the appellation of savages had the
wretches who were the cause of this, than the native who was the

During this month some rain had fallen, which had encouraged the sowing
of the public grounds, and one hundred and sixteen bushels of wheat were
sown at Parramatta. Until these rains fell, the ground was so dry, hard,
and literally burnt up, that it was almost impossible to break it with a
hoe, and until this time there had been no hope or probability of the
grain vegetating.

In the beginning of the month, the stone-mason, with the people under his
direction, had begun working at the west point of the cove, where the
governor purposed constructing out of the rock a spot whereon to place
the guns belonging to the settlement, which was to wear the appearance of
a _work_. The flagstaff was to be placed in the same situation. The house
for the principal surgeon was got up and covered in during this month.

Among the convicts who died about this time, was ---- Frazer, a man who
came out in the first fleet, and who, since his landing, had been
employed as a blacksmith. He was an excellent workman, and was supposed
to have brought on an untimely end by hard drinking, as he seldom chose
to accept of any article but spirits in payment for work done in his
extra hours.

July.] To guard against a recurrence of the accident which happened to
our cattle soon after we had arrived, the governor had for some time past
employed a certain number of convicts at Parramatta in forming
inclosures; and at the commencement of this month not less than one
hundred and forty acres were thinned of the timber, surrounded by a
ditch, and guarded by a proper fence.

In addition to the quantity of ground sown with wheat, a large proportion
was cleared to be sown this season with Indian corn; and the country
about Parramatta, as well as the town itself, where eight huts were now
built, wore a very promising appearance.

At Sydney, the little ground that was in cultivation belonged to
individuals; the whole labour of the convicts employed in clearing ground
being exerted at Parramatta, where the soil, though not the best for the
purposes of agriculture (according to the opinion of every man who
professed any knowledge of farming) was still better than the sand about
Sydney, where, to raise even a cabbage after the first crop, manure was
absolutely requisite.

On the morning of the ninth, the signal for a sail was made at the
South Head; and before night it was made known that the _Mary Ann_
transport was arrived from England, with one hundred and forty-one female
convicts on board, six children, and one free woman, some clothing, and
the following small quantity of provisions: one hundred and thirty-two
barrels of flour; sixty-one tierces of pork; and thirty-two tierces of

This ship sailed alone; but we were informed that she was to be followed
by nine sail of transports, on board of which were embarked (including
one hundred and fifty women, the number put into the _Mary Ann_) two
thousand and fifty male and female convicts; the whole of which were to
be expected in the course of six weeks or two months, together with his
Majesty's ship _Gorgon_.

We also learned that Lieutenant King, who sailed hence the 17th April
1790, arrived in London the 20th day of December following, having
suffered much distress after leaving Batavia, whence he was obliged to go
to the Mauritius, having lost nearly all the crew of the packet he was in
by sickness. Mr. Millar, the late commissary, died on the 28th of August.

With great satisfaction we heard, that from our government having adopted
a system of sending out convicts at two embarkations in every year, at
which time provisions were also to be sent, it was not probable that we
should again experience the misery and want with which we had been but
too well acquainted, from not having had any regular mode of supply.
Intimation was likewise given, that a cargo of grain might be expected to
arrive from Bengal, some merchants at that settlement having proposed to
Lord Cornwallis, on hearing of the loss of the _Guardian_, to freight a
ship with such a cargo as would be adapted to the wants of the colony,
and to supply the different articles at a cheaper rate than they could be
sent hither from England. We were also to expect a transport with live
stock from the north west coast of America.

The master, Mark Monroe, had not any private letters on board; but (what
added to the disappointment every one experienced) he had not brought a
single newspaper; and, having been but a few weeks from Greenland before
he sailed for this country, he was destitute of any kind of information.

The _Mary Ann_ had a quick passage, having been only four months and
sixteen days from England. She touched nowhere, except at the island of
St. Iago, where she remained ten days. The master landed a boat in a bay
on this coast about fifteen miles to the southward of Botany Bay; but
made no other observation of any consequence to the colony, than that
there was a bay in which a boat might land.

The women, who were all very healthy, and who spoke highly of the
treatment which they had experienced from Mr. Monroe, were landed
immediately after the arrival of the transport in the cove, and were
distributed among the huts at Sydney, while the governor went up to
Parramatta to make such preparation as the time would admit for the
numbers he expected to receive.

The convicts whose terms of transportation had expired were now
collected, and by the authority of the governor informed, that such of
them as wished to become settlers in this country should receive every
encouragement; that those who did not, were to labour for their
provisions, stipulating to work for twelve or eighteen months certain;
and that in the way of such as preferred returning to England no
obstacles would be thrown, provided they could procure passages from the
masters of such ships as might arrive; but that they were not to expect
any assistance on the part of Government to that end. The wish to return
to their friends appeared to be the prevailing idea, a few only giving in
their names as settlers, and none engaging to work for a certain time.

We had twice in this month found occasion to assemble the court of
criminal judicature. In the night of Saturday the 16th, a soldier of the
marine detachment was detected by the patrols in the spirit cellar
adjoining to the deputy-commissary's house, the lock of which he had
forced. On being taken up, he offered, if he could be admitted an
evidence, to convict two others; which being allowed, the court was
assembled on the 19th, when two of his brother soldiers were tried; but
for want of evidence sufficiently strong to corroborate the testimony of
the accomplice, they were of necessity acquitted. Godfrey the accomplice
was afterwards tried by a military court for neglect of duty and
disobedience of orders in quitting his post when sentinel; which offence
being proved against him, he was sentenced to receive eight hundred
lashes, and to be drummed out of the corps. In the evening of the day on
which he was tried (the 21st) he received three hundred lashes, and was
drummed out with every mark of disgrace that could be shown him. In a
short time afterwards the two soldiers who had been acquitted were sent
to do duty at the South Head. There was little room to doubt, but that in
concert with Godfrey they had availed themselves of their situations as
sentinels, and frequently entered the cellar; and it was judged necessary
to place them where they would be disabled from concerting any future
scheme with him.

A convict was tried for a burglary by the same court, but was acquitted.
On the 27th another court was assembled for the trial of James Chapman,
for a burglary committed in the preceding month in the house of John
Petree, a convict, in which he stole several articles of wearing apparel.
Charles Cross and Joseph Hatton, two convicts, were also tried for
receiving them knowing them to be stolen. Chapman the principal, refusing
to plead any thing but guilty, received sentence of death. Against the
receivers it appeared in evidence, that after the burglary was committed
the property was concealed in the woods between Sydney and Parramatta, at
which place all the parties resided; that having suffered it to remain
some weeks, Chapman and Cross went from Parramatta to bring it away; and
while they were so employed, Hatton found that the watchmen were going in
pursuit of Chapman; on which he directly set off to meet and advertise
them of it, and receive the property, which, by a clear chain of
evidence, he was proved to have taken and concealed again in the woods.
Hatton was found guilty, and sentenced to receive eight hundred lashes.
Cross was acquitted. Chapman was executed the following day at noon. Half
an hour before he died, he informed the judge-advocate and the clergyman
who attended him, that a plan was formed of breaking into the
government-house, and robbing it of a large sum of money which it was
imagined the governor kept in it; and that it was to be executed by
himself and three other convicts, all of whom were, however, very far
from being of suspicious characters. But as there was no reason to
suppose that a person in such an awful situation would invent an
accusation by which he could not himself be benefited, and which might
injure three innocent people, the governor took all the precautions that
he thought necessary to guard against the meditated villainy.

A practice having been discovered, of purchasing the soldiers regimental
necessaries for the purpose of disposing of them among the shipping, and
this requiring a punishment that should effectually check it, Bond, a
convict who baked for the hospital and others, was brought before two
magistrates, and, being convicted of having bought several articles of
wearing apparel which had been served to a soldier, was sentenced to pay
the penalty prescribed by act of parliament, five pounds; or, on failure
within a certain time, to go to prison. Having made some considerable
profits in the exercise of his trade as a baker, he preferred paying the

It being always desirable to go as near the established ration as the
state of the stores would allow, and the governor never wishing to keep
the labouring man one moment longer than was absolutely necessary upon a
reduced allowance of provisions, he directed two pounds of rice to be
added to the weekly proportion of that article; but, although by this
addition eight pounds of grain were issued, viz three pounds of flour and
five pounds of rice, the ration was far from being brought up to the
standard established by the Treasury for the colony; five pounds of bad
worm-eaten rice making a most inadequate substitute for the same quantity
of good flour. In the article of meat the labouring man suffered still
more; for in a given quantity of sixty pounds, which were issued on one
serving day to two messes, there were no less than forty pounds of bone,
and the remainder, which was intended to be eaten, was almost too far
advanced in putrefaction for even hunger to get down. It must be observed
that it came in the snow from Batavia.

Patrick Burn, a person employed to shoot for the commanding officer of
the marine detachment, died this month: and the hut that he had lived in
was burnt down in the night a few hours after his decease, by the
carelessness of the people, who were Irish and were sitting up with the
corpse, which was with much difficulty saved from the flames, and not
until it was much scorched.

August.] On Monday, the 1st of August, the _Matilda_, the first of the
expected fleet of transports, arrived, after an extraordinary passage of
four months and five days, from Portsmouth; having sailed from thence on
the 27th day of March last, with four sail of transports for this place,
with whom she parted company that night off Dunnoze. Another division of
transports had sailed a week before from Plymouth Sound. On board the
_Matilda_ were two hundred and five male convicts, one ensign, one.
sergeant, one corporal, one drummer, and nineteen privates, of the New
South Wales corps; and some stores and provisions calculated as a supply
for the above number for nine months after their arrival.

The master of this ship anchored for two days in a bay of one of
Schoeten's Islands, distant from the main land about twelve miles, in the
latitude of 42 degrees 15 minutes S.: where, according to his report,
five or six ships might find shelter. Those who were on shore saw the
footsteps of different kinds of animals, and traces of natives, such as
huts, fires, broken spears, and the instrument which they use for
throwing the spear. They spoke of the soil as sandy, and observed that
the ground was covered with shrubs such as were to be found here.

The convicts in this ship, on their landing, appeared to be aged and
infirm, the state in which they were said to have been embarked. It was
not therefore to be wondered at, that they had buried twenty-five on the
passage. One soldier also died. Twenty were brought in sick, and were
immediately landed at the hospital.

It was intended by the governor that this ship should have proceeded
immediately to Norfolk Island with the greater part of the convicts she
had on board, together with all the stores and provisions; but the
master, Mr. Matthew Weatherhead, requesting that as the ship was very
leaky the _Mary Ann_ might be permitted to perform the service required,
instead of the _Matilda_ (both ships belonging to the same owners), and
the _Mary Ann_ being perfectly ready for sea, the governor consented to
this proposal; and that ship was hauled alongside the _Matilda_ to
receive her cargo. Fifty-five of the convicts brought in this ship,
selected from the others as farmers or artificers, were sent up to
Parramatta; of the remainder, those whose health would permit them to go
were put on board the _Mary Ann_, together with thirty-two convicts of
bad character from among those who came out in the preceding year, and
eleven privates of the New South Wales corps. On the Monday following
(the 8th) the _Mary Ann_ sailed for Norfolk Island.

At Parramatta the only accommodation which the shortness of the notice
admitted of being provided for the people who were on their passage was
got up; two tent huts, one hundred feet long, thatched with grass, were
erected; and, independent of the risk which the occupiers might run from
fire, they would afford good and comfortable shelter from the weather.

The governor had now chosen situations for his settlers, and fixed them
on their different allotments. Twelve convicts, whose terms of
transportation had expired, he placed in a range of farms at the foot of
a hill named Prospect Hill, about four miles west from Parramatta;
fifteen others were placed on allotments in a district named the Ponds,
from a range of fresh-water ponds being in their vicinity; these were
situated two miles in a direction north-east of Parramatta. Between every
allotment, a space had been reserved equal to the largest grant on either
side, pursuant to the instructions which the governor had received; but
it was soon found that this distribution might be attended with much
disadvantage to the settler; a thick wood of at least thirty acres must
lie between every allotment; and a circumstance happened which showed the
inconvenience consequent thereon, and determined the governor to deviate
from the instructions, whenever, by adhering to them, the settlers were
likely to be material sufferers.

In the beginning of the month information was received, that a much
larger party of the natives than had yet been seen assembled at any one
time had destroyed a hut belonging to a settler at Prospect Hill, who
would have been murdered by them, but for the timely and accidental
appearance of another settler with a musket. There was no doubt of the
hut having been destroyed, and by natives, though perhaps their numbers
were much exaggerated; the governor, therefore, determined to place other
settlers upon the allotments which had been reserved for the crown; by
which means assistance in similar or other accidents would be more ready.

After the arrival of the _Matilda_, the governor, judging that his stores
would admit of increasing the weekly allowance of flour, directed that
(instead of three) five pounds of that article should be issued to each
man; and to each woman an addition of half a pound to the three which
they before received. The other articles of the ration remained as

The platform which had been constructing on the West Point since June
last being ready for the reception of the cannon, they were moved thither
about the middle of the month; in doing which, a triangle which was made
use of, not being properly secured, slipped and fell upon a convict (an
overseer), by which accident his thigh was dislocated, and his body much
bruised. He was taken to the hospital, where, fortunately, Mr. White
immediately reduced the luxation.

About noon on Saturday the 20th, the _Atlantic_ transport anchored in the
cove from Plymouth, whence she sailed with two other transports, and
parted with them about five weeks since in bad weather between Rio de
Janeiro and this port, the passage from which had not been more than ten
weeks. She had on board a sergeant's party of the new corps as a guard to
two hundred and twenty male convicts, eighteen of whom died on the
passage. The remainder came in very healthy, there being only nine sick
on board. The evening before her arrival she stood into a capacious bay,
situated between Long Nose and Cape St. George, where they found good
anchorage and deep water. Lieutenant Richard Bowen, the naval agent on
board, who landed, described the soil to be sandy, and the country
thickly covered with timber. He did not see any natives, but found a
canoe upon the beach, whose owners perhaps were not far off. This canoe,
by Lieutenant Bowen's account, appeared to be on a somewhat stronger
construction than the canoes of Port Jackson.

The signal for another sail was made the next morning at the Lookout, and
about one o'clock the _Salamander_ transport arrived. She sailed from
England under Lieutenant Bowen's orders, with a sergeant's party of the
new corps and one hundred and sixty male convicts on board, one hundred
and fifty-five of whom she brought in all healthy, except one man who was
in the sick list. The party arrived without the sergeant, he having
deserted on their leaving England.

Both these transports having brought a supply of provisions calculated to
serve nine months for the convicts that were embarked, the governor
directed the commissary to issue the full ration of provisions, serving
rice in lieu of peas; the reduced ration having continued from Saturday
the 2nd day of last April to Saturday the 27th of August; twenty-one

A party of one hundred convicts were sent from the Atlantic to
Parramatta, the remainder were landed and disposed of at Sydney. The
_Salamander_ was ordered to proceed to Norfolk Island with the people and
the cargo she had on board.

There were at this time not less than seventy persons from the _Matilda_
and _Atlantic_ under medical treatment, being weak, emaciated, and unfit
for any kind of labour; and the list was increasing. It might have been
supposed that on changing from the unwholesome air of a ship's
between-decks to the purer air of this country, the weak would have
gathered strength; but it had been observed, that in general soon after
landing, the convicts were affected with dysenteric complaints, perhaps
caused by the change of water, many dying, and others who had strength to
overcome the disease recovering from it but slowly.

On the 28th the _William and Ann_ transport arrived (the last of
Lieutenant Bowen's division). She had on board one sergeant and twelve
privates of the new corps, one hundred and eighty-one male convicts, with
her proportion of stores and provisions. She sailed with one hundred and
eighty-eight convicts from England, but lost seven on the passage; the
remainder came in very healthy, five only being so ill as to require
removal. The first mate of this ship, Mr. Simms, formerly belonged to the
_Golden Grove_ transport.

The town beginning to fill with strangers (officers and seamen from the
transports) and spirituous liquors finding their way among the convicts,
it was ordered that none should be landed until a permit had been granted
by the judge-advocate; and the provost-marshal, his assistant, and two
principals of the watch, were deputed to seize all spirituous liquors
which might be landed without.

Ballooderry, the proscribed native, having ventured into the town with
some of his friends, one or two armed parties were sent to seize him, and
a spear having been thrown (it was said by him) two muskets were fired,
by which one of his companions was wounded in the leg; but Ballooderry
was not taken. On the following day it was given out in orders, that he
was to be taken whenever an opportunity offered; and that any native
attempting to throw a spear in his defence, as it was well known among
them why vengeance was denounced against him, was, if possible, to be
prevented from escaping with impunity.

Those who knew Ballooderry regretted that it had been necessary to treat
him with this harshness, as among his countrymen we had no where seen a
finer young man. The person who had been wounded by him in the month of
June last was not yet recovered.

Discharging the transports formed the principal labour of the month; the
shingles on the roof of the old hospital being found to decay fast, and
many falling off, the whole were removed, and the building was covered
with tiles.

The convicts at Parramatta were employed in opening some ground about a
mile and a half above that settlement, along the south side of the creek;
and it was expected from the exertions which they were making, that
between forty and fifty acres would be soon ready for sowing with Indian
corn for this season. Their labour was directed by Thomas Daveney, a free
person who came out with the governor.


The _Salamander_ sails for, and the _Mary Ann_ arrives from Norfolk Island
Bondel, a native, returns
A seaman, for sinking a canoe, punished
The _Gorgon_ arrives
Commission of emancipation, and public seal
The _Active_ and _Queen_ arrive
Complaints against the master of the _Queen_
_Supply_ ordered home
_Albemarle_ arrives
Mutiny on board
_Britannia_ and _Admiral Barrington_ arrive
Future destination of the transports
The _Atlantic_ and _Queen_ hired
_Atlantic_ sails for Bengal
_Salamander_ returns from Norfolk Island
Public works

September.] It became necessary to land the cargo brought out in the
_Salamander_, for the purpose of restowing it in a manner convenient for
getting it out at Norfolk Island while the ship was under sail. The great
inconvenience attending landing a cargo in such a situation had been
pointed out in letters which could not yet have been attended to. It was
at the same time suggested, that ships should be freighted purposely for
Norfolk Island, with casks and bales adapted to the size of the island
boats, which would in a great measure lessen the inconvenience above

On the 3rd, near two hundred male convicts, with a sergeant's party of
the New South Wales corps, some stores and provisions, having been put on
board the _Salamander_, she sailed for Norfolk Island the following
morning: and the _Mary Ann_ returned from that settlement on the 8th,
having been absent only four weeks and two days. The convicts, troops,
stores, and provisions, were all landed safely; but an unexpected surf
rising at the back of the reef, filling the only boat (a Greenland
whale-boat) which the master took with him, she was dashed upon the reef,
and stove; the people, who all belonged to the whaler, fortunately saved
themselves by swimming.

From Norfolk Island we learned, that the crops of wheat then in the
ground promised well, having been sown a month earlier than those of the
last season. Of the public ground ninety acres were in wheat, and one
hundred in Indian corn: of the ground cleared by the convicts, and
cultivated by themselves for their own maintenance, there were not less,
at the departure of the transport, than two hundred and fifty acres.

Bondel, a native boy, who went thither with Captain Hill, to whom he was
attached, in the month of March last, came back by this conveyance to his
friends and relations at Port Jackson. During his residence on the
island, which Mr. Monroe said he quitted reluctantly, he seemed to have
gained some smattering of our language, certain words of which he
occasionally blended with his own.

Some prisoners having been sent from Norfolk Island, the criminal court
was assembled on the 15th for the trial of one of them for a capital
offence committed there; but for want of sufficient evidence he was
acquitted. Great inconvenience was experienced from having to send
prisoners from that island with all the necessary witnesses. In the case
just mentioned the prosecutor was a settler, who being obliged to leave
his farm for the time, the business of which was necessarily suspended
until he could return, was ruined: and one of the witnesses was in nearly
the same situation. But as the courts in New South Wales would always be
the superior courts, it was not easy to discover a remedy for these

A seaman of one of the transports having been clearly proved to have
wantonly sunk a canoe belonging to a native, who had been paddling round
the ship, and at last ventured on board, he was ordered to be punished,
and to give the native a complete suit of wearing apparel, as a
satisfaction for the injury he had done him, as well as to induce him to
abandon any design of revenge which he might have formed. The corporal
punishment was however afterwards remitted, and the seaman ordered to
remain on board his ship while she should continue in this port.

Some of the soldiers who came out in the _William and Ann_ transport
having exhibited complaints against the master, whom they accused of
assaulting and severely beating them during the passage, the affair was
investigated before three magistrates, and a fine laid upon the master,
which he paid.

On Wednesday the 21st his Majesty's ship _Gorgon_ of forty-four guns,
commanded by Captain John Parker, anchored within the heads of the
harbour, reaching the settlement the following morning, and anchoring
where his Majesty's late ship _Sirius_ used to moor.

The _Gorgon_ sailed from England on the 15th of March last, touching on
her passage at the islands of Teneriffe and St. Iago, and at the Cape of
Good Hope, where she remained six weeks, taking in three bulls,
twenty-three cows, sixty-eight sheep, eleven hogs, two hundred fruit
trees, a quantity of garden seed, and other articles for the colony.
Unfortunately, the bulls and seven of the cows died; but a bull calf,
which had been produced on board, arrived in good condition.

Six months provisions for about nine hundred people, with stores for his
Majesty's armed tender the _Supply_, and for the marine detachment, were
sent out in the _Gorgon_; wherein also was embarked Mr. King, the late
commandant of Norfolk Island, now appointed by his Majesty
lieutenant-governor of that settlement, and a commander in the navy;
together with Mr. Charles Grimes, commissioned as a deputy
surveyor-general to be employed at Norfolk Island; the chaplain and
quarter-master of the New South Wales corps, and Mr David Burton, a
superintendant of convicts.

By this ship we received a public seal to be affixed to all instruments
drawn in his Majesty's name, and a commission under the great seal
empowering the governor for the time being to remit, either absolutely or
conditionally, the whole or any part of the term for which felons, or
other offenders, should have been or might hereafter be transported to
this country. Duplicates of each pardon were to be sent to England, for
the purpose of inserting the names of the persons so emancipated in the
first general pardon which should afterward issue under the great seal
of the kingdom.

To deserving characters, of which description there were many convicts in
the colony, a prospect of having the period of their banishment
shortened, and of being restored to the privilege which by misconduct
they had forfeited, had something in it very cheering, and was more
likely to preserve well intentioned men in honest and fair pursuits, than
the fear of punishment, which would seldom operate with good effect on a
mind that entertained no hope of reward for propriety of conduct. The
people with whom we had to deal were not in general actuated by that nice
sense of feeling which draws its truest satisfaction from self
approbation; they looked for something more substantial, something more
obvious to the external senses.

In determining the device for the seal of the colony, attention had been
paid to its local and peculiar circumstances. On the obverse were the
king's arms, with the royal titles in the margin; on the reverse, a
representation of convicts landing at Botany Bay, received by Industry,
who, surrounded by her attributes, a bale of merchandise, a beehive, a
pickaxe, and a shovel, is releasing them from their fetters, and pointing
to oxen ploughing and a town rising on the summit of a hill, with a fort
for its protection. The masts of a ship are seen in the bay. In the
margin are the words _Sigillum. Nov. Camb. Aust._; and for a motto _'Sic
fortis Etruria crevit.'_ The seal was of silver; its weight forty-six
ounces and the devices were very well executed.

The cattle were immediately landed, and turned into the inclosures which
had been prepared for them. One cow died in the boat going up.

The remaining transports of the fleet were now dropping in. On the 26th
the _Active_ from England, and the _Queen_ from Ireland, with convicts of
that country arrived and anchored in the cove. On board of the _Active_,
beside the sergeant's guard, were one hundred and fifty-four male
convicts. An officer's party was on board the _Queen_, with one hundred
and twenty-six male and twenty-three female convicts and three children.

These ships had been unhealthy, and had buried several convicts in their
passage. The sick which they brought in were landed immediately; and many
of those who remained, and were not so ill as to require medical
assistance, were brought on shore in an emaciated and feeble condition,
particularly the convicts from the _Active_. They in general complained
of not having received the allowance intended for them; but their
emaciated appearance was to be ascribed as much to confinement as to any
other cause. The convicts from the _Queen_, however, accusing the master
of having withheld their provisions, an inquiry took place before the
magistrates, and it appeared beyond a doubt, that great abuses had been
practised in the issuing of the provisions; but as to the quantity
withheld, it was not possible to ascertain it so clearly, as to admit of
directing the deficiency to be made good, or of punishing the parties
with that retributive justice for which the heinousness of their offence
so loudly called; the proceedings of the magistrates were therefore
submitted to the governor, who determined to transmit them to the
secretary of state.

Nothing could have excited more general indignation than the treatment
which these people appeared to have met with; for, what crime could be
more offensive to every sentiment of humanity, than the endeavour, by
curtailing a ration already not too ample, to derive a temporary
advantage from the miseries of our fellow-creatures!

By the arrival of these ships several articles of comfort were introduced
among us, there being scarcely a vessel that had not brought out
something for sale. It could not, however, be said that they were
procurable on easier terms than what had been sold here in the last year.
The Spanish dollar was the current coin of the colony, which some of
the masters taking at five shillings and others at four shillings and
six-pence, the governor, in consideration of the officers having been
obliged to receive the dollars at five shillings sterling when given for
bills drawn in the settlement, issued a proclamation fixing the currency
of the Spanish dollar at that sum.

The _Supply_ was now carefully surveyed, when it appeared, that her
defects were such as to render it by no means difficult to put her into a
state that would enable her to reach England; but that if she remained
six months longer in this country, she would become wholly unserviceable.
It was therefore determined to dispatch her immediately to England.
Timber had with infinite labour been procured for her main-mast, and her
other repairs were put in train for her sailing hence in the course of
the next month.

October.] The remainder of the transports expected did not arrive until
the middle of October. The _Albermarle_ was off the coast some days,
being prevented by a southerly current from getting in. She arrived on
Thursday the 13th, with two hundred and fifty male and six female
convicts, her proportion of stores and provisions, and one sergeant, one
corporal, one drummer, and twenty privates of the new corps.

The convicts of this ship had made an attempt, in conjunction with some
of the seamen, to seize her on the 9th of April, soon after she had
sailed from England; and they would in all probability have succeeded,
but for the activity and resolution shown by the master Mr. George Bowen,
who, hearing the alarm, had just time to arm himself with a loaded
blunderbuss, which he discharged at one of the mutineers, William Syney
(then in the act of aiming a blow with a cutlass at the man at the
wheel), and lodged its contents in his shoulder. His companions, seeing
what had befallen him, instantly ran down below; but the master, his
officers, and some of the seamen of the ship, following them, soon
secured the ringleaders, Owen Lyons and William Syney. A consultation was
held with the naval agent, Lieutenant Robert Parry Young, the ship's
company, and the military persons on board, the result of which was, the
immediate execution of those two at the fore-yard arm. They had at this
time parted company with the other transports, and no other means seemed
so likely to deter the convicts from any future attempt of the like
nature. It afterwards appearing that two of the seamen had supplied them
with instruments for sawing off their irons, these were left at the
island of Madeira, where the _Albermarle_ touched, to be sent prisoners
to England.

On the day following the _Britannia_ arrived, with one hundred and
twenty-nine male convicts, stores, and provisions on board; and on the
16th the _Admiral Barrington_, the last of the ten sail of transports,
anchored in the cove. This ship had been blown off the coast, and fears
were entertained of her safety, as she left the cape with a crippled
main-mast and other material defects. She had on board a captain and a
party of the New South Wales corps, with two hundred and sixty-four male
convicts, four free women, and one child. She had been unhealthy too,
having lost thirty-six convicts in the passage, and brought in
eighty-four persons sick, who were immediately landed. Her stores and
proportion of provisions were the same as on board of the other ships.

The whole number of convicts now received into the colony, including
thirty on board the _Gorgon_, were, male convicts one thousand six
hundred and ninety-five; female convicts one hundred and sixty-eight; and
children nine. There were also eight free women (wives of convicts) and
one child; making a total number of one thousand eight hundred and
eighty-one persons, exclusive of the military. Upwards of two hundred
convicts, male and female, did not reach the country.

Of the ten sail of transports lately arrived, five, after delivering
their cargoes, were to proceed on the southern whale fishery, viz the
_Mary Ann_, _Matilda_, _William and Ann_, _Salamander_, and _Britannia_.
Melville, the master of the _Britannia_, conceiving great hopes of
success on this coast from the numbers of spermaceti whales which he saw
between the south cape and this port, requested to be cleared directly on
his coming in, that he might give it a trial; and, the governor
consenting, his ship was ready by the 22nd (a week after her arrival),
and sailed on the 24th with the other whalers.

The _Queen_, _Atlantic_, _Active_, _Albemarle_, and _Admiral Barrington_,
after being discharged from government employ, were to proceed to Bombay,
by consent of the East India Company, and load home with cotton upon
private account under the inspection of the company's servants at that
settlement, provided the cotton should be afterwards sold at the
company's sales, subject to the usual expenses (their duty only
excepted), and provided the ships did not interfere with any other part
of the company's exclusive commerce*.

[* Notwithstanding this provision, which was expressed more at large in
the licence given by the company, and which extended to the prohibition
of every article except the stores and provisions put on board by
government, there was on board of these ships a very large quantity of
iron, steel, and copper, intended for sale at a foreign settlement in
India, with the produce of which they were to purchase the homeward-bound
investment of cotton.]

The quantity of provisions received by these ships being calculated for
the numbers on board of each for nine months only after their arrival,
and as, so large a body of convicts having been sent out, it was not
probable that we should soon receive another supply, the governor judged
it expedient to send one of the transports to Bengal, to procure
provisions for the colony; for which purpose he hired the _Atlantic_ at
fifteen shillings and sixpence per ton per month. In the way thither she
was to touch at Norfolk Island, where lieutenant-governor King, with some
settlers, was to be landed; and the _Queen_ transport was hired for the
purpose of bringing back lieutenant-governor Ross, and the marine
detachment serving there, relieved by a company of the New South Wales

On the 25th, the anniversary of his Majesty's accession to the throne, a
salute of twenty-one guns was fired by the _Gorgon_, and the public dinner
given on the occasion at the government-house was served to upwards of
fifty officers, a greater number than the colony had ever before seen
assembled together.

The following morning the _Atlantic_ sailed for Norfolk Island and
Calcutta. For the first of these places, she had on board
Lieutenant-Governor King and his family; Captain Paterson of the New
South Wales corps (lately arrived in the _Admiral Barrington_); Mr.
Balmain, the assistant-surgeon, sent to relieve Mr. Considen; the Rev.
Mr. Johnson, who voluntarily visited Norfolk Island for the purpose of
performing those duties of his office which had hitherto been omitted
through the want of a minister to perform them; twenty-nine settlers
discharged from the marines; several male and female convicts, and some
few settlers from that class of people.

At Calcutta, Lieutenant Bowen, who was continued in his employment of
naval agent, was to procure a cargo of flour and peas, in the proportion
of two tons of flour to one ton of peas; and was for that purpose
furnished with letters to the merchants who had made proposals to Lord
Cornwallis to supply the colony, the governor meaning for that reason to
give their house the preference.

The _Salamander_ had returned from Norfolk Island, where every person and
article she had on board were safely landed. By letters received thence,
we learned that it was supposed there had formerly been inhabitants upon
the island, several stone hatchets, or rather stones in the shapes of
adzes, and others in the shapes of chisels, having been found in turning
up some ground in the interior parts of the island. Lieutenant-Governor
King had formerly entertained the same supposition from discovering the
banana tree growing in regular rows.

It was not to be doubted but that the tranquillity and regularity of our
little town would in some degree be interrupted by the great influx of
disorderly seamen who were at times let loose from the transports. Much
less cause of complaint on this score, however, arose than was expected.
The port orders, which were calculated to preserve the peace of the
place, were from time to time enforced; and on one occasion ten seamen
belonging to the transports were punished for being found in the
settlement after nine o'clock at night.

At Parramatta, whither the greatest part of the convicts lately arrived
had been sent, petty offences were frequently committed, and the constant
presence of a magistrate became daily more requisite. The convicts at
that place were chiefly employed in opening some new ground at a short
distance from the settlement.

The foundation of a new storehouse was begun this month at Sydney, on the
spot where the redoubt had hitherto stood; which, since the construction
of the platform near the magazine on the east point of the cove, had been
pulled down, and the mould removed into the garden appropriated to
government-house. This, and clearing the transports, formed the principal
labour at Sydney.

On the last day of this month, James Downey was found hanging in his hut.
The cause of this rash action was said to have been the dread of being
taken up for a theft which, according to some intimation he had received,
was about to be alleged against him. He came out in the first fleet, had
served his term of transportation, had constantly worked as a labourer in
the bricklayers gang, and was in general considered as a harmless fellow.

From Parramatta two convicts were missing, and were said to be killed by
the natives.


A party of Irish convicts abscond
The _Queen_ sails for Norfolk Island
Whale fishery
Ration altered
The _Supply_ sails for England
Live stock (public) in the colony
Ground in cultivation
Run of water decreasing
Two transports sail
Whale fishery given up
The _Queen_ arrives from Norfolk Island
The Marines embark in the _Gorgon_ for England
Ration further reduced
Convicts who were in the _Guardian_ emancipated
Store finished
Deaths in 1791

November.] On the first day of this month, information was received from
Parramatta, that a body of twenty male convicts and one female, of those
lately arrived in the _Queen_ transport from Ireland, each taking a
week's provisions, and armed with tomahawks and knives, had absconded
from that settlement, with the chimerical idea of walking to China, or of
finding in this country a settlement wherein they would be received and
entertained without labour. It was generally supposed, however, that
this improbable tale was only a cover to the real design, which might be
to procure boats, and get on board the transports after they had left the
cove. An officer with a party was immediately sent out from Parramatta in
pursuit of them, who traced them as far down the harbour as Lane Cove,
whence he reached the settlement at Sydney, without seeing or hearing any
thing more of them. A few days afterward the people in a boat belonging
to the _Albemarle_ transport, which had been down the harbour to procure
wood on the north shore, met with the wretched female who had accompanied
the men. She had been separated from them for three days, and wandered by
herself, entirely ignorant of her situation, until she came to the water
side, where, fortunately, she soon after met the boat. Boats were sent
down the next day, and the woman's husband was found and brought up to
the settlement. They both gave the same absurd account of their design as
before related, and appeared to have suffered very considerably by
fatigue, hunger, and the heat of the weather. The man had lost his
companions forty eight hours before he was himself discovered; and no
tidings of them were received for several days, although boats were
constantly sent in to the north west arm, and the lower part of the

Three of these miserable people were some time after met by some officers
who were on an excursion to the lagoon between this harbour and Broken
Bay; but, notwithstanding their situation, they did not readily give
themselves up, and, when questioned, said they wanted nothing more than
to live free from labour. These people were sent up to Parramatta,
whence, regardless of what they had experienced, and might again suffer,
they a second time absconded in a few days after they had been returned.
Parties were immediately dispatched from that settlement, and thirteen of
those who first absconded were brought in, in a state of deplorable
wretchedness, naked, and nearly worn out with hunger. Some of them had
subsisted chiefly by sucking the flowering shrubs and wild berries of the
woods; and the whole exhibited a picture of misery, that seemed
sufficient to deter others from the like extravagant folly. The practice
of flying from labour into the woods still, however, prevailing, the
governor caused all the convicts who arrived this year to be assembled,
and informed them of his determination to put a stop to their absconding
from the place where he had appointed them to labour, by sending out
parties with orders to fire upon them whenever they should be met with;
and he declared that if any were brought in alive, he would either land
them on a part of the harbour whence they could not depart, or chain them
together with only bread and water for their subsistence, during the
remainder of their terms of transportation. He likewise told them, that
he had heard they were intending to arm themselves and seize upon the
stores (such a design had for some days been reported); but that if they
made any attempt of that kind, every man who might be taken should be
instantly put to death. Having thus endeavoured to impress them with
ideas of certain punishment if they offended in future, he forgave some
offences which had been reported by the magistrate, exhorted them to go
cheerfully to their labour, and changed their hours of work, agreeably to
a request which they had made.

Four hundred and two of these miserable people had received medicines
from the hospital in the morning of the day when the governor had thus
addressed them. The prevailing disease was a dysentery, which was
accompanied by a general debility.

The _Queen_ sailed early in the month with an officer and a detachment of
the New South Wales corps, some convicts, stores and provisions, for
Norfolk Island. The _Salamander _sailed at the same time on her fishing

From her intended trial of the whale-fishery on the coast the _Britannia_
arrived on the 10th, and was followed the next day by the _Mary Ann_.
Mr. Melvill killed, in company with the _William and Ann_, the day after he
went out, seven spermaceti whales, two only of which they were able to
secure from the bad weather which immediately succeeded. From the whale
which fell to the _Britannia's_ share, although but a small one, thirteen
barrels of oil were procured; and in the opinion of Mr. Melvill, the oil,
from its containing a greater proportion of that valuable part of the
fish called by the whalers the head-matter, was worth ten pounds more per
ton than that of the fish of any other part of the world he had been in.
He thought that a most advantageous voyage might be made upon this coast,
as he was confident upwards of fifteen thousand whales were seen in the
first ten days that he was absent, the greater number of which were
observed off this harbour; and he was prevented from filling his ship by
bad weather alone, having met with only one day since he sailed in which
he could lower down a boat.

The success and report of the master of the _Mary Ann_ were very
different; he had been as far to the southward as the latitude of 45
degrees without seeing a whale; and in a gale of wind shipped a sea that
stove two of his boats, and washed down the vessels for boiling the oil,
which were fixed in brick-work, and to repair which he came into this

The _Matilda_ came in a few days afterwards from Jervis Bay, in latitude
35 degrees 6 minutes S and longitude 152 degrees 0 minutes E, where she
had anchored for some days, being leaky. The master of this ship,
Mr. Matthew Weatherhead, saw many whales, but was prevented from killing
any by the badness of the weather.

The _William and Ann_ came in soon after, confirming the report of the
great numbers of fish which were to be seen upon the coast, and the
difficulty of getting at them. She had killed only one fish, and came in
to repair and shorten her main-mast.

A difference of opinion prevailed among the masters of the ships which
had been out respecting the establishing a whale-fishery upon this coast.
In one particular, however, they all agreed, which was, that the coast
abounded with fish; but the major part of them thought that the currents
and bad weather prevailing at this season of the year, and which appeared
to be also the season of the fish, would prevent any ships from meeting
with that success, of which on their setting out they themselves had had
such sanguine hopes. One of them thought that the others, in giving this
opinion, were premature, and that they were not sufficiently acquainted
with the weather on the coast to form any judgment of the advantage to be
derived from future attempts. They were determined, nevertheless, to give
it another trial, on the failure of which they meant to prosecute their
voyage to the coast of Peru. Having set up their rigging, they went out
again toward the latter end of the month.

About the middle of the month an alteration took place in the ration; two
pounds of flour were taken off, and one pint of peas and one pint of
oatmeal were issued in their stead; the full ration, which was first
served on the 27th of August last, having been continued not quite three

The _Supply_ armed tender, having completed her repairs, sailed for
England on the 26th, her commander, Lieutenant Ball, purposing to make
his passage round Cape Horn, for which the season of the year was
favourable. Lieutenant John Creswell of the marines went in her, charged
with the governor's dispatches.

The services of this little vessel had endeared her, and her officers and
people, to this colony. The regret which we felt at parting with them
was, however, lessened by a knowledge that they were flying from a
country of want to one of abundance, where we all hoped that the services
they had performed would be rewarded by that attention and promotion to
which they naturally looked up, and had an indisputable claim.

At this time the public live stock in the settlement consisted of one
stallion aged, one mare, two young stallions, two colts, sixteen cows,
two calves, one ram, fifty ewes, six lambs, one boar, fourteen sows (old
and young), and twenty-two pigs.

The ground in cultivation at and about Parramatta amounted to three
hundred and fifty-one acres in maize, forty-four in wheat, six in barley,
one in oats, two in potatoes, four in vines, eighty-six in garden ground,
and seventeen in cultivation by the New South Wales corps. In addition to
these there were one hundred and fifty acres cleared to be sown with
turnips, ninety-one acres were in cultivation by settlers, twenty-eight
by officers civil and military at and about Sydney; and at Parramatta one
hundred and forty acres were inclosed and the timber thinned for cattle;
making a total of nine hundred and twenty acres of land thinned, cleared,
and cultivated.

The platform at the west point of the cove was completed during this
month. The flag-staff had been for some time erected, and the cannon
placed on the platform. A corporal's guard was also mounted daily in the
building which had been used as an observatory by Lieutenant Dawes.

The mortality during this month had been great, fifty male and four
female convicts dying within the thirty days. Five hundred sick persons
received medicines at the end of the month. That list however was
decreasing. The extreme heat of the weather during the month had not only
increased the sick list, but had added one to the number of deaths. On
the 4th, a convict attending upon Mr. White, in passing from his house to
his kitchen, without any covering upon his head, received a stroke from a
ray of the sun which at the time deprived him of speech and motion, and,
in less than four-and-twenty hours, of his life. The thermometer on that
day stood at twelve o'clock at 94¾ degrees and the wind was at NW.

By the dry weather which prevailed our water had been so much affected,
beside being lessened by the watering of some of the transports, that a
prohibition was laid by the governor on the watering of the remainder at
Sydney, and their boats were directed to go to a convenient place upon
the north shore. To remedy this evil the governor had employed the
stone-mason's gang to cut tanks out of the rock, which would be
reservoirs for the water large enough to supply the settlement for some

December.] On the 3rd of this month the ships _Albemarle_ and _Active_
sailed for India. After their departure several people were missing from
the settlement; some whose sentences of transportation had expired, and
others who were yet convicts. Previous to their sailing (it having been
reported that the seamen intended to conceal such as had made interest
among them to get off) the governor instructed the master to deliver any
persons whom he might discover to be on board without permission to quit
the colony, as prisoners to the commanding officer of the first British
settlement they should touch at in India. About this time a boat
belonging to Mr. White was taken from its mooring; and it was for a time
supposed that she had been taken off by some runaways to get on board
one of the ships then about to sail, and afterwards set adrift; but she
was found by some gentlemen of the _Gorgon_ the day after their
departure, between this harbour and Broken Bay, with two men in her, who
on the appearance of the party which found her ran into the woods. The
gentlemen left her with a plank knocked out, an oar and the rudder
broken, and otherwise rendered useless to the people who ran away with
her. They also fell in with a convict, an Irishman, who had been absent
five weeks from Parramatta, and who had set off with some others to
proceed along the coast in search of another settlement. The boat was
brought up a few days afterwards.

Two of the whalers, the _Matilda_ and _Mary Ann_, came in from sea the
day on which the other ships sailed. The former landed a boat in a bay
on the coast about six miles to the southward of Port Stephens, where the
seine was hauled and a large quantity of fish taken; but of the fish
which they went to procure (whales) they saw none.

The _Mary Ann_ was rather more fortunate. By going to the southward, she
killed nine fish; of five of them she secured enough to procure about
thirty barrels of oil; but was prevented by bad weather from getting
more. These ships sailed again immediately, and both ran down the coast
as far to the southward as 36 degrees 30 minutes, and returned on the
16th without killing a fish. The masters attributed their bad success to
currents; and, giving up all hopes of a fishery here, they determined,
after refitting, to quit the coast. The _Salamander_ and _Britannia_
whalers came in at the same time, and with like ill fortune. Melvill the
master of the _Britannia_, who had been formerly so sanguine in his hopes
of a fishery, seemed now to have adopted a different opinion, and hinted
to some in the colony, that he did not think he should try the coast any
longer. It must be remarked however, that the whalers were not out of
port at any one time long enough to enable them to speak with any great
degree of precision either for or against the probability of success.
They seemed more desirous of obtaining a knowledge of the harbours on
the coast; the _William and Ann_ had been seen in Broken Bay; others had
visited Botany Bay and Jervis Bay; the _Salamander_ had remained long
enough in Port Stephens (an harbour to the northward, until then not
visited by any one) to take an eye-sketch of the harbour and of some of
its branches or arms; and Port Jackson was found to have its
conveniences. After a well-manned and well-found whaler should have kept
the sea for an entire season, the success might be determined.

The _Queen_ transport having returned from Norfolk Island, with the
lieutenant-governor and the officers and soldiers of the marine corps,
who were to take their passage to England in the _Gorgon_, the greatest
part of the marine detachment embarked on board of that ship on the 13th.
Those who did not embark were left for the duty of the place until the
remainder of the New South Wales corps should arrive.

By the _Queen_ several convicts whose sentences of transportation had
expired were allowed to return to this settlement, pursuant to a promise
made them on their going thither; and we were informed, that the
_Atlantic_ sailed from Norfolk Island for Calcutta on the 13th of the
last month. Both ships landed safely every article they had on board for
the colony, being favoured by very fine weather while so employed.
Lieutenant-governor King, on taking upon him the government of the
island, pardoned all offenders whom he found in custody.

Governor Phillip having no further occasion for the services of the
_Gorgon_, that ship sailed for England on Sunday the 18th. Two convicts
had the folly to attempt making their escape from the colony in this
ship, but they were detected and brought back. A woman was also supposed
to have effected her escape; but she was found disguised in men's apparel
at the native's hut on the east point of the cove.

On board of the _Gorgon_ were embarked the marines who came from England
in the first ships; as valuable a corps as any in his Majesty's service.
They had struggled here with greatly more than the common hardships of
service, and were now quitting a country in which they had opened and
smoothed the way for their successors, and from which, whatever benefit
might hereafter be derived, must be derived by those who had the easy
task of treading in paths previously and painfully formed by them.

The cove and the settlement were now resuming that dull uniformity of
uninteresting circumstances which had generally prevailed. The _Supply_
and the _Gorgon_ had departed, and with them a valuable portion of our
friends and associates. The transports which remained were all preparing
to leave us, and in a few days after the _Gorgon_, the _Matilda_ and
_Mary Ann_ sailed for the coast of Peru. These ships had some convicts on
board, who were permitted to ship themselves with the masters.

A further reduction of the ration was directed to take place at the end
of the month, one pound being taken from the allowance of flour served to
the men. From the state of the provision stores, the governor, on
Christmas Day, could only give one pound of flour to each woman in the
settlement. On that day divine service was performed here and at
Parramatta, Mr. Bayne, the chaplain of the new corps, assisting Mr.
Johnson in the religious duties of the morning. There were some among
us, however, by whom even the sanctity of this day was not regarded; for
at night the marine store was robbed of twenty-two gallons of spirits.

At Parramatta various offences were still committed, notwithstanding the
lenity which had been shown to several offenders at the close of the last
month. Many of the convicts there not having any part of their ration
left when Tuesday or Wednesday night came, the governor directed, as he
had before done from the same reason, that the provisions of the
labouring convicts should be issued to them daily. This measure being
disapproved of by them, they assembled in rather a tumultuous manner
before the governor's house at Parramatta on the last day of the month,
to request that their provisions might be served as usual on the
Saturdays. The governor, however, dispersed them without granting their
request; and as they were heard to murmur, and talk of obtaining by
different means what was refused to entreaty (words spoken among the
crowd, and the person who was so daring not being distinguishable from
the rest), he assured them that as he knew the major part of them were
led by eight or ten designing men to whom they looked up, and to whose
names he was not a stranger, on any open appearance of discontent, he
should make immediate examples of them. Before they were dismissed they
promised greater propriety of conduct and implicit obedience to the
orders of their superiors, and declared their readiness to receive their
provisions as had been directed.

This was the first instance of any tumultuous assembly among these
people, and was now to be ascribed to the spirit of resistance and
villany lately imported by the new comers from England and Ireland.

Among the public works of the month the most material was the completing
and occupying the new store on the east side, which was begun in October
last; its dimensions were eighty by twenty-four feet; and as it was built
for the purpose of containing dry stores, the height was increased beyond
that commonly adopted here, and a spacious loft was formed capable of
containing a large quantity of bale goods. This was by far the best store
in the country.

In the course of the month a warrant of emancipation passed the seal of
the territory to John Lowe, Henry Cone, Richard Chears, Thomas Fisk,
Daniel Cubitt, Charles Pass, George Bolton, William Careless, William
Curtis, John Chapman Morris, Thomas Merrick, William Skinner, and James
Weavers, convicts who left England in the _Guardian_, on condition of
their residing within the limits of this government, and not returning to
England within the period of their respective sentences. Instructions to
this effect had been received from home, Lieutenant Riou having
interested himself much in their behalf. They were to be at liberty to
work at any trade they might be acquainted with; but during their
continuance in the country they were to be disposed of wherever the
governor should think proper. They were also at liberty to settle land
upon their own account.

The numbers who died by sickness in the year 1791 were, one of the civil
establishment (H. E. Dodd); two soldiers; one hundred and fifty-five male
and eight female convicts; and five children: in all one hundred and
seventy-one persons (twenty-eight more than had died during the preceding

In the above time one male convict was executed; one drowned; four lost
in the woods (exclusive of the Irish convicts who had absconded, of whom
no certain account was procured); one destroyed himself, and eight men,
one woman, and two children, had run from the settlement; making a loss
of one hundred and eighty-nine persons.


The _Queen_ sails for Norfolk Island
Whalers on their fishing voyages
Convicts missing
Various depredations
Dispensary and bake-house robbed
A criminal court held
Convict executed
The _Pitt_ with Lieutenant-Governor Grose arrives
Military duty fixed for Parramatta
Goods selling at Sydney from the _Pitt_
The _Pitt_ ordered to be dispatched to Norfolk Island
Commissions read
The _Pitt_ sails
Mr. Burton killed
Stormy weather
Public works
Regulations respecting persons who had served their terms of transportation


January.] Early in this month sixty-two people, settlers and
convicts, with Mr. Bayne, the chaplain of the New South Wales corps, who
offered his services, as there never had been a clergyman there, embarked
on board the _Queen_ transport for Norfolk Island, the master of that
ship having engaged to carry them and a certain quantity of provisions
thither for the sum of £150. Of the settlers twenty-two were lately
discharged from the marine service, and the remainder were convicts; some
of the latter, whose terms of transportation had expired, had chosen
Norfolk Island to settle in, and others were sent to be employed for the

This ship, with the _Admiral Barrington_ for India, sailed on the 6th;
and the _Salamander_ and _Britannia_ whalers on the 7th, the masters of
the two latter ships signifying an intention of cruising for three months
upon this coast; at the end of which time, according to their success,
they would either return to this port, or pursue their voyage to the

Several convicts attempted to escape from the settlement on board of
these ships, some of whom were discovered before they sailed, and, being
brought on shore, were punished; but there was great reason to suppose
that others were secreted by the connivance of the seamen, and eluded the
repeated searches which were made for them.

In addition to this exportation, the colony lost some useful people whom
it could ill spare; but who, their terms of transportation having
expired, would not be induced to remain in the settlement, and could not
be prevented from quitting it.

By the commissary's report of the muster it appeared, that forty-four
men and nine women were absent and unaccounted for; among which
number were included those who were wandering in the woods, seeking for a
new settlement, or endeavouring to get into the path to China! Of these
people many, after lingering a long time, and existing merely on roots
and wild berries, perished miserably. Others found their way in, after
being absent several weeks, and reported the fate of their wretched
companions, being themselves reduced to nearly the same condition, worn
down and exhausted with fatigue and want of proper sustenance. Yet,
although the appearance of these people confirmed their account of what
they had undergone, others were still found ignorant and weak enough to
run into the woods impressed with the idea of either reaching China by
land, or finding a new settlement where labour would not be imposed on
them, and where the inhabitants were civil and peaceable. Two of these
wretches at the time of their absconding met a convict in their way not
far from the new grounds, whom they robbed of his provisions, and beat in
so cruel a manner that, after languishing for some time, he died in the
hospital at Parramatta. He described their persons, and mentioned their
names, with the precise circumstances attending their treatment of him,
and it was hoped that they would have lived to return, and receive the
reward of their crime; but one of their companions who survived them
brought in an account of their having ended a wicked and miserable
existence in the woods.

Depredations being nightly committed at the skirts of the town, and at
the officers' farms, by some of these vagrants, who were supposed to lurk
between this place and Parramatta, it was thought necessary to send armed
parties out at night for a certain distance round the settlement, with
orders to seize, or fire on, all persons found straggling; and several
were detected by them in the act of robbing the gardens at the different
farms. Indeed neither the property nor the persons of individuals were
safe for some time. Two villains came to a hut which was occupied by one
Williams a sawyer, and which he had erected at a spot at some distance
from the town where he could have a little garden ground, and attempted
to rob him; but the owner surprised them, and, in endeavouring to secure
them, was wounded so severely in the arm with a tomahawk, that the tendon
was divided; and it was supposed that he never would recover the perfect
use of the limb. They even carried their audacity so far, as to be
secretly meditating an attempt upon the barrack and storehouse at
Parramatta; at least, information of such a plan was given by some of the
convicts; and as there had been seen among them people silly enough to
undertake to walk to the other side of this extensive continent,
expecting that China would be found there, it was not at all improbable
that some might be mad enough to persuade others that it would be an easy
matter to attempt and carry the barracks and stores there. But no other
use was made of the report than the exertion of double vigilance in the
guards, which was done without making public the true motive. To the
credit of the convicts who came out in the first fleet it must be
remarked, that none of them were concerned in these offences; and of them
it was said the new comers stood so much in dread, that they never were
admitted to any share in their confidence.

As the Indian corn began to ripen the convicts recommenced their
depredations, and many were punished with a severity seemingly calculated
to deter others, but actually without effect. They appeared to be a
people wholly regardless of the future, and not dreading any thing that
was not immediately present to their own feelings. It was well known that
punishment would follow the detection of a crime; but their constant
reliance was on a hope of escaping that detection; and they were very
rarely known to stand forward in bringing offenders to punishment,
although such rewards were held out as one would imagine were sufficient
to induce them. It being necessary to secure four dangerous people, who,
after committing offences, had withdrawn into the woods, a reward of
fifty pounds of flour was offered for the apprehension of either of them,
but only one was taken.

The easy communication between Sydney and Parramatta had been found to be
a very great evil from the time the path was first made; but since the
numbers had been so much augmented at Parramatta, it became absolutely
necessary to put a stop to the intercourse. The distance was about
sixteen miles; and, unless information was previously given, a person
would visit Sydney and return without being missed: and as stolen
property was transferred from one place to another by means of this quick
conveyance, orders were given calculated to cut off all unlicensed

A report having been falsely propagated at Parramatta, that it was
intended by the governor to take the corn of individuals on the public
account, the settlers and convicts who had raised maize or other grain,
and who were not provided with proper places to secure it in, were
informed, that they might send it to the public store, and draw it from
thence as their occasions required; and farther, that they were at
liberty to dispose of such live stock, corn, grain, or vegetables, which
they might raise, as they found convenient to themselves, the property of
every individual being equally secured to him, and by the same law,
whether belonging to a free man or a convict. Such of the above articles
as they could not otherwise dispose of, they were told, would be
purchased by the commissary on the public account at a fair market-price.

Toward the latter end of the month some villains broke into the
dispensary at the hospital, and stole two cases of portable soup, one
case of camomile flowers, and one case containing sudorific powder. These
articles had been placed in the dispensary on the very evening it was
broken into, to be sent to Parramatta the following morning. The cases
with the camomile and sudorific powder (which perhaps they had taken for
sugar or flour) were found at the back of the hill behind the hospital;
and, in order to discover the persons concerned in this theft, as well as
those who maimed the sawyer, as before related, a proclamation was
published, offering to any person or persons giving such information as
should convict the principal offenders, a free pardon for every offence
which he, she, or they might have committed since their arrival in this
country; and that a full ration of provisions should be issued to such
person or persons during the remainder of their respective terms of

Several people died at Parramatta, some of whom were at labour,
apparently in health, and dead in twenty-four hours. An extraordinary
circumstance attended, though it was not the cause of the death of one
poor creature: while dragging with others at a brick cart he was seized
with a fainting fit, and when he recovered was laid down under a cart
which stood in the road, that he might be in the shade. Being weak and
ill, he fell asleep. On waking, and feeling something tight about his
neck, he put up his hand, when, to his amazement and horror, he grasped
the folds of a large snake which had twined itself round his neck. In
endeavouring to disengage it, the animal bit him by the lip, which became
instantly tumid. Two men, passing by, took off the snake and threw it on
the ground, when it erected itself and flew at one of them; but they soon
killed it. The man who had fainted at the cart died the next morning,
not, however, from any effect of the bite of the snake, but from a
general debility.

At Parramatta the public bakehouse was broken into, and robbed of a large
quantity of flour and biscuit. The robber had made his way down the
chimney of the house, and, though a man and woman slept in the place,
carried off his booty undiscovered.

The convicts having assembled there at the latter end of the last month
in an improper and tumultuous manner, the governor now thought proper to
issue a proclamation, directing that 'in case of any riot or disturbance
among the convicts, every one who was seen out of his hut would (if such
riot or disturbance should happen in the night, or during the hours of
rest from labour, or if he were absent from his labour during the hours
of work) be deemed to be aiding and assisting the rioters, and be
punished accordingly.'

The convicts were strictly forbidden ever to assemble in numbers under
any pretence of stating a complaint, or for any other cause whatever, all
complaints being to be made through the medium of the superintendants or

A disobedience to this proclamation was to be punished with the utmost
severity; and any person who, knowing of any intended riot or tumultuous
and unlawful assembly among the convicts, did not take the first
opportunity of informing either the commanding officer of the military or
one of the superintendants thereof, would be deemed and punished as a
principal in such riot.

An instance of the profligacy of the convicts which occurred at this time
is deserving of notice: a woman who had been entrusted to carry the
allowance of flour belonging to two other women to the bakehouse, where
she had run in debt for bread which she had taken up on their account,
mixed with it a quantity of pounded stone, in the proportion of
two-thirds of grit, to one of flour. Fortunately, she was detected before
it had been mixed with other flour at the bakehouse, and was ordered to
wear an iron collar for six months as a punishment.

February.] A criminal court was held at Parramatta on the 7th of this
month for the trial of James Collington, who, as before mentioned, had
broken into the public bakehouse at that place by getting down the
chimney in the night. It appeared that he had taken off about fifty
pounds of flour, which he tied up in an apron that he found in the room,
and the leg of a pair of trousers. He deposited the property under a
rock, and occasionally visited it; but it was soon seized by some other
nocturnal adventurer, and Collington then broke into another hut, wherein
eight people were sleeping, and took thereout a box containing wearing
apparel and provisions, without disturbing them, so soundly did fatigue
make them sleep; but he was detected in a garden with the property, and
secured. Being found guilty, he received sentence of death, and was
executed early the following morning. At the tree he addressed the
convicts, warning them to avoid the paths he had pursued; but said, that
he was induced by hunger to commit the crime for which he suffered. He
appeared desirous of death, declaring that he knew he could not live
without stealing.

Information having been received, that a great body of convicts at the
new grounds intended to seize some arms which had been given to the
settlers for their protection against the natives, and (after robbing
their huts) to proceed to the sea-coast, where, destroying every person
who should oppose them, they were to build a vessel, a convict who was
said to be a ringleader was taken up, and, upon the information which he
gave, five others were apprehended and chained together; in which
situation they continued for some time, when their scheme having been
defeated, and other steps taken to prevent their putting it in execution,
they were liberated, and returned to their usual labour.

Information would have been at all times more readily procured from these
people, had they not been constantly apprehensive of receiving
ill-treatment not only from the parties concerned, but from others who
were not; and although every assurance of protection was given by those
who were authorised to hold it out, yet it was not found sufficient to do
away the dread they were said to labour under. Accident, or a quarrel
among themselves, sometimes furnished information that was not otherwise
to be procured; and in general to one or other of these causes was to be
attributed every information that was received of any malpractices among

A person who had been employed under one of the superintendants at
Parramatta, and in whom, from an uniformity of good conduct during his
residence in this country, some trust was at times placed, was detected
in giving corn to a settler from the public granary, to which he had
occasional access. The offence being fully proved, he was sentenced to
receive three hundred lashes, and the person to whom he had given the
corn two hundred lashes. It was seen with great concern, that there were
but few among them who were honest enough to resist any temptation that
was placed in their way.

A convict who had absconded five weeks since was apprehended by some of
the military at the head of one of the coves leading from Parramatta. He
had built himself a hut in the woods, and said when brought in, that he
had preserved his existence by eating such fish as he was fortunate
enough to catch, rock oysters, and wild berries; and that the natives had
more than once pursued him when employed in these researches. But very
little credit was given to any account he gave, and it was generally
supposed that he had lived by occasionally visiting and robbing the huts
at Sydney and Parramatta. He had taken to the woods to avoid a punishment
which hung over him, and which he now received.

Early in the month eight settlers from the marines received their grants
of land situated on the north side of the harbour near the Flats, and
named by the governor the Field of Mars.

The convicts employed in cultivating and clearing public ground beyond
Parramatta, having been landed in a weak and sickly state, wore in
general a most miserable and emaciated appearance, and numbers of them
died daily. The reduced ration by no means contributed to their
amendment; the wheat that was raised last year (four hundred and
sixty-one bushels) after reserving a sufficiency for seed, was issued to
them at a pound per man per week, and a pound of rice per week was issued
to each male convict at Sydney.

On Tuesday the 14th the signal was made for a sail, and shortly after the
_Pitt_, Captain Edward Manning, anchored in the cove from England. She
sailed the 17th of last July from Yarmouth Roads, and had rather a long
passage, touching at St. Iago, Rio de Janeiro, and the Cape of Good Hope.
She had on board Francis Grose, esq the lieutenant-governor of the
settlements, and major-commandant of the New South Wales corps, one
company of which, together with the adjutant and surgeon's mate, came out
with him.

She brought out three hundred and nineteen male and forty-nine female
convicts, five children, and seven free women; with salt provisions
calculated to serve that number of people ten months, but which would
only furnish the colony with provisions for forty days. The supply of
provisions was confined to salt meat, under an idea that the colony was
not in immediate want of flour, and that a supply had been sent from
Calcutta, which, together with what had been procured from Batavia, that
which had been sent before from England, and the grain that might have
been raised in the settlements, would be adequate to our consumption for
the present. The dispatches, however, which had been forwarded from this
place by the _Justinian_ in July 1790 having been received by the
secretary of state, what appeared from those communications to be
necessary for the colony were to be sent in one or more ships to be
dispatched in the autumn of last year, with an additional number of
convicts, and the remaining company of the New South Wales corps. A sloop
in frame, of the burden of forty-one tons, was sent out in the _Pitt_; to
make room for which, several bales of clothing, and many very useful
articles, were obliged to be shut out.

By this conveyance information was received, that the _Daedalus_ hired
storeship, which was sent out to carry provisions to the Sandwich islands
for two ships employed in those parts on discovery, was directed to
repair to this settlement after performing that service, to be employed
as there should be occasion, and that she might be expected in the
beginning of the year 1793.

The _Pitt_ brought in many of her convicts sick; and several of her
seamen and fifteen soldiers of the New South Wales corps had died shortly
after her leaving St. Iago, owing to her having touched there during an
unhealthy season.

The whole of the New South Wales corps, except one company, being now
arrived, the numbers requisite for the different duties were settled; and
one company, consisting of a captain, two lieutenants, one ensign, three
sergeants, three corporals, two drummers, and seventy privates, was fixed
for the duty of Parramatta; a like number for Norfolk Island, and the
remainder were to do duty at Sydney, the head quarters of the corps.

Permission having been obtained, a shop was opened at a hut on shore for
the sale of various articles brought out in the _Pitt_; and
notwithstanding a fleet of transports had but lately sailed hence,
notwithstanding the different orders which had been sent to Bengal, and
the high price at which every thing was sold, the avidity with which all
descriptions of people grasped at what was to be purchased was
extraordinary, and could only be accounted for by the distance of our
situation from the mother country, the uncertainty of receiving supplies
thence, and the length of time which we had heretofore the mortification
to find elapse without our receiving any.

March.] It being necessary to send to Norfolk Island a proportion of what
provisions were in store, the Pitt was engaged for that purpose; and for
performing this service her owners were to receive £651, a sum equal to
six weeks demurrage for that ship. From Norfolk Island she was to
proceed, upon her owners account, to Bengal; and her commander was
charged with duplicates of the letters and instructions given to
Lieutenant Bowen. In the event of any accident having prevented the
arrival of that officer at Calcutta, Captain Manning was to cause the
service with which he was entrusted to be executed, by applying to the
governor-general, and the house of Messrs. Lambert, Ross, and company,
for the supply of provisions, which the _Atlantic_ was to have brought,
to be forwarded to this country either by the _Pitt_, or by vessels to be
hired by that house at Calcutta.

This precaution was taken rather to guard against the worst that might
happen, than from any probability that the _Atlantic_ would not have
reached Calcutta, that ship being well fitted for such a voyage, strong,
well manned, and under the direction of an able and an active officer. To
her arrival, however, we looked forward at this period with some anxiety,
as the flour and salt provisions in the settlement already occupied but a
small portion of the stores which contained them, there being only
fifty-two days flour, and twenty-one weeks salt meat in store at the
ration now issued.

On the morning of Saturday the 17th the marines and New South Wales corps
formed under arms on the parade in front of the quarters, when his
Majesty's commission appointing Francis Grose, Esquire, to be
lieutenant-governor of this territory, and the letters patent under the
great seal for establishing the civil and criminal courts of judicature,
were publicly read by the judge-advocate. The governor and the principal
officers of the settlement attended, and his excellency received from the
corps under arms the honours due to his rank in the colony. At the
conclusion of the ceremony, the _Pitt_, by a well-concerted signal, saluted
with fifteen guns, as a compliment to the lieutenant-governor.

A person who came out to this country in the capacity of a carpenter's
mate on board the _Sirius_, and who had been discharged from that ship's
books into the _Supply_, having been left behind when that vessel sailed
for England, offered his services to put together the vessel that arrived
in frame in the _Pitt_; and being deemed sufficiently qualified as a
shipwright, he was engaged at two shillings _per diem_ and his provisions
to set her up. Her keel was accordingly laid down on blocks placed for
the purpose near the landing-place on the east side. As this person was
the only shipwright in the colony, the vessel would much sooner have
rendered the services which were required of her, had she been put
together, coppered, and sent out manned and officered from England; by
these means too the colony would have received many articles which were
of necessity shut out of the _Pitt_ to make room for her stowage.

About this time a malady of an alarming nature was perceived in the
colony. Four or five of the convicts were seized with insanity; and, as
the major part of those who were visited by this calamity were females,
who on account of their sex were not harassed with hard labour, and who
in general shared largely of such little comforts as were to be procured
in the settlement, it was difficult to assign a cause for this disorder.

April.] With a dreadful sick list, and with death making rapid strides
among us, the month of April commenced: a lamentable circumstance to
those who had to provide by their labour for the support of a colony, in
which, from its great distance, not only from the parent country, but
from every port where supplies could be procured, it became an object of
the first magnitude and importance to endeavour speedily, and by every
possible exertion, to place its inhabitants in a situation that accident
or delay might not affect. His Majesty's ship _Guardian_ afforded a
melancholy recollection how much this colony had already felt from
misadventure, and the delay which occurred in the voyage of the _Lady
Juliana_ transport had proved equally calamitous. The recent circumstance
of a ship arriving without a supply of flour, and other contingencies,
spoke with a warning voice, and loudly demanded that every arm which
could be raised should be exerted to make provision against the hour of
want. Few, however, in comparison with the measure of our necessities,
were the numbers daily brought into the field for the purpose of
cultivation; and of those who could handle the hoe or the spade by far the
greater part carried hunger in their countenances; but it was earnestly
hoped and anxiously expected, that by the speedy arrival of supplies from
England the full ration of every species of provisions would be again
issued, when labour would be renewed with additional vigour and effect;
health and strength be seen residing among us; and the approaches of
independence on Great Britain be something more than a sanguine hope or
visionary speculation.

The convicts, and such stores and provisions as the governor thought it
necessary to send to Norfolk Island, being embarked, the _Pitt_ sailed on
the 7th. Previous to her departure, a female convict was found secreted
on board, who declaring in her justification that the fourth mate of the
ship had assisted her in her escape, he was tried by the civil court of
judicature for taking a convict from the settlement, but, for want of
sufficient proof, was acquitted.

The practicability of being secreted on board of ships would always
operate as an inducement to wretches who saw a long term of servitude
before them to attempt their escape; but it certainly behoved every
master of a merchantman bound from this port to be very vigilant and
sedulous to prevent their succeeding, as the safety of the ship might be
very much endangered by having numbers of such people on board mixing
with their ship's company.

On Friday the 13th died Mr. David Burton, of a gunshot wound which he
received on the preceding Saturday. This young man, on account of the
talents he possessed as a botanist, and the services which he was capable
of rendering in the surveying line, could be but ill spared in this
settlement. His loss was occasioned by one of those accidents which too
frequently happen to persons who are inexperienced in the use of
fire-arms. Mr. Burton had been out with Ensign Beckwith, and some
soldiers of the New South Wales corps, intending to kill ducks on the
Nepean. With that sensation of the mind which is called presentiment he
is said to have set out, having more than once observed, that he feared
some accident would happen before his return; and he did not cease to be
tormented with this unpleasant idea, until his gun, which he carried
rather awkwardly, went off, and lodged its contents in the ground within
a few inches of the feet of the person who immediately preceded him in
the walk through the woods. Considering this as the accident which his
mind foreboded, he went on afterwards perfectly freed from any
apprehension. But he was deceived. Reaching the banks of the river, they
found on its surface innumerable flocks of those fowl of which they were
in search. Mr. Burton, in order to have a better view of them, got upon
the stump of a tree, and, resting his hand upon the muzzle of his piece,
raised himself by its assistance as high as he was able. The butt of the
piece rested on the ground, which was thickly covered with long grass,
shrubs, and weeds. No one saw the danger of such a situation in time to
prevent what followed. By some motion of this unfortunate young man the
piece went off, and the contents, entering at his wrist, forced their way
up between the two bones of his right arm, which were much shattered, to
the elbow. Mr. Beckwith, by a very happy presence of mind, applying
bandages torn from a shirt, succeeded in stopping the vast effusion of
blood which ensued, or his patient must soon have bled to death. This
accident happened at five in the afternoon, and it was not till ten
o'clock at night of the following day that Mr. Burton was brought into
Parramatta. The consequence was, such a violent fever and inflammation
had taken place that any attempt to save life by amputation would only
have hastened his end. In the night of the 12th the mortification came
on, and he died the following morning, leaving behind him, what he
universally enjoyed while living, the esteem and respect of all who knew

A person of a far different character and description met with an
accidental death the following day. He had been employed to take some
provisions to a settler who occupied a farm on the creek leading to
Parramatta, and was killed by a blow from the limb of a tree, which fell
on his head and fractured his skull, without having allowed him that time
for repentance of which a sinful life stood so much in need. His
companions and fellow prisoners (for he was a convict) declared him to
have been so great a reprobate, that he was scarcely ever known to speak
without an oath, or without calling on his Maker as a witness to the
truth of the lie he was about to utter.

The weather had been for some days extremely bad, heavy storms of wind
and rain having generally prevailed from Monday the 9th till Friday the
13th, when fair weather succeeded. At Parramatta the gale had done much
damage; several huts which were built in low grounds were rendered almost
inaccessible, and the greater part of the wattled huts suffered
considerably. A large portion of the cleared ground was laid under water,
and such corn as had not been reaped was beaten down. At Sydney the
effects of the storm, though it had been equally violent, were not so
severe. Most of the houses were rendered damp, and had leaks in different
parts; seeds which had been recently sown were washed out of the ground,
and the bridge over the stream was somewhat injured. In the woods it had
raged with much violence; the people employed to kill game reported that
it was dangerous to walk in the forests; and the ground, covered with
huge limbs or whole trunks of trees, confirmed the truth of their report.

The bricklayers were immediately sent up to Parramatta, to repair the
damages effected by the storm; and the bridge at Sydney was not only
repaired, but considerably widened.

On Saturday the 13th an alteration took place in the ration. Three pounds
of flour, and two pounds of maize, with four pounds of pork, were served
to each man, and three pounds of flour, and one pound of maize, with four
pounds of pork, were served to each woman in the settlement.The children
received the usual proportion. To such alterations the settlement had now
for some years been habituated; and although it was well known that they
never were imposed but when the state of the stores rendered them
absolutely necessary, it was impossible to meet the deduction without
reflecting, that the established ration would have been adequate to every
want; the plea of hunger could not have been advanced as the motive and
excuse for thefts; and disease would not have met so powerful an ally in
its ravages among the debilitated and emaciated objects which the gaols
had crowded into transports, and the transports had landed in these

The works in hand were, building brick huts at Sydney for convicts,
consisting of two apartments, each hut being twenty-six feet in front,
and fourteen feet in width, and intended to contain ten people, with a
suitable allotment of garden ground; completing tanks for water; widening
the bridge, etc. One day in each week was dedicated to issuing
provisions, and the labour of the other five (with interruptions from bad
weather, and the plea of the reduced ration) did not amount in all to
three good working days.

At Parramatta the principal labour was the getting in and housing the
maize, and preparing ground for the next year's grain. The foundations of
two material buildings were laid, a town-hall and an hospital. The
town-hall was intended to include a market-place for the sale of grain,
fish, poultry, live stock, wearing apparel, and every other article that
convicts might purchase or sell. An order establishing this regulation
had been given out at Parramatta, and a clerk of the market appointed to
register every commodity that was brought for sale or barter; directing,
in the case of non-compliance, the forfeiture both of the purchase-money
and of the article, to be given, one moiety to the informer, and the
other to the hospital for the benefit of the sick.

This order was meant to prevent the selling or interchanging of stolen
goods among the convicts; a measure that appeared to be daily becoming
more necessary. The depredations which were committed, hourly it might be
said, upon the maize, were very serious, and called for the interposition
of some measure that might prevent them, as punishments, however severe,
were not found effectually to answer the end. A convict who lived as a
servant with an officer was tried by the criminal court for robbing his
master, and being found guilty was sentenced to receive three hundred

The colony had now been so long established, that many convicts who had
come out in the first fleet, and might be termed the first settlers in
the country, had served the several terms of transportation to which they
had been sentenced. Of the people of this description, some had become
settlers; some had left the country; others, to use their own
expressions, had taken themselves off the stores, that is to say, had
declined receiving any farther provisions from the public stores or doing
any public labour, but derived their support from such settlers or other
persons as could employ and maintain them; while others, with somewhat
more discretion, continued to labour for government, and to receive
their provisions as usual from the commissary. Of the latter description,
fourteen who were indulged with the choice of the place where they were
to labour, preferred the settlement at Sydney, and there had one hut
assigned to them for their residence. To prevent any imposition on the
part of those who professed to be supported by settlers, they were
directed to render an account at the end of each week of their respective
employments; for people who had not any visible means of living would
soon have become nuisances in the settlement.

It required something more than common application to adapt remedies to
the various irregularities which from time to time grew up in the
settlement, and something more than common ingenuity to counteract the
artifices of those whose meditations were hourly directed to schemes of
evasion or depredation.

The natives had not lately given us any interruption by acts of
hostility. Several of their young people continued to reside among us,
and the different houses in the town were frequently visited by their
relations. Very little information that could be depended upon respecting
their manners and customs was obtained through this intercourse; and it
was observed, that they conversed with us in a mutilated and incorrect
language formed entirely on our imperfect knowledge and improper
application of their words.


Mortality in April
Appearance and state of the convicts
Ration again reduced
Quantity of flour in store
State of transactions with the natives
Indian corn stolen
Public works
Average prices of grain, etc at Sydney, and at Parramatta
Mortality decreases
King's birthday
The _Atlantic_ returns from Bengal
Account received of Bryant and his companions
Ration farther reduced
_Atlantic_ cleared
Sheep-pens at Parramatta attempted
Quality of provisions received from Calcutta
The _Brittania_ arrives from England
Ration increased
A convict emancipated
Public works

May.] The mortality in the last month had been extremely great.
Distressing as it was, however, to see the poor wretches daily dropping
into the grave, it was far more afflicting to observe the countenances
and emaciated persons of many that remained soon to follow their
miserable companions. Every step was taken that could be devised to save
them; a fishery was established at the South Head, exclusively for the
use of the sick, under the direction of one Barton, who had been formerly
a pilot, and who, in addition to this duty, was to board all ships coming
into the harbour and pilot them to the settlement. The different people
who were employed by individuals to kill game were given up for the use
of the hospital; and to stimulate them to exertion, two pounds of flour
in addition to the ration were ordered for every kangaroo that they
should bring, beside the head, one forequarter, and the pluck of the

The weakest of the convicts were excused from any kind of hard labour;
but it was not hard labour that destroyed them; it was an entire want of
strength in the constitution to receive nourishment, to throw off the
debility that pervaded their whole system, or to perform any sort of
labour whatever.

This dreadful mortality was chiefly confined to the convicts who had
arrived in the last year; of one hundred and twenty-two male convicts who
came out in the _Queen_ transport from Ireland, fifty only were living at
the beginning of this month. The different robberies which were committed
were also confined to this class of the convicts, and the wretches who
were concerned in the commission of them were in general too weak to
receive a punishment adequate to their crimes. Their universal plea was
hunger; but it was a plea that in the then situation of the colony could
not be so much attended to as it certainly would have been in a country
of greater plenty.

The quantity of Indian corn stolen and destroyed this season was not
ascertained, but was supposed to have been at least one sixth of what was
raised. The people employed in bringing it in daily reported that they
found immense piles of the husks and stalks concealed in the midst of
what was standing, having been there shelled and taken off at different
times. This was a very serious loss, and became an object of immediate
consideration in such a scarcity as the colony then experienced; most
anxiously it expected supplies from England, which did not arrive, though
the time had elapsed in which they should have appeared had their
departure taken place at the period mentioned by the secretary of state
(the autumn of last year). His excellency therefore thought it prudent
still farther to abridge the ration of flour which was then issued; and
on the 9th of the month directed the commissary to serve weekly, until
further orders, one pound and an half of flour with four pounds of maize
to each man; and one pound and an half of flour with three pounds of
maize to each woman, and to every child ten years of age; but made no
alteration in the ration of salt provisions.

This ration was to take place on Saturday the 12th; and as maize or
Indian corn was now necessarily become the principal part of each
person's subsistence, hand-mills and querns were set to work to grind it
coarse for every person both at Sydney and at Parramatta; and at this
latter place, wooden mortars, with a lever and a pestle, were also used
to break the corn, and these pounded it much finer than it could be
ground by the hand-mills; but it was effected with great labour.

On comparing this ration with that issued in the month of April 1790, it
will appear that the allowance then received from the public store was in
most respects better than that now ordered. We then received, in addition
to two pounds and a half of flour, two pounds of rice, which taken
together yielded more nutritive substance than the four pounds of maize
and one pound and a half of flour; for the maize when perfectly ground,
sifted, and divested of the unwholesome and unprofitable part, the husk,
would not give more than three pounds of good meal; and the rice was used
by the convicts in a much greater variety of modes than it was possible
to prepare the maize in.

As at this period the flour in store was reduced to a very inconsiderable
quantity, twenty-four days at the new ration (one pound and a half per
week), and the salt provisions at the present ration not affording a
supply for a longer time than three months, it became a melancholy,
although natural reflection, that had not such numbers died, both in the
passage and since the landing of those who survived the voyage, we should
not at this moment have had any thing to receive from the public stores;
thus strangely did we derive a benefit from the miseries of our fellow

Several of the settlers who had farms at or near Parramatta,
notwithstanding the extreme drought of the season preceding the saving of
their corn, had such crops that they found themselves enabled to take off
from the public store, some one, and others two convicts, to assist in
preparing their grounds for the next season. The salt provisions with
which they supplied them they procured by bartering their corn for that
article, reserving a sufficiency for the support of themselves and
families, and for seed. Mr. Schaffer from a small patch of ground got in
about two hundred bushels of Indian corn; and with the assistance of four
convicts expected to have thirty acres in cultivation the next season.
But others of the settlers, inattentive to their own interests, and more
desirous of acquiring for the present what they deemed comforts, than
studious to provide for the future, not only neglected the cultivation of
their lands, but sold the breeding stock with which they had been
supplied by order of the governor. Two settlers of the former description
having clearly forfeited their grants, and it being understood that they
did not intend to proceed to cultivation any further than to save
appearances till they could get away, their grants were taken from them,
and other settlers placed on the grounds. But exclusive of the idle
people, of which there were but few, the settlers were found in general
to be doing very well, their farms promising to place them shortly in a
state of independence on the public stores in the articles of provisions
and grain; and it must not be omitted in this account, that they had to
combat with the bad effects of a short and reduced ration nearly the
whole of the time that they had been employed in cultivating ground on
their own account.

Many complaints having been made by the settlers, of depredations
committed on their Indian corn by some of the convicts, it was ordered,
that every convict residing at Parramatta, who should be fully convicted
before a magistrate of stealing Indian corn, should, in addition to such
corporal punishment as he might think it necessary to adjudge, be sent
from Parramatta to the New Grounds, there to be employed in cultivation.
Mr. Richard Atkins, who came out in the Pitt, and who had been sworn a
Justice of the peace, went up to Parramatta to reside there, the constant
presence of a magistrate being deemed by the governor indispensable at
that settlement.

It was soon perceived, that the punishment of being sent from Parramatta
was more dreaded by the convicts than any corporal correction, however
severe, that could have been inflicted on them. The being deprived of a
comfortable hut and garden, and quitting a place whence the communication
with Sydney was frequent, particularly when shipping were in the cove,
operated so powerfully with one offender, who was ordered out to the New
Grounds, that he chose rather to make an attempt to destroy himself than
be sent thither; and had very nearly effected his purpose, having made an
incision in his neck of such depth as to lay bare the carotid artery.

In addition to the depredations of our own people, the natives had for
some time been suspected of stealing the corn at the settlements beyond
Parramatta. On the 18th a party of the tribe inhabiting the woods, to the
number of fifteen or sixteen, was observed coming out of a hut at the
middle settlement, dressed in such clothing as they found there, and
taking with them a quantity of corn in nets. The person who saw them
imagined at first from their appearance that they were convicts; but
perceiving one of them preparing to throw a spear at him, he levelled his
piece, which was loaded with small shot, and fired at him. The native
instantly dropped his spear, and the whole party ran away, leaving behind
them the nets with the corn, some blankets, and one or two spears. It was
supposed that the native was wounded; for in a few days information was
received from Parramatta, that a convict who was employed in well-digging
at Prospect Hill, having come in from thence to receive some slops which
were issued, was on his return met midway and murdered, or rather
butchered by some of the natives. When the body was found, it was not
quite cold, and had at least thirty spear wounds in it. The head was cut
in several places, and most of the teeth were knocked out. They had taken
his clothing and provisions, and the provisions of another man which he
was carrying out to him. The natives with whom we had intercourse said,
that this murder was committed by some of the people who inhabited the
woods, and was done probably in revenge for the shot that was fired at
the natives who some time before were stripping the hut.

Toward the end of the month the corn was all got in and housed at
Parramatta. As the grounds were cleared of the stalks, the depredations
which had been committed became visible; and several of the convicts were
detected by the night-watch in bringing in large quantities of shelled
corn which had been stolen, buried or concealed in the woods, and shelled
as they could find opportunity. Seven bushels were recovered in one night
by the vigilance of the watch; and as different quantities were found
from time to time in the huts, the people who resided in them were all
ordered to the New Grounds.

The works during this month, both at Sydney and at Parramatta, went on
but slowly. At Sydney a tank that would contain about seven thousand nine
hundred and ninety-six gallons of water, with a well in the centre
fifteen feet deep, was finished, and the water let into it. Brick huts
were in hand for the convicts in room of the miserable hovels occupied by
many, which had been put up at their first landing, and in room of others
which, from having been erected on such ground as was then cleared, were
now found to interfere with the direction of the streets which the
governor was laying out. People were also employed in cutting paling for
fencing in their gardens. At Parramatta and the New Grounds, during the
greatest part of the month, the people were employed in getting in the
maize and sowing wheat. A foundation for an hospital was laid, a house
built for the master carpenter, and roofs prepared for the different huts
either building, or to be built in future.

The following were the prices of grain and other articles, as they were
sold during this month at Sydney, and at the market-place at Parramatta.


Flour from 6d to 1s per lb.
Maize per bushel from 12s 6d to 15s.
Laying hens from 7s to 10s each.
Cocks for killing from 4s to 7s each.
Half grown chickens from 2s 6d to 3s 6d each.
Chickens six weeks old 1s each.
Eggs 3s per dozen, or 3d a-piece.
Fresh pork 1s per lb.
Potatoes 3d per lb.
Good white heart cabbages 1d each.
Greens per dozen 6d.
Turnips 6d per dozen.
Sows in pig from £4 10s to £6 6s.
Sows just taken the boar from £3 to £4 4s.
Growing pigs from £1 to £2 10s each.
Sucking pigs 10s each.
Moist sugar from 1s 6d to 2s 6d per lb.
Coffee 2s to 2s 6d per lb.
Salt pork per lb. from 8d to 9d.
Tobacco, Brazil, per lb. from 3s to 5s.


Flour 1s per lb.
Maize per bushel from 11s to 13s.
Laying hens from 7s 6d to 10s each.
Cocks for killing from 4s 6d to 5s each.
Chickens two months old 3s each.
Eggs per dozen 3s.
Fresh pork per lb. from 1s 1d to 1s 3d.
Salt pork per lb. from 10d to 1s.
Potatoes per lb. from 3d to 4d.
A lot of cabbages, per hundred 10s.
Tea per lb. from 16s to £1 1s.
Coffee per lb. from 2s to 3s.
Moist sugar from 2s to 2s 6d per lb.
Tobacco grown in the country from 1s 6d to 2s per lb.
Virginia or Brazil from 4s to 6s.
Soap from 1s 6d to 2s 6d per lb.
Cheese from 1s 6d to 2s per lb.

June.] With infinite satisfaction it was observed at the beginning of the
month, that the mortality and sickness among the people had very much
decreased. This was attributed by the medical gentlemen to the quantities
of fresh meat which had been obtained at Parramatta by the people who
were employed to shoot for the hospital; a sufficiency having been
brought in at one time to supply the sick with fresh meat for a week; and
for the remainder of the month in the proportion of twice or three times
a week. Great quantities of vegetables had also been given to those who
were in health, as well as to the sick, both from the public ground at
the farther settlement (which had been sown, and produced some most
excellent turnips) and from the governor's garden.

4th.] The anniversary of his Majesty's birthday was observed with as much
distinction as was in our power. The governor always wished to celebrate
that day in the year in a manner that should render it welcome to all
descriptions of people in the different settlements. Heretofore on the
same occasion he had increased the ration of provisions; but the
situation of the public stores not admitting of such increase at the
present, the commissary was directed to issue on that day half a pint of
rum to each person of the civil and military department, and a quarter of
a pint of rum to each female in the settlement. At noon the New South
Wales corps fired three volleys, and the governor received the
compliments of the day; after which the officers of each department were
entertained by his Excellency at dinner at government-house. Bonfires
were made at night, and the day concluded joyfully, without any
interruption to the peace of the settlement.

The small allowance of spirits which was given for the day to the
convalescents, and to such sick in the hospital as the surgeon judged
proper, being found of infinite service to them, the governor directed
that the surgeon should receive a certain quantity, and at his discretion
issue it from time to time to such sick under his care as he thought
would derive benefit from it; the remainder was ordered to be reserved
for the use of the sloop when it might be necessary to send her to sea.
The spirits at this time in the colony were the surplus of what had been
sent out for his majesty's ship _Sirius_, and the _Supply_ armed tender.

 As it had been customary too, on this day, to grant a pardon to such
offenders as might be in custody or under sentence of corporal
punishment, his Excellency was pleased a few days after to release such
convicts as were sentenced to work in irons for a limited time at
Parramatta and the New Grounds, and who were not very notorious
offenders. This lenity was the rather shown at this time, as the
convicts were in general giving proofs of a greater disposition to
honesty than had for some time been visible among them. The convicts at
the New Grounds being assembled for this purpose, the governor
acquainted them, 'that the state of the colony requiring a still farther
reduction in the ration, it would very shortly take place; but that he
hoped soon to have it in his power to augment it. The deficiencies in
the established ration, he informed them, should at a future period be
made up; but in the meantime he expected that every man would continue
to exert himself and get the corn into the ground to insure support for
the next year.' Indeed these exertions became every day more necessary.
On the 6th of this month there was only a sufficiency of flour in store
to serve till the 2nd of July, and salt provisions till the 6th of
August following, at the ration then issued; and neither the _Atlantic_
storeship from Calcutta, nor the expected supplies from England, had

Notwithstanding the mortality and sickness which had prevailed among the
convicts who came out in the last ships, much labour had been performed
at the New Grounds by those who were capable of handling the hoe and the
spade. At this time the quantity of ground in wheat, and cleared and
broken up for maize, there and at Parramatta, was such as (if not visited
again by a dry season) would at least, computing the produce even at what
it was the last year, yield a sufficiency of grain for all our numbers
for a twelvemonth. But every one doubted the possibility of getting all
the corn into the ground within the proper time, unless the colony should
be very speedily relieved from its distresses, as the reduction in the
ration would inevitably be followed by a diminution of the daily labour.

On the 20th however, to the inexpressible joy of all ranks of people in
the settlements, the _Atlantic_ storeship anchored safely in the cove,
with a cargo of rice, soujee, and dholl, from Calcutta, having been much
longer performing her voyage than was expected, owing to some delays at
Calcutta, in settling and arranging the contract for the supply of
provisions which had been required. The merchants who, in the year 1790,
had made a tender to supply this colony with certain articles at a
stipulated price, were, from several concurring circumstances, unable to
furnish what was required by Lieutenant Bowen, agreeable to the prices
then stipulated; it was therefore determined by the members of the
council at Calcutta, to whom Lieutenant Bowen delivered his letters and
instructions (Earl Cornwallis, who had, several months previous to his
arrival, been desired by the secretary of state to direct any supplies
which might be required for this settlement, being absent with the army),
to invite offers for supplying the different articles which were required
by contract. Lieutenant Bowen arrived at Calcutta on the 4th of February,
and it was not till the 27th of the following month that the business was
finally arranged, and a contract entered into by the house of Lambert,
Ross, and Co. satisfactory to the council and to Lieutenant Bowen.

It appearing that the flour of Bengal, unless it was dressed for the
purpose, which would have taken a great deal of time, was not of a
quality to keep even for the voyage from Calcutta to this country a large
proportion of rice, of that sort which was said to be the fittest for
preservation, was purchased. A small quantity of flour too was put on
board, but merely for the purpose of experiment. It was called soujee by
the natives, but was much inferior in quality to the flour prepared in
Europe, and more difficult to make into bread.

The _Atlantic_ left Calcutta the 28th of March, and on her passage met
with much bad weather, and some heavy gales of wind. She brought two
bulls and a cow of the Bengal breed, together with twenty sheep and
twenty goats; but these were of so diminutive a species, that, unless the
breed could be considerably improved by that already in the country, very
little benefit was for a length of time to be expected from their
importation. Various seeds and plants also were received from the
company's botanical garden; and much commendation was due to Colonel
Kydd, the gentleman who superintended the selection and arrangement of
them for the voyage; as well as to Lieutenant Bowen, for his care, and
for the accommodation which he gave up, both to them and to the cattle,
in the cabin of the ship.

Information was received by the Calcutta papers of the loss of his
Majesty's ship _Pandora_, Captain Edwards, who had been among the
Friendly islands in search of Christian and his piratical crew, fourteen
of whom he had secured, and was returning with the purpose of surveying
Endeavour Straits pursuant to his instructions, when he unfortunately
struck upon a reef in latitude 23 degrees S eleven degrees only to the
northward of this port. By his boats he providentially reached Timor with
ninety-nine of his officers and people, being the whole of his ship's
company which were saved. At Timor, on his arrival, he found Bryant and
his companions, who made their escape from this place in the fishing
cutter in the night of the 28th of March 1791. These people had framed
and told a plausible tale of distress, of their having been cast away at
sea; and this for a time was believed; but they soon, by their language
to each other, and by practising the tricks of their former profession,
gave room for suspicion; and being taken up, their true characters and
the circumstances of their escape were divulged. The Dutch governor of
Timor delivered them to Captain Edwards, who took them on with him to
Batavia, whence he was to proceed to England. The circumstance of these
people having reached Timor confirmed what was suggested immediately
after their departure, that the master of the snow _Waaksamheyd_ had
furnished Bryant with instructions how to proceed, and with every thing
he stood in need of for his voyage; and it must be remembered, that
though this man, during his stay in this port, had constantly said that
every sort of refreshment was to be procured at Timor, yet when Captain
Hunter, while at sea, proposed to steer for that island, he declared that
nothing was to be got there, and so prevented that officer from going
thither. There cannot be a doubt that, expecting to find his friends at
Timor, he did not choose either to endanger them, or risk a discovery of
the part he had acted in aiding their escape.

Had it not been for the fortunate discovery and subsequent delivery of
these people to a captain of a British man of war, the evident
practicability of reaching Timor in an open boat might have operated with
others to make the attempt, and to carry off boats from the settlements;
which, during the absence of the king's ships belonging to the station,
was never difficult; and it was now hoped, that the certainty of every
boat which should reach that or any other Dutch settlement under similar
circumstances being suspected and received accordingly, would have its
due effect here.

The supply of provisions received by the Atlantic being confined to
grain, it became necessary to reduce the ration of salt meat. It was
therefore ordered on the 21st, that after the Friday following only two
pounds of pork should be issued in lieu of four. The allowance of one
pound and a half of flour and four pounds of maize was continued, but one
pound of rice and one quart of peas were added.

The general order given out on this occasion stated,

That the arrival of ships with further supplies of provisions might be
daily looked for; but as it was possible that some unforeseen accident
might have happened to the ships which were expected to have sailed from
England shortly after the departure of the _Pitt_, it became necessary to
reduce the ration of provisions then issued, in order that the quantity
in store might hold out till the arrival of those ships, which might be
supposed to have sailed for this country about the months of January or
February last; it having been the intention of government that ships
should sail from England for this colony twice in every year. And as all
deficiencies in the ration were to be made good hereafter, the following
extract from the instructions which fixed the ration for the colony was
inserted, viz

Ration for each marine and male convict for seven days successively: 7
pounds of bread, or in lieu thereof 7 pounds of flour; 7 pounds of beef,
or in lieu thereof 4 pounds of pork; 3 pints of peas; 6 ounces of butter;
1 pound of flour, or in lieu thereof half a pound of rice:

Being the same as are allowed his Majesty's troops serving in the
West-India Islands, excepting only the allowance of spirits.

And two thirds of the above ration were directed to be issued to each
woman in the settlement.

So far the general order.

As, however, a sufficient quantity of rice could not be landed in time to
issue on the Saturday, one pound of maize was issued in lieu of the same
quantity of rice.

At this ration the rice and flour or soujee were calculated to last five
months; and the peas or dholl for nearly a twelvemonth. But if the
_Atlantic_ had not arrived, the prospect in the colony would have been
truly dreary and distressing; as it was intended to have issued only one
pound and a half of flour, three pounds of maize, and two pounds of pork
per week, on Saturday the 23rd; a ration that would have derived very
little assistance from vegetables, as at that season of the year the
gardens had scarcely any thing in them. Gloomy and unpromising, however,
as was the situation of the settlements before her arrival, that event,
which happened the very day on which, two years before, the colony had
been relieved by the arrival of the _Justinian_ storeship, cast a gleam
of sunshine which penetrated everyone capable of reflection, and, by
effecting a sudden change in the ideas, operated so powerfully on the
mind, that we all felt alike, and found it impossible to sit for one
minute seriously down to any business or accustomed pursuit.

A black, the same who had secreted himself on board the _Supply_ when she
went to Batavia, having found means to conceal himself on board the
_Atlantic_ on her departure for Calcutta, and to remain concealed until
she had left Norfolk Island, was brought back again to the settlement,
notwithstanding he endeavoured to escape from the ship in the Ganges. As
it appeared that he had served the term for which he was sentenced to be
transported even before he got off on board the _Atlantic_, of which
Lieutenant Bowen had only his assertion, no punishment was inflicted upon
him, and he was left at liberty to get away in any ship that would
receive him on board.

The little live stock that was received by the _Atlantic_ was landed at
Parramatta directly after her arrival, and placed in an inclosure
separated from the others.

About two hundred and fifty gallons of Bengal rum having been received,
the governor directed, that in consequence of the ration being reduced,
that quantity, together with what was in store, and had been intended for
the use of the sloop at a future time, should be issued to the civil and
military, reserving a proportion for those at Norfolk Island.

The flag-staff which had been erected at the South Head under the
direction of Captain Hunter, in the month of January 1790, being found
too short to show the signal at any great distance, a new one was taken
down the harbour, and erected the day the _Atlantic_ arrived, within a
few feet of the other; its height above ground was sixty feet.

It was not found that the return of the _Atlantic_ had caused any
diminution in the price of grain or stock, either at Parramatta or at
Sydney. At this latter place a market had been established for the sale
of grain, fish, or poultry, similar to that at Parramatta; a clerk being
appointed to superintend it, and take account of the different articles
brought for sale, to prevent the barter of goods stolen by the convicts.

On the last day of the month, some natives residing at the south shore of
Botany Bay, whether from a hope of reward, or from actually having seen
some ships at a distance, informed the governor that a few days before
they had perceived four or five sail, one of which they described to be
larger than the others, standing off the land, with a westerly wind.
Little credit was however given to their report.

July.] As the merchants who supplied the provisions received by the
_Atlantic_ were only to be paid for such part of the cargo as was
actually landed, and found to be in a merchantable condition, it became
necessary to weigh and survey the whole of the cargo; for which purpose
two surveyors were appointed by the governor. This of course proved a
very tedious business, from the weakness of the gangs at Sydney. Seldom
more than four hundred bags, each bag containing one hundred and
sixty-four pounds, were at first landed in a day; latterly, this number
was by great exertions got up to somewhat more than five hundred in a
day. It was not, however, till the 21st of the month that she was

Having discharged her cargo, she began the serious labour of ballasting,
and it being wished to expedite her preparations for Norfolk Island, her
ship's company were assisted with twelve convicts from the settlement,
and the occasional use of such boats as could be spared to convey the
ballast to the ship. The governor was anxious to learn the state of that
dependency, not having heard from it since the return of the _Queen_
transport early in the last December.

The maize being all got in, it was hoped that the convicts would not find
any new object for their depredations, and that order and tranquillity
would for a time at least be restored among them. But the houses of
individuals soon became their prey, and three or four daring burglaries
were committed this month: I say daring burglaries, as the houses which
were broken into were either within the view of a sentinel, or within the
round of a watchman. This, however, must not be otherwise understood than
as a proof of the perseverance and cunning of these people, who could
find means to elude any vigilance that was opposed to their designs. An
attempt to steal some of the sheep at Parramatta was also made by two
notorious offenders, who, from being deemed incorrigible, were not
included in the pardon which the governor granted to the wretches in
irons after his Majesty's birthday, but were ordered to be chained
together for some longer time. Being fortunately overheard by the person
who lived in the inclosure, and had the care of the stock, he snapped a
piece at them, and, finding it miss fire, gave an alarm to the watch, by
whose activity they were apprehended two miles from the place. They were
provided with every thing necessary for their design, such as a tomahawk,
an iron kettle, knives, spoons, platters, and a quantity of vegetables.
It was found, that with the assistance of the tomahawk they had divided
the chain that linked them together, and had secured round the leg the
iron that remained with each, so as not to be heard when they moved.

The different species of provisions which had been received from Calcutta
were not much esteemed by the people. The flour or soujee, from our not
knowing the proper mode of preparing it for bread, soon became sour,
particularly if not assisted with some other grain; the dholl, or peas,
were complained of as boiling hard, and not breaking, though kept on the
fire for a greater length of time than the impatience of those who were
to use it would in general admit of; and the rice, though termed the best
of the cargo, was found to be full of husks, and ill dressed. Some pork
also, of which eight casks had been sent as an experiment, was, on being
issued, found to be for the most part putrid, and, in the language of
surveyors of provisions, not fit for men to eat. These circumstances,
together with the extreme minuteness of the Bengal breed of cattle,
excited a general hope, that these settlements would not have to depend
upon that country for supplies. To the parent country every one anxiously
looked for a speedy and substantial assistance; and day after day used to
pass in a fruitless hope that the morrow would come accompanied with the
long wished-for arrival of ships.

The natives who lived among us assured us from time to time, that the
report formerly propagated of ships having been seen on the coast had a
foundation in reality; and as every one remembered that the _Justinian_,
after making the heads of Port Jackson, had been kept at sea for three
weeks, a fond hope was cherished that the sun had shone upon the whitened
sails of some approaching vessel, which had been discovered by the
penetrating eyes of our savage neighbours at Botany Bay. In this anxiety
and expectation we remained till the 26th, when the long-wished-for
signal was made, and in a few hours after the _Britannia_ storeship,
Mr. William Raven master, anchored in the cove, after a passage of
twenty-three weeks from Falmouth, having sailed from thence on the 15th
of last February, the day after the arrival of the _Pitt_ in this country.

The _Britannia_ was the first of three ships that were to be dispatched
hither, having on board twelve months clothing for the convicts, four
months flour, and eight months beef and pork for every description of
persons in the settlements, at full allowance, calculating their numbers
at four thousand six hundred and thirty-nine, which it was at home
supposed they might amount to after the arrival of the _Pitt_. It was
still a matter of uncertainty in England, even at the departure of the
_Britannia_, whether the merchants of Calcutta had supplied this country
with provisions; and under the idea that some circumstance might have
prevented them, this supply was ordered to be forwarded. The _Kitty_
transport, one of the three ships which were to contain these supplies,
had sailed from Deptford, at the time the _Britannia_ passed through the
Downs; her arrival therefore might be daily expected, and in her, or on
board of the other ship, it was imagined that fifteen families of
Quakers, who had made proposals to government to be received in this
country as settlers, were to take their passage.

It was with great pleasure heard in the colony, that some steps had been
taken toward prosecuting Donald Trail, the master of the _Neptune_
transport, for his treatment of the convicts with which he sailed from
England for this settlement in the year 1790. The sickness and mortality
which prevailed among them excited a suspicion that they had been
improperly treated; and information upon oath was soon procured of many
acts of neglect, ill usage, and cruelty toward them.

In the consequence of the arrival of the _Britannia_, the commissary was
on the following day directed to issue, _until further orders_, the
following weekly ration, viz to each man 4 pounds of maize, 3 pounds of
soujee, 7 pounds of beef, or in lieu thereof 4 lbs. of pork, 3 pints of
peas or dholl, and ½ a pound of rice.

Two thirds of the man's ration was directed to be issued to each woman
and to every child above ten years of age; one half of the man's ration
to each child above two, and under ten years of age; and one fourth of
the man's ration to each child under two years of age.

Thus happily was the colony once more put upon something like a full
ration of provisions; a change in our situation that gave universal
satisfaction, as at the hour of the arrival of the _Britannia_ there were
in the public store only twenty-four days salt provisions for the
settlement at the ration then issued. A delay of a month in her voyage
would have placed the colony in a state that must have excited the
commiseration of its greatest enemies; a vast body of hard-working people
depending for their support upon one pound and a half of soujee, or bad
Bengal flour, four pounds of maize, one pound of rice, and one quart of
peas for one man per week, without one ounce of meat! But with this new
ration all entertained new hopes, and trusted that their future labours
would be crowned with success, and that the necessity of sending out
supplies from the mother country until the colony could support itself
without assistance would have become so evident from the frequency of our
distresses and the reduction of the ration, that the journalist would no
longer have occasion to fill his page with comparisons between what we
might have been and what we were; to lament the non arrival of supplies;
nor to paint the miseries and wretchedness which ensued; but might adopt
a language to which he might truly be said to have been hitherto a
stranger, and paint the glowing prospects of a golden harvest, the
triumph of a well-filled store, and the increasing and consequent
prosperity of the settlements.

His excellency this month thought fit to exercise the power vested in him
by act of parliament, and by his Majesty's commission under the great
seal, of remitting either wholly, or in part, the term for which felons
might be transported, by granting an absolute remission of the term for
which Elizabeth Perry had been sentenced. This woman came out in the
_Neptune_ in 1790, and had married James Ruse a settler. The good conduct
of the wife, and the industry of the husband, who had for some time
supported himself, his wife, a child, and two convicts, independent of
the public store, were the reasons assigned in the instrument which
restored her to her rights and privileges as a free woman, for extending
to her the hand of forgiveness.

This power, so pleasing to the feelings of its possessor, had hitherto
been very sparingly exercised; and those persons who had felt its
influence were not found to have been undeserving. I speak only of such
convicts as had been deemed proper objects of this favour by the governor
himself; the convicts, however, who came out in the _Guardian_ were
emancipated by the King's command, and of these by far the greater part
conducted themselves with propriety.

Preparing roofs for new barracks, bringing in bricks to the spot
appointed for their construction, and discharging the _Atlantic_ and the
_Britannia_, were the principal works in hand at Sydney during the month.
At the settlements beyond Parramatta (which had lately obtained and were
in future to be distinguished by the name of Toongabbie) the convicts
were employed in preparing the ground for the reception of next year's
crop of maize. At and near Parramatta, the chief business was erecting
two houses on allotments of land which belonged to Mr. Arndell the
assistant surgeon, and to John Irving (one of those persons whose
exemplary conduct and meritorious behaviour both in this country and on
the passage to it had been rewarded with unconditional freedom by the
governor), each of whom had been put in possession, the former of sixty
and the latter of thirty acres of land on the creek leading to
Parramatta; erecting chimneys for the different settlers at the ponds,
preparing roofs for various buildings, sawing timber, cutting posts and
railing for inclosures, and hoeing and preparing ground for maize.


The _Britannia_ cleared
Survey of provisions
Total of cargo received from Bengal
_Atlantic_ sails with provisions for Norfolk Island
General behaviour of convicts
Criminal Courts
Prisoner pardoned conditionally
Another acquitted
New barracks begun
The _Atlantic_ returns from Norfolk Island
Settlers there discontented
Principal works
The _Britannia_ taken up by the officers of the New South Wales Corps
to procure stock
The _Royal Admiral_ East Indiaman arrives from England
Regulations at the store
A Burglary committed
Criminal Court
The _Britannia_ sails
Shops opened
Bad conduct of some settlers
Oil issued
Slops served
Governor Phillip signifies his intention of returning to England

August.] The Britannia was cleared, and discharged from government
employ, on the 17th of this month. A deficiency appearing in the weight
of the salt provisions delivered from that ship, a survey was immediately
ordered; and it appeared from the report of the persons employed to
conduct it, and who from their situations were well qualified to judge,
Mr. Bowen, a lieutenant in the navy, and Mr. Raven, the commander of the
_Britannia_ and a master of a man of war, that the casks of beef were
deficient, on an average, thirty-six pounds and one-third, and the
tierces twenty-one pounds and one-third. It also appeared that the meat
was lean, coarse, and boney, and worse than they have ever been issued in
his Majesty's service. A deception of this nature would be more severely
felt in this country, as its inhabitants had but lately experienced a
change from a very short ration of salt provisions; and every ounce lost
here was of importance, as the supply had been calculated on a
supposition of each cask containing its full weight.

It having been covenanted, as already mentioned, by Messrs. Lambert,
Ross, and Company, that only such part of the cargo as on its arrival
here should be found to be in a merchantable state should be paid for,
the following quantity, having been deemed merchantable by the persons
appointed to take the survey, was received into the store; viz

                Tons   Cwt   Qrs   lbs
Rice            190     3     2     3
Dholl           152    18     2    13
Peas             15     9     2    23
Soujee           57     3     0     4
Wheat             1    15     1    24
Total of Grain  417    10     1    11
[28lb=1qr, 4qr=1cwt, 20cwt=1ton. 67lb=2qr+11lb, etc.]

Eight casks of pork (as an experiment) from Lambert and Company; and two
casks of rum containing one hundred and twenty-six gallons, supplied at
3s per gallon. Four casks of flour, and four casks of soujee from Mr.
Cockraine (sent likewise as an experiment) were also received into the

The unmerchantable articles, consisting of soujee, dholl, and rice, were
sold at public auction; and though wholly unfit for men to eat, yet being
not too bad for stock, were quickly purchased, and in general went off at
a great price. Several lots, consisting of five bags of the soujee, each
bag containing about one hundred and fourteen pounds, sold for £4 14s.
The whole quantity of damaged grain which was thus disposed of amounted
to nine hundred and ninety-one bags, and sold for £373 9s making a most
desirable and acceptable provision for the private stock in the colony.
For this sum of £373 9s credit was given to the merchants at the final
settling of the account; at which time it appeared, that the whole of the
_Atlantic's_ cargo of rice, dholl, peas, soujee, wheat, and rum, which
was to be paid for by government, amounted to the sum of £7538 14s 4d.

This cargo might be termed an experiment, to which it was true we were
driven by necessity; and it had become the universal and earnest wish
that no cause might ever again induce us to try it.

The maize being expended, except a certain proportion which was reserved
for seed, seven pounds of soujee were issued per week to each man; but as
the quantity of this article which had been received from India was but
small (fifty-seven tons) compared with the rice and dholl, toward the
latter end of the month it became necessary to make up a new ration
compounded of the various grain which had been introduced from Calcutta,
and the different articles of food which had been received from England.

One third of the provisions received from Bengal by the _Atlantic_, and
the like proportion of the stores add provisions which had been landed
from the _Britannia_, having been put on board the former of those ships,
she sailed on the 19th for Norfolk Island, having also on board two
settlers from the marine detachment, twenty-two male convicts, an
incorrigible lad who had been drummed out of the New South Wales corps,
three natives, and a free woman, wife to one of the convicts. Among the
latter description of persons were some of very bad character; others who
were supposed to have formed a design of escaping from the colony; some
who professed to be flax dressers, and a few artificers who might be
useful at that island.

At the head of a party of convicts who were said to have formed a design
of seizing a boat and effecting their escape, was J. C. Morris, one of
those convicts who left England in the _Guardian_, and who, from their
meritorious behaviour before and after the disaster that befel that ship,
received conditional emancipation by his Majesty's command. Morris was
at Norfolk Island when the intimation of the royal bounty reached this
country. Being permitted to return to this settlement, he obtained a
grant of thirty acres of land at the Eastern Farms, in an advantageous
situation on the northside of the creek leading to Parramatta. Here it
soon became evident that he had not the industry necessary for a _bona
fide_ settler, and that, instead of cultivating his own ground, he lent
himself to his neighbours, who were to repay his labour by working for
him at a future day. The governor deemed this a clear forfeiture of his
grant, in which it was unequivocally expressed, that he held the thirty
acres on condition of his residing within the same, and proceeding to the
improvement and cultivation thereof. Being no longer a settler, he
declared himself able to procure his daily support without the assistance
of the public stores, from which, it must be remarked, he had been
maintained all the time he held his grant. Soon after this, it was said,
he formed the plan of going off with a boat; yet not so cautiously, but
that information was given of it to the governor, who resolved to send
him back to Norfolk Island, whence an escape was by no means so
practicable as from this place; and he was, very much against his
inclination, put on board the _Atlantic_ for that purpose. He found
means, however, to get on shore in the night preceding her departure; and
she sailed without him. A reward being offered for apprehending him, he
was soon taken, and sent up to Parramatta, there to be confined on a
reduced ration, until an opportunity offered of sending him to Norfolk

During the month the governor thought it necessary to issue some
regulations to be observed by those convicts whose sentences of
transportation had expired. The number of people of this description in
the colony had been so much increased of late, that it had become
requisite to determine with precision the line in which they were to
move. Having emerged from the condition of convicts, and got rid of the
restraint which was necessarily imposed on them while under that
subjection, many of them seemed to have forgotten that they were still
amenable to the regulations of the colony, and appeared to have shaken
off, with the yoke of bondage, all restraint and dependence whatsoever.
They were, therefore, called upon to declare their intentions respecting
their future mode of living. Those who wished to be allowed to provide
for themselves were informed, that on application to the judge-advocate,
they would receive a certificate of their having served their several
periods of transportation, which certificate they would deposit with the
commissary as his voucher for striking them off the provision and
clothing lists; and once a week they were to report in what manner and
for whom they had been employed.

Such as should be desirous of returning to England were informed, that no
obstacle would be thrown in their way, they being at liberty to ship
themselves on board of such vessels as would give them a passage. And
those who preferred labouring for the public, and receiving in return
such ration as should be issued from the public stores, were to give in
their names to the commissary, who would victual and clothe them as long
as their services might be required.

Of those, here and at Parramatta, who had fulfilled the sentence of the
law, by far the greater part signified their intention of returning to
England by the first opportunity; but the getting away from the colony
was now a matter of some difficulty, as it was understood that a clause
was to be inserted in all future contracts for shipping for this country,
subjecting the masters to certain penalties, on certificates being
received of their having brought away any convicts or other persons from
this settlement without the governor's permission; and as it was not
probable that many of them would, on their return, refrain from the vices
or avoid the society of those companions who had been the causes of their
transportation to this country, not many could hope to obtain the
sanction of the governor for their return.

With very few exceptions, however, the uniform good behaviour of the
convicts was still to be noted and commended.

September.] The month of September was ushered in with rain, and storms
of wind, thunder, and lightning. At Parramatta and Toongabbie too, as
well as at Sydney, much rain fell for several days. On the return of fine
weather, it was seen with general satisfaction that the wheat sown at
the latter settlement looked and promised well, and had not suffered from
the rain.

Early in the month the criminal court was assembled for the trial of
Benjamin Ingram, a man who had served the term for which he was ordered
to be transported. He had broken into a house belonging to a female
convict, in which he was detected packing up her property for removal.
Being found guilty, he received sentence of death; but, on the
recommendation of the court, the governor was induced to grant him a
pardon, upon condition of his residing for life on Norfolk Island. With
this extension of mercy the culprit was not made acquainted till that
moment had arrived which he thought was to separate him from this world
for ever. Upon the ladder, and expecting to be turned off, the condition
on which his life was spared was communicated to him; and with gratitude
both to God and the governor, he received the welcome tidings. He
afterwards confessed, that he had for some time past been in the habit of
committing burglaries and other depredations; for, having taken himself
off the stores to avoid working for the public, he was frequently
distressed for food, and was thus compelled to support himself at the
expense perhaps of the honest and industrious. He readily found a rascal
to receive what property he could procure for sale, and for a long time
escaped detection. This depraved man had two brothers in the colony; one
who came out with him in the first fleet, and who had been for some time
a sober, hard-working, industrious settler, having also served the term
of his transportation; the other brother came out in the last year, and
bore the character of a well-behaved man. There was also a fourth
brother; but he was executed in England. It was said, that these
unfortunate men had honest and industrious people for their parents; they
could not, however, have paid much attention to the morals of their
family; or, out of four, some might surely have laid claim to the
character of the parents.

The criminal court was again assembled on the 20th of this month, for the
trial of William Godfrey, who was taken up on a suspicion of having
seized the opportunity of some festivity on board of the _Britannia_,
then nearly ready for sea, and taken half a barrel of powder out of the
gun-room, about nine o'clock at night. Proof however was not brought home
to him; although many circumstances induced every one to suppose he was
the guilty person.

This month was fixed for beginning the new barracks. For the private
soldiers there were to be five buildings, each one hundred feet by
twenty-four in front, and connected by a slight brick wall. At each end
were to be two apartments for officers, seventy-five feet by eighteen;
each apartment containing four rooms for their accommodation, with a
passage of sixteen feet. Of these barracks, one at each end was to be
constructed at right angles with the front, forming a wing to the centre
buildings. Kitchens were to be built, with other convenient offices, in
the rear, and garden ground was to be laid out at the back. Their
situation promised to be healthy, and it was certainly pleasant, being
nearly on the summit of the high ground at the head of the cove,
overlooking the town of Sydney, and the shipping in the cove, and
commanding a view down the harbour, as well of the fine piece of water
forming Long Cove, as that branching off to the westward at the back of
the lieutenant governor's farm.

The foundation of one of the buildings designed for an officer's barrack
having been dug, and all the necessary materials brought together on the
spot, the walls of it were got up, and the whole building roofed and
covered in, in eleven days.

Their situation being directly in the neighbourhood of the ground
appropriated to the burial of the dead, it became necessary to choose
another spot for the latter purpose; and the governor, in company with
the Rev. Mr. Johnson, set apart the ground formerly cultivated by the
late Captain Shea of the marines.

Several thefts were committed at Sydney and at Parramatta, from which
latter place three male convicts absconded, taking with them the
provisions of their huts, intending, it was supposed, to get on board the
_Britannia_. Rewards being offered, some of them were taken in the woods.
It had been found, that the masters of ships would give passages to such
people as could afford to pay them from ten to twenty pounds for the
same, and the perpetrators of some of the thefts which were committed
appeared to have had that circumstance in view, as one or two huts, whose
proprietors were well known to have amassed large sums of money for
people in their situations, were broken into; and in one instance they
succeeded. On the night of the 22nd the hut of Mary Burne, widow of a man
who had been employed as a game-killer, was robbed of dollars to the
amount of eleven pounds; with which the pillagers got off undiscovered.

On the 30th the _Britannia_ left the cove, dropping down below Bradley's
Point, preparatory to sailing on her intended voyage to Dusky Bay in New
Zealand; and while every one was remarking, that the cove (being left
without a ship) again looked solitary and uncomfortable, the signal was
made at the South Head, and at ten o'clock at night the _Atlantic_
anchored in the cove from Norfolk Island, where, we had the satisfaction
to learn, the large cargo which she had on board was landed in safety,
although at one time the ship was in great danger of running ashore at
Cascade Bay. We now learned that the expectations which had been formed
of the crops at Norfolk Island had been too sanguine; but their salt
provisions lasted very well. Governor King, however, wrote that the crops
then in the ground promised favourably, although he would not venture to
speak decidedly, as they were very much annoyed by the grub. This was an
enemy produced by the extreme richness of the soil; and it was remarked,
that as the land was opened and cleared, it was found to be exposed to
the blighting winds which infest the island.

The great havoc and destruction which the reduced ration had occasioned
among the birds frequenting Mount Pitt had so thinned their numbers, that
they were no longer to be depended upon as a resource. The convicts,
senseless and improvident, not only destroyed the bird, its young, and
its egg, but the hole in which it burrowed; a circumstance that ought
most cautiously to have been guarded against; as nothing appeared more
likely to make them forsake the island.

The stock in the settlement was plentiful, but, from being fed chiefly on
sow thistle during the general deficiency of hard food, the animals
looked ill, and were as badly tasted. The _Pitt_, however, took from the
island a great quantity of stock; barrow pigs and fowls, pumpkins and
other vegetables; for which Captain Manning and his officers paid the
owners with many articles of comfort to which they had long been

The convicts in general wore a very unhealthy cadaverous appearance,
owing, it was supposed, not only to spare diet, but to the fatigue
consequent on their traversing the woods to Mount Pitt, by night, for the
purpose of procuring some slender addition to their ration, instead of
reposing after the labours of the day. They had committed many
depredations on the settlers, and one was shot by a person of that
description in the act of robbing his farm.

Governor King, having discovered that the island abounded with that
valuable article lime-stone, was building a convenient house for his own
residence, and turning his attention to the construction of permanent
storehouses, barracks for the military, and other necessary buildings.

The weather had been for some time past very bad, much rain having fallen
accompanied with storms of wind, thunder, and lightning. In some of these
storms the wreck of his Majesty's ship _Sirius_ went to pieces and
disappeared, no part of that unfortunate ship being left together, except
what was confined by the iron ballast in her bottom.

On board of the _Atlantic_ came sixty-two persons from Norfolk Island,
among whom were several whose terms of transportation had expired;
thirteen offenders; and nine of the marine settlers, who had given up the
hoe and the spade, returned to this place to embrace once more a life to
which they certainly were, from long habit, better adapted than to that
of independent settlers. They gave up their estates, and came here to
enter as soldiers in the New South Wales corps.'

Mr. Charles Grimes, the deputy-surveyor, arrived in the _Atlantic_, being
sent by Mr. King to state to the governor the situation of the settlers
late belonging to the _Sirius_, whose grounds had, on a careful survey by
Mr. Grimes, been found to intersect each other. They had been originally
laid down without the assistance of proper instruments, and being
situated on the side of the Cascade Stream, which takes several windings
in its course, the different allotments, being close together, naturally
interfered with each other when they came to be carried back. The
settlers themselves saw how disadvantageously they were situated, and how
utterly impossible it was for every one to possess a distinct allotment
of sixty acres, unless they came to some agreement which had their mutual
accommodation in view; but this, with an obstinacy proportioned to their
ignorance, they all declined: as their grounds were marked out so would
they keep them, not giving an inch in one place, though certain of
possessing it with advantage in another. These people proved but
indifferent settlers; sailors and soldiers, seldom bred in the habits of
industry, but ill brooked the personal labour which they found was
required from them day after day, and month after month. Men who from
their infancy had been accustomed to have their daily subsistence found
them were but ill calculated to procure it by the sweat of their brows,
and must very unwillingly find that without great bodily exertions they
could not provide it at all. A few months experience convinced them of
the truth of these observations, and they grew discontented; as a proof
of which they wrote a letter to the judge-advocate, to be submitted to
the governor, stating, as a subject of complaint among other grievances,
that the officers of the settlement bred stock for their own use, and
requesting that they might be directed to discontinue that practice, and
purchase stock of them.

Very few of the convicts at Norfolk Island whose terms of transportation
had expired were found desirous of becoming permanent settlers; the sole
object with the major part appearing to be, that of taking ground for the
purpose of raising by the sale of the produce a sum sufficient to enable
them to pay for their passages to England. The settler to benefit this
colony, the _bona fide_ settler, who should be a man of some property, must
come from England. He is not to be looked for among discharged soldiers,
shipwrecked seamen, or quondam convicts.

Governor King finding, after trying every process that came within his
knowledge for preparing and dressing the flax-plant, that unless some
other means were devised, it never would be brought to the perfection
necessary to make the canvas produced from it an object of importance,
either as an article of clothing for the convicts or for maritime
purposes, proposed to Mr. Ebor Bunker, the master of the _William and
Ann_, who had some thoughts of touching at Dusky Bay in New Zealand, to
procure him two natives of that country, if they could be prevailed on to
embark with him, and promised him one hundred pounds if he succeeded,
hoping from their perfect knowledge of the flax-plant, and the process
necessary to manufacture it into cloth, that he might one day render it a
valuable and beneficial article to his colony; but Captain Bunker had
never returned.

Norfolk Island had been visited by all the whalers which sailed from this
port on that fishery. The _Admiral Barrington_ and _Pitt_ left with Mr.
King eleven men and two female convicts, who had secreted themselves at
this port on board of those ships.

October.] The _Britannia_, which had quitted the cove on the last day of
September, preparatory to her departure on a fishing voyage (a licence
for which had been granted by the East India Company for the space of
three years), returned to the cove on the third of this month for the
purpose of fitting for the Cape of Good Hope, the officers of the New
South Wales corps having engaged the master to proceed thither and return
on their account with a freight of cattle, and such articles as would
tend to the comfort of themselves and the soldiers of the corps, and
which were not to be found in the public stores. Mr. Raven, the master,
let his ship for the sum of £2000; and eleven shares of £200 each were
subscribed to purchase the stock and other articles. The ship was well
calculated for bringing cattle, having a very good between-decks; and
artificers from the corps were immediately employed to fit her with
stalls proper for the reception and accommodation of cows, horses, etc. A
quantity of hay was put on board sufficient to lessen considerably the
expense of that article at the Cape; and she was ready for sea by the
middle of the month. Previous to her departure, on the 7th, the _Royal
Admiral_ East-Indiaman, commanded by Captain Essex Henry Bond, anchored in
the cove from England, whence she had sailed on the 30th of May last. Her
passage from the Cape of Good Hope was the most rapid that had ever been
made, being only five weeks and three days from port to port.

On board of the _Royal Admiral_ came stores and provisions for the
colony; one sergeant, one corporal, and nineteen privates, belonging to
the New South Wales corps; a person to be employed in the cultivation of
the country; another as a master miller; and a third as a master
carpenter; together with two hundred and eighty-nine male and forty-seven
female convicts. She brought in with her a fever, which had been much
abated by the extreme attention paid by Captain Bond and his officers to
cleanliness, the great preservative of health on board of ships, and to
providing those who were ill with comforts and necessaries beyond what
were allowed for their use during the passage. Of three hundred male
convicts which she received on board, ten only died, and one made his
escape from the hospital at False Bay; in return for whom, however,
Captain Bond brought on with him Thomas Watling, a male convict, who
found means to get on shore from the _Pitt_ when at that port in December
last, and who had been confined by the Dutch at the Cape town from her
departure until this opportunity offered of sending him hither.

We had the satisfaction of hearing that the _Supply_ armed tender made
good her passage to England in somewhat less than five months, arriving
at Plymouth on the 21st of April last. It was, however, matter of much
concern to all who were acquainted with him, to learn at the same time,
that Captain Hunter, who sailed from this port in March 1791, in the
Dutch snow _Waaksamheyd_, and who had anxiously desired to make a speedy
passage, had been thirteen months in that vessel striving to reach
England, where he at last let go his anchor a day after the termination
of Lieutenant Ball's more successful voyage in the _Supply_, arriving at
Spithead on the evening of the 22nd of April last. His Majesty's ship
_Gorgon_ had been at the Cape of Good Hope, but had not arrived in
England when the _Royal Admiral_ left that country.

We were also informed, that the _Kitty_ transport had sailed with
provisions and a few convicts from England some weeks before the _Royal
Admiral_; and Captain Bond left at False Bay an American brig, freighted
on speculation with provisions for this colony, and whose master intended
putting to sea immediately after him.

The sick, to the number of eighty, were all immediately disembarked from
the Indiaman; the remainder of her convicts were sent up to be employed
at Parramatta and the adjoining settlement. At these places was to be
performed the great labour of clearing and cultivating the country; and
thither the governor judged it necessary at once to send such convicts as
should arrive in future, without permitting them to disembark at Sydney,
which town (from the circumstance of its being the only place where
shipping anchored) possessed all the evils and allurements of a sea port
of some standing, and from which, if once they got into huts, they would
be with difficulty removed when wanted; they pleaded the acquirement of
comforts, of which, in fact, it would be painful though absolutely
necessary to deprive them. At once to do away therefore the possibility
of any attachment to this part of the colony, the governor gave
directions for their being immediately sent from the ship to the place of
their future residence and employment; and, having no other thoughts,
they went with cheerfulness.

There arrived in the _Royal Admiral_ as a superintendant charged with the
care of the convicts, Mr. Richard Alley, who formerly belonged to the
_Lady Juliana_ transport, in quality of surgeon, in the memorable voyage
of that ship to this colony; a voyage that could never be thought on by
an inhabitant of it without exciting a most painful sensation. This
gentleman went to England in the snow with Captain Hunter, whither the
comforts of long voyages seemed to accompany him. Immediately on his
arrival there, he was appointed by the commissioners of the navy to come
out in the _Royal Admiral_ as surgeon and superintendant of the convicts
embarked in that ship, with an allowance of twelve shillings and sixpence
_per diem_ until his arrival in England, exclusive of his half pay as
surgeon of the navy.

It had always been an object of the first consequence, that the people
employed about the stores, if not free, should at least have been so
situated as to have found it their interest to resist temptation. This
had never hitherto been accomplished; capital and other exemplary
punishments did not effect it; the stores were constantly robbed,
although carefully watched, and as well secured as bolts, locks, and iron
fastenings could make them. The governor therefore now adopted a plan
which was suggested to him; and, discharging all the convicts employed at
the provision-store, replaced them by others, to whom he promised
absolute emancipation at the end of a certain number of years, to be
computed from the dates of their respective arrivals in this country.

If any thing could produce the integrity so much to be desired, this
measure seemed the best calculated for the purpose; an interest was
created superior to any reward that could have been held out, a certain
salary, an increase of ration, a greater proportion of clothing, or even
emancipation itself, if given at the time. To those who had no other
prospect but that of passing their lives in this country, how cheering,
how grateful must have been the hope of returning to their families at no
very distant period, if not prevented by their own misconduct! There were
two in this situation among those placed at the stores, Samuel Burt and
William Sutton, both of whom had conducted themselves with the greatest
propriety since their conviction, and who beheld with joy the probability
that appeared of their being again considered and ranked in the class of
honest men and good members of society; estimations that depended wholly
upon themselves.

As a store-keeper was a person on whom much dependence must necessarily
be placed, it being his duty to be constantly present whenever the stores
were opened, and with a vigilant eye to observe the conduct of the
inferior servants, at the strong recommendation of the officers under
whom he had served, Sergeant Thomas Smyth was discharged from the marine
detachment, and placed upon the list of superintendants of convicts as a
storekeeper. This appointment gave general satisfaction; and the
commissary now felt himself, under all these arrangements, more at ease
respecting the safety of the stores and provisions under his charge.

On the night of the 10th a daring burglary was committed. Mr. Raven, the
master of the _Britannia_, occupied a hut on shore, which was broken open
and entered about midnight, and from the room in which he was lying
asleep, and close to his bedside, his watch and a pair of knee-buckles
were stolen; a box was forced open, in which was a valuable timepiece and
some money belonging to Mr. Raven, who, fortunately waking in the very
moment that the thief was taking it out at the door, prevented his
carrying it off. Assistance from the guard came immediately, but too
late--the man had got off unseen. In a day or two afterwards, however,
Charles Williams, a settler, gave information that a convict named
Richard Sutton, the morning after the burglary, had told him that he had
stolen and secured the property, which he estimated at sixty pounds, and
which he offered to put into his possession for the purpose of sale,
first binding him by a horrid ceremony* and oath not to betray him.
Williams, on receiving the watch, which proved a metal one, worth only
about ten pounds, and the disproportion of which to the value he had
expected, probably had induced him to make the discovery, immediately
caused him to be taken into custody, and delivered the property to a
magistrate, giving at the same time an account how he came by them. All
these circumstances were produced in evidence before a criminal court;
but the prisoner, proving an _alibi_ that was satisfactory to the court,
was acquitted. With the evidence that he produced in his defence it was
impossible to convict him; but the court and the auditors were in their
consciences persuaded that the prisoner had committed the burglary and
theft, and that he intended to have employed Williams to dispose of the
property; which the latter had undertaken, and would have performed, had
the watch proved to have been a timepiece which the prisoner imagined he
had been lucky enough to secure. Williams, had he been put to prove where
he was at the very time the house was entered, had people ready to depose
that he was on his way by water to his farm near Parramatta. This man had
formerly been remarkable for propriety of conduct; but, after he became a
settler, gave himself up to idleness and dissipation, and went away from
the court in which he had been giving his testimony, much degraded in the
opinion of every man who heard him.

[* They cut each other on the cheek with their knives.]

The _Britannia_ sailed on the 24th for the Cape of Good Hope, Mr. Raven
taking with him Governor Phillip's dispatches for England, in which was
contained a specific demand for twelve months provisions for the colony,
and the wishes as well of those whom he considered as his employers, as
of those who were not, for the safe and speedy execution of his
commission; as his return to the colony would introduce many articles of
comfort which were not to be found in the public stores among the
articles issued by government.

At Sydney and at Parramatta shops were opened for the sale of the
articles of private trade brought out in the _Royal Admiral_. A licence
was given for the sale of porter; but, under the cover of this, spirits
found their way among the people, and much intoxication was the
consequence. Several of the settlers, breaking out from the restraint to
which they had been subject, conducted themselves with the greatest
impropriety, beating their wives, destroying their stock, trampling on
and injuring their crops in the ground, and destroying each other's
property. One woman, having claimed the protection of the magistrates,
the party complained of, a settler, was bound over to the good behaviour
for two years, himself in twenty pounds, and to find two sureties in ten
pounds each. Another settler was at the same time set an hour in the
stocks for drunkenness. The indulgence which was intended by the governor
for their benefit was most shamefully abused; and what he suffered them
to purchase with a view to their future comfort, was retailed among
themselves at a scandalous profit; several of the settlers houses being
at this time literally nothing else but porter-houses, where rioting and
drunkenness prevailed as long as the means remained. It was much to be
regretted that these people were so blind to their own advantage, most of
them sacrificing to the dissipation of the moment what would have
afforded them much comfort and convenience, if reserved for refreshment
after the fatigue of the day.

The only addition made to the weekly ration in consequence of the arrival
of the _Royal Admiral_ was an allowance of six ounces of oil to each
person; a large quantity, nine thousand two hundred and seventy-eight
gallons, having been put on board that ship and the _Kitty_ transport, to
be issued in lieu of butter; as an equivalent for which it certainly
would have answered well, had it arrived in the state in which it was
reported to have been put on board; but it grew rancid on the passage,
and was in general made more use of to burn as a substitute for candles,
than for any other purposes to which oil might have been applied.

Toward the latter end of the month, the convicts received a general
serving of clothing, and other necessary articles. To each male were
issued two frocks made of coarse and unsubstantial osnaburgs, in which
there were seldom found more than three weeks wear; two pairs of trousers
made of the same slight materials as the frocks, and open to the same
observation as to wear; one pair of yarn stockings; one hat; one pair of
shoes; one pound of soap; three needles; a quarter of a pound of thread,
and one comb.

The females received each one cloth petticoat; one coarse shift; one pair
of shoes; one pair of yarn stockings; one pound of soap; a quarter of a
pound of thread; two ounces of pins; six needles; one thimble, and one
pair of scissors.

These articles were supplied by commission; and Mr. Davison, the person
employed by government, was limited in the price of each article, which
was fixed too low to admit of his furnishing them of the quality
absolutely necessary for people who were to labour in this country. The
osnaburgs in particular had always been complained of, for it was a fact,
that the frocks and trousers made of them were oftener known to have been
worn out within a fortnight, than to have lasted three weeks.

The month closed with a circumstance that excited no small degree of
concern in the settlement: Governor Phillip signified a determination of
quitting his government, and returning to England in the _Atlantic_. To
this he was induced by perceiving that his health hourly grew worse, and
hoping that a change of air might contribute to his recovery. His
Excellency had the satisfaction, at the moment that he came to this
resolution, of seeing the public grounds wear every appearance of a
productive harvest. At Toongabbie, forty-two acres of wheat, sown about
the middle of last March, looked as promising as could be wished; the
remainder of the wheat, from being sown six weeks later, did not look so
fine and abundant, but still held out hopes of an ample return. The
Indian corn was all got into the ground, and such of it as was up looked
remarkably well.


A vessel from America arrives
Part of her cargo purchased
George Barrington and others emancipated conditionally
The _Royal Admiral_ sails
Arrival of the _Kitty_ Transport
£1001 received by her
Hospital built at Parramatta
Harvest begun at Toongabbie
Ration increased
The _Philadelphia_ sails for Norfolk Island
State of the cultivation previous to the governor's departure
Governor Phillip sails for England
Regulations made by the Lieutenant Governor
The _Hope_, an American Ship, arrives
Her cargo purchased for the colony
The _Chesterfield_ whaler arrives
Grant of land to an officer
Extreme heat and conflagration
Deaths in 1792
Prices of Stock, etc

November.] On the 1st of November, about eleven o'clock at night, the
_Philadelphia_ brigantine, Mr. Thomas Patrickson master, anchored in
the cove from Philadelphia. Lieutenant-governor King, on his passage
to this country in the _Gorgon_ in the month of July 1791, had seen
Mr. Patrickson at the Cape of Good Hope, and learning at that time from
the _Lady Juliana_ and _Neptune_ transports, which had just arrived there
from China, that the colony was in great distress for provisions,
suggested to him the advantage that might attend his bringing a cargo to
this country on speculation. On this hint Captain Patrickson went to
England, and thence to Philadelphia, from which place he sailed the
beginning of last April with a cargo consisting chiefly of American beef,
wine, rum, gin, some tobacco, pitch, and tar. He sailed from Philadelphia
with thirteen hands; but, in some very bad weather which he met with
after leaving the African shore, his second mate was washed overboard and
lost, it blowing too hard to attempt saving him.

The governor directed the commissary to purchase such part of the
_Philadelphia's_ cargo as he thought was immediately wanting in the
colony; and five hundred and sixty-nine barrels of American cured beef,
each barrel containing one hundred and ninety-three pounds, and
twenty-seven barrels of pitch and tar, were taken into store; the expense
of which amounted to £2829 lls.

Notwithstanding the great length of time Captain Patrickson had been on
his voyage (from the beginning of April to November) his speculation did
not prove very disadvantageous to him. A great part of his cargo, that
was not taken by government, was disposed of among the officers and
others of the settlement; and the governor hired his vessel to take
provisions to Norfolk Island, giving him £150 for the run. Captain
Patrickson had formed some expectation of disposing of his vessel in this
country; but the governor, having received intimation that the _Kitty_
might be detained in the service as long as he found it necessary after
her arrival, did not judge it expedient to purchase the vessel.

On the 3rd of the month three warrants of emancipation passed the seal of
the territory: one to John Trace, a convict who came out in the first
fleet; having but three months of his term of transportation remaining,
that portion of it was given up to him, that he might become a settler.
The second was granted to Thomas Restil (alias Crowder) on the
recommendation of the lieutenant-governor of Norfolk Island, on condition
that he should not return to England during the term of his natural life,
his sentence of transportation being _durante vitae_. The third warrant
was made out in favour of one who whatever might have been his conduct
when at large in society, had here not only demeaned himself with the
strictest propriety, but had rendered essential services to the
colony--George Barrington. He came out in the _Active_; on his arrival
the governor employed him at Toongabbie, and in a situation which was
likely to attract the envy and hatred of the convicts, in proportion as
he might be vigilant and inflexible. He was first placed as a
subordinate, and shortly after as a principal watchman; in which
situation he was diligent, sober, and impartial; and had rendered himself
so eminently serviceable, that the governor resolved to draw him from the
line of convicts; and, with the instrument of his emancipation, he
received a grant of thirty acres of land in an eligible situation near
Parramatta.* Here was not only a reward for past good conduct, but an
incitement to a continuance of it; and Barrington found himself, through
the governor's liberality, though not so absolutely free as to return to
England at his own pleasure, yet enjoying the immunities of a free man, a
settler, and a civil officer, in whose integrity much confidence was

[* He was afterwards sworn in as a peace officer.]

On the 13th the _Royal Admiral_ sailed for Canton. Of the private
speculation brought out in this ship, they sold at this place and at
Parramatta to the amount of £3600 and left articles to be sold on
commission to the amount of £750 more.

Captain Bond was obliged to leave behind him one of his quartermasters
and six sailors, who ran away from the ship. The quartermaster had served
in the same capacity on board of the _Sirius_, and immediately after his
arrival in England (in the snow) engaged himself with Captain Bond for
the whole of the voyage; but a few days before the departure of the ship
from this port, he found means to leave her, and, assisted by some of the
settlers, concealed himself in the woods until concealment was no longer
necessary. On giving himself up, he entered on board the _Atlantic_; but
on his declaring that he did not intend returning to England, the
governor ordered him into confinement. The sailors were put into one of
the longboats, to be employed between this place and Parramatta, until
they could be put on board a ship that might convey them hence.

It was never desirable that seamen should receive encouragement to run
from their ships; they became public nuisances here; the masters of such
ships would find themselves obliged to procure convicts at any rate to
supply their places; indeed, so many might be shipped or secreted on
board, as might render the safety of the vessel very precarious; and as
the governor determined to represent the conduct of any master who
carried away convicts without his approbation, so he resolved never to
deprive them of their seamen. Under this idea, a hut, in which a seaman
from the _Royal Admiral_ was found concealed, was pulled down, and two
convicts who had been secreted on board that ship were sent up to
Toongabbie, as a punishment, as well as to be out of the way of another

On the 18th the _Kitty_ transport anchored in the cove from England,
after a circuitous passage of thirty-three weeks, round by the Rio de
Janeiro and the Cape of Good Hope. She twice sailed from England. On her
first departure, which was in March last, she had on board thirty female
and ten male convicts; but being obliged to put back to Spithead, to stop
a leak which she sprung in her raft port, eight of her ten male convicts
found means to make their escape. This was an unfortunate accident; for
they had been particularly selected as men who might be useful in the
colony. Of the two who did remain, the one was a brick-maker and the
other a joiner.

When her cargo was landing, it was found to have suffered considerably by
the bad weather she had experienced; the flour in particular, an article
which could at no time bear any diminution in this country, was much
damaged. The convicts had for a long time been nearly as much distressed
for utensils to dress their provisions, as they had been for provisions;
and we had now the mortification to find, that of the small supply of
iron pots which had been put on board, a great part were either broken or
cracked, having been literally stowed among the provision casks in the

There arrived in this ship two chests, containing three thousand eight
hundred and seventy ounces of silver, in dollars, amounting to £1001.
This remittance was sent out for the purpose of paying such sums as were
due to the different artificers who had been employed in this country. It
was also applied to the payment of the wages due to the superintendants,
who had experienced much inconvenience from not receiving their salaries
here; and indeed the want of public money had been very much felt by
every one in the colony. When the marines, who became settlers before and
at the relief of the detachment, were discharged for that purpose, they
would have suffered great difficulties from the want of public money to
pay what was due to them, had not the commissary taken their respective
powers of attorney, and given them notes on himself, payable either in
cash, or in articles which might be the means of rendering them
comfortable, and of which he had procured a large supply from Calcutta.
These notes passed through various hands in traffic among the people of
the description they were intended to serve, and became a species of
currency which was found very convenient to them.

The female convicts who arrived in the _Kitty_, twenty-seven in number,
were immediately sent up to Parramatta.

Government had put on board the _Kitty_ a naval agent, Lieutenant Daniel
Woodriff, for the purpose of seeing that no unnecessary delays were made
in the voyage, and that the convicts on board were not oppressed by the
master or his people. This officer, on his arrival, stated to the
governor his opinion that the master had not made the best of his way,
and that he had remained longer in the port of Rio de Janeiro than there
could possibly be occasion for. He likewise stated several disagreements
which had occurred between him and the master, and in which the latter
seemed to think very lightly of the authority of a naval agent on board
his ship. There was also on board this ship, on the part of the crown, a
medical gentleman who was appointed for the express purpose of attending
to such convicts as might be ill during the voyage; so extremely
solicitous were the members of Administration to guard against the evils
which had befallen the convicts in former passages to this country.

At Parramatta a brick hospital, consisting of two wards, was finished
this month; and the sick were immediately removed into it. The spot
chosen for this building was at some distance from the principal street
of the town, and convenient to the water; and, to prevent any improper
communication with the other convicts, a space was to be inclosed and
paled in round the hospital, in which the sick would have every necessary
benefit from air and exercise.

At the other settlement they had begun to reap the wheat which was sown
in April last; and for want of a granary at that place it was put into
stacks. From not being immediately thrashed out, there was no knowing
with certainty what the produce of it was; but it had every appearance of
turning out well. The ear was long and full, and the straw remarkably

December.] On the 3rd of this month, the governor, as one of his last
acts in the settlement, ordered one pound of flour to be added to the
weekly ration, which, by means of this addition, stood on his departure
at 3 pounds of flour, 5 pounds of rice, 4 pounds of pork or 7 pounds of
beef, 3 pounds of dholl, and 6 ounces of oil.

On the 7th the _Philadelphia_ sailed for Norfolk Island, having on board
for that settlement Mr. Grimes, the deputy surveyor; Mr. Jamieson who was
to superintend the convicts employed there in cultivations; Mr. Peat, the
master-carpenter (there being a person* in that situation here of much
ability); a convict who came out in the _Royal Admiral_, to be employed
as a master-tailor; two Convicts sawyers, and one convict carpenter, the
same who came out with his family in the _Kitty_; together with some
provisions and stores. His excellency had always attended to this little
colony with a parental care; often declaring, that from the peculiarity
of its situation he would rather that want should be felt in his own
government than in that dependency; and as they would be generally eight
or ten weeks later than this colony in receiving their supplies, by
reason of the time which the ships necessarily required to refit after
coming in from sea, he purposed furnishing them with a proportion of
provisions for three months longer than the provisions in store at this
place would last: and his excellency took leave of that settlement, by
completing, as fully as he was able, this design.

[* Mr. Thomas Livingstone, at a salary of £50 per annum.]

He was now about taking leave of his own government. The accommodations
for his excellency and the officers who were going home in the _Atlantic_
being completed, the detachment of marines under the command of
Lieutenant Poulden embarked on the 5th, and at six o'clock in the evening
of Monday the 10th Governor Phillip quitted the charge with which he had
been entrusted by his Sovereign, and in the execution of which he had
manifested a zeal and perseverance that alone could have enabled him to
surmount the natural and artificial obstacles which the country and its
inhabitants had thrown in his way.

The colony had now been established within a few weeks of five years; and
a review of what had been done in cultivation under his excellency's
direction in that time cannot more properly be introduced than at the
close of his government.

Previous to the sailing of the _Britannia_ on the 24th of last October,
an accurate survey of the whole ground in cultivation, both on account of
the crown, and in the possession of individuals, was taken by the
surveyor-general, and transmitted to England by that ship; and from the
return which he then made, the following particulars were extracted:

                          Acres  Acres  Acres        Ground    Total
                          in     in     in    Garden cleared   number
                          wheat  barley maize ground of timber of acres
At Parramatta                ¾     7½    308     -      -       316¼
At and leading to         171½    14     511     -      -       696½
Total public ground       172¼    21½    819     -      -      1012¾

_Belonging to Settlers and others_
At Parramatta,                                 (1
The governor's garden       -       ½      2   (3 vines -         6½
Garden ground belonging to
different people, including
convicts' gardens           -      -       -  104       -       104
At Parramatta, 1 settler    3      -      18    1       7        29
At Prospect Hill, four miles
to the westward of
Parramatta, 18 settlers    11¼     -      84    -       -        95¼
At the Ponds, two miles to
the northeast of
Parramatta, 16 settlers    10¼     2¼     63    3½     16½       95½
At the Northern boundary
farms, two miles from
Parramatta, 5 settlers      3      -      35    2¾     11        51¾
At the Field of Mars, on
the north shore, near the
entrance of the creek
leading to Parramatta,
8 settlers, (marines)       4      -      44½   2      31        81½
At the Eastern farms,
12 settlers                 -      -      40½   -      12½       53
On the creek leading to
Parramatta, 7 settlers      4¾     -      80½   4      22       111¼
In cultivation by the civil
and military at Sydney      -      -       -    -       6½        6½
Total                     208½    24¼   1186½ 121¼    162½      1703

Of the sixty-seven settlers above enumerated, one, James Ruse, who had a
grant of thirty acres at Parramatta, went upon his farm the latter end of
November 1789; but none of the others began to cultivate ground upon
their own accounts earlier than the middle of July 1791; but many of them
at a much later date. The eight marine settlers at the Field of Mars took
possession of their allotments at the beginning of February 1792. The
conditions held out to settlers were, to be victualled and clothed from
the public store for eighteen months from the term of their becoming
settlers; to be furnished with tools and implements of husbandry; grain
to sow their grounds, and such stock as could be spared from the public.
They were likewise to have assigned them the services of such a number of
convicts as the governor should think proper, on their making it appear
that they could employ, feed, and clothe them. Every man had a hut
erected on his farm at the public expense. At the time of the governor's
departure, many of them, by their own industry, and the assistance he had
afforded them, were enabled to have one or two convicts off the store,
and employed by them at their farms; and such as were not married were
allowed a convict hutkeeper. In general they were not idle, and the major
part were comfortably situated.

At this time the quantity of land which had passed to settlers* in this
territory under the seal of the colony amounted to three thousand four
hundred and seventy acres; of which quantity four hundred and seventeen
acres and a half were in cultivation, and the timber cleared from one
hundred more, ready for sowing; which, compared with the total of the
_public ground_ in cultivation (one thousand and twelve acres and three
quarters) will be found to be by eleven acres more than equal to one half
of it. A striking proof of what some settlers had themselves declared, on
its being hinted to them that they had not always been so diligent when
labouring for the whole, 'We are now working for ourselves.' One material
good was, however, to be expected from a tract of land of that extent
being cultivated by individuals, if at any time an accident should happen
to the crop on the public ground, they might be a resource, though an
inconsiderable one. Fortunately, no misfortune of that nature had ever
fallen upon the colony; but it had been, at the beginning of this month,
very near experiencing a calamity that would have blasted all the
prospects of the next season, and in one moment have rendered ineffectual
the labour of many hands and of many months. Two days after the wheat had
been reaped, and got off the ground at Toongabbie, the whole of the
stubble was burnt. The day on which this happened had been unusually hot,
and the country was every where on fire. Had it befallen us while the
wheat was upon the ground, nothing could have saved the whole from being
destroyed. From this circumstance, however, one good resulted;
precautions against a similar accident were immediately taken, by
clearing the timber for a certain distance round the cultivated land.

[* Some few had been added since the surveyor's return of the 16th

The stock belonging to the public was kept at Parramatta. It consisted of
three bulls*, two bull calves, fifteen cows, three calves, five
stallions, six mares, one hundred and five sheep, and forty-three hogs.

[* Two from Calcutta, and one which was calved on board the _Gorgon_.]

Of the sheep, the governor gave to each of the married settlers from the
convicts, and to each settler from the marines, and from the _Sirius_,
one ewe for the purpose of breeding; and to others he gave such female
goats as could be spared. This stock had been procured at much expense;
and his excellency hoped that the people among whom he left it would see
the advantage it might prove to them, and cherish it accordingly.

His excellency, at embarking on board the _Atlantic_, was received near
the wharf on the east-side, (where his boat was lying), by Major Grose,
at the head of the New South Wales corps, who paid him, as he passed, the
honors due to his rank and situation in the colony. He was attended by
the officers of the civil department, and the three marine officers who
were to accompany him to England.

At daylight on the morning of the 11th, the _Atlantic_ was got under way,
and by eight o'clock was clear of the Heads, standing to the ESE with a
fresh breeze at south. By twelve o'clock she had gained a considerable

With the governor there embarked, voluntarily and cheerfully, two natives
of this country, Bennillong and Yem-mer-ra-wan-nie, two men who were much
attached to his person; and who withstood at the moment of their
departure the united distress of their wives, and the dismal lamentations
of their friends, to accompany him to England, a place that they well
knew was at a great distance from them."

One or two convicts also who had conducted themselves to his
satisfaction, and whose periods of transportation were expired, were
permitted by the governor to return to England in the same ship with

The _Atlantic_ had likewise on board various specimens of the natural
productions of the country, timber, plants, animals, and birds. Among the
animals were four fine kangaroos, and several native dogs.

The _Atlantic_ had been put into excellent condition for the voyage which
she had to perform; she was well found and well manned, and there
appeared no reason to doubt her reaching England in six months from her
departure. A safe and speedy passage to her was the general wish, not
only on account of the governor, whose health and constitution (already
much impaired) might suffer greatly by the fatigues of a protracted
voyage; but that the information of which his excellency was in
possession respecting these settlements, from their establishments to the
moment of his quitting them, might as quickly as possible be laid before

The government of the colony now devolved, by his Majesty's letters patent
under the great seal of Great Britain, upon the lieutenant-governor.
This office was filled by the major-commandant of the New South Wales
corps, Francis Grose, esq who arrived in February last in the _Pitt_
transport. At his taking upon himself the government, on which occasion
the usual oaths were administered by the judge-advocate, he gave out the
following order, regulating the mode of carrying on the duty at Parramatta:

'All orders given by the captain who commands at Parramatta, respecting
the convicts stationed there, are to be obeyed; and all complaints or
reports that would be made to the lieutenant-governor when present, are
in his absence to be communicated to captain Foveaux, or such other
captain as may be doing duty with the detachment.'

The alteration which this order produced, consisted in substituting the
military for the civil officer. Before this period, all complaints had
been inquired into by the civil magistrate, who, in the governor's
absence from Parramatta, punished such slight offences as required
immediate cognizance, reporting to the governor from time to time
whatever he did; and all orders and directions which regarded the
convicts, and all reports which were made respecting them, went through

The military power had hitherto been considered as requisite only for the
protection of the stores, and the discharge of such duties as belonged to
their profession, without having any share in the civil direction of the
colony*; but as it was provided by his Majesty's commission already
spoken of, that, in case, of the death or absence both of the governor
and lieutenant-governor of the territory, the officer next in rank on
service in the colony should take upon himself and exercise the functions
of the governor, until such time as instructions should be received from
England; under this idea, the lieutenant-governor issued the above order,
placing the captain commanding the detachment of the New South Wales
corps at Parramatta, in the direction of the civil duties of that

[* The commanding officer of the corps or regiment serving in the
territory excepted, who held likewise the _civil_ appointment of

Similar regulations took place at Sydney, where 'the captain of the day
was directed to report to the commanding officer all convict prisoners,
stating by whom and on what account they might be confined;' and this
order was in a few days after enforced by another, which directed 'that
all inquiries by the civil magistrate were in future to be dispensed
with, until the lieutenant-governor had given directions on the subject;
and the convicts were not on any account to be punished but by his
particular order.'

At Sydney, it had been usual for the magistrates to take examinations,
and make enquiry into offences, either weekly, or as occasion required,
and to order such punishment as they thought necessary, always reporting
their proceedings to the chief authority.

It must be noticed, that at this time the civil magistrates in the colony
consisted of the lieutenant-governor and the judge-advocate, who were
justices of the peace by virtue of their respective commissions; the Rev.
Mr. Johnson; Augustus Alt and Richard Atkins*, Esquires, who had been
sworn in as magistrates by authority of the governor.

[* This gentleman had been appointed registrar of the court of
vice-admiralty by Governor Phillip.]

As no inconvenience had ever been experienced in the mode which was
practised of conducting the business of the settlement, the necessity or
cause of these alterations was not directly obvious, and could not be
accounted for from any other motive than that preference which a military
man might be supposed to give to carrying on the service by means of his
own officers, rather than by any other.

On Saturday the 15th the convicts received their provisions according to
the ration that was issued before the governor's departure; but on the
Monday following, the usual day of serving provisions to the civil and
military, a distinction was made, for the first time, in the ration they
received; the commissary being directed to issue to the officers of the
civil and military departments, the soldiers, superintendants, watchmen,
overseers, and settlers from the marines, six pounds of flour, and but
two pounds of rice per man, per week, instead of three pounds of flour,
and five pounds of rice, which was the allowance of the convicts. This
distinction was intended to be discontinued whenever the full ration
could be served.

The stock which had been distributed among the married settlers and
others by Governor Phillip for the purpose of breeding from (as has been
already observed) appeared to have been thrown away upon them when viewed
as a breeding stock for settlers. No sooner had the _Atlantic_ sailed,
than the major part of them were offered for sale; and there was little
doubt (many of their owners making no scruple to publish their
intentions) that had they not been bought by the officers, in a very few
weeks many of them would have been destroyed. By this conduct, as far as
their individual benefit was concerned, they had put it out of their own
power to reap any advantage from the governor's bounty to them; but the
stock by this means was saved, and had fallen into hands that certainly
would not wantonly destroy it. There were a few among the settlers who
exchanged their sheep for goats, deeming them a more profitable stock;
but, in general, spirits were the price required by the more ignorant and
imprudent part of them; and several of their farms, which had been, and
ought to have always been, the peaceful retreats of industry, were for a
time the seats of inebriety and consequent disorder.

About this time there anchored in the cove an American ship, the _Hope_,
commanded by a Mr. Benjamin Page, from Rhode island, with a small cargo
of provisions and spirits for sale. The cause of his putting into this
harbour, the master declared, was for the purpose of procuring wood and
water, of which he stated his ship to be much in want; thus making the
sale of his cargo appear to be but a secondary object with him.

As the colony had not yet seen the day when it could have independently
said, 'We are not in want of provisions; procure your wood and your
water, and go your way,' the lieutenant-governor directed the commissary
to purchase such part of his cargo as the colony stood in need of; and
two hundred barrels of American cured beef, at four pounds per barrel;
eighty barrels of pork, at four pounds ten shillings per barrel;
forty-four barrels of flour, at two pounds per barrel; and seven thousand
five hundred and ninety-seven gallons of (new American) spirits at four
shillings and sixpence per gallon, were purchased; amounting in all to
the sum of £2957 6s 6d.

This ship had touched at the Falkland Islands for the purpose of
collecting skins from the different vessels employed in the seal trade
from the United States of America, with which she was to proceed to the
China market. From the Cape of Good Hope her passage had been performed
in two months and one day. The master said, he found the prevailing winds
were from the NW and described the weather as the most boisterous he had
ever known for such a length of time. By one sea, his caboose was washed
over the side, and one of his people going with it was drowned. He
observed, when about the South-cape of this country, that the weather was
clear; but after passing the latitude of the Maria Islands, he found it
close, hazy, and heated, and had every appearance of thick smoke. About
that time we had the same sort of weather here; and the excessive heats
which at other times have been experienced in the settlements have been
also noticed at sea when at some distance from the land.

By this ship we were not fortunate enough to receive any European news.
The master saw only one English ship at the Cape, the _Chesterfield_
whaler, commanded by a Mr. Alt, who had formerly been a midshipman in his
Majesty's ship _Sirius_, and who went home on board of the _Neptune_

In a few days after the arrival of the _Hope_, the signal was again made
at the South Head, and in a few hours the _Chesterfield_, the ship just
mentioned to us by the American, anchored in the cove. She sailed from
the Cape of Good Hope shortly after Mr. Page; and the master said he
touched at Kerguelan's Land, where, some other ship having very recently
preceded him (which he judged from finding several sea elephants dead on
the beach, and a club which is used in killing them) he remained but a
short time, having very bad weather. He supposed the ship which preceded
him to have been the first which had visited those desolate islands since
Captain Cook had been there, as he found the fragments of the bottle in
which that officer had deposited a memorial of his having examined them.
This was conjecture and might be erroneous, as the mere pieces of the
bottle afforded no proof that it had been recently broken.

Mr. Alt spoke of meeting with very bad weather, and of his ship having
thereby suffered such injury, that he was compelled on the representation
of his people to put in here for the purpose of getting repairs. Indeed
her appearance very amply justified their representations; and it was a
wonder how she had swam so far, for her complaints must have been of very
long standing.

To expedite the building of the new barracks, which formed the most
material labour at Sydney, two overseers and forty men were sent down
from Parramatta. One barrack being now completed, towards the latter end
of the month it was occupied by Captain George Johnston, a party-wall
having been thrown down adapting the building to the accommodation of one
instead of two officers.

On the last day of the month, two warrants of emancipation passed the
seal of the territory, together with a grant of twenty-five acres of land
to Ensign Cummings of the New South Wales corps. In the instructions for
granting lands in this country, no mention of officers had yet been made;
it was however fairly presumed that the officers could not be intended to
be precluded from the participation of any advantages which the crown
might have to bestow in the settlements; particularly as the greatest in
its gift, the free possession of land, was held out to people who had
forfeited their lives before they came into the country.

Among the regulations which took place at Sydney, must be noticed the
dispensing with the officer's guard which had always mounted there; and
the changing the hours of labour. The convicts now had more time given to
them, for the purpose not only of avoiding the heat of the day, but of
making themselves comfortable at home. They were directed to work from
five in the morning until nine; rest until four in the afternoon, and
then labour until sun-set.

The _Kitty_, having delivered her cargo, began to prepare for taking some
stores and provisions and a detachment of the New South Wales corps to
Norfolk Island.

The weather during this month was very hot. The 5th was a day most
excessively sultry. The wind blew strong from the northward of west; the
country, to add to the intense heat of the atmosphere, was everywhere on
fire. At Sydney, the grass at the back of the hill on the west side of
the cove, having either caught or been set on fire by the natives, the
flames, aided by the wind which at that time blew violently, spread and
raged with incredible fury. One house was burnt down, several gardens
with their fences were destroyed; and the whole face of the hill was on
fire, threatening every thatched hut with destruction. The conflagration
was with much difficulty (notwithstanding the exertions of the military)
got under, after some time, and prevented from doing any further
mischief. At different times during this uncomfortable day distant
thunder was heard, the air darkened, and some few large drops of rain
fell. The apparent danger from the fires drew all persons out of their
houses; and on going into the parching air, it was scarcely possible to
breathe; the heat was insupportable; vegetation seemed to suffer much,
the leaves of many culinary plants being reduced to a powder. The
thermometer in the shade rose above one hundred degrees. Some rain
falling toward evening, the excessive heat abated.

At Parramatta and Toongabbie also the heat was extreme; the country there
too was every where in flames. Mr. Arndell was a great sufferer by it. The
fire had spread to his farm; but by the efforts of his own people and the
neighbouring settlers it was got under, and its progress supposed to be
effectually checked, when an unlucky spark from a tree, which had been on
fire to the topmost branch, flying upon the thatch of the hut where his
people lived, it blazed out; the hut with all the out-buildings, and
thirty bushels of wheat just got into a stack, were in a few minutes
destroyed. The erecting of the hut and out-houses had cost £15 a short
time before.

The day preceding that of the excessive heat, James Castles, an
industrious and thriving settler at Prospect Hill, had his hut
accidentally burnt down, with all his comforts, and three bushels of
wheat which he had just reaped. The governor ordered his hut to be
rebuilt, and every assistance given which the stores afforded to repair
his loss.

There died between the 1st of January and 31st of December 1792, two of
the civil department, six soldiers, four hundred and eighteen male
convicts, eighteen female convicts, and twenty-nine children; one male
convict was executed; and three male convicts were lost in the woods;
making a decrease by death of four hundred and eighty-two persons.

The following were the prices of stock, grain, and other articles, as
they were sold at Sydney, and at Parramatta, at the close of the year:


Maize per lb. 3d
Rice per lb 3d
Peas or dholl from 1½d to 2d per lb.
Flour 9d per lb.
Potatoes 3d per lb.
Sheep £10 10s each.
Milch goats from £8 8s to £10 10s
Kids from £2 10s to £4
Breeding sows from £6 6s to £7 7s and £10 10s
Young ditto from £3 to £4
Laying hens 10s
Full grown fowls from 5s to 7s 6d
Chickens 1s 6d
Fresh pork per lb 1s
Prime salt pork from 6d to 8d
Salt beef 4d
Eggs per dozen from 2s to 3s
Moist sugar per lb 1s 6d
Tea from 8s to 16s
Soap 1s
Butter from 1s 6d to 2s
Cheese from 1s 6d to 2s
Hams from 1s 6d to 2s
Bacon from 1s 6d to 2s


Maize per lb. 3d
Rice per lb. 3d
Peas or dholl 2d per lb.
Flour 6d per lb
Potatoes 2d per lb
Sheep £10 10s each
Milch goats from £5 5s to £10
Breeding sows from £6 6s to £10 10s
Pigs of a month old 12s
Laying hens from 7s to 10s
Full grown fowls from 7s to 10s
Chickens 1s 6d
Fresh pork per lb 1s
Prime salt pork 6d
Salt beef 4d
Eggs per dozen 2s
Moist sugar per lb 1s 6d
Tea from 6s to 16s
Soap 1s
Coffee 2s
Tobacco, American Brazil, 4s
Tobacco of the colony 2s

The price of fish and vegetables varied from day to day; spirits in
exchange were estimated at from twelve to twenty shillings per gallon;
porter was sold from nine to ten pounds per hogshead, or from one
shilling to one shilling and three pence per quart.

It did not appear that the settlers had brought any new wheat or other
grain to market.


Order respecting spirits
Seamen punished
Convicts enlisted into the new corps
Regulations respecting Divine Service
The _Hope_ sails
The _Bellona_ arrives
Cargo damaged
Two women and a child drowned
The _Kitty_ sails for Norfolk Island
An Officer sent up to inspect the cultivation at Parramatta
A theft committed
Kangaroo Ground opened
Liberty Plains
_Bellona_ sails
The _Shah Hormuzear_ from Calcutta arrives
Information received by her
The dholl expended
Sickness and death occasioned by the American spirits
The _Chesterfield_ sent to Norfolk Island
Convicts sell their clothing
Two Spanish ships arrive
A Criminal Court
The _Kitty_ returns from Norfolk Island
Fraud at the store at Parramatta


January.] The lieutenant-governor having directed the commissary to
dispose of the spirits purchased from the American to the military and
civil officers of the colony, in which were included the superintendants,
and some others in that line, it was found that it had been purchased by
many individuals of the latter description with the particular view of
retailing it among the convicts. He therefore found it necessary to
declare in public orders, 'That it was his intention to make frequent
inquiries on the subject; and it might be relied upon, that if it ever
appeared that a convict was possessed of any of the liquor so supplied by
the commissary, the conduct of those who had thought proper to abuse what
was designed as an accommodation to the officers of the garrison, would
not be passed over unnoticed.'

Some such order had indeed become very necessary; for the American spirit
had by some means or other found its way among the convicts; and, a
discreet use of it being wholly out of the question with those people,
intoxication was become common among them. The free use of spirits had
been hitherto most rigidly prohibited in the colony; that is to say, it
was absolutely forbidden to the convicts. It might therefore have been
expected, that when that restraint was in ever so small a degree removed,
they would break out into acts of disorder and contempt of former
prohibitions. It was therefore indispensable to the preservation of peace
and good order in the settlement, to prevent, if possible, the existence
of so great an evil as drunkenness; which, if suffered, would have been
the parent of every irregularity. The fondness expressed by these people
for even this pernicious American spirit was incredible; they hesitated
not to go any lengths to procure it, and preferred receiving liquor for
labour, to every other article of provisions or clothing that could be
offered them.

The master of the _Kitty_ having represented to the lieutenant-governor
that the conduct of his ship's company was at times so irregular and
mutinous (some of them refusing to do their duty, going on shore and
taking boats from the ship without permission) that he found it
impossible to carry on the business of the ship, unless he could receive
some assistance from the civil authority, the lieutenant-governor
directed one, of whom the master particularly complained, Benjamin
Williams, to receive one hundred lashes, and another, Adams, to receive
twenty-five lashes. This in some measure checked the spirit of
disobedience in the ship, and the duty was carried on better than before.
Her preparations for Norfolk Island however went on but slowly, four or
five of her hands having left her. These, together with some other seamen
who had been left behind from the _Royal Admiral_, were either employed
in the public boats belonging to the colony, or had entered into the New
South Wales corps; into which corps also several convicts of good
character had been lately received, to complete the company that had been
formed from the marines under the command of Captain Johnston. This
company was a valuable addition, being composed of many excellent
soldiers from the marines; who entered into it voluntarily, and whose
conduct had met the entire approbation of their officers.

On the departure of the governor, the house that he had lived in was
taken possession of by the oldest captain of the corps, his apartments in
the officers quarters being confined, and tumbling to pieces.

Divine service was now performed at six o'clock in the morning. For want
of a building dedicated to that purpose, many inconveniences were
suffered, as well by the clergyman as by those who attended him. The
lieutenant-governor therefore did not require the ceremony to be performed
more than once a day; and that the health of the convicts might not be
injured from the heat of the sun, which at this season of the year was
excessive, he directed the church call to be beat at a quarter before six
in the morning. The overseers were enjoined to be particularly careful to
collect as many of their gangs to attend Mr. Johnson as could
conveniently be brought together; for, although it was not wished that
the huts should be left without proper persons to look after them, it was
nevertheless expected, that no idle excuses should keep the convicts from
attending divine service.

On the 10th the _Hope_ sailed for Canton, the master having been allowed
to ship three convicts, whose sentences of transportation had expired;
viz Murphy, a sail-maker; Sheppard, a joiner; and Bateman, a lad who had
been employed as an attendant on an officer.

At six o'clock in the evening of Tuesday the 15th, the signal which
always gave satisfaction in the colony was made at the South Head;
several boats went down, but when night closed it was only known that a
ship was off. A large fire for the information of the stranger was made
at the South Head; and at about ten o'clock the following morning, the
_Bellona_ transport, Mr. Mathew Boyd commander, anchored in the cove from
England; from which place she sailed on the 8th day of August last,
having on board a cargo of stores and provisions for the colony;
seventeen female convicts; five settlers, and their families; Thorpe, a
person engaged as a master millwright at a salary of £100 per annum; and
Walter Broady, who returned to New South Wales to be employed in his
former capacity of master blacksmith. The quaker families which had been
expected for some time past had engaged to take their passage in the
_Bellona_; but it was said, that they had been diverted from their
purpose by some misrepresentations which had been made to them respecting
this country.

Among other articles now received were five pipes of port wine and a
quantity of rum, which were consigned to the governor for the purpose of
being sold to the officers of the civil and military establishments at
prime cost; and three thousand pounds of tobacco for the use of the
soldiers of the garrison and others.

The shameful impositions which had been practised by many who had brought
out articles for sale in the colony, and the advantage which had been
taken in too many instances of our necessities, had been properly stated
at home, and this measure had been adopted by Government for our
accommodation. The wine was immediately distributed; coming to the
officer, after every expense of wharfage, etc. at £19 10s per hogshead,
and the rum at five shillings per gallon. The tobacco was likely to
remain for some time undisposed of, as a quantity had been lately brought
into the settlement, and was selling at a lower price than could be taken
for that imported by this ship; and tobacco formed a material article of
the different investments in the _Britannia_.

With great pleasure we also found that Government, in consequence of the
representations of Governor Phillip, had directed a strong substantial
Russia duck to be substituted for the slight unserviceable Osnaburgs with
which the convicts had been hitherto supplied.

We learned by the _Bellona_, that his Majesty's ship _Gorgon_ arrived at
Spithead on the 19th of June last. In her passage, which she made by Cape
Horn, on the 18th of February last, being in the latitude of 51 degrees
30 minutes S and longitude 34 degrees 07 minutes W variation 13 degrees
37 minutes E she fell in with twenty-nine islands of ice. When the ship
reached within three or four miles of the first of these islands, they
observed one compact body, without the smallest appearance of any opening,
bearing from NNE to WNW and which with some difficulty, being embayed*,
they were enabled to clear, by hauling the ship from N to WSW. This was
done at ten in the forenoon; they did not reach the extreme western point
of the ice until five in the evening; and from the rate at which the ship
sailed, from her coming up with the first island of ice, until she cleared
the north-west point of the field abovementioned, it was computed that she
had run full twenty leagues.

[* When near this great body of ice, the thermometer was as low as
thirty-six degrees; and it rose from that point, as she drew off, to forty

It must be remarked, that the _Sirius_, in the month of December 1788,
saw several islands of ice in nearly the same latitude and longitude.

At the Cape of Good Hope Captain Parker had met with Captain Edwards of
the _Pandora_, who delivered to him Mary Braud, the widow of Bryant, who
escaped to Timor in the fishing cutter, with one of the children, and
only four of the male convicts who accompanied Bryant in his flight.
Bryant died at Batavia, with the other child, and two of his companions;
one of them, James Cox, was said to be drowned in the Straits of Sunda.
On their arrival in England the story of their sufferings in the boat
excited much compassion; and, before the _Bellona_ sailed, they had been
brought up to the bar of the Old Bailey, and ordered by the court to
remain in Newgate until the period of their original sentence of
transportation should expire, there to finish their unsuccessful attempts
to regain their liberty.

While the cargo of the _Bellona_ was landing much of it was found to be
damaged; the ship had been overloaded, and had met with very boisterous
weather on her passage. This practice of crowding too much into one ship
had in many instances been very prejudicial to the colony; in the present
instance, of the Russia duck, which was excellent in its kind, and which
had cost the sum of £6636 0s 9d; sixty-eight bales, containing thirteen
thousand one hundred and forty-eight yards, were damaged; sixty-nine casks
of flour also were found to be much injured. Of seventy-six hogsheads of
molasses, eleven hundred and seventy-two gallons were found to have leaked
out; one cask of pork was stinking and rotten; seventy-nine gallons of
rum, and one hundred and ninety-eight gallons of wine, were deficient,
owing to improper stowage; three hundred and thirty-five hammocks,
thirteen rugs, five hundred and twenty-seven yards of brown cloths, and
one case of stationary, were rendered totally unfit for use. Of the
articles thus found to be unserviceable to the colony, there was not one
which in its proper state would not have been valuable; and when the
expense attending their conveyance, the risk of the passage, the
inconvenience that must be felt from the want of every damaged article,
and the impossibility of getting them replaced for a great length of
time, were considered, it was difficult to ascertain their precise value.

Among the occurrences of this month one appears to deserve particular
notice. On Friday the 18th, Eleanor McCave, the wife of Charles Williams,
the settler, was drowned, together with an infant child, and a woman of
the name of Green. These unfortunate people had been drinking and
revelling with Williams the husband and others at Sydney, and were
proceeding to Parramatta in a small boat, in which was a bag of rice
belonging to Green. The boat heeling considerably, and some water getting
at the bag, by a movement of Green's to save her rice the boat overset
near Breakfast Point, and the two women and the child were drowned. If
assistance could have been obtained upon the spot, the child might have
been saved; for it was forced from the wretched mother's grasp just
before she finally sunk, and brought on shore by the father; but for want
of medical aid it expired. The parents of this child were noted in the
colony for the general immorality of their conduct; they had been rioting
and fighting with each other the moment before they got into the boat;
and it was said, that the woman had imprecated every evil to befal her
and the infant she carried about her (for she was six months gone with
child) if she accompanied her husband to Parramatta. The bodies of these
two unfortunate women were found a few days afterwards, when the wretched
and rascally Williams buried his wife and child within a very few feet of
his own door. The profligacy of this man indeed manifested itself in a
strange manner: a short time after he had thus buried his wife, he was
seen sitting at his door, with a bottle of rum in his hand, and actually
drinking one glass and pouring another on her grave until it was emptied,
prefacing every libation by declaring how well she had loved it during
her life. He appeared to be in a state not far from insanity, as this
anecdote certainly testifies; but the melancholy event had not had any
other effect upon his mind.

The _Kitty_ transport being ready for sea, on Sunday the 20th two
subalterns, three sergeants, three corporals, one drummer, and sixty
privates, of the New South Wales corps, were embarked, for the purpose of
relieving the detachment from that corps now on duty at Norfolk Island
under the command of a captain, who received orders to return to this

On board of this ship were also embarked, Mr. Clarke, the deputy-commissary
for Norfolk Island; Mr. Peate, the master carpenter, who came out in the
_Royal Admiral_; two coopers; two tailors; two officers' servants; John
Chapman Morris, Benjamin Ingram (pursuant to the conditional pardon which
he received from Governor Phillip), and a few women: and on the 25th
she sailed.

On Saturday the 26th, the rice being expended, the convicts received
three pounds of flour, and the civil and military one pound of flour in
addition to the former allowance.

In the course of this month the lieutenant-governor judged it necessary
to send an officer to Parramatta, whom he could entrust with the
direction of the convicts employed there and at Toongabbie in
cultivation, as well as to take charge of the public grain. This business
had always been executed by one of the superintendants, under the
immediate inspection and orders of the governor, who latterly had
dedicated the greatest part of his time and attention to these
settlements. But it was attended with infinite fatigue to his excellency;
and the business had now grown so extensive, that it became absolutely
necessary that the person who might have the regulation of it should
reside upon the spot, that he might personally enforce the execution of
his orders, and be at all times ready to attend to the various
applications which were constantly making from settlers.

The lieutenant-governor, therefore (his presence being required at
Sydney, the head-quarters of his regiment, and the seat of the government
of the country) deputed this trust to Lieutenant John Macarthur, of the
New South Wales corps; the superintendants, storekeepers, overseers, and
convicts at the two settlements, being placed under his immediate

Charles Gray, a man who had rendered himself notorious in the registers
of this colony by repeated acts of villainy, exhibited himself again to
public view at the close of this month, and at a time when every one
thought him a reclaimed man. He had been sent to Norfolk Island as a
place where he would have fewer opportunities of exercising his predatory
abilities than at Sydney; but the law having spent its force against him,
he returned to this settlement as a free man in September last. On his
declaring that he was able to provide for himself, he was allowed to work
for his own support, and for some time past he had cut wood and drawn
water for a drummer in the New South Wales corps, a man who, by much
self-denial and economy, had got together and laid up thirty-three
guineas, for the prudent and laudable purpose of hereafter apprenticing
his children; but having unfortunately and most indiscreetly suffered
this man to know, not only that he had such a sum, but where he kept it,
Gray availed himself of a convenient opportunity, and carried off the
whole sum, together with a shirt which lay in his way. On being taken up
(for suspicion was directly fixed on him) he readily acknowledged the
theft, and either was, or pretended to be, very much in liquor. On being
urged to restore the property, he sent the watchmen to search for it in
different places, but without directing them to the spot where he had
concealed it. At last he was taken out himself, when accidentally meeting
the lieutenant-governor he threw himself on the ground, pretending to be
in a fit; on which he was directly ordered to be tied up and punished
with one hundred lashes. After this he would not make any discovery, and
was sent to the hospital. The drummer who had suffered so materially by
this wretch, although the object of pity, yet, knowing as he must have
done the character of the man, was certainly entitled to no small degree
of blame for trusting with a secret of such importance to his family a
man who he must have known could not have withstood so great a temptation.

The lieutenant-governor proposing to open and cultivate the ground
commonly known by the name of the Kangaroo Ground, situate to the
westward of the town of Sydney between that settlement and Parramatta, a
gang of convicts was sent from the latter place for that purpose. The
soil here was much better for agriculture than that immediately adjoining
to the town of Sydney, and the ground lay well for cultivation; but it
had hitherto been neglected, from its being deficient in the very
essential requisite of water; on which account Parramatta had been
preferred to it. The eligibility of cultivating it was however now going
to be tried; and, permission having been received by the _Bellona_ to
grant lands to those officers who might desire it, provided the
situations of the allotments were such as might be advantageous to _bona
fide_ settlers hereafter, if they ever should fall into such hands,
several officers chose this as the spot which they would cultivate, and
allotments of one hundred acres each were marked out for the clergyman
(who, to obtain a grant here, relinquished his right to cultivate the
land allotted for the maintenance of a minister), for the principal
surgeon, and for two officers of the corps.

February.] The settlers who came out in the _Bellona_ having fixed on a
situation at the upper part of the harbour above the Flats, and on the
south side, their different allotments were surveyed and marked out; and
early in this month they took possession of their grounds. Being all free
people, one convict excepted, who was allowed to settle with them, they
gave the appellation of '_Liberty Plains_' to the district in which their
farms were situated. The most respectable of these people, and apparently
the best calculated for a _bona fide_ settler, was Thomas Rose, a farmer
from Dorsetshire, who came out with his family, consisting of his wife
and four children. An allotment of one hundred and twenty acres was
marked out for him. With him came also Frederic Meredith, who formerly
belonged to the _Sirius_, Thomas Webb, who also belonged to the _Sirius_,
with his nephew, and Edward Powell, who had formerly been here in the
_Lady Juliana_ transport. Powell having since his arrival married a free
woman, who came out with the farmer's family, and Webb having brought a
wife with him, had allotments of eighty acres marked out for each; the
others had sixty each. The conditions under which they engaged to settle
were, 'To have their passages provided by government*; an assortment of
tools and implements to be furnished them out of the public stores; to be
supplied with two years' provisions; their lands to be granted free of
expense; the service of convicts also to be assigned them free of
expense; and those convicts whose services might be assigned them to be
supplied with two years' rations and one year's clothing.' The convict
who settled with them (Walter Rouse, an industrious quiet man) came out
in the first fleet, and being a bricklayer by trade they thought he might
be of some service to them in constructing their huts. He had an
allotment of thirty acres marked out for him.

[* Government paid for each person above ten years of age the sum of
eight pounds eight shillings; and allowed one shilling _per diem_ for
victualling them; and sixpence _per diem_ for every one under that age.]

Many more officers availed themselves of the assent given by government
to their occupying land, and fixed, some at Parramatta and others in
different parts of the harbour, where they thought the ground most likely
to turn out to their convenience and advantage. They began their
settlements in high spirits; the necessary tools and implements of
husbandry were furnished to them from the stores; and they were allowed
each the use of ten convicts. From their exertions the lieutenant-governor
was sanguine in his hopes of being enabled to increase considerably the
cultivation of the country; they appeared indeed to enter vigorously into
these views, and not being restrained from paying for labour with spirits,
they got a great deal of work done at their several farms (on those days
when the convicts did not work for the public) by hiring the different
gangs; the great labour of burning the timber after it was cut down
requiring some such extra aid.

On the 5th of the month the _Bellona_ was discharged from government
employ. Twenty-one days were allowed for the delivery of her cargo; but,
by taking off the people from the brick carts, and from some other works,
she was cleared within the time. This ship was of four hundred and
fifty-four tons burden, and was paid by government at the rate of four
pounds four shillings per ton per month. A clause was inserted in the
charter-party, forbidding the master to receive any person from the
colony, without the express consent and order of the governor. The
governor was also empowered to take her up for the purposes of the colony
should he want her; but as the _Daedalus_ was expected, and the _Kitty_
was already here, both in the service of government, it was not necessary
to detain her, and she sailed on the 19th for Canton.

The master having been permitted to receive on board two convicts (the
number he requested) whose terms of transportation had expired, consented
to his ship being smoked, when four people were found secreted on board,
two of whom had not yet served the full periods of their sentences.

To prevent this ship's coming on demurrage while her cargo was
delivering, the convicts worked in their own hours, as well as those
allotted to the public, under a promise of having the extra time allowed
them at a future day. While this labour was in hand, the building of the
barracks stood still for want of materials; it therefore became
necessary, when the brick carts could again be manned, to lose no time in
bringing in a sufficient number of bricks to employ the bricklayers. This
having performed, they claimed their extra time, which now amounted to
sixteen days. As it would have proved very inconvenient to have allowed
them to remain unemployed for that number of days, the lieutenant-governor
directed the commissary to issue to each person so employed half a pint
of spirits _per diem_ for sixteen days. Liquor given to them in this way
operated as a benefit and a comfort to them: it was the intemperate use
of spirits, procured at the expense of their clothing or their provisions,
which was to be guarded against, and which operated as a serious evil.

For want of sufficient store-room, it was found necessary to stow a great
part of the wet provisions and flour arrived by the _Bellona_ in tiers
before the provision-store. Care was taken to shelter them from the sun
and from the weather; and when the pile was completed, it was, until the
eye was accustomed to the sight, an object of novelty and wonder; it
never having occurred to us since we first built a store, to have more
provisions than our stores could contain.

Gray, who had recovered from his last punishment, being now again urged
to discover what he had done with the drummer's money, trifled until he
was again punished, and then declared he had buried it in the man's
garden; but being taken to the spot he could not find it, and in fact did
not seem to know where to look for it. It was supposed, that, being in
liquor when he committed the robbery, he was ignorant how he had disposed
of the property, or that it had fallen into the hands of some person too
dishonest to give it to the right owner. He was afterwards sent to the
hospital, whence he made his escape into the woods.

On the evening of Sunday the 24th the signal was made at the South Head,
a short time before dark, but too late to be observed at the settlement;
at nine o'clock, however, information was received by the boat belonging
to the South Head, that a ship from Calcutta was at anchor in the lower
part of the harbour. In the morning she worked up, and anchored just
without the cove. She proved to be the _Shah Hormuzear_, of about four
hundred tons burden, commanded by Mr. Matthew Wright Bampton, from
Calcutta, who had embarked some property on a private speculation for
this country. Mr. Bampton, in September last, had sailed from Bombay,
with a cargo of provisions and stock for this settlement; but when near
the Line, his ship springing a leak, he was obliged to return, and got to
Bengal, where, with the sanction of Lord Cornwallis, he took on board a
fresh cargo for the colony. At Bengal he had met with Captain Manning,
who sailed from hence in the _Pitt_ in April last, and who mentioned to
him such articles as he thought were most wanted in these settlements.

Mr. Bampton had on board when he sailed, one bull, twenty-four cows, two
hundred and twenty sheep, one hundred and thirty goats, five horses, and
six asses; together with a quantity of beef, flour, rice, wheat, gram,
paddy, and sugar; a few pipes of wine, some flat iron, and copper
sufficient for the sloop's bottom which had been received in frame by the
_Pitt_, and which Captain Manning remembered to have been sent out
without that necessary article; a large quantity of spirits, and some
canvas. In the article of stock, however, Mr. Bampton had been very
unfortunate. His cattle died; of the sheep more than half perished; one
horse and three asses died; and very few of the goats survived the
voyage, a voyage by no means a long one, having been performed in eight
weeks wanting three days, and in good weather. This mortality evidently
did not proceed from any want of proper care, but was to be ascribed to
their having been embarked immediately on being taken from the fields,
and consequently wanting that stamina which a sea-voyage required.

The cattle that survived was purchased by the different officers of the
colony, while the other part of the cargo, the spirits and canvas
excepted, were taken by government. The amount of the whole purchased by
government was £9603 5s 6d; for although a supply of provisions had been
lately received from England, it was but a small one, and we were not yet
in possession of that plenty which would have warranted our rejecting a
cargo of provisions, particularly when brought on speculation. The hour
of distress might again arrive, and occasions might occur that would
excite a wish, perhaps in vain, for a cargo of provisions from Bengal. In
addition to these reasons, it must be remarked, that the different
articles which were purchased were of the best quality, and offered on
reasonable terms.

By this ship we received information, that the _Queen_ transport had
arrived safe at Bombay; but it was much feared that the _Admiral
Barrington_, which sailed in company with the _Queen_ from this place on
the 6th of January 1792, was lost, as no accounts had been received of
her at any port in India, a considerable time after her arrival at Bombay
from Batavia might reasonably have been expected. There arrived in the
_Chesterfield_ a person who had been a convict in this country, but who
had been allowed to take his passage on board the _Admiral Barrington_.
This man quitted the _Admiral Barrington_ at Batavia, and got to the Cape
in a Dutch ship, where meeting with Mr. Alt, he embarked with him, and by
the accident which brought the _Chesterfield_ hither returned to this
colony. On his arrival here, he circulated a report, that several of the
convicts who had got on board of these two ships had been landed by order
of the masters at an island which they met with in their passage to
Batavia, inhabited indeed, but by savages; and that those who remained
experienced such inhuman treatment, that they were glad to run away from
them at the first port where any civilised people were to be found. He
was himself among this number, and now declared that he was ready to make
oath to the truth of his relation if it should be required. If there was
any truth in his account, and the masters of these ships did actually
turn any people on shore in the manner already described, it was more
than probable that an act of such apparent cruelty had been occasioned by
some attempt of the convicts to take the ships from them; and the numbers
which were supposed to have been on board (seventeen) rather justified
the supposition. Captain Manning, of the _Pitt_, who had taken from this
settlement twenty men and nine women, found them so useless and
troublesome, that he was very glad to leave the greatest part of them at
Batavia*, and now declared that he regretted ever having received them on
board. When these circumstances should be made public, it was thought
that the masters of ships would not be so desirous of recruiting their
ships' companies from among the inhabitants of this colony.

[* At that grave of Europeans the _Pitt_ lost eighteen of her people.]

The grain called dholl, which had been issued as part of the ration at
the rate of three pints per man per week since the arrival of the
_Atlantic_, was discontinued on the 25th, the whole of that article
having been served out. It had been found useful for stock.

At Toongabbie the workmen were now employed in constructing a barn and
granary upon a very extensive scale.

Among the females who died this month was one, a stout healthy young
woman, of the name of Martha Todd, who came out in the _Mary Ann_, and
fell a victim to a dysenteric complaint, which seized her after drinking
too freely of the pernicious spirits which had been lately introduced
into the colony. The same fate attended James Hatfield, a man who had
been looked upon as a sober good character. He was on the point of
obtaining a grant of land, and came from Parramatta to Sydney for the
purpose of speaking about his allotment, when, unfortunately, he met with
some of his friends, and partaking intemperately of the American rum, he
was seized with a dysentery, which carried him off in a few days. In this
way many others were affected after drinking, through want of a
sufficient stamina to overcome the effect of the spirit.

March.] The repairs of the _Chesterfield_ having been completed, she was
on the point of proceeding to sea, when the lieutenant-governor proposed
to the master for the sum of £120 to take on board a freight of
provisions for Norfolk Island; which he consenting to, she was hauled
alongside the ship from Bengal, and a certain proportion of grain was put
into her; after which, such salt provisions and stores as were intended
to be conveyed by her were sent from the colony, and on the 10th she
sailed for Norfolk Island.

In lieu of the three pints of dholl, which were now discontinued, an
additional pound of flour was served; the civil and military receiving
eight pounds, and the convicts seven pounds of flour per week, from the
9th; and in order to make a little room in the store, and that the
officers might be accommodated with a better kind of flour, they were
permitted to receive from the commissary two casks of American flour
each, which were to be deducted from their ration.

The ship from Bengal, which was manned with Lascars, had no sooner hauled
into the cove, and opened a communication with the shore, than a practice
commenced among the convicts of disposing of the slops and blankets which
they had lately received to the Lascars, who, trembling with the cold
even of this climate, very readily availed themselves of their propensity
to part with them; which was so great, that it became necessary to punish
with severity such offenders as were detected.

On Tuesday the 12th the signal was made at the South Head, and by the
noon of the following day two Spanish ships anchored in the lower part of
the harbour. An officer from one of them arriving at the settlement, we
learned that they were the two ships of whose expected arrival
information had been received from government in the year 1790; and to
whom it was recommended that every attention should be paid. They were
named the _Descuvierta_ and _Atrevida_ (the _Discovery_ and the
_Intrepid_); the former commanded by Don Alexandro Malaspina, with a
broad pendant as the commander of the expedition, and the latter by Don
Jose de Bustamante y Guerra. They had been three years and a half from
Europe on a voyage of discovery and information; and were now arrived
from Manilla, after a passage of ninety-six days; touching in their way
hither at Dusky Bay in New Zealand, from which they had sailed about a

On their coming up, they anchored just abreast of the two points which
form Sydney Cove, declining saluting, as it was not in our power to
return it. These ships were of three hundred and five tons burden each,
and were built for the particular voyage on which they were sent. Great
care was observable in their construction, both as to the strength of the
vessels and the accommodation of the officers and the equipage. They were
well manned, and had, beside the officers customary in king's ships, a
botanist and limner on board each vessel.

They had visited all the Spanish possessions in South America and other
parts of the world, ascertaining with precision their boundaries and
situations; gaining much information respecting their customs and
manners, their importance with regard to the mother country, their
various productions commercial, agricultural, botanical, and mineral. For
all which purposes the officers on board appeared to have been selected
with the happiest success. They most forcibly reminded us of the
unfortunate Count de la Perouse and his followers, of whom these
gentlemen had only heard that they were no more; and for whose destiny
they expressed a feeling arising from their having traversed the ocean in
the same pursuit, and followed in the same path. Equally sincere and
polite as Count de la Perouse, the Spanish commodore paid a tribute to
the abilities and memory of our circumnavigator Cook, in whose steps the
Chevalier Malaspina, who was an Italian marquis and a knight of Malta,
declared it was a pleasure to follow, as it left him nothing to attend
to, but to remark the accuracy of his observations. They lost at the
island of Luconia Don Antonio Pineda, a colonel of the Spanish guards,
who was charged with that department of the expedition which respected
the natural history of the places they visited. They spoke of him in high
terms as a man of science and a gentleman, and favoured us with an
engraving of the monument which they had caused to be erected over his
grave at the place where he died; and from which the following
inscription was copied:

Tribuno . Militum .
Virtute . In . Patriam . Bello . Armisque . Insigni .
Naturae . Demum . Indefesso . Scrutatori .
Trienni . Arduo . Itinere . Orbis . Extrema . Adiit .
Telluris . Viscera . Pelagi . Abyssos . Andiumque . Cacumina. Lustrans .
Vitae . Simul . Et . Laborum . Gravium .
Diem . Supremum . Obiit . In . Luconia . Phillipicarum .
VI Calendas . Julii . M.D.C.C.X.C.II.
Prematuram . Optimi . Mortem .
Luget . Patria . Luget . Fauna . Lugent . Amici .
Qui . Hocce . Posuere . Monumenturn .

The monument was designed by Don Fernando Brambila, the landscape-painter
on board the _Atrevida_; and the inscription did credit to the classical
knowledge of Senor Don Fadeo Heencke, the botanist on board the

Having requested permission to erect an observatory, they chose the point
of the cove on which a small brick hut had been built for Bennillong by
Governor Phillip, making use of the hut to secure their instruments. They
did not profess to be in want of much assistance; but such as they did
require was directed to be furnished them without any expense; it was
indeed too inconsiderable to become an object of charge.

The arrival of these strangers, together with that of the ship from
Bengal, gave a pleasant diversity to the dull routine that commonly
prevailed in the town of Sydney; everyone striving to make their abode
among us as cheerful as possible, and to convince them, that though
severed from the mother country, and residing in woods and among savages,
we had not forgotten the hospitalities due to a stranger.

The commission of offences was now so frequent, that it had become
necessary to assemble the criminal court during this month; and William
Ashford, a lad who had been drummed out of the New South Wales corps, was
tried for stealing several articles of wearing apparel from some of the
convicts; of which being convicted, he was sentenced to receive three
hundred lashes.

On the 21st the _Kitty_ returned from Norfolk Island, having on board
Captain Paterson and his company of the new corps, together with a number
of free people and convicts; amounting in all to one hundred and
seventy-two persons; Governor King having been desired to get rid of any
such characters as might be dangerous or troublesome to him.

Mr. King wrote very favourably of the state of the settlements, under his
command. The crops of wheat and maize had produced so abundantly, as to
insure him a sufficiency of that article for the next twelve months. The
inhabitants were healthy; and such had been the effects of some wholesome
regulations, and the attention of the magistrates to enforce them, that
for the last three months not any offence deserving of punishment had
been committed, nor a cob of corn purloined either of private or public

At the departure of the _Kitty_, he was busied in erecting some necessary
buildings, as barracks, a granary, storehouses, etc. and had completed a
very excellent house for his own use. Lime-stone having been found in
great abundance on Norfolk Island, enabled him to build with some extent
and security than had hitherto been done even in New South Wales. Several
casks of this useful article were now imported in the _Kitty_, with a
quantity of plank.

Captain Johnston's company in the new corps received some addition by
this ship. Eight of the marine settlers, whose grounds, on extending the
lines of their allotments, were found to intersect each other, and who
had declined such accommodation as Governor King thought it proper to
offer them, had resigned their farms, and preferred returning to their
former profession.

Toward the latter end of the month information was received of some
nefarious practices which had been carrying on at the store at
Parramatta; the sum of which was, that the two convicts who had been
employed in issuing the provisions under the storekeeper had been for
some time in the habit of serving out on each issuing-day an extra
allowance of provisions to one, or occasionally to two messes. The messes
consisted of six people, and one of these six (taking any mess he chose)
used to be previously informed by one or other of the convicts who served
the provisions, that an extra allowance for the whole mess would be
served to him, which he was to receive and convey away, taking care to
return the allowance to them at night, then to be divided into three
shares. To accomplish this fraud, an opportunity was to be taken of the
storekeeper's absence, which might happen during the course of a long
serving, and for which they took care to watch. On his return the mess
for which one allowance had just been served was publicly called, and the
whole served a second time. With this practice they had trusted nine or
ten different people; and the wife of one man, who had assisted in the
crime, in a fit of drunkenness confessed the whole.

On examination before the judge-advocate it appeared, in addition to the
above circumstances, that this scheme had been carried on for about two
months past; but there was little doubt of its having existed much

It was no difficult matter to discover the persons who had assisted in
this practice; and on their being taken up several confessed the share
that they and others had had in it: upon which the lieutenant-governor
ordered them all to be severely punished.

In the _Kitty_ arrived one of the superintendants who had at Norfolk
Island been employed in manufacturing the flax plant; but which, for want
of some necessary tools, he could not bring to much perfection. These had
been written for to England, and he came hither to be employed at these
settlements till they should arrive. He was now sent up to Toongabbie, to
superintend the delivery of provisions at that place.

Notwithstanding the orders which had been given respecting spirits being
in the possession of the convicts, on a search made in some suspected
houses, fourteen or fifteen gallons were found in one night; and, being
seized by the watchmen and the guard, were divided among them as a
stimulus to future vigilance. The evil effect of this spirit was
perceptible in the number of prisoners which were to be found every
morning in the watch-house; for, when intoxicated, it could not be
expected that people of this description would be very careful to avoid
breaking the peace.


The Spanish ships sail
The _Chesterfield_ returns from Norfolk Island
A contract entered into for bringing cattle from India to this country
Provisions embarked on board the Bengal ship for Norfolk Island
The _Daedalus_ arrives
Cattle lost
Discoveries by Captain Vancouver
Two natives of New Zealand brought in
Bengal ship sails
Phenomenon in the sky
The hours of labour and ration altered
Lead stolen
Detachment at Parramatta relieved
Accident at that settlement
Lands cleared by officers
Mutiny on board the _Kitty_
The _Kitty_ sails for England
His Majesty's birthday
State of the provision store
The _Britannia_ arrives
Loss of cattle
General account of cattle purchased, lost in the passage, and landed in
New South Wales

April.] The Spanish officers having nearly completed the astronomical
observations which the commodore thought it necessary to make in this
port, that officer signified his intention of shortly putting to sea on
the further prosecution of the instructions and orders which he had
received from his court. Previous to their departure, however, the
lieutenant-governor, with the officers of the settlement and of the
corps, were entertained first on board the _Descuvierta_, and the next
day on board the _Atrevida_, the lieutenant-governor being each day
received with a salute of nine guns, with the Spanish flag hoisted on the
foretopmast-head, being the compliment that is paid in the Spanish
service to a lieutenant-general. The dinner was prepared and served up
after their own custom, and bore every appearance of having been
furnished from a plentiful market.* The healths of our respective
sovereigns, being united in one wish, were drank with every token of
approbation, under a discharge of cannon; and 'Prosperity to the British
colonies in New South Wales' concluded the ceremonials of each day.

[* A small cow from Monterrey was sacrificed on the occasion]

The commodore presented the lieutenant-governor with two drawings of this
settlement, and one of Parramatta, done in Indian ink, by F. Brambila;
together with a copy of the astronomical observations which had been made
at the observatory, and at Parramatta. From these it appeared that the
longitude of the observatory which they had erected at the Point, deduced
from forty-two sets of distances of the sun and moon, taken on the
morning of the 2nd of this month, was 151 degrees 18 minutes 8 seconds E
from Greenwich; and the latitude, 33 degrees 51 minutes 28 seconds S. The
latitude of the governor's house at Parramatta was 33 degrees 48 minutes
0 seconds S; and the distance west from the observatory about nineteen

The commodore left a packet with dispatches for the Spanish ambassador at
the court of London, to be forwarded by the first ship which should
depart hence direct for England; and on the 12th both ships sailed. Their
future route was never exactly spoken of by them; but, from what the
officers occasionally threw out, it appeared that they expected to be in
Europe in about fourteen months from their departure. They spoke of
visiting the Society and Friendly Islands, and of proceeding again to the
coast of South America.

As it had been the general wish to render the residence of these
strangers among us as pleasant as our situation would allow, we received
with great satisfaction the expressions of regret which they testified at
their departure, a regret that was at least equally felt on our part. Our
society was very small; we could not therefore but sensibly feel the
departure of these gentlemen, who united to much scientific knowledge
those qualities of the heart which render men amiable in society; and the
names of Malaspina, Bustamante, Tova, Espinosa, Concha, Cevallos,
Murphy*, Robredo, Quintano, Viana, Novales, Pineda**, Bauza, Heencke***,
Nee***, Ravenet****, and Brambila****, were not likely to be soon
forgotten by the officers of this settlement. During their stay here, the
greatest harmony subsisted between the seamen of the two ships and our
people, the latter in but few instances exercising their nimble-fingered
talents among them; such, however, as did choose to hazard a display, and
were detected, were severely punished.

[* This gentleman was of Irish extraction.]

[** Brother of D. A. Pineda.]

[*** The botanists.]

[**** The limner, and landscape-painter.]

A few days before these ships left us, the _Chesterfield_ returned (after
an absence of only thirty days) from Norfolk Island, where she landed
safely every thing she had on board for that settlement. Mr. Alt anchored
for some days in Cascade Bay, where Governor King had constructed a
wharf, and had hopes of making the landing more convenient that could
ever be practicable at Sydney Bay. This was truly a desideratum, as few
ships had gone to this island without having in the course of their stay
either been blown off, or been in some danger on the shore. It was
understood that scarcely any thing less than a miracle could have saved
the _Kitty_ from being wrecked on a rock just off the reef.

The master of the _Shah Hormuzear_ having laid before the
lieutenant-governor some proposals for bringing cattle to this country,
they were taken into consideration; and as the introducing cattle into
the colony was a most desirable object, and Bengal had been pointed out
as the settlement from which they were to be procured, after some days a
contract was entered into between Mr. Bampton on his own part, and the
lieutenant-governor on behalf of the crown, wherein it was covenanted,
that Mr. Bampton should freight at some port in India a ship with one
hundred head of large draught cattle; one hundred and fifty tons of the
best provision rice, and one hundred and fifty tons of dholl, both
articles to be equal in quality to samples then produced and approved of,
and one hundred tons of the best Irish cured beef or pork; or, in lieu of
the salt provisions, fifty tons of rice. For the cattle, it was
covenanted on the part of the crown that Mr. Bampton should receive at
the rate of thirty-five pounds sterling per head for all that he should
land in a merchantable condition in the colony; for the rice he was to be
paid twenty-six pounds sterling, and for the dholl eighteen pounds
sterling, for every merchantable ton which should be landed; and, lastly,
for the salt provisions he was to receive four-pence halfpenny per pound
for all that should be landed in proper condition. In this contract there
were several conditions and restrictions, and the master was bound in one
thousand five hundred pounds penalty to fulfil them.

The lieutenant-governor, wishing to send a supply to Norfolk Island
sufficient to place that settlement, as far as depended upon him, in a
comfortable state in point of provisions, engaged the _Shah Hormuzear_ to
carry two hundred and twenty tons of provisions thither for the sum of
£220; and the quantity now sent, added to what the _Kitty_ and
_Chesterfield_ had already conveyed, insured to Governor King provisions
for more than twelve months for all his people at the full ration.
Mr. Bampton engaging the _Chesterfield_ to carry some part of these
provisions, both ships began taking them in, and by the 19th had quitted
the cove, intending to sail the following morning; but the signal being
made for a sail at daylight, they waited to see the event.

At the close of the evening of the 10th the _Daedalus_ storeship anchored
in the cove, from the north-west coast of America. The _Daedalus_ left
England with a cargo of provisions and stores, consisting chiefly of
articles of traffic, for the use of the vessels under the command of
Captain Vancouver, whom she joined at Nootka Sound on the north-west
coast of America, and it was designed that she should, after delivering
her cargo, be dispatched to this colony with such stock as she might be
able to procure from the different islands whereat she might touch, and
be afterwards employed as the service might require, should Captain
Vancouver not make any application for her return; which was thought
probable, as well as that he might require some assistance from the

Captain Vancouver, after taking out as much of the cargo as could be
received on board the vessels under his command, dispatched her according
to his orders, although not so early as he could have wished, owing to
particular circumstances; and he was now obliged to send with her a
requisition for the remainder of the provisions and stores being returned
to him, together with a certain quantity of provisions from the colony;
the whole to be dispatched from hence so as to join him either at Nootka,
or some of the Sandwich islands, in the month of October next.

The agent Lieutenant Richard Hergist, who left England in this ship, was
unfortunately killed, together with a Mr. Gootch (an astronomer, on his
way to join Captain Vancouver) and one seaman, at Wahool one of the
Sandwich Islands, where they touched to procure refreshments. Captain
Vancouver had replaced this officer, by Lieutenant James Hanson, of the
_Chatham_ armed-tender, who now arrived in the ship.

On board of the _Daedalus_ were embarked at Monterrey, a Spanish
settlement at a short distance from Nootka, six bulls, twelve cows, six
rams, and eight ewes; and at Otaheite, Lieutenant Hanson took on board
upwards of one hundred hogs (most of them, unluckily, barrows) of all
which stock four sheep and about eighty hogs only survived the passage.
The loss of the cattle was attributed to their having been caught wild
from the woods, and put on board without ever having tasted dry food. The
major part of the hogs, apparently of a fine breed, arrived in very poor

Lieutenant Hanson, having touched at the northernmost island of New
Zealand, brought away with him two natives of that country, having
received directions to that effect for the purpose of instructing the
settlers at Norfolk Island in the manufacture of the flax plant. They
were both young men, and, as they arrived before the departure of the
_Shah Hormuzear_, the lieutenant-governor determined to send them at once
to Norfolk Island.

Captain Vancouver transmitted by Lieutenant Hanson a chart and drawings
of a spacious harbour, which he discovered on the southwest coast of this
country, and which he named King George the Third's Sound. Its situation
was without the line prescribed as the boundary of the British
possessions in this country, being in the latitude of 35 degrees 05
minutes 30 seconds South, and longitude 118 degrees 34 minutes 0 seconds
E. He also sent an account of the discovery of a dangerous cluster of
rocks, which he named the Snares, the largest of which was about a league
in circuit, and lay in latitude 48 degrees 03 minutes S and longitude 166
degrees 20 minutes East, bearing from the South-end of New Zealand S 40
degrees W true, twenty leagues distant; and from the southernmost part of
the Traps (rocks discovered by Captain Cook) S 67½ degrees W true, twenty
leagues distant. The largest of these rocks, which was the highest and
the northeasternmost, might be seen in clear weather about eight or nine
leagues: the whole cluster was composed of seven barren rocks, extending
in a direction about N 70 degrees E and S 70 degrees W true, occupying
the space of about three leagues.

The _Chatham_, being separated in a gale of wind from the _Discovery_,
fell in with an island, which was named 'Chatham Island,' and along the
north-side of which she sailed for twelve leagues. Its inhabitants much
resembled the natives of New Zealand, and it was situated in latitude 43
degrees 48 minutes S and longitude 183 degrees 02 minutes East.

We learned from Lieutenant Hanson, that the _Matilda_ whaler, which
sailed hence in the latter end of the year 1791, on her fishing voyage,
was wrecked on a reef in 22 degrees South latitude, and 138 degrees 30
minutes West longitude. The master and people reached Otaheite, from
whence some were taken by an American vessel, and some by Captain Bligh
of the Providence. Five sailors only remained on the island, with one
runaway convict from this place, when the _Daedalus_ touched there in her
route hither, and of that number one sailor only could be prevailed on to
quit it.

We had now the satisfaction of learning that Captain Bligh had sailed for
Jamaica in July last, with ten thousand breadfruit plants on board in
fine order; having so far accomplished the object of this his second
mission to that island.

The natives from New Zealand having been put on board the _Shah
Hormuzear_ at the last moment of her stay in port, Lieutenant Hanson
remaining with them until the ship was without the Heads, she sailed,
together with the _Chesterfield_, on the 24th.

Mr. Bampton purposed making his passage to India through the straits at
the south end of New Guinea, known by the name of Torres Straits. Captain
Hill, of the New South Wales corps, took his passage to England by the
way of India with Mr. Bampton.

But few convicts were allowed to quit the colony in these ships; four men
and one woman only, whose terms of transportation were expired, being
received on board.

Gray, who had absconded from the hospital in February last, made his
appearance about the latter end of this month at Toongabbie, where he was
detected in stealing Indian corn.

Richard Sutton was stabbed with a knife in the belly by one Abraham
Gordon, at the house of a female convict, on some quarrel respecting the
woman, and at a time when both were inflamed with liquor. In the struggle
Sutton was also dangerously cut in the arm; and when the surgeon came to
dress him, he found six inches of the omentum protruding at the wound in
his belly. Gordon was taken into custody.

Some people were taken up at Parramatta on suspicion of having murdered
one of the watchmen belonging to that settlement; the circumstances of
which affair one of them had been overheard relating to a fellow convict,
while both were under confinement for some other offence. A watchman
certainly had been missing for some time past; but after much inquiry and
investigation nothing appeared that could furnish matter for a criminal
prosecution against them.

A soldier, who had been sentenced by a court-martial to receive three
hundred lashes, on being led out to receive his punishment, attempted to
cut his throat, wounding himself under the ear with a knife. The
punishment was put off until the evening, when he declared that he was
the person who killed the watchman at Parramatta, which he effected by
shooting him; and that he would lead any one to the place where the body
lay. This, however, not preventing his receiving as much of his
punishment as he could bear, he afterwards declared that he knew nothing
of the murder, and had accused himself of perpetrating so horrid a crime
solely in the hope of deferring his punishment.

The natives, who now and then showed themselves about the distant
settlements, toward the latter end of the month wounded a convict who was
taking provisions from Parramatta to a settler at Prospect Hill. The
wound was not dangerous; but it occasioned the loss of the provisions
with which he was entrusted.

The rains of this month came too late to save the Indian corn of the
season, which now wore a most unpromising appearance. A grain had been
lately introduced into the settlement, and grown at Toongabbie, and other
places, which promised to answer very well for stock. It was the caffre
corn of Africa, and had every appearance of proving a useful grain.

An extraordinary appearance in the sky was observed by several people
between five and six o'clock in the evening of Friday the 12th of this
month. It was noticed in the north-west, and appeared as if a ray of
forked lightning had been stationary in that quarter of the sky for about
fifteen minutes, which was the time it was visible. It was not to be
discerned, however, after the sun had quitted the horizon.

May.] The days being considerably shortened, and the weather having
lately been bad, it became necessary to alter the hours of labour. On the
first of May, therefore, the lieutenant-governor directed that the
convicts employed in cultivation, those employed under the master
bricklayer, and those who worked at the brick carts and timber carriages,
should labour from seven in the morning until ten, rest from that time
until three in the afternoon, and continue at their work till sunset. The
carpenters, whose business mostly lay within doors, and who were
therefore not exposed to the weather, were directed to work one hour more
in the afternoon, beginning at one instead of two o'clock.

On the 4th the weekly ration was altered, the male convicts receiving
(instead of seven) four pounds of flour, to which were added four pounds
of wheat and four pounds of maize; the allowance of salt provisions
continued the same; but, the oil being expended, six ounces of sugar were
issued in lieu of that article. The wheat was that received from Bengal,
and the maize was issued the first week shelled, but unground; on the
second the people received it in the cob, getting six pounds in that
state in lieu of four shelled. This was unquestionably a good ration, and
when a sufficient number of mills were put up to grind the maize and the
wheat, the people themselves allowed it to be so.

With a ration that they admitted to be a good one, with about six hours
labour during five days of the week, and with the advantages of gardens
and good huts, the situation of the convicts might at this period be
deemed comfortable, and such as precluded all excuse for misconduct.
Garden robberies were, notwithstanding, often committed at Sydney; and at
the other settlements the maize which was still in the field suffered
considerable depredation.

A distinction was made in the ration served to the civil and military,
they receiving weekly six instead of eight pounds of flour, two pounds of
wheat, and four pounds of maize _per_ man.

About the middle of the month the weather was remarkably bad. In the
forenoon of the 15th a report was spread, in the midst of a most violent
squall of wind and rain, that a ship was coming in. The wind having blown
from the southward for some days before favoured the story, and, every
one who heard it believing it to be true, the town was soon in motion
notwithstanding the storm; for, although it was not so rare as it had
been to hear of a ship, yet there was always something cheering and
grateful, and perhaps ever will be, in entertaining the idea that our
society was perhaps about to be increased, and that we were on the point
of receiving intelligence from our connections, or information of what
was doing in that world from which we felt ourselves almost severed. On
this occasion, however, we were disappointed; for, on the return of a
boat which had been sent to the South Head, we were informed that the
signal had not been made, nor a ship seen to occasion it. But we had been
well trained in New South Wales to meet and endure disappointment!

On the night of this day, during the very heavy rain which fell, some
person or persons found means to take off, undiscovered by the sentinel
at the store on the east side, five hundred weight of sheet lead, which
had been landed from the _Daedalus_, and rolled to the storehouse door,
where, being an article not likely from its weight to become an easy
object of depredation, it was supposed to be perfectly safe. A very
diligent search was made, but without success; and it remained
undiscovered until the 27th, when a seaman belonging to the _Kitty_
transport, on the ebbing of a spring tide, perceived it lying on the
shore at low-water mark, opposite to the spot where the _Daedalus_ lay at
anchor. From this circumstance suspicion fell upon the people belonging
to that ship; but as any design they could have in stealing it was not
very obvious it was more probable that some of the convicts had dropped
it there for the purpose of secreting it till a future day, when it would
have been got up, and cast into shot for those who are allowed to kill

About the end of the month the detachment of the New South Wales corps on
duty at Parramatta was relieved. The party that remained there was placed
under the command of Lieutenant Macarthur, the officer charged with the
direction of the civil duties of that settlement. The relief took place
by land, the party from Sydney marching up in about seven hours, and that
from Parramatta arriving at their quarters in Sydney in something more
than six. The computed distance by land is between seventeen and eighteen

On the 29th our colours were displayed at the fort, in grateful remembrance
of the restoration of monarchy in England.

Information was the same day received from Parramatta, that on the
evening of Saturday the 24th a settler of the name of Lisk, having been
drinking at the house of Charles Williams with Rose Burk (a woman with
whom he cohabited) until they were very much intoxicated, as he was
returning to his farm through the town of Parramatta, a dispute arose
between him and the woman, during which a gun that he had went off, and
the contents lodged in the woman's arm below the elbow, shattering the
bones in so dreadful a manner as to require immediate amputation; which
Mr. Arndell, being fortunately at home, directly performed. The unhappy
woman acquitted her companion of any intention to do her so shocking an
injury, and when the account reached Sydney she was in a favourable way.

In this accident Williams, it is true, had no further share than what he
might claim from their having intoxicated themselves at his house; but
that, however, established him more firmly in the opinion of those who
could judge of his conduct as a public nuisance.

The principal labour in hand at Sydney at this time was what the building
of the barracks occasioned; and at the other settlements the people were
chiefly employed in getting into the ground the grain for the ensuing
season, and in preparing for sowing the maize. This article of
subsistence having in the late season proved very unprofitable, the
average quantity being not more than six bushels per acre in the whole,
the lieutenant-governor determined to sow with wheat as much of the
public grounds as he could; and every settler who chose to apply was
permitted to draw as much wheat from the public granary as his ground
required, proper care being taken to insure its being applied solely to
that use. At Toongabbie no addition had been made to the public ground
since Governor Phillip's departure; but by a survey made at the latter
end of this month it appeared, that the officers to whom lands had been
granted, had cultivated and cleared two hundred and thirty-three acres,
and had cut down the timber from two hundred and nineteen more. All the
settlers of a different description had added something to their grounds;
and there were many who might be pronounced to be advancing fast toward
the comfortable situation of independent farmers.

The quantity of land granted since the governor's departure amounted to
one thousand five hundred and seventy-five acres, eight hundred and
thirty of which lay between the towns of Sydney and of Parramatta, the
lieutenant-governor wishing and purposing to form a chain of farms
between these settlements. The advantages to be derived from this
communication were, the opening of an extent of country in the
neighbourhood of both townships, and the benefit that would ultimately
accrue to the colony at large from the cultivation of a track of as good
land as any that had been hitherto opened; by some indeed it was deemed
superior to the land immediately about Parramatta or Toongabbie. In this
chain, on the Parramatta side, were placed those settlers who came out in
the _Bellona_; and although they had only taken possession of their farms
about the middle of February, they had got some ground ready for wheat,
and by their industry had approved themselves deserving of every

June.] The _Kitty_ transport, which, since her arrival from Norfolk
Island on the 21st of April last, had been fitting for her return to
England, at length hauled out of the cove on the 1st of this month, it
being intended that she should sail on the following morning. Her
departure, however, was delayed by the appearance of a mutiny among the
sailors at the very moment of being ordered to get the anchor up and
proceed to sea. The master, George Ramsay, had frequently complained of
some of the sailors belonging to the ship for various offences, and
several of them had been punished on shore; one in particular, Benjamin
Williams, for resisting Mr. Ramsay's authority as master of this ship,
had been punished with one hundred lashes. This man, and four or five of
the other sailors, having procured half a gallon of liquor from a man who
(his term of transportation having expired) was permitted to return to
England, were found by the master drinking, and with a light burning in
the forecastle, at the late and improper hour of twelve o'clock on the
night preceding their intended sailing. On being ordered to put out the
light, they refused, Williams declaring with an oath, that if the master
extinguished it, he would light it again. This, however, the master
effected; but on his afterwards going forward for the purpose of
discovering if they had procured another light, he was seized by Williams
and the other sailors, and thrown clear of the ship into the water.
Fortunately he could swim, a circumstance unknown to these miscreants,
and he reached the ship's side, whence, the mate coming to his
assistance, he was, though with some difficulty, being a very heavy man,
got into the ship. The master, notwithstanding the outrage which he had
thus experienced at their hands, would have contented himself with making
a deposition of the circumstance, and have put to sea the next morning;
but when he ordered the topsails to be hoisted, and the ship got under
way, Williams stood forward, and, for himself and the rest, declared with
much insolence, that the anchor should not be moved until the proper
number of hands belonging to the ship were on board*. The anchor,
however, was got up by the assistance of the passengers and some people
who had boats from the settlement alongside, and with the wind at west
she dropped gradually down the harbour. The lieutenant-governor, on being
informed by some officers who were present of the dangerous and alarming
temper which the seamen manifested on board, resolved, by taking a firm
and very active part, to crush the disorder at once, He accordingly went
on board in person, with some soldiers, and, ordering the ship to be
brought to an anchor, returned with Williams, and two others who were
pointed out by the master as his confederates, not only in refusing the
duty of the ship, but in throwing him overboard during the preceding
night. This resolute step was instantly followed up by their being taken
to the public parade, and there punished, Williams with one hundred and
fifty, and his companions with one hundred lashes each, by the drummers
of the New South Wales corps. At the place and in the moment of
punishment Williams's courage forsook him, and the spirit which he had
displayed on board the _Kitty_ was all evaporated**. He would have said
or done any thing to have averted the lash.

[* She was deficient three men and two boys. The latter had run away the
night before.]

[** He pretty well knew what a flogging was; for he was recognised by a
soldier of the New South Wales corps, who had seen him flogged from ship
to ship at Spithead for a similar offence.]

The appearance of a mutiny is at all times and in every situation to be
dreaded; but in this country nothing could be more alarming. The
lieutenant-governor saw the affair in that light; and with a celerity and
firmness adapted to the exigency of the case restored tranquillity and
safety to all those who were concerned in the fate of the _Kitty_. The
day following several depositions were taken by the judge-advocate, for
the purpose of being transmitted to the navy-board, and the three seamen
who had been taken out of the _Kitty_ being replaced by two convicts and
one seaman lately discharged from the _Daedalus_, she sailed at daylight
on the morning of the 4th instant, and by twelve o'clock at noon was not
to be seen from the South Head.

On board the _Kitty_ were embarked Mr. Dennis Considen, one of the
assistant-surgeons of the settlement, who had received permission to
return to England on account of his health, which had been formerly
impaired in the East Indies, Lieutenant Stephen Donovan, who had been
employed in superintending the landing of provisions and stores at
Norfolk Island, and was now returning to England, having been appointed a
lieutenant in the navy; Mr. Richard Clarke, who came out in the _Bellona_
as a medical superintendant; Mr. Alexander Purvis Cranston, late surgeon
of his Majesty's sloop _Discovery_, who was returning to England, being
from ill health no longer capable of attending to the duties of his
profession; Mr. Henry Phillips, late carpenter of the same vessel, who
was sent hither to be forwarded to England as a prisoner; two seamen and
one marine, invalids from the vessels under the command of Captain
Vancouver; five men and one woman*, who, their terms of transportation
being expired, were permitted to return to their friends; the seaman who
was left behind from the _Atrevida_; also five men, who were permitted to
enter on board the _Kitty_ for the purpose of navigating her. For the
officers and invalids who were on board, provisions for six months were
sent from the colony; but the others provided for themselves.

[* Dorothy Handland, who at the time of her departure was upwards of
eighty years of age, but who nevertheless had not a doubt of weathering
Cape Horn.]

The services of the _Kitty_ were to be summed up in very few words. Of
ten artificers with which she sailed from England, she lost eight; and of
the cargo of stores and provisions which she brought out, a part was
damaged. In seventeen months that she had been in the service of
government, she had made a long and circuitous voyage from England, and
had taken one freight of provisions, stores, and troops to Norfolk Island
from this place. For these services her owners were to receive the sum of
£3500; and, allowing her to be seven months on her passage to England,
the total amount of her hire will be found to be very little short of

His Majesty's birthday passed with the usual marks of distinction.
The regiment fired three vollies on their own parade, and the convicts
were allowed the day to themselves. On this occasion also the
lieutenant-governor caused twelve of the largest hogs which had been
received by the _Daedalus_, to be killed and divided among the military,
superintendants, and sick at the hospital; sufficient being given to the
latter for two days.

Notwithstanding the purchases of provisions which had fortunately been
made from the _Philadelphia_ brigantine before governor Phillip's
departure, and since that time from the _Hope_ and from the _Shah
Hormuzear_, the lieutenant-governor found it necessary on the 12th of the
month to give notice, 'That unless supplies arrived before the 22nd he
should be under the disagreeable necessity of ordering the ration to be
reduced on that day.'

A view of the provisions remaining in store here and at Parramatta on the
24th of last month (the date of the return sent home by the commissary in
the _Kitty_) will evince the necessity of such an alteration.

On the 24th of May there were in store

Of Flour 137,944 lbs
Of Wheat 154,560 lbs
Of Paddy  49,248 lbs

making a total of three hundred and forty-one thousand seven hundred and
fifty-two pounds of grain; which, at the established ration of eight
pounds per man per week, would last six weeks and three days.

Beef  93,969 lbs
Pork 125,178 lbs

which, at the ration of seven pounds of beef, or four pounds of pork, per
man per week, would last, the beef five weeks, and the pork eleven weeks
and a half.

There was also in store, though not at present issued, the Indian corn
rendering it unnecessary, seventy-one thousand two hundred and eighty
pounds of grain and peas; which, at the allowance of three pints per man
per week, would last eight weeks and a half, and nineteen thousand eight
hundred pounds of sugar; which, at six ounces per man per week, would
last eighteen weeks and a half. This latter article had been issued since
the beginning of the last month, when it was served as an equivalent for

It must be remarked, that but for the purchases which had most
fortunately been made of provisions, the colony must at this moment have
been again groaning under the oppression of a very reduced ration.

From the Philadelphia   were purchased Beef 109,817 lbs.
From the Hope           were purchased Beef  38,600 lbs.
From the Shah Hormuzear were purchased Beef 107,988 lbs.
Total of Beef                               256,405 lbs.

From the Hope were purchased Pork            15,600 lbs.
Whole quantity purchased                    272,005 lbs.

of which, deducting the quantity remaining, we shall be found to have
then consumed fifty-two thousand eight hundred and fifty-eight pounds,
something more than equal to one-fifth part.

From the Hope           were purchased Flour  8,800 lbs.
From the Shah Hormuzear were purchased Flour 36,539 lbs.
Whole quantity purchased                     45,339 lbs.

which deducted from the quantity remaining,
we should then only have had in store        92,605 lbs.
of the other articles of which the present ration was composed (the maize
excepted) we should not have had any in the colony; for the wheat and the
sugar were brought hither in the ship from Bengal.

As none of these incidental supplies could be known in England, it was
fair to conclude, that our situation must have been adverted to, and that
ships with provisions were now not very distant. Under this idea,
although on the 22nd no supplies had arrived, the lieutenant-governor did
not make any alteration in the ration, determining to wait one week
longer before he directed the necessary reduction. It was always a
painful duty to abridge the food of the labouring man, and had been too
often exercised here. The putting off, therefore, the evil day for
another week in the hope of any decrease being rendered unnecessary by
the arrival of supplies, met with general applause.

On the Monday following the signal was made for a sail, and about nine
o'clock at night the _Britannia_ was safe within the Heads, having to a
day completed eight months since she sailed hence. The length of time she
had been absent gave birth to some anxiety upon her account, and her
arrival was welcomed with proportionate satisfaction.

Mr. Raven touched at Dusky Bay in New Zealand, where he left his second
mate Mr. John Leith and some of his people, for the purpose of procuring
seals (the principal object of his voyage from England); and of the
timber which he found there he made a very favourable report, pronouncing
it to be light, tough, and in every respect fit for masts or yards. From
New Zealand the _Britannia_, after rounding Cape Horn in very favourable
weather, proceeded to the island of Santa Catherina, on the Brasil coast,
where the Portuguese have a settlement, and from whose governor Mr. Raven
received much civility during the eighteen days that he remained there.
Not being able to procure at this place any of the articles he was
instructed to purchase (one cow and one cow-calf excepted) he stood over
to the African continent, and arrived at the Cape of Good Hope on the
24th of March last. At this port he took on board thirty cows; three
mares; twelve goats; a quantity of flour, sugar, tobacco, and spirits;
and other articles, according to the orders of his employers. Mr. Raven
afforded another instance of the great difficulty attending the
transporting of cattle to this country; for, notwithstanding the extreme
care and attention which were paid to them, twenty-nine of the cows and
three goats unfortunately died. This he attributed solely, and no doubt
justly, to their not being properly prepared for such a voyage, and
previously fed for some weeks on dry food.

In her passage from the Cape of Good Hope to this port, the _Britannia_
met with much bad weather, running for fourteen days under her bare
poles. The prevailing winds were from SW to NW. She came round Van
Dieman's Land in a gale of wind without seeing it. To the southward of
New Zealand Mr. Raven fell in with the rocks seen by Captain Vancouver,
and named by him the Snares. In the latitude of them Mr. Raven differed
from Captain Vancouver only four miles; their longitude he made exactly
the same. Such similarity in the observations was rare and remarkable. He
passed some islands of ice at three and five leagues distance, in
latitudes 51 degrees and 52 degrees S and longitudes 232 degrees and 240
degrees East.

At the Cape Mr. Raven found the _Pitt_, Captain Manning, from Calcutta,
to whom he delivered his dispatches; and he received information from the
captains of the _Triton_ and _Warley_ East Indiamen of the agitated state
of Europe; of the naval and military preparations which were making in
our own country; and of the spirit of loyalty and affection for our
justly-revered sovereign which breathed throughout the nation,
accompanied with firm and general determinations to maintain inviolate
our happy constitution. These accounts, while they served to excite an
ardent wish for the speedy arrival of a ship from England, seemed to
throw the probability of one at a greater distance, particularly as
Mr. Raven could not learn with any certainty of a ship being preparing for
New South Wales.

Among other circumstances which he mentioned was one which deserved
notice. The _Royal Admiral_ East Indiaman, Captain Bond, was lying on the
19th of last December in the Tigris. She sailed hence on the 13th of
November, and, admitting that she had only arrived on the day on which
she was stated to a certainty to be at anchor in the river, she must have
performed the voyage in thirty-seven days from this port. This ship, it
may be remembered, made the passage from the Cape of Good Hope to this
place in five weeks and three days; a run that had never before been made
by any other ship coming to this country.

From the length of time which the _Britannia_ had been absent, our
observation was forcibly drawn to the distance whereat we were placed
from any quarter which could furnish us with supplies; and a calculation
of the length of time which had been taken by other ships to procure them
confirmed the necessity that existed of using every exertion that might
place the colony in a state of independence.

When the _Sirius_ went to the Cape of Good Hope in 1788, she was absent
seven months and six days.

The _Supply_, which was sent for provisions in 1789, returned herself in
six months and two days; but the supplies which had been purchased for
the colony were two months longer in reaching it.

The _Atlantic_ sailed hence for Calcutta on the 26th of October 1791,
touching at Norfolk Island, from which place she took her departure on
the 13th of November; and, calculating her passage from that time, she
will be found to have been seven months and one week in procuring the
supplies for which she was sent out.

The _Britannia_ too was eight months absent. From all this it was to be
inferred, that there should not only be always provisions in the stores
for twelve months beforehand; but that, to guard against accidents,
whenever the provisions in the colony were reduced to that quantity and
no more, then would be the time to dispatch a ship for supplies.

The difficulty of introducing cattle into the colony had been rendered
evident by the miscarriage of the different attempts made by this and
other ships. In this particular we had indeed been singularly
unfortunate; for we had not only lost the greatest part of what had been
purchased and embarked for the colony, as will appear by the following
statement; but we had at the beginning, as will be remembered, lost the
few that did survive the passage. Of these it never was known with any
certainty what had been the fate. Some of the natives who resided among
us did, in observing some that had been landed, declare that they had
seen them destroyed by their own people; and even offered to lead any one
to the place where some of their bones might be found; but, from the
distance of the supposed spot, and our more important concerns, this had
never been sought after. It was very probable that they had been so
destroyed; if not, and that they had met with no other accident, their
increase at this time must have been very considerable.

Account of Black Cattle purchased for, lost in the passage to,
and landed in New South Wales.

                                              Purchased  Lost in  Landed
            (B=Bull Cw=Cow Cf=Calf)           B  Cw Cf B  Cw Cf B  Cw Cf
Embarked in 1787 on board the Sirius and
one of the transports                         1  7  1  -  2  -  1  5  1
Embarked in 1789 on board the Guardian        2 16  -  2 16  -  -  -  -
Embarked in 1791 on board the Gorgon,
   Admiral Barrington, and calved
   on the passage                             3 24  1  3  7  -  - 17  1 Bull
Embarked on board the Atlantic
   in 1792, at Calcutta                       2  2  1  -  1  1  2  1  -
Embarked on board the Pitt                    -  2  -  -  1  -  -  1  -
Embarked on board the Royal Admiral           -  1  -  -  -  -  -  -  0
Embarked on board the Shah Hormuzear
   in 1792, in India                          1 24  2  1 23  -  -  1  2
Embarked on board the Daedalus                6 12  -  6 12  -  -  -  -
Embarked on board the Britannia               - 31  1  - 29  -  -  2  1

Total Purchased           15 bulls, 119 cows, 6 calves;
Total Lost in the passage 12 bulls,  91 cows, 1 calf;
Total Landed               3 bulls,  28 cows, 5 calves.

Of the three bulls which were landed two only were living at this period,
beside the bull calf produced on board the _Gorgon_. Of the twenty-eight
cows only twenty, and of the five calves only two were living; but the
cows which arrived in the _Gorgon_ had produced three cow and two bull
calves; and one small cow must be added to the number in the colony,
which had been presented by the Spanish commodore to the

Sheep, horses, and hogs were found, better than any other stock, to stand
the rough weather which was in general met with between the Cape of Good
Hope and this country.

The mortality which had happened among the stock on board the _Britannia_
set a high price on those which survived. For the cows Mr. Raven bought
at the Cape he gave twenty dollars each, and for each horse he gave
thirty dollars. For the cow with her calf, which he purchased at Santa
Catharina, he gave no more than sixteen Spanish dollars.

On Saturday the 29th, the lieutenant-governor determining to try the
present ration yet another week, the usual allowance was issued, and on
the next day the following general order appeared: 'It being unsafe to
continue at the present ration, the commissary has received instructions
to reduce the weekly allowance, either one pound of pork, or two pounds
of beef, making a proportionate deduction from the women and children.
This alteration to take place on Saturday the 6th of July.'

The natives had lately become troublesome, particularly in lurking
between the different settlements, and forcibly taking provisions and
clothing from the convicts who were passing from one to another. One or
two convicts having been wounded by them, some small armed parties were
sent out to drive them away, and to throw a few shot among them, but with
positive orders to be careful not to take a life.

Several of these people, however, continued to reside in the town, and
to mix with the inhabitants in the most unreserved manner. It was no
uncommon circumstance to see them coming into town with bundles of
fire-wood which they had been hired to procure, or bringing water from
the tanks; for which services they thought themselves well rewarded with
any worn-out jacket or trousers, or blankets, or a piece of bread. Of
this latter article they were all exceedingly fond, and their constant
prayer was for bread, importuning with as much earnestness and
perseverance as if begging for bread had been their profession from their
infancy; and their attachment to us must be considered as an indication
of their not receiving any ill treatment from us.


The _Daedalus_ sails for Nootka
A temporary church founded
Criminal court
The colonial vessel launched
A scheme to take a longboat
Two soldiers desert
Counterfeit dollars in circulation
A soldier punished
The _Boddingtons_ arrives from Cork
General Court Martial held
The _Britannia_ hired and chartered for Bengal
The new church opened
Provisions in store
Corn purchased from settlers
The _Britannia_ sails for Bengal, and the _Francis_ Schooner for New Zealand
Irish convicts steal a boat
The _Sugar Cane_ arrives
Intended mutiny on board prevented
Excursion to the westward
Public works

July.] On the first of this month the _Daedalus_ sailed to convey to
Captain Vancouver the provisions and stores which had been required by
that officer. Lieutenant Hanson, the naval agent on board, received the
most pointed orders for the ship to return to this port immediately after
having executed the service on which she was then going. The _Daedalus_
was considered as a colonial ship; and nothing but Captain Vancouver's
express requisition to have the stores and provisions which were on board
her (the stores being chiefly articles of traffic) sent back to him, to
enable him to fulfil the instructions he had received, would have induced
the lieutenant-governor, in the present state of the colony, to have
parted with her, when it was not improbable that her services might be
wanting to procure supplies, and at no very distant period, if ships did
not arrive.

The _Daedalus_ being, like other ships which had preceded her, short of
hands, the master was permitted to recruit his numbers here, and took
with him six convicts, who had served their several terms of
transportation, and were of good character; and two seamen, who had been
left behind from other ships. The extensive population of the islands at
some of which the _Daedalus_ might have occasion to touch rendered it
absolutely necessary that she should be completely manned; as we well
knew the readiness with which, at all times, their inhabitants availed
themselves of any inferiority or weakness which they might discover
among us.

On board of the _Daedalus_ also was embarked a native of this country,
who was sent by the lieutenant-governor for the purpose of acquiring our
language. Lieutenant Hanson was directed by no means to leave him at
Nootka, but, if he survived the voyage, to bring him back safe to his
friends and countrymen. His native names were Gnung-a gnung-a,
Mur-re-mur-gan; but he had for a long time entirely lost them, even among
his own people, who called him 'Collins,' after the judge-advocate, whose
name he had adopted on the first day of his coming among us. He was a man
of a more gentle disposition than most of his associates; and, from the
confidence he placed in us, very readily undertook the voyage, although
he left behind him a young wife (a sister of Bennillong who accompanied
Governor Phillip) of whom he always appeared extremely fond.

On Saturday the 6th the intended change took place in the ration; and it
being a week on which pork was to be issued, three pounds of that
article were served instead of four. The other articles remained the

The clergyman, who suffered as much inconvenience as other people from
the want of a proper place for the performance of divine service, himself
undertook to remove the evil, on finding that, from the pressure of other
works it was not easy to foresee when a church would be erected. He
accordingly began one under his own inspection, and chose the situation
for it at the back of the huts on the east side of the cove. The front
was seventy-three feet by fifteen; and at right angles with the centre
projected another building forty feet by fifteen. The edifice was
constructed of strong posts, wattles, and plaster, and was to be
thatched.* Much credit was due to the Rev. Mr. Johnson for his personal
exertions on this occasion.

[* The expense of building it was computed to be about forty pounds]

Representation having been made to the lieutenant-governor, that several
of the soldiers had been so thoughtless as to dispose of the sugar and
tobacco which had been served out to them by their officers since the
arrival of the _Britannia_, almost as soon as they had received those
articles, and that some artful people had availed themselves of their
indiscretion, in many instances bartering a bottle of spirits (Cape
brandy) for six times its value, he judged it necessary to give notice,
that any convict detected in exchanging liquor with the soldiers for any
article served out to them by their officers, would immediately be
punished, and the articles purchased taken away: and further (now become
a most necessary restriction), that any persons attempting to sell liquor
without a licence might rely on its being seized, and the houses of the
offending parties pulled down.

About the middle of the month all the wheat which was to be sown on the
public account was got in at and near Toongabbie; the quantity of ground
was about three hundred and eighty acres. The wheat of last season being
now nearly thrashed out, some judgment was formed of its produce, and it
was found to have averaged between seventeen and eighteen bushels an
acre. A large quantity of wheat was also sown this season by individuals,
amounting to about one thousand three hundred and eighty-one bushels,
every encouragement having been given to them to sow their grounds with
that grain.

Several houses having been lately broken open, the criminal court of
judicature was assembled on the 15th, when Samuel Wright, a convict who
arrived in 1791, was tried for breaking into a hut in the day-time, and
stealing several articles of wearing apparel; of which offence being
found guilty, he received sentence of death, and was to have been
executed on the Monday following; but the court having recommended him to
mercy on account of his youth, being only sixteen years of age, the
lieutenant-governor as readily forgave as the court had recommended him;
but, that the prisoner might have all the benefit of so awful a
situation, the change in his fate was not imparted to him until the very
moment when he was about to ascend the ladder from which he was to be
plunged into eternity. He had appeared since his conviction as if devoid
of feeling; but on receiving this information, he fell on his knees in an
agony of joy and gratitude. The solemn scene appeared likewise to make a
forcible impression on all his fellow prisoners, who were present.

The weather of this winter having been colder than any that we had before
experienced, great exertions were made to clothe all the labouring
convicts; and for that purpose the work of the tailors had for some time
been confined to them. Every male convict received one cloth jacket, two
canvas frocks, one pair of shoes, and one leathern cap. The females also
had been clothed.

The vessel which had been received in frame by the _Pitt_ was now
completed, and, to avoid the labour which would have attended her being
launched in the usual manner, Mr. Raven, the master of the _Britannia_,
offered his own services and the assistance of his ship to lay her down
upon her bilge, and put her into the water on rollers. This mode having
been adopted, in the forenoon of Wednesday the 24th of this month she was
safely let down upon the rollers, and by dusk, with the assistance of the
_Britannia_, was hove down to low-water mark, whence, at a quarter before
eight o'clock, she floated with the tide, and was hauled safely alongside
the _Britannia_. The ceremony of christening her was performed at sunrise
the next morning, when she was named _The Francis_, in compliment to the
lieutenant-governor's son, whose birthday this was; and, Mr. Raven
coinciding with the general opinion that she would be much safer if
rigged as a schooner than as a sloop, for which she had been originally
intended, the carpenters were directed to fit her accordingly; and that
gentleman very obligingly supplied a spar, which he had procured for the
_Britannia_ at Dusky Bay, to make her a foremast.

The command of this little vessel, of whose utility great expectations
were formed, was given by the lieutenant-governor to Mr. William House,
late boatswain of the _Discovery_, who arrived here in the _Daedalus_ for
the purpose of proceeding to England as an invalid; but being strongly
recommended by Captain Vancouver as an excellent seaman, with whom he was
very unwilling to part, and signifying a wish to be employed in this
country, the command of this vessel was given to him, with the same
allowance that is made to a superintendant; on which list he was placed.
The two boys who were left behind from the _Kitty_ were also entered for
her, and she was ordered to be fitted forthwith for sea. As it was well
known that many people had their eyes upon this vessel as the means of
their escaping from the colony, it was intended, in addition to other
precautions, that none but the most trusty people should ever be employed
in her.

On the last day of the month a plan to take off one of the longboats was
revealed to the lieutenant-governor. The principal parties in it were
soldiers; and their scheme was, to proceed to Java, with a chart of which
they had by some means been furnished. If their plan had been put into
execution, the evil would have carried with it its own punishment; for,
had they survived the voyage, they would never have been countenanced by
the Dutch, who were always very jealous of strangers coming among them,
and had, no doubt, heard of the desertion of Bryant and his associates
from this settlement. Two of the soldiers were immediately put into
confinement; and in the night two others, one a corporal, went off into
the woods, taking with them their arms, about one hundred rounds of
powder and ball, which they collected from the different pouches in the
barrack, their provisions and necessaries.

The principal works in hand by the people at Sydney were, erecting
kitchens and storerooms for the officers' new barracks, bringing in
timber for rollers for the sloop, and constructing huts at Petersham for
convicts. At Toongabbie the Indian corn was not all gathered, and housing
of that, and preparing the ground for the reception of the next season's
crop, occupied the labouring convicts at that settlement.

Some counterfeit dollars were at this time in circulation; but the
manufacturers of them were not discovered.

August.] The two soldiers who were put into confinement on suspicion of
being parties in a plan to seize one of the long-boats, were tried by a
regimental court-martial on the first day of this month, and one was
acquitted; but Roberts, a drummer, who was proved to have attempted to
persuade another drummer to be of the party, was sentenced to receive
three hundred lashes, and in the evening did receive two hundred and
twenty-five of them. While smarting under the severity with which his
punishment was inflicted, he gave up the names of six or eight of his
brother soldiers as concerned with him, among whom were the two who had
absented themselves the preceding evening. These people, the day
following their desertion, were met in the path to Parramatta, and told
an absurd story of their being sent to the Blue Mountains. They were next
heard of at a settler's (John Nicholls) at Prospect Hill, whose house
they entered forcibly, and, making him and a convict hutkeeper prisoners,
passed the night there. At another settler's they took sixteen pounds of
flour, which they sent by his wife to a woman well known to one of them,
and had them baked into small loaves. They signified a determination not
to be taken alive, and threatened to lie in wait for the game-killers, of
whose ammunition they meant to make themselves masters. These
declarations manifested the badness of their hearts, and the weakness of
their cause; and the lieutenant-governor, on being made acquainted with
them, sent out a small armed party to secure and bring them in, rightly
judging that people who were so ready at expressing every where a
resolution to part with their lives rather than be taken, would not give
much trouble in securing them.

This desertion, and the disaffection of those who meant to take off a
long-boat, was the more unaccountable, as the commanding officer had
uniformly treated them with every indulgence, putting it entirely out of
their power to complain on that head. Spirits and other comforts had been
procured for them; he had distinguished them from the convicts in the
ration of provisions; he had allowed them to build themselves comfortable
huts, permitting them while so employed the use of the public boats; he
had indulged them with women; and, in a word, have never refused any of
them a request which did not militate against the rules of the service,
or of the discipline which he had laid down for the New South Wales
corps; at the same time, however, to prevent these indulgencies from
falling into contempt, they were counterbalanced by a certainty of their
being withdrawn when abused, and flagrant offenders were sure of meeting
with punishment: yet there were many among them who were so ungrateful
for the benefits which they received, and so unmindful of their own
interest and accommodation, that they behaved ill whenever they had an

The parties who had been sent after the runaways, by dividing themselves,
fell in with them near Toongabbie on the 6th. and secured them without
any opposition.

There were at this time in the New South Wales corps, distributed among
the different companies, thirty recruits who had been selected from among
the convicts as people of good characters, and, having formerly been in
the army, were permitted to enlist. These people had conducted themselves
with remarkable propriety, one man only excepted, who had some time since
been punished by the sentence of a court-martial, and who afterwards
misbehaving was discharged from the corps. They were in general enlisted
for life, a condition to which they subscribed on being attested; and
such as had a long time to serve under their sentence, were emancipated
on the above condition.

On the 7th the _Boddingtons_ transport anchored in the cove from Ireland,
having sailed from Cork on the 15th of February last, with one hundred
and twenty-four male, and twenty female convicts of that kingdom on
board, provisions calculated to serve them nine months* after their
arrival, and a proportion of clothing for twelve months. As a guard,
there was embarked a subaltern's party of the New South Wales corps; and
this precaution was found to have been very necessary, the ignorance of
the Irish convicts having displayed itself in an absurd scheme to take
the ship; but which was happily frustrated by the vigilance and activity
of the master** and the officers.

[* Two hundred and twenty-eight barrels of flour; one hundred and eight
tierces of pork, and fifty-four tierces of beef, twenty-eight bales and
thirteen cases of stores.]

[* Captain Robert Chalmers, on the captain's half pay of the marines.]

Mr. Richards jun, who had the contract for supplying the ships which
sailed for this country in 1788 and the _Lady Juliana_ transport, was
employed again by government; a circumstance of general congratulation
among the colonists on its being made known. On the present occasion he
had contracted to furnish two ships to bring out three hundred male and
female convicts from Ireland, with stores and provisions. The
_Boddingtons_, being the first ready, sailed alone; the _Sugar Cane_ (the
second ship) was at Deptford ready to drop down to Gravesend when her
intended companion was about leaving Ireland. Government were to pay four
pounds four shillings per ton for such stores as should be put on board,
and for the convicts at the rate of twenty-two pounds per head. This
mode of payment was complained of in the contract made formerly with
Messrs. Calvert and Co.; but in the present instance the evil attending
that contract was avoided, by a part of the above sum (five pounds) being
left to be paid by certificate for every convict which should be landed.
No ship, however, could have brought out their convicts in higher order,
nor could have given stronger proofs of attention to their health and
accommodation, than did this vessel. Each had a bed to himself, and a new
suit of clothes to land in. On the part of the crown also, to see justice
done to the convicts, there was a surgeon of the navy on board, Mr. Kent,
as a superintendant; and on the part of the contractor, a gentleman who
had visited us before with Mr. Marshall, in the second voyage of the
_Scarborough_ to this country, Mr. A. Jac. Bier, a surgeon also. They had
not any sick list, and had lost only one man on the passage.

Captain Chalmers informed us, that on his arrival at Rio de Janeiro, in
which port he anchored on the 10th of last April, he heard that the
_Atlantic_ transport had sailed thence about three weeks, and had made
her passage from this country round Cape Horn to Rio de Janeiro in
fifty-eight days. He learned from the gentlemen about the palace, that
his excellency Governor Phillip when he touched there appeared to be in
perfect health. He had there too heard of the agitated state of Europe;
and understanding that in all probability the Channel would be infested
with French privateers, he purchased some guns, to strengthen the force
which he had already on board the _Atlantic_.

Advices were received by this ship, that administration intended to make
arrangements for our being supplied from Bengal with live cattle: and
this became a favourite idea with every person in the colony; for the
sheep, though small, were found to be very productive, breeding twice in
the year, and generally bringing two lambs at a birth. The climate was
also found to agree well with the cattle of the buffalo species which had
been received.

The convicts received by the _Boddingtons_ were disembarked a day or two
after her arrival, and sent up to Toongabbie. On quitting the ship they
with one voice bore testimony to the humane treatment they had received
from Captain Chalmers, declaring that they had not any complaints to
prefer, and cheering him when the boats which carried them put off from
her side.

It being necessary to mark with some degree of severity the offence which
had been committed by the two soldiers, a general court-martial was
assembled for their trial on the 12th. The lieutenant-governor, with much
humanity, forebore to charge them with a capital offence; bringing them
to trial for absenting themselves from head-quarters without leave,
instead of the more serious crime of desertion.

By the mutiny act, a general court-martial may, in Africa, consist of
less than thirteen commissioned officers, but not less than five; the
like provision was also extended to New South Wales; and nine officers
formed the court now assembled for the first time in this colony.
Captain Collins officiated as deputy judge-advocate. The prisoners did
not deny the crime they were charged with; and the court, after reducing
the corporal to the ranks, sentenced him to receive five hundred lashes,
and the private soldier eight hundred. The sentence, being approved by
the lieutenant-governor, was in part carried into execution on Saturday
the 17th, the corporal receiving two hundred and seventy-five, and the
soldier three hundred lashes.

The _Britannia_ being now nearly ready for sea, having had some very
necessary articles of repair done to her, and which the master declared
had been as well executed by the artificers of the colony as if the ship
had been in England, she was tendered to be employed for the service of
the settlement wherever the lieutenant-governor might think it necessary
to send her. In the charter-party of the _Boddingtons_, a clause was
inserted, empowering the governor to send her to Norfolk Island, or
elsewhere, should he have occasion, the crown paying the same hire as was
paid for the _Atlantic_ transport (fifteen shillings and sixpence per ton
per month) during the time she should be so employed. The _Britannia_ was
tendered at one shilling per ton less, and had moreover the advantage of
being a coppered ship.

It has been seen that the supply brought by the _Boddingtons_ was very
inconsiderable. No greater quantity was expected with any degree of
certainty by the _Sugar Cane_. The salt provisions remaining in store (by
a calculation made up to the 28th) were sufficient for only fourteen
weeks at the full ration, including what had been received by the
_Boddingtons_, and some surplus provisions which had been purchased of
the agent to the contractor, and one hundred casks of pork, which had
been omitted by an oversight in the last account taken in May a few days
before the _Kitty_ sailed. When it was considered that our supplies would
always be affected by commotions at home, and that if a war should take
place between England and any other nation, which at the departure of the
_Boddingtons_ was hourly expected, they might be retarded, or taken by
the enemy, the lieutenant-governor determined, while he had in his own
hands the means of supplying himself, to employ them; and on the 26th
chartered the _Britannia_ for India. Our principal want was salt
provisions; of flour we well remembered that Bengal produced none, and a
coming crop was before us on our own grounds. The _Britannia_ was
therefore to proceed to Bengal, to be freighted by the government of that
presidency with salt provisions, Irish beef or pork; and in the event of
its not being possible to procure them, the ship was to return loaded
with sugar, rice, and dholl, these being the articles which, next to salt
provisions, were the most wanted in the colony.

Mr. Raven, the master of the _Britannia_, having, as was before observed,
left a mate and some of his people at Dusky Bay in New Zealand, the
lieutenant-governor directed the _Francis_ to be got ready with all
expedition, purposing that she should accompany the _Britannia_ as far on
her way as that harbour, where she had permission to touch; and Mr. Raven
was directed to transmit by the master all such information respecting
that extensive bay, and the seal-fishery in its vicinity, as he should be
of opinion might in anywise tend to the present or future benefit of his
Majesty's service as connected with these settlements.

The clergyman having completed the building which he began in July last,
divine service was performed in it for the first time on Sunday the 25th
of this month; and for a temporary accommodation it appeared likely to
answer very well. Mr. Johnson in his discourse, which was intended to
impress the minds of his audience with the necessity of holiness in every
place, lamented that the urgency of public works had prevented any
undertaking of the kind before, and had thus thrown it upon him; he
declared that he had no other motive for standing forward in the
business, than that of establishing a place sheltered from bad weather,
and from the summer heats, where public worship might be performed. He
said, that the uncertainty of a place where they might attend had
prevented many from coming; but he now hoped the attendance would be full
whenever he preached there. The place was constructed to hold five
hundred people.

It appeared by an estimate which Mr. Johnson afterwards gave in, for the
purpose of being reimbursed what it had cost him, that the expense of
this building considerably exceeded his first calculation, the whole
amount of it being £67 12s 11½d; of which Mr. Johnson paid to the
different artificers he had employed £59 18s in dollars; twenty gallons
and a half of spirits; one hundred and sixteen pounds of flour; fifty-two
pounds of salt provisions; three pounds of tobacco; and five ounces of
tea. Spirits were at this time sold in the colony at ten shillings per
gallon; but Mr. Johnson observed in his estimate that he only charged
that and other articles at the prices which they had actually cost him.
This account Mr. Johnson requested might be transmitted to the secretary
of state, and he accompanied it with a letter stating his reasons for
having undertaken the building?

The _Boddingtons_ were cleared of her cargo, and discharged from
Government employ on the 26th. The cargo, when landed, was found in most
excellent condition, not a single article being damaged; far different
from that received by the _Bellona_, where the ship was overloaded. Had
the _Boddingtons_ been coppered, no ship could have been better
calculated for the transport of provisions to this country from any part
of the world.

A remarkable instance of fecundity in a female goat occurred at the house
of one of the superintendants at Sydney. She produced five kids, three
females and two males, all of which died (a blow which the animal
received bringing them before their time) excepting the first which was
kidded, a female. The same goat in March last brought four kids, three
males and one female, all of which lived. She was a remarkably fine

Much apprehension was now entertained for the wheat, which began to look
yellow and parched for want of rain. Toward the latter end of the month,
however, some rain fell during three days and nights, which considerably
refreshed it. But there being no fixed period at which wet weather was to
be expected in this country, it might certainly be pronounced too dry for

An unpleasant accident occurred at the lieutenant-governor's farm. A
convict of good character, who had the care of the sheep, was found dead
in the woods. He had declined coming in to his breakfast, and was left
eating some bread made of Indian corn and coarse-ground wheat. His body
was opened, but no cause for his sudden dissolution could be assigned
from its appearance.

At the Ponds, a district of settlers in the neighbourhood of Parramatta,
John Richards, in possession of a grant of thirty acres of land, died of
intoxication. This was the first death which had occurred among any of
the people of that description.

By an account taken of the provisions remaining in store on the 28th of
the month, it appeared that we had, calculating each article at the
established ration for two thousand eight hundred and forty-five persons,
the numbers victualled at Sydney and Parramatta,

Flour,         to last    4 weeks, -- or  91,040 lbs
Beef,          to last    3 weeks, -- or  59,745 lbs
Pork,          to last   11 weeks, -- or 125,180 lbs
Wheat,         to last    1 week,  -- or  22,760 lbs
Gram and Peas, to last    8 weeks, -- or  68,280 lbs
Sugar,         to last    3 weeks, -- or   3,200 lbs
Paddy,                                    43,000 lbs

September.] Unproductive as the Indian corn proved which was sown last
year on the public grounds, the settlers must have had a better crop;
for, after reserving a sufficiency for seed for the ensuing season, and
for their domestic purposes, a few had raised enough to enable them to
sell twelve hundred bushels to Government, who, on receiving it into the
public stores, paid five shillings per bushel to the bringer. Government,
however, was not resorted to in the first instance by the settler, who
preferred disposing of his corn where he could receive spirits in payment
(which he retailed for labour) to bringing it to the commissary for five
shillings a bushel; but at this price, from whose hands soever it might
come, it was received into the public stores.

The _Britannia_ and _Francis_ schooner sailed on Sunday. the 8th for
Dusky Bay. The _Francis_ was manned with seamen and boys who had been
left here from ships, and the master had for his assistant as mate Robert
Watson, who formerly belonged to his Majesty's ship _Sirius_, and was
afterwards a settler at Norfolk Island; but his allotment having been
erroneously surveyed, he, being obliged to resign a part of it, gave up
the whole, and gladly returned to his former way of life. One of the
three seamen who had been taken out of the _Kitty_, and punished, was
permitted to enter on board the schooner; another of them was taken by
the captain of the _Boddingtons_; Williams, the principal, remained in
the colony, not bearing that sort of character which would recommend him
to any master of a ship.

Captain Nicholas Nepean, the senior captain in the New South Wales corps,
having been for some time past in an ill state of health, obtained the
lieutenant-governor's leave to return to England by the way of Bengal,
and quitted the colony in the _Britannia_. Three men and one woman also
received permission to leave the settlement.

It might have been supposed, that the fatal consequences of endeavouring
to seek a place in the woods of this country where they might live
without labour had been sufficiently felt by the convicts who arrived
here in the _Queen_ transport from Ireland, to deter others from rushing
into the same error, as they would, doubtless, acquaint the new comers
with the ill success which attended their schemes of that nature. Several
of those, however, who came out in the _Boddingtons_ went off into the
woods soon after their landing; and a small party, composed of some
desperate characters, about the same time stole a boat from Mr. Schaffer,
the settler, with which, as they were not heard of for some days after,
it was supposed they had either got out of the harbour, or were lying
concealed until, being joined by those who had taken to the woods, they
could procure a larger and a safer conveyance from the country.

A slight change took place in the ration this month; the sugar being
expended, molasses was ordered to be served in lieu of that article, in
the proportion of a pint of molasses to a pound of sugar.

On Sunday the 15th died James Nation, a soldier in the New South Wales
corps, into which he had entered from the marine detachment. He sunk
under an inflammatory complaint brought on by hard drinking. With this
person Martha Todd cohabited at the time of her decease, which, as before
related, was occasioned by the same circumstance, and which, together
with her death, Nation had been frequently heard to say was the cause of
much unhappiness to him.

On Tuesday the 17th the signal was made at the South Head, and about six
o'clock in the evening the _Sugar Cane_ transport anchored in the cove
from Cork, whence she sailed the 13th of last April, having on board one
hundred and ten male and fifty female convicts, with a sergeant's party
of the New South Wales corps as a guard. Nothing had happened on board
her until the 25th of May, when information was given to Mr. David Wake
Bell, the agent on the part of Government, that a mutiny was intended by
the convicts, and that they had proceeded so far as to saw off some of
their irons. Insinuations were at the same time thrown out, of the
probability of their being joined by certain of the sailors and of the
guard. The agent, after making the necessary inquiry, thought it
indispensable to the safety of the ship to cause an instant example to
be made, and ordered one of the convicts who was found out of irons to
be executed that night. Others he punished the next morning; and by
these measures, as might well be expected, threw such a damp on the
spirits of the rest, that he heard no more during the voyage of attempts
or intentions to take the ship.

Since the arrival of the _Boddingtons_ many circumstances respecting the
intended mutiny in that ship had been disclosed by the convicts
themselves which were not before known. They did not hesitate to say,
that all the officers were to have been murdered, the first* mate and the
agent excepted, who were to be preserved alive for the purpose of
conducting the ship to a port, when they likewise were to be put to

[* Mr. Duncan McEver. He belonged to the _Atlantic_, which ship he
quitted at Bengal.]

As intentions of this kind had been talked of in several ships, the
military guard should never have been less than an officer's command, and
that guard (especially when embarked for the security of a ship full of
wild lawless Irish) ought never to have been composed either of young
soldiers, or of deserters from other corps.

This ship had a quick passage from Rio de Janeiro, arriving here in
sixty-five days from that port. She brought the following quantity of
provisions and stores for the colony:

Beef                         46 tierces 15,496 ) 31,496 pounds;
   Shipped at Cork           80 barrels 16,000 )
Pork                         92 tierces 29,440 ] 45,440 pounds;
   Shipped at Cork           80 barrels 16,000 ]
Flour                       192 barrels,         64,512 pounds;
Lime-stone, shipped at Cork                      44 tons;
Clothing and necessaries                         17 bales and 5 cases

The convicts arrived in a very healthy state, nor was any one lost by
sickness during the voyage.

Captain Paterson, of the New South Wales corps, an account of whose
journeys in Africa appeared in print some years ago, conceiving that he
might be able to penetrate as far as, or even beyond, the western
mountains (commonly known in the colony by the name of the Blue
Mountains, from the appearance which land so high and distant generally
wears), set off from the settlement with a small party of gentlemen
(Captain Johnston, Mr. Palmer, and Mr. Laing the assistant-surgeon) well
provided with arms, and having provisions and necessaries sufficient for
a journey of six weeks, to make the attempt. Boats were sent round to
Broken Bay, whence they got into the Hawkesbury, and the fourth day
reached as far as Richmond Hill. At this place, in the year 1789, the
governor's progress up the river was obstructed by a fall of water, which
his boats were too heavy to drag over. This difficulty Captain Paterson
overcame by quitting his large boats, and proceeding from Richmond Hill
with two that were smaller and lighter. He found that this part of the
river carried him to the westward, and into the chasm that divided the
high land seen from Richmond Hill. Hither, however, he got with great
difficulty and some danger, meeting in the space of about ten miles with
not less than five waterfalls, one of which was rather steep, and was
running at the rate of ten or twelve miles an hour. Above this part the
water was about fifteen yards from side to side, and came down with some
rapidity, a fall of rain having swollen the stream. Their navigation was
here so intricate, lying between large pieces of rock that had been borne
down by torrents, and some stumps of trees which they could not always
see, that (after having loosened a plank in one boat, and driven the
other upon a stump which forced its way through her bottom) they gave up
any further progress, leaving the western mountains to be the object of
discovery at some future day. It was supposed that they had proceeded ten
miles farther up the river than had ever before been done, and named that
part of it which until then had been unseen, 'the Grose;' and a high peak
of land, which they had in view in the chasm, they called 'Harrington

Captain Paterson, as a botanist, was amply rewarded for his labour and
disappointment by discovering several new plants. Of the soil in which
they grew, he did not, however, speak very favourably.

He saw but few natives, and those who did visit them were almost
unintelligible to the natives of this place who accompanied him. He
entertained a notion that their legs and arms were longer than those of
the inhabitants of the coast. As they live by climbing trees, if there
really was any such difference, it might perhaps have been occasioned by
the custom of hanging by their arms and resting on their feet at the
utmost stretch of the body, which they practise from their infancy. The
party returned on the 22nd, having been absent about ten days.

In their walk to Pitt Water, they met with the boat which had been stolen
by some of the Irish convicts; and a few days after their return some of
those who had run into the woods came into Parramatta, with an account of
two of their party having been speared and killed by the natives. The men
who were killed were of very bad character, and had been the principals
in the intended mutiny on board the _Boddingtons_. Their destruction was
confirmed by some of the natives who lived in the town.

The foundation of another barrack for officers was begun in this month.
For the privates one only was yet erected; but this was not attended with
any inconvenience, as all those who were not in quarters had built
themselves comfortable huts between the town of Sydney and the
brick-kilns. This indulgence might be attended with some convenience to
the soldiers; but it had ever been considered, that soldiers could no
where be so well regulated as when living in quarters, where, by frequent
inspections and visitings, their characters would be known, and their
conduct attended to. In a multiplicity of scattered huts the eye of
vigilance would with difficulty find its object, and the soldier in
possession of a habitation of his own might, in a course of time, think
of himself more as an independent citizen, than as a subordinate soldier.

On the 23rd the first part of the cargo of the _Sugar Cane_ was
delivered, and in a very few days all that she had on board on account of
government was received into the store, together with some surplus
provisions of the contractor's. The convicts which she brought out were,
very soon after her arrival, sent to the settlements up the harbour. At
these places the labouring people were employed, some in getting the
Indian corn for the ensuing season into such ground as was ready, and
others in preparing the remainder. At the close of the month, through the
favourable rains which had fallen, the wheat in general wore the most
flattering appearance, giving every promise of a plenteous harvest. At
Toongabbie the wheat appeared to bid defiance to any accident but fire,
against which some precautions had however been judiciously and timely
taken. From this place, and from the settlers, a quantity of corn
sufficient to supply all our numbers for a twelvemonth was expected to be
received into the public granaries, if those who looked so far forward,
and took into their calculation much corn not yet in ear, were not too
sanguine in their expectations.


The _Boddingtons_ and _Sugar Cane_ sail
A mill erected
Thefts committed
Convicts emancipated
Two persons killed by lightning
The _Fairy_ arrives
Farms sold
Public works
The _Francis_ returns from New Zealand
The _Fairy_ sails
Ration altered
Harvest begun
Criminal Court held
A convict executed
Mill at Parramatta
Christmas Day
Grants of land
Public works
Expenses how to be calculated
Deaths in 1793
Prices of grain, stock, and labour

October.] The _Boddingtons_ and _Sugar Cane_ being both bound for the
same port in India (Bengal) the masters agreed to proceed together; and
on the 13th, the _Sugar Cane_ having set up her rigging, and hurried
through such refitting as was indispensably necessary, both ships left
the harbour with a fair wind, purposing to follow in the _Atlantic's_
track. The master of the _Boddingtons_ was furnished by us with a copy of
a chart made on board the _Pitt_ Indiaman, and brought hither by the
_Britannia_, of a passage or channel found by that ship in the land named
by Lieutenant Shortland New Georgia; which channel was placed in the
latitude of 8 degrees 30 minutes S and in the longitude of 158 degrees 30
minutes E and named 'Manning's Straits,' from the commander of the

The master of the _Sugar Cane_, had he been left to sail alone,
determined to have tried the passage to India by the way of the South
Cape of this country, instead of proceeding to the northward, and seemed
not to have any doubt of meeting with favourable winds after rounding the
cape. By their proceeding together, however, it remained yet to be
determined, whether a passage to India round the South Cape of this
country was practicable, and whether it would be a safer and a shorter
route than one through Endeavour or Torres Strait, the practicability of
which was likewise undetermined as to any knowledge which was had of it
in this colony.

Seven persons whose terms of transportation had expired, were permitted
to quit the colony in these ships, and the master of the _Sugar Cane_ had
shipped Benjamin Williams, the last of the _Kitty's_ people who remained
undisposed of. One free woman, the wife of a convict, took her passage in
the _Sugar Cane_.

Notwithstanding the facility with which passages from this place were
procured (very little more being required by the masters than permission
to receive them, and that the parties should find their own provisions)
it was found after the departure of these ships that some convicts had,
by being secreted on board, made their escape from the colony; and two
men, whose terms as convicts had expired, were brought up from the _Sugar
Cane_ the day she sailed, having got on board without permission; for
which the lieutenant-governor directed them to be punished with fifty
lashes each, and sent up to Toongabbie.

Early in the month an alteration took place in the weekly ration, the
four pounds of wheat served to the convicts were discontinued, and a
substitution of one pint of rice, and two pints of gram (an East India
grain resembling dholl) took place. The serving of wheat was discontinued
for the purpose of issuing it as flour; to accomplish which a mill had
been constructed by a convict of the name of James Wilkinson, who came to
this country in the _Neptune_. His abilities as a millwright had hitherto
lain dormant, and perhaps would longer have continued so, had they not
been called forth by a desire of placing himself in competition with
Thorpe the millwright sent out by government.

His machine was a walking mill, the principal wheel of which was fifteen
feet in diameter, and was worked by two men; while this wheel was
performing one revolution, the mill-stones performed twenty. As it was in
opposition to the public millwright that he undertook to construct this
mill, he of course derived no assistance whatever from Thorpe's knowledge
of the business, and had to contend not only with his opinion, but the
opinion of such as he could prejudice against him. The heavy part of the
work, cutting and bringing in the timber, and afterwards preparing it,
was performed by his fellow-prisoners, who gave him their labour
voluntarily. He was three months and five days from taking it in hand to
his offering it for the first trial. On this trial it was found defective
in some of the machinery, which was all constructed of the timber of the
country, and not properly seasoned. Its effects in grinding were various;
at first it would grind no more than two bushels an hour; with some
alteration, it ground more, and did for some time complete four bushels;
it afterwards ground less, and at the end of the month produced not more
than one bushel. Had the whole of the machinery been upon a larger scale,
there was reason to suppose it would have answered every expectation of
the most interested. The constructor, however, had a great deal of merit,
and perceiving himself what the defects were in this, he undertook to
make another upon a larger scale at Sydney, and on an improved plan. For
this purpose, all the artificers and a gang of convicts were brought down
from Parramatta, and were first employed in forming a timber-yard at
Petersham, two hundred feet square.

At that place, a small district in the neighbourhood of Sydney so named
by the lieutenant-governor, nine huts for labouring convicts were built,
and sixty acres of government ground cleared of timber, twenty of which
were sown with Indian corn. This was the only addition made to the public
ground this season; and the sole difference that was observable in the
progress of our cultivation consisted in sowing this year with wheat a
large portion of that ground which last year grew Indian corn. The
weather throughout the month continued extremely favourable for wheat.

The number of convicts which it was intended to receive for the present
into the New South Wales corps being determined, a warrant of
emancipation passed the seal of the territory, giving conditional freedom
to twenty three persons of that description, seven of whom were
transported for life, and three had between six and nine years to serve,
having been sent out for fourteen. The condition of the pardon was, their
continuing to serve in the corps into which they had enlisted until they
should be regularly discharged therefrom.

Several instances of irregularity and villainy among the convicts
occurred during this month. From Parramatta, information was received,
that in the night of the 15th four people broke into the house of John
Randall, a settler, where with large bludgeons they had beaten and nearly
murdered two men who lived with him. The hands and faces of these
miscreants were blackened; and it was observed, that they did not speak
during the time they were in the hut. It was supposed, that they were
some of the new-comers, and meant to rob the house; and this they would
have effected, but for the activity of the two men whom they attacked,
and for the resistance which they met with from them. At this time seven
of the male convicts lately arrived from Ireland, with one woman, had
absconded into the woods. Some of these people were afterwards brought in
to Parramatta, where they confessed that they had planned the robbing of
the millhouse, the governor's, and other houses; and that they were to be
visited from time to time in their places of concealment by others of
their associates who were to reside in the town, and to supply them with
provisions, and such occasional information as might appear to be
necessary to their safety. They also acknowledged that the assault at
Randall's hut was committed by them and their companions.

About the same time the house of Mr. Atkins at Parramatta was broken
into, and a large quantity of provisions, and a cask of wine, removed
from his store-room to the garden fence, where they left them on being
discovered and pursued. They, however, got clear off, though without
their booty.

At Sydney, in the night of the 26th, a box belonging to John Sparrow (a
convict) was broke open, and three watches stolen out, one of which with
the seals had cost thirty-two guineas, and belonged to an officer. This
theft was committed at the hospital, where Sparrow was at the time a
patient, although able to work occasionally at his business; and being a
young man of abilities as a watchmaker, and of good character, was
employed by most of the gentlemen of the settlement. Suspicion fell upon
a notorious thief who was in the same ward, and who had some time before
proposed to another man to take the box. On his examination he accused
two others of the theft, but with such equivocation in his tale as
clearly proved the falsehood of it. As there was no evidence against him,
except the proposal just mentioned, he was discharged, and during the
month nothing was heard of the watches. An old man belonging to the
hospital was robbed at the same time of eight guineas and some dollars,
which he had got together for the purpose of paying for his passage and
provisions in any ship that would take him home.

During a storm of rain and thunder which happened in the afternoon of
Saturday the 26th, two convict lads Dennis Reardon and William Meredith,
who were employed in cutting wood just by the town when the rain
commenced, ran to a tree for shelter, where they were found the next
morning lying dead, together with a dog which followed them. There was no
doubt that the shelter which they sought had proved their destruction,
having been struck dead by lightning, one or two flashes of which had
been observed to be very vivid and near. One of them, when he received
the stroke, had his hands in his bosom; the hands of the other were
across his breast, and he seemed to have had something in them. The
pupils of their eyes were considerably dilated, and the tongue of each,
as well as that of the dog, was forced out between the teeth. Their faces
were livid, and the same appearance was visible on several parts of their
bodies. The tree at the foot of which they were found was barked at the
top, and some of its branches torn off. In the evening they were decently
buried in one grave, to which they were attended by many of their
fellow-prisoners. Mr. Johnson, to a discourse which he afterwards
preached on the subject, prefixed as a text these words from the first
book of Samuel, chap xx verse 3. 'There is but a step between me and

This was the first accident of the kind that, to our knowledge, had
occurred in the colony, though lightning more vivid and alarming had
often been seen in storms of longer duration.

 While every one was expecting our colonial vessel, the _Francis_, from
New Zealand. the signal for a sail was made on the 29th; and shortly
after the _Fairy_, an American snow, anchored in the cove from Boston in
New England, and last from the island of St. Paul, whence she had a
passage of only four weeks. The master, Mr. Rogers, touched at False
Bay; but from there not having been any recent arrivals from Europe, he
procured no other intelligence at that port, than what we had already
received. At the island of St. Paul he found five seamen who had been
left there from a ship two years before, and who had procured several
thousand seal-skins. They informed him, that Lord Macartney in his
Majesty's ship the _Lion_, and the _Hindostan_ East-Indiaman, had
touched there in their way to China, and Mr. Rogers expected to have
heard that his lordship had visited this settlement.

The _Fairy_ was to proceed from this place to the north-west coast of
America, where the master hoped to arrive the first for the fur market.
Thence he was to go to China with his skins, and from China back to St.
Paul, where he had left a mate and two sailors. Their success was to
regulate his future voyages.

Mr. Rogers expressed a surprise that we had not any small craft on the
coast, as he had observed a plentiful harvest of seals as he came along.
He came in here merely to refresh, not having any thing on board for
sale, his cargo consisting wholly of articles of traffic for the
north-west coast of America.

Charles Williams, the settler so often mentioned in this narrative,
wearied of being in a state of independence, sold his farm with the
house, crop, and stock, for something less than one hundred pounds, to an
officer of the New South Wales corps, Lieutenant Cummings, to whose
allotment of twenty-five acres Williams's ground was contiguous. James
Ruse also, the owner of Experiment farm, anxious to return to England,
and disappointed in his present crop, which he had sown too late, sold
his estate with the house and some stock (four goats and three sheep) for
forty pounds. Both these people had to seek employment until they could
get away; and Williams was condemned to work as a hireling upon the
ground of which he had been the master. But he was a stranger to the
feelings which would have rendered this circumstance disagreeable to him.

The allotment of thirty acres, late in the possession of James Richards,
a settler at the Ponds, deceased, was put into the occupation of a
private soldier of the New South Wales corps; and a grant of thirty acres
at the Eastern Farms was purchased for as many pounds by another soldier.

The greatest inconvenience attending this transfer of landed property
was the return of such a miscreant as Williams, and others of his
description, to England, to be let loose again upon the public. The land
itself came into the possession of people who were interested in making
the most of it, and who would be more studious to raise plentiful crops
for market.

Building and covering the new barrack, and bringing in timber for the new
mill-house, which was not to be built of brick, formed the principal
labour of this month at Sydney. The shipwrights were employed in putting
up the frame of a long-boat purchased of the master of the _Britannia_,
and repairing the hoy, which had been lying for some months useless for
want of repairs, having been much injured by the destructive worm that
was found in the waters of this cove.

At the other settlements the convicts were employed in planting the
Indian corn. About four hundred and twenty acres were planted with that
article for this season's crop.

November.] In the night of Thursday the 7th of November, the _Francis_
schooner anchored in the cove from Dusky Bay in New Zealand; her long
absence from this place (nearly nine weeks) having been occasioned by
meeting with contrary and heavy gales of wind. The alteration which had
been made in this vessel by rigging her as a schooner instead of a sloop,
for which she was built, was found to have materially affected her
sailing; for a schooner she was too short, and, for want of proper sail,
she did not work well. Four times she was blown off the coast of New
Zealand, the _Britannia_ having anchored in Dusky Bay sixteen days before
the _Francis_.

Mr. Raven found in health and safety all the people whom he had left
there. They had procured him only four thousand five hundred seal-skins,
having been principally occupied in constructing a vessel to serve them
in the event of any accident happening to the _Britannia_. This they had
nearly completed when Mr. Raven arrived. She was calculated to measure
about sixty-five tons, and was chiefly built of the spruce fir, which
Mr. Raven stated to be the fittest wood he had observed there for
ship-building, and which might be procured in any quantity or of any
size. The carpenter of the _Britannia_, an ingenious man, and master of
his profession, compared it to English oak for durability and strength.

The natives had never molested the _Britannia's_ people: indeed they
seemed rather to abhor them; for if, by chance, in their excursions,
which were but very few, they visited and left any thing in a hut, they
were sure, on their next visit, to find the hut pulled down, and their
present remaining where it had been left. Some few articles which
Mr. Raven had himself placed in a hut, when he touched there to establish
his little fishery, were found three months after by his people in the
same spot.

Their weather had been very bad; severe gales of wind from the north-west
and heavy rains often impeding their fishery and other labour. A shock of
an earthquake too had been felt. They had an abundance of fresh
provisions, ducks, wood-hens, and several other fowl; and they caught
large quantities of fish. The soil, to a great depth, appeared to be
composed of decayed vegetable substances.

From Mr. Raven, who had waited some days for the appearance of the
_Francis_, the master received such assistance as he stood in need of;
and on the 20th of October she sailed from Dusky Bay, in company with the
_Britannia_, with whom she parted immediately, leaving her to pursue her
voyage to Bengal.

Nothing appeared by this information from Dusky Bay, that held out
encouragement to us to make any use of that part of New Zealand. So
little was said of the soil, or face of the country, that no judgment
could be formed of any advantages which might be expected from attempting
to cultivate it; a seal fishery there was not an object with us at
present, and, beside, it did not seem to promise much. The time, however,
that the schooner was absent was not wholly misapplied; as we had the
satisfaction of learning the event of a rather uncommon speculation, that
of leaving twelve people for ten months on so populous an island, the
inhabitants whereof were known to be savages, fierce and warlike. We
certainly may suppose that these people were unacquainted with the
circumstance of there being any strangers near them; and that
consequently they had not had any communication with the few miserable
beings who were occasionally seen in the coves of Dusky Bay.

A few days after the arrival of the _Francis_, Mr. Rogers sailed for
China, taking with him two women and three men who had received
permission to quit the colony. On board of the _Fairy_ was found a
convict, John Crow, who for some offence had been confined in the
military guardhouse at Parramatta, whence he found means to make his
escape, and reached Sydney in time to swim on board the American. On
being brought on shore he received a slight punishment, and was confined
in the black hole at the guardhouse at Sydney, out of which he escaped a
night or two after, by untiling a part of the roof. After this he was not
heard of, till the watch apprehended him at Parramatta, where he had
broken into two houses, which he had plundered, and was caught with the
property upon him.

The frequency of enormous offences had rendered it necessary to inflict a
punishment that should be more likely to check the commission of crimes
than mere flagellation at the back of the guardhouse, or being sent to
Toongabbie. Crow, therefore, was lodged in the custody of the civil
power, and ordered for trial by the court of criminal judicature.

During the time the _Fairy_ lay at anchor in this cove, a sergeant and
three privates of the New South Wales corps were sent and remained on
board, for the purpose of preventing all improper visitations from the
shore, and inspecting whatever might be either received into or sent from
the ship in a suspicious manner: a regulation from which the master
professed to have found essential service, as he thereby kept his decks
free from idle or bad people, and his seamen went on unmolested with the
duty of the vessel.

On Saturday the 23rd, the flour and rice in store being nearly expended,
the ration was altered to the following proportions of those articles,

To the officers, civil and military, soldiers, overseers, and the
settlers from free people, were served, of biscuit or flour 2 pounds;
wheat 2 pounds; Indian corn 5 pounds; peas 3 pints.

To the male convicts were served, women and children receiving in the
proportions always observed, (of biscuit or flour, none, and for the
first time since the establishment of the colony) wheat 3 pounds; Indian
corn 5 pounds; paddy 2 pints; gram 2 pints.

This was universally felt as the worst ration that had ever been served
from his Majesty's stores; and by the labouring convict particularly so,
as no one article of grain was so prepared for him as to be immediately
made use of. The quantity that was now to be ground, and the numbers who
brought grain to the mill, kept it employed all the night as well as the
day; and as, from the scarcity of mills, every man was compelled to wait
for his turn, the day had broke, and the drum beat for labour, before
many who went into the mill house at night had been able to get their
corn ground. The consequence was, that many, not being able to wait,
consumed their allowance unprepared. By the next Saturday, a quantity
of wheat sufficient for one serving having been passed through the large
mill at Parramatta, the convicts received their ration of that article
ground coarse.

The lumber yard near Sydney being completed, the convict millwright
Wilkinson was preparing his new mill with as much expedition as he could
use; and John Baughan, an ingenious man, formerly a convict, had
undertaken to build another mill upon a construction somewhat different
from that of Wilkinson's, in which he was assisted by some artificers of
the regiment. Both these mills were to be erected on the open spot of
ground formerly used as a parade by the marine battalion.

Short as was the quantity of flour in store, we did not, however, despair
of being able to issue some meal of this season's growth before it could
be entirely expended. About the middle of the month, the wheat that was
sown in April last, about ninety acres, being perfectly ripe, the harvest
commenced, and from that quantity of ground it was calculated that
upwards of twenty-two bushels an acre would be received. Most of the
settlers had also begun to reap; and they, as well as others who had
grown that grain, were informed, that 'Wheat properly dried and cleaned
would be received at Sydney by the commissary at ten shillings the
bushel; but that none could be purchased from any other persons than
those who had grown it on their own farms; neither could any be taken
into the stores at Parramatta.'

The precaution of receiving wheat only from those persons who had raised
it on their own farms was intended to prevent the petty and rascally
traffic which would otherwise have been carried on between free people
off the stores and persons who might employ them to sell the fruits of
their depredations on the public and other grounds.

December.] Early in this month a criminal court was assembled, at which
Charles Williams, a boy of fourteen years of age, and John Bevan, a
notorious offender, though also very young, were tried for breaking into
a house at Toongabbie; but, for want of evidence, were acquitted. John
Crow was also tried for the burglary in the hut at Parramatta, out of
which he had stolen a quantity of wearing apparel and provisions; and,
being clearly convicted, he received sentence of death.

An idea very generally prevailed among the ignorant part of the convicts,
that the lieutenant-governor was not authorised to cause a sentence of
death to be carried into execution, a notion that was in their minds
confirmed by the mercy which he had extended to Samuel Wright, who was
pardoned by him in July. It became, therefore, absolutely necessary, for
their own sakes, to let them see that he was not only possessed of the
power, but that he would also exercise it. On this account the prisoner,
after petitioning more than once for a respite, which he received, was
executed on Tuesday the 10th, eight days after his trial. There did not
exist in the colony at this time a fitter object for example than John
Crow. Unfortunately, the poor wretch to his last moment cherished the
idea that he should not suffer; and consequently could have been but ill
prepared for the change he was about to experience. He had endeavoured to
effect his escape by jumping down a privy a few hours before his
execution; and it was afterwards found, that he had with much ingenuity
removed some bricks in the wall of the hole in which he was confined,
whence, had he obtained the respite of another day, he would easily have

Independent of the consideration that this man had long been a proper
object of severe punishment, to have pardoned him (even on any condition)
would only have tended to strengthen the supposition that the
lieutenant-governor had not the power of life and death; and many daring
burglaries and other enormities would have followed. Crow pretended that
he was in the secret respecting the watches which were stolen from the
hospital in October last; but all that he knew amounted to nothing that
could lead to a discovery either of them or of the thief. He did not
appear to be at all commiserated or regretted by any of his fellow
prisoners; a certain proof of the absence of every good quality in his

In the night of the 6th, during a violent storm of rain and thunder, a
long-boat, which had arrived in the evening from Parramatta with grain
for the next day's serving, and was then lying at the wharf on the west
side under the care of a sentinel, filled with the quantity of water
which ran from the wharf, and sunk. By this accident two hundred and
eighty bushels of Indian corn in cob, and a few bushels of wheaten meal,
were totally lost. The natives who could dive availed themselves of the
circumstance, and recovered a great quantity of the corn, of which they
were very fond. The boats were not injured.

Sudden storms of this kind were frequent; and gusts of wind have been so
sudden and violent, that ships, loosely moored, have driven at their
anchors in the cove.

On Saturday the 7th a change took place in the ration; this was, the
discontinuing of the three pints of peas which were served to the civil
and military, and the three pints of gram which were served to the
convicts, and giving them instead an equal quantity of wheat.

Notwithstanding every supply of flour which had been purchased, or
received into the store from England, it was at length entirely
exhausted; the civil and military receiving the last on Monday the 9th.
This total deprivation of so valuable, so essential an article in the
food of man happened, fortunately, at a season when its place could in
some measure be supplied immediately, the harvest having been all safely
got in at Toongabbie by the beginning of this month. About the middle of
it, eight hundred bushels were threshed out, and on Monday the 16th the
civil and military received each seven pounds of wheat coarsely ground at
the mill at Parramatta. This mill, from the brittleness of the timber
with which it was constructed, was found to be unequal to the consumption
of the settlements. The cogs frequently broke, and hence it was not of
any very great utility. To remedy this inconvenience, a convict
blacksmith undertook to produce one iron hand-mill each week, for which
he was to be paid at the rate of two guineas; and by his means several
mills were distributed in the settlements.

The salt meat being the next article which threatened a speedy
expenditure, on Saturday the 28th one pound was taken from the weekly
allowance of beef; and but a small quantity of Indian corn remaining in
store, the male convicts received eight pounds of new wheat, whole; and
only three pounds of Indian corn, or paddy, were served.

On Christmas day, the Reverend Mr. Johnson preached to between thirty and
forty persons only, though on a provision day some four or five hundred
heads were seen waiting round the storehouse doors. The evening produced
a watchhouse full of prisoners; several were afterwards punished, among
whom were some servants for stealing liquor from an officer.

The passion for liquor was so predominant among the people, that it
operated like a mania, there being nothing which they would not risk to
obtain it: and while spirits were to be had, those who did any extra
labour refused to be paid in money, or any other article than spirits,
which were now, from their scarcity, sold at six shillings per bottle.
Webb, the settler near Parramatta, having procured a small still from
England, found it more advantageous to draw an ardent diabolical spirit
from his wheat, than to send it to the store and receive ten shillings
per bushel from the commissary. From one bushel of wheat he obtained
nearly five quarts of spirit, which he sold or paid in exchange for
labour at five and six shillings per quart.

McDonald, a settler at the Field of Mars, made a different and a better
use of the produce of his farm. Having a mill, he ground and dressed his
wheat, and sold it to a baker at Sydney at fourpence per pound, procuring
forty-four pounds of good flour from a bushel of wheat, which was taken
at fifty-nine pounds. This person also killed a wether sheep (the produce
of what had been given to him by Governor Phillip) at Christmas, and sold
it at two shillings per pound, each quarter weighing about fifteen

The town of Sydney had this year increased considerably; not fewer than
one hundred and sixty huts, beside five barracks, having been added since
the departure of Governor Phillip. Some of these huts were large, and to
each of them upwards of fourteen hundred bricks were allowed for a
chimney and floor. These huts extended nearly to the brickfields, whence
others were building to meet them, and thus to unite that district with
the town.

About the latter end of the month a large party of the natives attacked
some settlers who were returning from Parramatta to Toongabbie, and took
from them all the provisions which they had just received from the store.
By flying immediately into the woods, they eluded all pursuit and search.
They were of the Hunter's or Woodman's tribe, people who seldom came
among us, and who consequently were little known.

The natives who lived about Sydney appeared to place the utmost
confidence in us, choosing a clear spot between the town and the
brickfield for the performance of any of their rites and ceremonies; and
for three evenings the town had been amused with one of their spectacles,
which might properly have been denominated a tragedy, for it was attended
with a great effusion of blood. It appeared from the best account we
could procure, that one or more murders having been committed in the
night, the assassins, who were immediately known, were compelled,
according to the custom of the country, to meet the relations of the
deceased, who were to avenge their deaths by throwing spears, and drawing
blood for blood. One native of the tribe of Cammerray, a very fine fellow
named Carradah*, who had stabbed another in the night, but not mortally,
was obliged to stand for two evenings exposed to the spears not only of
the man whom he had wounded, but of several other natives. He was
suffered indeed to cover himself with a bark shield, and behaved with the
greatest courage and resolution. Whether his principal adversary (the
wounded man) found that he possessed too much defensive skill to admit of
his wounding him, or whether it was a necessary part of his punishment,
was not known with any certainty; but on the second day that Carradah had
been opposed to him and his party, after having received several of their
spears on his shield, without sustaining any injury, he suffered the
other to pin his left arm (below the elbow) to his side, without making
any resistance; prevented, perhaps, by the uplifted spears of the other
natives, who could easily have destroyed him, by throwing at him in
different directions. Carradah stood, for some time after this, defending
himself, although wounded in the arm which held the shield, until his
adversaries had not a whole spear left, and had retired to collect the
fragments and piece them together. On his sitting down his left hand
appeared to be very much convulsed, and Mr. White was of opinion that the
spear had pierced one of the nerves. The business was resumed when they
had repaired their weapons, and the fray appeared to be general, men,
women, and children mingling in it, giving and receiving many severe
wounds, before night put an end to their warfare.

[* So he was called among his own people before he knew us; but having
exchanged names with Mr. Ball (who commanded the _Supply_,) he went
afterwards by that name, which they had corrupted into Midjer Bool.]

What rendered this sort of contest as unaccountable as it was
extraordinary was, that friendship and alliance were known to subsist
between several that were opposed to each other, who fought with all the
ardour of the bitterest enemies, and who, though wounded, pronounced the
party by whom they had been hurt to be good and brave, and their friends.

Possessing by nature a good habit of body, the combatants very soon
recovered of their wounds; and it was understood, that Carradah, or
rather Midjer Bool, had not entirely expiated his offence, having yet
another trial to undergo from some natives who had been prevented by
absence from joining in the ceremonies of that evening.

About this time several houses were attempted to be broken into; many
thefts were committed; and the general behaviour of the convicts was far
from that _propriety_ which ought to have marked them. The offences were
various, and several punishments were of necessity inflicted. The Irish
who came out in the last ships were, however, beginning to show symptoms
of better dispositions than they landed with, and appeared only to
dislike hard labour.

Among the conveniencies that were now enjoyed in the colony must be
mentioned the introduction of passage-boats, which, for the benefit of
settlers and others, were allowed to go between Sydney and Parramatta.
They were the property of persons who had served their respective terms
of transportation; and from each passenger one shilling was required for
his passage; luggage was paid for at the rate of one shilling per cwt;
and the entire boat could be hired by one person for six shillings. This
was a great accommodation to the description of people whom it was
calculated to serve, and the proprietors of the boats found it very
profitable to themselves.

The boat-builders and shipwrights found occupation enough for their
leisure hours, in building boats for those who could afford to pay them
for their labour. Five and six gallons of spirits was the price, and five
or six days would complete a boat fit to go up the harbour; but many of
them were very badly put together, and threatened destruction to whoever
might unfortunately be caught in them with a sail up in blowing weather.

On the 24th ten grants of land passed the seal of the territory, and
received the lieutenant-governor's signature. Five allotments of
twenty-five acres each, and one of thirty, were given to six
non-commissioned officers of the New South Wales corps, who had chosen an
eligible situation nearly midway between Sydney and Parramatta; and who,
in conjunction with four other settlers, occupied a district to be
distinguished in future by the name of _Concord_. These allotments
extended inland from the water's side, within two miles of the district
named Liberty Plains.

The settlers at this latter place appeared to have very unproductive
crops, having sown their wheat late. They were, indeed, of opinion, that
they had made a hasty and bad choice of situation; but this was nothing
more than the language of disappointment, as little judgment could be
formed of what any soil in this country would produce until it had been
properly worked, dressed, cleansed, and purged of that sour quality that
was naturally inherent in it, which it derived from the droppings of wet
from the leaves of gum and other trees, and which were known to be of an
acrid destructive nature.

Another barrack for officers was got up this month at Sydney; but, for
want of tiles, was only partly covered in. The millwrights Wilkinson and
Baughan had got up the frames and roofs of their respective mill-houses,
and, while waiting for their being tiled, were proceeding with preparing
the wood-work of their mills.

The great want of tiles that was occasionally felt, proceeded from there
being only one person in the place who was capable of moulding tiles, and
he could never burn more than thirty thousand tiles in six weeks, being
obliged to burn a large quantity of bricks in the same kilns. It required
near sixty-nine thousand bricks to complete the building of one barrack,
and twenty-one thousand tiles to cover it in. The number of tiles
rendered useless by carriage, and destroyed in the kilns, was estimated
at about three thousand in each kiln, and fifteen thousand were generally
burnt off at a time.

To furnish bricks for these barracks, and other buildings, three gangs
were constantly at work, finding employment for three overseers and about
eighty convicts.

To convey these materials from the brickfield to the barrack-ground, a
distance of about three-quarters of a mile, three brick-carts were
employed, each drawn by twelve men, under the direction of one overseer.
Seven hundred tiles, or three hundred and fifty bricks, were brought by
each cart, and every cart in the day brought either five loads of bricks,
or four of tiles. To bring in the timber necessary for these and other
buildings, four timber-carriages were employed, each being drawn by
twenty-four men. In addition to these, to each carriage were annexed two
fallers, and one overseer, making a total of two hundred and twenty-eight
men, who must be employed in any such heavy labour as the building of a
barrack or a storehouse, exclusive of the sawyers, carpenters, smiths,
painters, glaziers, and stonemasons, without whose labour they could not
be completed.

The expense of victualling and clothing these people (both their
provisions and the materials for making their clothes being augmented
above their prime cost, by freight and by the cost of what might be
damaged and useless) must be supposed to be considerable; and must be
taken into account, together with the cost of tools and of such materials
as were not to be procured in the country, when calculating the expenses
of the public works erected in this colony.

There died between the 1st of January and 31st of December, both
inclusive, two settlers, seven soldiers, seventy-eight male convicts,
twenty-six female convicts, and twenty-nine children. One male convict
was executed; six male convicts were lost in the woods; one male convict
was found dead in the woods; one male convict was killed by the fall of a
tree, and two male convicts were killed by lightning; making a decrease
by death and accidents of one hundred and fifty-three persons. To this
decrease may be added, four male convicts, who found means to escape from
the colony on board of some of the ships which had been here.

The following were the prices of grain, live and dead stock, grocery,
spirits, etc. as they were sold or valued at Sydney and Parramatta at the
close of the year 1793:


Wheat per bushel, for cash, 10s
Ditto, in payment for labour, 14s
Maize per bushel, for cash, 7s
Ditto, in payment for labour, 12s 6d
Caffre corn 5s
English flour per lb 6d
Flour of this country, for cash, 3d
Ditto, for labour, 4d

Potatoes per cwt 10s
Ditto per lb 1½d

Ewes (Cape) from £6 to £8 8s
Wethers (Cape) from £4 to £5 10s
She goats, full grown, £8 8s
Ditto, half grown, £4 4s
Male goat, full grown, £2
Breeding sows from £3 to £6
Sucking pigs 6s
A full grown hog from £3 to £3 10s
Turkeys per couple, nearly full grown, £2 ss
Ducks per couple, nearly ditto, 10s
Laying hens, each 5s
A full grown cock 4s
Half grown fowls 2s
Chickens, six weeks old, per couple 2s
Fresh pork per lb 9d
Mutton per lb from 2s to 2s 6d
Kangaroo per lb 4d
Salt pork per lb 9d
Salt beef per lb 6d

Tea (green) from 12s to 16s
Tea (black) from 10s to 12s
Loaf sugar per lb 2s 6d
Fine moist sugar per lb 2s
Coarse moist sugar per lb 1s 6d
Butter from 2s per lb to 2s 6d
Cheese from 2s per lb to 2s 6d
Soap per lb from 2s to 3s
Tobacco per lb from 1s to 1s 6d
Lamp oil, made from shark's liver, per gall 4s

Jamaica rum per gallon from £1 to £1 8s
Rum (American) from 16s per gall to £1
Coniac brandy per gallon from £1 to £1 4s
Cape brandy per gallon from 16s to £1
Cherry brandy per dozen £3 12s
Wine (Cape Madeira) per gallon 12s
Porter per gallon from 4s to 6s


Wheat per bushel, for cash, 10s
Ditto, in payment for labour, 14s
Maize per bushel, for cash, 7s 6d
Ditto, in payment for labour, l0s
Caffre corn, none
English flour per lb 6d
Flour of this country, for cash, 4d
Ditto, for labour, 6d

Potatoes per lb 3d
Greens per hundred 6s

Ewes from £4 to £10
Wethers from £2 10s to £4
She goats from £4 to £10 10s
A young male goat £3
Breeding sows from £3 to £7
Sucking pigs from 4s to 7s 6d
Turkeys per couple, nearly full grown, £2 2s
Ducks per couple, full grown, £1 1s
Laying Hens, each from 4s to 7s 6d
A full grown cock 5s
Half grown fowls 3s
Chickens, six weeks old, per couple 2s
Fresh pork per lb 9d
Mutton per lb from 2s to 2s 6d
Kangaroo per lb 4d
Salt pork per lb 9d
Salt beef per lb 5d

Tea (green) from 16s to £1 1s
Black tea from 10s to 16s
Moist sugar (coarse) 2s
Butter per lb 2s 6d
Cheese per lb 2s 6d
Soap per lb 3s
Tobacco per lb 2s
Lamp oil, made from shark's liver, per gall 4s

Neat spirits per gallon from £1 10s to £2
Wine of the most inferior quality per gall 16s

The high prices of wine, spirits, and porter, proceeded not only from
their scarcity, but from the great avidity with which they were procured
by the generality of the people in these settlements, with whom money was
of so little value, that the purchaser had been often known (instead of
asking) to name himself a price for the article he wanted, fixing it at
as high again would otherwise have been required of him.

The live stock in the country belonging to individuals was confined to
three or four persons, who kept up the price in order to create an
interest in the preservation of it. An English cow, in calf by the bull
which was brought here in the _Gorgon_, was sold by one officer to
another for eighty pounds; and the calf, which proved a male, was sold
for fifteen pounds. A mare, brought in the _Britannia_ from the Cape, was
valued at forty pounds, and, although aged and defective, was sold twice
in the course of a few days for that sum. It must however be remarked,
that in these sales stock itself was generally the currency of the
country, one kind of animals being commonly exchanged for another.

Labour was also proportionably high. For sawing one hundred feet of
timber, in their own time, for individuals, a pair of sawyers demanded
seven shillings; a carpenter for his day's work charged three shillings;
and for splitting paling for fences, and bringing it in from the woods,
they charged from one shilling and six-pence to two shillings and
six-pence per hundred. An officer who had an allotment of one hundred
acres of land near the town of Sydney having occasion for a hundred
thousand bricks to build a dwelling-house, contracted with a brickmaker
and his gang, and for that number of bricks paid him the sum of forty-two
pounds ten shillings. In the fields, for cutting down the timber of an
acre of ground, burning it off, and afterwards hoeing it for corn, the
price was four pounds. Five-and-twenty shillings were demanded and paid
for hoeing an acre of ground already cleared.

For all this labour, where money was paid, it was taken at its reputed
value; but where articles were given in lieu of labour, they were charged
according to the prices stated.

The masters of merchantmen, who generally made it their business
immediately on their arrival to learn the prices of commodities in the
colony, finding them so extravagantly high as before related, thought it
not their concern to reduce them to anything like a fair equitable value;
but, by asking themselves what must be considered a high price, after
every proper allowance for risk, insurance, and loss, kept up the
extravagant nominal value which every thing bore in the colony.


A murder committed near Parramatta
The _Francis_ sails for Norfolk Island
Storm of wind at Parramatta
A Settlement fixed at the Hawkesbury
A burglary committed
Samuel Burt emancipated
Death of William Crozier Cook
The watches recovered
The _Francis_ returns from Norfolk Island
The New Zealand natives sent to their own country
Disturbance at Norfolk Island
Court of inquiry at Sydney
The _Francis_ returns to Norfolk Island
Natives troublesome
State of provisions


January.] The report that was spread in April last, of a murder having
been committed on a watchman belonging to the township of Parramatta,
never having been confirmed, either by finding the body among the stalks
of Indian corn as was expected, or by any one subsequent circumstance, it
was hoped that the story had been fabricated, and that murder was a crime
which for many years to come would not stain the annals of the colony. In
proportion, indeed, as our numbers increased, and the inhabitants began
to possess those comforts or necessaries which might prove temptations to
the idle and the vicious, that high and horrid offence might, in common
with others of the same tendency, be expected to exist; but at this
moment all thought their persons secure, though their property was
frequently invaded. On the 5th of this month, however, John Lewis, an
elderly convict, employed to go out with the cattle at Parramatta, was
most barbarously murdered. The cattle, having lost their conductor,
remained that night in the woods; and when they were found, the absence
of Lewis excited an apprehension that some accident had happened to him.
His body was not discovered however until the Wednesday following, when,
by the snorting and great uneasiness of the cattle which had been driven
out for the purpose, it was perceived lying in a hollow or ravine, into
which it had been thrown by those who had butchered him, covered with
logs, boughs, and grass. Some native dogs, led by the scent of human
blood, had found it, and by gnawing off both the hands, and the entire
flesh from one arm, had added considerably to the horrid spectacle which
the body exhibited on being freed from the load of rubbish which had been
heaped upon it.

This unfortunate man had imprudently boasted of being worth much money,
and that he always carried it with him sewed up in some part of his
clothes, to guard against losing it while absent from his hut. If this
was true, what he carried with him certainly proved his destruction; if
not, the catastrophe must be attributed to his indiscreet declarations.
By the various wounds which he had received, it appeared that he must
have well defended himself, and could not have parted with his life until
overpowered by numbers; for, though advanced in years, he was a stout,
muscular man; and it was from this circumstance concluded, that more than
one person was concerned in the murder of him. To discover, if possible,
the perpetrators of this atrocious offence, one or two men of bad
characters were taken up and examined, as well as all the people employed
about the stockyard: but nothing came out that tended to fix it upon any
one of them; and, desirable as it was that they should be brought to that
punishment which sooner or later awaited them, it was feared that until
some riot or disagreement among themselves should occur, no clue would be
furnished that would lead to their detection. The body was therefore
brought in from the spot where it had been concealed, about four miles
from Parramatta, and buried at that place, after having been very
carefully examined by the assistant-surgeon Mr. Arndell.

In tracing the motives that could lead to this murder, the pernicious
vice of _gaming_ presented itself as the first and grand cause. To such
excess was this pursuit carried among the convicts, that some had been
known, after losing provisions, money, and all their spare clothing, to
have staked and lost the very clothes on their wretched backs, standing
in the midst of their associates as naked, and as indifferent about it,
as the unconscious natives of the country. Money was, however, the
principal object with these people; for with money they could purchase
spirits, or whatever else their passions made them covet, and the colony
could furnish. They have been seen playing at their favourite games
cribbage and all-fours, for six, eight, and ten dollars each game; and
those who were not expert at these, instead of pence, tossed up for
dollars. Their meetings were scenes of quarrelling, swearing, and every
profaneness that might be expected from the dissolute manners of the
people who composed them; and to this improper practice must undoubtedly
be attributed most of the vices that existed in the colony, pilferings,
garden-robberies, burglaries, profanation of the Sabbath, and murder.

On the 5th the _Francis_ sailed for Norfolk Island. The last accounts
from thence were dated in March 1793; and as we were uncertain that the
supplies which had been sent in the April following by Mr. Bampton had
been safely landed, we became extremely anxious to learn the exact state
of the settlement there. This information was all the advantage that was
expected to be derived from the voyage; for, whatever Mr. King's wants
might be, the stores at Sydney were incapable of alleviating them. Little
apprehension was however entertained of his being in any need of
supplies, as, at the date of his last letter, he reckoned that his crops
of wheat and maize would produce more grain than would be sufficient for
twelve months consumption.

At this time, an account of the salt provisions remaining in store at
Sydney and Parramatta being taken, it appeared, that there were
sufficient for only ten weeks at the ration then issued, viz three pounds
per man per week. In this situation, every addition that could be made to
the ration was eagerly sought after. Wheat was paid to the industrious in
exchange for labour; and those who were allowed to subsist independent of
the public stores availed themselves of that indulgence to its fullest
extent. It might therefore have been expected, that every advantage was
taken of such a situation, and that no opportunity would be lost from
which any profit could be derived. As an instance of this, one Lane, a
person who had been a convict, and who was allowed to support himself how
he could, was detected in buying a kangaroo of a man employed by an
officer to shoot for him. The game-killer, with the assistance of six or
seven greyhounds, had killed three kangaroos, two of which he brought in;
the third he sold or lent to Lane, but said he had cut it up for his

As most of the officers in the colony were allowed people to shoot for
them, it became necessary to make some example of the man who bought,
rather than of him who sold; for it was a maxim pretty generally adopted,
that the receiver was more culpable than the thief. The lieutenant-governor,
therefore, ordered Lane to be punished with one hundred lashes, placed upon
the commissary's books for provisions, and sent up to labour at Toongabbie.

About the middle of the month one small cow and a Bengal steer, both
private property, were killed, and issued to the non-commissioned
officers and privates of two companies of the New South Wales corps. This
was but the third time that fresh beef had been tasted by the colonists
of this country; once, it may be remembered, in the year 1788, and a
second time when the lieutenant-governor and the officers of the
settlement were entertained by the Spanish captains. At that time
however, had we not been informed that we were eating beef, we should
never have discovered it by the flavour; and it certainly happened to
more than one Englishman that day, to eat his favourite viand without
recognising the taste.*

[* We understood that the Spanish mode of roasting beef, or mutton, was,
first to boil and then to brown the joint before the fire.]

The beef that was killed at this time was deemed worth eighteen-pence per
pound, and at that price was sold to the soldiers. The two animals
together weighed three hundred and seventy-two pounds.

About this time accounts were received from Parramatta of an uncommon
storm of wind, accompanied with rain, having occurred there. In its
violence it bordered on a hurricane, running in a vein, and in a
direction from east to west. The west end of the governor's hut was
injured, the paling round some farms which lay in its passage were
levelled, and a great deal of Indian corn was much damaged. It was not
however felt at Sydney, nor, fortunately, at Toongabbie; and was but of
short duration; but the rain was represented as having been very heavy.
The climate was well known to be subject to sudden gusts of wind and
changes of weather; but nothing of this violence had been before
experienced within our knowledge.

It was found that the settlers, notwithstanding the plentiful crops which
in general they might be said to have gathered, gave no assistance to
government by sending any into store. Some small quantity (about one
hundred and sixty bushels) indeed had been received; but nothing equal
either to the wants or expectations of government. They appeared to be
most sedulously endeavouring to get rid of their grain in any way they
could; some by brewing and distilling it; some by baking it into bread,
and indulging their own propensities in eating; others by paying debts
contracted by gaming. Even the farms themselves were pledged and lost in
this way; those very farms which undoubtedly were capable of furnishing
them with an honest comfortable maintenance for life.

No regular account had been obtained of what these farms had produced;
but it was pretty well ascertained, that their crops had yielded at the
least nearly seven thousand bushels of wheat. Of the different districts,
that of Prospect Hill proved to be the most productive; some grounds
there returned thirty bushels of wheat for one. Next to the district of
Prospect Hill, the Northern Boundary farms were the best; but many of the
settlers at the other districts ascribed their miscarriage more to the
late periods at which their grounds were sown, than to any poverty in the
soil; and seemed to have no doubt, if they could procure seed-wheat in
proper time (that is, to be in the ground in April) and the season were
favourable, of being repaid the expenses which they had been at, and of
being enabled to supply themselves and families with grain sufficient for
their sustenance without any aid from the public stores.

The ground in cultivation on account of government, which had been sown
with wheat (three hundred and sixty acres) was found to have produced
about the same quantity as that raised by the settlers. Through the want
of flour, the consumption of this article was however very great; and
toward the latter end of the month half of the whole produce of the last
season (reserving twelve hundred bushels for feed) had been issued. This
afforded but a gloomy prospect; for it was much feared, that unless
supplies arrived in time, the Indian corn would not be ripe soon enough
to save the seed-wheat.

On the 25th, the grain from Bengal being expended, and no more Indian
corn of last year's growth remaining that could be served, the public
were informed, that from that time no other grain than wheat could be
issued; and accordingly on that day the male convicts received for their
week's subsistence three pounds of pork and eight pounds of wheat. One
pound of wheat more than was issued to the convicts was received on the
Monday following by the civil and military.

In this unprovided state of the settlement, the return of Mr. Bampton
with his promised cargo of cattle, salt provisions, rice, and dholl,
began to be daily and anxiously expected. The completion of the
_Britannia's_ voyage was also looked forward to as a desirable event,
though to be expected at a somewhat later period; and every shower of
rain, as it tended to the benefit of the Indian corn then growing, was
received as a sort of presage that at least the seed wheat, the hopes of
next season, would be safe. Some very welcome rain had fallen during this
month, which considerably revived the Indian corn that was first sown,
and improved the appearance of that which had been sown later.

Another division of settlers was this month added to the list of those
already established. Williams and Ruse, having got rid of the money which
they had respectively received for their farms, were permitted, with some
others, to open ground on the banks of the Hawkesbury, at the distance of
about twenty-four miles from Parramatta. They chose for themselves
allotments of ground conveniently situated for fresh water, and not much
burdened with timber, beginning with much spirit, and forming to
themselves very sanguine hopes of success. At the end of the month they
had been so active as to have cleared several acres, and were in some
forwardness with a few huts. The natives had not given them any

These people, however, though they had not been heard of where it might
have been expected they would have proved troublesome, had not been so
quiet in the neighbourhood of Parramatta. Between that settlement and
Prospect Hill some settlers had been attacked by a party of armed natives
and stripped of all their provisions. Reports of this nature had been
frequently brought in, and many, perhaps, might have been fabricated to
answer a purpose; but there was not a doubt that these people were very
desirous of possessing our clothing and provisions; and it was noticed,
that as the corn ripened, they constantly drew together round the
settlers farms and round the public grounds, for the purpose of
committing depredations.

Several gardens were robbed and some houses broken into during this
month, the certain effect of a reduced ration. One burglary which was
committed was of some magnitude, and deserving of mention. A sergeant of
the New South Wales corps having been on guard, on his return to his hut
in the morning, had the mortification of finding he had been robbed
during his absence of a large quantity of wearing apparel, and
twenty-seven pounds in guineas and dollars; in fact the thief had stripped
him of all his moveable property, except only a spare suit of
regimentals. The hut stood the first of a new row just without the town,
and ought not to have been left without some person to take care of it.
The spoil, no doubt, soon passed from one hand to another in the practice
of that vice which, as already mentioned, too generally prevailed among
the lower class of the people in the colony.

At Parramatta some people were taken up and punished, on being detected
in issuing to themselves from the stores, where they were employed, a
greater proportion of provisions than the ration. This offence had often
been committed; and though it was always punished with severity, yet
while convicts were employed, it was likely, notwithstanding the utmost
vigilance, to continue. Vigilance seemed only to incite to deeper
contrivances; and perhaps, though discoveries of this practice had often
occurred, yet too many had been guilty of it with impunity, and, being
alarmed, had withdrawn in time from the danger.

But very few appeared deserving of confidence; for, sooner or later,
wherever it had been placed, either temptation was too strong, or
opportunity proved too favourable; and many who had been deemed honest
enough to be trusted ended their services by being detected in a breach
of that duty which they owed to the public as a return for the faith
which had been reposed in them.

This perhaps was owing to the uncertainty of reward for any services that
they might render while in the class of convicts. As an exception to this
rule, however, must be mentioned those people to whom unconditional
emancipation had been held out at the expiration of a certain period, if
then considered as deserving of his Majesty's mercy as at the time of
making the promise. In the hope of this reward they continued to conduct
themselves without incurring the slightest censure; and one of them,
Samuel Burt, was deemed, through a conscientious and rigid discharge of
his duty, to have merited the pardon he looked up to. Accordingly, on the
last day of the month he was declared absolutely free. In the instrument
of his emancipation it was stated, 'that the remainder of his term of
transportation was remitted in consideration of his good conduct in
discovering and thereby preventing the intended mutiny on board the
_Scarborough_ in her voyage to this country in the year 1790, and his
faithful services in the public stores under the commissary since his
arrival.' Independent of his integrity as a storekeeper, he was certainly
deserving of some distinguishing mark of favour for having been the means
of saving the transport in which he came out at the risk of his own life.

At the end of this month nearly four hundred acres were got ready for
wheat at Sydney, and every exertion was making to increase that quantity.

A large number of slops having been prepared, a frock, shirt, and
trousers, were served out to each male convict at Sydney and the interior
settlements. Shoes were become an article of exceeding scarcity; and the
country had hitherto afforded nothing that could be substituted for them.
A convict who understood the business of a tanner had shown that the skin
of the kangaroo might be tanned; but the animal was not found in
sufficient abundance to answer this purpose for any number of people; and
the skin itself was not of a substance to be applied to the soling of

Among the number of deaths this month was that of William Crozier Cook,
who expired in consequence of eating two pounds of unground wheat, which
was forced, by his immediately drinking a quantity of water, into the
intestines, whence it could not pass; and though the most active
medicines were administered a mortification took place in the lower part
of his intestines, which put an end to his life. Cook had, for a length
of time after his arrival in this country, been a worthless vagabond; but
had latterly appeared sensible how much more to his advantage a different
character would prove, and had gained the good word and opinion of the
overseers and superintendants under whom he laboured.

February.] On the 4th of this month the watches which had remained so
long undiscovered were brought down from Parramatta by Lieutenant
Macarthur. By a chain of circumstances it appeared that they had been
stolen by John Bevan, who at the time had broken out of the prison hut at
Toongabbie, and coming immediately down to Sydney, in conjunction with
Sutton (the man who was tried for stealing Mr. Raven's watch in October
1792) committed the theft, returning with the spoil to his hut at
Toongabbie before he had been missed from it by any of the watchmen. He
afterwards played at cards with another convict, and exchanged the
watches for a nankeen waistcoat and trousers. From this man they got into
the possession of two or three other people, and were at last, by great
accident, found to be in the possession of one Batty, an overseer, in
the thatch of whose hut they, together with ten dollars, were found safe
and uninjured. The dollars were supposed to be part of the money stolen
at the same time from Walsh at the hospital*, with whom Bevan, some time
before, had made acquaintance, winning from him not only a hundred weight
of flour, which he had almost starved himself to lay by, but deluding him
also out of the secret of his money, with every particular that was
necessary to his design of stealing it.

[* This wretched old man did not long survive the loss of his money.]

This was the information given against Bevan by the people through whose
hands the watches had passed; but as it was entirely unsupported by any
corroborating circumstance, he was discharged without punishment; but
Batty and another man, Luke Normington, of whose guilt there was not a
doubt, received each a severe corporal punishment by order of the
lieutenant-governor. In all the examinations which took place, nothing
appeared that affected Sutton, farther than the unsupported assertions of
one or two other convicts; but if Bevan was assisted by any one, Sutton,
from his general character, having already dealt in the article of
watches, was very probably his friend on the occasion

The constancy of this wretched young man (Bevan) was astonishing. He most
steadily denied knowing any thing of the transaction, treating with equal
indifference both promises of rewards and threats of punishment. Crow,
who was executed in December last, declared a short time before he
suffered, that he had been shown the watches by Bevan in the corn ground
between Parramatta and Toongabbie; but as they had never been found in
his possession, he resolved on obstinately persisting in the declaration
that, however guilty of others, he was at least innocent of this offence;
and he thus escaped this time from justice, to be led, perhaps at no very
distant period, if not sufficiently warned, with surer step to the
gallows that he had so often merited, and in the high road to which he
seemed daily to be walking.

On the 12th the _Francis_ returned from Norfolk Island, having been
absent five weeks and three days.

The information received from that settlement was, that the _Shah
Hormuzear_ and _Chesterfield_ arrived there from this place, on the 2nd
day of May last, when, every article of stores and provisions which had
been put on board of them being safely landed, both ships sailed for
India on the 27th day of the same month; Captain Bampton purposing to
attempt making the passage between New Holland and New Guinea, that was
expected to be found to the northward of Endeavor Straits.

While these ships were off Lord Howe Island, they experienced a heavy
gale of wind, in which the _Shah Hormuzear_ lost her topmasts, and the
_Chesterfield_ was in much danger from a leak which she sprung. Captain
Bampton having, in some bad weather off Norfolk Island, lost his
long-boat, he, with the assistance given him by Lieutenant-governor King,
built, in ten days, a very fine one of thirty-two feet keel, with which
he sailed, and without which it would not have been quite safe for him to
have proceeded on a voyage where much of the navigation lay among islands
and shoals, and where part of it had certainly been unexplored.

Mr. King had the satisfaction of stating, that his crops had been
abundant, plenty reigning among all descriptions of people in the island.
His wheat was cut, the first of it on the 25th of November last, and the
harvest was well got in by Christmas Day. About two thousand bushels were
the calculated produce of this crop, which would have been greater had it
not, during its growth, been hurt by the want of rain. Of the maize, the
first crop (having always two) was gathering while the schooner was
there, and, notwithstanding the drought turned out well; from one acre
and a quarter of ground, one hundred and six bushels had been gathered;
but it was pretty generally established on the island, that thirty-six
bushels of maize might be taken as the average produce of an acre of

The superior fertility of the soil at Norfolk Island to that of New South
Wales had never been doubted. The following account of last year's crop
was transmitted to Lieutenant-governor King:

From November 1792 to November 1793 the crop of maize amounted to 3247
bushels; wheat 1302 bushels; calavances 50 bushels.

Purchased in the above time from settlers and others, at five shillings
per bushel 3600 bushels. Reserved by them for seed 3000 bushels of maize;
300 bushels of wheat; 300 bushels of calavances; and 50 tons of potatoes.
Which, together with 305 bushels of maize brought from thence with the
detachment of the New South Wales corps at the relief in March 1793, made
a total of 10,152 bushels of maize, 1602 bushels of wheat, 350 bushels of
calavances, 50 tons of potatoes, raised on Norfolk Island in one
twelvemonth, on about two hundred and fifty-six acres of ground.

Of this crop, and of what had been purchased, there remained in the
public stores, when the schooner left the island, forty-three weeks maize
and wheat; in addition to which Lieutenant-governor King supposed he
should have of this season's growth, after reserving five hundred bushels
of wheat for seed, sufficient of that article for the consumption of six
hundred and ninety-nine persons*, the whole number of people victualled
there from the stores for fourteen weeks and a half, at the rate of ten
pounds per man per week; and fifty-eight weeks maize at twelve pounds per
man per week. He had besides, at the established ration, twelve weeks
beef, twenty-nine weeks pork, five weeks molasses, and thirty weeks oi1
and sugar. The whole forming an abundance that seemed to place the evil
hour of want and distress at too great a distance to excite much alarm or
apprehension of its occurring there.

[* The whole number in the settlement amounted to one thousand and eight

The settlement had been so healthy, that no loss by death had happened
since we last heard from them; and when the schooner sailed very few
people were sick. There had died, between the 20th of November 1791 (the
date of Lieutenant-governor King's return to the command at Norfolk
Island) and the 27th of January 1794, only one soldier, forty male
convicts, three female convicts, and nineteen children, making a total of
sixty-three persons, in two years and sixty-eight days; and ninety-five*
children had been born. Every description of stock, except some Cape
sheep which did not breed, was equally healthy as the inhabitants, and
were increasing fast.

[* By the commissary's books there were, on the 20th of February 1794,
two hundred and fifty-four children in the three settlements here. On the
30th of January, by Lieutenant-governor King's return, there were one
hundred and forty-eight children at Norfolk; making a total of four
hundred and two children here and at Norfolk Island.]

On the 22nd of October the _Boddingtons_ and _Sugar Cane_ touched at that
island, for the purpose of landing John Cole, a convict who had secreted
himself on board the former of these ships. Many articles of comfort were
sold among the settlers and others from the _Sugar Cane_.

On the 2nd of the succeeding month Mr. Raven called there in the
_Britannia_, in his way to Bengal, to procure a supply of fresh
provisions and vegetables for his people.

The two natives of New Zealand, who had been sent to Mr. King in April
last by the _Shah Hormuzear_, having completed the purpose for which they
had been sent thither, by giving such instruction in the process of
preparing the flax plant, that even with very bad materials a few hands
could manufacture thirty yards of good canvas in a week; and having
manifested much anxiety, on the appearance of any ship, to return to
their friends and native country, though treated with every attention and
kindness that could dispel their fears and conciliate their good opinion;
Mr. King thought this a favourable opportunity of gratifying their
wishes; and that he might himself be a witness of their not experiencing
on the voyage any interruption to the good treatment they had met with
from every one while under his care, he determined to accompany them
himself. He accordingly giving Mr. Raven the necessary order, embarked on
board of the _Britannia_, with a guard from the New South Wales corps,
and sailed for New Zealand on the 9th. Their passage thither was short;
for on the fourth day, having rounded the North Cape, the two natives
were landed among some of their friends and acquaintance, though not
exactly at the district whereat their families and kindred resided (the
Bay of islands); and Mr. King returned to Norfolk Island on the 18th,
having been ten days on board the _Britannia_. Captain Nepean, who was
proceeding in that ship to Europe by the way of India, remained on shore
in the government of Norfolk Island during Mr. King's absence; but, on
his return, reimbarked in the _Britannia_; and on the 20th of the same
month she sailed on the further prosecution of her voyage.

It was not imagined that this delay in the _Britannia's_ voyage would be
of any consequence, as Mr. Raven purposed making what is called the
Eastern Passage; that is, between the south end of Mindanao and Borneo;
and it was known that the eastern monsoon did not set well in, nor was
attended with good weather in those seas before December or January.

Mr. King found himself compelled to send by the _Francis_ ten soldiers of
the detachment of the New South Wales corps on duty there, under a charge
of mutinous behaviour. A jealousy which had grown up between the soldiers
and the free men, settlers and others, occasioned by some acts of
violence and improper behaviour on either side, broke out in the evening
of the 18th of last month, at a place in which the lieutenant-governor
had permitted plays to be represented by the convicts, as an innocent
recreation after labour. Mr. King, who was present, having thought it
necessary to order one of the soldiers into confinement when the play was
ended, the detachment repaired to their own commanding-officer, and
demanded the release of their comrade. On his declaring his inability to
comply with such request, they signified a resolution to release him
themselves; upon which the officer remonstrated with them, and they
dispersed. It did not appear that they made any attempts to release the
prisoner; but on the following morning, when the lieutenant-governor was
made acquainted with the above circumstances, he convened all the
officers in the settlement, and laid before them what he had heard,
together with an account of a determination among the soldiers, to
release from the halberts any of their comrades who should be ordered
punishment for any offence or injury done to a settler; all of which he
had caused to be authenticated upon oath. The result of this meeting was,
that the detachment should be disarmed, and that the settlers late of the
marines, and _Sirius's_ ship's company, should be embodied and armed as a
militia. This resolution was accordingly put in execution on the 21st, by
sending the detachment from their quarters unarmed, upon different
duties; while the new-raised militia took possession of their arms. On
their return, twenty were selected as mutineers to be sent to this place,
the remainder returning to their duty immediately, but of that number ten
were, after a few days confinement, pardoned and liberated; and two days
after Mr. King had restored good order in the settlement the _Francis_
appeared. By her he sent the ten prisoners under a guard of an officer
and as many soldiers as the vessel could conveniently receive.

A court of inquiry, composed of the officers of the regiment present at
Sydney, was assembled immediately after the arrival of the _Francis_, to
inquire into the complaint which had accompanied the soldiers from
Norfolk Island; when, after five days deliberation, and examination of
papers, witnesses, etc. they reported, that the conduct of the soldiers,
in disobeying the orders of their officers, was reprehensible; but, on
considering the provocations which had given birth to that disobedience.
they recommended them to their commanding officer's clemency.

On the 27th the schooner sailed a second time for Norfolk Island, for the
purpose of conveying two officers of the New South Wales corps, and some
non-commissioned officers and privates, in lieu of those who had been
sent hither, and without whom the detachment on duty there would have
been too much weakened.

The natives were again troublesome this month. Two several accounts were
sent down from Parramatta, of their having attacked, robbed, and beaten
some of the settlers' wives who were repassing between their farms and
Parramatta; and great quantities of corn continued to be stolen by them.
One of these women (married to Trace, a settler at the foot of Prospect
Hill) was so severely wounded by a party who robbed and stripped her of
some of her wearing apparel, that she lay for a long time dangerously ill
at the hospital. It was said, that the people who committed this and
other acts of violence and cruelty were occasional visitors with others
at Sydney. Could their persons have been properly identified, the
lieutenant-governor would have taken serious notice of the offenders.

Notwithstanding the woods were infested by these people, numbers of the
male convicts, idle, and dreading labour as a greater evil than the risk
of being murdered, absented from the new settlements, and, after
wandering about for a few days, got at length to Sydney almost naked, and
so nearly starved, that in most cases humanity interfered between them
and the punishment which they merited. They in general pleaded the
insufficiency of the present ration to support a labouring man; but it
was well known that the labour required was infinitely short of what
might have been justly exacted from them, even had the ration been much
less. They mostly wrought by tasks, which were so proportioned to their
situation, that after the hour of ten in the forenoon their time was left
at their own disposal; and many found employment from settlers and other
individuals who had the means of paying them for their labour. At this
period, it was true, the labouring convict was menaced with the
probability of suffering greater want than had ever been before
experienced in the settlement. On Saturday the 22nd (the last
provision-day in this month) there remained in store a quantity of salt
meat only sufficient for the inhabitants until the middle of the second
week in the next month, at which time there would not be an ounce of
provisions left, if some supplies did not arrive before that period. But
even this situation, bad as it certainly was, was still alleviated by the
assistance that the officers, settlers, and others were able to afford to
those whom they either retained in their service or occasionally hired
for labour as they wanted them. Some who were off the store, and who well
remembered their own distresses in the years 1789 and 1791, declared,
that with a little industry, and being allowed the indulgence of going
out in a boat, they could, even at this time, earn a better subsistence
than if they were employed by Government, and fed from a full store.
Nothing was lost; even the shark was found to be a certain supply; the
oil which was procured from the liver was sold at one shilling the quart,
and but very few houses in the colony were fortunate enough to enjoy the
pleasant light of a candle.

The seed-wheat as yet escaped, and might remain untouched for another
fortnight. The Indian corn was ripening; and it was hoped, that by making
some little deduction from the wheat, it would be ready in time to save
all the seed that had been reserved for the next season. To lose the
seed-wheat would be to repel every advance which had been made toward
supporting ourselves, and to crush every hope of independence. All that
had been done in cultivation, every acre which was preparing for the
ensuing crop, would long have remained a memorial of our distress; and
where existed the mind that could have returned to the labour of the
field with that cheerful spirit or energy that would have been necessary
to ensure future success?

The watch at Parramatta, under the direction of Barrington the constable,
ever on the look-out for the murderers of Lewis, detected a man of bad
character in offering a dollar in payment for some article that he had
purchased, and which dollar appeared to have been buried in the ground.
He had been taken up before, and on searching him at that time was not in
possession of any money. As nothing more, however, than this circumstance
was adduced against him, he was discharged, it being admitted that he
might have earned something since that time by his labour.

The foundation of a second barrack for soldiers at Sydney was begun in
the latter part of this month; and Baughan's mill-house was covered in
with tiles.

Mutton was this month sold for one shilling and nine-pence per pound. The
Bengal sheep, by crossing the breed with the Cape ram, were found to
improve considerably in appearance and size.


Alarming State of the provisions
The _William_ arrives with supplies from England, and the _Arthur_ from Bengal
The amor patriae natural to man in all parts of the earth
Mr. Bampton
Captain Bligh
_Admiral Barrington_ transport lost
Full ration issued
Ingratitude and just punishment of the settlers
Buffin's corn-mill set to work
Honesty of a native
The _Daedalus_ arrives from America
Female inconstancy, and its consequences
The _Arthur_ sails
The _Francis_ returns from Norfolk Island
A boat stolen
Natives killed
A new mill
Disorder in the eyes prevalent

March.] To save as much of the seed-wheat as possible, a deduction of two
pounds was made in the allowance of that article which was served to the
convicts on Saturday the first of the month. The provision-store was
never in so reduced a state as at this time; one serving of salt-meat
alone remained, and that was to be the food of only half a week. After
that period, the prospect, unless we were speedily relieved, was
miserable; mere bread and water appeared to be the portion of by far the
greater part of the inhabitants of these settlements, of that part too
whose bodily labour must be called forth to restore plenty, and attain
such a state of independence on the parent country as would render delay
or accident in the transport of supplies a matter of much less moment to
the colony than it had ever hitherto been considered.

As at this time the stock of swine in the possession of individuals was
rather considerable, some saving of the salt provisions, it was thought,
might be made, by purchasing a quantity sufficient to issue to the
military at the rate of four pounds and a half to each man for the week,
in lieu of the three pounds of salt meat. A quantity was therefore
purchased by the commissary and issued in the above proportion, the
soldiers receiving the fresh instead of the salt provisions (to which
latter they must have given the preference, being able to make them go
the farthest) with that cheerfulness which at all times marked their
conduct when compliance with any wish of their commanding-officer was the

Both public and private stock appeared to be threatened with destruction.
The sheep and goats in the colony were not numbered far within
one thousand. The cows had increased that species of stock by
thirteen calves, which were produced in the last year. The exact number
of hogs was not, nor could it well be ascertained; it must, however, have
been considerable, as every industrious convict had been able to keep one
or more breeding sows. All this wore, indeed, the appearance of a
resource; yet what would it all have been (admitting that an equal
partition had been made) when distributed among upwards of three thousand
people? But an equal partition of private stock, as most of this was
such, could not have been expected. The officers holding this stock in
their own hands would certainly take care to keep it there, and from it
would naturally supply their own people. How far, in an hour of such
distress, the convicts would have sat quietly down on their return from
labouring in the field to their scanty portion of bread and water, and
looked patiently on while others were keeping want and hunger at a
distance by the daily enjoyment of a comfortable meal of fresh viands?
was a question with many who thought of their situation.

Happily, however, for all descriptions of people, they were not this time
to be put to the trial.

On Saturday the 8th, at the critical moment when the doors of the
provision-store had closed, and the convicts had received their last
allowance of the salt provisions which remained, the signal for a sail
was made at the South Head. We expected a ship from India in pursuance of
the contract entered into with Mr. Bampton, who had been absent from us
nearly eleven months. We also looked daily for the return of the
_Daedalus_. We hoped for a ship from England. But whence the ship came
for which the signal had been made was to remain for some time unknown.
One boat alone, with an officer, went down; (in compliance with an order
which had some days before been given to that purpose;) and on its return
at night we were told that a ship with English colours flying had stood
into the harbour as far as Middle-head; but meeting with a heavy squall
of wind at south, in which she split her fore-top-sail, was compelled
again to put to sea. It was conjectured that she was a stranger; for if
any person on board her had had any knowledge of the harbour, she might
have been run with much ease from the Middle-head into safety in
Spring-cove. The officer who went down (Captain Johnston) unfortunately
could not board her, such a sea ran within the Heads; and the wind blew
with so much violence as to render any attempt to get near her extremely

At night the wind increased with much rain, and morning was anxiously
looked for, to tell us where and who the stranger was. Nothing more
however was known of her during that day (Sunday), the same causes as
those of the preceding day operating against our receiving any other
information, than that she was to be seen from the flagstaff, whence in
the evening word was brought up over land, that another vessel, a brig,
was in sight.

Anxiety and curiosity, now strained to the utmost, were obliged to wait
the passing of another night; but about three o'clock on Monday the 10th,
the wind and weather having both changed, to our great satisfaction we
saw the ship _William_, Mr. William Folger of London master, anchor
safely in the cove. With her also came up the _Arthur_, a small brig of
about ninety-five tons, from Bengal.

The _William_, we found, had sailed from the river Thames on the first of
July last, whence she proceeded to Cork, where she took on board a cargo
of beef and pork for this colony*; but had not an ounce of flour. She
left Ireland on the 20th of September, having waited some weeks for a
convoy, (the war with France in which England was engaged having rendered
the protection of some of his Majesty's ships necessary,) and made her
passage to this country by the route of Rio de Janeiro. She arrived at
that port on the 22nd day of November; left it the third of the following
month; and made Van Dieman's Land on the second of this month. Mr. Folger
reported, that his weather from the American coast to this port had been
in general good.

[* She had likewise on board a machine for dressing flour; a small
quantity of iron; two pairs of millstones and some tools for the smiths;
all which were received in the river.]

We learned that Governor Phillip reached England in the _Atlantic_ on the
21st of May last. That ship (which it may be remembered sailed from this
place on the 11th of December 1792) passed Cape Horn on the 17th of the
following January; anchored at Rio de Janeiro on the 7th of February; and
sailed thence on the 4th of March; arriving in the channel without any
interruption, save what was given by a French privateer which chased her
when within forty-eight hours sail of the land. The natives Bennillong
and Yem-mer-ra-wan-nie were well, but not sufficiently divested of the
genuine, natural love for liberty and their native country, to prefer
London with its pleasures and its abundance to the woods of New South
Wales. They requested that their wives might be taught to expect their
return in the course of this year. Had it been possible to eradicate in
any breast that love for the place of our birth, or where we have lived
and grown from infancy to manhood, which is implanted in us by the kind
hand of Nature, it surely would have been effected on two natives of New
Holland, whose country did not possess a single charm in the eye even of
a savage inhabitant of New Zealand.* But we now found that in every
breast that sentiment is the same; and that a love for our native country
is not the result of her being the seat of arts and arms; the residence
of worth, beauty, truth, justice; of all the virtues that adorn and
dignify human nature; and of all the pleasures and enjoyments that render
life valuable; but that it can be excited even in a land where
wretchedness, want, and ignorance have laid their iron hands on the
inhabitants, and marked with misery all their days and nights.

[* The New Zealanders who were brought hither in the _Daedalus_ in April
last expressed both here and at Norfolk Island the utmost abhorrence of
this country and its inhabitants.]

In the _William_ arrived an assistant-chaplain, the Rev. Mr. Marsden, to
divide the religious duties of the colony with Mr. Johnson.

Had it been known on the evening of the 8th, when the report was received
that the ship had been blown out to sea, that she contained so valuable a
cargo as four months beef and pork (eleven hundred and seventy-three
barrels of the former, and nine hundred and seven of the latter) at the
full ration, how would our anxiety have been increased upon her account,
particularly as it still lived in our remembrance, that the _Justinian_
with a similar cargo, after making the North of this harbour, was blown
off to the Northward, was three weeks before she regained the port, and
was once within that time nearly lost in a heavy gale of wind! Had the
_William_ been blown off the coast for three weeks, how deeply would
distress have been felt in these settlements!

The brig from Bengal had on board a small quantity of beef and pork; some
sugar, Bengal rum, and coarse callicoes.

To the great surprise and regret of every one, it was heard from Mr. Barber
the master, that at the time of his departure from Calcutta, no accounts
had been received of the arrival of Mr. Bampton in any port in India.

As well at his departure from Norfolk Island, as when he quitted this
place, he had expressed his resolution of attempting a passage between
this country and New Guinea, in the hope of being, if successful, the
first to establish a fact that would be attended with singular advantages
to his Majesty's settlements in this part of the world.

Captain Bligh, of the happy conclusion of whose second voyage for the
bread fruit we now heard by the _William_, was particularly instructed to
survey the straits which separate New Holland from New Guinea. By the
accounts of this voyage which reached us, we found that the two ships
_Providence_ and _Assistance_ were twenty days from their entrance into
the strait to their finding themselves again in an open sea. The
navigation through this passage was described as the most dangerous ever
performed by any navigator, abounding in every direction with islands,
breakers, and shoals, through which they pursued their course with the
utmost difficulty. In one day, on anchoring to avoid danger, the
_Providence_ broke two of her anchors; and as the eastern monsoon
was blowing, (the month of September 1792,) and the passage which
they were exploring was extremely narrow, it became impossible to
beat back. From some of the islands, eight canoes formed the daring
attempt of attacking the armed tender, and with their arrows killed
one and wounded two of the seamen. Some of these canoes were sixty
or seventy feet long, and in one of them twenty-two persons were counted.

This account excited many apprehensions for Mr. Bampton's safety. On
taking his leave of Lieutenant-governor King, he assured him that he
hoped to see Norfolk Island again in November, expecting to be here early
in the month of October. It was known that he had on board some articles
of merchandise which he meant to dispose of at Batavia; but by accounts
received at Calcutta from that place a very short time before the
_Arthur_ sailed, he had not touched at that port. It was therefore more
than probable, that both the _Shah Hormuzear_ and _Chesterfield_ had been
wrecked on some of the shoals with which the strait abounded, and that
their officers and people, taking to their long-boats, had fallen
sacrifices to the natives who had attacked the _Assistance_, by whose
guns many had been wounded in their attempt to carry that vessel.

To the disappointment which the colony sustained from the failure of the
contract already mentioned for cattle and provisions which were to have
been brought hither by Mr. Bampton, was added the regret which every
thinking being among us felt on contemplating the calamitous moments that
had, in all probability, brought destruction on so many of our

Mr. Barber also informed us, that Captain Patrickson, who was here in the
_Philadelphia_ brig in October 1792, had purchased or hired a large ship,
on board of which he had actually put a quantity of provisions and other
articles, with which he designed to return to this country; but under
some apprehension that his cargo might possibly not be purchased, he gave
up the intention, and when the _Arthur_ sailed was left proceeding to
Europe under Imperial colours.

The Government of Bengal too had advertised for terms to freight a vessel
for this country with cattle and provisions; but were diverted from the
design by the equipment of the armaments which it was necessary to enter
into at that time.

Thus had the infant colony of New South Wales still been doomed to be the
sport of contingency, the jarring interests of men co-operating with the
dangers of the sea to throw obstacles in the way of that long-desired
independence which would free the mother country from a heavy expense,
and would deliver the colonists from the constant apprehension under
which they laboured, of being one day left to seek their subsistence
among the woods of the country, or along the shores of its coast*.

[* It had been proposed, on the account reaching Bengal of the loss of
his Majesty's ship _Guardian_, to raise by subscription a sum sufficient to
purchase and freight a ship with provisions to this country; but, from
some accident or other, this benevolent purpose was never put in

The report of the probable loss of the _Admiral Barrington_ transport
which was received here in February 1793, was now confirmed. It appeared,
that after sailing from Batavia she reached so near her port as to be in
sight of the shipping at Bombay, but was driven off the coast by a gale
of wind, in which she was forced on shore on one of the Malouine Islands,
where she was wrecked, and her crew (the master, chief mate, and surgeon
excepted) were murdered by the natives. These people saved themselves by
swimming to an East-India country ship which was riding at anchor near
the island.

The sight of two vessels at anchor in the cove laden with provisions gave
at this time greater satisfaction than had been known on any other
arrival; for never before had the colony verged so near to the point of
being without a pound of salt provisions. On Monday the 10th (the
issuing-day to the civil and military), when all were served their
provisions, there remained only eighteen hundred and three pounds of salt
meat in store; and even this quantity had been saved by issuing fresh
pork to the non-commissioned officers and men of the regiment on the two
last serving-days*.

[* Saved on the 3rd and 10th of March by issuing fresh pork to the
non-commissioned officers and privates of the New South Wales corps,
their wives and children, 1803 lbs

There were issued to the above people, fresh pork, 5099 lbs

The hogs that were purchased on this occasion from individuals cost
government the sum of £254 19s 6d]

In consequence of these fortunate arrivals, the full ration of salt meat
was ordered to be issued; and as soon as part of the cargo was got on
shore from the storeship, the deficiency on the last serving days was
completed to the full allowance. The last of the wheat was served on the
17th (a proper quantity being reserved for seed) and on the next
provision-day ten pounds of Indian corn were substituted instead of the
allowance of wheat. Nothing but dire necessity could have induced the
gathering and issuing this article in its present unripened state, the
whole of it being soft, full of juice, and wholly unfit to grind. Had the
settlers, with only a common share of honesty, returned the wheat which
they had received from Government to sow their grounds the last season,
the reproach which they drew upon themselves, by not stepping forward at
this moment to assist Government, would not have been incurred; but
though, to an individual, they all knew the anxiety which every one felt
for the preservation of the seed-wheat, yet when applied to, and told (in
addition to the sum of ten shillings per bushel) that any quantity which
they might choose to put into the store should be brought from their
farms without any expence of carriage to them, they all, or nearly all,
pleaded an insufficiency to crop their ground for the ensuing season; a
plea that was well known to be made without a shadow of truth. In
consequence of this refusal, for their excuses amounted to as much, the
lieutenant-governor directed all those settlers*, whose limited time** for
being victualled from the public stores had expired, to be struck off the
provision list, and left to provide for themselves, a very just
punishment for their ingratitude; for some had been fed and supplied from
the colonial stores for more than twelve months beyond the time
prescribed for them when they were settled. This indulgence had been
continued to them from quarter to quarter on account of bad crops,
unfavourable seasons, and the reduced ration, with which all of them,
more or less, had had to struggle; and every accommodation had constantly
been afforded them which was consistent with the situation of the colony.
It was, however, now seen, that they were not the description of settlers
from whom, whatever indulgences they might receive, Government had any
assistance to expect; their principal object was their own immediate
interest; and to serve that, they would forget every claim which the
public had upon them.

[* Sixty-three in number]

[** Eighteen months]

The small cargo of salt provisions brought by the brig from Bengal was
purchased on account of Government for £307 16s; the beef at five-pence
and the pork at eight-pence per pound; the remainder of her cargo was
purchased by the officers of the civil and military departments. The
cargo of the _William_, which arrived in very good order, was all landed,
and the ship cleared and discharged from Government employ on the 28th.

The Rev. Mr. Marsden entered on the duties of his function the first
Sunday after his arrival, preaching to the military in a barrack prepared
for the occasion in the forenoon, and to the convicts at the church
erected by Mr. Johnson in the afternoon.

On the day when the _William_ anchored in the cove Buffin's new mill was
completed and set to work; and Wilkinson' s was in some forwardness. At
first it went rather heavily; but in a few days, with nine men's labour,
it ground sixty-three pounds of wheat in seventeen minutes. It must be
observed, that not any mill was yet erected in the colony whereat corn
was ground for the public, the military as well as the convicts grinding
their own grain themselves. Whenever wind or water-mills should be
erected, this labour would be saved, and the allowance of wheat or Indian
corn be issued ground and dressed.

The late distress of the colony was not found to have made any amendment
in the morals of the convicts. Gaming still prevailed among them in its
fullest extent; and a theft which was committed at one of these meetings
showed how far it was carried. Among those who made a daily practice of
gaming was one who, in his situation as an overseer, had given such
offence to some of his fellow-prisoners, that a plan was formed to
plunder him the first time that he should have a sum worthy of their
attention. He was accordingly surrounded when engaged at play, by a party
who, watching their opportunity, rushed upon him when he had won a stake
of five-and-twenty dollars, and, in the confusion that ensued, secured
the whole. He was, however, fortunate enough to seize one of them, with
ten of the dollars in his hand, but was not able to recover any more. The
man whom he secured proved to be Samuel Wright, who in the month of July
last had been reprieved at the foot of the gallows; so soon had he
forgotten the terror of that moment. On this circumstance being reported
to the lieutenant-governor, Wright received an immediate corporal

McKoy, the overseer, confessed that gaming had been for many years his
profession and subsistence, though born of honest and reputable parents;
and he acknowledged, that but for his pursuit of that vice he should
never have visited this country in the situation of a convict.

A better principle showed itself shortly after in Ca-ru-ey, a native
youth, who, from long residence among us, had contracted some of our
distinctions between good and ill. Being fishing one morning in his canoe
near the lieutenant-governor's farm, he perceived some convicts gathering
and secreting the Indian corn which grew there; and, knowing that acts of
that nature were always punished, he instantly came to the settlement,
and gave an account of what he had seen, in time to secure the offenders
on the spot, with the corn in their possession.

As he made no secret of what he had done, it was apprehended that some
revenge might, if they were punished, be levelled at him on a future
opportunity, they were therefore pardoned; but Ca-ru-ey was nevertheless
applauded and recompensed for his attention and honesty.

Among other articles of information received by the _William_, we were
assured, that it had been industriously circulated in England, that there
was not in this country either grass for graminivorous animals, or
vegetables for the use of man. This report was, however, rather forcibly
contradicted by the abundant increase of all descriptions of live stock
at this time in the colony, and by the plenty which was to be found in
every garden, whether cultivated by the officer or by the convict. A
striking instance of this plenty occurred at Parramatta a few days before
the arrival of the storeship, when six tons and two hundred weight of
potatoes were gathered as the produce of only three quarters of an acre
of ground. From the then reduced state of the stores, they were sold for
fifty pounds.

Mutton was sold in this month for one shilling and nine-pence per pound.

April.] in the forenoon of Thursday the 3rd of April, the signal was made
at the South Head for a sail, and about four o'clock the _Daedalus_
storeship anchored in the cove from the north-west coast of America; but
last from Owhyhee, one of the Sandwich Islands, from which place she
sailed on the 8th day of February last.

Lieutenant Hanson, on his arrival at Nootka Sound the 8th of last
October, found only a letter from Captain Vancouver, directing him to
follow the _Discovery_ to another port; between which and Nootka he
fortunately met with her and the _Chatham_, and was afterwards obliged to
proceed with them to the Sandwich Islands, before Captain Vancouver could
take out of the _Daedalus_ the stores which were consigned to his charge.
The harbour of Nootka was still in the hands of the Spaniards, and some
jealousy on their part prevented the delivery of the stores from the
vessel in any of the Spanish ports on the coast.

Mr. Hanson was informed, that three natives of Whahoo (the island whereat
his predecessor in the _Daedalus_, Lieutenant Hergest, with the
astronomer, Mr. Gootch, and the seaman were killed) had been delivered up
by the chief of the island to Captain Vancouver, for the purpose of being
offered as an expiatory sacrifice for those murders; and that they were
accordingly, after remaining some short time on board the _Discovery_,
taken one by one into a canoe, and put to death alongside that ship by
one of their chiefs. A pistol was the instrument made use of on this
occasion, which certainly was as extraordinary as unexpected.

The great accommodation which those islands proved to ships trading on
the north-west coast of America rendered it absolutely necessary, that
the inhabitants should be made to understand that we never would nor
could pass unnoticed an act of such atrocity. With this view Captain
Vancouver had demanded of the chief of Whahoo the murderers of Mr. Hergest
and his unfortunate companions. It was not supposed that the people
sacrificed were the actual perpetrators of these murders; but that
an equal number of the natives had been given up as an atonement for the
Europeans we had lost.

The native of this country who accompanied Lieutenant Hanson we had the
satisfaction of seeing return safe in the _Daedalus_. He had conducted
himself with the greatest propriety during the voyage, readily complying
with whatever was required of him, and not incurring, in any one
instance, the dislike or ill-will of any person on board the ship.
Wherever he went he readily adopted the manners of those about him; and
when at Owhyhee, having discovered that favours from the females were to
be procured at the easy exchange of a looking-glass, a nail, or a knife,
he was not backward in presenting his little offering, and was as well
received as any of the white people in the ship. It was noticed too that
he always displayed some taste in selecting the object of his attentions.
The king of Owhyhee earnestly wished to detain him on the island, making
splendid offers to Mr. Hanson, of canoes, warlike instruments, and other
curiosities, to purchase him; but if Mr. Hanson had been willing to have
left him, Collins would not have consented, being very anxious to return
to New South Wales.

He did not appear to have acquired much of our language during his
excursion; but seemed to comprehend a great deal more than he could find
words to express.

On his arrival at Sydney he found his wife, whom he had left in a state
of pregnancy, in the possession of another native, a very fine young
fellow, who since his coming among us had gone by the name of Wyatt. The
circumstance of his return, and the novelty of his appearance, being
habited like one of us, and very clean, drew many of his countrymen about
him; and among others his rival, and his wife. Wyatt and Collins eyed
each other with indignant sullenness, while the poor wife (who had
recently been delivered of a female child, which shortly after died)
appeared terrified, and as if not knowing which to cling to as her
protector, but expecting that she should be the sufferer, whether
ascertained to belong to her former or her present husband. A few days,
however, determined the point: her travelled husband shivered a spear
with Wyatt, who was wounded in the contest, and the wife became the prize
of the victor, who, after thus ascertaining his right by arms, seemed
indifferent about the reward, and was soon after seen traversing the
country in search of another wife.

Three young gentlemen of the _Discovery_ and _Chatham's_ quarterdecks
arrived here in the _Daedalus_, to procure passages from hence to
England. Among them was the Honourable Thomas Pitt, who on his arrival
here first learnt the death of his father, the late Lord Camelford.

Captain Vancouver not having room for all the provisions which were sent
him from the public stores of this settlement, the greatest part of them
were returned.

While the _Daedalus_ was in the morning standing in for the harbour, the
_Arthur_ went out, bound to that part of the world from which she was
just arrived, the north-west coast of America. Four convicts whose terms
of transportation had expired were permitted to quit the colony in her.
She also took away the carpenter of the _Fairy_, American brig, who had
been left on shore dangerously ill when Mr. Rogers sailed, but who had
perfectly recovered through the great attention and medical assistance
which he received at the hospital.

The day following the arrival of the _Daedalus_, the _Francis_ schooner
returned from Norfolk Island, having been absent five weeks and one day.
In her arrived the Rev. Mr. Bayne, the chaplain of the New South Wales
corps, and Mr. Grimes, the deputy-surveyor of lands, with some few other

Lieutenant-governor King's second crop of Indian corn had been so
productive, that he was enabled to make an offer of sending five thousand
bushels of that article to this colony, if required.

The peace and good order which universally prevailed at Norfolk Island
having rendered unnecessary the keeping together the settlers as a
militia, they had some time before the arrival of the _Francis_ returned
to their several avocations on their respective farms.

Notwithstanding the ill success which had hitherto attended the
endeavours of the Irish convicts stationed at Toongabbie and Parramatta
to find a way from this country to China, a few of them were again hardy
enough to attempt effecting their escape, and getting thither in a small
boat, which they took from a settler, and with which they got out of the
harbour in the night of the 12th of this month. They had furnished
themselves with some provisions; but the wretchedness of their boat must
have ensured to them the same end which certainly befel Tarwood and his
companions, particularly as it blew a gale of wind the day succeeding
their departure. It was at first imagined that they would be heard of at
the Hawkesbury; but there could be little doubt of their having perished.

From the settlement on the banks of that river the best reports continued
to be received from time to time: every where the settlers found a rich
black mould of several feet depth, and one man had in three months
planted and dug a crop of potatoes. The natives, however, had given them
such interruption, as induced a necessity for firing upon them, by which,
it was said, one man was killed.

At Toongabbie, where the Indian corn was growing, their visits and their
depredations were so frequent and extensive, that the watchmen stationed
for the protection of the corn-grounds were obliged to fire on them, and
one party, considerable in number, after having been driven off,
returning directly to the plunder, was pursued by the watchmen for
several miles, when a contest ensued, in which the natives were worsted,
and three were left dead on the spot. The watchmen had so often come in
with accounts of this nature, that, apprehensive lest the present
transaction should not be credited, they brought in with them, as a
testimonial not to be doubted, the head of one of those whom they had
slain. With this witness to support them, they told many wonderful
circumstances of the pursuit and subsequent fight, which they stated to
have taken place at least fourteen miles from the settlement, and to have
been very desperately and obstinately sustained on the part of the
natives. It was remarked, however, that not one of the watchmen had
received the slightest injury, a circumstance that threw a shade over
their story, which, but for the production of the head, would have been
altogether disbelieved.

Whatever might have been the truth, it is certain that a party of natives
appeared the following day about the corn grounds, but conducted
themselves with a great deal of caution, stationing one of their party
upon the stump of a tree which commanded an extensive view of the
cultivated grounds, and retreating the instant they perceived themselves
to be observed.

From the quantities of husks and leaves of corn which were found
scattered about the dwelling places of these people, their depredations
this season must have been very extensive.

At Sydney a large party of natives assembled for the purpose of burning
the body of Carradah, the native mentioned in the transactions of the
month of December last, by the name of Midjer Bool. He had been put to
death while asleep in the night by some people who were inimical to his
tribe; and the natives who witnessed the performance of the last rite
assured us, that when the murderers should be discovered several severe
contests would ensue. It was at this time that the rencounter between
Collins and Wyatt took place; and some other points of honour which
remained unsettled were then determined, not without much violence and
bloodshed, though no one was killed.

Cropping the ground with wheat formed the general and most material
labour of this month. On the public account nearly four hundred acres were
so sown with that essential grain. At this time wheat bore the price of
twenty shillings a bushel.

The crops of Indian corn in general turned out very productive. An
officer who held an allotment of an hundred acres near Parramatta, from
each acre of nineteen, on a light sandy soil, gathered fifty bushels of
shelled corn; and a patch of Caffre corn, growing in the like soil,
produced the same quantity per acre. This grain had been introduced into
our settlement from the Cape of Good Hope by Captain Paterson, and was
found to answer well for fattening of stock. No one having attempted to
separate the farinaceous part of the grain from the husk, which was of an
astringent quality, no judgment had been formed of its utility as a
flour; but some who had ground it and mixed the whole together into a
paste pronounced it to be equal to any preparation of oatmeal

Wilkinson's grinding machine was set in motion this month. It was a
walking mill, upon a larger construction than that at Parramatta. The
diameter of the wheel in which the men walked was twenty-two feet, and it
required six people to work it. Those who had been in both mills (this
and Buffin's, which was worked by capstan-bars and nine men) gave the
preference to the latter; and in a few days it was found to merit it;
for, from the variety and number of the wheels in Wilkinson's machinery,
something was constantly wrong about it. Finding, after a fair trial,
that it was imperfect, it was taken to pieces; and Buffin was employed to
replace it by another mill upon the same principle as that which he had
himself constructed; and Wilkinson returned to Parramatta.

An inflammation of the eyes appeared to be a disorder generally prevalent
among all descriptions of people at this time. It raged at first among
children; but when got into a house, hardly any person in it escaped the
complaint. It was accounted for by the variable and unsettled weather
which we had during this month.


The _William_ sails
Excursion in search of a river
A storeship arrives
Captain Bampton
Full ration
The _Britannia_, _Speedy_, and _Halcyon_ arrive
The _Indispensable_ and _Halcyon_ sail
The _Fanny_ arrives from Bombay
Two convicts executed
The _Hope_ sails

May.] Early in this month the _William_ sailed on her fishing voyage to
the coast of Peru. Mr. Folger, her master, purposed trying what success
might be met with on this coast for a few weeks, it being the wish of his
owners in consequence of the reports brought home by some of the whaling
ships which were here in 1792. If he should be at all fortunate, he
intended to return to this port with the account; it being the anxious
wish of every officer in the colony to hear of any thing that was likely
to make a return to the mother country for the immense sums which must
annually have been expended on this settlement.

Some dispatches and returns being sent by this ship, it appeared, that
here and at Norfolk Island were existing, at the latter end of last
month, four thousand four hundred and fourteen persons of all
descriptions, men, women, and children. Estimating the daily expense of
these at two shillings a head, (a fair calculation, when every article of
provisions, clothing, stores, freight of ships, allowance for civil and
military establishments, damaged cargoes, etc., etc. was considered,) it
will be found to amount annually to the sum of one hundred and sixty-one
thousand one hundred and eleven pounds; an expense that called loudly for
every exertion toward easing the mother country of such a burden, by
doing away our dependence on her for many of the above articles, or by
affording a return that would be equal to some part of this expence.

Separated as we were from Europe, constantly liable to accidents
interrupting our supplies, which it might not always be possible to guard
against or foresee, how cheering, how grateful was it to every thinking
mind among us, to observe the rapid strides we were making toward that
desirable independence! The progress made in the cultivation of the
country insured the consequent increase of live stock; and it must be
remembered, that the colony had been supplied with no other grain than
that raised within itself since the 16th day of last December.

The permission given to officers to hold lands had operated powerfully in
favour of the colony. They were liberal in their employment of people to
cultivate those lands; and such had been their exertions, that it
appeared by a survey taken in the last month by Mr. Alt, that nine
hundred and eighty-two acres had been cleared by them since that
permission had been received. Mr. Alt reported, that there had been
cleared, since Governor Phillip's departure in December 1792, two
thousand nine hundred and sixty-two acres and one quarter; which, added
to seventeen hundred and three acres and a half that were cleared at that
time, made a total of four thousand six hundred and sixty-five acres and
three quarters of cleared ground in this territory. It must be farther
remarked in favour of the gentlemen holding ground, that in the short
period of fifteen months*, the officers, civil and military, had cleared
more than half the whole quantity of ground that had been cleared by
government and the settlers, from the establishment of the colony to the
date of the governor's departure. The works of government, however
vigilantly attended to, always proceeded slowly, and never with that
spirit and energy that are created by interest.

[* The officers did not begin to open ground until February 1793.]

The people who were to labour for the public had in general been but
scantily fed, and this operated against any great exertions. The settlers
were not fed any better; and though they had an interest in working with
spirit, yet they always looked to be supplied from the public stores
beyond the time allowed them; and were consequently careless, indolent,
and poor: while the officer, from the hour he received his grant, applied
himself with activity to derive a benefit from it; and it was not too
much to say, that the independence of the colony was more likely to be
attained through their exertions, than by any other means. To encourage
them, therefore, was absolutely necessary to accelerate and promote the
prosperity of the colony.

One woman and six men, whose terms of transportation had expired, were
permitted to quit the colony in the _William_.

Some natives, who had observed the increasing number of the settlers on
the banks of the Hawkesbury, and had learned that we were solicitous to
discover other fresh-water rivers, for the purpose of forming
settlements, assured us, that at no very great distance from Botany Bay,
there was a river of fresh water which ran into the sea. As very little
of the coast to the southward was known, it was determined to send a
small party in that direction, with provisions for a few days, it not
being improbable that, in exploring the country, a river might be found
which had hitherto escaped the observation of ships running along the

Two people of sufficient judgment and discretion for the purpose being
found among the military, they set off from the south shore of Botany Bay
on the 14th, well armed, and furnished with provisions for a week. They
were accompanied by a young man, a native, as a guide, who professed a
knowledge of the country, and named the place where the fresh water would
be found to run. Great expectations were formed of this excursion, from
the confidence with which the native repeatedly asserted the existence of
a freshwater river; on the 20th, however, the party returned, with an
account, that the native had soon walked beyond his own knowledge of the
country, and trusted to them to bring him safe back; that having
penetrated about twenty miles to the southward of Botany Bay, they came
to a large inlet of the sea, which formed a small harbour; the head of
this they rounded, without discovering any river of fresh water near it.
The country they described as high and rocky in the neighbourhood of the
harbour, which, on afterwards looking into the chart, was supposed to be
somewhere about Red Point. The native returned with the soldiers as
cheerfully and as well pleased as if he had led them to the banks of the
first river in the world.

An excursion of another nature was at this time framing among some
discontented Irish convicts, and was on the point of being carried into
execution when discovered. Among those who came out in the last ships
from Ireland was a convict who had been an attorney in that kingdom, and
who was weak enough to form the hazardous scheme with several others of
seizing a long-boat, in which they were to endeavour to reach Batavia. A
quantity of provisions, water-casks, sails, and other necessary articles,
were provided, and were found, at the time of making the discovery, in
the house of the principal. These people had much greater reason to
rejoice at, than to regret, the discovery of their plot; for the wind, on
the day succeeding the night in which they were to have gone off, blew a
heavy gale; and, as there were no professed seamen in the party, it was
more than probable that the boat would have been lost. The greatest evil
that attended these desertions was the loss of the boats which were taken
off, for the colony could not sustain much injury by the absence of a few
wretches who were too idle to labour, and who must be constantly whispering
their own discontents among the other convicts.

On the 24th of this month we had the satisfaction of seeing the
_Indispensable_, a storeship, anchor in the cove from England, with a
cargo consisting principally of provisions for the colony. We understood
that she was the first of six or seven ships which were all to bring out
stores and provisions, and which, if no accident happened in the passage,
might be expected to arrive in the course of two months. The supply of
clothing and provisions intended to be conveyed by them, together with
what had been received by the _William_, was calculated for the
consumption of a twelvemonth. The quantity which now arrived in the
_Indispensable_ formed a supply of flour for twelve weeks, beef for four
ditto, pork for four ditto, and of peas for fourteen ditto. She sailed
from Spithead the 26th of last December, touched at Teneriffe and at the
Cape of Good Hope, from which place she sailed on the 30th of March last,
and made the South Cape of this country the 17th of this month. Between
the Cape of Good Hope and this port, the master stated that he found the
weather in general very rough, and the prevailing winds to have blown
from WNW to SW.

At the Cape of Good Hope Mr. Wilkinson met with the _Chesterfield_, which
sailed hence in April 1793 with the _Shah Hormuzear_; and one of her
people, who had been formerly a convict in this country, wishing to
return to it, we now collected from him some information respecting
Mr. Bampton's voyage. He told us, that the two ships were six months in
their passage hence to Timor, owing to the difficulty which they met with
in the navigation of the straits between New Holland and New Guinea. On one
of the islands in these straits they lost a boat, which had been sent on
shore to trade with the natives. In this boat went, never to return
(according to this person's account), Captain Hill; Mr. Carter, a friend
of Mr. Bampton's;--Shaw, the first mate of the _Chesterfield_;--Ascott, who
had been a convict here, and who had distinguished himself at the time
the _Sirius_ was lost; and two or three black people belonging to the
_Shah Hormuzear_. It was conjectured that they were, immediately after
landing, murdered by the natives, as the people of a boat that was sent
some hours after to look for them found only the clothes which they had
on when they left the ship, and a lantern and tinder-box which they had
taken with them; the clothes were torn into rags. At a fire they found
three hands; but they were so black and disfigured by being burnt, that
the people could not ascertain whether they had belonged to black or
white men. If the account of this man might be credited, the end of these
unfortunate gentlemen and their companions must have been truly horrid
and deplorable; it was however certain that the ships sailed from the
island without them, and their fate was left in uncertainty, though every
possible effort to discover them was made by Mr. Bampton.

At Timor Mr. Bampton took in a very valuable freight of sandal wood, with
which he proceeded to Batavia; and when the _Chesterfield_ parted
company, he hoped soon to return to this country.

In consequence of the supplies received by the _Indispensable_, the full
ration of flour was directed to be issued, and the commissary was ordered
not to receive for the present any more Indian corn that might be brought
to the public stores for sale. The following weekly ration was
established until further orders, and commenced on the 27th:

Flour eight pounds; beef seven pounds or pork four pounds; Indian corn
three pints, in lieu of peas.

The whole quantity of Indian corn purchased by the commissary on account
of Government from settlers and others amounted to six thousand one
hundred and sixty-three bushels and a quarter, which, taken at five
shillings per bushel, came to the sum of £1540 16s 3d.

Toward the latter end of this month, Wilkinson, the millwright, was
drowned in a pond in the neighbourhood of the Hawkesbury River. He had
been there on a Sunday with some of the settlers to shoot ducks, and
getting entangled with the weeds in the pond was drowned, though a good
swimmer; thus untimely perishing before he could reap any reward from his
industry and abilities.

Several people still continued to complain of sore eyes, but the disorder
was disappearing fast.

June.] The signal for a sail was made in the morning of the first of
June, and was conjectured to be for one of the ships expected to arrive
from England; but in a few hours word was brought that the _Britannia_ was
safe within the harbour. This arrival gave general satisfaction, as many
doubts about her return had been created by some accounts which the
master of the _Indispensable_ had heard at the Cape of Good Hope, of the
Bay of Bengal being full of French privateers.

On Mr. Raven's arrival at the settlement, we learned that he had been
forced to go to Batavia instead of Bengal, having been attacked in the
Straits of Malacca by a fleet of piratical Proas, which engaged him for
six hours, and from whom he might have found some difficulty to escape,
had he not fortunately killed the captain of the one which was nearest to
the _Britannia_ when in the act of making preparations for boarding him.
At Batavia he was informed that his passage to Bengal was very
precarious, from the number of French privateers which infested the bay,
as well as the west coast of Sumatra, several vessels having arrived at
Batavia which had been chased by them. Mr. Raven, therefore, determined
to load the _Britannia_ at Batavia, and, after some necessary
arrangements with the governor-general and council, purchased the
following cargo at the annexed prices for the settlements in New South
Wales, viz

                                                Rix dollars  Stivers

250 Casks of beef--111,264¼ lbs. at 9 stivers*       20,862   2
250 Casks of pork--83,865½ lbs. at ditto             15,724  37
500 Pecols** of sugar, at 7 rix dollars
   27 stivers per Pecol                               3,781  12
35 Coyangs*** of rice, at 55 rix dollars per Coyang   1,925   0

[* Forty-eight stivers the rix dollar.]

[** Pecol, one hundred and thirty-three pounds English.]

[*** Coyang, three thousand three hundred and seventy-five pounds Dutch.]

To these must be added for extra boat hire. Hire of twenty
black people for twenty days, and commission
on the purchase at 2½ per cent.                        1493   0
Rix dollars                                          42,786   3

The bills drawn on the treasury for this cargo bearing
a premium of 16 per cent, there was deducted from
the whole                                            6,040    0
Which reduced the total amount to rix dollars       37,746    3

                                                        £   s  d
Or in sterling money of Great Britain                7,549  4  3
To which the hire* of the ship being added,          2,210  7  7
The whole of the expense amounted to                £9,759 11 10

[* She was chartered at fourteen shillings and sixpence per ton per
month, and to be paid for two hundred and ninety-six tons, her registered

Captain Nepean, who left this place as a passenger in the _Britannia_,
and took with him some dispatches for government, and the private letters
of the officers, left Batavia on the 17th of February last in the _Prince
William Henry_, a fast sailing schooner, bound direct for England.

The _Britannia_ arrived at Batavia on the 11th of February, and sailed
for this country on the 10th of April following. While she lay at
Batavia, the season was extremely unhealthy, and some of her people fell
victims to the well-known insalubrity of the climate.

At Batavia Mr. Raven learned that the _Shah Hormuzear_ sailed from thence
for Bombay three months before he arrived there; and the report we had
heard of the disaster which befel the boat and people from that ship, in
the passage through the Straits between this country and New Guinea, was
confirmed at Batavia. As, however, Mr. Bampton had not since been heard
of, it was more than probable he had fallen a prize to some of the
privateers which were to be met with in those seas.

His Majesty's birthday did not pass without that distinction which we
all, as Englishmen devoted to our sovereign, had infinite pleasure in
showing it.

On the 8th the _Speedy_, a storeship commanded by Mr. Melville, who was
here in 1791 in the _Britannia_ whaler, anchored in the cove from
England, with a cargo of stores and provisions for the colony, and
clothing for the New South Wales corps. Mr. Melville sailed a few hours
before the _Indispensable_, and touched at Rio de Janeiro, whence he had
a long passage of several weeks. He made the south cape of this country
the 2nd instant; and arrived here in a leaky and weak condition.

Good fortune befriended us in the passage of this ship; for she ran
safely through every part where there could be danger, without a gun on
board to defend her from an enemy if she should have met with any.

On the 14th, a few hours after the signal was made at the South Head,
arrived in the harbour the _Halcyon_, a ship from Rhode Island, commanded
by Mr. Benjamin Page, who was here in the ship _Hope_ at the close of the
year 1792, and who had ventured here again with a cargo of provisions and
spirits* on speculation.

[* Eight hundred barrels of beef and pork, American cured. About five
thousand gallons of spirits; a small quantity of tobacco, tea, nankeens,

Mr. Page made his passage from Rhode Island in one hundred and fifteen
days, and without touching at any port. His run from the south cape of
New Holland was only five days. The ship he built himself at Providence,
after his return from China in the _Hope_. That ship was only two months
in her voyage from hence to Canton, and Mr. Page did not see any land
until he made the Island of Tinian. This place he now represented as well
calculated to furnish a freight of cattle for this colony.

Of the convicts that Mr. Page was permitted to ship at this port in his
last voyage, William Murphy behaved so extremely ill, having more than
once endeavoured to excite the crew to mutiny, that at St Helena he
delivered him to the captain of his Majesty's ship _Powerful_, whom he
found there. This proved in the event a circumstance of great good
fortune to Murphy, for, being directly rated on that ship's books (his
abilities as a sail-maker entitling him to that situation), and a French
East Indiamen being captured by the _Powerful_ a very few hours after, he
became entitled to a seaman's share of the produce of her cargo, which
was a very valuable one.

Bateman he carried on with him to Rhode Island, where he married, but had
more than once exhibited symptoms of returning to habits which he had not
forgotten, and which would soon bring him to disgrace in his new
situation. Shepherd he had put on board a ship bound to Ostend, and spoke
well of his conduct.

Captain Page at first thought he had come to a bad market with his
provisions; for the day was arrived when we found ourselves enabled to
say that we were not in want of any casual supplies; but by the end of
the month he declared he had not made a bad voyage; his spirits and
provisions were nearly all purchased by individuals; and what he at first
thought an unprofitable circumstance to him (the sight of four ships at
anchor in the cove) proved favourable, for the most of his provisions
were disposed of among the shipping. The whole of the spirits were
purchased by the officers of the settlement and of the garrison at the
rate of six shillings per gallon; and afforded, together with what had
been received from Batavia by the _Britannia_, a large and comfortable
supply of that article for a considerable time.

It might be safely pronounced, that the colony never wore so favourable
an appearance as at this period: our public stores filled with wholesome
provisions; five ships on the seas with additional supplies; and wheat
enough in the ground to promise the realizing of many a golden dream; a
rapidly increasing stock; a country gradually opening, and improving
every where upon us as it opened; with a spirit universally prevalent of
cultivating it.

The ships which had lately arrived from England were fraught with the
dismal and ill-founded accounts, which through some evil design continued
to be insidiously propagated, of the wretched unprofitable soil of New
South Wales. It was hoped, however, that when the present appearance and
state of the colony should reach England, every attempt to mislead the
public would cease; and such encouragement be held out as would induce
individuals to settle in the country.

In the _Halcyon_ arrived an American gentleman (Mr. W. Megee) in the
character of supercargo. This person, on seeing the Toongabbie hills
covered with a most promising crop of wheat, declared that be had never
seen better in America, even at Rhode island, the garden of America; and
on being shown some Indian corn of last year's growth, gave it as his
opinion, that we wanted nothing but large herds of grazing cattle, to be
a thriving, prosperous, and great colony, possessing within itself all
the essential articles of life.

We ourselves had long been impressed with an idea of the advantage that
grazing cattle would give to the country; every possible care was taken
of the little that was in it, and all means used to promote its increase.
One step toward this was the keeping up the price; an article by which
the proprietor was always certain of making a great profit, was as
certain to be taken the greatest care of, every individual possessing
stock found it his interest to preserve it in the highest order, that it
might be deemed equal to the general high value which stock bore.

By an account which was taken at the end of this month of the live stock
in the colony, the following numbers appeared to be in the possession of
government and of individuals, viz.

                     Mares Stallions
Government stock       6       6
Private stock          5       3
Total                 11       9

                     Male   Female
Government stock       -       -
Private stock          2       1
Total                  2       1

                     Bulls   Cows
Government stock      14      18
Private stock          1       7
Total                 15      25

                     Ewes  Rams and Wethers
Government stock      59      49
Private stock        257     161
Total                316     210

                     Male   Female
Government stock       3      10
Private stock        167     342
Total                170     352

Government stock  165
Private stock     946
Total            1111

In this account the hogs (from their being so disposed as not easily to
be ascertained) were not included; but they were supposed to amount to
several hundreds.

As a reserve in time of great distress, when alone it could be made use
of, this stock was, when compared with our numbers, no very great
dependance; but it was every thing as a stock to breed from, and well
deserving of attention to cherish it and promote its increase.

On the last day of the month the _Francis_ schooner sailed for Norfolk
Island, whither she was sent merely to apprise Mr. King that the
_Daedalus_ would be dispatched to him immediately after the return of the
schooner, with such stores and provisions as he should require.

During this month the house of the Rev. Mr. Johnson was broken into at
night, and robbed of sugar, coffee, arrack, Russia sheeting, and other
articles to a large amount. There was little doubt but that some of his
own people had either committed the burglary, or had given information to
others how and when it might be committed, as the part of the house
broken into was that which Mr. Johnson had applied to a store-room.
Several people were taken up, and some of the articles found concealed in
the woods; but those who stole them had address enough to avoid discovery.

Very shortly after this a most daring burglary was committed in a house
in the old marine quarters occupied by Mr. Kent, who arrived here in the
_Boddingtons_ from Ireland in August last, as agent of convicts on the
part of Government. He had secured the door with a padlock, and after
sun-set had gone up to one of the officers' barracks, where he was
spending the evening, when, before nine o'clock, word was brought him
that his house had been broken into. On going down, he found that the
staple, which was a very strong one, had been forced out, and a large
chest that would require four men to convey it out of the door had been
taken off. It contained a great quantity of wearing apparel, money,
bills, and letters; but, though the theft could not have been long
committed, all the search that twenty or thirty people made for some
hours that night was ineffectual, no trace being seen of it, and nothing
found but a large caulking-iron, with which it was supposed the staple
was wrenched off. The chest was found the next morning behind a barrack
(which had lately been fitted up as a place of divine worship for the
accommodation of the chaplain of the New South Wales corps), and some of
the wearing apparel was brought in from the woods; but Mr. Kent's loss
was very little diminished by this recovery.

In addition to these burglaries a highway robbery was committed on the
supercargo of the _American_, who was attacked in the dusk of the evening,
close by one of the barracks, by two men, who, in the moment of striking
him, seized hold of his watch, and with a violent jerk wrenched off the
seals, the watch falling on the ground. The place was, however, too
public to risk staying to look for it; and the owner was fortunate enough
to find it himself, but the seals, which were of gold, were carried off.

All these offences against peace and good order were to be attributed to
the horrid vice of gaming, which was still pursued in this place, and
which, from the management and address of those who practised it, could
not be prevented. The persons of the peace-officers were well known to
them; and, that they might never be detected in the fact, one of the
party, commonly the greatest loser, was always stationed on the look-out
to alarm in time.

During this month the millwright Buffin completed the mill which he was
constructing in the room of Wilkinson's; and, on its being worked, it was
found to answer still better than the first which he made. The body of
Wilkinson, after being dragged for several days in vain, was found at
last floating on the surface of the pond where he lost his life, and
being brought into Parramatta was there decently interred.

Of the few who died in this month was one, a male convict, of the name of
Peter Gillies, who came out to this country in the _Neptune_ transport in
the year 1791. His death took place on the morning of the arrival of the
_Speedy_ from England, by which ship a letter was received addressed to
him, admonishing him of the uncertainty of life, recommending him early
to begin to think of the end of it, and acquainting him of the death of
his wife, a child, and two other near relations. He had ceased to breathe
before this unwelcome intelligence reached the hospital.

July.] The signal for a sail was made at the South Head between seven and
eight o'clock in the morning of the 5th of July; and soon after the
_Hope_, an American ship from Rhode Island, anchored in the cove, having
on board a cargo of salted provisions and spirits on speculation. This
ship was here before with Captain Page, the commander of the _Halcyon_,
and now came in the same employ, the house of Brown and Francis at
Providence. Brown was the uncle of Page, between whom there being some
misunderstanding, Page built and freighted the _Halcyon_ after the
departure of the _Hope_, whose master being ordered to touch at the
Falkland's Islands, Page determined to precede him, in his arrival at
this country, and have the first of the market, in which he succeeded.

This proved a great disappointment to the master of the _Hope_, who
indeed sold his spirits at three shillings and sixpence per gallon; but
his salted provisions no one would purchase.

The _Hope_ was seven days in her passage from the South Cape to this
port; and the master said, that off Cape St. George he met with a current
which carried him during the space of three days a degree to the
southward each day.

On the 8th the _Indispensable_ and _Halcyon_ sailed on their respective
voyages, the former for Bengal, and the latter for Canton. The
_Indispensable_ was a large stout ship, provided with a letter of marque,
well manned and armed; and had been captured from the French at the
beginning of the present war. The master was permitted to receive on
board several persons from the colony, on his representing that he was
short of hands to navigate his ship; and two convicts found means to make
their escape from the settlement. A third was discovered concealed on
board for the same purpose, and being brought on shore, it appeared that
the coxswain of the lieutenant-governor's boat had assisted him in his
attempt; for which he was punished and turned out of the boat, such a
breach of trust deserving and requiring to be particularly noticed.

By the _Halcyon_ were sent some dispatches to be forwarded by the way of
China to his Majesty's secretary of state for the home department. The
day following the departure of these two ships, the _Fancy_ snow arrived
from Bombay, having on board a small quantity of rice and dholl*,
intended as part of the contract entered into by Captain Bampton, who, we
now learned, had arrived safe at Bombay, after a long passage from this
place of between six and seven months. This vessel was commanded by
Mr. Thomas Edgar Dell, formerly chief mate of Mr. Bampton's ship the
_Shah Hormuzear_, from whom the following information was received.

[* Thirty-eight tons of rice, and thirty-eight tons of dholl. Captain
Bampton also sent twenty-four bags of seed-wheat.]

The ships _Shah Hormuzear_ and _Chesterfield_ sailed, as before related,
from Norfolk Island on the 27th of May 1793. On the 2nd of the following
month a reef was seen in latitude 19 degrees 28 minutes S and longitude
158 degrees 32 minutes 15 seconds East. On the 1st of July, being then in
latitude 9 degrees 39 minutes 30 seconds S and longitude 142 degrees 59
minutes 15 seconds East of Greenwich, they fell in with an island which
obtained the name of Tate's Island, and at which they had the misfortune
to stave a boat as before mentioned. The circumstances of the murder of
Captain Hill, Mr. Carter, Shaw the first mate of the _Chesterfield_, and
the boat's crew, were related by Mr. Dell. It appeared from his account,
that they had landed to search for fresh water, and purposed remaining
one night on the island to barter with the natives, and procure emu
feathers from them. The day after they were put on shore the weather
changed, coming on to blow hard; the ship was driven to leeward of the
bay in which they landed; and it was not until the third day that it was
possible to send a boat after them. Mr. Dell himself was employed on this
occasion, and returned with the melancholy account of his being unable to
discover their lost companions. An armed force was then sent on shore,
but succeeded only in burning the huts and inclosures of the natives. At
a fire they found some incontestable proofs that their friends could not
be living; of three human hands which they took up, one, by some
particular marks, was positively thought by Mr. Dell to have belonged to
Mr. Carter; their great coats were also found with the buttons cut off, a
tinderbox, a lantern, a tomahawk, and other articles from the boat, were
also found; but though they rowed entirely round the island, looking into
every cove or creek, the boat could not be seen. Mr. Dell was, if
possible, to procure two prisoners; but he could not succeed. In the
intercourse, however, which he had with them, they gave him to understand
by signs, that they had killed all who were in the boat, except two: at
least, so Mr. Dell thought; but if it was so, nothing could be hoped from
the exception, nor could any other conclusion be formed, than that they
were reserved perhaps for more deliberate torture and a more horrid end.

This island was described as abounding with the red sweet potato, sugar
cane, plantains, bamboo, cocoa trees, and mangroves. The natives appeared
stout, and were in height from five feet eight to six feet two inches;
their colour dark, and their language harsh and disagreeable. The weapons
which were seen were spears, lances made of a hard black wood, and clubs
about four feet in length. They lived in huts resembling a hay-cock, with
a pole driven through the middle, formed of long grass and the leaves of
the cocoa tree. These huts might contain six or eight persons each, and
were inclosed with a fence of bamboo. In a corner of some of the huts
which they entered, they perceived a wooden image, intended to resemble a
man; in others the figure of a bird, very rudely carved, daubed with red,
and curiously decorated with the feathers of the emu. Over these images
were suspended from the roof several strings of human hands, each string
having five or six hands on it. In some they found small piles of human
skulls; and in one, in which there was a much larger pile of skulls than
in any other that they had visited, they observed some gum burning before
a wooden image.

This island was supposed to be about eight miles in length, five in
breadth, and fifteen in circumference; a coral reef seemed to guard it
from all approach, except on the north-west part which formed a bay,
where the ship anchored in thirteen fathoms water. Fresh water was seen
only in one place.

Mr. Bampton did not arrive at Timor until the 11th of September, having
been detained in the straits by a most difficult and dangerous
navigation. By this passage he had an opportunity of discovering that the
straits which were named after Torres, and supposed to have been passed
first by him in the year 1606, and afterwards by Green in 1722, could
never have existed; for Mr. Bampton now observed, that New Guinea
extended ninety miles to the southward of this supposed track.

Of the two convicts taken from hence by the _Shah Hormuzear_, John Ascot
was killed by the natives with Captain Hill, and Catharine Pryor, Ascot's
wife, died two days before the ship got to Batavia, of a spotted fever, the
effect of frequent inebriety while at Timor. Ascot was the young man
whose activity prevented the _Sirius_, with the stores and provisions on
board, from being burnt the night after she was wrecked off Norfolk
Island, and thereby saved that settlement from feeling absolute want at
that time.

Captain Dell was full three months in his passage from Bombay; during the
latter part of which time the people on board suffered great distress from
a shortness of water and fuel. Out of seventy-five persons, mostly
Lascars, with whom he sailed, nine died, and a fever existed among those
who remained on his arrival.

The people who had broken into Mr. Kent's house were so daring as to send
to that gentleman a letter in miserable verse, containing some invectives
against one Bevan, a prisoner in confinement for a burglary, and a woman
who they supposed had given information of the people that broke into the
clergyman's storeroom, which affair they took upon themselves. The letter
was accompanied by a pocket-book belonging to Mr. Kent, and some of his
papers; but none of the bills which were in it when it was stolen were

The insolence of this proceeding, and the frequency of those nocturnal
visits, surprised and put all persons on their guard; but that the enemy
was within our own doors there was no doubt. An honest servant was in this
country an invaluable treasure; we were compelled to take them as chance
should direct from among the common herd; and if any one was found who
had some remains of principle in him, he was sure to be soon corrupted by
the vice which every where surrounded him.

It became necessary at length for the criminal justice of the settlement
to interfere, and three convicts were tried for burglaries. John Bevan,
though tried on two charges, was acquitted from a want of evidence, and
others, John Flemming and Archibald McDonald, were convicted. The latter
of these two had broken into a soldier's hut the night before the court
sat, and at a time when it was publicly known in the settlement that it
was to sit for the trial of such offenders as might be brought before it.
The state of the colony called loudly for their punishment, and they were
both executed the third day after their conviction. It was afterwards said,
that McDonald was one of the party who broke into the clergyman's house.

Soon after these executions, Caesar*, still incorrigible, took up again
his former practice of subsisting in the woods by plundering the farms
and huts at the outskirts of the towns. He was soon taken; but on his
being punished, and that with some severity, he declared with exultation
and contempt, that 'all that would not make him better.'

[* See Chapter VII, from "Toward the end of the month, some convicts
having reported . . ." _et seq_.]

The _Hope_ sailed this month for Canton, the master being suffered to
take with him one man, John Pardo Watts, who had served his time of

The _Britannia_ was also hired in this month by some of the officers of
the civil and military departments, to procure them cattle and other
articles at the Cape of Good Hope.

During this month a building, consisting of four cells for prisoners, was
added to the guard-house on the east side of the cove. This had long been
greatly wanted; and, the whole being now inclosed with a strong high
paling, some advantage was expected to be derived from confinement adopted
only as a punishment.


The _Speedy_ sails and returns
Excursion to the western mountains
The _Francis_ returns from Norfolk Island
Corn bills not paid
The _Britannia_ sails for the Cape, and the _Speedy_ on her fishing voyage
Notification respecting the corn bills
The _Resolution_ and _Salamander_ arrive from England
Irish prisoners troublesome
Gales of wind
_Daedalus_ sails for Norfolk Island
_The Fancy_ sails
A death
Bevan executed
A settler murdered at Parramatta
The _Mercury_ arrives
Spanish ships
Settlers and natives
Civil Court
The _Surprize_ arrives
_Resolution_ and _Salamander_ sail
The _Daedalus_ returns from Norfolk Island
The _Mercury_ sails for America
The Lieutenant-Governor leaves the Settlement
The _Daedalus_ sails for England, and the _Surprize_ for Bengal
The Experiment arrives
Captain Paterson assumes the government _pro tempore_
Deaths in 1794

August.] Mr. Melville sailed on his intended fishing voyage on the second
of this month. He talked of returning in about fourteen days, during
which time he meant to visit Jervis and Bateman Bays to the southward, as
well as to try once more what fortune might attend him as a whaler upon
the coast. He returned, however, on the 8th, without having seen a fish,
or visited either of the bays, having experienced a constant and heavy
gale of wind at ESE since he left the port, which forced him to sail under
a reefed foresail during the whole of its continuance.

In the evening of the day on which he sailed hence, the people at the
South Head made the signal for a sail; but it was imagined, that as they
had lost sight of the _Speedy_ in the morning, they had perhaps seen her
again in the evening on another tack, as the wind had shifted. But when
this was mentioned to Mr. Melville at his return, he said that it was not
possible for the _Speedy_ to have been seen in the evening of the day she
sailed, as she stood right off the land; and he added, that he himself,
in the close of the evening, imagined he saw a sail off Botany Bay. No
ship, however, making her appearance during the month, it was generally
supposed that the people at the Look-out must have been mistaken.

A passage over the inland mountains which form the western boundary of
the county of Cumberland being deemed practicable, Henry Hacking, a
seaman (formerly quarter-master in the _Sirius_, but left here from the
_Royal Admiral_), set off on the 20th of the month, with a companion or
two, determined to try it. On the 27th they returned with an account of
their having penetrated twenty miles further inland than any other
European. Hacking reported, that on reaching the mountains, his further
route lay over eighteen or nineteen ridges of high rocks; and that when
he halted, determined to return, he still had in view before him the same
wild and inaccessible kind of country. The summits of these rocks were of
iron stone, large fragments of which had covered the intermediate
valleys, in which water of a reddish tinge was observed to stagnate in
many spots. The soil midway up the ascent appeared good, and afforded
shelter and food for several red kangaroos. The ground every where bore
signs of being frequently visited by high winds; for on the sides exposed
to the south and south-east it was strewed with the trunks of large
trees. They saw but one native in this desolate region, and he fled from
their approach, preferring the enjoyments of his rocks and woods, with
liberty, to any intercourse with them. These hills appearing to extend
very far to the northward an impassable barrier seemed fixed to the
westward; and southward, and little hope was left of our extending
cultivation beyond the limits of the county of Cumberland.

On the following day the _Francis_ schooner returned from Norfolk Island,
having been absent about eight weeks and three days. Her passage thither
was made in ten days, and her return in thirty-eight days, having met
with very bad weather.

From Mr. King we learned that his harvest had been prodigiously
productive. He had purchased from the first crops which the settlers
brought to market upwards of eleven thousand bushels of maize; and bills
for the amount were drawn by him in favour of the respective settlers;
but, requiring the sanction of the lieutenant-governor, they were now
sent to Port Jackson. Mr. King had been partly induced to make this
provisional kind of purchase, under an idea that the corn would be
acceptable at Port Jackson, and also in compliance with the conditions on
which the settlers had received their respective allotments under the
regulations of Governor Phillip; that is to say, that their overplus
grain and stock should be purchased from them at a fair market price.
Being, however, well stocked with that article already, the
lieutenant-governor did not think himself justifiable in putting the
crown to so great an expense (nearly three thousand pounds sterling) and
declined accepting the bills.

Had we been in want of maize, Mr. King could have supplied us with twenty
thousand bushels of it, much of which must now inevitably perish, unless
the settlers would, agreeably to a notification which the governor
intended to send them by the first opportunity, receive their corn again
from the public stores.

Mr. King had the satisfaction to write that every thing went on well in
his little island, excepting that some discontent appeared among the
marine settlers, and some others, on account of his not purchasing their
second crops of corn. As some proof of the existence of this
dissatisfaction, one marine settler and three others arrived in the
schooner, who had given up their farms and entered into the New South
Wales corps; and it was reported that most of the marine settlers
intended to follow their example.

This circumstance naturally gave rise to an inquiry, what would be the
consequence if ever Government should, from farming on their own account,
raise a quantity of wheat and maize sufficient for the consumption of
those in the different settlements who were victualled by the crown. If
such a system should be adopted, the settler would be deprived of a
market for his overplus grain, would find himself cut off from the means
of purchasing any of those comforts which his family must inevitably
require, and would certainly quit a country that merely held out to him a
daily subsistence; as he would look, if he was ordinarily wise, for
something beyond that. It might be said, that the settler would raise
stock for the public; but government would do the same, and so prevent
him from every chance of providing for a family beyond the present day.

As it was desirable that those settlers who had become such from convicts
should remain in this country, the only inducement they could have would
be that of raising to themselves a comfortable independence for the
winter of their own lives and the summer of their progeny. Government
must therefore, to encourage the settler, let him be the farmer, and be
itself the purchaser. The Government can always fix its own price; and
the settler will be satisfied if he can procure himself the comforts he
finds requisite, and lay by a portion of his emoluments for that day when
he can no longer till the field with the labour of his own hands. With
this encouragement and prospect, New South Wales would hold out a most
promising field for the industrious; and might even do more: it might
prove a valuable resource and acceptable asylum for many broken and
reduced families, who, for want of it, become through misfortunes
chargeable to their respective parishes.

Notwithstanding the weather was unfavourable during the whole of this
month, the wheat every where looked well, particularly at the settlement
near the Hawkesbury; the distance to which place had lately been
ascertained by an officer who walked thither from Sydney in two minutes
less than eight hours. He computed the distance to be thirty-two miles.

The weather during the whole of this month was very unpleasant and
turbulent. Much rain, and the wind strong at south, marked by far the
greatest part of it. On the 25th, the hot land-wind visited us for the
first time this season, blowing until evening with much violence, when it
was succeeded (as usually happened after so hot a day) by the wind at

September.] On the 1st of September the _Britannia_ sailed for the Cape
of Good Hope, on a second voyage of speculation for some of the civil and
military officers of the settlement. In her went, with dispatches, Mr.
David Wake Bell, and Mr. Richard Kent (gentlemen who arrived here in the
_Boddingtons_ and _Sugar Cane_ transports, charged with the
superintendance and medical care of the convicts from Ireland). The
_Speedy_ also sailed on her fishing voyage, the master intending not to
consume any longer time in an unsuccessful trial of this coast. Several
persons were permitted to take their passage in these ships; among
others, Richard Blount, for whom a free pardon had some time since been
received from the secretary of state's office.

Soon after the departure of these ships, the lieutenant-governor, having
previously transmitted with his other dispatches an account of the
transaction to the secretary of state, thought it necessary to issue a
public order, calculated to impress on the minds of those settlers and
others at Norfolk Island who might think themselves aggrieved by his late
determination of not ordering payment to be made for the corn purchased
of them by Lieutenant-governor King, a conviction that although he should
on all occasions be ready to adopt any plan which the lieutenant-governor
might devise for the accommodation or advantage of the inhabitants
at Norfolk Island, yet in this business he made objections, because he
did not consider himself authorised to ratify the agreement.

He proposed to those who held the bills to take back their corn; or, if
they preferred leaving it in the public stores until such time as an
answer could be received from the secretary of state, he assured them
that they might depend on the earliest communication of whatever might be
his decision; and that if such decision should be to refuse the payment
of the bills, he promised that grain should be returned equal in quantity
and quality to what had been received from them.*

[* Governor Hunter on his arrival ordered the bills to be paid, which was
afterwards confirmed by the secretary of state.]

How far the settlers (who in return for the produce of their grounds
looked for something more immediately beneficial to them and their
families, than the waiting eighteen months or two years for a refusal,
instead of payment of these bills) would be satisfied with this order,
was very questionable. It has been seen already, that they were
dissatisfied at the produce of their second crops not being purchased;
what then must be their ideas on finding even the first received indeed,
but not accounted for; purchased, but not paid for? it was fair to
conclude, that on thus finding themselves without a market for their
overplus grain, they would certainly give up the cultivation of their
farms and quit the island. Should this happen, Lieutenant-governor King
would have to lament the necessity of a measure having been adopted which
in effect promised to depopulate his government.

On the 10th and 11th of this month we had two very welcome arrivals from
England, the _Resolution_ and _Salamander_ storeships. They were both
freighted with stores and provisions for the colony; but immediately on
their anchoring we were given to understand, that from meeting with
uncommon bad weather between the Cape of Good Hope and Van Dieman's Land,
the masters apprehended that their cargoes had sustained much damage.

The _Resolution_ sailed in company with the _Salamander_ (from whom she
parted in a heavy gale of wind about the longitude of the islands
Amsterdam and St. Paul's) on the 20th of March last; anchored on the 16th
of April at the Isle of May, whence she sailed on the 20th; crossed the
equator on the 3rd of May; anchored on the 25th of the same month in the
harbour of Rio de Janeiro; left it on the 10th of June, and, after a very
boisterous passage, made the southern extremity of New Holland on the
30th of August, having been ninety-three days in her passage from the
Brazils, during which time she endured several hard gales of wind, three
of which the master, Mr. Matthew Lock, reported to have been as severe as
any man on board his ship had ever witnessed. He stated, in the protest
which he entered before the judge-advocate, that his ship was very much
strained, the main piece of the rudder sprung, and most of the sails and
rigging worn out. The _Salamander_ appeared to have met with weather
equally bad; but she was at one time in greater hazard, having broached-to
in a tremendous gale of wind; during which time, according to the tale of
the superstitious seamen, and which they took care to insert in their
protest, blue lights were seen dancing on each masthead and yard in the ship.

By these ships we learned that the _Surprise_ transport, with male and
female convicts for this country, was left by them lying at Spithead
ready for sea, and that they might be shortly expected. The _Kitty_,
which sailed from this place in June 1793, had arrived safely at Cork on
the 5th of February last, not losing any of her passengers or people in
so long a voyage and in such a season.

His Majesty's appointment of John Hunter esq to be our governor, in the
room of Captain Phillip who had resigned his office, we found had been
officially notified in the London Gazette of the 5th of February last.
Mr. Phillip's services, we understood, were remunerated by a pension of
five hundred pounds per annum.

The Irish prisoners were now again beginning to be troublesome; and some
of them being missing from labour, it was directly rumoured that a plan
was in agitation to seize the boat named the _Cumberland_, which had
recently sailed with provisions for the settlers at the Hawkesbury. By
several it was said, that she had actually been attacked without the
Heads, and carried. Notice was therefore immediately sent overland to the
river, to put the people in the boat on their guard, and to return should
she reach that settlement safely: an armed long-boat was also sent
to protect her passage round. After a few days suspense we found,
that while providing against any accident happening to the _Cumberland_,
some of the Irish prisoners at Parramatta had stolen from the wharf at
that place a six-oar'd boat belonging to Lieutenant Macarthur, with which
they got without the harbour undiscovered. She was found however, some
days after, at Botany Bay. The people who were in her made some threats
of resistance, but at length took to the woods, leaving the boat with
nearly every thing that they had provided for their voyage. From the
woods they visited the farms about Sydney for plunder, or rather for
sustenance; but one of them being fired at and wounded, the rest thought
it their wisest way to give themselves up. They made no hesitation in
avowing that they never meant to return; but at the same time owned that
they supposed they had reached Broken Bay instead of Botany Bay, ignorant
whether it lay to the northward or southward of this harbour. The man who
had been wounded died at the hospital the next day; and his companions
appeared but very ill able to provide for themselves, even by those means
which had occasioned our being troubled with them in this country.

On the 17th, we were visited by a violent gale of wind at southwest,
which blew so strong, that the _Resolution_ was at one time nearly on
shore. At Parramatta, during the gale, a public granary, in which were
upwards of two thousand four hundred bushels of shelled maize or Indian
corn, caught fire, through the carelessness of some servants who were
boiling food for stock close to the building (which was a thatched one),
and all the corn, together with a number of fine hogs the property of an
individual, were destroyed.

Some severe contests among the natives took place during this month in
and about the town of Sydney. In fact, we still knew very little of the
manners and customs of these people, notwithstanding the advantage we
possessed in the constant residence of many of them among us, and the
desire that they showed of cultivating our friendship. At the Hawkesbury
they were not so friendly; a settler there and his servant were nearly
murdered in their hut by some natives from the woods, who stole upon them
with such secrecy, as to wound and overpower them before they could
procure assistance. The servant was so much hurt by them with spears and
clubs, as to be in danger of losing his life. A few days after this
circumstance, a body of natives having attacked the settlers, and carried
off their clothes, provisions, and whatever else they could lay their
hands on, the sufferers collected what arms they could, and following,
them, seven or eight of the plunderers were killed on the spot.

This mode of treating them had become absolutely necessary, from the
frequency and evil effects of their visits; but whatever the settlers at
the river suffered was entirely brought on them by their own misconduct:
there was not a doubt but many natives had been wantonly fired upon; and
when their children, after the flight of the parents, have fallen into
the settlers hands, they have been detained at their huts, notwithstanding
the earnest entreaties of the parents for their return.

On the 26th, the _Daedalus_ sailed for Norfolk Island, having on board a
quantity of the stores and provisions lately received from England, and a
detachment of officers and men of the New South Wales corps to relieve
those on duty there.

Two female natives, wishing to withdraw from the cruelty which they, with
others of their sex, experienced from their countrymen, were allowed to
embark in the _Daedalus_, and were consigned to the care of the
lieutenant-governor. One of them was sister to Bennillong; the other was
connected with the young man his companion. Perhaps they wished to wait
in peace and retirement the arrival of those who were bound to protect

At the latter end of the month some warrants of emancipation passed the
seal of the territory, and received the lieutenant-governor's signature.
The objects of this indulgence were, Robert Sidaway, who received an
unconditional pardon in consideration of his diligence, unremitting good
conduct, and strict integrity in his employment for several years as the
public baker of the settlement; and William Leach, who was permitted to
quit this country, but not to return to England during the unexpired term
of his sentence of transportation, which was for seven years. Eight
convicts were pardoned on condition of their serving in the New South
Wales corps until regularly discharged therefrom. James Larra, James
Ruffler, and Richard Partridge (convicts for life), received a conditional
pardon, or (as was the term among themselves on this occasion) were made
free on the ground, to enable them to become settlers; as were also
William Joyce and Benjamin Carver for the same purpose. Joyce had been
transported for fourteen years, and Carver for life. Freedom on the
ground was also given to William Waring, a convict for life.

It was pleasing to see so many people withdrawing from the society of
vice and wretchedness, and forming such a character for themselves as to
be thought deserving of emancipation.

On the 29th, the _Fancy_ snow left this port. Mr. Dell, the commander,
purposed running to Norfolk Island, but affected a secrecy with respect
to his subsequent destination. It was generally surmised, however, that
he was bound to some island whereat timber fit for naval purposes was to
be procured; and at which whatever ship Mr. Bampton should bring with him
might touch and load with a cargo for India. The snow was armed, was
about one hundred and seventy tons burden, had a large and expensive
complement of officers and men, a guard of sepoys, and a commission from
the Bombay marine*. New Zealand