Part 6 out of 7
should, unhappily for him, the sentence be at last confirmed by the royal
[* It may be pleasing to the reader to learn, that both Isaac
Nichols (see Chapter XVII viz: "The criminal court was only once
assembled during this month; when one man was condemned to death for a
burglary, and another transported for fourteen years to Norfolk Island.
This man, Isaac Nichols, an overseer, had been accused of receiving
stolen goods; but from some circumstances which occurred on the trial,
the sentence was respited until his Majesty's pleasure could be taken.")
and this man, have recently received his Majesty's pardon.]
The body of the settlers having again represented their total inability
to bear any reduction in the price of the wheat of this season, on
account, not only of their former heavy losses, but of the exorbitant
price of all those necessaries of life which they required for paying
their labourers, the governor at length consented to receive the wheat
only at the former price of ten shillings per bushel, and they were at
the same time told to prepare for the reduction that would certainly take
place in the next season. He also permitted a certain quantity of wine
and spirits from the prize to be landed, for the immediate accommodation
of those who had their crops to secure, and to prevent the impositions to
which they were subject in being obliged to procure them from a second or
On the 24th the _Reliance_ and _Francis_ schooner returned from
Norfolk Island, with the relief of the military, having been absent on
that service between seven and eight weeks.
About ten o'clock of the night of the same day, the log gaol at
Parramatta was wilfully and maliciously set on fire, and totally
consumed. The prisoners who were confined were with difficulty snatched
from the flames, but so miserably scorched, that one of them died in a
few days. This building was a hundred feet in length, remarkably strong,
and had been constructed with much labour and expense.
The rewards which had been formerly held out upon similar occasions were
now offered to any man or woman who would come forward with evidence
sufficient to convict such diabolical incendiaries before the court of
criminal judicature; and the inhabitants were called upon by that duty
which every man owed to society, as well as to his own individual
interest, to use every means in their power to discover the perpetrators
of such horrid mischief, which in its extent, involved the lives of their
This was the second time such a circumstance had happened in the
settlement, a circumstance that even staggers credulity. What interest,
what motive could drive these wretches to such an action? The destruction
of the building, they must know, would be instantly followed by the
erection of another, at which they themselves must labour! Could it be
for the purpose of throwing obstacles in the way of government: that
government, which had ever been mild and not coercive, which had ever
stood forward to alleviate their miseries, and often extended the arm of
mercy, when their crimes cried aloud for that of punishment? and yet on
no other principle can it be accounted for.*
[* May the annalist whose business it may be to record in future
the transactions of the colony find a pleasanter field to travel
in, where his steps will not be every moment beset with murderers,
robbers, and incendiaries.]
The harvest was now begun, and constables were sent to the Hawkesbury
with directions to secure every vagrant they could meet, and bring them
to Sydney, unless they chose to work for the settlers, who were willing
to pay them a dollar each day and their provisions: for at this time,
there were a great number of persons in that district, styling themselves
free people, who refused to labour unless they were paid the most
The following was the state of the live stock and ground in cultivation
in the different districts, as appeared from reports collected at the
latter end of the month of August last: viz
Bulls and Oxen 188
LAND IN CULTIVATION
Acres of Wheat 5465
Acres of Maize 2302
Acres of Barley 82
Acres of Oats 8
By this account it will appear, that there was a considerable increase of
live stock, except in the article of horses, and female goats. A great
addition had been also made to the ground in cultivation, the whole
amounting at the above period (August) to 7857 acres; making an increase
of 1745 acres, in twelve months.
The _Swallow_ Packet arrives on her way to China
The _Minerva_ arrives from Ireland with convicts
The _Fhynne_ from Bengal
Three settlers tried for murdering two natives
Assessment fixed to complete the gaol
A soldier shoots himself
A whaler from America, with a Spanish vessel, her prize
The _Hunter_ from Calcutta
The _Friendship_ with Irish convicts arrives
Inutility of some of these prisoners
Tax on spirits to complete the gaol
A new magazine begun
The _Reliance_ sails for England
A mountain eagle shot
The _Martha_ arrives from Bass Strait
Settlers sell their sheep
Flood occasioned by bad weather
Criminal court held
The _Speedy_ arrives from England with Lieutenant-Governor King
The _Buffalo_ from the Cape
January.] On the third day of this month, the _Swallow_,
East-India packet, anchored in the cove, on her voyage to China. She
brought information of the capture of the Dutch fleet in the Texel, and
the surrender of the forts upon the Helder. This intelligence was
announced to the settlement in a public order, and by a discharge of the
cannon on the batteries. The _Swallow_ on her anchoring saluted the
fort, which was returned.
In addition to this welcome news, she had on board a great variety of
articles for sale, which were intended for the China market; but the
master thought and actually found it worth his while to gratify the
inhabitants, particularly the females, with a display of many elegant
articles of dress from Bond Street, and other fashionable repositories of
the metropolis. She remained here nearly three weeks, taking her
departure for China on the 21st.
Previous to her sailing (on the 11th) the _Minerva_ transport
arrived from Ireland, with a cargo, not of elegancies from Bond Street,
but 162 male and 26 female convicts from the gaols of that kingdom: all
of whom were in perfect health, their treatment and management on board
doing the highest credit to the master, the surgeon, and his officers;
three only having died during the passage. She was chartered for Bengal;
and, as the season was early for her proceeding upon that voyage, the
governor, being desirous of dividing this description of people as much
as possible, would have sent her on with them to Norfolk Island; but no
provision having been made, as had sometimes been the case, for her
proceeding thither under the charter-party, he did not choose to give the
sum which the master demanded. And having learned that another ship, the
_Friendship_, had sailed at the same time from Ireland, he determined
to land the convicts and wait her arrival.
It was much wished that a clause should be inserted in every
charter-party, enabling the governor to send the convicts to Norfolk
Island in the ship that brought them out, if he should see occasion; as
the difficulty with which they were got together for that purpose, when
once landed, was inconceivable.
The _Minerva_, having touched at Rio de Janeiro, had brought many
articles for sale, as well from that Port as from England, most of which
were much wanted by the inhabitants; but the prices required for them
were such as to drain the colony of every shilling that could be got
With the _Minerva_ arrived the _Fhynne_, a small snow from Bengal,
under Danish colours, which had been chartered by the officers of
the colony civil and military, through the means of an agent whom they
had sent thither for that purpose. She was freighted on their account
with many articles of which they were much in want; and as more labour
could be obtained for spirits than for any other mode of payment, an
article so essential to the cultivation of their estates was not
On the evening of the 18th (which had been observed as the birthday of
her Majesty) a convict, in attempting to go alongside the _Minerva_,
although repeatedly told to keep off, was shot by the sentinel, who was
afterwards tried, and acquitted, having only executed his orders.
The decision of this affair was prompt, and unattended with any doubt or
difficulty; but not so was another business that had engaged the
attention of the criminal court. The natives having murdered two men who
possessed farms at the Hawkesbury, some of the settlers in that district
determined to revenge their death. There were at this time three native
boys living with one Powell, a settler, and two others, his neighbours.
These unoffending lads they selected as the objects of their revenge.
Having informed them, that they thought they could find the guns
belonging to the white men, they were dispatched for that purpose, and in
a short time brought them in. Powell and his associates now began their
work of vengeance. They drove the boys into a barn, where, after tying
their hands behind their backs, these cowardly miscreants repeatedly
stabbed them, until two of them fell and died beneath their hands. The
third, making his escape, jumped into the river, and, although in
swimming he could only make use of his feet, yet under this disadvantage,
and with the savage murderers of his companions firing at him repeatedly,
he actually reached the opposite bank alive, and soon joined his own
The governor, on being made acquainted with this circumstance,
immediately sent to the place, where, buried in a garden, the bodies of
these unfortunate boys were found, stabbed in several places, and with
their hands tied as has been described. Powell and his companions in this
horrid act were taken into custody, and, a court being convened, they
were tried for the wilful murder of two natives.
The evidence that was brought before the court clearly established that
the deceased had come to their death by the means of the prisoners; and
the members of it were unanimously of opinion that they were guilty of
killing two natives; but, instead of their receiving a sentence of
death, a special reference was made to his Majesty's minister, and the
prisoners were admitted to bail by the court.
The prisoners, in their defence, brought forward a crowd of witnesses to
prove that a number of white people had at various times been killed by
the natives; but, could these people have been sufficiently understood,
proofs would not have been wanting on their side, of the wanton and
barbarous manner in which many of them had been destroyed.
Entertaining doubts as to the light in which the natives were to be held,
the court applied to the governor for such information as he could
furnish upon this subject; and he accordingly sent them the orders which
from time to time had been given respecting these people, and a copy of
an article in his Majesty's instructions to the governor, which in strong
and express terms places them under the protection of the British
government, and directs, that if any of its subjects should wantonly
destroy them, or give them unnecessary interruption in the exercise of
their several occupations, they were to be brought to punishment
according to the degree and nature of their offence.
In this instance, however, the court were divided in their sentiments
respecting the nature of the offence, and submitted the whole business,
with their doubts, to his Majesty's minister. As they could not see their
way distinctly, they certainly were right to apply for assistance; but,
as it was impossible to explain to the natives, or cause them to
comprehend the nature of these doubts, it was to be expected that they
would ill brook the return of the prisoners to their farms and
occupations, without having received some punishment: a circumstance
wholly inconsistent with their own ideas and customs; and, indeed, they
loudly threatened to burn the crops as soon as it could be effected.*
Fire, in the hands of a body of irritated and hostile natives, might,
with but little trouble to them, ruin the prospect of an abundant
harvest; and it appeared by this threat, that they were not ignorant of
having this power in their hands; it was, therefore, certainly very
essential to the comfort and security of the settlers in particular, that
they should live with them upon amicable terms.
[* Fortunately, though greatly incensed, they did not put this threat
Towards the latter end of the month, the _Walker_ whaler came in
from sea, not having met with any success, though cruising in the height
of the summer season. She had spoke the _Albion_, which, though out
a longer time, had been equally unsuccessful.
The public gaol at Sydney still wanting much of its completion, from the
insufficiency of the sums which had been raised to carry it on; and it
appearing that most of the officers had already paid to the amount of
forty pounds each as an individual share of the expense, it became
indispensably requisite that some means should be immediately adopted to
finish the building; and, as the price of wheat had, at the urgent and
repeated solicitation of the settlers, been for this season continued at
ten shillings per bushel, it was proposed to raise a sum for this
purpose, by each person leaving in the hands of the commissary sixpence
for every bushel of wheat they should put into the store. This
contribution would be the least felt, and was to cease so soon as a sum
sufficient for the purpose was collected.
There not being at this time more than five months' provision in the
store at full allowance, it became necessary to issue only two-thirds of
the weekly ration; and this was ordered to commence on the first of the
ensuing month. A trifling addition was made to the quantity in store, by
the purchase of about seventy casks of salt provisions which the master
of the _Minerva_ had for sale.
The _Francis_ and the _Norfolk_ brought round from the river a
quantity of timber and plank for the vessel that was building at Sydney,
and for other purposes.
February.] On the first of the month the proposed alteration in the
ration took place. It has been said, that Colonel Paterson brought out
with him a new arrangement of the military ration. This, as directed by
his Majesty's regulation, consisted of, per man per diem,
PER MAN PER DIEM.
Flour or bread 11/2 lb
Beef 1 lb
Pork 1/2 lb
Peas 1/4 pint
Butter or Cheese 1 oz
Rice 1 oz
When the small species cannot be issued, 11/2 lb of bread or flour, and
11/2 lb of beef, or 10 oz of pork, make a complete ration. The quantity of
salt provisions at this time remaining in the store, not admitting of
exempting the regiment from a reduction of the ration, they were informed
that, until the store could afford to victual them again agreeable to the
regulation, they would receive the same ration as the civil department;
but that no stoppages from their pay would on that account take place.
One of these people, a quiet well-disposed young man, fell a victim to an
attachment which he had formed with an infamous woman; who, after
plundering him of every thing valuable that he possessed, turned him out
of the house, to make room for another. This treatment he could not live
under; and, placing the muzzle of his gun beneath his chin, he drew the
trigger with his foot, and, the contents going through his neck,
On the 13th, the _Betsey_ whaler arrived from the west coast of
America with 350 barrels of oil. She was extremely leaky, and much in
want of repair. At the same time came in the _Hunter_ bark from
Calcutta, with a cargo on speculation; and on the day following, a
Spanish brig which had been captured by the whaler.
Early in the morning of the 16th, the _Friendship_ transport arrived
from Ireland with convicts. She had been fifty days in her passage from
the Cape of Good Hope, where she left his Majesty's ship _Buffalo_
taking on board cattle for the settlement. The convicts arrived in very
good health, though the ship had been sickly previous to her reaching the
Many of the prisoners received by this ship and the _Minerva_ were
not calculated to be of much advantage to the settlement; and but little
addition was made by their arrival to the public strength. Several of
them had been bred up in the habits of genteel life, or to professions in
which they were unaccustomed to hard labour. Such must become a dead
weight upon the provision store; for, notwithstanding the abhorrence
which must have been felt for the crimes for which many of them were
transported, yet it was impossible to divest the mind of the common
feelings of humanity, so far as to send a physician, the once respectable
sheriff of a county, a Roman Catholic priest, or a Protestant clergyman
and family, to the grubbing hoe, or the timber carriage. Among the lower
classes were many old men, unfit for any thing but to be hut-keepers, who
were to remain at home to prevent robbery, while the other inhabitants of
the hut were at labour.
Some clothing had been received by these ships and the _Walker_,
but, unfortunately, not any bedding. The governor therefore purchased a
thousand bad rugs, which had been manufactured in some of the Spanish
settlements on the west coast of America, and were in the prize which
last arrived. These, with a complete suit of the clothing to each, were
now issued to the convicts.
The settlers of several of the districts declining to come forward to
assist with the small assessment of sixpence per bushel on their wheat,
which had been proposed toward the completion of the public gaol, it
became necessary to adopt some other expedient; and, as an article of
luxury was considered a fitter subject than any other for taxation, an
order was published, directing that on a permit being applied for to
land spirits, wine, beer, or other strong drink, from ships having those
articles for sale, the person desiring it was to make his first
application to the gentlemen of the committee appointed to carry on the
above building; to whom security was to be given for the payment of one
shilling per gallon on the purchase of spirits, sixpence per gallon on
the purchase of wine, and threepence per gallon on the purchase of porter
or strong beer; these sums, if the permits were granted, which depended
on the character of the person applying, were to be paid into the hands
of the committee, and appropriated to the above purpose.
It having been for some time observed, indeed more particularly since the
late arrivals from Ireland, that a number of idle and suspicious persons
were frequently strolling about the town of Sydney at improper hours of
the night, and several boats having been taken away, and much property
stolen out of houses; in order to put a stop to such practices, the
sentinels on duty were directed not to suffer any person, the civil and
military officers of the settlement excepted, to pass their posts after
ten o'clock at night, without they could give the countersign; in which
case the sentinel was to detain them until the relief came round; when,
if the corporal should not be satisfied with the account which they might
give, they were to be taken to the guardhouse, and there detained, until
released by proper authority. The patrol of constables were also directed
to be very strict in their rounds, and apprehend such improper or
suspicious persons as they might meet in the town during the night.
Shortly after the publication of this order, several of the Irish
prisoners having assembled at a private house, and making more noise than
was proper during the night, were taken up, and lodged in the gaol until
the morning; when they were liberated with assurances of being punished
if brought there a second time.
Among other public and necessary works which were in hand at this time,
must be noticed the construction of a new powder magazine. The former
building had been placed at too great a distance from the principal
battery, in a dangerous and insecure situation. The foundation of the new
one was now dug in a more eligible spot, and where it could be much
better secured; which had been rendered necessary from the turbulent
disposition of the people lately arrived from Ireland.
March.] His Majesty's ship the _Reliance_ being completely worn out,
and no longer capable of rendering any service to the settlement, it
became necessary to give her such repairs as would enable her to reach
England. In order, therefore, to ease the crown of such useless expense,
she was fitted for sea, and sailed on the 3rd of this month on her
[* The _Reliance_ touched at the Cape of Good Hope and the Island
of St. Helena, whence she brought some Indiamen safe home under
her convoy. She arrived at Plymouth on the 26th of August, 1800.
Nothing remarkable occurred during the voyage, except the discovery of an
island, which, from its approach to the Antipodes of London, Captain
Waterhouse named Penantipode island. He determined its latitude by one
double altitude, and chronometer, to be 49 degrees 49 minutes 30 seconds S
and its longitude, 179 degrees 20 minutes E. It was seen in the middle of
the night; and as the nearest of the double altitudes by which its
latitude was determined was nearly an hour past noon, hence, and from the
change of place in the interval of four hours, the latitude ought not to
be depended on nearer than from 5 minutes to 10 minutes. The error of the
chronometer being uncertain at the time, no correction was applied to the
longitude, which may very probably be within half a degree, or much
nearer. When this island was seen, it was blowing a gale of wind. There
were seals on it, and it did not appear quite so large as Norfolk Island.]
Captain Waterhouse, in an excursion which he made to the north arm of
Broken Bay, wounded and secured a bird, of a species never seen before in
New South Wales, at least by any of the colonists. It was a large eagle,
which gave a proof of his strength, by driving his talons through a man's
foot, while lying in the bottom of the boat, with his legs tied together.
it stood about three feet in height, and during the ten days that it
lived was remarkable for refusing to be fed by any but one particular
person. Among the natives it was an object of wonder and fear, as they
could never be prevailed upon to go near it. They asserted, that it would
carry off a middling-sized kangaroo. Captain Waterhouse hoped to have
brought it to England; but it was one morning found to have divided the
strands of a rope with which it was fastened, and escaped. A drawing had
been made of it while in our hands, of which the annexed engraving is a
The _Martha_ schooner, having some time back sailed again to the
southward, returned on the 6th with a cargo of oil and seal skins. The
_Nautilus_ having left some of her people upon Cape Barren Island,
it appeared by their accounts, that the most productive time for the
seals among those islands was from November to May. They stated, that
they had much fine weather during the winter months, and met with very
little frost or severe cold. Cape Barren is in 40 degrees 26 minutes 20
seconds S latitude.
About this time many of the Irish prisoners lately arrived were afflicted
with dysenteric complaints, of which several died.
Much has been said of the little indulgence to which some of the settlers
were, from their own misconduct, entitled. An instance of misbehaviour
occurred in a description of these people from whom it could scarcely
have been expected. The settlers who were fixed on the banks of George's
river had formerly served in the marine detachment, and afterwards in the
New South Wales corps. By their entreaties having prevailed upon the
governor to supply them with some live stock, they were furnished each
with a ewe sheep, of which they were no sooner possessed than they sold
them. This coming to the governor's knowledge, he directed them to be
seized, and instantly returned into the flock belonging to government.
Such conduct on their part certainly precluded them from ever soliciting
similar assistance again.
Accounts of a most alarming nature were received toward the latter end of
the month from George's river and the Hawkesbury. The weather had,
unfortunately for the maize now ripe, been uncommonly bad for three
weeks, the wind blowing a heavy gale, accompanied with torrents of rain
that very soon swelled the river Hawkesbury, and the creeks in George's
river, beyond their banks; laying all the adjacent flat country, with the
corn on it, under water. Much damage, of course, followed the desolation
which this ill-timed flood spread over the cultivated grounds; and,
although fewer than could have been expected, some lives were lost.
The prospect of an abundant maize harvest was wholly destroyed, and every
other work was suspended for a while, to prepare the ground a second
time this season for wheat. The settlement was yet too young to be able
to withstand such a succession of ill-fortune without its being felt, in
some degree, an inconvenience and expense to the mother country. Had the
settlers themselves in general been of a more industrious turn, they
would have been better prepared for such accidents; and it was much to be
lamented, that, in establishing them on the banks of the Hawkesbury, they
had not with more attention considered the manifest signs of the floods
to which the river appeared to the first discoverers to be liable, and
erected their dwellings upon the higher grounds; or that the inundations
which had lately happened had not occurred at an earlier period, when
there were but few settlers. These indeed had been such as formerly no
one had any conception of, and exceeded in horror and destruction any
thing that could have been imagined.
That the ground might with all possible expedition be prepared for wheat,
all descriptions of persons were called upon to give their assistance;
and there being at this, as at every other time, a number of idle persons
wandering about the colony, who refused to labour unless they were paid
exorbitant wages, these were again directed to be taken up, and, if found
to prefer living by extortion or robbery, to working at a reasonable
hire, to be treated as vagrants, and made to labour for the public.
During this month, the _Walker_ went to sea upon the fishery; and
the _Martha _snow went to Norfolk Island, with some articles for
sale, the property of her owners.
April.] On the first day of this month, the court of criminal judicature
was convened for the trial of several offenders. Robberies had of
late been very frequent, both on household property and live stock.
At this court, two men were found guilty of robbery, and one women,
Mary Graham, of forgery. Several were sentenced to receive corporal
punishment, and some were ordered to be transported to Norfolk Island.
The governor extended his Majesty's pardon to the woman and one of the
men, leaving the other to his fate, and the day was appointed for his
execution; but, the military officers soliciting in a body that the life
of this man should be spared, the governor consented. He however directed
that both the prisoners, being yet unacquainted with the pardon that was
to be granted them, should be taken to the place of execution with their
coffins, where the warrant for that execution should be read, and every
appearance observed that could give solemnity to the moment, and impress
the minds of the spectators with awe. These directions were followed. The
ropes being put about their necks, the provost marshal produced the
pardon and read it. One of the men appeared much affected; but the other
declared that he was never in his life so well prepared for death, and
scarcely seemed to desire a prolongation of existence.
On the 14th the _Hunter_ bark sailed for Norfolk Island, whence she
was supposed to be bound for Amboyna and Bengal; and on the 16th the
_Speedy_ whaler arrived from England, with fifty female convicts;
and, what were much more welcome and profitable, eight hundred and
thirty-two casks of salt provisions, which enabled the governor once more
to issue a full ration.
In this ship arrived Captain Phillip Gidley King, the lieutenant-governor
of Norfolk Island; and those marks of respect which were due to his rank
and situation as a lieutenant-governor were directed to be paid to him
by all guards, sentinels, etc.
On the evening of the same day, his Majesty's ship the _Buffalo_
returned from the Cape of Good Hope, having on board 85 cows and 20
breeding mares for the settlement. This voyage was performed in seven
months, the _Buffalo_ having sailed from Port Jackson on the 15th of
last September. She made her passage thither in three months, having
arrived in Table Bay on the 16th of December. This, therefore, will be
found to be the proper season for going to the Cape by the way of Cape
The quantity of spirits at this time in the colony occasioned much
intoxication and consequent irregularity. The settlers at the river were
so lost to their own interest as to neglect the sowing of their grounds:
a circumstance which, but for the timely interference of the governor,
would have ended in their ruin. Immediately on hearing their situation,
he forbade the sending any more spirits to that profligate corner of the
colony, as well as the retailing what had been already sent thither,
under pain of the offenders being prosecuted for such disobedience of his
Reports of seditious meetings among the Irish convicts
The _Friendship_ sails for Bengal
Letter from Lord Mornington respecting persons resident at Bengal,
formerly in this colony
Correspondence relative to Indian convicts, and persons at Calcutta
wishing to become settlers in New South Wales
Criminal court held
Two men hanged for sheep-stealing
The _Hunter_ sails with Major Foveaux for Norfolk Island
The _Buffalo_ ordered for sea
Three men executed
The _Martha_ driven on shore
Survey of public stores
Spirits landed and seized
Death of Wilson
Rumours of Insurrection
The _John Jay_ arrives
The governor quits the settlement
Live stock, etc
The _Buffalo_ sails for England
Touches at Norfolk Island
May.] The governor having received information from several of the
officers, that they had good grounds for suspecting that some of the
convicts lately arrived from Ireland had not left behind them the
principles which occasioned their being sent from that kingdom, but were
carrying on seditious correspondences, and holding unlawful meetings; in
order to discover whether there was any foundation for this conjecture,
he called in the assistance of Lieutenant-Governor King, Colonel
Paterson, Major Foveaux, and the several magistrates of the district;
when it was determined to make a sudden and general search among the
persons suspected in all parts of the colony at one and the same hour,
and to secure their papers and seal them up.
This was put in execution upon the 15th; but nothing was found in their
several dwellings which could furnish the smallest suspicion of the
conduct imputed to them.
On the following day, a convict, who had endeavoured with some
earnestness to propagate a report that many pikes had been fabricated,
and, to prevent discovery, had been sunk in a particular part of the
harbour, was examined before some of the magistrates; when he confessed
that he knew nothing of what he had asserted; saying, that he was
intoxicated at the time. He was severely punished for his design, which
perhaps he chose rather to endure, than impeach his confederates.
From the secrecy with which this business might be conducted, the
magistrates succeeded no better in an examination which was taken before
them, on an information that Harold, the Roman Catholic priest, had been
concerned in some seditious conversations; nothing appearing whereby he
could be criminated. The governor, however, judged it necessary, in
consequence of these conjectures, to extract the heads of the late acts
against seditious correspondence or unlawful assemblies of the people,
altering them to meet the situation of the settlement, and published them
in the form of a proclamation, that none might plead ignorance of the
existence of such laws. This proclamation, beside being made public in
the usual manner, was read on Sunday the 24th, in church, after the
performance of divine service.
The _Friendship_ having sailed early in the month for Bengal, that
opportunity was taken of sending dispatches to England, and to the
Governor-General of India; who, by the _Hunter_, had sent a letter
to the governor, inclosing a list of persons from New South Wales who
were then resident in Calcutta, and desiring to be informed whether any
of them had left the territory without having previously obtained
permission for that purpose, or served the regular term of their
transportation; in which latter case, it was the intention of that
government to return them to the colony by the first opportunity. On
comparing the list with the colonial books, there were not any found of
this description, and all were accounted for, except two or three names
which did not appear in the books; and of course, as they had once been
on them, their owners must have adopted others, with the new character
that they were going to assume in that country. The whole number of
persons that appeared to have established themselves at Calcutta was not
more than fifteen; nevertheless, small as that number was, the fear that
worthless characters should find their way into that government was
strongly expressed in their public letter. Indeed, what community, where
honesty and morality were cultivated, would not deprecate even the
possibility of such characters mixing with them, with as much earnestness
as a people in health would dread the importation of a plague or a yellow
It appeared, that at the same time some propositions had been made, and a
correspondence entered into between the secretary of the Bengal
government and the gentleman who had been employed as the private agent
of the officers of the settlement, respecting the transportation of
Indian convicts to New South Wales. As this was a measure, though open to
no objection whatever, which must be submitted to administration before
it could be adopted, the correspondence which had passed on this occasion
was sent home. It was proposed by the government of Bengal to victual and
maintain their convicts for one year after their landing; after which
they were to be supported by the settlement. As such a description of
people might be very usefully employed there, and would be far more
manageable than the convicts from England or Ireland, it was hoped that
the plan might meet the approbation of his Majesty's ministers.
It should seem that some favourable ideas of the settlement had obtained
in India; for by the same conveyance three gentlemen of respectability
addressed the governor, stating to him their desire of embarking their
families and property, and becoming settlers; but as they required a ship
to be sent for them, to be furnished with a certain number of convicts
for a limited time, and a quantity of live stock, all of which must be
attended with a considerable expense to the crown, the governor, though
well aware of the advantages which the colony would derive from having
such persons resident among them, found himself compelled to lay their
proposals before the secretary of state.
To put a stop, if possible, to the encouragement which was given by
settlers and others to the vagrants who infested the different districts;
it was ordered, that when any one wished to travel from one place to
another, he was to apply to a magistrate for a pass, in which the
business he was going on was to be inserted; and all persons found
without this written permission were to be taken before a magistrate to
answer for their wilful disobedience of the regulations of the
Application having been made to the commissary to receive fresh pork into
the public stores, he was directed to comply therewith; but there was
reason to believe that such compliance would be attended with the
indiscriminate destruction of breeding and young sows. It was therefore
ordered, that if any person should be known to offer any meat of that
description to the store, it was not to be received; and the owner was to
be informed against, as being no longer deserving of encouragement or any
The criminal court of judicature was assembled on the 26th of the month,
and continued sitting by adjournment for three days; whereat six
prisoners were capitally convicted, two of whom were condemned for
sheep-stealing. As it was absolutely necessary to make some examples,
these men were ordered for execution; the others were pardoned, upon
condition of being transported for life to Norfolk island.
In the course of this month died Mr. John Livingstone, the master
carpenter at Parramatta. This person came out from England in the
_Sirius_ with Governor Phillip, and had rendered much essential
service to the colony in the line of his profession. He had long been of
a consumptive habit.
The principal labour of the month consisted in preparing for wheat the
ground that the inundation had devastated.
June.] The month opened with the execution of one of the prisoners
condemned for sheep-stealing. He suffered on the 2nd, and on the 8th his
companion in iniquity and wretchedness underwent the same punishment. At
the moment of his execution he gave information of a daring gang of
villains with whom he had been connected.
His Majesty's birthday was observed by a discharge of all the artillery
in the settlement, and three vollies from the regiment upon their parade.
On the 8th, the owners of the _Hunter_ bark having altered her
destination, she returned from Norfolk Island, and was immediately
chartered to take thither an officer and a few soldiers, together with
some convicts and stores.
The _Belle Sauvage_, an American ship from Rhode Island, which had
anchored for a few days in Neutral Bay, to refit, and refresh her crew,
sailed again on the 15th, without taking any person from the settlement.
As this Port was conveniently situated for these ships to stop at and
refresh after the long voyages which they were in the habit of making in
their route to China, or the north-west coast of America, it certainly
was to the interest of the masters and their respective owners not to
infringe upon any of the local regulations of the colony.
The number of robbers and sheep-stealers still increasing notwithstanding
the late executions, it was deemed necessary to pursue some other steps
to get the better of this evil; and a proclamation was read in church on
Sunday the 15th, preparatory to issuing a process of outlawry against
these public depredators, whom all persons were commanded to aid and
assist in securing.
In consequence of this proclamation, three men were taken up, and, being
tried and found guilty of sheep-stealing, received sentence of death.
On the 29th, the _Hunter_ sailed for Norfolk Island, having on board
Major Foveaux of the New South Wales corps, who was proceeding thither to
take the command of that settlement. At the same time were sent those
prisoners who had been sentenced thither for transportation, and some
soldiers to augment the detachment of the regiment on duty there.
The governor having, by the arrival of the _Speedy_ in April last
received a letter from the secretary of state, he gave directions for
preparing his Majesty's ship _Buffalo_ for sea; which was accordingly
begun; and various accounts were ordered to be made out preparatory
to their being forwarded to England.
Information having been laid before the governor by the officers who were
appointed a committee for superintending the erection of the public gaol
at Sydney, that several persons had resisted the payment of the necessary
assessments which had been ordered to defray the expenses of the
building; it was ordered, that those assessments should be immediately
paid into the hands of the persons directed to collect them, or, in case
of a further refusal to a measure which had been entered upon at a
general meeting of the landholders, etc., in the colony, such steps as
should be adjudged necessary would be instantly pursued. Such being the
conduct of these people, even in a measure where their own personal
interests were so essentially concerned, can it be wondered at, that so
much profligacy prevailed in every part of the settlement?
July.] The prisoners who were left for execution at the end of the last
month suffered death, two of them at Sydney on the 3rd and the third at
Parramatta on the 5th of this month. If examples of this kind could
strike terror into the minds of the spectators, they certainly had not
lately been without these salutary though dreadful lessons.
A general muster was taken, during the month, of the inhabitants of the
several districts, attended by Lieutenant-Governor King, and other
officers of the settlement; and the _Buffalo_ dropped down the
harbour, that she might with more ease prepare for her voyage; as it was
impossible, without having recourse to punishment, to keep the people to
their duty on board while lying in the midst of temptation in Sydney
Several gentlemen being now preparing to return to England, having
obtained the governor's permission for that purpose; much live stock was
sold, and a considerable addition was made to that belonging to the crown
by the purchase of some of the large horned cattle.
The _Martha_, having been allowed to go to Hunter river for coals in
the beginning of the month, on her return, having anchored in some very
bad weather in the north part of the harbour, Little Manly Bay, was by
the parting of her cable driven on a reef of rocks, where her bottom was
beat out. With the assistance of the officers and crew of the
_Buffalo_, she was got off, and, being floated with casks, was
brought up to Sydney, where her damages were found not to be irreparable.
By the master's account it appeared, that he had not been in the river,
but in a salt water inlet, about five leagues to the southward of the
river, having a small island at its entrance. He was conducted by some
natives to a spot at a small distance from the mouth, where he found
abundance of coal.
Several certificates were granted during this month, to persons who had
served their terms of transportation; and, in order to concentrate as
much as possible the effective strength of the New South Wales corps
(which appeared to be necessary from the turbulent disposition of the
Irish prisoners), the presence of an officer was dispensed with at the
Hawkesbury. Mr. Charles Grimes, the deputy surveyor, was appointed to
reside there, and to take upon him the duties of a justice of the peace.
August.] Early in this month, the _Albion_ whaler ran into Broken
Bay, to complete her wood and water. She had on board 600 barrels of oi1;
but had not been able, through bad weather, to secure more than a fourth
part of the whales which they had killed. They had seen an immense number
of these fish.
A survey was at this time taking of the public stores and provisions, in
order to their being delivered over to the deputy commissary, as
Mr. Williamson, the acting commissary, was about to return in the
_Buffalo_ to England.
Toward the latter end of the month, an attempt was made, at three o'clock
in the afternoon, to land without a permit 1016 gallons of wine and
spirits, which were seized at the wharf by the sentinel. If the person
who made this attempt had been advised to so incautious and daring a
proceeding, it could only have been with a view to try the integrity of
the sentinels, or the vigilance of the police.
In defiance of the various orders which had been given to enforce a due
attendance on Sunday at divine service, that day still continued to be
marked by a neglect of its sacred duties. An order was again given out on
the 25th, pointing out the duties of the superintendants, constables, and
overseers, in this particular instance; and assuring them that a further
neglect on their part would be followed by their dismissal from their
Information had some time before this been received of the death of
Wilson, known among the natives by the name of Bun-bo-e. This young man,
while a convict, and after he had served the period of his
transportation, preferred the life of a vagabond to that of an
industrious man. He had passed the greater part of his time in the woods
with the natives, and was suspected of instructing them in those points
where they could injure the settlers with the greatest effect, and most
safety to themselves. In obedience, however, to a proclamation from the
governor, he surrendered himself, and promising amendment, as nothing but
a love of idleness could be fixed upon him, was forgiven; and, being
supplied with a musket and ammunition, he was allowed to accompany such
parties as made excursions into the woods, and at other times to shoot
kangaroos and birds. By him, the first bird of paradise ever seen in this
country had been shot; and it was his custom to live upon the flesh of
such birds as he killed, bringing in with him their skins.
With the wood natives he had sufficient influence to persuade them that
he had once been a black man, and pointed out a very old woman as his
mother, who was weak and credulous enough to acknowledge him as her son.
The natives who inhabit the woods are not by any means so acute as those
who live upon the sea coast. This difference may perhaps be accounted for
by their sequestered manner of living, society contributing much to the
exercise of the mental faculties. Wilson presumed upon this mental
inability; and, having imposed himself upon them as their countryman, and
created a fear and respect of his superior powers, indulged himself in
taking liberties with their young females. However deficient they might
be in reasoning faculties, he found to his cost that they were
susceptible of wrongs; for, having appropriated against her inclinations
a female to his own exclusive accommodation, her friends took an
opportunity, when he was not in a condition to defend himself, to drive a
spear through his body, which ended his career for this time, and left
them to expect his return at some future period in the shape of another
By a reference to the first volume of this work, it will be seen, that
the natives who inhabited Port Stephens, a harbour to the northward of
the settlement, entertained a similar idea of four white men who had been
thrown by chance among them; and Wilson, having heard the circumstance,
endeavoured to avail himself of it in his intercourse with the wood
The natives of the coast, whenever speaking of those of the interior,
constantly expressed themselves with contempt and marks of
disapprobation. Their language was unknown to each other, and there was
not any doubt of their living in a state of mutual distrust and enmity.
Those natives, indeed, who frequented the town of Sydney, spoke to and of
those who were not so fortunate, in a very superior tone, valuing
themselves upon their friendship with the white people, and erecting in
themselves an exclusive right to the enjoyment of all the benefits which
were to result from that friendship. That they should prefer the shelter
which they found in the houses of the inhabitants to the miserable
protection from weather which their ill-constructed huts afforded, or
even to that which they could meet with under a rock, will be allowed to
have been natural enough, when we present the reader with a view of a
man, his wife, and child, actually sketched on the spot, by a person who
met with them thus endeavouring to obtain shelter under a projection of a
rock, during a heavy storm of rain and wind.
September.] In the beginning of this month, rumours being circulated,
that the prisoners lately sent from Ireland for the crime of sedition,
and for being concerned in the late rebellion in that country, had formed
a plan for possessing themselves of the colony, that their arms (pikes
manufactured since their arrival) were in great forwardness, and their
manner of attack nearly arranged; a committee of officers was appointed
by the governor to examine all suspected persons, and ascertain whether
any such murderous design existed.
In the course of their inquiries, the committee saw occasion to imprison
Harold, the Roman Catholic priest, who from his language and behaviour
was suspected of being concerned in the intended insurrection. He then
confessed, that the reports of it were founded in truth, and engaged to
discover where the weapons were concealed, of which it was said many
hundreds had been fabricated. In his confession he implicated several of
his countrymen, who, on being questioned, in their turn accused several
others; and the committee adjudged them all to be deserving of
punishment; but Harold was never able to fulfil his engagement of
producing the weapons. These he first said were buried in the ground
belonging to a settler, which he pointed out; but on minutely searching
every part of it, nothing like a pike could be found. Failing in this, he
then said they were sunk in the lower part of the harbour; but even here
they could not be discovered. He tampered with an Irishman, to make a few
that he could produce in support of his assertion; but the man had,
unfortunately for him, been transported for having been a dealer in
pikes, and declared that he would not involve himself a second time for
them. He at last found a man to fabricate one out of an old hinge of a
barn door, but this bore too evidently the marks of imposition to go down
with every one; and his tale met with little or no credit. There was
evidently a design to create an alarm; and this man Harold, from
declaring that he alone, through his influence as their priest, was able
to come at the facts, was supposed to be aiming solely at making himself
of consequence in the colony. He had applied to the governor for
permission to officiate as their priest; and if well affected to the
government, of which there were but too many doubts, he might have been
of much use to the colony in that capacity.
In consequence of these alarms, and as much as possible to do away their
effects, by increasing the armed force of the colony, a certain number of
the most respectable inhabitants were formed into two volunteer
associations of fifty men each, and styled the Sydney and Parramatta
Loyal Associated Corps. Each was commanded by a Captain, with two
Lieutenants, and a proportionate number of non-commissioned officers. The
whole were supplied with arms and ammunition, of which they were
instructed in the use by some sergeants of the New South Wales corps, and
their alarm-post was fixed at the front of Government House.*
[* As these were formed upon the footing of the volunteer corps
in England, it is to be wished that they may as fully entitle
themselves to the praise and thanks of the community which they were
raised to defend, as those honourable associations have merited and
gained from theirs.]
It having been reported, that coal had been found upon the banks of
George's river, the governor visited the place, and on examination found
many indications of the existence of coal, that useful fossil, of which,
shortly after, a vein was discovered on the west-side of Garden Island
On the 21st, the American ship _John Jay_ arrived, after a passage
of four months and four days, from Rhode Island, bound to China. She had
on board a quantity of salt beef and pork, which was purchased by
government, at the rate of seven-pence three farthings per pound, for the
purpose of issuing to such people as were off the stores, or who had the
labour of convicts assigned to them, at the same price. This was a great
The _Buffalo_ being now ready for sea, the governor, who had
determined to return in that ship to England, having arranged various
matters relative to the settlement, and the lieutenant governor of
Norfolk island being on the spot, left the direction of the colony in his
hands, and embarked on Sunday the 28th, having previously reviewed the
New South Wales corps, of whom his excellency took leave in the following
"The governor, having this day reviewed that part of His Majesty's New
South Wales corps doing duty at Sydney, cannot omit this opportunity of
expressing the satisfaction he has received from their very handsome and
military appearance, which does so much honour to Lieutenant Colonel
Paterson, and the commissioned officers under his command. The expertness
with which the various military motions were performed is highly to the
credit of the whole body, and in which the non-commissioned officers have
a very distinguished share. The governor cannot lose the present
opportunity (as it may possibly be the last) of assuring the troops
generally, that the confidence which he has long reposed in their
promptitude upon every occasion that might require their particular
exertion, has ever inclined him to consider with contempt the threatnings
said to have been held out by a number of discontented and misled people:
well satisfied that the active assistance of the New South Wales corps,
added to those precautions and exertions which have and he trusts will
continue to distinguish the civil power, will ever be found a complete
security for the peace and tranquillity of this settlement, and of His
Majesty's government in this remote part of the British dominions."
The governor's embarkation was attended with every mark of respect,
attachment, and regret. The road to the wharf, where the _Buffalo's_
boat was in waiting, was lined on each side with troops, and he was
accompanied thither by the officers of the civil and military departments
with a numerous concourse of the inhabitants; who manifested by their
deportment the sense they entertained of the regard which he had ever
paid to their interests, and the justice and humanity of his government.
The following was the state of the live stock, and ground in cultivation,
at the time of the governor's departure: viz
Bulls and Oxen 332
LAND IN CULTIVATION
Acres of Wheat 46653/4
Acres for Maize 2930
Acres of Barley 82
And a considerable quantity of garden ground, in potatoes, etc and vines.
The poverty of the settlers and the high price of labour occasioned much
land to be unemployed this year. Many of the inferior farmers were nearly
ruined by the high price they were obliged to give for such necessaries
as they required from those who had been long in the habit of
monopolising every article brought to the settlement for sale; a habit of
which it was found impossible to get the better, without the positive and
immediate interference of the government at home.
Many representations had been made on this distressing subject; and they
seemed in some degree to have been attended to, as in several of the last
arrivals from England, certain articles, consisting of implements of
husbandry, clothing, and stores, had been consigned to the governor, to
be retailed for the use of the colonists: and it was understood that this
system, so beneficial to the settlement, was to be pursued in all the
ships which were in future to carry out convicts or stores to that
October.] The _Buffalo_ sailed for England on the 21st of October*,
and as the governor had intended to touch and land at Norfolk Island, for
the purpose of learning, from his own observation, something of the state
of that settlement, some few of the Irish prisoners, who were suspected
of laying plans of insurrection and massacre, were taken in the
_Buffalo_, and landed there. This settlement wore a most unpromising
appearance. All the buildings were in a state of rapid decay, and but few
symptoms of industry were visible. Of stock, only a few hogs and a small
quantity of vegetables were to be procured. On Phillip Island, which had
formerly fed a great number of hogs, not one was to be found alive, they
having, for want of better food, destroyed each other. A few fields of
wheat, which were ready for reaping, looked tolerably well; but on the
whole Norfolk Island by no means promised to repay the expense which it
annually cost the government.
[* The _Buffalo_ arrived at Spithead, with a convoy which she brought
from St. Helena, on the 24th of May 1801, having made the passage by
Cape Horn in seven months.]
On board of the _Buffalo_ were two of the birds denominated by
Dampier black-swans, and three of those which in New South Wales were
styled emus. However much in shape the former resembled the European
swan, yet, as they are of a different species, they are not properly
entitled to the appellation of swan, that name being appropriate solely
to the European species. These birds had with very great care been
brought alive to England, and were given by Lieutenant William Kent, the
proprietor, to Earl St. Vincent, who presented them as rarae aves and
literally 'nigro simillimae cygno' to her Majesty, by whom they were sent
to Frogmore. They were of different sexes; but unfortunately one of them
soon died in moulting; and the other having, after that operation, with
his health, also recovered the perfect use of his wings, availed himself
of the liberty they gave him (the precaution of cutting them not having
been taken), and was shot by a nobleman's game-keeper as it was flying
across the Thames.
The other birds were given by the same gentleman to Sir Joseph Banks; and
they are now enjoying their freedom in the Earl of Exeter's park at
Burleigh. These birds have been pronounced by Sir Joseph Banks, of whose
judgment none can entertain a doubt, to come nearer to what is known of
the American ostrich, than to either the emu of India, or the ostrich of
Africa. (The subjoined engraving is from a drawing made in New South
Wales, and shows the height to which they can erect themselves.)
The documents upon which the foregoing pages have been formed going no
farther than the departure of the _Buffalo_ for England, we must
here quit the regular detail of the transactions of the colony.
We learn from those who have conversed on the concerns of the settlement
with governor Hunter since his return, that he possesses the most minute
acquaintance with all its regulations, whether commercial, agricultural,
or legal. On those particular subjects, we understand he had from time to
time afforded the most ample information to government; and, as he is now
upon the spot, we hope that he may be able to show the advantages which
this distant colony will derive from a more frequent intercourse with the
mother-country. It must be gratifying to all who may be in any way
acquainted with the settlement, and are not strangers to the misfortunes
under which it has sometimes suffered, to find at this time in government
a determination to show it a greater degree of attention in future, than,
from unavoidable circumstances, it could formerly boast.
As notice has not been regularly taken of the public works in hand at the
close of each month, as was observed in the preceding volume, a view of
the whole that had been undertaken during Governor Hunter's
administrations of the affairs of the settlement, is annexed.
A large brick building which had been erected by Governor Phillip at
Parramatta, 100 feet in length, being much decayed, was completely
repaired; two floors laid throughout; and an addition of 60 feet made to
it, for the purpose of converting it into a granary for the reception of
wheat; there not being any building for this use in the colony.
A strong wind-mill tower of stone, erected upon the hill above the town
of Sydney. The mill completed and set at work.
An entire suite of apartments built of brick at Sydney, between the
hospitals and the dwelling-house of the principal surgeon, for the use of
the two assistant-surgeons; their former wretched huts having gone to
A strong double logged gaol, 80 feet long, with separate cells for
prisoners, was constructed at Sydney. This building was burnt.
A similar gaol was erected at Parramatta, 100 feet in length, and paled
round with a strong high fence, as was that at Sydney. This was also
destroyed by fire.
Two log granaries, each 100 feet long, one for wheat and another for
maize, were erected at the Hawkesbury on a spot named the Green Hills,
and enclosed with paling.
Thoroughly repaired, coated with lime (manufactured from burnt shells),
and white-washed both government houses, the military barracks, officers'
dwellings, storehouses, and granaries, and all the public buildings, to
preserve them from the decay to which they were rapidly advancing.
The government huts at Parramatta, which had been built by Governor
Phillip for the immediate reception of convicts on their arrival, having
been long neglected and disused, and fallen to ruin, were completely
repaired and made fit for the use for which they were designed. Many had
A barn of 90 feet in length was built at Toongabbie, in which nine pair
of threshers could work. The original barn at this place built by
Governor Phillip had fallen down.
Constructed eight embrasures to the battery on point Maskelyne, and
raised a redoubt with eight embrasures on the east point of the cove, and
mounted them with cannon. Two guns were also mounted on the high part of
Made good the public roads, and repaired them at various times, and threw
bridges over the gullies.
An excellent framed bridge was built over Duck-river, capable of bearing
the weight of several heavy loaded carriages at one time.
At Sydney a good granary, 72 feet in length by 21 in width, with two
floors, was built out of the ruins of a mill-house, which had been
erected with much labour and expense by Lieutenant-governor Grose,
there not being a building of that description at Sydney.
Built a framed and weather-boarded house on the Green-hills at the
Hawkesbury, for the residence of the commanding officer of that district.
This house was shingled, and furnished with a cellar, a kitchen, and
other accommodations, and surrounded with paling.
Erected a second strong wind-mill tower at Sydney, 36 feet in height.
This tower, before it was covered in, was so damaged by a storm which
continued during three days, that it was taken down, and was rebuilt and
A weather-boarded store-house with two wings was built at Sydney, and on
the burning of the church was converted into a temporary place of
At Parramatta a weather-boarded granary, 140 feet in length, was built
for the reception of maize. This building was shingled.
Built a complete smith's shop for forges at Sydney.
Erected at Sydney an excellent brick granary, 100 feet long and 22 wide,
with three floors. An addition was made to this building about 70 feet in
length, for a kiln for drying the grain.
Built a range of barracks at Sydney for three officers.
Erected a handsome church at Parramatta, 100 feet in length and 44 in
width, with a room 20 feet long, raised on stone pillars, and intended
for a vestry or council room. (See the Plate.)
Began the foundation of a church at Sydney, but of larger dimensions.
Built a tower steeple at the same place for a town clock; and some time
afterwards, having been much damaged by the same storm that injured the
wind-mill, it was repaired at the south angle, and the whole made good
with plaster, and coated with lime.
Built an apartment of brick in the yard of the old gaol, before it was
burnt, for debtors, containing three rooms.
Paled in a naval yard on the west side of the cove, and erected within it
a joiner's and a blacksmith's shop, with sheds for the vessels while
repairing, and for the workmen; with a steamer, a storehouse, a warder's
lodge, and an apartment for the clerk.
Build a commodious stone-house, near the naval yard, for the master
Began and nearly finished a handsome and commodious stone gaol at Sydney;
with separate apartments for debtors, and six strong and secure cells for
A large and elegant government house was erected at Parramatta, the first
being too small, and the framing so much gone to decay that the roof fell
in. The present building is spacious and roomy, with cellars and an attic
Built a neat thatched hut in the government garden at Parramatta, for the
Built a new dispensary, and removed the pannelled hospital to a more
convenient situation, raising it upon a stone foundation. At the same
time was erected a new hospital store.
Prepared the foundation of a new powder magazine.
Raised a frame, and thatched the roof of an open barn at the Ninety
Acres, and laid a threshing floor.
Fenced and surrounded the military barracks with lofty paling.
Paled in a cooperage adjoining the provision store at Sydney. Cleansed
from filth the public tanks at the same place, and surrounded them and
the spring-head with paling.
Enlarged by a scalene building running the whole length of each house,
the dwellings of the principal surgeon, the senior assistant-surgeon, and
the deputy-surveyor; which gave an additional accommodation of two rooms
to each house.
Built a military hospital and dispensary at Sydney, and an officer's
guard room at the main guard.
Built sheds for the boats belonging to government when hauled on shore.
Repaired a house for a school at Sydney, plastered, white-washed, and
coated it with lime.
Erected houses within the precincts of the hospital at Sydney, for the
nurses and attendants while on duty.
Laid a new foundation, rebuilt part of the walls, and completely repaired
the wet provision store at Parramatta, it being in a very ruinous
Enclosed several stock yards for cattle, and repaired the old sheds at
Parramatta, Toongabbie, and Portland Place. In the latter district, the
timber of 120 acres was cut down, and nearly half (that of 50 acres)
burnt off, a small township marked out, and a few huts built.
Raised also a variety of inferior buildings.
The inclosures of the park and burial ground having been suffered to go
to decay, a gang of carpenters and labourers were for a considerable time
employed in preparing pickets and railing, and putting them up.
The judge-advocate's house at Sydney was enlarged and completely
repaired, several alterations made, and out-houses built.
Exclusive of erecting and repairing the foregoing public works, small
detachments were daily employed in preserving in good order and condition
the various buildings belonging to the crown, particularly those occupied
by that class of inhabitants subordinate to the commissioned officers.
And, as these repairs were considered as essentially necessary to prevent
such buildings from going to decay, they had been invariably attended to
under Governor Hunter.
Had the strength of the public gangs permitted their being further
employed, it was intended to have erected a large water-mill at
Parramatta, of which some part of the machinery and water-works were
A court-house at the same place, and two new stores, with a guardhouse at
the Green Hills. The stores were to be built of brick, and the
guard-house of weather-boards.
It was likewise intended to build a strong log-prison or lock-up-house at
the Hawkesbury, not to be thatched as formerly, but to be either tiled or
In the district of Portland Place, a stock-yard, consisting of about 30
acres, was inclosed with posts and rails. It included four chains of
fresh-water ponds. Buildings were also designed to be erected within it;
and it was meant to continue clearing the ground there, it being
remarkably good, and at a convenient distance from Parramatta.
Another stock-yard was designed for government, at Pendent Hills, in
Dundas district; but the inclosure was not begun.
In the naval department, a vessel in frame was left on the stocks. She
was designed to be of about 150 or 160 tons burden, and capable of taking
the relief of the military to and from Norfolk island.
A boat named the _Cumberland_ was on the stocks, and nearly
finished, of about 27 tons burden, intended to be schooner rigged and
armed, for pursuing deserters; who were, at the time when her keel was
laid, in the practice of carrying away the boats of the settlement.
The lighter or hoy called the _Lump_, for want of tar to pay her
bottom, was worm-eaten; but, being a serviceable boat, it was intended to
repair and double her.
In addition to these buildings (which must have contributed to render the
town of Sydney, the principal seat of the government, a picturesque and
pleasing object to strangers, as well as tended to the infinite
accommodation of all the inhabitants) Lieutenant Kent, the commander of
the _Supply_, had, at a very great expense, built a handsome, large,
and commodious mansion-house, on a spot of ground which he held on lease
in the front of the cove, forming a principal and striking object from
the water. This house, on that officer's departure for England in the
_Buffalo_, was purchased for an orphan school.
Nothing has been said in this account of the public labour, of preparing
the government ground annually for seed and cropping it, or of gathering
the harvest when ripe. But these must be taken into the account, as well
as threshing the corn for delivery, and unloading the store ships on
their arrival; which latter work must always be completed within a
limited time, pursuant to their charters. It has been said before, that
it was impossible to obtain a fair day's work from the convicts when
employed for the public: the weather frequently interfered with outdoor
business, and occasioned much to be done a second time. Under all these
disadvantages, and with a turbulent, refractory body of prisoners, we are
warranted in saying, on thus summing up the whole of the public labour
during the last four years, that more could not have been performed; and
it is rather matter of wonder that so much had been obtained with such
The following is a statement of the ground granted and leased to
individuals by the different persons who were thereto authorised, from
the 22nd of February 1792, the date of the first, to the 25th of
September 1800, the date of the last grant.
Granted by: Phillip Grose Paterson Hunter Total
DISTRICTS WHERE GRANTED
At Parramatta 460 845 100 741 2,146
At Toongabbie - 420 160 4,734 5,314
At Sydney - 349 80 40 469
At the Northern Boundary Farms 370 80 125 150 725
At the Ponds 660 200 20 80 960
At Prospect Hill 810 275 - 835 1,920
At the Eastern Farms 450 170 190 1,516 2,326
At the Field of Mars 590 905 760 1,420 3,675
At Mulgrave Place - 2,040 2,475 6,820 11,335
At Liberty Plains - 530 100 830 1,480
At Concord - 710 325 140 1,175
At York Place - - 50 330 360
At Bu-la-nam-ing - 565 30 1,516 2,111
At Petersham Hill - 2,140 410 2,015 4,565
At Hunter's Hill - 850 - 74 924
In Port Jackson Harbour - 390 140 195 725
At Banks Town - - - 3,247 3,247
At Dundas District - - - 700 700
At Norfolk Island 49 205 - 3,267 3,521
Total granted by each 3,389 10,674 4,965 28,650 47,678
DISTRICTS WHERE LEASED
In the township of Sydney 30 27 2 431/4 1021/4
In the township of Parramatta - - - 47 47
In the township of Toongabbie - - - 30 30
At Mulgrave Place - - - 12 12
At Norfolk Island - - - 265 265
Total leased by each 30 27 2 3971/4 4561/4
It may not be altogether uninteresting to those who may wish for
information respecting the concerns of this settlement, to find a
register of the shipping which has visited New South Wales from various
parts of the globe; whereby it will be seen, that, in however
insignificant or contemptible a point of view the colony may in general
have been held, individuals have found in it either a port of refreshment
after the fatigues of a long voyage, or an advantageous market for their
speculations. The arrivals will be confined to the harbour of Port
Jackson; only mentioning in this place that of the two ships _Le
Boussole_ and _L'Astrolabe_, at Botany Bay, in January 1788,
under the command of the ever-to-be-regretted and unfortunate M. de la
Perouse, who followed in the path of our immortal circumnavigator,
Captain Cook (with whose name every writer must be proud to adorn his
page), and who, like him, has left his country, indeed the whole world,
to lament his loss.
Date of Date of Whither
Names-of-Ships Arrival Whence Cargo Departure bound
1788 [* See note at end of table]
His Majesty's armed 25 Jan. England 17 Apr. Batavia
tender, Supply 1790
H.M. ship Sirius 26 - - 1 Oct. C of G Hope
Alexander, transport 26 - - Convicts
Scarborough 26 - - -
Charlotte 26 - - -
Lady Penrhyn 26 - - -
Friendship 26 - - -
Prince of Wales 26 - - - -
Fishburn, store-ship 26 - - Provisions, etc
Golden Grove 26 - - -
Borrowdale 26 - -
H.M. ship Sirius 6 May CofG Hope Lost at
Lady Juliana, trans. 3 Jun. England Convicts
Justinian, storeship 20 - - Provisions, etc.
Surprise, transport 26 - - Convicts
Neptune 28 - - -
Scarborough 28 - - -
H.M. a t. Supply 19 Sep. Batavia Provisions
Dutch store-ship 17 Dec. - -
Mary Arm, transport 9 July England Convicts
Matilda 1 Aug. - -
Atlantic 20 - -
Salamander 21 - -
William and Arm 28 - -
H.M.S. Gorgon 21 Sep. - Stores/Provisions
Active, transport 26 - Convicts
Queen 26 Ireland -
Albemarle 13 Oct. England -
Britannia 14 Oct. England -
Admiral Barrington 16 - -
Pitt 14 Feb. - -
Atlantic, store-ship 20 Jun. Bengal Provisions
Britannia 26 Jul. England - 1792
24 Oct. C of G Hope
Royal Admiral 7 Oct. - Convicts
Philadelphia, brig 1 Nov. Philad- Speculation
Kitty, transport 18 England Convicts
Hope, American Dec. RhodeIs Speculation
Chesterfield, whaler - CofG H To repair
Bellona, transport 15 Jan. England Convicts
Shah Hormuzear 24 Feb. Speculation
El Descuvierta Spa. 12 Mar. Manilla To refresh
L'Atrevida Cor. 12 Mar. Manilla To refresh
Daedalus, store-ship 20 Apr. NWCoast Provisions, 1793 Nootka
of America etc. 1 Jul. Sound
Britannia Jun. CofGHopeCattle, etc. 8 Sep. Bengal
Boddingtons, trans. 7 Aug. Ireland Convicts
Sugar-cane 17 Sep. - -
Fairy, American 29 Oct. Boston To refresh
William, store-ship 10 March England Provisions
Arthur 10th Bengal Speculation
Daedalus, store-ship 3 Apr. America Provisions
Indispensable 24 May England -
Britannia l Jun. Batavia - 1 Sep. C of G Hope
Speedy 8 England -
Halcyon, American 14 RhodeIs.Speculation
Hope, American 5 Jul.
Fancy 9 Bombay Provisions
Resolution, st.sh. 10 Sep. England
Mercury, American 17 Oct. Rhode Is.
Surprise, transport 25 England Convicts
Experiment 24 Dec. Bengal Speculation
Britannia 4 Mar. CofGHopeStock for 18 Jun. India
Endeavour, st. sh. 31 May Bombay Cattle
H.M.S. Providence 26 Aug. England -
H.M.S. Reliance) 7 Sep. England Stores 29 Sep. C of G Hope
H.M.S. Supply ) 20
Young William,st.sh. 4 Oct. -
Sovereign 5 Nov. -
Arthur 1 Jan. Bengal Speculation
Ceres, store-ship 23 England Provisions
Experiment 24 Bengal Speculation
Otter, American 24 Boston To refresh
Marquis Cornwallis, 11 Feb. Ireland Convicts
Abigail, American Feb. RhodeIs.Speculation
Assistance 17 Mar. Dusky Bay
Susan, American 19 Apr. RhodeIs.Speculation
Indispensable,trans. 30 England Convicts
Britannia, st. sh. 11 May CalcuttaProvisions
Grand Turk,American 23 Aug. Boston Speculation
Prince of Wales, 2 Nov. England
Mercury, American 11 Jan. Manilla To refit
H.M.S. Supply 16 May CofGHopeCattle Condemned
Britannia,transport 27 Ireland Provisions
Ganges 2 Jun.
H.M.S. Reliance 26 CofGHopeCattle
Deptford 20 Sep. Madras Speculation
Nautilus 14 May OtaheiteMissionaries
Barwell, transport 18 England Convicts
Hunter 10 Jun. Bengal Speculation
Cornwall, whaler 2 Jul. CofGHopeTo refit
Argo, American sch. 7 MauritiusSpeculation
Sally, whaler 8 Jul. CofGHopeTo refit
Britannia, transp. 18 England Convicts
Pomona, whaler 20 Aug. CofGHopeTo refit
Semiramis, American 1 Oct. Rhode Is.
Marquis Cornwallis 27 CofGHopeCattle
Indispensable,whaler 27 - To refit
Rebecca, American 5 Mar. - Speculation
Nostra Senora de 24 Apr. Cape Blanco Various
Bethlehem, prize articles
H.M.S. Buffalo 26 CofGHopeCattle 15th Sep. C of G Hope
Albion, store-ship 29 Jun. England Provisions
Hillsborough, trans. 26 Jul. Convicts
Resource, American 6 Sep. RhodeIs.To refit
Walker, store-ship 3 Nov. England Provisions
El Plumier, prize 2 Dec. Cape Various
Swallow, packet 3 Jan. England To refit
Minerva, transport 11 Ireland Convicts
Fhynne, Danish 11 Feb. Bengal Speculation
Betsey, whaler 13 W. CoastTo refit
Friendship, transp. 16 Ireland Convicts
Speedy, transport 15 Apr. England -
H.M.S. Buffalo 15 CofGHopeCattle
Belle Sauvage 7 Jun. RhodeIs.To refit
[* These departures are noticed, to show in what time the principal
passages have been made to and from the different ports with which the
colony had intercourse, by comparing the time of sailing with the return.]
Of these ships 37 sailed from England with convicts, male and female, for
the settlement, having about 5000 persons of that description on board,
of which something more (157) than one fifth were females.
The following ships had sailed from England and Ireland for New South
Wales; but none of them had arrived previous to the departure of the
24th August 1799 Luz. St. Ann, transport, with 167 Convicts.
17th March 1800 H.M.S. the Porpoise.
She arrived the 7th Nov. following.
23d May 1800 Royal Admiral, transport, 300 convicts.
18th November Earl Cornwallis, - 327
21st June 1801 Nile, - 96
- Canada, - 103
28th November Minorca, - 101
12th February 1802 Hercules, - ) 330
- Atlas, - )
Coromandel, - ) 250
Rollo, - ) 250
Atlas, - )
Having been favoured with a more minute and ornithological description of
the elegant and novel bird mentioned in page 65* of the preceding sheets
since they were sent to the press, it is here given.
[* . . . They brought in with them one of the birds which they had
named pheasants, but which on examination appeared to be a variety of the
Bird of Paradise.]
The bill of this bird, which has been named the _Maenura superba_,
is straight, having the nostrils in the centre of the beak. The base of
the upper mandible is furnished with hairs like feathers turning down;
the upper mandible is at the base somewhat like that of the pigeon. The
eye is a dark hazel, with a bare space around it. The throat and chin are
of a dark rufous colour: the rest, with the body, of a dusky grey. The
feathers on the rump are longer than those of the body, and more divided.
The colour of the wings, which are concave, is dark rufous. The legs and
claws are large in proportion to the bird, particularly the claws. The
outward toe is connected with the middle one as far as the first joint.
The tail is long, and composed of three different sorts of feathers, of
which the upper side is of a dark grey, with ferruginous spots. The first
two lower feathers, which are a little curved, in two directions, are
beneath of a pearly colour, enriched with several crescent shaped spaces,
of a rich rufous and black colour. The laminae are unwebbed, turned round
toward the extremity, and ornamented with a black bar, the breadth of an
inch, and fringed at the end. The shaft of the second, which is likewise
long, is fringed with long hair-like filaments; and the third, which is
also long and curved, is plumed on the inner side only, except at the
extremity, where there are a few separated filaments of a dark grey
The female _Maenura superba_ differs very little from the male,
except in the tail, which is composed of twelve feathers a little curved
and plumed, having the upper side dark rufous and grey, and the under of
a pearly colour.
The following curious particulars of these birds were observed by persons
resident in the country, and who were eye-witnesses of what is here told.
They frequent retired and inaccessible parts of the interior; have been
seen to run remarkably fast, but their tails are so cumbrous that they
cannot fly in a direct line. They sing for two hours in the morning,
beginning from the time when they quit the valley, until they attain the
summit of the hill; where they scrape together a small hillock, on which
they stand, with their tall spread over them, imitating successively the
note of every bird known in the country. They then return to the valley.
The drawing from which the engraving is made was taken from a beautiful
stuffed _Maenura superba_ in the collection of Mr. Arthur Harrison
(who also is in possession of a female _Maenura superba_), and which
was presented to that gentleman by Governor Hunter.
The peculiar conformation of the amphibious animal mentioned on page 45
of this Volume*, having attracted the attention of Everard Home, esq a
paper, containing the result of a minute examination of the external and
internal parts of two specimens which had been preserved in spirits, and
sent from Port Jackson to Sir Joseph Banks was drawn up by Mr. Home, and,
having been read before the Royal Society (on Thursday the 17th December
1801), was afterwards published in the Philosophical Transactions. From
that paper, which was most obligingly and politely sent to me by Mr.
Home, I have, through the liberality of the President of that learned
body, been allowed to select such particulars of this curious animal, as
will, I think, be acceptable to the readers of this work; who no doubt
will join with me in rejoicing that an animal, hitherto unknown to
science, should have fallen under the observation and examination of a
gentleman so eminently qualified to develop the secrets of nature.
[* viz: "Although the settlement had now been established
within a month of ten years, yet little had been added to the stock of
natural history which had been acquired in the first year or two of its
infancy. The Kangaroo, the Dog, the Opossum, the Flying Squirrel, the
Kangaroo Rat, a spotted Rat, the common Rat, and the large Fox-bat (if
entitled to a place in this society), made up the whole catalogue of
animals that were known at this time, with the exception which must now
be made of an amphibious animal, of the mole species, one of which had
been lately found on the banks of a lake near the Hawkesbury. In size it
was considerably larger than the land mole. The eyes were very small. The
fore legs, which were shorter than the hind, were observed, at the feet,
to be provided with four claws, and a membrane, or web, that spread
considerably beyond them, while the feet of the hind legs were furnished,
not only with this membrane or web, but with four long and sharp claws,
that projected as much beyond the web, as the web projected beyond the
claws of the fore feet. The tail of this animal was thick, short, and
very fat; but the most extraordinary circumstance observed in its
structure was, its having, instead of the mouth of an animal, the upper
and lower mandibles of a duck. By these it was enabled to supply itself
with food, like that bird, in muddy places, or on the banks of the lakes,
in which its webbed feet enabled it to swim; while on shore its long and
sharp claws were employed in burrowing; nature thus providing for it in
its double or amphibious character. These little animals had been
frequently noticed rising to the surface of the water, and blowing like
The natural history of this animal, which has obtained the name of
_Ornithorhynchus paradoxus_ is at present very little known. The
following particulars were communicated to Mr. Home by Governor Hunter,
who, during his residence in New South Wales, had opportunities of seeing
the animal alive.
The Ornithorhynchus is only found in fresh-water lakes, of which there
are many in the interior parts of the country, some three quarters of a
mile long, and several hundred yards broad. It does not swim upon the
surface of the water, but comes up occasionally to breathe, which it does
in the same manner as the turtle. The natives sit upon the banks, with
small wooden spears, and watch them every time they rise to the surface,
till they get a proper opportunity of striking them. This they do with
much dexterity, and frequently succeed in catching them this way.
Governor Hunter saw a native watch one for above an hour before he
attempted to spear it, which he did through the neck and fore leg: when
on shore, it used its claws with so much force that they were obliged to
confine it between two pieces of board, while they were cutting off the
barbs of the spear, to disengage it. When let loose, it ran upon the
ground with as much activity as a land tortoise; which is faster than the
structure of its fore feet would have led us to believe. It inhabits the
banks of the lakes, and is supposed to feed in the muddy places which
surround them; but the particular kind of food on which it subsists is
The male is 171/2 inches in length, from the point of the bill to the
extremity of the tail. The bill is 21/4 inches long; and the tail,
measuring from the anus, 41/2 inches.
The body of the animal is compressed, and nearly of the same general
thickness throughout, except at the shoulders, where it is rather
smaller. The circumference of the body is 11 inches. There is no fat
deposited between the skin and the muscles.
In the female, the size of the body is rendered proportionally larger
than that of the male, by a quantity of fat lying every where under the
The male is of a very dark brown colour, on the back, legs, bill, and
tall; the under surface of the neck and belly is of a silver grey. In the
female the colour is lighter.
The hair is made up of two kinds; a very thick fur, one half of an inch
long, and a very uncommon kind of hair, three quarters of an inch long.
The portion next the root has the common appearance of hair; but for a
quarter of an inch towards the point it becomes flat, giving it some
faint resemblance to very fine feathers: this portion has a gloss upon
it; and when the hair is dry, the different reflections from the edges
and surfaces of these longer hairs give the whole a very uncommon
appearance. The fur and hair upon the belly is longer than that upon the
Externally there is no appearance of the organs of generation in either
sex; the orifice of the anus being a common opening to the rectum and
prepuce in the male, and to the rectum and vagina in the female.
There was no appearance that could be detected, of nipples; although the
skin on the belly of the female was examined with the utmost accuracy for
The head is rather compressed. The bill, which projects beyond the mouth,
in its appearance resembles that of the duck; but is in its structure
more like that of the spoonbill, the middle part being composed of bone,
as in that bird: it has a very strong cuticular covering.
The nostrils are two orifices, very close to each other, near the end of
the bill; the upper lip projecting three quarters of an inch beyond them.
The eyes are very small; they are situated more upon the upper part of
the head than is usual, and are directly behind the loose edge of the
cuticular flap belonging to the bill. The eyelids are circular orifices
concealed in the hair, and, in the male, are with difficulty discovered;
but in the female there is a tuft of lighter hair, which marks their
The external ears are two large slits, directly behind the eyes, and
much larger than the orifices of the eyelids.
The teeth, if they can be so called, are all grinders; they are four in
number, situated in the posterior part of the mouth, one on each side of
the upper and under jaw, and have broad flat crowns. They differ from
common teeth very materially, having neither enamel nor bone, but being
composed of a horny substance only, embedded in the gum, to which they
are connected by an irregular surface in the place of fangs. When cut
through, which is readily done by a knife, the internal structure is
fibrous like the human nail: the direction of the fibres is from the
Between the cheek and the jaw, on each side of the mouth, there is a
pouch, as in the monkey tribe, lined with a cuticle. When laid open, it
is 11/2 inches long, and the same in breadth. In the female it contained
a concreted substance, the size of a very small nut, one in each pouch:
this, when examined through the microscope, was found to be made up of
very small portions of broken crystals.
Besides these grinding teeth, there are two small pointed horny teeth
upon the projecting part of the posterior portion of the tongue, the
points of which are directed forwards, seemingly to prevent the food from
being pushed into the fauces during the process of mastication; which
circumstance Mr. Home thinks peculiar to this animal: in the tongue of
the flamingo there is a row of short teeth on each side, but not in any
other bird that he has seen.
The fore legs are short, and the feet webbed. On each foot there are five
toes, united by the web, which is very broad, and is continued beyond the
points of the toes nearly an inch. On each toe there is a rounded
straight nail, which lies loose upon the membrane forming the web.
The hind legs are nearly of the same length as the fore legs, but
stronger. Each foot has five toes with curved claws, and webbed; but the
web does not extend beyond the points of the toes.
In the male, just at the setting-on of the heel, there is a strong
crooked spur, half an inch long, with a sharp point, which has a joint
between it and the foot, and is capable of motion in two directions. When
the point of it is brought close to the leg, the spur is almost
completely concealed among the hair; when directed outwards, it projects
considerably, and is very conspicuous. It is probably by means of these
spurs, or hooks, that the female is kept from withdrawing herself in the
act of copulation; since they are very conveniently placed for laying
hold of her body on that particular occasion. This spur is peculiar to
The tail, in its general shape, is very similar to that of the beaver.
Of the internal parts, the tongue is two inches long, lying in the hollow
between the two jaws, but not projecting any way into the bill, being
confined to its situation, except a very small portion at the tip.
The ribs are sixteen in number, and are united by a very elastic
ligamentous substance, which admits of their being pulled to some
distance; so that the capacity of the chest can undergo a very unusual
degree of change.
The heart is situated in the middle line of the chest, its apex pointing
to the sternum, and is inclosed in a strong pericardium: it is made up of
two aurieles and two ventricles.
The lungs are large in size, corresponding to the capacity of the chest.
Instead of a portion of them being above the heart, as in other animals,
the heart may be said to be above the lungs; for they only embrace its
sides, and do not surround its upper surface, but extend downwards into
the more moveable part of the cavity of the chest.
The stomach is smaller than in most other animals; in this respect
resembling the true stomach of birds.
The liver is composed of four lobes, besides the small lobe, or lobulus
spigelii. The gall bladder is in the usual situation, and of the common
The skull is rather flattened upon the upper surface: its cavity is
capacious, and there is a boney process projecting from the cranium, in
place of the falx or dura mater. This Mr. Home believes is not the case
in any other quadruped.
The olfactory nerves are small, and so are the optic nerves; but the
fifth pair, which supply the muscles of the face, are uncommonly large.
From this circumstance, we should be led, Mr. Home says, to believe, that
the sensibility of the different parts of the bill is very great, and
therefore that it answers the purpose of a hand, and is capable of nice
discrimination in its feeling.
The eye is very small, and is nearly spherical. There is a membrana
nictitans; and the eyelid is very loose upon the eyeball: it is probably
capable of great dilatation and contraction.
The membrana tympani is larger than in other quadrupeds of the same size.
The organs of generation in this animal have several peculiarities of a
very extraordinary nature.
The male organs do not appear externally; so that the distinguishing mark
of the sex is the spur on the hind leg.
The testicles are situated in the cavity of the abdomen, immediately
below the kidneys: they are large for the size of the animal. The
epididymis is connected with the body of the testicle by a broad
membrane, which admits of its lying very loose.
The penis in this animal does not, as in other quadrupeds, give passage
to the urine. It is entirely appropriated to the purpose of conveying the
semen; and a distinct canal conducts the urine into the rectum, by an
opening about an inch from the external orifice of the intestine. The gut
at this part is defended from the acrimony of the urine, by the mucus
secreted by two glands, which, probably for this reason, are very large
in the male, but small in the female.
The penis is short and small in its relaxed state; and its body does not
appear capable of being very much enlarged when erected. The prepuce is a
fold of the internal membrane of the verge of the anus, as in the bird;
and the penis, when retracted, is entirely concealed.
The glans penis is double; one glans having its extremity directed to the
right, the other to the left: and as they supply two distinct cavities
with semen, they may be considered as two penises. This is an approach to
the bird kind, many species of which have two. There was no appearance of
The female organs open into the rectum, as in the bird. The vagina is 11/2
inches long: its internal membrane is rugous, the rugae being in a
longitudinal direction. At the end of the vagina, instead of an os
tincae, as in other quadrupeds, is the meatus urinarius; on each side of
which is an opening leading into a cavity, resembling the horn of the
uterus in the quadruped, only thinner in its coats. Each of these
cavities terminates in a fallopian tube, which opens into the capsule of
an ovarium. The ovaria are very small; they were not in a very perfect
state of preservation, but bore a general resemblance to those of other
This structure of the female organs is unlike any thing hitherto met with
in quadrupeds; since in all of them that I examined, says Mr. Home, there
is the body of the uterus, from which the horns go off as appendages. The
opossum differs from all other animals in the structure of these parts,
but has a perfectly formed uterus; nor can I suppose it wanting in any of
the class Mammalia.
This animal, having no nipples, and no regularly formed uterus, Mr. Home
says, he was led to examine the female organ in birds, to see if there
was any analogy between the oviducts in any of that class, and the two
membranous uteri of this animal; but none could be observed; nor would it
be easy to explain how an egg could lie in the vagina to receive its
shell, as the urine from the bladder must pass directly over it. Finding
they had no resemblance to the oviducts in birds, Mr. Home was led to
compare them with the uteri of those lizards which form an egg, that is
afterwards deposited in a cavity corresponding to the uterus of other
animals, where it is hatched; which lizards may therefore be called
ovi-viviparous; and I find, says Mr. Home, a very close resemblance
between them. In these lizards there are two uteri, that open into one
common canal, or vagina, which is extremely short; and the meatus
urinarius is situated between these openings. The coats of these uteri
are thinner than those of the uteri of quadrupeds of the same size.
In the ovi-viviparous dog-fish, the internal organs of the female have a
very similar structure. There is therefore every reason to believe, that
this animal also is ovi-viviparous in its mode of generation.
* * *
It appears, by accounts which have been received from New South Wales,
that the voyage of the small brig _Lady Nelson_, commanded by
Lieutenant Grant, was (notwithstanding her size, being only 60 tons
burden, and the distance she had to sail) effected without her meeting
with any material accident; she arriving in December 1801. Her commander
was so perfectly acquainted with her good qualities, that he ventured to
make the land of New Holland, in latitude 38 degrees 00 minutes south,
coasting for some distance toward the eastward, and sailing through Bass
Strait, in his way up to Port Jackson.
It does not appear, that this passage of the _Lady Nelson_ through
the Strait added any thing new to the discoveries which had been
previously made by Captain Flinders and Mr. Bass, in the little sloop
_Norfolk_, except that of having made the land about four degrees
further to the westward than had been seen by those gentlemen.
By means of a few such vessels as the _Lady Nelson_, well commanded,
and furnished with instruments requisite for carrying on a maritime
survey, the necessary knowledge of the coast of that extensive country
would soon be obtained. Governor Hunter, who is well known to be
thoroughly qualified in this essential part of maritime education, has
been frequently heard to say, that with a few small vessels, perhaps
three or four, if he could have obtained them, or if his instructions
would have permitted his building them, he would in the course of a short
period have gained some acquaintance with all that part of the coast
which Captain Cook had not an opportunity of examining minutely.
Large vessels, in his opinion, were not wanted for such a survey, nor
were they fit for the purpose. A deposit of the stores necessary for this
service could be made at the principal settlement, where such vessels,
whenever requisite, might refit or repair. Large ships are proper to be
employed only when they are to survey an unknown coast, where supplies
are not to be had; this rendering it expedient that they should be
sufficiently capacious to carry a considerable stock of provisions and
stores for all their purposes. The small vessel, if caught upon a lee
shore, and unable to work off, has a chance of finding security for
anchorage where a large ship cannot; and if no such shelter offer, she
has in her favour a greater probability of saving her crew by running on
shore; her light draught of water admitting her to approach the land much
nearer than could the large vessel.
* * *
Dispatches have been recently received at Lord Hobart's office from New
South Wales, dated in August 1801, by which it appears, that the quantity
of salt provisions remaining in store in the beginning of the year, being
very inconsiderable, and it being possible that accidents might happen to
ships sent from England with meat, the governor had judged it necessary
to send the _Porpoise_ to the island of Otaheite, for the purpose of
salting pork for the use of the colony: and as it was absolutely
necessary to send thither a quantity of salt for this purpose (an article
which the colony could not furnish), he fortunately was enabled to
purchase about fifteen tons of salt from the master of a whaler which put
in there from one of the Cape de Verd islands. On this voyage the
_Porpoise_ sailed in the month of May 1801, and her commander,
Lieutenant Scott, was furnished, in addition to very ample instructions
for his guidance, with a letter from the governor to Pornarre, the king
of Otaheite, urging him to give Mr. Scott every protection and assistance
in the execution of the business on which he was sent to the island, and
recommending particularly to his care such of the missionaries as resided
in the place. It was pointed out to him how much this conduct would
ensure his majesty the favourable opinion of King George; and Mr. Scott
was provided with a quantity of such articles for barter as were likely
to please the eye as well as be useful to the people whom he might have
to deal with; among which were some red and yellow cloth, some tomahawks,
axes, knives, scissors, shirts, jackets, etc.: and, as nothing was more
likely to ensure success than a handsome present to his Majesty, a mantle
and some other articles of dress decorated with red feathers, together
with six muskets and some ammunition, were given to Mr. Scott to be
presented to the king.
Directions were also sent to the lieutenant-governor at Norfolk Island,
to salt a quantity of pork for the use of the principal settlement.
The governor had likewise entered into a contract with a merchant in
India, to freight a ship with cattle and rice, after the arrival of which
he was of opinion that further supplies of cattle might be unnecessary,
the stock in the country, independent of the wild herd, being very
considerable. That herd was grown very furious, and, having got among the
mountains to the westward, rendered any attempts to take them dangerous