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An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, Vol. 1 by David Collins

Part 9 out of 14

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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 L254 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 L307 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 L1540 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--111,2641/4 lbs. at 9 stivers* 20,862 2
250 Casks of pork--83,8651/2 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 21/2 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

L 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 L9,759 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

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