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

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in a tremendous gale of wind; during which time, according to the tale of
the superstitious seamen, and which they took care to insert in their
protest, blue lights were seen dancing on each masthead and yard in the ship.

By these ships we learned that the _Surprise_ transport, with male and
female convicts for this country, was left by them lying at Spithead
ready for sea, and that they might be shortly expected. The _Kitty_,
which sailed from this place in June 1793, had arrived safely at Cork on
the 5th of February last, not losing any of her passengers or people in
so long a voyage and in such a season.

His Majesty's appointment of John Hunter esq to be our governor, in the
room of Captain Phillip who had resigned his office, we found had been
officially notified in the London Gazette of the 5th of February last.
Mr. Phillip's services, we understood, were remunerated by a pension of
five hundred pounds per annum.

The Irish prisoners were now again beginning to be troublesome; and some
of them being missing from labour, it was directly rumoured that a plan
was in agitation to seize the boat named the _Cumberland_, which had
recently sailed with provisions for the settlers at the Hawkesbury. By
several it was said, that she had actually been attacked without the
Heads, and carried. Notice was therefore immediately sent overland to the
river, to put the people in the boat on their guard, and to return should
she reach that settlement safely: an armed long-boat was also sent
to protect her passage round. After a few days suspense we found,
that while providing against any accident happening to the _Cumberland_,
some of the Irish prisoners at Parramatta had stolen from the wharf at
that place a six-oar'd boat belonging to Lieutenant Macarthur, with which
they got without the harbour undiscovered. She was found however, some
days after, at Botany Bay. The people who were in her made some threats
of resistance, but at length took to the woods, leaving the boat with
nearly every thing that they had provided for their voyage. From the
woods they visited the farms about Sydney for plunder, or rather for
sustenance; but one of them being fired at and wounded, the rest thought
it their wisest way to give themselves up. They made no hesitation in
avowing that they never meant to return; but at the same time owned that
they supposed they had reached Broken Bay instead of Botany Bay, ignorant
whether it lay to the northward or southward of this harbour. The man who
had been wounded died at the hospital the next day; and his companions
appeared but very ill able to provide for themselves, even by those means
which had occasioned our being troubled with them in this country.

On the 17th, we were visited by a violent gale of wind at southwest,
which blew so strong, that the _Resolution_ was at one time nearly on
shore. At Parramatta, during the gale, a public granary, in which were
upwards of two thousand four hundred bushels of shelled maize or Indian
corn, caught fire, through the carelessness of some servants who were
boiling food for stock close to the building (which was a thatched one),
and all the corn, together with a number of fine hogs the property of an
individual, were destroyed.

Some severe contests among the natives took place during this month in
and about the town of Sydney. In fact, we still knew very little of the
manners and customs of these people, notwithstanding the advantage we
possessed in the constant residence of many of them among us, and the
desire that they showed of cultivating our friendship. At the Hawkesbury
they were not so friendly; a settler there and his servant were nearly
murdered in their hut by some natives from the woods, who stole upon them
with such secrecy, as to wound and overpower them before they could
procure assistance. The servant was so much hurt by them with spears and
clubs, as to be in danger of losing his life. A few days after this
circumstance, a body of natives having attacked the settlers, and carried
off their clothes, provisions, and whatever else they could lay their
hands on, the sufferers collected what arms they could, and following,
them, seven or eight of the plunderers were killed on the spot.

This mode of treating them had become absolutely necessary, from the
frequency and evil effects of their visits; but whatever the settlers at
the river suffered was entirely brought on them by their own misconduct:
there was not a doubt but many natives had been wantonly fired upon; and
when their children, after the flight of the parents, have fallen into
the settlers hands, they have been detained at their huts, notwithstanding
the earnest entreaties of the parents for their return.

On the 26th, the _Daedalus_ sailed for Norfolk Island, having on board a
quantity of the stores and provisions lately received from England, and a
detachment of officers and men of the New South Wales corps to relieve
those on duty there.

Two female natives, wishing to withdraw from the cruelty which they, with
others of their sex, experienced from their countrymen, were allowed to
embark in the _Daedalus_, and were consigned to the care of the
lieutenant-governor. One of them was sister to Bennillong; the other was
connected with the young man his companion. Perhaps they wished to wait
in peace and retirement the arrival of those who were bound to protect

At the latter end of the month some warrants of emancipation passed the
seal of the territory, and received the lieutenant-governor's signature.
The objects of this indulgence were, Robert Sidaway, who received an
unconditional pardon in consideration of his diligence, unremitting good
conduct, and strict integrity in his employment for several years as the
public baker of the settlement; and William Leach, who was permitted to
quit this country, but not to return to England during the unexpired term
of his sentence of transportation, which was for seven years. Eight
convicts were pardoned on condition of their serving in the New South
Wales corps until regularly discharged therefrom. James Larra, James
Ruffler, and Richard Partridge (convicts for life), received a conditional
pardon, or (as was the term among themselves on this occasion) were made
free on the ground, to enable them to become settlers; as were also
William Joyce and Benjamin Carver for the same purpose. Joyce had been
transported for fourteen years, and Carver for life. Freedom on the
ground was also given to William Waring, a convict for life.

It was pleasing to see so many people withdrawing from the society of
vice and wretchedness, and forming such a character for themselves as to
be thought deserving of emancipation.

On the 29th, the _Fancy_ snow left this port. Mr. Dell, the commander,
purposed running to Norfolk Island, but affected a secrecy with respect
to his subsequent destination. It was generally surmised, however, that
he was bound to some island whereat timber fit for naval purposes was to
be procured; and at which whatever ship Mr. Bampton should bring with him
might touch and load with a cargo for India. The snow was armed, was
about one hundred and seventy tons burden, had a large and expensive
complement of officers and men, a guard of sepoys, and a commission from
the Bombay marine*. New Zealand was by us supposed to be the place; as
force, or at least the appearance of it, was there absolutely requisite.

[* Mr. Dell had likewise on board a much greater number of cross-cut saws
than were necessary to procure wood for the mere use of the vessel.]

The wife of Griffin the drummer, whose hoarded guineas were supposed to
have been stolen by Charles, or (as he was more commonly named) Pat Gray,
killed herself with drinking, expiring in a fit of intoxication while the
husband was employed in the lower part of the harbour in fishing for his
family. She left him four children to provide for.

October.] This month opened with an indispensable act of justice: John
Bevan, a wretched convict, whose name has been frequently mentioned in
this narrative, broke into the house of William Fielder at Sydney, and
being caught in the fact, it was substantiated against him beyond the
chance of escape; he was of course fully convicted, and received sentence
of death. The trial was on the 1st, and at nine in the morning of the 6th
he was executed. At the tree he confessed nothing, but seemed terrified
when he found himself so near the ignominious death that he had so long
merited. On being taken to hear divine service the Sunday preceding his
execution, he seemed not to be in the smallest degree affected by the
clergyman's discourse, which was composed for the occasion; but was
visibly touched at the singing of the psalm intitled the 'Lamentation of
a Sinner.'

On the evening preceding the day of his execution, information was
received from Parramatta, that Simon Burn, a settler, had been stabbed to
the heart about eight o'clock in the evening before, of which wound he
died in an hour. The man who perpetrated this atrocious act was a convict
named Hill, a butcher by trade. It appeared on the trial, which lasted
five hours, that Hill had borne the deceased much animosity for some
time, and, having been all the day (which, to aggravate the offence,
happened to be Sunday) in company drinking with him, took occasion to
quarrel with a woman with whom he cohabited, and following her into an
empty house, whither she had run to avoid a beating, the deceased,
unhappily for him, interfered, and was by Hill stabbed to the heart;
living, as has been said, about an hour, but having just strength enough
to declare in the presence of several witnesses, that the butcher had
killed him. The prisoner attempted to set up an alibi for his defence;
but the fact of killing was incontrovertibly fixed upon him, as well as
the malice which urged his hand to take away the life of his
fellow-creature, and to send him, with the sin upon his head of having
profaned the Lord's day by rioting and drunkenness, unprepared before his

This poor man was buried by his widow (an Irish woman) in a corner of his
own farm, attended by several settlers of that and the neighbouring
districts, who celebrated the funeral rites in a manner and with orgies
suitable to the disposition and habits of the deceased, his widow, and

Hill was executed on the 16th, and his body dissected according to his

On the 17th the _Mercury_, an American brig, commanded by Mr. William
Barnet, anchored in the cove from Falkland's islands. He had nothing on
board for sale, but brought us the very welcome information of his having
seen the officers of the Spanish ship _Descuvierta_ at that place. Being
in want of biscuit, he made application to the commodore Malaspina for a
supply, proffering to settle the payment in any manner that he should
choose to adopt; but the commodore, after sending him a greater quantity
than he had required, assured him that he was sufficiently satisfied in
having assisted a ship whose people, whether English or American, spoke
the language of those gentlemen from whom himself and the officers of the
ships under his command had received, while in New South Wales, such
attention and hospitality. Mr. Barnet understood the _Atrevida_ was in
the neighbourhood, and that no loss or accident had happened in either
ship since their departure from Port Jackson. The _Mercury_ was bound to
the north-west coast of America, and her master purposed quitting this
port as soon as his people, who were all afflicted with that dreadful sea
distemper the scurvy, should be sufficiently recovered.

The period of probation which had been allotted by the late governor to
the services of William Stephenson (one of the people serving in the
stores) expiring this month, his pardon was delivered to him accordingly.
No one among the prisoners could be found more deserving of this
clemency; his conduct had been uniformly that of a good man, and he had
shown that he was trustworthy by never having forfeited the good opinion
of the commissary under whom he was placed in the provision-store.

From the Hawkesbury were received accounts which corroborated the opinion
that the settlers there merited the attacks which were from time to time
made upon them by the natives. It was now said, that some of them had
seized a native boy, and, after tying him hand and foot, had dragged him
several times through a fire, or over a place covered with hot ashes,
until his back was dreadfully scorched, and in that state threw him into
the river, where they shot at and killed him. Such a report could not be
heard without being followed by the closest examination, when it appeared
that a boy had actually been shot when in the water, from a conviction of
his having been detached as a spy upon the settlers from a large body of
natives, and that he was returning to them with an account of their
weakness, there being only one musket to be found among several farms. No
person appearing to contradict this account, it was admitted as a truth;
but many still considered it as a tale invented to cover the true
circumstance, that a boy had been cruelly and wantonly murdered by them.

The presence of some person with authority was becoming absolutely
necessary among those settlers, who, finding themselves freed from
bondage, instantly conceived that they were above all restrictions; and,
being without any internal regulations, irregularities of the worst kind
might be expected to happen.

On the morning of the 25th a civil court was assembled, for the purpose
of investigating an action brought by one Joyce (a convict lately
emancipated) against Thomas Daveny, a free man and superintendant of
convicts at Toongabbie, for an assault; when the defendant, availing
himself of a mistake in his christian name, pleaded the misnomer. His
plea being admitted, the business was for that time got over, and before
another court could be assembled he had entered into a compromise with
the plaintiff, and nothing more was heard of it.

In the evening of the same day the _Surprise_ transport arrived from
England, whence she sailed on the 2nd of last May, having on board sixty
female and twenty-three male convicts, some stores and provisions, and
three settlers for this colony.

Among the prisoners were, Messrs. Muir, Palmer, Skirving, and Margarot,
four gentlemen lately convicted in Scotland of the crime of sedition,
considered as a public offence, and transported for the same to this

We found also on board the _Surprise_ a Mr. James Thompson, late
surgeon of the _Atlantic_ transport, but who now came in quality of
assistant-surgeon to the settlement; and William Baker, formerly here a
sergeant in the marine detachment, but now appointed a superintendant of

A guard of an ensign and twenty-one privates of the New South Wales corps
were on board the transport. Six of these people were deserters from
other regiments brought from the Savoy; one of them, Joseph Draper, we
understood had been tried for mutiny (of an aggravated kind) at Quebec.

This mode of recruiting the regiment must have proved as disgusting to
the officers as it was detrimental to the interests of the settlement. If
the corps was raised for the purpose of protecting the civil
establishment, and of bringing a counterpoise to the vices and crimes
which might naturally be expected to exist among the convicts, it ought
to have been carefully formed from the best characters; instead of which
we now found a mutineer (a wretch who could deliberate with others, and
consent himself to be the chosen instrument of the destruction of his
sovereign's son) sent among us, to remain for life, perhaps, as a check
upon sedition, now added to the catalogue of our other imported vices.

This ship touched only at Rio de Janeiro, between which port and the
south-west cape of this country the winds which they met with very much
favoured, in the idea of Mr. Campbell the master, the opinion of a
passage being readily made to the Cape of Good Hope, or to India, round
by Van Dieman's Land.

Among other articles of information now received, we learned that
Governor Hunter, with the _Reliance_ and _Supply_, two ships intended to
be employed in procuring cattle for the colony, might be expected to
arrive in about three months. The governor was to bring out with him a
patent for establishing a court of criminal judicature at Norfolk Island.

The two natives in England were said to be in health, and anxious for the
governor's departure, as they were to accompany him. They had made but
little improvement in our language.

The _Surprise_ anchoring in the cove after dark, she saluted at sunrise
the following morning with fifteen guns.

A theft was committed in the course of the month in one of the out-houses
belonging to Government House, used as a regimental storeroom; the
articles stolen were fifteen shirts and seventeen pair of shoes. In
searching among the rocks and bushes for this property, three white and
two check shirts, one pair of trousers, and one pair of stockings, were
found; but so damaged by the weather as to be entirely useless. These
must have been planted (to use the thiefs phrase) a considerable time;
for every mark or trace which could lead to a discovery of the owner was
entirely effaced.

The storeships being cleared of their cargoes, a survey was made upon
such part of them as was damaged, which was found to be very
considerable. A serving of slops was immediately issued to the male and
female convicts; the men receiving each one jacket, one waistcoat, one
shirt, one hat, and one pair of breeches; the women one petticoat, one
shift, one pair of stockings, one cap, one neck-handkerchief, one hat, and
one jacket made of raven duck. A distinction was made in the articles of
the slops served to watchmen and overseers, each receiving one coat
instead of a jacket, one pair of duck trousers instead of a pair of
breeches, and one pair of shoes.

On the 21st died an industrious good young man, Joseph Webb, a settler at
the district named Liberty Plains. He had been working in his ground, and
suddenly fell down in an apoplectic fit. We have seen that another
settler was murdered, and two male convicts were executed. Burn had been
an unfortunate man; he had lost one of his eyes, when, as a convict, he
was employed in splitting paling for government; his farm had never
succeeded; himself and his wife were too fond of spirituous liquors to be
very industrious; and he was at last forced out of the world in a state
and in a manner shocking to human nature.

November.] Since our establishment in this harbour but few accidents had
happened to boats. On the 1st of this month, however, the longboat of the
_Surprise_, though steered by one of the people belonging to the
settlement, was overset on her passage from the cove to Parramatta, in a
squall of wind she met with off Goat Island, with a number of convicts
and stores on board. Fortunately, no other loss followed than that
occasioned by the drowning of one very fine female goat, the property of
Baker the superintendant.

On the following day died Mr. Thomas Freeman, the deputy-commissary of
stores and provisions employed at Parramatta. He was in his fifty-third
year, and in this country ended a life the greater part of which had been
actively and usefully employed in the king's service. His remains were
interred in the burial-ground at Parramatta, and were attended by the
gentlemen of the civil department residing in that township.

On the morning of the 9th the ships _Resolution_ and _Salamander_ left
the cove, purposing to sail on their fishing voyage; soon after which, it
being discovered that three convicts, Mary Morgan and John Randall and
his wife, were missing, a boat was sent down the harbour to search the
_Resolution_, on board of which ship it was said they were concealed. No
person being found, the boat returned for further orders, leaving a
sergeant and four men on board; but before she could return, Mr. Locke
the master, after forcing the party out of his ship, got under way and
stood out to sea. Mr. Irish, the master of the _Salamander_, did
not accompany him; but came up to the town, to testify to the
lieutenant-governor his uneasiness at its being supposed that he could
be capable of taking any person improperly from the colony.

On the day following it appeared that several persons were missing, and
two convicts in the night swam off to the _Salamander_, one of whom was
supposed to have been drowned, but was afterwards found concealed in her
hold and sent on shore. The _Resolution_ during this time was seen
hovering about the coast, either waiting for her companion, or to pick up
a boat with the runaways. On the 13th, the _Salamander_ got under way,
with a southerly wind; but it falling calm when the ship was between the
Heads, she drifted, and was set with the ebb tide so near the north head
of the harbour as to be obliged to anchor suddenly in eighteen fathoms
water. When anchored they got a kedge-anchor out, and began to heave; but
the surf on the head and the swell from the sea were so great, occasioned
by the late southerly winds, that in heaving the cable parted.
Fortunately the stream-hawser hung her; and a breeze from the northward
springing up, she was brought into the harbour with the loss of an
anchor. This loss being repaired by her getting another from the
_Surprise_, she was enabled to sail finally on the 15th.

The impropriety of the conduct of the _Resolution's_ master was so
glaring, that the lieutenant-governor caused some depositions to be taken
respecting it, which he purposed transmitting to the navy-board. This man
had been permitted to ship as many persons from the settlement as he
stated to be necessary to complete his ship's company; notwithstanding
which, there was not any doubt of his having received on board, without
any permission, to the number of twelve or thirteen convicts whose terms
of transportation had not been served. No difficulty had ever been found
by any master of a ship, who would make the proper application, in
obtaining any number of hands that he might be in want of, but to take
clandestinely from the settlement the useful servants of the public was
ungrateful and unpardonable. It was to be hoped that government, if the
facts could be substantiated against him, would make his person a severe
example to other masters of ships coming to this port.

On the 23rd, after an absence of eight weeks and two days, the _Daedalus_
returned from Norfolk Island. Ten days of this time were passed in going
thither, and sixteen in returning; the intermediate time was consumed in
landing one, and receiving on board the other detachment, with their

Several persons, whose sentences of transportation had expired, and who
preferred residing in New South Wales, together with ten of the marine
settlers, who had given up their grounds in consequence of the late
disappointment which they experienced in respect of their corn bills, and
had entered into the New South Wales corps, arrived in this ship.

We understood that Phillip Island had been found to answer extremely well
for the purpose of breeding stock. Some hogs which were allowed to be
placed there in August 1793, the property of an individual, had increased
so prodigiously, as to render the raising hogs there on account of
government an object with the lieutenant-governor.

The _Daedalus_ immediately began preparations for her departure for
England; and Lieutenant-governor Grose signified his intention of
quitting the settlement by that opportunity.

The lieutenant-governor having set apart for each of the gentlemen who
came from Scotland in the _Surprise_ a brick hut, in a row on the east
side of the cove, they took possession of their new habitations, and soon
declared that they found sufficient reason for thinking their situations
'on the bleak and desolate shores of New Holland' not quite so terrible
as in England they had been taught to expect.

The _Surprise_ was discharged this month from government employ, and
Mr. Campbell began to prepare for making his passage to Bengal (whither he
was bound) by the south cape of this country. Of the female prisoners who
came out in this ship one was buried on the 21st; she had lain in of a
dead child, and died shortly after of a milk fever. Her husband, a free
man, came out with her to settle in the country.

Reaping our wheat-harvest commenced this month.

December.] The people of the _Mercury_ being perfectly recovered from the
disorder which afflicted them when they arrived, that vessel sailed on
the 7th of December for the north-west coast of America. The master had
permission to ship five persons belonging to the colony, and on the day
of his sailing several others were missing from the labouring gangs, and
were supposed to have made their escape in her; but on the following
morning they were all at their respective labours, not having been able
to get on board.

Some of the seamen belonging to this vessel, preferring the pleasures
they met with in the society of the females and the free circulation of
spirituous liquors which they found on shore, to accompanying Mr. Barnet
to the north-west coast of America, had left his vessel some days
previous to her sailing. Application being made to the lieutenant-governor,
several orders were given out calculated to induce them to return to their
duty, informing them, that if they remained behind they would be
certainly sent to hard labour, and the persons who had harboured them
severely punished. But our settlements had now become so extensive, that
orders did not so readily find their way to the settlers, as runaways and
vagrants, who never failed of finding employment among them, particularly
among those at the river.

On the 8th a farm of twenty-five acres of ground in the district of
Concord was sold by public auction for thirteen pounds. Four acres were
planted with Indian corn, and half an acre with potatoes; there was
beside a tolerable hut on the premises. This farm was the property of
Samuel Crane, a soldier, who, too industriously for himself, working on
it on the Sunday preceding his death, received a hurt from a tree which
fell upon him, and proved fatal.

Every preparation for accommodating the lieutenant-governor and his
family being completed on board the _Daedalus_, he embarked in the
evening of the 15th. Previous to his departure, such convicts as were at
that time confined in the cells, or who were under orders for punishment,
were released; several grants of lands were signed, conveying chiefly
small allotments of twenty-five acres each to such soldiers of the
regiment as were desirous of, and made application for that favour; and
some leases of town lots were given.

With the lieutenant-governor went Mr. White, the principal surgeon of the
colony; Mr. Bain, the chaplain, in whose absence the Rev. Mr. Marsden was
to do his duty; Mr. Laing, assistant-surgeon of the settlement, and mate
of the New South Wales corps; three soldiers; two women, and nine men.
The master of the transport had permission to ship twelve men and two
women, whose sentences of transportation had expired.

The _Surprise_ sailed on the 17th. Mr. Campbell, being in want of hands,
was allowed to receive on board sixteen men. He had shipped a greater
number; but some, regardless of their own situation, and of the effect
such an act might have on others, had been detected in the act of robbing
the ship, and were turned on shore.

Mr. Campbell at his departure expressed his determination of trying his
passage to Bengal by the south cape of this country. The route of the
_Daedalus_ was round the southern extremity of New Zealand.

The lieutenant-governor took with him all the documents which were
necessary to lay before government to explain the state of the different
settlements under his command; such as the commissary's accounts, returns
of stock, remains of provisions, etc, etc.; vouchers, in fact, of that
true spirit of liberality which had marked the whole of his administration
of the public affairs of this settlement.

Our society was much weakened by this departure of our friends; they
carried with them, however, letters to our connexions, and our earnest
wishes for their speedy, pleasant, and safe passage to England.

The number of small boats at this time in the settlement was considerable,
although wretchedly put together. Two of them were stolen during the
month by several Irish prisoners, accompanied by some who came out
in the _Surprise_. In it they went down to the Southhead, whence they
took what arms they could find, and made off to sea. In a very few days
they were all brought in from the adjacent bays, and punished for their
rashness and folly. No example seemed to deter these people from thinking
it practicable to escape from the colony; the ill success and punishment
which had befallen others affected not them, till woeful experience made
it their own; and then they only regretted their ill fortune, never
attributing the failure to their own ignorance and temerity.

In the morning of Wednesday the 24th the signal was made at the
South Head for a vessel (which they had seen the day before). She came in
about three o'clock, and proved to be the _Experiment_, a snow from
Bengal, laden with spirits, sugar, piece-goods, and a few casks of
provisions; the speculation being suggested by Mr. Beyer, the agent for
the _Sugar Cane_ and _Boddingtons_. Those ships had arrived safely at
Bengal, and had sailed thence for England.

The _Experiment_ had had a passage of three months from Calcutta, one
month of which she had passed since she saw the southern extremity of
this country.

We learned from Mr. E. McClellan, the master, that a large ship named the
_Neptune_ had been freighted with cattle, etc in pursuance of the
contract entered into with Mr. Bampton, and had sailed from Bombay in
July last, but was unfortunately lost in the river by sailing against the
monsoon. When Mr. Bampton might be expected was uncertain.

The direction of the colony during the absence of the governor and
lieutenant-governor devolving upon the officer highest in rank then on
service in the colony, Captain William Paterson, of the New South Wales
corps, on Christmas Day took the oaths prescribed by his Majesty's
letters patent for the person who should so take upon him the government
of the settlement. This officer, expecting every day the arrival of
Governor Hunter, made no alteration in the mode of carrying on the
different duties of the settlement now entrusted to his care and

At the latter end of the month a general muster was ordered of all the
male convicts, together with the persons who had served their several
terms of transportation, as well those residing at Sydney and Parramatta,
as those on the banks of the river Hawkesbury. The following ration was
also ordered, the maize being nearly expended, viz.

To Civil, Military, Free People, and Free Settlers
8 lbs of flour, 7 lbs of beef, or
4 lbs of pork, 3 pints of peas,
6 oz of sugar.

To Male Convicts
4 lbs of flour 7 lbs of beef, or
4 lbs of pork, 3 pints of peas,
6 ozs of sugar, and 3 pints of rice.

Women and children were to receive the usual proportion, and a certain
quantity of slops was directed to be issued to the male and female
convicts who came out in the _Surprise_ transport, they being very much
in want of clothing.

A jail gang was also ordered to be established at Toongabbie, for the
employment and punishment of all bad and suspicious characters.

Wheat was this month directed to be purchased from the settlers at ten
shillings per bushel. Much of that grain was found to have been blighted
this season. The ground about Toongabbie was pronounced to be worn out,
the produce of the last harvest not averaging more than six or seven
bushels an acre, though at first it was computed at seventeen. The
Northern farms had also failed through a blight.

Our loss by death in the year 1794 was, two settlers; four soldiers; one
soldier's wife; thirty-two male convicts; ten female convicts; and ten
children; making a total of fifty-nine persons.


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


January.] From the great numbers of labouring convicts who were
employed in the town of Sydney, and at the grounds about Petersham; of
others employed with officers and settlers; of those who, their terms of
transportation having expired, were allowed to provide for themselves;
and of others who had been permitted to leave the colony, public
field-labour was entirely at a stand. The present commanding officer
wishing to cultivate the grounds belonging to government, collecting as
many labourers as could be got together, sent a large gang, formed of
bricklayers, brickmakers, timber-carriage men, etc. etc. to Parramatta
and Toongabbie, there to prepare the ground for wheat for the ensuing
season. At the muster which had been lately taken fifty people were found
without any employment, whose services still belonged to the public;
most of these were laid hold of, and sent to hard labour; and it appeared
at the same time that some few were at large in the woods, runaways, and
vagabonds. These people began labouring in the grounds immediately after
New Year's day, which as usual was observed as a holiday.

On the 22nd, the convict women who had children attended at the store,
when they received for each child three yards of flannel, one shirt, and
two pounds of soap.

On the day following, the colonial schooner sailed for the river, having
on board a mill, provisions, etc. for the settlers there. A military
guard was also ordered, the commanding officer of which was to introduce
some regulations among the settlers, and to prevent, by the effect of his
presence and authority, the commission of those enormities which
disgraced that settlement. For the reception of such quantity of the
Indian corn and wheat grown there this season as might be purchased by
government, a store-house was to be erected under the inspection of the
commissary; and Baker, the superintendant who arrived in the _Surprise_,
was sent out to take the charge of it when finished. The master of the
schooner was ordered, after discharging his cargo, to receive on board
Mr. Charles Grimes, the deputy surveyor-general, and proceed with him to
Port Stephens, for the purpose of examining that harbour.

About the middle of the month a convict, on entering the door of his hut,
was bit in the foot by a black snake; the effect was, an immediate
swelling of the foot, leg, and thigh, and a large tumour in the groin.
Mr. Thompson, the assistant-surgeon, was fortunately able to reduce all
these swellings by frequently bathing the parts in oil, and saved the
man's life without having recourse to amputation. While we lived in a
wood, and might naturally have expected to have been troubled with them,
snakes and other reptiles were by no means so often seen, as since, by
clearing and opening the country about us, the natives had not had
opportunities of setting the woods so frequently on fire. But now they
were often met in the different paths about the settlements, basking at
mid-day in the sunshine, and particularly after a shower of rain.

We heard and saw much of the natives about this time. At the Hawkesbury a
man had been wounded by some of the Wood tribe. Two women (natives) were
murdered not far from the town of Sydney during the night, and another
victim, a female of Pe-mul-wy's party (the man who killed McIntyre),
having been secured by the males of a tribe inimical to Pe-mul-wy,
dragged her into the woods, where they fatigued themselves with
exercising acts of cruelty and lust upon her.

The principal labour performed in January was preparing the ground for
wheat. The Indian corn looked every where remarkably well; it was now
ripening, and the settlers on the banks of the Hawkesbury supposed that
at least thirty thousand bushels of that grain would be raised among them.

Several native boys, from eight to fourteen years of age, were at this
time living among the settlers in the different districts. They were
found capable of being made extremely useful; they went cheerfully into
the fields to labour, and the elder ones with ease hoed in a few hours a
greater quantity of ground than that generally assigned to a convict for
a day's work. Some of these were allowed a ration of provisions from the
public stores.

In consequence of the heavy rains, the river at the Hawkesbury rose many
feet higher than it had been known to rise in other rains, by which
several settlers were sufferers. At Toongabbie the wheat belonging to
government was considerably injured. At Parramatta the damage was
extensive; the bridge over the creek, which had been very well
constructed, was entirely swept away; and the boats with their moorings
carried down the river. At Sydney some chimneys in the new barracks
fell in.

Mr. Jones, the quarter-master sergeant of the New South Wales corps, a
person of much respectability, and whose general demeanor indicated an
education far beyond what is met with in the sphere of life in which he
moved, died this month.

A convict lad, in the service of Mr. William Smith the store-keeper, died
on the 26th, having swallowed arsenic. It was remarkable in his untimely
end, that he himself placed the poison with a view of destroying the rats
with which the house was infested, and was particularly cautioned against
it. How he came, after that, to take it himself, was not to be accounted

February.] Early in February, the storehouse at the Hawkesbury being
completed, the provisions which had been sent round in the schooner were
landed and put under the care of Baker. Some officers who had made an
excursion to that settlement, with a view of selecting eligible spots for
farms, on their return spoke highly of the corn which they saw growing
there, and of the picturesque appearance of many of the settlers' farms.
The settlers told them, that in general their grounds which had been in
wheat had produced from thirty to thirty-six bushels an acre; that they
found one bushel (or on some spots five pecks) of seed sufficient to sow
an acre; and that, if sown as early as the month of April or May, they
imagined the ground would produce a second crop, and the season be not
too far advanced to ripen it. Their kitchen gardens were plentifully
stocked with vegetables. The master of the schooner complained that the
navigation of the river was likely to be hurt. The settlers having fallen
many trees into the water, he was apprehensive they would drift ashore on
some of the points of the river where, in process of time, sand, etc.
might lodge against them, and form dangerous obstructions in the way of
craft which might be hereafter used on the river. No doubt remained of
the ill and impolitic conduct of some of the settlers toward the natives.
In revenge for some cruelties which they had experienced, they threatened
to put to death three of the settlers, Michael Doyle, Robert Forrester,
and ---- Nixon; and had actually attacked and cruelly wounded two other
settlers, George Shadrach and John Akers, whose farms and persons they
mistook for those of Doyle and Forrester. These particulars were procured
through the means of one Wilson, a wild idle young man, who, his term of
transportation being expired, preferred living among the natives in the
vicinity of the river, to earning the wages of honest industry by working
for settlers. He had formed an intermediate language between his own and
theirs, with which he made shift to comprehend something of what they
wished him to communicate; for they did not conceal the sense they
entertained of the injuries which had been done them. The tribe with whom
Wilson associated had given him a name, Bun-bo-e, but none of them had
taken his in exchange. As the gratifying an idle wandering disposition
was the sole object with Wilson in herding with these people, no good
consequence was likely to ensue from it; and it was by no means
improbable, that at some future time, if disgusted with the white people,
he would join the blacks, and assist them in committing depredations, or
make use of their assistance to punish or revenge his own injuries.
Mr. Grimes purposed taking him with him in the schooner to Port Stephens.

There were at this time several convicts in the woods subsisting by
theft; and it being said that three had been met with arms, it became
necessary to secure them as soon as possible. Watchmen and other people
immediately went out, and in the afternoon of the 14th a wretched fellow
of the name of Suffini was killed by one of them. This circumstance drove
the rest to a greater distance from Sydney, and they were reported, some
days afterwards, to have been met on their route to the river. Suffini
would not have been shot at, had he not refused to surrender when called
to by the watchman while in the act of plundering a garden.

About the latter end of the month the natives adjusted some affairs of
honour in a convenient spot near the brick-fields. The people who live
about the south shore of Botany Bay brought with them a stranger of an
extraordinary appearance and character; even his name had something
extraordinary in the sound--Gome-boak. He had been several days on his
journey from the place where he lived, which was far to the southward. In
height he was not more than five feet two or three inches; but he was by
far the most muscular, square, and well-formed native we had ever seen.
He fought well; his spears were remarkably long, and he defended himself
with a shield that covered his whole body. We had the satisfaction of
seeing him engaged with some of our Sydney friends, and of observing that
neither their persons nor reputations suffered any thing in the contest.
When the fight was over, on our praising to them the martial talents of
this stranger, the strength and muscle of his arm, and the excellence of
his sight, they admitted the praise to be just (because when opposed to
them he had not gained the slightest advantage); but, unwilling that we
should think too highly of him, they assured us, with horror in their
countenances, that Gome-boak was a cannibal.*

[* Gome-boak, we learned, was afterwards killed among his own people in
some affair to the southward.]

March.] On the 1st of March the _Francis_ returned from Port Stephens.
Mr. Grimes reported, that he went into two fresh-water branches, up which
he rowed, until, at no very great distance from the entrance, he found
them terminate in a swamp. He described the land on each side to be low
and sandy, and had seen nothing while in this harbour which in his
opinion could render a second visit necessary. The natives were so very
unfriendly, that he made but few observations on them. He thought they
were a taller and a stouter race of people than those about this
settlement, and their language was entirely different. Their huts and
canoes were something larger than those which we had seen here; their
weapons were the same. They welcomed him on shore with a dance, joined
hand in hand, round a tree, to express perhaps their unanimity; but one
of them afterwards, drawing Mr. Grimes into the wood, poised a spear, and
was on the point of throwing it, when he was prevented by young Wilson,
who, having followed Mr. Grimes with a double-barrelled gun, levelled at
the native, and fired it. He was supposed to be wounded, for he fell; but
rising again, he attempted a second time to throw the spear, and was
again prevented by Wilson. The effect of this second shot was supposed to
be conclusive, as he was not seen to rise any more. Mr. Grimes got back
to his boat without any other interruption.

Mr. House in his way thither ran close along the shore, and saw not any
shelter for a ship or vessel from Broken Bay to Port Stephens. The
schooner was only fourteen hours on her return.

About this time, the spirit of inquiry being on foot, Mr. Cummings, an
officer of the corps, made an excursion to the southward of Botany Bay,
and brought back with him some of the head bones of a marine animal,
which, on inspection, Captain Paterson, the only naturalist in the
country, pronounced to have belonged to the animal described by M. de
Buffon, and named by him the Manatee. On this excursion Mr. Cummings
received some information which led him to believe that the cattle that
had been lost soon after our arrival were in existence. The natives who
conversed with him were so particular in their account of having seen a
large animal with horns, that he shortly after, taking some of them with
him as guides, set off to seek them, but returned without success, not
having met with any trace that could lead him to suppose they might ever
be found.

On the 4th the _Britannia_ returned from the Cape of Good Hope, having
been absent six months and three days. Mr. Raven brought alive to his
employers, one stallion, twenty-nine mares, three fillies, and twelve
sheep. He sailed from the Cape with forty mares on board; but those that
died were the worst, and had not been kept up long enough on dry food
before they were embarked.

It was evident, on visiting the ship, that every attention had been paid
to their accommodation; but horses were generally supposed better
calculated than other cattle to endure the weather usually met with
between the Cape and this country*.

[* It may be remembered, that in a former voyage to the Cape on a similar
errand, she lost twenty-nine cows.]

We had the gratification of hearing that our fleet under Earl Howe had
been victorious in a gallant and severe action with the enemy.

On the 15th, when anxiously expecting an arrival from England, we saw
Mr. Dell come to anchor in the cove from Norfolk Island.

Though this arrival proved a disappointment to most of us, yet the
information we received by it was rather interesting. We now learned,
that Mr. Dell had been at New Zealand, where he passed three months in
the river named by Captain Cook the Thames, employed in cutting spars,
for the purpose (as was conjectured here at the time of his departure) of
freighting such ship as might arrive from India on Mr. Bampton's account.
In the course of that time they cut down upwards of two hundred very fine
trees, from sixty to one hundred and forty feet in length, fit for any
use that the East India Company's ships might require. The longest of
these trees measured three feet and a half in the butt, and differed from
the Norfolk Island pines in having the turpentine in the centre of the
tree instead of between the bark and the wood. From the natives they
received very little interruption, being only upon one occasion obliged
to fire on them. Like other uncivilised people, these islanders saw no
crime in theft, and stole some axes from the people employed on shore,
gratifying thereby their predilection for iron, which, strange as it may
sound to us, they would have preferred to gold. Unfortunately, iron was
too precious even here to part with, unless for an equivalent; and it
became necessary to convince them of it. Two men and one woman were
killed, the seamen who fired on them declaring (in their usual enlarged
style of relation) that they had driven off and pursued upwards of three
thousand of these cannibals. They readily parted with any quantity of
their flax, bartering it for iron. As the valuable qualities of this flax
were well known, it was not uninteresting to us to learn, that so small a
vessel as the _Fancy_ had lain at an anchor for three months in the midst
of numerous and warlike tribes of savages, without any attempt on their
part to become the masters; and that an intercourse might safely and
advantageously be opened between them and the colonists of New South
Wales, whenever proper materials and persons should be sent out to
manufacture the flax, if the governor of that country should ever think
it an object worthy of his attention.

From New Zealand the _Fancy_ proceeded to Norfolk Island, and now came
hither in the hope of meeting with, or hearing of Mr. Bampton.

From that settlement we gained the following information:

The _Salamander_ touched there, and the _Resolution_ appeared off the
island, but had no communication with the shore.

A heavy gale of wind, accompanied with a slight shock of the earth, had
done considerable damage, washing away a very useful wharf and crane at
Cascade, but which the governor meant immediately to replace.

The produce of the wheat this season on government's account amounted to
three thousand bushels, and that of settlers to fifteen hundred. The
Indian corn promised a very plentiful crop; but the settlers were much
discouraged by their bills of the last year remaining still unpaid. Much
of that corn was obliged to be surveyed, and two thousand bushels had
been condemned.

Swine were increasing so rapidly on Phillip Island, now stocked by
government, that Mr. King thought he should be able for some time to
issue fresh pork during four days in the week. The flour was expended; of
salt meat there was a sufficiency in store for eight months. The whole
number of persons on the island amounted to nine hundred and forty-five.

A convict well known in this settlement, Benjamin Ingraham, being
detected in the act of housebreaking, put an end to his own existence by
hanging himself, thus terminating by his own hand a life of wretchedness
and villany.

On the 17th St. Patrick found many votaries in the settlement. Some Cape
brandy lately imported in the _Britannia_ appeared to have arrived very
seasonably; and libations to the saint were so plentifully poured, that
at night the cells were full of prisoners.

Settlers, and other persons who had Indian corn to dispose of, were this
month informed, that they would receive five shillings per bushel for all
they might bring to the public stores. They were likewise told, that a
preference would be given to those who had disposed of their wheat to

On the 23rd the _Experiment_ sailed for India. Mr. McClellan had been
with his vessel to the Hawkesbury, where he had taken in sixty large logs
of the tree which we had named the cedar. He had also purchased some of
the mahogany of this country. Whether cedar and mahogany were or were not
to be readily procured at Bengal, ought to have been well known to this
gentleman before he put himself to the trouble, delay, and expence of
procuring such a quantity*; but it was here generally looked upon as a
speculation that would not produce him much profit.

[* He was to allow one hundred pounds for as many trees; but we
understood that it was to be in the way of barter with articles, sugar,
spirits, etc.]

On the day of his sailing, suspecting (as was reported) some design to
seize his vessel, he sent on shore three people whom he had shipped here.
They rendezvoused at a hut in the town occupied by one John Chapman
Morris; and, on searching it, in the bed of one of them were found a
dozen of new Indian shirts marked D. W.; twenty-two new pulicate
handkerchiefs; and three pieces of striped gingham. On the possessor
being questioned, he said, that they were sold to him while he was at
Norfolk Island by the steward of Captain Manning's ship, the _Pitt_. As
this was a very improbable story, the house they were in was ordered by
the commanding officer to be pulled down. The property, having been
disclaimed by Mr. McClennan, was lodged with the provost-marshal; and the
parties given to understand, that a reference would be made to Norfolk
Island by the first opportunity.

On the 26th, some of our people witnessed an extraordinary transaction
which took place among the natives at the brick-fields. A young man of
the name of Bing-yi-wan-ne, well known in the settlement, being detected
in the crisis of an amour with Maw-ber-ry, the companion of another
native, Ye-ra-ni-be Go-ru-ey, the latter fell upon him with a club, and
being a powerful man, and of superior strength, absolutely beat him to
death. Bing-yi-wan-ne had some friends, who on the following day called
Ye-ra-ni-be to an account for the murder; when, the affair being
conducted with more regard to honour than justice, he came off with only
a spear-wound in his thigh.

The farmers began gathering their Indian corn about the latter end of
this month. The weather during the former and latter part of it was wet.
About the time of the equinox, the tides in the cove were observed to be
very high.

On the 28th Thomas Webb, a settler, who had removed from his farm at
Liberty Plains to another on the banks of the Hawkesbury, was dangerously
wounded there, while working on his grounds by some of the wood natives,
who had previously plundered his but. About the same time a party of
these people threw a spear at some soldiers who were going up the river
in a small boat. All these unpleasant circumstances were to be attributed
to the ill treatment the natives had received from the settlers.

At Prospect Hill a woman was bitten by a snake; but by the timely
application of some volatile salts by Mr. Irving, her life was saved.

April.] It was determined to let the Toongabbie Hills remain fallow for a
season, they being reported to be worn out. Other ground, which had been
prepared, was now sown; a spot called the Ninety Acres, and the hills
between Parramatta and Toongabbie.

On the 15th, a criminal court was assembled for the trial of John
Anderson and Joseph Marshall, settlers; and John Hyams, Joseph Dunstill,
Richard Watson, and Morgan Bryan, convicts; for a rape committed on the
body of one Mary Hartley, at the Hawkesbury. The court was obliged to
acquit the prisoners, owing to glaring contradiction in the witnesses, no
two of them, though several were examined, agreeing in the same point.
But as such a crime could not be passed with impunity, they were
recommitted, and on the 22nd tried for an assault, of which being very
clearly convicted, the two settlers and Morgan Bryan were sentenced to
receive each five hundred lashes, and the others three hundred each; of
which sentence they received one half, and were forgiven the remainder.
This was a most infamous transaction; and, though the sufferer was of bad
character, would have well warranted the infliction of capital punishment
on one of the offenders, if the witnesses had not prevaricated in their
testimony. They appeared to have cast off all the feelings of civilised
humanity, adopting as closely as they could follow them the manners of
the savage inhabitants of the country. One prisoner, John Rayner, was
also tried for a burglary, and being convicted received sentence of death.

On the 29th, a liberal allowance of slops was issued to the male and
female convicts in the different settlements, among which were some soap
to the men, and some thread, tape, and soap to the women.

A shed for the purpose of receiving their Indian corn was this month
begun by the settlers at the river, they and their servants bringing in
the materials, and government supplying the carpenters, tools, nails, etc.

The farmers now every where began putting their wheat into the ground,
except at the river, where they had scarcely made any preparations,
consuming their time and substance in drinking and rioting; and trusting
to the extreme fertility of the soil, which they declared would produce
an ample crop at any time without much labour. So silly and thoughtless
were these people, who were thus unworthily placed on the banks of a
river which, from its fertility and the effect of its inundations, might
not improperly be termed the _Nile_ of New South Wales.

May.] From the reduced state of the salted provisions, it became
necessary (such had often been the preamble of an order) to diminish the
ration of that article weekly to each person, and half the beef and half
the pork was stopped at once. In some measure to make this great
deduction lighter, three pints of peas were added. This circumstance
induced the commanding officer, on the day this alteration took place, to
hire the _Britannia_ to proceed to India for a cargo of salted provisions.
Supplies might arrive before she could return; but the war increased the
chances against us. He therefore took her up at fifteen shillings and
sixpence per ton per month; and, in order to save as much salt meat as
was possible, he directed the commissary to purchase such fresh pork as
the settlers and others might bring in good condition to the store,
issuing two pounds of fresh, in lieu of one of salt meat. During the time
this order continued, a barrow was killed and part sent to the store,
which weighed five hundred pounds, and a sow which weighed three hundred
and thirty-six pounds. They had both been fed a considerable time* on
Indian corn, and, according to the rate they sold at (the pork one
shilling per pound, and the corn five shillings per bushel) could neither
of them have repaid the expence of their feed.

[* The barrow two years and a half, and the sow about two years.]

On the 21st the colonial schooner returned from the Hawkesbury, bringing
upwards of eleven hundred bushels of remarkably fine Indian corn from the
store there. The master again reported his apprehensions that the
navigation of the river would be obstructed by the settlers, who
continued the practice of falling and rolling trees into the stream. He
found five feet less water at the store-wharf than when he was there in
February last, owing to the dry weather which had for some time past

At that settlement an open war seemed about this time to have commenced
between the natives and the settlers; and word was received over-land,
that two people were killed by them; one a settler of the name of Wilson,
and the other a freeman, one William Thorp, who had been left behind from
the _Britannia_, and had hired himself to this Wilson as a labourer. The
natives appeared in large bodies, men, women, and children, provided with
blankets and nets to carry off the corn, of which they appeared as fond
as the natives who lived among us, and seemed determined to take it
whenever and wherever they could meet with opportunities. In their
attacks they conducted themselves with much art; but where that failed
they had recourse to force, and on the least appearance of resistance
made use of their spears or clubs. To check at once, if possible, these
dangerous depredators, Captain Paterson directed a party of the corps to
be sent from Parramatta, with instructions to destroy as many as they
could meet with of the wood tribe (Be-dia-gal); and, in the hope of
striking terror, to erect gibbets in different places, whereon the bodies
of all they might kill were to be hung. It was reported, that several of
these people were killed in consequence of this order; but none of their
bodies being found, (perhaps if any were killed they were carried off by
their companions,) the number could not be ascertained. Some prisoners
however were taken, and sent to Sydney; one man, (apparently a cripple,)
five women, and some children. One of the women, with a child at her
breast, had been shot through the shoulder, and the same shot had wounded
the babe. They were immediately placed in a hut near our hospital, and
every care taken of them that humanity suggested. The man was said,
instead of being a cripple, to have been very active about the farms, and
instrumental in some of the murders which had been committed. In a short
time he found means to escape, and by swimming reached the north shore in
safety; whence, no doubt, he got back to his friends. Captain Paterson
hoped, by detaining the prisoners and treating them well, that some good
effect might result; but finding, after some time, that coercion, not
attention, was more likely to answer his ends, he sent the women back.
While they were with us, the wounded child died, and one of the women was
delivered of a boy, which died immediately. On our withdrawing the party,
the natives attacked a farm nearly opposite Richmond Hill, belonging to
one William Rowe, and put him and a very fine child to death, the wife,
after receiving several wounds, crawled down the bank, and concealed
herself among some reeds half immersed in the river, where she remained a
considerable time without assistance: being at length found, this poor
creature, after having seen her husband and her child slaughtered before
her eyes, was brought into the hospital at Parramatta, where she
recovered, though slowly, of her wounds. In consequence of this horrid
circumstance, another party of the corps was sent out; and while they
were there the natives kept at a distance. This duty now became
permanent; and the soldiers were distributed among the settlers for their
protection; a protection, however, that many of them did not merit.

Pemulwy, or some of his party, were not idle about Sydney; they even
ventured to appear within half a mile of the brickfield huts, and wound a
convict who was going to a neighbouring farm on business. As one of our
most frequent walks from the town was in that direction, this
circumstance was rather unpleasant; but the natives were not seen there

On Sunday the 31st, about one o'clock, the signal was made at the
South Head for a sail; and about five there anchored in the cove the
_Endeavour_, a ship of eight hundred tons from Bombay, under the command
of Mr. Bampton, having on board one hundred and thirty-two head of
cattle, a quantity of rice, and the other articles of the contract
engaged by Lieutenant-governor Grose, except the salt provisions. She
had been eleven weeks from Bombay.

The cattle arrived, in general, in good condition; and Mr. Bampton had
been very successful in his care of them. He embarked one hundred and
thirty at Bombay, out of which he lost but one cow, and that died the
morning before his arrival.

On visiting the ship, the sight was truly gratifying; the cattle were
ranged on each side of the gun-deck, fore and aft, and not confined in
separate stalls; but so conveniently stowed, that they were a support to
each other. They were well provided with mats, and were constantly
cleaned; and when the ship tacked, the cattle which were to leeward were
regularly laid with their heads to windward, by people (twenty in number)
particularly appointed to look after them, independent of any duty in the
ship. The grain which was their food was, together with their water,
regularly given to them, and the deck they stood on was well aired, by
scuttles in the sides, and by wind sails.*

[* These circumstances are mentioned so particularly, in the hope that
they may prove useful hints to any persons intending, or who may be in
future employed, to convey cattle from India, or any other part of the
world, to New South Wales.]

Of this number of cattle forty were for draught, sixty for breeding, and
the remainder calves; but some of them so large, as to be valued and
taken at fifteen guineas per head.

On their landing, we were concerned to find that many of the draught
cattle were very aged; they were, it was true, in health; but younger
animals undoubtedly ought to have been procured; for of little use could
toothless, old, and blind beasts be to us.

At the settlement at the Hawkesbury, a woman who had been drinking was
found dead in her husband's arms. Webb the settler, who was wounded in
March last, died; and one settler (Rowe) and his child were killed in
this month.

June.] On the 4th of this month, being the anniversary of his Majesty's
birth, the commissary issued to each of the non-commissioned officers and
privates of the New South Wales corps, one pound of fresh pork and half a
pint of spirits; and to all other people victualled from the store one
gill each. At noon the regiment fired three volleys; and at one o'clock
the _Britannia_ and _Fancy_ twenty-one guns each in honour of the day.

Preparatory to the departure of the _Britannia_, some returns were
procured, which were necessary to be transmitted with the dispatches then
making up. Among others it appeared, that the following quantity of
ground had been this season sown with wheat: viz.

On account of government at and about Parramatta 340
Individuals at and about ditto 1214
Individuals at the River* 5481/2
Individuals at and about Sydney 6183/4
Total 27211/4

[* This was the account given by the settlers; but their conduct gave
little room to believe they had been so industrious: they certainly ought
to have had a greater quantity.]

On the 18th the _Britannia_ sailed for India. As the state of the
settlement at the time of her departure required every exertion to be
made in procuring an immediate supply of provisions, Mr. Raven was
directed to repair to Batavia, to procure there if possible a cargo of
European salted meat. The necessity of his immediate return was so
urgent, that if he found on his arrival that only half a cargo could be
got, he was to fill up the remainder of the stowage with rice and sugar,
and make the best of his way back. If salted provisions were not to be
got at Batavia, he was to proceed to Calcutta. Should circumstances
run so much against us, as to cause his failure at both these ports,
Mr. Raven was at liberty to return by way of the Cape of Good Hope, as
provisions were at any rate to be procured, if possible.

On the 21st, the _Fancy_ sailed for Norfolk Island, taking a cargo of
rice and dholl for the use of that settlement; the Rev. Mr. Marsden also
embarked in her to marry and baptise such as stood in need of those rites.

On the 29th the colonial schooner brought another cargo of Indian corn
(one thousand one hundred and twelve bushels) from the Hawkesbury. For
want of storehouse room, great quantities were left lying before the
door, exposed to, and suffering much by the weather. As it had not been
measured or received by the store-keeper, the loss fell upon the owners.

The cattle lately arrived seemed to suffer by their change of climate;
one cow and several calves died; perhaps as much from mismanagement, as
by the weather; for, with very few exceptions, it was impossible to
select from among the prisoners, or those who had been such, any who
would feel an honest interest in executing the service in which they were
employed. They would pilfer half the grain entrusted to their care for
the cattle; they would lead them into the woods for pasturage, and there
leave them until obliged to conduct them in; they would neither clean
them nor themselves. Indolent, and by long habit worthless, no dependance
could be placed on them. In every instance they endeavoured to
circumvent; and whenever their exertions were called for, they first
looked about them to discover how those exertions might be turned to
their own advantage. Could it then be wondered at, if little had been
done since our establishment? and must it not rather excite admiration to
see how much had been done? Whatever was to be seen was the effect of the
most unremitting, and perhaps degrading vigilance on the part of those in
whom the executive power had been from time to time vested, and of the
interest that many individuals had felt in raising this country from its
original insignificance to some degree of consequence.

Among the casualties of the month must be noticed the death of a man
unfortunately drowned in attempting to save the life of a woman who was
overset with himself in a passage-boat, coming from Parramatta. He had
just got her into safety when she pulled him under water, and he
perished. It is extremely hazardous, and requires very great caution in
those who meddle with persons that are drowning.

On the 27th, two soldiers, going with their arms to Parramatta, stopped
on the road to fire at a mark. One of them, inconsiderately, placing
himself behind the tree which was the mark, and presenting himself in the
unfortunate moment of his companion's firing, received the ball in his
thigh near the groin. He was brought to Sydney as soon as it was
possible, when Mr. Harris the surgeon of the regiment amputated the limb.
The wound was so near the groin, however, that the tourniquet was fixed
with much difficulty and hazard*.

[* The patient's name was Nicholas Downie. He recovered, after several
weeks care and attention on the part of Mr. Harris; but his comrade
suffered much anxiety during the cure.]

There was at this time under the care of the surgeon Joseph Hatton, a
settler at the Eastern Farms, an elderly man, who had been dangerously
stabbed in the belly by his wife, a young woman (named before their
marriage Rosamond Sparrow), in a fit of jealousy and passion. On his
recovery, he earnestly requested that no punishment might be inflicted on
her, but that she might be put away from him.


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

July.] The salted provisions being all expended, except a few casks which
were reserved for the non-commissioned officers and private soldiers of
the corps, on Saturday the 11th of the month the convicts received the
following ration:

Indian corn 12 pounds (unground);
Rice 5 ditto;
Dholl 3 pints;
Sugar 11/2 pound;

being the first time, since the establishment of the colony, that they
had gone from the store without receiving either salted or fresh
provisions. On the Monday following the military received,

Salt pork 2 pounds;
Indian corn 12 ditto (unground);
Peas 3 pints;
Rice 3 ditto;
Sugar 6 ounces.

This being the state of the stores, supplies were ardently to be desired.
It was truly unfortunate, that Mr. Bampton had not been able to procure
any salted provisions at Bombay, but in lieu thereof had brought us a
quantity of rice. We now began to grow grain sufficient for our
consumption from crop to crop, and grain that was at all times preferred
to the imports from India. Dholl and rice were never well received by the
prisoners as an equivalent for flour, particularly when peas formed a
part of the ration; and it was to be lamented that a necessity ever
existed, of forcing upon them such trash as they had from time to time
been obliged to digest.

The effects of this ration soon appeared; several attacks were made on
individuals; the house occupied by Mr. Muir was broken into, and all or
nearly all that gentleman's property stolen; some of his wearing apparel
was laid in his way the next day; but he still remained a considerable
sufferer by the visit. Some private stock yards were attacked; but
finding them too vigilantly watched, a fellow played off a trick that he
thought would go down with the hungry; he stole a very fine greyhound,
and instead of secretly employing him in procuring occasionally a fresh
meal, he actually killed the dog, and sold it to different people in the
town for kangaroo at nine-pence per pound. Being detected in this
villainous traffic, he was severely punished.

A criminal court was assembled on the 20th for the trial of Mary Pawson,
a settler's wife at the river, for the crime of arson. On the trial there
was strong evidence of malice in the prisoner against the wife of the
owner of the house; but not any that led directly to convict her of
having set the house on fire. She was therefore acquitted; but the
adjoining settlers disliking such a character in their neighbourhood, the
husband, who had nothing against him but this wife, sold a very good farm
which he possessed on a creek of the river, and withdrew to another
situation, remote and less advantageous. At the same time a notorious
offender, James Barry, was tried for attempting to break into a settler's
house at the Ponds with an intent to steal, the proof of which was too
clear to admit of his escape. He was sentenced to suffer one thousand
lashes, and on the Saturday following received two hundred and seventy
of them.

On the same day a civil court was held for the purpose of granting
probate of the will of Thomas Daveney, late a superintendant of convicts,
who died on the 3rd of the month. The cause of his death was
extraordinary. He had been appointed a superintendant of the convicts
employed in agriculture at Toongabbie by the late Governor Phillip, who,
considering him trust-worthy, placed great confidence in him. Some time
after Governor Phillip's departure, his conduct was represented to the
lieutenant-governor in such a light, that he dismissed him from his
situation, and he retired to a farm which he had at Toongabbie. He had
been always addicted to the use of spirituous liquors; but he now applied
himself more closely to them, to drown the recollection of his disgrace.
In this vice he continued until the 3rd of May last, on which day he came
to Sydney in a state of insanity. He went to the house of a friend in the
town, determined, as it seemed, to destroy himself, for he there drank,
unknown to the people of the house, as fast as he could swallow, nearly
half a gallon of Cape brandy. He fell directly upon the floor of the room
he was in (which happened to be of brick); where the people, thinking
nothing worse than intoxication ailed him, suffered him to lie for ten or
twelve hours; in consequence he was seized with a violent inflammation
which broke out on the arm, and that part of the body which lay next the
ground; to this, after suppuration had taken place, and several
operations had been performed to extract the pus, a mortification
succeeded, and at last carried him off on the 3rd of July. A few hours
before his death he requested to see the ludge-advocate, to whom he
declared, that it had been told him that he had been suspected of having
improperly and tyrannically abused the confidence which he had enjoyed
under Governor Phillip; but that he could safely declare as he was
shortly to appear before the last tribunal, that nothing lay on his
conscience which could make his last moments in this life painful. At his
own request he was interred in the burying ground at Parramatta. He had
been advancing his means pretty rapidly; for, after his decease, his
stock of goats, consisting of eighty-six males and females, sold by
public auction for three hundred and fifty-seven pounds fifteen
shillings. He left a widow (formerly Catharine Hounson) who had for
several years been deranged in her intellects.

In addition to the superintendant, there died in this month a woman, Jane
Forbes, the wife of Butler, a settler at Prospect Hill, who fell into the
fire while preparing their breakfast, and received such injury that she
shortly after expired.

August.] From the scantiness of salted provisions, the article salt was
become as scarce. There came out in the _Surprise_, as a settler, a
person of the name of Boston. Among other useful knowledge* which we were
given to understand he possessed, he at this time offered his skill in
making salt from sea-water. As it was much wanted, his offers were
accepted, and, an eligible spot at Bennillong's Point (as the east point
of the cove had long been named) being chosen, he began his operations,
for which he had seven men allowed him, whose labour, however, only
produced three or four bushels of salt in more than as many weeks.

[* Having been sent out by government to supply us with salted fish, he
had some time before offered to procure and salt fish for the settlement;
but he required boats and men, and more assistance than it was possible
to supply. He proposed to try Broken Bay.]

His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales's birthday was duly noticed. At
one o'clock the _Endeavour_ fired twenty-one guns.

Wilson (Bun-bo-e), immediately after his return from Port Stephens with
the deputy-surveyor, went off to the natives at the river. Another
vagabond, who like himself had been a convict, one Knight, thinking there
must be some sweets in the life which Wilson led, determined to share
them with him, and went off to the woods. About the middle of this month
they both came into the town, accompanied by some of their companions. On
the day following it appeared that their visit was for the purpose of
forcing a wife from among the women of this district; for in the midst of
a considerable uproar, which was heard near the bridge, Wilson and Knight
were discovered, each dragging a girl by the arm (whose age could not
have been beyond nine or ten years) assisted by their new associates. The
two white men being soon secured, and the children taken care of, the mob
dispersed. Wilson and Knight were taken to the cells and punished, and it
was intended to employ them both in hard labour; but they found means to
escape, and soon mixed again with companions whom they preferred to our

About this time the natives were, during two days, engaged in very severe
contests. Much blood was shed, and many wounds inflicted; but no one was
killed. It appeared to afford much diversion; for they were constantly
well attended by all descriptions of people, notwithstanding the risk
they ran of being wounded by a random spear.

On the 26th that settlement was gratified by the arrival of his Majesty's
ship _Providence_, of twenty-eight guns, commanded by Captain Broughton,
from England. She sailed thence on the 25th of February last, in company
with his Majesty's ships _Reliance_ and _Supply_, which ships she left at
Rio de Janeiro some time in May last. We had the satisfaction of learning
that Governor Hunter was on board the _Reliance_, and might be daily

The _Providence_ met with very bad weather on her passage from the Brazil
coast, and was driven past this harbour as far to the northward as Port
Stephens, in which she anchored. There, to the great surprise of Captain
Broughton, he found and received on board four white people, (if four
miserable, naked, dirty, and smoke-dried men could be called white,)
runaways from this settlement. By referring to the transactions of the
month of September 1790, it will be found that five convicts, John
Tarwood, George Lee, George Connoway, John Watson, and Joseph Sutton,
escaped from the settlement at Parramatta, and, providing themselves with
a wretched weak boat, which they stole from the people at the South Head,
disappeared, and were supposed to have met a death which, one might have
imagined, they went without the Heads to seek. Four of these people
(Joseph Sutton having died) were now met with in this harbour by the
officers of the _Providence_, and brought back to the colony. They told a
melancholy tale of their sufferings in the boat; and for many days after
their arrival passed their time in detailing to the crowds both of black
and white people which attended them their adventures in Port Stephens,
the first harbour they made. Having lived like the savages among whom
they dwelt, their change of food soon disagreed with them, and they were
all taken ill, appearing to be principally affected with abdominal
swellings. They spoke in high terms of the pacific disposition and gentle
manners of the natives. They were at some distance inland when Mr. Grimes
was in Port Stephens; but heard soon after of the schooner's visit, and
well knew, and often afterwards saw, the man who had been fired at, but
not killed at that time as was supposed, by Wilson. Each of them had had
names given him, and given with several ceremonies. Wives also were
allotted them, and one or two had children. They were never required to
go out on any occasion of hostility, and were in general supplied by the
natives with fish or other food, being considered by them (for so their
situation only could be construed) as unfortunate strangers thrown upon
their shore from the mouth of the yawning deep, and entitled to their
protection. They told us a ridiculous story, that the natives appeared to
worship them, often assuring them, when they began to understand each
other, that they were undoubtedly the ancestors of some of them who had
fallen in battle, and had returned from the sea to visit them again; and
one native appeared firmly to believe that his father was come back in
the person of either Lee or Connoway, and took him to the spot where his
body had been burnt. On being told that immense numbers of people existed
far beyond their little knowledge, they instantly pronounced them to be
the spirits of their countrymen, which, after death, had migrated into
other regions.

It appeared from these four men, that the language to the northward
differed wholly from any that we knew. Among the natives who lived with
us, there were none who understood all that they said, and of those who
occasionally came in, one only could converse with them. He was a very
fine lad, of the name of Wur-gan. His mother had been born and bred
beyond the mountains, but one luckless day, paying a visit with some of
her tribe to the banks of the Dee-rab-bun (for so the Hawkesbury was
named) she was forcibly prevented returning, and, being obliged to submit
to the embraces of an amorous and powerful Be-dia-gal, the fruit of her
visit was this boy. Speaking herself more dialects than one, she taught
her son all she knew, and he, being of quick parts, and a roving
disposition, caught all the different dialects from Botany Bay to Port

We understood that Lieutenant-governor Grose in the _Daedalus_ had
reached Rio de Janeiro in eleven weeks from his sailing hence, and that
all on board were in health.

Public labour was scarcely anywhere performed in this month, owing to the
extreme badness of the weather which prevailed. The rain and wind were so
violent for some days after the arrival of the _Providence_, that neither
that ship nor the _Endeavour_ had much communication with the shore.
Accounts were received from the Hawkesbury, that several farms on the
creeks were under water; and the person who brought the account was
nearly drowned in his way over a plain named the Race-Ground. Paling
could no where stand the force of the storm. Several chimnies and much
plaster fell, and every house was wet. At Parramatta much damage was
done; and at Toongabbie (a circumstance most acutely felt) a very large
barn and threshing-floor were destroyed. The schooner had been loading
with corn at the river, and, though she left the store on the 11th, did
not reach Sydney until the 20th, having met with much bad weather. During
the storm, the column at the South Head fell in. This, however, could be
more readily repaired than the barn and the threshing-floor at Toongabbie,
which were serious losses, and had cost government a much larger sum than
the beacon.

Several of the cattle lately arrived perished in this bad weather.

To eke out the salt meat that was reserved for the military, two Cape
cows, which would not breed, were killed and served out to them during
this month.

September.] After an absence of eleven weeks, the _Fancy_ arrived on the
3rd from Norfolk Island. Her passage thither was made in six days; but on
her return she ran within one hundred and thirty miles of this port in
three or four days; yet afterwards met with contrary and heavy gales of
wind which kept her out a month. On the 28th of last month she was off
the south head of Broken Bay in a heavy gale of wind, and was, by being
close in with the land in thick weather, in extreme danger. Of a large
quantity of stock (the property of Mr. Balmain, who left Norfolk Island
to take upon him the charge of the general hospital here), but a very
small quantity remained alive after the gale.

The most favourable accounts were received from that settlement. Plenty
reigned throughout. Every barn was full. Four thousand pounds of fresh
pork having been cured, the lieutenant-governor had forty tons of salt
provisions to spare, which he offered to this colony. The wharf and crane
at Cascade were rather improved than simply repaired, and an overshot
water-mill had been erected at the trifling expence of three ewe sheep to
the constructor, which ground and dressed eighteen bushels of flour in a

William Hogg, a prisoner well known and approved at this place for his
abilities as a silversmith, and an actor in the walk of low comedy, put
an end to his existence in a very deliberate manner a few days before the
_Fancy_ sailed. Spirits being in circulation after her arrival, he went
to the 'Grog-shop' as long as he had money; but, finding that he had no
credit, he could no longer endure the loss of character which he thought
attached to it; and though he did not 'make his quietus with a bare
bodkin,' yet he found a convenient rope that put him out of the world.

The 7th of September was marked by the arrival of the governor in chief
of these settlements. The signal was made for two sail between eight and
nine o'clock in the morning. The wind being from the northward, they did
not reach the anchorage until late; his Majesty's ship the _Supply_,
commanded by Lieutenant William Kent, getting in about sun-set; and the
_Reliance_, with the governor on board, about eight at night. Their
passage from Rio de Janeiro was long (fourteen weeks) and very rough,
until the ships came off Van Dieman's Land. Of our late bad weather they
had felt nothing.

Situated as the colony was in point of provisions, we learned with
infinite concern, that a storeship which had once been under Governor
Hunter's orders, had, from being overloaded, been unavoidably left
behind, and had yet to run the chance of being taken by the enemies'
cruizers; and that by the two ships now arrived we had only gained a few
barrels of provisions salted at Rio de Janeiro; a town clock; the
principal parts of a large wind-mill; two officers of the New South Wales
corps; Mr. S. Leeds an assistant-surgeon, and Mr. D. Payne a master

His excellency did not take upon him the exercise of his authority until
the 11th, on which day his Majesty's commission was publicly read by the
judge-advocate, all descriptions of persons being present, His
excellency, in a very pertinent speech, declared the expectations he had
from every one's conduct, touching with much delicacy on that of the
persons lately sent here for a certain offence, (some of whom were
present, but who unfortunately kept at too great a distance to bear him,)
and strongly urging the necessity of a general unanimity in support of
his Majesty's government. He was afterwards sworn in by the
judge-advocate at his office.* An address, signed by the civil and
military officers on occasion of his return among them as governor, was
presented to his excellency a few days after his public appearance in
that important capacity.

[* Before Captain Paterson gave up his command, all the prisoners in
confinement were pardoned and liberated. Rayner, under sentence of death,
was pardoned by the governor some time after. In consequence of this act
of grace, several runaways gave themselves up.]

That he might as speedily as possible be acquainted with the state of the
colony, he ordered a general muster to be taken by the commissary,
appointing different days at Sydney, Parramatta, and the Hawkesbury, in
order that correct accounts might be obtained of the number and
distribution of every person (the military excepted) in those districts;
and he purposed in person to inspect the state of the different farms. He
recommended it to all persons who had lands in cultivation to plant with
Indian corn as much of them as might not at that time be under any other
grain; urging them, as it was the proper season, not to let it pass by,
it being an essential article in the nourishment of live stock, the
increase of which was of such importance to the settlement, that he could
not but advise the utmost care and economy in the use of what might then
and in future be in the possession of settlers and other persons.

Mr. Bampton having given his ship such repairs as he was able in this
port, the _Endeavour_ and _Fancy_ sailed for India on the 18th. He
purposed touching at New Zealand and at Norfolk Island. We found after
their departure, that, notwithstanding so many as fifty persons whose
transportation had expired had been permitted to leave the colony in the
_Endeavour_, nearly as many more had found means to secrete themselves on
board her. As she was to touch at Norfolk Island, hopes were entertained
of getting the runaways back again, as the loss even of one man's labour
was at this time an object of consequence.

As many labouring people as could be got together were employed during
the month in receiving such articles as had been brought in the king's
ships for the colony.

The weather during the month was very variable; and three women and two
men died. Of these one was much regretted, as his loss would be severely
felt; this was Mr. J. Irving, who, dying before the governor arrived,
knew not that he had been appointed an assistant to the surgeons with a
salary of fifty pounds per annum.

October.] The police and civil duties of the town and district of Sydney
were now regulated by civil magistrates. At Parramatta, Lieutenant
McArthur continued to carry on the duties to which he had been appointed
by Lieutenant-Governor Grose, the public service at that place requiring
the inspection and superintendance of an officer.

On Sunday the 4th of this month the _Young William_, the storeship whose
unavoidable delay in her sailing we had regretted on the arrival of the
governor without her, anchored safe in the cove from England, after a
short passage of four months and nine days, with a cargo of provisions
only. She sailed from Spithead in company with the _Sovereign_, another
storeship, on the 25th of May, taking her route by the way of Rio de
Janeiro, where she anchored on the 12th of July, leaving it on the 21st
of the same month; and meeting with very bad weather nearly the whole of
the voyage, she shipped great quantities of water; and, being very deeply
laden, the vessel was considerably strained.

By letters received from this ship we learned, that some promotions had
taken place in the New South Wales corps. Captain Nicholas Nepean had
obtained the commission of second major; Lieutenant John McArthur had
succeeded to his company; Lieutenant John Townson had got the company
late belonging to Captain Hill; and Ensigns Clephan and Piper were made
lieutenants, all without purchase. Messrs. Kent and Bell, the naval
agents, who left this country in the _Britannia_ in September 1794,
arrived safely in England in March last.

In consequence of this arrival the governor had it in his power to issue
a better, though not so ample a ration of provisions as he could have
desired. The supply had not been sufficient to allow him to order more
than four pounds ten ounces and two thirds of an ounce of pork, and four
pounds of flour, to the convicts. The same quantity of salt meat was
ordered for the military; but they received two pounds of flour more than
the prisoners. The other parts of the weekly ration remained nearly the
same as before, except the article of sugar, the convicts receiving six
ounces instead of one pound and a half of that article.

The report of the general muster which was ordered in the last month
having been laid before the governor, he thought proper to make some
regulations in the assistance afforded by government to settlers and
others holding grants of land. To the officers who occupied grounds was
continued the number of men allowed them by lieutenant-governor Grose; viz
ten for agriculture, and three for domestic purposes. Notwithstanding
this far exceeded the number which had at home been thought necessary,
the governor did not conceive this to be the moment for reducing it, much
as he wanted men. A wheat harvest was approaching; ground was planting
with Indian corn; not a man was unemployed; but he saw and explained that
a reduction must take place; that government could not be supposed much
longer to feed, maintain, and clothe the hands that wrought the ground,
and at the same time pay for the produce of their labour, particularly
when every public work was likely to stand still for want of labourers.
He was sensible that the assistance which had been given had not been
thrown away, and that the small number allowed by government could never
have produced such rapid approaches toward that independence which he
thought, from what he had already seen of the cultivation of the country,
was now much nearer than at his leaving it in 1791 he could have
conceived to be possible. To the settlers* who arrived in the _Surprise_
he allowed five male convicts; to the superintendants, constables, and
store-keepers, four; to settlers from free people**, two; to settlers
from prisoners, one; and to sergeants of the New South Wales corps, one.

[* Messrs. Boston, Pearce, and Ellis.]

[** Such as the marine settlers, those at Liberty Plains, and others who
never had been prisoners.]

As much inconvenience also was felt, and the end for which government
gave up the services of these convicts to individuals liable to be
defeated by their not residing at their respective farms, the settlers
were directed as much as possible to prevent their servants from having
any intercourse, particularly during the night, with the towns in their
neighbourhood; as most of the robberies which were committed were not
unjustly laid to their account.

It appeared likewise by this muster, that one hundred and seventy-nine
people subsisted themselves independent of the public stores, and resided
in this town. To many of these, as well as to the servants of settlers,
were to be attributed the offences that were daily heard of, they were
the greatest nuisances we had to complain of; and there was not a doubt
that they were concerned about this time in rolling two casks of meat
from a pile at the store in a very hard storm of wind and rain. Enough to
fill a cask was found concealed in different holes the following morning.

An indulgence had been allowed to some of the military and others, which
was now found to have produced an evil. Having been permitted to build
themselves huts on each side of and near the stream of water which
supplied the town of Sydney, they had, for the convenience of procuring
water, opened the paling, and made paths from each hut; by which, in
rainy weather, a great quantity of filth ran into the stream, polluting
the water of which every one drank. It therefore became an object of
police; and the governor prohibited removing the paling, or keeping hogs
in the neighbourhood of the stream, under penalty to the offender that
his house should be pulled down.

On the 13th, the _Providence_ sailed for Nootka Sound. She was followed
by the _Supply_, which sailed on the 16th for Norfolk Island, having on
board three officers of the New South Wales corps, and a detachment of
the regiment to relieve those now on duty there. On the 29th the _Young
William_, having been expeditiously cleared of her cargo, sailed for

Clearing the store-ship, which was completed on the 19th, and stowing in
the public store the provisions she brought out, was the principal labour
of the month. Every effort was made to collect together a sufficient
number of working people to get in the ensuing harvest; and the muster
and regulation respecting the servants fortunately produced some. The
bricklayer and his gang were employed in repairing the column at the
South Head; to do which, for want of bricks at the kiln, the little hut
built formerly for Bennillong, being altogether forsaken by the natives,
and tumbling down, the bricks of it were removed to the South Head. A
person having undertaken to collect shells and burn them into lime, a
quantity of that article was sent down; and the column, being finished
with a thick coat of plaster, and whitened, was not only better guarded
against the weather, but became a more conspicuous object at sea than it
ever had been before.

November.] On the 5th of November, the _Sovereign_ store-ship arrived
from England; her cargo a welcome one, being provisions. Like the _Young
William_, she touched at Rio de Janeiro, and like her also had met with
very bad weather after she had left that port until her arrival; from
making the south cape of this country to her anchoring she had a passage
of three weeks. In this ship arrived Mr. Thomas Hibbins, the deputy
judge-advocate for Norfolk Island; but unfortunately without the patent
under the great seal for holding the court. One settler also arrived, a
Mr. Kennedy and his family (a sister and three nieces); and Mr. Joseph
Gerald, a prisoner, whose present situation afforded another melancholy
proof of how little profit and honor were the endowments of nature and
education to him who perverted them. In this gentleman we saw, that not
even elegant manners (evidently caught from good company), great
abilities, and a happy mode of placing them in the best point of view,
the gifts of nature matured by education, could (because he misapplied
them) save him from landing an exile, to call him by no worse a name, on
a barbarous shore, where the few who were civilized must pity, while they
admired him. He arrived in a very weak and impaired state of health. We
learned that two other ships with convicts, the _Marquis Cornwallis_ and
the _Maria_, might be expected to arrive in the course of this summer.

On the 7th, a criminal court was assembled, when the following persons
were tried; viz. Samuel Chinnery (a black) servant to Mr. Arndell*, the
assistant surgeon, for robbing that gentleman; but he was acquitted.
---- Smith and Abraham Whitehouse, for breaking into the dwelling-house
of William Potter, a settler at Prospect Hill, and after cruelly
treating the only person in the house, William Thorn, a servant)
stripping it of all the moveables they could find, and killing and taking
away some valuable stock; these were found guilty, and condemned to die:
and two settlers, and six convicts, for an assault on one Marianne
Wilkinson (attended with like circumstances of infamy as that on Mary
Hartley in April last) of which three were found guilty, and sentenced,
---- Merchant, alias Jones, the principal, to receive one thousand
lashes; the others, Ladley and Everitt, eight hundred each.

[* This gentleman had, on the arrival of Mr. Leeds, been permitted to
retire from the civil duties of the colony with a salary of fifty pounds
per annum.]

These unmanly attacks of several men on a single woman had frequently
happened, and had happened to some females who, through shame concealed
the circumstance. To such a height indeed was this dissolute and
abandoned practice carried, that it had obtained a cant name; and the
poor unfortunate objects of this brutality were distinguished by a title
expressive of the insults they had received.

On the 16th the two prisoners Smith and Whitehouse were led out to
execution. Smith suffered, after warning the crowd which attended him to
guard against breaking the Sabbath. Whitehouse, being evidently the tool
of Smith, and a much younger man, was pardoned by the governor. His
excellency, after the execution, expressed in public orders, his
hope that neither the example he had that day found himself compelled to
make of one offender, nor the lenity which he had shown to another, would
be without their effect: it would always be more grateful to him to spare
than to punish; but he felt it necessary on that occasion to declare,
that if neither the justice which had been done, nor the mercy which had
been shown, tended to decrease the perpetration of offences, it was his
determination in future to put in execution whatever sentence should be
pronounced on offenders by the court of criminal judicature.

A small printing-press, which had been brought into the settlement by
Mr. Phillip, and had remained from that time unemployed, was now found very
useful; a very decent young man, one George Hughes, of some abilities in
the printing line, having been found equal to conducting the whole
business of the press. All orders were now printed, and a number thrown
off sufficient to ensure a more general publication of them than had
hitherto been accomplished.

Some time after the arrival of the _Sovereign_ the full allowance of salt
meat was issued, and the hours of public labour regulated, more to the
advantage of government than had for a considerable time, owing to the
shortness of the ration, been the case. Instead of completing in a few
hours the whole labour which was required of a man for the day, the
convicts were now to work the whole day, with the intermission of two
hours and a half of rest. Many advantages were gained by this regulation;
among which not the least was, the diminution of idle time which the
prisoners before had, and which, emphatically terming _their own time_,
they applied as they chose, some industriously, but by far the greater
part in improper pursuits, as gaming, drinking, and stealing.

The full ration of flour was issued to the Military, on account of the
'hard duty which had lately fallen upon the regiment;' but they were
informed, that the quantity of flour in the public store would not admit
of their receiving such allowance for any length of time. Four pounds
were issued to the prisoners, and some other grain given to them to make
up the difference.

On the 20th his Majesty's ship _Supply_ returned from Norfolk Island,
having been absent four weeks and four days. She had a long passage back
of seventeen days. When Mr. Kent left the island, the lieutenant-governor
was dangerously ill with the gout in his stomach. We understood that
cultivation was nearly at a stand there. The grounds were so over-run
with two great enemies to agriculture, rats, and a pernicious weed called
cow-itch*, that the settlers despaired of ever being able to get rid of

[* The Pruriens, a species of the Dolichos.]

A circumstance happened this month not less extraordinary and unexpected
than the discovery of the four convicts at Port Stephens.

The contests which had lately taken place very frequently in this town,
and the neighbourhood of it, among the natives, had been attended by many
of those people who inhabited the woods, and came from a great distance
inland. Some of the prisoners gathering from time to time rumours and
imperfect accounts of the existence of the cattle lost in 1788, two of
them, who were employed by some officers in shooting, resolved on
ascertaining the truth of these reports, and trying by different
excursions to discover the place of their retreat. On their return from
the first outset they made, which was subsequent to the governor's
arrival, they reported, that they had seen them. Being, however, at that
moment too much engaged in perfecting the civil regulations he had in
view for the settlement, the governor could not himself go to that part
of the country where they were said to have been found; but he detached
Henry Hacking, a man on whom he could depend. His report was so
satisfactory, that on the 18th the governor set off from Parramatta,
attended by a small party, when after travelling two days, in a direction
SSW from the settlement at Prospect Hill, he crossed the river named by
Mr. Phillip the Nepean; and, to his great surprise and satisfaction, fell
in with a very fine herd of cattle, upwards of forty in number, grazing
in a pleasant and apparently fertile pasturage. The day being far
advanced when he saw them, he rested for the night in their
neighbourhood, hoping in the morning to be gratified with a sight of the
whole herd. A doubt had been started of their being cattle produced from
what we had brought into the country from the Cape; and it was suggested
that they might be of longer standing. The governor thought this a
circumstance worth determining, and directed the attendants who were with
him (Hacking and the two men who had first found them) to endeavour in
the morning to get near enough to kill a calf. This they were not able to
effect; for, while lying in wait for the whole herd to pass (which now
consisted of upwards of sixty young and old) they were furiously set upon
by a bull, which brought up the rear, and which in their own defence they
were compelled to kill. This however answered the purpose better perhaps
than a calf might have done; for he had all the marks of the Cape cattle
when full grown, such as wide-spreading horns, a moderate rising or hump
between his shoulders, and a short thin tail. Being at this time seven or
eight and thirty miles from Parramatta, a very small quantity of the meat
only could be sent in; the remainder was left to the crows and dogs of
the woods, much to the regret of the governor and his party*, who
considered that the prisoners, particularly the sick at the hospital, had
not lately received any meat either salt or fresh.

[* Captain Waterhouse and Mr. Bass (surgeon) of the _Reliance_, and the
writer of this Narrative.]

The country where they were found grazing was remarkably pleasant to the
eye; every where the foot trod on thick and luxuriant grass; the trees
were thinly scattered, and free from underwood, except in particular
spots; several beautiful flats presented large ponds, covered with ducks
and the black swan, the margins of which were fringed with shrubs of the
most delightful tints, and the ground rose from these levels into hills
of easy ascent.

The question how these cattle came hither appeared easy of solution. The
few that were lost in 1788, two bulls and five cows, travelled without
interruption in a western direction until they came to the banks of the
Nepean. Arrived there, and finding the crossing as easy as when the
governor forded it, they came at once into a well-watered country, and
amply stored with grass. From this place why should they move? They found
themselves in possession of a country equal to their support, and in
which they remained undisturbed. We had not yet travelled quite so far
westward; and but few natives were to be found thereabouts; they were
likely therefore to remain for years unmolested, and securely to
propagate their species.

It was a pleasing circumstance to have in the woods of New Holland a
thriving herd of wild cattle. Many proposals were made to bring them into
the settlement; but in the day of want, if these should be sacrificed, in
what better condition would the colony be for having possessed _a herd of
cattle in the woods_?--a herd which, if suffered to remain undisturbed
for some years, would, like the cattle of South America, always prove a
market sufficient for the inhabitants of the country; and, perhaps, not
only for their own consumption, but for exportation. The governor saw it
in this light, and determined to guard, as much as was in his power,
against any attempts to destroy them.

On his return he found some very fine ground at the back of Prospect
Hill. The weather during this excursion was so intensely hot, that one
day as the party passed through a part of the country which was on fire,
a terrier dog died by the way.

Discharging the store-ship, some part of the cargo of which appeared to
be injured by the weather she had met with, formed the principal labour
of the month. On account of the small number of working men which could
be got together, the governor required two able men to be sent in for
this purpose from each farm having ten, to be returned as soon as the
provisions were stowed in the public store.

It having been the practice for some time past to shoot such hogs
(pursuant to an order which their destructive qualities had rendered
necessary in the lieutenant-governor's time) as were found trespassing in
gardens or cultivated grounds, and the loss of the animals being greatly
felt by the owners, as well as detrimental to the increase of that kind
of stock, the governor directed, that instead of firing at them when
found trespassing, they should be taken to the provost-marshal, by whom
(if the damage done, which was to be ascertained before a magistrate, was
not paid for within twenty-four hours) they were to be delivered to the
commissary as public property, and the damages paid as far as the value
of the animal would admit.

A combination appearing among the labouring people to raise the price of
reaping for a day, the governor, being as desirous to encourage industry
as to check every attempt at imposition, thought it necessary, on
comparing our's with the price usually paid in England, to direct that
ten shillings, and no more, should be demanded of, or given by any
settler, under pain of losing the assistance of government, for reaping
an acre of wheat. It was much feared that this order would be but little
attended to; and that some means would be devised on both sides to evade
the letter of it.

We heard nothing of the natives at the river; all was quiet there. About
this settlement their attention had been for some time engrossed by
Bennillong, who arrived with the governor. On his first appearance, he
conducted himself with a polished familiarity toward his sisters and
other relations; but to his acquaintance he was distant, and quite the
man of consequence. He declared, in a tone and with an air that seemed to
expect compliance, that he should no longer suffer them to fight and cut
each other's throats, as they had done; that he should introduce peace
among them, and make them love each other. He expressed his wish that
when they visited him at Government-house they would contrive to be
somewhat more cleanly in their persons, and less coarse in their manners;
and he seemed absolutely offended at some little indelicacies which he
observed in his sister Car-rang-ar-ang, who came in such haste from
Botany Bay, with a little nephew on her back, to visit him, that she left
all her habiliments behind her.

Bennillong had certainly not been an inattentive observer of the manners
of the people among whom he had lived; he conducted himself with the
greatest propriety at table, particularly in the observance of those
attentions which are chiefly requisite in the presence of women. His
dress appeared to be an object of no small concern with him; and every
one who knew him before he left the country, and who saw him now,
pronounced without hesitation that Bennillong had not any desire to
renounce the habits and comforts of the civilized life which he appeared
so readily and so successfully to adopt.

His inquiries were directed, immediately on his arrival, after his wife
Go-roo-bar-roo-bool-lo; and her he found with Caruey. On producing a very
fashionable rose-coloured petticoat and jacket made of a coarse stuff,
accompanied with a gypsy bonnet of the same colour, she deserted her
lover, and followed her former husband. In a few days however, to the
surprise of every one, we saw the lady walking unencumbered with clothing
of any kind, and Bennillong was missing. Caruey was sought for, and we
heard that he had been severely beaten by Bennillong at Rose Bay, who
retained so much of our customs, that he made use of his fists instead of
the weapons of his country, to the great annoyance of Caruey, who would
have preferred meeting his rival fairly in the field armed with the spear
and the club. Caruey being much the younger man, the lady, every inch a
woman, followed her inclination, and Bennillong was compelled to yield
her without any further opposition. He seemed to have been satisfied with
the beating he had given Caruey, and hinted, that resting for the present
without a wife, he should look about him, and at some future period make
a better choice.

His absences from the governor's house now became frequent, and little
attended to. When he went out he usually left his clothes behind, resuming
them carefully on his return before he made his visit to the governor.

During this month one man and a woman, attempting to cross one of the
creeks at the Hawkesbury by a tree which had been thrown over, fell in,
and were drowned; and one man had died there of the bite of a snake.
Three male convicts* died at Sydney.

[* One of them, William Locker, from the extraordinary deformity of his
left leg, had been offered L100 for it in England.]

December.] The court of civil judicature had hitherto been but rarely
assembled. The few debts which had been contracted were not of sufficient
moment, and had seldom remained long enough in doubt, to require an
action to recover them. But now the possibility having been discovered of
acquiring in this country a property worth preserving, it was probable,
when the talents and disposition of the men of landed property (the
settlers) in New South Wales were considered, that many disputes would
occur among them which the civil court alone could decide.

A court of civil judicature was assembled this month. Some debts were
sworn to, and writs granted. An action for an assault was also tried.
About the latter end of the month of October, a large sow, the property
of Mr. J. Boston, having trespassed with two or three other hogs on a
close belonging to an officer of the New South Wales corps, was shot by a
soldier of the regiment (the officer's servant). The owner, Mr. Boston,
repairing immediately to the spot, on seeing the sow, then near
farrowing, lying dead on the ground, made use of some intemperate
expressions; which being uttered in the hearing of two of the officers
and some other soldiers of the corps, the officers were said by Mr. Boston
to have encouraged and urged the soldiers to beat him. Mr. Boston
had been struck, and, as it appeared on the trial, with a musket, which
at the time was loaded. Mr. Boston laid his damage at five hundred
pounds. The court however, after several days very attentive examination
of the business, gave him a verdict against two of the defendants, with
twenty shillings damages from each. One of these defendants, a soldier,
was advised to appeal from the decision of the court to the governor,
who, after hearing the appeal, confirmed the verdict of the civil court.

On the 6th the _Francis_ schooner sailed for Norfolk Island. The
governor, being anxious to learn the situation of the lieutenant-governor,
sent her merely with a letter, that if unhappily any accident should have
happened to him, a proper person might be sent in the _Reliance_ to
command the settlement, until a successor could arrive from England.
Having nothing to deliver or receive that could detain him, the master
determined to try in what time his vessel could run thither and back again.

The harvest was begun in this month. The Cape wheat (a bearded grain
differing much from the English) was found universally to have failed. An
officer who had sown seven acres with this seed at a farm in the district

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