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

Part 11 out of 14

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of Petersham Hill, on cutting it down, found it was not worth the
reaping. This was owing to a blight; but every where the Cape wheat was
pronounced not worth the labour of sowing.

A quantity of useful timber having been for some time past indiscriminately
cut down upon the banks of the River Hawkesbury, and the creeks
running from it, which had been wasted or applied to purposes for
which timber of less value might have answered, the governor, among other
colonial regulations, thought it necessary to direct, that no timber
whatever should be cut down on any ground which was not marked out on
either the banks or creeks of that river: and, in order to preserve as
much as possible such timber as might be of use either for building or
for naval purposes, he ordered the king's mark to be immediately put on
all such timber, after which any persons offending against the order were
to be prosecuted. This order extended only to _grounds not granted to
individuals_, there being a clause in all grants from the crown,
expressly reserving, under pain of forfeiture, for the use thereof, 'such
timber as might be growing or to grow hereafter upon the land so granted,
which should be deemed fit for naval purposes.'

It was feared, that the certainty of the existence of our cattle to the
southward being incontrovertibly established, some of our vagabonds might
be tempted to find them out, and satisfy their hunger on them from time
to time, as they might find opportunity. We were therefore not surprised
to hear that two of them had been killed. A very strict inquiry into the
report, however, convinced us that it had been raised only for the
purpose of trying how such a circumstance would be regarded. The governor
thought it necessary therefore to state in public orders, that,

Having heard it reported, that some person or persons, who had been
permitted to carry arms for the protection of themselves and property,
had lately employed that indulgence in an attempt to destroy the cattle
belonging to government, which were at large in the woods; and as the
preservation of that stock was of the utmost importance to the colony at
large, he declared, that if it should be discovered that any person
whatever should use any measure to destroy or otherwise annoy them, they
would be prosecuted with the utmost severity of the law.

A reward was also held out to any person giving information, and the
order was made as public as possible that no one might plead ignorance
of it.

The harvest having commenced, the governor on the 22nd signified to the
settlers, that

although it had hitherto been the intention and the practice of
government to give them every possible encouragement, as well as others
who had employed themselves in growing corn, by taking off their hands
all their surplus grain at such prices as had from time to time been
thought fair and reasonable, it was not, however, to be expected, as the
colony advanced in the means of supplying itself with bread, that such
heavy expences could be continued. He therefore recommended to them to
consider what reduction in the price of wheat and Indian corn they could
at present submit to, as their offers in that respect would determine him
how far it might be necessary in future to cultivate on the part of
government, instead of taking or purchasing a quantity from individuals
at so great a price.

This proposal, he thought, could not be considered otherwise than as fair
and reasonable, when they recollected that the means by which individuals
had so far improved their farms had arisen from the very liberal manner
in which government had given up the labour of so great a number of its
own servants, to assist the industry of others. If this representation
should not have the effect which he hoped and expected, by a reduction of
the present high price of grain, he thought it his duty to propose, that
those who were assisted with servants from government, should at least
undertake to furnish those servants with bread.

To those who had farms on the banks of the Hawkesbury he thought it
necessary to observe, that, there not being any granaries in that
district belonging to government, the expense of conveying their grain
from thence to this part of the settlement rendered it absolutely
necessary that they should lower their prices; otherwise they must be at
that expence themselves, and bring their surplus corn to market either at
Sydney or Parramatta, where government had stores where in to deposit it,
and where only the commissary could be permitted to receive it.

A report from the river was current about this time, that the natives had
assembled in a large body, and attacked a few settlers who had chosen
farms low down the river, and without the reach of protection from the
other settlers, stripping them of every article they could find in their
huts. An armed party was directly sent out, who, coming up with them,
killed four men and one woman, badly wounded a child, and took four men
prisoners. It might have been supposed that these punishments, following
the enormities so immediately, would have taught the natives to keep at a
greater distance; but nothing seemed to deter them from prosecuting the
revenge they had vowed against the settlers for the injuries they had
received at their hands.

A savage of a darker hue, and full as far removed from civilisation,
black Caesar, once more fled from honest labour to the woods, there to
subsist by robbing the settlers. It was however reported, that he had
done one meritorious action, killing Pe-mul-wy, who had just before
wounded Collins (the native) so dangerously, that his recovery was a
matter of very great doubt with the surgeons at our hospital, whose
assistance Collins had requested as soon as he was brought into town by
his friends. A barbed spear had been driven into his loins close by the
vertebrae of the back, and was so completely fixed, that all the efforts
of the surgeons to remove it with their instruments were ineffectual.
Finding, after a day or two, that it could not be displaced by art,
Collins left the hospital determined to trust to nature.* He was much
esteemed by every white man who knew him, as well on account of his
personal bravery, of which we had witnessed many distinguishing proofs,
as on account of a gentleness of manners which strongly marked his
disposition, and shaded off the harsher lines that his uncivilised life
now and then forced into the fore-ground.

[* And he did not trust in vain. We saw him from time to time for several
weeks walking about with the spear unmoved, even after suppuration had
taken place; but at last heard that his wife, or one of his male friends,
had fixed their teeth in the wood and drawn it out; after which he
recovered, and was able again to go into the field. His wife War-re-weer
showed by an uncommon attention her great attachment to him.]

On the 27th the _Sovereign_ sailed for Bengal; and on the last day of the
year the signal for a sail was made at the South Head, too late in the
day for it to be known what or whence the vessel was.

The harvest formed the principal labour this month both public and
private. At Sydney, another attempt being made to steal a cask of pork
from the pile of provisions which stood before the storehouse, the whole
was removed into one of the old marine barracks. The full ration of salt
provisions being issued to every one, it was difficult to conceive what
could be the inducement to these frequent and wanton attacks on the
provisions, whenever necessity compelled the commissary to trust a
quantity without the store. Perhaps, however, it was to gratify that
strong, propensity to thieving, which could not suffer an opportunity of
exercising their talents to pass, or to furnish them with means of
indulging in the baneful vice of gaming.

At the Hawkesbury, in the beginning of the month, an extraordinary
meteorological phenomenon occurred. Four farms on the creek named Ruse's
Creek were totally cut up by a fall, not of hail or of snow, but of large
flakes of ice. It was stated by the officer who had the command of the
military there, Lieutenant Abbott, that the shower passed in a direction
NW taking such farms as fell within its course. The effect was
extraordinary; the wheat then standing was beaten down, the ears cut off,
and the grain perfectly threshed out. Of the Indian corn the large thick
stalks were broken, and the cobs found lying at the roots, A man who was
too far distant from a house to enter it in time was glad to take shelter
in the hollow of a tree. The sides of the trees which were opposed to its
fury appeared as if large shot had been discharged against them, and the
ground was covered with small twigs from the branches. On that part of
the race-ground which it crossed, the stronger shrubs were all found cut
to pieces, while the weaker, by yielding to the storm, were only beaten
down. The two succeeding days were remarkably mild; notwithstanding which
the ice remained on the ground nearly as large as when it fell. Some
flakes of it were brought to Lieutenant Abbott on the second day, which
measured from six to eight inches long, and at that time were two fingers
at the least in thickness.

On this officer's representing to the governor the distress which the
settlers had suffered whose farms had lain in the course of the shower
such relief was given them as their situations required. Nothing of this
kind had been felt either at Parramatta or at Sydney.

There died this month Mr. Barrow, a midshipman belonging to his Majesty's
ship _Supply_. His death, which was rather sudden, was occasioned by an
obstruction in the bowels, brought on by bathing when very much heated
and full. He had attended divine service on the Sunday preceding his
death, and heard Mr. Johnson preach on uncertainty of human life, little
thinking how soon he was himself to prove the verity of the principal point
of his discourse--'That death stole upon us like a thief in the night.'

Two male convicts died at Sydney. One of them, John Durham, had been for
upwards of two years a venereal patient in the hospital; and died at last
a wretched but exemplary spectacle to all who beheld him, or who knew his
sufferings. There died, during the year 1795, one assistant to the
surgeons; one sergeant of the New South Wales corps; two settlers;
thirteen male convicts; seven female convicts and one child; and one male
convict was executed. Making a total of twenty-six persons who lost their
lives during the year.


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


January] On the first of this month, the _Arthur_ brig anchored in the
cove from Calcutta. Mr. Barber, who was here in 1794 in the same vessel,
had been induced by the success he then met with to pay us a second
visit, with a cargo similar as to the nature of the articles, but of much
larger value than that which he then sold. He had been thirteen weeks on
his passage, and had heard nothing of the _Britannia_.

It appeared from the information he brought us, that the Cape of Good
Hope might at that time be in the possession of the English. Trincomale
had surrendered to our arms; but of Batavia he could only say, that a
strong party in the French interest existed there.

The _Surprise_, Captain Campbell, had arrived at Bengal after a long
passage of eight months from this port.

In the evening of the following day the colonial vessel returned from
Norfolk Island, having been absent just four weeks. Lieutenant-governor
King continued extremely ill.

In consequence of the order issued last month respecting a reduction in
the price of wheat, the settlers, having consulted among themselves,
deputed a certain number from the different districts to state to the
governor the hardships they should be subjected to by a reduction in the
price of grain, at least for that season. He therefore consented to
purchase their present crops of wheat at ten shillings per bushel; but at
the same time assured them, that a reduction would be made in the ensuing
season, unless some unforeseen and unavoidable circumstances should occur
to render it unnecessary.

The officers who held ground offered to give up two of the number of men
the governor had allowed them, and to take two others off the
provision-store, which proposal was directed to be carried into execution.

Some of the more decent class of prisoners, male and female, having some
time since obtained permission to prepare a playhouse* at Sydney, it was
opened on Saturday the 16th, under the management of John Sparrow, with
the play of The Revenge and the entertainment of The Hotel. They had
fitted up the house with more theatrical propriety than could have been
expected, and their performance was far above contempt. Their motto was
modest and well chosen--'We cannot command success, but will endeavour to
deserve it.' Of their dresses the greater part was made by themselves;
but we understood that some veteran articles from the York theatre were
among the best that made their appearance.

[* The he building cost upwards of one hundred pounds. The names of the
principal performers were, H. Green, J. Sparrow (the manager), William
Fowkes, G. H. Hughes, William Chapman, and Mrs. Davis. Of the men, Green
best deserved to be called an actor.]

At the licensing of this exhibition they were informed, that the
slightest impropriety would be noticed, and a repetition punished by the
banishment of their company to the other settlements; there was, however,
more danger of improprieties being committed by some of the audience than
by the players themselves. A seat in their gallery, which was by far the
largest place in the house, as likely to be the most resorted to, was to
be procured for one shilling. In the payment of this price for admission,
one evil was observable, which in fact could not well be prevented; in
lieu of a shilling, as much flour, or as much meat or spirits, as the
manager would take for that sum, was often paid at the gallery door. It
was feared that this, like gambling, would furnish another inducement to
rob; and some of the worst of the convicts, ever on the watch for
opportunities, looked on the playhouse as a certain harvest for them, not
by picking the pockets of the audience of their purses or their watches,
but by breaking into their houses while the whole family might be
enjoying themselves in the gallery. This actually happened on the second
night of their playing.

The 18th was observed as the day on which her Majesty's birth is
celebrated in England.* The troops fired three volleys at noon, and at
one o'clock the king's ships fired twenty-one guns each, in honour of the

[* The anniversary of her Majesty's birth might with greater propriety be
kept in the colonies, particularly in New South Wales, on the 19th of
May, the day on which it happened, than at any other time; the same
reasons for observing it at a time distant from the king's not existing
there. This is attended to in India.]

Among other objects of civil regulation which required the governor's
attention was one to remedy an evil of great magnitude. Some individuals
formed the strange design of making application to the governor for his
licence to erect stills in different parts of the settlement. On inquiry
it appeared, that for a considerable time past they had been in the
practice of making and vending a spirit, the quality of which was of so
destructive a nature, that the health of the settlement in general was
much endangered.

A practice so iniquitous and ruinous, being not only a direct
disobedience of his Majesty's commands, but destructive of the welfare of
the colony in general, the governor in the most positive manner forbade
all persons on any pretence whatsoever to distil spirituous liquors of
any kind or quality, on pain of such steps being taken for their
punishment as would effectually prevent a repetition of so dangerous an
offence. The constables of the different districts, as well as all other
persons whose duty it was to preserve order, were strictly enjoined to be
extremely vigilant in discovering and giving information where and in
whose possession any article or machine for the purpose of distilling
spirits might then be, or should hereafter be erected in opposition to
this notification of the governor's resolution. Information on this
subject was to be given to the nearest magistrate, who was to send the
earliest notice in his power to the judge-advocate at Sydney.

In pursuance of these directions several stills were found and destroyed,
to the great regret of the owners, who from a bushel of wheat (worth at
the public store ten shillings) distilled a gallon of a new and poisonous
spirit, which they retailed directly from the still at five shillings per
quart bottle, and sometimes more. This was not merely paid away for
labour, as was pretended, but sold for the purposes of intoxication to
whoever would bring ready money.

Little or no attention having been paid to the order issued in October
last respecting removing the paling about the stream, the governor found
it necessary to repeat it, and to declare in public orders, 'to every
description of persons, that when an order was given by him, it was given
to be obeyed.' This had become absolutely necessary, as there were some
who, in open defiance of his directions, not only still opened the
paling, but took with dirty vessels the water which they wanted above the
tanks, thereby disturbing and polluting the whole stream below.

Several attempts had been made by the commissary to ascertain the number
of arms in the possession of individuals; it being feared, that, instead
of their being properly distributed among the settlers for their
protection, many were to be found in the hands of persons who used them
in shooting, or in committing depredations. It was once more attempted to
discover their number, by directing all persons (the military excepted)
who were in possession of arms to bring them to the commissary's office,
where, after registering them, they were to receive certificates signed
by him, of their being permitted to carry such arms.

Some few settlers, who valued their arms as necessary to their defence
against the natives and against thieves, hastened to the office for their
certificate; but of between two and three hundred stands of arms which
belonged to the crown not fifty were accounted for.

The many robberies which were almost daily and nightly committed rendered
it expedient that some steps should be taken to put a stop to an evil so
destructive of the happiness and comfort of the industrious inhabitants.
Caesar was still in the woods, with several other vagabonds, all of whom
were reported, by people who saw them from time to time, to be armed; and
as he had sent us word, that he neither would come in, nor suffer himself
to be taken alive, it became necessary to secure him. Notice was
therefore given, that whoever should secure and bring him in with his
arms should receive as a reward five gallons of spirits. The settlers,
and those people who were occasionally supplied with ammunition by the
officers, were informed, that if they should be hereafter discovered to
have so abused the confidence placed in them, as to supply those common
plunderers with any part of this ammunition, they would be deemed
accomplices in the robberies committed by them, and steps would be taken
to bring them to punishment as accessories.

To relieve the mind from the contemplation of circumstances so irksome to
humanity, on the 23rd the _Ceres_ store-ship arrived from England. It was
impossible that a ship could ever reach this distant part of his
Majesty's dominions, from England, or from any other part of the world,
without bringing a change to our ideas, and a variety to our amusements.
The introduction of a stranger among us had ever been an object of some
moment; for every civility was considered to be due to him who had left
the civilized world to visit us. The personal interest he might have in
the visit we for a while forgot; and from our solicitude to hear news he
was invited to our houses and treated at our tables. If he afterwards
found himself neglected, it was not to be wondered at; his intelligence
was exhausted, and he had sunk into the mere tradesman.

This ship, whose master's name was Hedley, had on board stores and
provisions for the settlement. She sailed from England on the 5th of
August last; took the route of most other ships which had preceded her,
anchoring at Rio de Janeiro on the 18th of October, whence she sailed on
the 22nd of the same month, and made Van Dieman's Land on the 9th
instant, her passage occupying something more than five months.

We found that a ship (the _Marquis Cornwallis_) had sailed for Cork to
take in her convicts three weeks before the _Ceres_ left England; and that
it was reported at Rio de Janeiro, that the Cape of Good Hope was in our

The _Ceres_, touching at the island of Amsterdam in her way hither, took
off four men, two French and two English, who had lived there three
years, having been left from a brig (the _Emilia_), which was taken on to
China by the _Lion_ man of war. One of the Frenchmen, M. Perron,
apparently deserved a better kind of society than his companions
supplied. He had kept an accurate and neatly-written journal of his
proceedings, with some well-drawn views of the spot to which he was so
long confined. It appeared that they had, in the hope of their own or
some other vessel arriving to take them off, collected and cured several
thousands of seal-skins, which, however, they were compelled to abandon.
M. Perron had subsisted for the last eighteen months on the flesh of seals.

On the day following this arrival the signal was again made; and before
noon the snow _Experiment_, commanded by Mr. Edward McClellan, who was
here in the same vessel in the year before last, from Bengal, and the
ship _Otter_, Mr. Ebenezer Dorr master, from Boston in North America,
anchored in the cove.

Mr. McClellan had on board a large investment of India goods, muslins,
calicoes, chintzes, soap, sugar, spirits, and a variety of small
articles, apparently the sweepings of a Bengal bazar; the sale of which
investment he expected would produce ten or twelve thousand pounds.

The American, either finding the market overstocked, or having had some
other motive for touching here, declared he had nothing for sale; but
that he could, as a favour, spare two hogsheads of Jamaica rum, three
pipes of Madeira, sixty-eight quarter casks of Lisbon wine, four chests
and a half of Bohea tea, and two hogsheads of molasses. He had touched at
the late residence of M. Perron, the island of Amsterdam, and brought off
as many of the sealskins (his vessel being bound to China after visiting
the north-west coast of America) as he could take on board. He had been
five months and three days from Boston, touching no where but at the
abovementioned island.

We had the satisfaction of hearing, through Mr. McClellan, from the
master of the _Britannia_. He had, according to his instructions,
proceeded to Batavia, where judging from his own observation, and by what
he heard, that it was unsafe to make any stay, he after four or five days
left the port, and by that means fortunately escaped being detained,
which, from information that he afterwards received at Bengal, he found
would have happened to him. He was to leave Calcutta about the end of

The report of the Cape of Good Hope being in our possession had reached
that place before the _Experiment_ sailed. On this subject we were rather
anxious, as the armed ships which had lately arrived, the _Reliance_ and
_Supply_, were intended to proceed to that port as soon as the season
would admit, for cattle for the colony.

Bennillong's influence over his countrymen not extending to the natives
at the river, we this month again heard of their violence. They attacked
a man who had been allowed to ply with a passage-boat between the port of
Sydney and the river, and wounded him, (it was feared mortally,) as he
was going with his companion to the settlement; and they were beginning
again to annoy the settlers there.

Notwithstanding the reward that had been offered for apprehending black
Caesar, he remained at large, and scarcely a morning arrived without a
complaint being made to the magistrates of a loss of property supposed to
have been occasioned by this man. In fact, every theft that was committed
was ascribed to him; a cask of pork was stolen from the millhouse, the
upper part of which was accessible, and, the sentinels who had the charge
of that building being tried and acquitted, the theft was fixed upon
Caesar, or some of the vagabonds who were in the woods, the number of
whom at this time amounted to six or eight.

The harvest was all well got in during this month. At Sydney, the
labouring hands were employed in unloading the store-ship; for which
purpose three men from each farm having ten were ordered in to public work.

On the 21st of this month his Majesty's ship the _Reliance_ sailed for
Norfolk Island. In her went Mr. Hibbins, the judge-advocate of that
settlement who arrived from England in the _Sovereign_; and a captain of
the New South Wales corps, to take the command of the troops there.

On the 7th the surgeon's mate of the _Supply_ died of a dysenteric
complaint. He had attended Mr. Barrow to his grave, who died in December
last. On the evening of the 23rd a soldier of the name of Eades, having
gone over to the north shore to collect thatch to cover a hut which he
had built for the comfort of his family, fell from a rock and was
drowned. He left a widow and five small children, mostly females, to
lament his loss. He was a quiet man and a good soldier.

February.] The players, with a politic generosity, on the 4th of this
month performed the play of The Fair Penitent with a farce, for the
benefit of the widow Eades and her family. The house was full, and it was
said that she got upwards of twelve pounds by the night.

A circumstance of a disagreeable nature occurred in the beginning of this
month. John Baughan*, the master carpenter at this place, being at work
in the shed allotted for the carpenters in one of the mill-houses,
overheard himself grossly abused by the sentinel who was planted there,
and who for that purpose had quitted his post, and placed himself within
hearing of Baughan. This sentinel had formerly been a convict, and, while
working as such under Baughan in the line of his business, thought
himself in some circumstance or other ill-treated by him, for which he
'owed him a grudge', and took this way to satisfy his resentment.
Baughan, a man of a sullen and vindictive disposition, perceiving that
the sentinel was without his arms, took them, unobserved by him, from the
post where he had left them, and delivered them to the sergeant of the

[* John Baughan, alias Buffin, alias Bingham. He had served the term of
his transportation, and had for a considerable time been employed in the
direction of the carpenters and sawyers at this place.]

The sentinel being confined, the company to which he belonged, indignant
at the injury done to their comrade, and too much irritated either to act
with prudence, or to consider the conduct they determined to pursue,
repaired the following morning to Baughan's house (a neat little cottage
which he had built below the hospital), where in a few minutes they
almost demolished his house, out-houses, and furniture, and Baughan
himself suffered much personal outrage.

They were so sudden in the execution of this business, that the mischief
was done before any steps could be taken either by the civil or military
power to prevent it.

Baughan, after some days had elapsed, swearing positively to the persons
of four of the principals in this transaction, a warrant was made out to
apprehend them; but before it could be executed, the soldiers expressing
themselves convinced of the great impropriety of their conduct, and
offering to indemnify the sufferer for the damage they had done him, who
also personally petitioned the governor in their behalf, the warrant was

It was observed, that the most active of the soldiers in this affair had
formerly been convicts, who, not having changed their principles with
their condition, thus became the means of disgracing their fellow-soldiers.
The corps certainly was not much improved by the introduction of
people of this description among them. It might well have been
supposed, that being taken as good characters from the class of
prisoners, they would have felt themselves above mixing with any of them
afterwards; but it happened otherwise; they had nothing in them of that
pride which is termed _l'esprit du corps_; but at times mixed with the
convicts familiarly as former cornpanions; yet when they chose to quarrel
with, or complain of them, they meanly asserted their superiority as soldiers.

This intercourse had been strongly prohibited by their officers; but
living (as once before mentioned) in huts by themselves, it was carried
on without their knowledge. Most of them were now, however, ordered into
the barracks; but to give this regulation the full effect, a high brick
wall, or an inclosure of strong paling, round the barracks, was
requisite; the latter of these securities would have been put up some
time before, had there not been a want of the labouring hands necessary
to prepare and collect the materials.

On the 11th of this month the ship _Marquis Cornwallis_ anchored in the
cove from Ireland, with two hundred and thirty-three male and female
convicts of that country. We understood from her commander, Mr. Michael
Hogan, that a conspiracy had been formed to take the ship from him; but,
the circumstances of it being happily disclosed in time, he was enabled
to prevent it, and having sufficient evidence of the existence of the
conspiracy, he caused the principal part of those concerned to be
severely punished, first taking the opinions of all the free people who
were on board. A military guard, consisting of two subalterns and a
proportionate number of privates of the New South Wales corps
(principally drafts from other regiments), was embarked in this ship. The
prisoners were in general healthy; but some of those who had been
punished were not quite recovered, and on landing were sent to the
hospital. It appeared that the men were for the most part of the
description of people termed Defenders, desperate, and ripe for any
scheme from which danger and destruction were likely to ensue. The women
were of the same complexion; and their ingenuity and cruelty were
displayed in the part they were to take in the purposed insurrection,
which was the preparing of pulverised glass to mix with the flour of
which the seamen were to make their puddings. What an importation!

A few months provisions for these people, and the remainder* of the
mooring chains intended for his Majesty's ships the _Reliance_ and the
_Supply_, together with a patent under the great seal for assembling
criminal courts at Norfolk Island, arrived in this ship. She sailed from
Cork on the 9th of August last, and touched at the island of St. Helena
and the Cape of Good Hope, which latter place, we had the satisfaction of
hearing, had surrendered to his Majesty's arms, and was in our
possession. General Craig, the commander in chief on shore, and Commodore
Blankett, each sent an official communication of this important
circumstance to Governor Hunter, and stated their desire to assist in any
circumstance that might be of service to the settlement, when the season
should offer for sending the ships under his orders to the Cape for

[* Some part had arrived in the _Reliance_ and _Supply_.]

With infinite regret we heard of the death of Colonel Gordon, whose
attentions to this settlement, when opportunities presented themselves,
can never be forgotten. He was a favoured son of science, and liberally
extended the advantages which that science gave him wherever he thought
they could promote the welfare of his fellow-creatures.

On Monday the 15th a criminal court was held for the trial of two
prisoners, William Britton a soldier, and John Reid a convict, for a
burglary in the house of the Rev. Mr. Johnson, committed in the night of
Sunday the 7th of this month. The evidence, though strong, was not
sufficient to convict them, and they were acquitted. While this court was
sitting, however, information was received, that black Caesar had that
morning been shot by one Wimbow. This man and another, allured by the
reward, had been for some days in quest of him. Finding his haunt, they
concealed themselves all night at the edge of a brush which they
perceived him enter at dusk. In the morning he came out, when, looking
round him and seeing his danger, he presented his musket; but before
he could pull the trigger Wimbow fired and shot him. He was taken
to the hut of Rose, a settler at Liberty Plains, where he died in
a few hours. Thus ended a man, who certainly, during his life,
could never have been estimated at more than one remove above the brute,
and who had given more trouble than any other convict in the settlement.

On the morning of the 18th the _Otter_ sailed for the north-west coast of
America. In her went Mr. Thomas Muir (one of the persons sent out in the
_Surprise_ for sedition) and several other convicts whose sentences of
transportation were not expired. Mr. Muir conceived that in withdrawing
(though clandestinely) from this country, he was only asserting his
freedom; and meant, if he should arrive in safety, to enjoy what he
deemed himself to have regained of it in America, until the time should
come when he might return to his own country with credit and comfort. He
purposed practising at the American bar as an advocate; a point of
information which he left behind him in a letter. In this country he
chiefly passed his time in literary ease and retirement, living out of
the town at a little spot of ground which he had purchased for the
purpose of seclusion.

A few days after the departure of this ship, the _Abigail_, another
American, arrived. As several prisoners had found a conveyance from this
place in the _Otter_, the governor directed the _Abigail_ to be anchored
in Neutral Bay (a bay on the north shore, a little below Rock Island),
where he imagined the communication would not be so easy as the ships of
that nation had found it in Sydney Cove. Her master, Christopher
Thornton, gave out that he was bound to Manilla and Canton, having on
board a cargo for those places. For part of that cargo, however, he met
with purchasers at this place, notwithstanding the glut of articles which
the late frequent arrivals must have thrown in. He expected to have found
here a snow, named the _Susan_, which he knew had sailed from Rhode
Island with a cargo expressly laid in for this market. He came direct
from that port without touching any where.

The frequent attacks and depredations to which the settlers situated on
the banks of the Hawkesbury, and other places, were exposed from the
natives, called upon them, for the protection of their families, and the
preservation of their crops, mutually to afford each other their
assistance upon every occasion of alarm, by assembling without delay
whenever any numerous bodies of natives were reported to be lurking about
their grounds; but they seldom or never showed the smallest disposition
to assist each other. Indolent and improvident even for their own safety
and interest, they in general neglected the means by which either could
be secured. This disposition being soon manifested to the governor, he
thought it necessary to issue a public order, stating his expectations
and directions, that all the people residing in the different districts
of the settlemerits, whether the alarm was on their own farms, or on the
farm of any other person, should upon such occasions immediately render
to each other such assistance as each man if attacked would himself wish
to receive; and he assured them, that if it should be hereafter proved,
that any settlers or other persons withdrew or kept back their assistance
from those who might be threatened, or who might be in danger of being
attacked, they would be proceeded against as persons disobeying the rules
and orders of the settlement. Such as had fire-arms were also positively
enjoined not wantonly to fire at, or take the lives of any of the
natives, as such an act would be considered a deliberate murder, and
subject the offender to such punishment as (if proved) the law might
direct to be inflicted. It had been intimated to the governor, that two
white men (Wilson and Knight) had been frequently seen with the natives
in their excursions, and were supposed to direct and assist in those acts
of hostility by which the settlers had lately suffered. He therefore
recommended to every one who knew or had heard of these people, and
particularly to the settlers who were so much annoyed by them, to use
every means in their power to secure them, that they might be so disposed
of as to prevent their being dangerous or troublesome in future. The
settlers were at the same time strictly prohibited from giving any
encouragement to the natives to lurk about their farms; as there could
not be a doubt, that if they had never met with the shelter which some
had afforded them, they would not at this time have furnished so much
cause to complaint.

Those natives who lived with the settlers had tasted the sweets of a
different mode of living, and, willing that their friends and companions
should partake, either stole from those with whom they were living, or
communicated from time to time such favourable opportunities as offered
of stealing from other settlers what they themselves were pleased with.

At this time several persons who had served their term of transportation
were applying for permission to provide for themselves. Of this
description were Wilson and Knight; but they preferred a vagrant life
with the natives; and the consideration that if taken they would be dealt
with in a manner that would prevent their getting among them again, now
led them on to every kind of mischief. They demonstrated to the natives
of how little use a musket was when once discharged, and this effectually
removed that terror of our fire-arms with which it had been our constant
endeavour to inspire them.

Several articles having been brought for sale in the _Marquis
Cornwallis_, a shop was opened on shore. As money, or orders on or by any
of the responsible officers* of the colony, were taken at this shop for
goods, an opportunity was afforded to some knowing ones among the
prisoners to play off, not only base money, as counterfeit Spanish
dollars and rupees, but forged notes or orders. One forged note for ten
pound ten shillings, bearing the commissary's name, was passed at the
shop, but fortunately discovered before the recollection of the persons
who offered it was effaced, though not in time to recover the property.
The whole party was apprehended, and committed for trial.

[* Such as the commissary, paymaster of the corps, and officers who paid

Discharging the storeships formed the principal labour of this month;
which being completed, the assistants required from the farms to unload
them were returned.

The bricklayers' gang were employed in erecting a small hut for the
accommodation of an officer within the paling of the guardhouse at
Sydney, the main guard being now commanded by a subaltern officer.

Mr. Henry Brewer, the provost-marshal of the territory, worn out with age
and infirmities, being incapable of the duties of his office, which now
required a very active and a much younger man to execute, and at this
time very much indisposed, the governor appointed to that situation
Mr. Thomas Smyth, then acting as a storekeeper at this place, until
Mr. Brewer should be able to return to the duties of it.

During one or two hot days in this month the shrubs and brushwood about
the west point of the cove caught fire, and burnt within a few yards of
the magazine. On its being extinguished, the powder was removed for a few
days on board the _Supply_, until some security against any future
accident of that kind could be thrown up round the building.

March.] Late in the evening of the 5th of March his Majesty's ship the
_Reliance_ returned from Norfolk Island. In her came Mr. D'Arcy
Wentworth. This person arrived at New South Wales in the _Neptune_
transport, and went immediately to Norfolk Island, where he was employed,
first as a superintendant of convicts, and afterwards as an assistant to
the surgeon at the hospital there, having been bred to that profession.

By letters received from Mr. Bampton, who sailed from his place in the
_Endeavour_ in the month of September last, we now heard, that on his
reaching Dusky Bay in New Zealand his ship unfortunately proved so leaky,
that with the advice and consent of his officers and people she was run
on shore and scuttled. By good fortune the vessel which had been built by
the carpenter of the _Britannia_ (when left there with Mr. John Leith the
mate, and others, in that ship's first voyage hence to the Cape of Good
Hope) being found in the same state as she had been left by them, they
completed and launched her, according to a previous agreement between the
two commanders. It may be remembered, that in addition to the large
number of persons which Mr. Bampton had permission to ship at this port,
nearly as many more found means to secrete themselves on board his ship
and the _Fancy_. For these, as well as his officers and ship's company,
he had now to provide a passage from the truly desolate shores of New
Zealand. He accordingly, after fitting as a schooner the vessel which he
had launched, and naming her the _Providence_, sailed with her and the
_Fancy_ for Norfolk Island, having on board as many of the officers and
people who reached Dusky Bay with him as they could contain, leaving the
remainder to proceed in a vessel which one Hatherleigh (formerly a
carpenter's mate of the _Sirius_, who happened to be with him) undertook
to construct out of the _Endeavour's_ long-boat. The _Fancy_ and
_Providence_ arrived safe at Norfolk Island, whence they sailed for China
on the 31st day of January last.

This unlucky termination of the voyage of the _Endeavour_ brought to our
recollection the difficulties and dangers which Mr. Bampton met with in
the _Shah Hormuzear_, when, on his return to India from this country, he
attempted to ascertain a passage for future navigators between New
Holland and New Guinea.

In the course of this narrative, the different reports received
respecting the fate of the boat which landed on Tate Island have been
stated. In a Calcutta newspaper, brought here by Mr. McClellan in the
_Experiment_, we now found a printed account of the whole of that
transaction, which filled up that chasm in the story which the parties
themselves alone could supply.

By referring to the account given in the month of July 1794, as
communicated by Mr. Dell, it will appear, that the ship, having been
driven to leeward of the island after the boat left her, was three days
before she could work up to it. When Mr. Dell went on shore to search for
Captain Hill and his companions, he could only, at his return, produce,
what he thought incontestable proofs of their having been murdered; such
as their greatcoats, a lanthorn, tomahawk, etc. and three hands, one of
which, from a certain mark, was supposed to have belonged to Mr. Carter.
Of the boat, after the most diligent search round the island, he could
find no trace. By the account now published, and which bore every mark of
authenticity, it appeared, that when the boat, in which these unfortunate
gentlemen were, had reached the island (on the 3rd of July 1793), the
natives received them very kindly, and conducted them to a convenient
place for landing. After distributing some presents among them, with
which they appeared very much satisfied, it was proposed that Mr. Carter,
Shaw (the mate of the _Chesterfield_), and Ascott, should proceed to the
top of a high point of land which they had noticed, and that Captain Hill
should stay by the boat, with her crew, consisting of four seamen
belonging to the _Chesterfield_.

The inland party, taking the precaution to arm, and provide themselves
with a necessary quantity of ammunition, set off. Nothing unfriendly
occurred during their walk, though several little circumstances
happened, which induced Ascott to suspect that the natives had some
design on them; an idea, however, which was scouted by his companions.

On their return from the hill, hostile designs became apparent, and the
natives seemed to be deterred from murdering them merely by the activity
of Ascott, who, by presenting his musket occasionally, kept them off;
but, notwithstanding his activity and vigilance, the natives at length
made their attack. They began by attempting to take Ascott's musket from
him, finding he was the most likely to annoy them; directly after which,
Mr. Carter, who was the foremost of the party, was heard to exclaim, 'My
God, my God, they have murdered me.' Ascott, who still retained his
musket, immediately fired, on which the natives left them and fled into
the bushes. Ascott now had time to look about him, and saw what he justly
deemed a horrid spectacle, Mr. Carter lying bleeding on the ground, and
Mr. Shaw with a large wound in his throat under the left jaw. They were
both however able to rise, and proceed down the hill to the boat. On
their arrival at the beach they called to their companions to fire; but,
to their extreme horror, they perceived Captain Hill and one of the
seamen lying dead on the sand, cut and mangled in a most barbarous
manner. Two others of the seamen they saw floating on the water, with
their throats cut from ear to ear. The fourth sailor they found dead in
the boat, mangled in the same shocking manner. With much difficulty these
unhappy people got into their boat, and, cutting her grapnel, pulled off
from this treacherous shore. While this was performing, they clearly saw
the natives, whom in their account they term voracious cannibals,
dragging the bodies of Captain Hill and the seamen from the beach toward
some large fires, which they supposed were prepared for the occasion,
yelling and howling at the same time most dismally.

These wretched survivors of their companions having seen, from the top of
the hill whither their ill-fated curiosity had led them, a large
sand-bank not far from the island, determined to run under the lee of it,
as they very reasonably hoped that boats would the next morning be sent
after them from the ship. They experienced very little rest or ease that
night, and when daylight appeared found they had drifted nearly out of
sight of the island, and to leeward of the sand-bank.

Deeming it in vain to attempt reaching the bank, after examining what was
left in the boat, (a few of the trifles which they had put into her to
buy the friendship of the natives, and Ascott's greatcoat, but neither a
compass nor a morsel of provisions,) they determined, by the advice of
Shaw, who of these three miserable people was the only one that
understood any thing of navigation, to run direct for Timor, for which
place the wind was then happily fair. To the westward, therefore, they
directed their course, trusting (as the printed account stated) to that
Providence which had delivered them from the cannibals at Tate Island.*

[* The narrative of this most horrible affair, as printed at Calcutta,
was reprinted entire in the _European Magazine_ for May and June 1797.]

Without provisions, destitute of water, and almost without bodily
strength, it cannot be doubted that their sufferings were very great
before they reached a place of safety and relief. They left the island on
the 3rd of July, the day on which their companions were butchered. On the
7th, having the preceding day passed a sand-bank covered with birds, they
providentially, in the morning, found two small birds in the boat, one of
which they immediately divided into three parts, and were considerably
relieved by eating it. On the 8th they found themselves with land on
both sides. Through these straits they passed, and continued their course
to the westward. All that could be done with their wounds was to keep
them clean by opening them occasionally, and washing them with salt
water. On the 11th they saw land, and pushed their boat into a bay, all
agreeing that they had better trust to the chance of being well received
on shore, than to that of perishing in the course of a day or two more at
sea. Here they procured some water and a roasted yam from the natives,
who also gave them to understand that Timor was to the southward of them.
Not thinking themselves quite so safe here as they would be at Coupang,
they again embarked. They soon after found a proa in chase of them, which
they eluded by standing with their boat over a reef that the proa would
not encounter. On the morning of the 13th they saw a point of land ahead,
which, with the wind as it then was, they could not weather. They
therefore ran into a small bay, where the natives received them, calling
out 'Bligh! Bligh!' Here they landed, were hospitably received, and
providentially saved from the horror of perishing by famine.

This place was called by the natives Sarrett, and was distinct from Timor
Land, which was the first place they refreshed at. They were also
informed, that there was another small island to the northward, called by
them Fardatte, but which in some charts was named Ta-na-bor. They also
understood that a proa came yearly from Banda to trade at Tanabor, and
that her arrival was expected in the course of seven or eight months.

They were much gratified with this information, and soon found that they
had fallen into the hands of a hospitable and humane race of people.

On the 25th of July Mr. Carter's wound was entirely healed, after having
had thirteen pieces of the fractured skull taken out. But this gentleman
was fated not long to survive his sufferings. He remained in perfect
health until the 17th of November, when he caught a fever, of which he
died on the 10th of December, much regretted by his two friends (for
adversity makes friends of those who perhaps, in other situations, would
never have shaken hands).

The two survivors waited in anxious expectation for the arrival of the
annual trading proa from Banda. To their great joy she came on the 12th
of March 1794.

For Banda they sailed on the 10th of April, and arrived there on the 1st
of May following, where they were received with the greatest hospitality
by the governor, who supplied them with every thing necessary for people
in their situation, and provided them with a passage on board an Indiaman
bound to Batavia, where they arrived on the 10th of the following
October; adding another to the many instances of escape from the perils
which attend on those whose hard fate have driven them to navigate the
ocean in an open boat.

Hard indeed was the fate of Captain Hill and Mr. Carter. They were
gentlemen of liberal education, qualified to adorn the circles of life in
which their rank in society placed them. How lamentable thus to perish,
the one by the hands and rude weapons of barbarous savages, cut off in
the prime of life and most perfect enjoyment of his faculties, lost for
ever to a mother and sister whom he tenderly loved, his body mangled,
roasted, and devoured by cannibals; the other, after escaping from those
cannibals, to perish* in a country where all were strangers to him,
except his two companions in misery Shaw and Ascott, to give up all his
future prospects in life, never more to meet the cheering eye of
friendship or of love, and without having had the melancholy satisfaction
of recounting his perils, his escape, and sufferings, to those who would
sympathise with him in the tale of his sorrows.

[* It is evident, if this account be true, that Mr. Dell must have been
mistaken in his opinion of having carried on board the _Shah Hormuzear_ a
hand which, from a certain mark on it, he knew to have belonged to Mr.

On the 17th the vessel built by the shipwright Hatherleigh at Dusky Bay
arrived, with some of the people left behind by Mr. Bampton. They were so
distressed for provisions, that the person who had the direction of the
vessel could not bring away the whole; and it was singularly fortunate
that he arrived as he did, for with all the economy that could be used,
his small stock of provisions was consumed to the last mouthful the day
before he made the land.

This vessel, which the officer who commanded her (Waine, one of the mates
of the _Endeavour_) not unappropriately named the _Assistance_, was built
entirely of the timber of Dusky Bay, but appeared to be miserably
constructed. She was of near sixty tons burden, and was now to be sold*
for the benefit of Mr. Bampton.

[* Notwithstanding all her imperfections, she was valued at and sold for
two hundred and fifty pounds.]

The situation of the people still remaining at Dusky Bay was not, we
understood, the most enviable; their dependence for provisions being
chiefly on the seals and birds which they might kill. They had all
belonged to this colony, and one or two happened to be persons of good

On the 10th the American sailed for the north-west coast of America. In
her went Mr. James Fitzpatrick Knaresbro', a gentleman whose hard lot it
was to be doomed to banishment for life from his native country, Ireland,
and the enjoyment of a comfortable fortune which he there possessed. He
arrived here in the _Sugar Cane_ transport, in the year 1793, and had
lived constantly at Parramatta with the most rigid economy and severe
self-denial even of the common comforts of life.

It was seen with concern that the crops of this season proved in general
bad, the wheat being almost every where mixed with a weed named by the
farmers Drake. Every care was taken to prevent this circumstance from
happening in the ensuing season, by cleaning with the greatest nicety not
only such wheat as was intended for seed, but such as was received into
the public store from settlers. It was occasioned by the ground being
overwrought, from a greediness to make it produce golden harvests every
season, without allowing it time to recruit itself from crop to crop, or
being able to afford it manure. Had this not happened, the crops would
most likely have been immense.

At the Hawkesbury, where alone any promise of agricultural advantages was
to be found, the settlers were immersed in intoxication. Riot and madness
marked their conduct; and this was to be attributed to the spirits that,
in defiance of every precaution, found their way thither.

Early in the month a store-room belonging to Captain Paterson was broken
into, and articles to a large amount stolen thereout. A sentinel was
stationed in the front of the house; notwithstanding which, the thieves
had time to remove, through a small hole that they made in a brick wall,
all the property they stole.

In the course of the month Captain Townson, another officer of the corps,
was also robbed. He had that morning received in trust sixty pounds in
dollars; these, together with his watch, were stolen from him in the
following night. His servants were suspected, as were also Captain
Paterson's; but nothing could be fixed upon them that bore the resemblance
of proof.

Robberies were more frequent now than they had been for some time past,
scarcely a night passing without at least an attempt being made. On the
17th, the festival of St. Patrick, the night-watch were assaulted by two
fellows, Matthew Farrel and Richard Sutton, (better known by the title of
the Newgate Bully,) while the latter was pursued by them from a house
which he was endeavouring to break into, to the house of Farrel, who
tried to secrete him, and afford him protection.

A woman was stopped in the street at night, and a piece of callico
forcibly taken from her. A convict being taken up as the man who had
robbed her, she at first was positive to his person, but when brought
before a magistrate, on recollecting that his life might be in danger,
she was ready to swear that, it being very dark at the time, it was not
possible she should know his features. Thus difficult was it too often
found to bring these people to justice.

On the 24th his Majesty's ship _Supply_ sailed for Norfolk Island. The
patent for holding criminal courts there, which was brought hither by the
_Cornwallis_, was sent by this conveyance, together with R. Sutton (the
Newgate Bully) and some other very bad characters, who, it was not
unlikely, would soon entitle themselves to the benefit of the patent
which accompanied them.

Hogs again became such a public nuisance, by running loose in the town,
without rings or yokes, that another order respecting them was given out,
directing the owners either to shut them up, or appoint them to be
watched when at large.

Reports were again received this month of fresh outrages committed by the
natives at the river. The schooner which had been sent round with
provisions saw some of these people off a high point of land named
Portland Head, who menaced them with their spears, and carried in their
appearance every mark of hostility. The governor being at this time on an
excursion to that settlement (by water), one of his party landed on the
shore opposite Portland Head, and saw at a short distance a large body of
natives, who he understood had assembled for the purpose of burning the
corpse of a man who had been killed in some contest among themselves.

About this time Bennillong, who occasionally shook off the habits of
civilized life, and went for a few days into the woods with his sisters
and other friends, sent in word that he had had a contest with his bosom
friend Cole-be, in which he had been so much the sufferer, that until his
wounds were healed he could not with any pleasure to himself appear at
the governor's table. This notification was accompanied with a request,
that his clothes, which he had left behind him when he went away, might
be sent him, together with some victuals, of which he was much in want.

On his coming among us again, he appeared with a wound on his mouth,
which had divided the upper lip and broke two of the teeth of that jaw.
His features, never very pleasing, now seemed out of all proportion, and
his pronunciation was much altered. Finding himself badly received among
the females (although improved by his travels in the little attentions
that are supposed to have their weight with the sex) and not being able
to endure a life of celibacy, which had been his condition from the day
of his departure from this country until nearly the present hour, he made
an attack upon his friend's favourite, Boo-ree-a, in which he was not
only unsuccessful, but was punished for his breach of friendship, as
above related, by Cole-be, who sarcastically asked him, 'if he meant that
kind of conduct to be a specimen of English manners?'

The _Ceres_, having been discharged from government employ, sailed in the
beginning of the month for Canton. Being well manned, the master was not
in want of any hands from this place; but eight convicts found means to
secrete themselves on board a day or two before she sailed. They were
however, by the great vigilance of Mr. Hedley, discovered in time to be
sent back to their labour. Among them we were not surprised to find two
or three of the last importation from Ireland.

We lost four persons by death during this month. On the 6th died of a
severe dysentery, Richard Hudson, the sergeant-major of the New South
Wales corps. At three in the morning of the 16th Mr. Joseph Gerald
breathed his last. A consumption which accompanied him from England, and
which all his wishes and efforts to shake off could not overcome, at
length brought him to that period when, perhaps, his strong enlightened
mind must have perceived how full of vanity and vexation of spirit were
the busiest concerns of this world; and into what a narrow limit was now
to be thrust that frame which but of late trod firmly in the walk of
life, elate and glowing with youthful hope, glorying in being a martyr to
the cause which he termed that of Freedom, and considering as an honour
that exile which brought him to an untimely grave.* He was followed in
three days after by another victim to mistaken opinions, Mr. William
Skirving. A dysentery was the apparent cause of his death, but his heart
was broken. In the hope of receiving remittances from England, which
might enable him to proceed with spirit and success in farming, of which
he appeared to have a thorough knowledge, he had purchased from different
persons, who had ground to sell, about one hundred acres of land adjacent
to the town of Sydney. He soon found that a farm near the sea-coast was
of no great value. His attention and his efforts to cultivate the ground
were of no avail. Remittances he received none; he contracted some little
debts, and found himself neglected by that party for whom he had
sacrificed the dearest connexions in life, a wife and family; and finally
yielded to the pressure of this accumulated weight. Among us, he was a
pious, honest, worthy character. In this settlement his political
principles never manifested themselves; but all his solicitude seemed to
be to evince himself the friend of human nature. _Requiescat in pace_!

[* He was buried in the garden of a little spot of ground which he had
purchased at Farm Cove. Mr. F. Palmer, we understood, had written his
epitaph at large.]


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

April.] In the beginning of this month a very liberal allowance of slops
was served to the prisoners male and female. As it had been too much the
practice for these people to sell the clothing they received from
government as soon as it was issued to them, the governor on this
occasion gave it out in public orders, that whenever it should be proved
that any person had either sold or otherwise made away with any of the
articles then issued, the buyer and seller or receiver thereof would both
subject themselves to corporal or other punishment. Orders, however, had
never yet been known to have much weight with these people.

Thefts were still nightly committed. At the Hawkesbury the corn store was
broken into, and a quantity of wheat and other articles stolen; and two
people were apprehended for robbing the deputy-surveyor's fowl-house. All
these depredations were chiefly committed by those public nuisances the
people off the stores.

Toward preventing the indiscriminate sale of spirits which at this time
prevailed in all the settlements, the governor thought that granting
licences to a few persons of good character might have a good effect. Ten
persons were selected by the magistrates, and to them licences for twelve
months, under the hands of three magistrates, were granted. The
principals were bound in the usual penalties of twenty pounds each, and
obliged to find two sureties in ten pounds: and as from the very frequent
state of intoxication in which great numbers of the lower order of people
had for some time past been seen, there was much reason to suspect that a
greater quantity of spirituous liquors had been landed from the different
ships which had entered this port than permits had been obtained for, it
became highly necessary to put a stop, as early as possible, to a
practice which was pregnant with all kinds of mischief. The governor
judged it necessary, the more effectually to suppress the dangerous
practice of retailing spirits in this indiscriminate way, not only to
grant licences under the restrictions abovementioned, but to desire the
aid of all officers, civil and military, and in a more particular manner
of all magistrates, constables, etc. as they regarded the good of his
Majesty's service, the peace, tranquillity, and good order of the colony,
to use their utmost exertions for putting an end to a species of traffic,
from which the destruction of health and the ruin of all industry were to
be expected; and urged them to endeavour to discover who those people
were, that, self-licenced only, had presumed to open public houses for
this abominable purpose.

He also informed those who might, after knowing his intentions, be daring
enough to continue to act in opposition to them, that the house of every
offender should be pulled down as a public nuisance, and such other steps
be taken for his further punishment as might be deemed necessary.

In the evening of the 18th his Majesty's ship _Supply_ returned from
Norfolk Island, having been absent only three weeks and four days, the
quickest passage that had yet been made to and from that island. At night
word was sent up from the Look-out, that another vessel was off, and on
the following evening the snow _Susan_ arrived from Rhode Island, having
been at sea two hundred and thirty-one days, not touching any where on
her passage.

The Americans were observed to make these kind of voyages from motives of
frugality, sailing direct for this port; but they were at the same time
observed to bring in their people extremely healthy. On our enquiring
what methods they took so to secure the health of their seamen, they told
us that in general they found exercise the best preventive against the
scurvy, and considered idleness as the surest means of introducing it. In
addition to exercise, however, they made frequent use of acids in the
diet of their seamen, and of fumigations from tobacco in their
between-decks. Certain it was that none of our ships, which touched in
their way out at other ports, arrived so generally healthy.

A Mr. Trotter was the master of this vessel. He was an Irishman by
birth, but but had for some time been a citizen of the United States.
Strong currents and foul winds had been his enemies in the late voyage.
His cargo consisted of spirits, broad-cloth, and a variety of useful and
desirable articles, adapted to the necessities of this country.

On the last day of this month the _Indispensable_ transport arrived from
England, with one hundred and thirty-one female convicts, and a small
quantity of provisions on board for their consumption.

Mr. Wilkinson, who commanded this ship, we found, to our great regret,
had not touched at the Cape of Good Hope; he had stopped only at the port
of Rio de Janeiro. This was unfortunate, as it was intended that the
king's ships should sail early in the ensuing month of September for that
part of the world. That the war still raged in Europe we heard with
concern, feeling as every humane mind must do for the sufferings of its
fellow-creatures; but it was in the highest degree gratifying to us to
know that our situation was not wholly forgotten at home, proof enough of
which we experienced in the late frequent arrivals of ships from England.

At a criminal court which was held in this month four prisoners were
tried for forging, and uttering with a forged endorsement, the note which
had been passed at Mr. Hogan's store in February last, when James
McCarthy was convicted of the same, and received sentence of death; the
others who were tried with him were acquitted. This trial had been
delayed some time, McCarthy having found means to break out of the cells,
and remain for some weeks sheltered at the Hawkesbury, the refuge of all
the Sydney rogues when in danger of being apprehended.

Three prisoners were tried for stealing some articles out of the store at
the river, one of whom was found guilty, viz James Ashford, a young lad
who had been formerly drummed out of the New South Wales corps. He was
sentenced to seven years labour at Norfolk Island. One soldier was
accused by an old man, a settler at the river, of an unnatural crime, but

Two people off the store were found guilty of stealing some geese, the
property of Mr. Charles Grimes, the deputy-surveyor, and sentenced to
receive corporal punishment. Another of the same class was found guilty
of cutting and wounding a servant of the commissary, who had prevented
his committing a theft, and was sentenced to receive eight hundred
lashes; and one man, George Hyson, for an attempt to commit the
abominable crime of bestiality, was sentenced to stand three times in the
pillory, an hour each time.

How unpleasing were the reflections that arose from this catalogue of
criminals and their offences! No punishment however exemplary, no reward
however great, could operate on the minds of these unthinking people.
Equally indifferent to the pain which the former might occasion, and the
gratification that the other might afford, they blindly pursued the
dictates of their vicious inclinations, to whatever they prompted; and
when stopped by the arm of justice, which sometimes reached them, they
endured the consequences with an hardened obstinacy and indifference that
effectually checked the sensations of pity which are naturally excited by
the view of human sufferings.

A civil court also was assembled this month, by which some writs and some
probates of wills were granted.

At the Hawkesbury, where the settlers were consuming their subsistence in
drunkenness, a very excellent barrack was erecting for the use of the
commandant, on a spot which had been selected sufficiently high to
preclude any danger of the building being affected by a flood.

In this and the preceding month many people, adults as well as children,
were again afflicted with inflammations in the eyes. Having been visited
by this disorder in the month of April 1794, about which time we had the
same variable weather as was now experienced, we attributed its
appearance among us at this time to the same cause. The medical gentlemen
could not account for it on any other principle. One man, Sergeant-major
Jones of the New South Wales corps, died.

May.] Sixty of the women received by the _Indispensable_ were sent up to
Parramatta, there to be employed in such labour as was suited to their
sex and strength. The remainder were landed at this place.

On the 4th the governor notified in public orders his appointment of Mr.
D'Arcy Wentworth to the situation of assistant-surgeon to the settlement,
in the room of Mr. Samuel Leeds, the gentleman who came out with Governor
Hunter, he being permitted to return to England for the recovery of his

Daily experience proved, that those people whose sentences of
transportation had expired were greater evils than the convicts
themselves. It was at this time impossible to spare the labour of a
single man from the public work. Of course, no man was allowed to remove
himself from that situation without permission. But, notwithstanding this
had been declared in public orders, many were known to withdraw
themselves from labour and the provision-store on the day of their
servitude ceasing. On their being apprehended, punished for a breach of
the order, and ordered again to labour, they seized the first opportunity
of running away, taking either to the woods to subsist by depredations,
or to the shelter which the Hawkesbury settlers afforded to every
vagabond that asked it.

By these people we were well convinced every theft was committed. Their
information was good; they never attempted a house that was not an object
of plunder; and wherever there was any property they were sure to pay a
visit. The late robberies at the clergyman's and at Captain Townson's
were among the most striking instances.

It was on these occasions generally conjectured, that the domestics of
the house must aid and assist in the theft; for the perpetrator of it
always seemed to know where to lay his hand on the article for which he
thus risked his neck; and we never found them make an attempt on the
house of a poor individual.

On Wednesday the 11th, to the great satisfaction of the settlement at
large, the _Britannia_ storeship arrived safe from Calcutta and Madras,
entering this port for the fifth time with a valuable cargo on board.

She was now freighted with salted provisions, and a small quantity of
rice on account of government, procured by order of the presidencies of
Calcutta and Madras. On private account, the different officers of the
civil and military departments received the various commissions which
they had been allowed to put into the ship; and one young mare, five
cows, and one cow-calf, of the Bengal breed, were brought for sale.

On board of this ship arrived two officers of the Bengal army, Lieutenant
Campbell and Mr. Phillips, a surgeon of the military establishment for
the purpose of raising two hundred recruits from among those people who
had served their respective terms of transportation. They were to be
regularly enlisted and attested, and were to receive bounty-money; and a
provisional engagement was made with Mr. Raven, to convey them to India,
if no other service should offer for his ship.

On the first view of this scheme it appeared very plausible, and we
imagined that the execution of it would be attended with much good to the
settlement, by ridding it of many of those wretches whom we had too much
reason to deem our greatest nuisances: but when we found that the
recruiting officer was instructed to be nice as to the characters of
those he should enlist, and to entertain none that were of known bad
morals, we perceived that the settlement would derive less benefit from
it than was at first expected. There was also some reason to suppose,
that several settlers would abandon their farms, and, leaving their
families a burden to the store, embrace the change which was offered them
by enlisting as East India soldiers. It was far better for us, if any
were capable of bearing arms and becoming soldiers, to arm them in
defence of their own lives and possessions, and, by embodying them from
time to time as a militia, save to the public the expense of a regiment
or corps raised for the mere purpose of protecting the public stores and
the civil establishment of the colony.

Recruiting, therefore, in this colony for the Bengal army, being a
measure that required some consideration, and which the governor thought
should first have obtained the sanction of administration, he determined
to wait the result of a communication on the subject with the secretary
of state, before he gave it his countenance. At the same time he meant to
recommend it in a certain degree, as it was evident that many good
recruits might be taken, without any injury to the interests of the
settlement, from that class of our people who, being no longer prisoners,
declined labouring for government, and, without any visible means of
subsisting, lived where and how they chose.

The _Britannia_, in her passage to Batavia, anchored in Gower's Harbour,
New Ireland (on the 16th of July), where she completed her wood and
water, and sailed on the 23rd. On the 2nd of September following she
arrived at Batavia; and it appearing to Mr. Raven (as before observed)
but too probable that he should be detained by the government if he
ventured to wait even for their determination respecting supplying the
provisions, he sailed on the 7th for Bengal, arriving in the Ganges on
the 12th of October. Not being able to procure at Calcutta the full
quantity of provisions that his ship could contain, he sailed for Madras
on the 1st of February, where he anchored on the 15th. There he completed
his cargo, and sailed, with five homeward-bound Indiamen, on the 27th
of the same month. His passage to this country was long and tedious,
owing to the prevalence of light and contrary winds; but we were all well
pleased to be in possession of the comforts he brought us from that part
of the world, and to congratulate him on his personal escape from the
sickly and now inimical port of Batavia, as well as from the cruisers of
the enemy, with which he had reason to suppose he might fall in on the
Indian coast.

On his return from this his second voyage to India, Mr. Raven gave it as
his opinion, that the passage to be pursued from New South Wales to
India depended wholly upon the season in which the ship might leave Port
Jackson. From the month of November to April, or rather from October to
the beginning of March, which ought to be the latest period that any ship
should attempt a northern passage, he recommended making Norfolk Island;
and thence, passing between the Loyalty islands* and New Caledonia, to
keep as nearly as circumstances would allow in the longitude of 165
degrees East; until the ship should reach the latitude of 8 degrees
South; and then shape a course to cross the equator in 160 degrees East;
after which the master should steer to the NW by N or NNW until in the
latitude of 5 degrees 20 minutes or 5 degrees 30 minutes North; in which
latitude Mr. Raven would run down his longitude, and pass the south end
of Mindanao, and between that island and Bascelan; and thence through the
straits of Banguey into the China Sea. In running this passage, it would
be necessary to pay attention to Mr. Dalrymple's charts of those islands,
etc. which Mr. Raven found very accurate.

[* The Loyalty Islands are situated between New Caledonia and the New
Hebrides, and extend from about 21 degrees 30 minutes to 20 degrees 50
minutes S and from the longitude of 168 degrees to 167 degrees E.
Mr. Raven supposed them to be a large group of islands, which, being
pressed for time, he could not stop to survey. All that he had
opportunity to determine was, the longitude and latitude of some of the
head-lands. Many fires were seen on them in the night; the whole appeared
to be full of wood, and in some places in high cultivation. These
islands, certainly a discovery belonging to Mr. Raven, may be thought
worthy of being explored at some future day, and become an object of
consequence to the settlement in New South Wales.]

If leaving Port Jackson any time between the beginning of March and the
1st of September, Mr. Raven would prefer passing through a strait in the
longitude of 156 degrees 10 minutes E or thereabout; and from the
latitude of 7 degrees 06 minutes E to 6 degrees 42 minutes S which
divides some part of the islands of the New Georgia of Captain Shortland;
thence through St. George's Channel to the northward of New Guinea,
through Dampier's Strait, down Pitt's Passage, to the southward of
Boutton, and through the Straits of Salayer, into the Banda or Amboyna
Sea. This passage the _Britannia_ performed in sixty-five days from Port
Jackson to Batavia; which, had it not been for calms she met with off the
coast of New Guinea, would in all probability have been performed in six
weeks, or thereabout.

Mr. Raven furnished these observations in the hope that they might
benefit the settlement, by proving useful to the commanders of any ships
which the governor might have occasion to send into those seas on the
service of the colony.

The governor, convinced that an example was necessary to check the
present practice of villainy, had ordered James McCarthy, the prisoner
under sentence of death for forgery, to be executed on Saturday the 14th
of this present month; but yielded to the request of Mr. Johnson (the
clergyman who attended the prisoner) to spare his life, it appearing
evidently on the trial, that, guilty though he certainly was, he had in
the present instance been rather the victim of the vice of others, than
of his own. He was accordingly pardoned, on condition of his serving for
seven years at hard labour at Norfolk Island.

About this time the _Marquis Cornwallis_ and _Experiment_ sailed for
India. Previous to their departure, Mr. Hogan, the commander of the
former, had requested an examination might be taken as to the
circumstances of his conduct toward the convicts and others on board his
ship during their passage from Ireland to this country. The examination
upon oath was made by the judge-advocate, assisted by two other
magistrates, to whom it appeared, that Mr. Hogan, but for the fortunate
and timely discovery of it, would with his ship have fallen a sacrifice
to as daring and alarming a conspiracy as, perhaps, ever had been entered
into by a set of desperate wretches on board of any ship; and that
nothing was left for him, to save himself from the danger of a similar
circumstance occurring during the voyage, but to inflict immediate
punishment, on the persons who were concerned in it.

A civil court was assembled nearly about the same time, to try an
assault, the action for which was brought by Mr. Matthew Austin (a
gentleman who came out in the _Marquis Cornwallis_, as a superintending
surgeon of the convicts in that ship, on the part of government) against
Mr. Michael Hogan the commander, Mr. John Hogan the surgeon, and Henry
Hacking the pilot. The circumstances of the assault being proved, the
court adjudged Mr. M. Hogan to pay damages to the amount of fifty pounds;
the others were acquitted.

On Mr. McClellan's arrival from Bengal, he reminded us, that some
property had been found concealed in the bed of one of our people, which
property had been shown to him at the time, under a supposition that it
might have been stolen from his ship. On his return to India, he found
that a small bale, containing the very articles which had been shown him
here, had been put on board him at Bengal, to be delivered as a present
to a gentleman at Batavia, the initials of whose name were marked on the
bale. On his stating these circumstances to the judge-advocate, that part
of the property which had been found, and placed in the custody of the
provost-marshal, was given up to Mr. McClellan. Rogers, who had been
either the principal or the receiver, perhaps foreseeing that the offence
might sooner or later be brought home to him, had taken himself off in
the _Endeavour_, and was one of those persons who had been unavoidably
left behind at Dusky Bay by Mr. Waine when he quitted that place in the

From the address with which this business must have been managed, masters
of ships might see the necessity that existed for their keeping a
vigilant eye over the people whom they admitted on their decks, and be
perfectly assured, that many visited them for the express purpose of
discovering what vigilance was observed by the master, his mates, and
people. Many instances of this kind had occurred, although it might have
been readily supposed, that a stranger would have been on his guard, and
never have lost the idea of the description of people by whom he was
likely to be visited. A large quantity of tobacco had been stolen out of
the _Bellona_ storeship shortly after she arrived here; half a cask of
gunpowder had been stolen out of the _Britannia_, at the very time that
the master was entertaming some of the gentlemen of the settlement in the
cabin; Mr. Page, the master of the American ship _Hope_, was robbed of
several articles, and the buckles out of his shoes, which stood in the
cabin wherein he lay asleep; and this theft of the bale from on board the
_Experiment_ was an additional instance of the management and ability
displayed by our people in conducting an affair of that kind.

From this recapitulation of some of the offences which had been committed
on board of ships while riding in this cove (to which many others might
have been added), let the masters of those which may hereafter be sent
out, and who may have perused this account, be cautious who they receive
on board during the day, let their pretext of business, or coming from an
officer, be what it may; never should they be suffered to mix with their
seamen, nor to see where the stores of the ship are placed; nor should a
boat be ever permitted to come alongside during the night, and in that
case the people should not be allowed to come into the ship. The masters
of ships were long since forbidden to receive any convict on board
without a pass signed by the judge-advocate, who, from his official
situation, was the best qualified to know the character of those who
might apply; but the decks of ships were often filled with convicts, who
went off with merely the sanction of the masters they lived with,
although known perhaps at the time to be as suspicious characters as any
in the settlement.

Among the Irish prisoners who arrived in the _Marquis Cornwallis_ was one
who professed to understand the business of a millwright, and who
undertook with very little assistance to construct a mill at this place.
He appeared rough and uncouth in his manners; but our want of a mill was
so great, that it was determined to try what his abilities were, and
place some hired artificers under his direction. A spot was chosen on the
summit of the ground which forms the western side of the cove, and,
saw-pits being dug for him, he began the work.

With a mill once erected competent to the grinding of all our wheat, a
reduction in the ration of flour would not be felt. So sensible of this
advantage had the governor been, that he brought out with him the most
material parts of a windmill, with a model, by which any millwright he
might find here would be enabled to set up the different parts; and Thorp
the millwright was employed in collecting and preparing the timber
necessary for putting up this mill at Parramatta.

The weather was very variable during the month. The cattle brought by
Mr. Raven, though in Smithfield they would not all together have been worth
fifty pounds, were sold by auction at enormous prices. The mares went at
one hundred pounds, one of the cows at eighty-four pounds, and the others
at prices something inferior.

June.] His Majesty's birthday was observed by the settlement with that
attention which, as English subjects, we were proud to pay to it. The
_Susan_ (with American colours flying), though provided with only six or
eight guns, contrived to fire at one o'clock with the king's ships, a
well-timed salute of twenty-one guns in honour of the day.

On this occasion the governor pardoned all culprits, except James
McCarthy, who was under orders for Norfolk Island. It might be looked
upon as a sort of encouragement to the commission of crimes, thus by a
periodical pardon to render punishment less certain. If men were led to
suppose, that on the King's birthday all culprits would be pardoned, they
would be emboldened to offend, at least for a month or two previous to
that time; but the governor did not mean to extend this act of mercy
beyond the present occasion, being the first birthday of his sovereign
that had occurred since his arrival.

Several daring thefts were committed early in this month. William Waring,
a prisoner who had been allowed to cultivate a farm of thirty acres on
the banks of the Hawkesbury, having occasion to move a cask of salted
provisions, which he had purchased from the master of a ship riding in
this cove, entrusted it to the care of two people his servants, to convey
it from his farm to that of a neighbouring settler. The temptation was
too great to be resisted, and the cask was stolen out of the boat, while
the servants landed for the night at some farm by the way. They pretended
to have no concern in it; but as that was too improbable to be believed,
they were ordered to make restitution by their labour.

About the same time the brick hut occupied by Thomas Clark, a
superintendant of convicts, was broken into; and, notwithstanding the
door of the room in which he slept with his wife was open, they plundered
the house of several articles to a great amount.

Some runaways from the jail gang at this place were suspected; and our
watch, being dispatched immediately on receipt of this information, were
very near falling in with the thieves; but these latter descried them in
time to make their escape. Information being afterwards received, that
two runaway vagabonds were concealed at a house near the brick-fields,
some of the watch repaired to the spot, and found two notorious
offenders, James McManus and George Collins. These two people had
repeatedly broken out of the jall-hut, and one of them, McManus, had some
time since been fired at and wounded in an attempt to commit a burglary.
On the present occasion, he had sufficient address to effect his escape
from the watch; the other was secured and brought in. The hut in which
they were found was pulled down the following morning, to deter others
(if possible) from harbouring thieves and vagabonds.

The settlers in the different districts, and particularly those at the
Hawkesbury, had long been supposed to be considerably in debt; and it was
suspected, that their crops for two or more seasons to come were pledged
to pay these debts. As this was an evil of great magnitude, the governor
set on foot such an inquiry as he thought would ascertain or contradict
the report. By this inquiry, it appeared, that the settlers at the
districts of Prospect Hill, the Ponds, the Field of Mars, the Eastern
Farms, and Mulgrave Place on the banks of the river Hawkesbury, stood
indebted in the sum of L5098. The inquiry was farther directed as well to
the appearance of the farms, and the general character of the settlers,
as to their debts. Many were reported to be industrious and thriving; but
a great number were stated to be idle, vicious, given to drinking,
gaming, and other such disorders as lead to poverty and ruin. One man, a
settler at the Eastern Farms, Edward Elliot, had received a ewe sheep
from the late Governor Phillip before his departure in the year 1792. He
had resisted many temptations to sell it, and at the time this inquiry
took place was found possessing a stock of twenty-two sheep, males and
females. He had been fortunate in not meeting with any loss, but had not
added to his stock by any purchase. This was a proof that industry did
not go without its reward in this country. Other instances were found to
corroborate this observation.

At the settlement of the Hawkesbury one man had been drowned, and another
killed by the natives.

The gentlemen who conducted the inquiry found most of the settlers there
oftener employed in carousing in the fronts of their houses, than in
labouring themselves, or superintending the labour of their servants in
their grounds. There was at this time a considerable quantity of spirits
in the colony from the _Susan_, the _Britannia_, and _Indispensable_, and
no doubt much of it had found its way to the settlers; but that they
could be so lost to their own true interests, could be only accounted for
by recollecting their former habits of life, in which the frequent use of
intoxicating liquors formed a part of their education.

With a view to check the drunkenness that prevailed in the different
districts, the governor had directed licences for retailing spirituous
liquors to be given to certain deserving characters in each; but it was
not found to answer the effect he expected. Instead of the settlers being
disposed to industry, they still indulged themselves in inebriety and
idleness, and robberies now appeared to be committed more frequently than
formerly. He therefore judged it necessary to direct, that none of those
persons who had obtained licences should presume to carry on a traffic
with settlers or others who might have grain to dispose of, by paying for
such grain in spirits. He assured them, that should any persons he
thereafter discovered to have carried on so destructive a trade, their
licences would immediately be recalled, and such steps taken for their
further punishment as they might be thought to deserve. He also desired
it might be understood, that trading with spirits to the extent which he
found practised was strictly forbidden to others, as well as to those who
had licensed public houses.

The practice of purchasing the crops of the settlers for spirits had too
long prevailed in the settlement; and the governor thought it absolutely
necessary, by all the means in his power, to put an end to it; for it was
not possible that a farmer who should be idle enough to throw away the
labour of twelve months, for the gratification of a few gallons of
poisonous spirits, could expect to thrive, or enjoy those comforts which
were only to be procured by sobriety and industry. From such characters
he determined to withdraw the assistance of government, since when left
to themselves they would have less time to waste in drunkenness and riot.

In the night of the 19th of this month some thieves broke into the house
of William Miller, (a young man who, on account of his good behaviour,
had been allowed to exercise the trade of a baker,) and stole articles to
the amount of fifty-six pounds, mostly property not belonging to himself.
Suspicion falling upon some people off the store, they were apprehended;
but in the morning the greater part of what had been stolen was found
placed in a garden where it could be easily discovered, and restored to
the owner.

On the day following, the governor, with a small party, undertook a
second excursion to the retreat of the cattle. A few days previous to the
governor's departure, Mr. Bass, the surgeon of the _Reliance_, and two
companions, set off in an attempt to round the mountains to the westward;
but having soon attained the summit of the highest, they saw at the
distance of forty or fifty miles another range of mountains, extending to
the northward and southward. Mr. Bass reported, that he passed over some
very fine land, and he brought in some specimens of a light wood which he
met with.

The governor was not long absent. He saw the cattle ranging as before,
although not exactly in the same spot, in the finest country yet
discovered in New South Wales, and ascended a hill which from every point
of view had appeared the highest in our neighbourhood. He fixed, by means
of an artificial horizon, its latitude to be 34 degrees 09 minutes S nine
miles to the southward of Botany Bay. The height of this hill, which
obtained the name of Mount Hunter, was supposed to be near a mile from
the base; and the view from the summit was commanding, and full of grand
objects, wood, water, plains, and mountains. Every where on that side of
the Nepean, the soil was found to be good, and the ground eligible for
cultivation. The sides of Mount Hunter, though very steep, were clothed
with timber to the summit, and the ground filled with the Orchis root.

The knowledge derived from this excursion was, that the cattle had not
been disturbed, and that they had increased; ninety-four were at this
time counted.

About the same time the people of a fishing-boat returned from a bay near
Port Stephens, into which they had been driven by bad weather, and
brought in with them several large pieces of coal, which they said they
found at some little distance from the beach, lying in considerable
quantity on the surface of the ground. These people having conducted
themselves improperly, while on shore, two of them were severely wounded
by the natives, one of whom died soon after he reached the hospital.

The _Francis_ schooner sailed on the 21st with dispatches for Norfolk
Island; the king's ships, the _Reliance_ and _Supply_, began the
necessary preparations for their intended voyage to the Cape of Good
Hope, and the first day of September was fixed for their departure.

Toward the latter end of the month two men from each officer were ordered
to join the public gangs, it being found wholly impracticable to erect
without more assistance any of the buildings which had now become
indispensably necessary. Storehouses were much wanted; the barracks were
yet unfinished; houses were to be built for the assistant-surgeons, those
which had been erected soon after our arrival being now no longer
tenable. A church too, of more substantial materials than lath and
plaster, was wanted here and at Parramatta; as well as court-houses, or
places where the courts of civil and criminal judicature might be held,
and where the magistrates might meet to do the public business.

At Sydney, the bricklayers' gang was employed during this month in
erecting a temporary court-house of lath and plaster; as it was uncertain
when one to be built of bricks could be begun; and great inconvenience
was felt by the judge-advocate and other magistrates in being obliged to
transact business at their own houses.

We had at last the satisfaction of seeing usefully employed some of the
cattle brought hither in the _Endeavour_. A careful person being found to
conduct them, the timber-carriage was now, instead of men, drawn by six
or eight stout oxen; and all the timber which was wanted for building, or
other purposes, was brought to the pits by them, both here and at
Parramatta. This was some saving of men, but eight people were still
employed with each carriage.

The carpenters continued erecting the temporary shed for provisions; the
town gang was employed delivering the storeships; and at Toongabbie some
women were employed in making hay, intended to be put on board the king's
ships for the cattle to be purchased at the Cape for the colony.

One man, Matthew Farrel, died in this month. He had been hurt in an
affray with some watchmen in the night of the 17th of March last.


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

July.] Among the many evils that were daily seen flowing from that state
of dissipation which had found its way into the different settlements, we
had to regret that two men lost their lives by the hand of violence. On
Tuesday the 4th of this month, John Smith, a seaman belonging to the
_Indispensable_, was shot at Sydney in the house of Mr. Daniel Payne, the
master boat-builder, by a convict-servant of his; and on the same day, at
the Hawkesbury, David Lane was shot by his master, John Fenlow, a settler
at that place. The latter of these unfortunate men lived but a few hours;
Smith the seaman was taken to the hospital, where he languished until the
9th, and then died. Fenlow and the convict were taken into custody, and
would have been immediately brought to trial; but, through the carelessness
of one of the watchmen, Fenlow found means, though incumbered with heavy
irons, to escape from the cells, and was not retaken until the latter end
of the month, when some natives discovered him lurking near his own grounds
at the river, and, giving information, he was easily apprehended and

These transactions were productive of some internal regulations which had
long been wanting. Several settlers, with whose conduct the governor had
had but too much cause to be displeased, were at length deprived of all
assistance from government, and left to the exercise of their own
abilities, pursuant to a notice which they received to that effect in the
last month. Several other settlers also, who had been victualled from the
public stores long beyond the period allowed them by the crown, were
struck off from the victualling books. All persons off the stores, who of
course did not labour for government, were ordered forthwith to appear at
Sydney, in order to their being mustered and examined relative to their
respective terms of transportation; when certificates were to be given to
such as were regularly discharged from the commissary's books, and the
settlers were directed not to employ any but such as could produce this
certificate. Frequent visits were directed to be made by the magistrates,
for the purpose of settling such differences as might arise among the
settlers and other persons; and the governor signified his determination
of inspecting their conduct himself from time to time, and of punishing
such as were proved to afford shelter or employment to the thieves and
vagabonds who ran to the river and other districts from this town and

These regulations being made known as publicly and generally as was
possible, in order that none might plead ignorance, the town of Sydney
was shortly filled with people from the different settlements, who came
to the judge-advocate for certificates of their having served their
respective sentences. Among these were many who had run away from public
labour before their time had expired; some who had escaped from
confinement with crimes yet unpunished hanging over their heads; and some
who, being for life, appeared by names different from those by which they
were commonly known in the settlement. By the activity of the watchmen,
and a minute investigation of the necessary books and papers, they were
in general detected in the imposition, and were immediately sent to hard
labour in the town and jail gangs.

To the latter of these gangs additions were every day making; scarcely a
day or a night passed but some enormity was committed or attempted either
on the property or persons of individuals. Two notorious characters, Luke
Normington and Richard Elliott, were detected on the night of the 13th in
a very suspicious situation in the commissary's stock-yard, which was
well filled at the time with sheep and other stock. These were sent to
the jail-gang, in company with one Sharpless, a convict, who, after
marrying a woman that was a perfect antidote to desire, pretended to be
jealous, and gave her such a dreadful beating, that her life was for some
time in danger.

Stock of all denominations was at this time fast increasing in the
different districts. An officer of the New South Wales corps, having
obtained the governor's sanction for his quitting the colony in one of
the ships now preparing for the Cape of Good Hope, sold to government a
flock of goats, consisting of about one hundred animals, for L490 10s.
This was a valuable acquisition, and promises of stock to several
deserving settlers were now performed.

The _Britannia_, being now cleared of the cargo she brought from Bengal
on government account, was fitting again for sea, when Mr. Raven, the
master, proffered her to the governor for the purpose of going direct to
England, if his excellency should have any occasion to employ her in such
a voyage. There were at this time several soldiers in the New South Wales
corps wholly unfit for service; the governor had for some time intended
to send home Mr. Clark, a superintendant of convicts, whose engagement
with the crown had expired; and James Thorp, a person who had been sent
out with a salary of L105 per annum, as a master millwright, but who was
at this time unemployed in the settlement. To ease government at once of
these expences, the governor thought it adviseable to charter the
_Britannia_, for the purpose of taking home such invalids and passengers
as might be ordered, at the rate of fifteen shillings per ton per month;
the charter to be in force on the first day of the ensuing month.

The public stores were opened during this month at Parramatta and the
river for receiving Indian corn; which was taken in at five shillings per
bushel for this season; but it was generally supposed, that there would
not be occasion to give that price for it again.

Fresh pork was at this time purchased by the commissary at one shilling
per pound, and issued as a ration, in the proportion of two pounds of
fresh for one of salt meat.

It having been represented to the governor, that several people in the
town of Sydney employed themselves in building boats for sale, and
without obtaining any permission, a liberty which had crept into the
settlement in opposition to all former orders and regulations on that
head; and as it was well known that, notwithstanding the great
convenience which must attend the having boats for various uses in this
extensive harbour, many abuses were carried on through their means; it
was ordered, that no boat whatever, of any size or description, should be
built until applicationhad been made to the governor, and permission in
writing obtained, either signed by the governor for the time being, or by
some person properly authorised by him. It was also ordered, that all
boats at that time in the possession of individuals should be forthwith
taken to the master boat-builder, where a number was to be cut on the
stern, and a register of such number was to be kept by the
provost-marshal. All boats found without a number were to be liable to

The natives appeared less troublesome lately than they had been for some
time past. The people of a fishing-boat, which had been cast on shore in
some bad weather near Port Stephens, met with some of these people, who
without much entreaty, or any hope of reward, readily put them into a
path from thence to Broken Bay, and conducted them the greatest part of
the way. During their little journey, these friendly people made them
understand, that they had seen a white woman among some natives to the
northward. On their reporting this at Sydney, this unfortunate female was
conjectured to be Mary Morgan, a prisoner, who it was now said had failed
in her attempt to get on board the _Resolution_ store-ship, which sailed
from hence in 1794. There was indeed a woman, one Ann Smith, who ran away
a few days after our sitting down in this place, and whose fate was not
exactly ascertaineds; if she could have survived the hardships and
wretchedness of such a life as must have been hers during so many years
residence among the natives of New Holland, how much information must it
have been in her power to afford! But humanity shuddered at the idea of
purchasing it at so dear a price.

Toward the latter end of the month, there not remaining any more flour in
the store than what was necessarily reserved for the use of his Majesty's
ships _Reliance_ and _Supply_ to carry them to the Cape of Good Hope,
nine pounds of wheat were added to the allowance of that article (three
pounds) served to the civil, military, and free people.

A court of civil judicature was held on the 27th and 28th, when several
debts were sworn to, and writs taken out.

In the night of the 29th, the _Francis_ schooner returned from Norfolk
island, having been absent five weeks and three days. From her we
learned, that the criminal court of judicature had been assembled, and
one man, a convict, had suffered death, being convicted of a most daring
burglary, which he and two others his accomplices effected with some
circumstances of cruelty. The accomplices were sentenced to hard labour
on Phillip Island for a certain term of years.

It was observed that the gangs at this place employed in different public
works were seldom to be seen in the afternoon. On inquiry, it appeared
that, notwithstanding the orders which had been given for the regulation
of the public labour, the superintendants had taken it upon themselves to
task the working people in such manner as they thought proper, and upon
no other authority than their own will. By this abuse the work of
government was almost wholly neglected, and the time of the labourers
applied to the use of private individuals.

To remedy this evil, the governor repeated the order in which the hours
of public labour were pointed out, and informed the superintendants and
overseers, that if they should be known to take the liberty of applying
to any other use or purpose the time designed to be employed for the
public, they would be instantly dismissed from their employments, as
persons who could not be depended upon; and they might rest assured, that
any one, who had been proved unworthy the trust he had placed in him,
would never be restored to a situation of which he was so little tenacious.

During this month died Mr. Henry Brewer, the provost-marshal of the
territory, at the age of fifty-seven years. He came out with Governor
Phillip as his clerk, and on our landing was appointed to act as
provost-marshal in the room of the person appointed by the crown,
Mr. Alexander, who never came out. Mr. Brewer afterwards received his
Majesty's commission appointing him to the vacancy. There also died
Andrew Fishburn, a private in the New South Wales corps, but formerly
belonging to the marine detachment serving in this country, who had been
very useful as a carpenter in the settlement; a soldier, who came out in
the _Cornwallis_; one male convict, who died suddenly; one unfortunate
man, John Williams, who was crushed to death by the wheel of a
timber-carriage going over his head; and the settler's servant who was
killed at the Hawkesbury; beside the seaman belonging to the
_Indispensable_ who was shot.

August.] A court of criminal judicature was assembled early in the month
for the trial of several offenders who were at that time in confinement
under different charges.

Four prisoners were tried for a burglary in the house of William Miller,
but acquitted through a defect in evidence. David Lloyd was tried for the
wilful murder of John Smith, the seaman belonging to the ship
_Indispensable_. It appeared, that the seaman had repaired in a state of
intoxication to the house of Mr. Payne, for the express purpose of taking
from a female convict, (then living as a servant at Mr. Payne's, and with
whom he, the seaman, had cohabited during the passage) some clothes
which he had given her. A riot, the natural consequence of such a
proceeding, ensued; and the prisoner endeavoured to make it appear that
he had been compelled in his own defence to fire the pistol which caused
the death of the seaman. The court admitted that the prisoner had not any
of that malice in his heart against the deceased which is necessary to
constitute the crime of murder, and therefore acquitted him of that
charge; but found him guilty of manslaughter, and sentenced him to
receive six hundred lashes. John Fenlow was tried for the wilful murder
of his servant, David Lane. This charge was fully made out, and the
prisoner received sentence to die. Matthew Farrel, who (with Richard
Sutton, the Newgate Bully) assaulted the watch on the night of the 17th
of March last, having in the course of that contest received a wound on
the temple which proved incurable, and occasioned his death some time
after, the watchmen were now brought forward to account for the death of
the deceased. This they did very satisfactorily, and were discharged.
Four vagabonds, who had repeatedly broken out of prison, and run away
from the jall-gang, were tried as incorrigible rogues, and being found
guilty, were sentenced to three years hard labour at Norfolk Island; and
one man was tried for a rape, but acquitted. Fenlow, being tried on the
Saturday, was executed on the following Monday. His body being delivered
to the surgeons for dissection pursuant to his sentence, a stone was
found in his gall bladder, of the size of a lark's egg. This unhappy man
was remarkable for an extreme irascibility of temper: might it not have
been occasioned by the torment that such a substance must produce in so
irritable a situation? He however, the night before his execution,
confessed that the murder which he committed was premeditated.
Notwithstanding which, he had, the day before he was tried, prepared an
opening through the brick wall of his cell, purposing, if it had not been
discovered in time, to have availed himself of it to escape after his
trial. It could scarcely be supposed, that among the description of
people of which the lower class was formed in this place, any would have
been found sufficiently curious to have attended the surgeons on such an
occasion; but they had no sooner signified that the body was ready for
inspection, than the hospital was filled with people, men, women, and
children, to the number of several hundreds; none of whom appeared moved
with pity for his fate, or in the least degree admonished by the sad
spectacle before their eyes.

On Monday the 8th the snow _Susan_ sailed on her voyage to Canton. Two
women, Sarah Nitchell and Elizabeth Robinson, and a few men, were allowed
to quit the colony in this vessel.

His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales's birthday was duly distinguished
by us on the 12th of this month. Such days had never been neglected by
the colonists of New South Wales.

A civil court was again held on the day following, when several persons
who had been arrested by writs issued from the last court were brought
up; many of whom, being settlers, gave assignments on their coming crops
of wheat for the different sums in which they were indebted. Several
other debts were sworn to, and writs issued. Had those defendants who
were thus suffered to give assignments on their crops then in the ground
been thrown into prison at the suit of the different plaintiffs, their
ruin would have been certain, and the debt would have remained
unsatisfied. This method was tried, as being something more beneficial to
both parties; but they were in general of such a thoughtless worthless
description, that even this indulgence might induce them to be, if
possible, more worthless and thoughtless than before, as, to use their
own expression, they had now 'to work for a dead horse.'

On the 23rd (the signal for a sail having been made at the South Head,
the day before), there anchored in the stream, just without the two
points of Sydney Cove, the ship _Grand Turk_, from Boston, after a
passage of five months from that port. She had been twenty-three days
from Van Dieman's Land, meeting with a current, during several days, that
set her each day twenty-one miles either to the SE or NE. We found on
board as supercargo, Mr. McGee, who was here before in the _Halcyon_ with
Mr. Benjamin Page. He brought news from Europe as late as January last,
by which we learned that the war still raged. Mr. McGee had on board for
sale, spirits, tobacco, wine, soap, iron, linseed oil, broadcloth, etc.,
etc., for this market, Manilla, and Canton. The tobacco (eighteen
hogsheads) were immediately bought for one shilling and three half-pence
per pound, and government purchased some of his spirits at seven
shillings per gallon.

During this month a long-boat belonging to his Majesty's ship _Reliance_,
which had been sent to Botany Bay in July to procure fish, was given up
for lost, with five or six seamen. They were known to have quitted Botany
Bay, and, not having been heard of for some weeks, were conjectured to
have taken the boat away to the northward, where, being without compass
or provisions, except the few fish they had caught, it was more than
probable they had perished.

The jail-gang at this time, notwithstanding the examples which had been
made, consisted of upwards of twenty-five persons; and many of the female
prisoners were found to be every whit as infamous as the men.

One settler was executed this month, and one soldier lost his life by a
tree falling on him at the Hawkesbury.

The first and middle parts of the month were wet. The branch of the
harbour named Duck River was so swollen as to overflow its banks, which
were very steep.

September.] A temporary church, formed out of the materials of two old
huts, was opened at Parramatta by the Rev. Mr. Marsden on the first
Sunday in this month. Decent places of worship were now to be seen at the
two principal settlements. At the time when we were visited by the

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