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

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to procure boats, and get on board the transports after they had left the
cove. An officer with a party was immediately sent out from Parramatta in
pursuit of them, who traced them as far down the harbour as Lane Cove,
whence he reached the settlement at Sydney, without seeing or hearing any
thing more of them. A few days afterward the people in a boat belonging
to the _Albemarle_ transport, which had been down the harbour to procure
wood on the north shore, met with the wretched female who had accompanied
the men. She had been separated from them for three days, and wandered by
herself, entirely ignorant of her situation, until she came to the water
side, where, fortunately, she soon after met the boat. Boats were sent
down the next day, and the woman's husband was found and brought up to
the settlement. They both gave the same absurd account of their design as
before related, and appeared to have suffered very considerably by
fatigue, hunger, and the heat of the weather. The man had lost his
companions forty eight hours before he was himself discovered; and no
tidings of them were received for several days, although boats were
constantly sent in to the north west arm, and the lower part of the

Three of these miserable people were some time after met by some officers
who were on an excursion to the lagoon between this harbour and Broken
Bay; but, notwithstanding their situation, they did not readily give
themselves up, and, when questioned, said they wanted nothing more than
to live free from labour. These people were sent up to Parramatta,
whence, regardless of what they had experienced, and might again suffer,
they a second time absconded in a few days after they had been returned.
Parties were immediately dispatched from that settlement, and thirteen of
those who first absconded were brought in, in a state of deplorable
wretchedness, naked, and nearly worn out with hunger. Some of them had
subsisted chiefly by sucking the flowering shrubs and wild berries of the
woods; and the whole exhibited a picture of misery, that seemed
sufficient to deter others from the like extravagant folly. The practice
of flying from labour into the woods still, however, prevailing, the
governor caused all the convicts who arrived this year to be assembled,
and informed them of his determination to put a stop to their absconding
from the place where he had appointed them to labour, by sending out
parties with orders to fire upon them whenever they should be met with;
and he declared that if any were brought in alive, he would either land
them on a part of the harbour whence they could not depart, or chain them
together with only bread and water for their subsistence, during the
remainder of their terms of transportation. He likewise told them, that
he had heard they were intending to arm themselves and seize upon the
stores (such a design had for some days been reported); but that if they
made any attempt of that kind, every man who might be taken should be
instantly put to death. Having thus endeavoured to impress them with
ideas of certain punishment if they offended in future, he forgave some
offences which had been reported by the magistrate, exhorted them to go
cheerfully to their labour, and changed their hours of work, agreeably to
a request which they had made.

Four hundred and two of these miserable people had received medicines
from the hospital in the morning of the day when the governor had thus
addressed them. The prevailing disease was a dysentery, which was
accompanied by a general debility.

The _Queen_ sailed early in the month with an officer and a detachment of
the New South Wales corps, some convicts, stores and provisions, for
Norfolk Island. The _Salamander _sailed at the same time on her fishing

From her intended trial of the whale-fishery on the coast the _Britannia_
arrived on the 10th, and was followed the next day by the _Mary Ann_.
Mr. Melvill killed, in company with the _William and Ann_, the day after he
went out, seven spermaceti whales, two only of which they were able to
secure from the bad weather which immediately succeeded. From the whale
which fell to the _Britannia's_ share, although but a small one, thirteen
barrels of oil were procured; and in the opinion of Mr. Melvill, the oil,
from its containing a greater proportion of that valuable part of the
fish called by the whalers the head-matter, was worth ten pounds more per
ton than that of the fish of any other part of the world he had been in.
He thought that a most advantageous voyage might be made upon this coast,
as he was confident upwards of fifteen thousand whales were seen in the
first ten days that he was absent, the greater number of which were
observed off this harbour; and he was prevented from filling his ship by
bad weather alone, having met with only one day since he sailed in which
he could lower down a boat.

The success and report of the master of the _Mary Ann_ were very
different; he had been as far to the southward as the latitude of 45
degrees without seeing a whale; and in a gale of wind shipped a sea that
stove two of his boats, and washed down the vessels for boiling the oil,
which were fixed in brick-work, and to repair which he came into this

The _Matilda_ came in a few days afterwards from Jervis Bay, in latitude
35 degrees 6 minutes S and longitude 152 degrees 0 minutes E, where she
had anchored for some days, being leaky. The master of this ship,
Mr. Matthew Weatherhead, saw many whales, but was prevented from killing
any by the badness of the weather.

The _William and Ann_ came in soon after, confirming the report of the
great numbers of fish which were to be seen upon the coast, and the
difficulty of getting at them. She had killed only one fish, and came in
to repair and shorten her main-mast.

A difference of opinion prevailed among the masters of the ships which
had been out respecting the establishing a whale-fishery upon this coast.
In one particular, however, they all agreed, which was, that the coast
abounded with fish; but the major part of them thought that the currents
and bad weather prevailing at this season of the year, and which appeared
to be also the season of the fish, would prevent any ships from meeting
with that success, of which on their setting out they themselves had had
such sanguine hopes. One of them thought that the others, in giving this
opinion, were premature, and that they were not sufficiently acquainted
with the weather on the coast to form any judgment of the advantage to be
derived from future attempts. They were determined, nevertheless, to give
it another trial, on the failure of which they meant to prosecute their
voyage to the coast of Peru. Having set up their rigging, they went out
again toward the latter end of the month.

About the middle of the month an alteration took place in the ration; two
pounds of flour were taken off, and one pint of peas and one pint of
oatmeal were issued in their stead; the full ration, which was first
served on the 27th of August last, having been continued not quite three

The _Supply_ armed tender, having completed her repairs, sailed for
England on the 26th, her commander, Lieutenant Ball, purposing to make
his passage round Cape Horn, for which the season of the year was
favourable. Lieutenant John Creswell of the marines went in her, charged
with the governor's dispatches.

The services of this little vessel had endeared her, and her officers and
people, to this colony. The regret which we felt at parting with them
was, however, lessened by a knowledge that they were flying from a
country of want to one of abundance, where we all hoped that the services
they had performed would be rewarded by that attention and promotion to
which they naturally looked up, and had an indisputable claim.

At this time the public live stock in the settlement consisted of one
stallion aged, one mare, two young stallions, two colts, sixteen cows,
two calves, one ram, fifty ewes, six lambs, one boar, fourteen sows (old
and young), and twenty-two pigs.

The ground in cultivation at and about Parramatta amounted to three
hundred and fifty-one acres in maize, forty-four in wheat, six in barley,
one in oats, two in potatoes, four in vines, eighty-six in garden ground,
and seventeen in cultivation by the New South Wales corps. In addition to
these there were one hundred and fifty acres cleared to be sown with
turnips, ninety-one acres were in cultivation by settlers, twenty-eight
by officers civil and military at and about Sydney; and at Parramatta one
hundred and forty acres were inclosed and the timber thinned for cattle;
making a total of nine hundred and twenty acres of land thinned, cleared,
and cultivated.

The platform at the west point of the cove was completed during this
month. The flag-staff had been for some time erected, and the cannon
placed on the platform. A corporal's guard was also mounted daily in the
building which had been used as an observatory by Lieutenant Dawes.

The mortality during this month had been great, fifty male and four
female convicts dying within the thirty days. Five hundred sick persons
received medicines at the end of the month. That list however was
decreasing. The extreme heat of the weather during the month had not only
increased the sick list, but had added one to the number of deaths. On
the 4th, a convict attending upon Mr. White, in passing from his house to
his kitchen, without any covering upon his head, received a stroke from a
ray of the sun which at the time deprived him of speech and motion, and,
in less than four-and-twenty hours, of his life. The thermometer on that
day stood at twelve o'clock at 943/4 degrees and the wind was at NW.

By the dry weather which prevailed our water had been so much affected,
beside being lessened by the watering of some of the transports, that a
prohibition was laid by the governor on the watering of the remainder at
Sydney, and their boats were directed to go to a convenient place upon
the north shore. To remedy this evil the governor had employed the
stone-mason's gang to cut tanks out of the rock, which would be
reservoirs for the water large enough to supply the settlement for some

December.] On the 3rd of this month the ships _Albemarle_ and _Active_
sailed for India. After their departure several people were missing from
the settlement; some whose sentences of transportation had expired, and
others who were yet convicts. Previous to their sailing (it having been
reported that the seamen intended to conceal such as had made interest
among them to get off) the governor instructed the master to deliver any
persons whom he might discover to be on board without permission to quit
the colony, as prisoners to the commanding officer of the first British
settlement they should touch at in India. About this time a boat
belonging to Mr. White was taken from its mooring; and it was for a time
supposed that she had been taken off by some runaways to get on board
one of the ships then about to sail, and afterwards set adrift; but she
was found by some gentlemen of the _Gorgon_ the day after their
departure, between this harbour and Broken Bay, with two men in her, who
on the appearance of the party which found her ran into the woods. The
gentlemen left her with a plank knocked out, an oar and the rudder
broken, and otherwise rendered useless to the people who ran away with
her. They also fell in with a convict, an Irishman, who had been absent
five weeks from Parramatta, and who had set off with some others to
proceed along the coast in search of another settlement. The boat was
brought up a few days afterwards.

Two of the whalers, the _Matilda_ and _Mary Ann_, came in from sea the
day on which the other ships sailed. The former landed a boat in a bay
on the coast about six miles to the southward of Port Stephens, where the
seine was hauled and a large quantity of fish taken; but of the fish
which they went to procure (whales) they saw none.

The _Mary Ann_ was rather more fortunate. By going to the southward, she
killed nine fish; of five of them she secured enough to procure about
thirty barrels of oil; but was prevented by bad weather from getting
more. These ships sailed again immediately, and both ran down the coast
as far to the southward as 36 degrees 30 minutes, and returned on the
16th without killing a fish. The masters attributed their bad success to
currents; and, giving up all hopes of a fishery here, they determined,
after refitting, to quit the coast. The _Salamander_ and _Britannia_
whalers came in at the same time, and with like ill fortune. Melvill the
master of the _Britannia_, who had been formerly so sanguine in his hopes
of a fishery, seemed now to have adopted a different opinion, and hinted
to some in the colony, that he did not think he should try the coast any
longer. It must be remarked however, that the whalers were not out of
port at any one time long enough to enable them to speak with any great
degree of precision either for or against the probability of success.
They seemed more desirous of obtaining a knowledge of the harbours on
the coast; the _William and Ann_ had been seen in Broken Bay; others had
visited Botany Bay and Jervis Bay; the _Salamander_ had remained long
enough in Port Stephens (an harbour to the northward, until then not
visited by any one) to take an eye-sketch of the harbour and of some of
its branches or arms; and Port Jackson was found to have its
conveniences. After a well-manned and well-found whaler should have kept
the sea for an entire season, the success might be determined.

The _Queen_ transport having returned from Norfolk Island, with the
lieutenant-governor and the officers and soldiers of the marine corps,
who were to take their passage to England in the _Gorgon_, the greatest
part of the marine detachment embarked on board of that ship on the 13th.
Those who did not embark were left for the duty of the place until the
remainder of the New South Wales corps should arrive.

By the _Queen_ several convicts whose sentences of transportation had
expired were allowed to return to this settlement, pursuant to a promise
made them on their going thither; and we were informed, that the
_Atlantic_ sailed from Norfolk Island for Calcutta on the 13th of the
last month. Both ships landed safely every article they had on board for
the colony, being favoured by very fine weather while so employed.
Lieutenant-governor King, on taking upon him the government of the
island, pardoned all offenders whom he found in custody.

Governor Phillip having no further occasion for the services of the
_Gorgon_, that ship sailed for England on Sunday the 18th. Two convicts
had the folly to attempt making their escape from the colony in this
ship, but they were detected and brought back. A woman was also supposed
to have effected her escape; but she was found disguised in men's apparel
at the native's hut on the east point of the cove.

On board of the _Gorgon_ were embarked the marines who came from England
in the first ships; as valuable a corps as any in his Majesty's service.
They had struggled here with greatly more than the common hardships of
service, and were now quitting a country in which they had opened and
smoothed the way for their successors, and from which, whatever benefit
might hereafter be derived, must be derived by those who had the easy
task of treading in paths previously and painfully formed by them.

The cove and the settlement were now resuming that dull uniformity of
uninteresting circumstances which had generally prevailed. The _Supply_
and the _Gorgon_ had departed, and with them a valuable portion of our
friends and associates. The transports which remained were all preparing
to leave us, and in a few days after the _Gorgon_, the _Matilda_ and
_Mary Ann_ sailed for the coast of Peru. These ships had some convicts on
board, who were permitted to ship themselves with the masters.

A further reduction of the ration was directed to take place at the end
of the month, one pound being taken from the allowance of flour served to
the men. From the state of the provision stores, the governor, on
Christmas Day, could only give one pound of flour to each woman in the
settlement. On that day divine service was performed here and at
Parramatta, Mr. Bayne, the chaplain of the new corps, assisting Mr.
Johnson in the religious duties of the morning. There were some among
us, however, by whom even the sanctity of this day was not regarded; for
at night the marine store was robbed of twenty-two gallons of spirits.

At Parramatta various offences were still committed, notwithstanding the
lenity which had been shown to several offenders at the close of the last
month. Many of the convicts there not having any part of their ration
left when Tuesday or Wednesday night came, the governor directed, as he
had before done from the same reason, that the provisions of the
labouring convicts should be issued to them daily. This measure being
disapproved of by them, they assembled in rather a tumultuous manner
before the governor's house at Parramatta on the last day of the month,
to request that their provisions might be served as usual on the
Saturdays. The governor, however, dispersed them without granting their
request; and as they were heard to murmur, and talk of obtaining by
different means what was refused to entreaty (words spoken among the
crowd, and the person who was so daring not being distinguishable from
the rest), he assured them that as he knew the major part of them were
led by eight or ten designing men to whom they looked up, and to whose
names he was not a stranger, on any open appearance of discontent, he
should make immediate examples of them. Before they were dismissed they
promised greater propriety of conduct and implicit obedience to the
orders of their superiors, and declared their readiness to receive their
provisions as had been directed.

This was the first instance of any tumultuous assembly among these
people, and was now to be ascribed to the spirit of resistance and
villany lately imported by the new comers from England and Ireland.

Among the public works of the month the most material was the completing
and occupying the new store on the east side, which was begun in October
last; its dimensions were eighty by twenty-four feet; and as it was built
for the purpose of containing dry stores, the height was increased beyond
that commonly adopted here, and a spacious loft was formed capable of
containing a large quantity of bale goods. This was by far the best store
in the country.

In the course of the month a warrant of emancipation passed the seal of
the territory to John Lowe, Henry Cone, Richard Chears, Thomas Fisk,
Daniel Cubitt, Charles Pass, George Bolton, William Careless, William
Curtis, John Chapman Morris, Thomas Merrick, William Skinner, and James
Weavers, convicts who left England in the _Guardian_, on condition of
their residing within the limits of this government, and not returning to
England within the period of their respective sentences. Instructions to
this effect had been received from home, Lieutenant Riou having
interested himself much in their behalf. They were to be at liberty to
work at any trade they might be acquainted with; but during their
continuance in the country they were to be disposed of wherever the
governor should think proper. They were also at liberty to settle land
upon their own account.

The numbers who died by sickness in the year 1791 were, one of the civil
establishment (H. E. Dodd); two soldiers; one hundred and fifty-five male
and eight female convicts; and five children: in all one hundred and
seventy-one persons (twenty-eight more than had died during the preceding

In the above time one male convict was executed; one drowned; four lost
in the woods (exclusive of the Irish convicts who had absconded, of whom
no certain account was procured); one destroyed himself, and eight men,
one woman, and two children, had run from the settlement; making a loss
of one hundred and eighty-nine persons.


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


January.] Early in this month sixty-two people, settlers and
convicts, with Mr. Bayne, the chaplain of the New South Wales corps, who
offered his services, as there never had been a clergyman there, embarked
on board the _Queen_ transport for Norfolk Island, the master of that
ship having engaged to carry them and a certain quantity of provisions
thither for the sum of L150. Of the settlers twenty-two were lately
discharged from the marine service, and the remainder were convicts; some
of the latter, whose terms of transportation had expired, had chosen
Norfolk Island to settle in, and others were sent to be employed for the

This ship, with the _Admiral Barrington_ for India, sailed on the 6th;
and the _Salamander_ and _Britannia_ whalers on the 7th, the masters of
the two latter ships signifying an intention of cruising for three months
upon this coast; at the end of which time, according to their success,
they would either return to this port, or pursue their voyage to the

Several convicts attempted to escape from the settlement on board of
these ships, some of whom were discovered before they sailed, and, being
brought on shore, were punished; but there was great reason to suppose
that others were secreted by the connivance of the seamen, and eluded the
repeated searches which were made for them.

In addition to this exportation, the colony lost some useful people whom
it could ill spare; but who, their terms of transportation having
expired, would not be induced to remain in the settlement, and could not
be prevented from quitting it.

By the commissary's report of the muster it appeared, that forty-four
men and nine women were absent and unaccounted for; among which
number were included those who were wandering in the woods, seeking for a
new settlement, or endeavouring to get into the path to China! Of these
people many, after lingering a long time, and existing merely on roots
and wild berries, perished miserably. Others found their way in, after
being absent several weeks, and reported the fate of their wretched
companions, being themselves reduced to nearly the same condition, worn
down and exhausted with fatigue and want of proper sustenance. Yet,
although the appearance of these people confirmed their account of what
they had undergone, others were still found ignorant and weak enough to
run into the woods impressed with the idea of either reaching China by
land, or finding a new settlement where labour would not be imposed on
them, and where the inhabitants were civil and peaceable. Two of these
wretches at the time of their absconding met a convict in their way not
far from the new grounds, whom they robbed of his provisions, and beat in
so cruel a manner that, after languishing for some time, he died in the
hospital at Parramatta. He described their persons, and mentioned their
names, with the precise circumstances attending their treatment of him,
and it was hoped that they would have lived to return, and receive the
reward of their crime; but one of their companions who survived them
brought in an account of their having ended a wicked and miserable
existence in the woods.

Depredations being nightly committed at the skirts of the town, and at
the officers' farms, by some of these vagrants, who were supposed to lurk
between this place and Parramatta, it was thought necessary to send armed
parties out at night for a certain distance round the settlement, with
orders to seize, or fire on, all persons found straggling; and several
were detected by them in the act of robbing the gardens at the different
farms. Indeed neither the property nor the persons of individuals were
safe for some time. Two villains came to a hut which was occupied by one
Williams a sawyer, and which he had erected at a spot at some distance
from the town where he could have a little garden ground, and attempted
to rob him; but the owner surprised them, and, in endeavouring to secure
them, was wounded so severely in the arm with a tomahawk, that the tendon
was divided; and it was supposed that he never would recover the perfect
use of the limb. They even carried their audacity so far, as to be
secretly meditating an attempt upon the barrack and storehouse at
Parramatta; at least, information of such a plan was given by some of the
convicts; and as there had been seen among them people silly enough to
undertake to walk to the other side of this extensive continent,
expecting that China would be found there, it was not at all improbable
that some might be mad enough to persuade others that it would be an easy
matter to attempt and carry the barracks and stores there. But no other
use was made of the report than the exertion of double vigilance in the
guards, which was done without making public the true motive. To the
credit of the convicts who came out in the first fleet it must be
remarked, that none of them were concerned in these offences; and of them
it was said the new comers stood so much in dread, that they never were
admitted to any share in their confidence.

As the Indian corn began to ripen the convicts recommenced their
depredations, and many were punished with a severity seemingly calculated
to deter others, but actually without effect. They appeared to be a
people wholly regardless of the future, and not dreading any thing that
was not immediately present to their own feelings. It was well known that
punishment would follow the detection of a crime; but their constant
reliance was on a hope of escaping that detection; and they were very
rarely known to stand forward in bringing offenders to punishment,
although such rewards were held out as one would imagine were sufficient
to induce them. It being necessary to secure four dangerous people, who,
after committing offences, had withdrawn into the woods, a reward of
fifty pounds of flour was offered for the apprehension of either of them,
but only one was taken.

The easy communication between Sydney and Parramatta had been found to be
a very great evil from the time the path was first made; but since the
numbers had been so much augmented at Parramatta, it became absolutely
necessary to put a stop to the intercourse. The distance was about
sixteen miles; and, unless information was previously given, a person
would visit Sydney and return without being missed: and as stolen
property was transferred from one place to another by means of this quick
conveyance, orders were given calculated to cut off all unlicensed

A report having been falsely propagated at Parramatta, that it was
intended by the governor to take the corn of individuals on the public
account, the settlers and convicts who had raised maize or other grain,
and who were not provided with proper places to secure it in, were
informed, that they might send it to the public store, and draw it from
thence as their occasions required; and farther, that they were at
liberty to dispose of such live stock, corn, grain, or vegetables, which
they might raise, as they found convenient to themselves, the property of
every individual being equally secured to him, and by the same law,
whether belonging to a free man or a convict. Such of the above articles
as they could not otherwise dispose of, they were told, would be
purchased by the commissary on the public account at a fair market-price.

Toward the latter end of the month some villains broke into the
dispensary at the hospital, and stole two cases of portable soup, one
case of camomile flowers, and one case containing sudorific powder. These
articles had been placed in the dispensary on the very evening it was
broken into, to be sent to Parramatta the following morning. The cases
with the camomile and sudorific powder (which perhaps they had taken for
sugar or flour) were found at the back of the hill behind the hospital;
and, in order to discover the persons concerned in this theft, as well as
those who maimed the sawyer, as before related, a proclamation was
published, offering to any person or persons giving such information as
should convict the principal offenders, a free pardon for every offence
which he, she, or they might have committed since their arrival in this
country; and that a full ration of provisions should be issued to such
person or persons during the remainder of their respective terms of

Several people died at Parramatta, some of whom were at labour,
apparently in health, and dead in twenty-four hours. An extraordinary
circumstance attended, though it was not the cause of the death of one
poor creature: while dragging with others at a brick cart he was seized
with a fainting fit, and when he recovered was laid down under a cart
which stood in the road, that he might be in the shade. Being weak and
ill, he fell asleep. On waking, and feeling something tight about his
neck, he put up his hand, when, to his amazement and horror, he grasped
the folds of a large snake which had twined itself round his neck. In
endeavouring to disengage it, the animal bit him by the lip, which became
instantly tumid. Two men, passing by, took off the snake and threw it on
the ground, when it erected itself and flew at one of them; but they soon
killed it. The man who had fainted at the cart died the next morning,
not, however, from any effect of the bite of the snake, but from a
general debility.

At Parramatta the public bakehouse was broken into, and robbed of a large
quantity of flour and biscuit. The robber had made his way down the
chimney of the house, and, though a man and woman slept in the place,
carried off his booty undiscovered.

The convicts having assembled there at the latter end of the last month
in an improper and tumultuous manner, the governor now thought proper to
issue a proclamation, directing that 'in case of any riot or disturbance
among the convicts, every one who was seen out of his hut would (if such
riot or disturbance should happen in the night, or during the hours of
rest from labour, or if he were absent from his labour during the hours
of work) be deemed to be aiding and assisting the rioters, and be
punished accordingly.'

The convicts were strictly forbidden ever to assemble in numbers under
any pretence of stating a complaint, or for any other cause whatever, all
complaints being to be made through the medium of the superintendants or

A disobedience to this proclamation was to be punished with the utmost
severity; and any person who, knowing of any intended riot or tumultuous
and unlawful assembly among the convicts, did not take the first
opportunity of informing either the commanding officer of the military or
one of the superintendants thereof, would be deemed and punished as a
principal in such riot.

An instance of the profligacy of the convicts which occurred at this time
is deserving of notice: a woman who had been entrusted to carry the
allowance of flour belonging to two other women to the bakehouse, where
she had run in debt for bread which she had taken up on their account,
mixed with it a quantity of pounded stone, in the proportion of
two-thirds of grit, to one of flour. Fortunately, she was detected before
it had been mixed with other flour at the bakehouse, and was ordered to
wear an iron collar for six months as a punishment.

February.] A criminal court was held at Parramatta on the 7th of this
month for the trial of James Collington, who, as before mentioned, had
broken into the public bakehouse at that place by getting down the
chimney in the night. It appeared that he had taken off about fifty
pounds of flour, which he tied up in an apron that he found in the room,
and the leg of a pair of trousers. He deposited the property under a
rock, and occasionally visited it; but it was soon seized by some other
nocturnal adventurer, and Collington then broke into another hut, wherein
eight people were sleeping, and took thereout a box containing wearing
apparel and provisions, without disturbing them, so soundly did fatigue
make them sleep; but he was detected in a garden with the property, and
secured. Being found guilty, he received sentence of death, and was
executed early the following morning. At the tree he addressed the
convicts, warning them to avoid the paths he had pursued; but said, that
he was induced by hunger to commit the crime for which he suffered. He
appeared desirous of death, declaring that he knew he could not live
without stealing.

Information having been received, that a great body of convicts at the
new grounds intended to seize some arms which had been given to the
settlers for their protection against the natives, and (after robbing
their huts) to proceed to the sea-coast, where, destroying every person
who should oppose them, they were to build a vessel, a convict who was
said to be a ringleader was taken up, and, upon the information which he
gave, five others were apprehended and chained together; in which
situation they continued for some time, when their scheme having been
defeated, and other steps taken to prevent their putting it in execution,
they were liberated, and returned to their usual labour.

Information would have been at all times more readily procured from these
people, had they not been constantly apprehensive of receiving
ill-treatment not only from the parties concerned, but from others who
were not; and although every assurance of protection was given by those
who were authorised to hold it out, yet it was not found sufficient to do
away the dread they were said to labour under. Accident, or a quarrel
among themselves, sometimes furnished information that was not otherwise
to be procured; and in general to one or other of these causes was to be
attributed every information that was received of any malpractices among

A person who had been employed under one of the superintendants at
Parramatta, and in whom, from an uniformity of good conduct during his
residence in this country, some trust was at times placed, was detected
in giving corn to a settler from the public granary, to which he had
occasional access. The offence being fully proved, he was sentenced to
receive three hundred lashes, and the person to whom he had given the
corn two hundred lashes. It was seen with great concern, that there were
but few among them who were honest enough to resist any temptation that
was placed in their way.

A convict who had absconded five weeks since was apprehended by some of
the military at the head of one of the coves leading from Parramatta. He
had built himself a hut in the woods, and said when brought in, that he
had preserved his existence by eating such fish as he was fortunate
enough to catch, rock oysters, and wild berries; and that the natives had
more than once pursued him when employed in these researches. But very
little credit was given to any account he gave, and it was generally
supposed that he had lived by occasionally visiting and robbing the huts
at Sydney and Parramatta. He had taken to the woods to avoid a punishment
which hung over him, and which he now received.

Early in the month eight settlers from the marines received their grants
of land situated on the north side of the harbour near the Flats, and
named by the governor the Field of Mars.

The convicts employed in cultivating and clearing public ground beyond
Parramatta, having been landed in a weak and sickly state, wore in
general a most miserable and emaciated appearance, and numbers of them
died daily. The reduced ration by no means contributed to their
amendment; the wheat that was raised last year (four hundred and
sixty-one bushels) after reserving a sufficiency for seed, was issued to
them at a pound per man per week, and a pound of rice per week was issued
to each male convict at Sydney.

On Tuesday the 14th the signal was made for a sail, and shortly after the
_Pitt_, Captain Edward Manning, anchored in the cove from England. She
sailed the 17th of last July from Yarmouth Roads, and had rather a long
passage, touching at St. Iago, Rio de Janeiro, and the Cape of Good Hope.
She had on board Francis Grose, esq the lieutenant-governor of the
settlements, and major-commandant of the New South Wales corps, one
company of which, together with the adjutant and surgeon's mate, came out
with him.

She brought out three hundred and nineteen male and forty-nine female
convicts, five children, and seven free women; with salt provisions
calculated to serve that number of people ten months, but which would
only furnish the colony with provisions for forty days. The supply of
provisions was confined to salt meat, under an idea that the colony was
not in immediate want of flour, and that a supply had been sent from
Calcutta, which, together with what had been procured from Batavia, that
which had been sent before from England, and the grain that might have
been raised in the settlements, would be adequate to our consumption for
the present. The dispatches, however, which had been forwarded from this
place by the _Justinian_ in July 1790 having been received by the
secretary of state, what appeared from those communications to be
necessary for the colony were to be sent in one or more ships to be
dispatched in the autumn of last year, with an additional number of
convicts, and the remaining company of the New South Wales corps. A sloop
in frame, of the burden of forty-one tons, was sent out in the _Pitt_; to
make room for which, several bales of clothing, and many very useful
articles, were obliged to be shut out.

By this conveyance information was received, that the _Daedalus_ hired
storeship, which was sent out to carry provisions to the Sandwich islands
for two ships employed in those parts on discovery, was directed to
repair to this settlement after performing that service, to be employed
as there should be occasion, and that she might be expected in the
beginning of the year 1793.

The _Pitt_ brought in many of her convicts sick; and several of her
seamen and fifteen soldiers of the New South Wales corps had died shortly
after her leaving St. Iago, owing to her having touched there during an
unhealthy season.

The whole of the New South Wales corps, except one company, being now
arrived, the numbers requisite for the different duties were settled; and
one company, consisting of a captain, two lieutenants, one ensign, three
sergeants, three corporals, two drummers, and seventy privates, was fixed
for the duty of Parramatta; a like number for Norfolk Island, and the
remainder were to do duty at Sydney, the head quarters of the corps.

Permission having been obtained, a shop was opened at a hut on shore for
the sale of various articles brought out in the _Pitt_; and
notwithstanding a fleet of transports had but lately sailed hence,
notwithstanding the different orders which had been sent to Bengal, and
the high price at which every thing was sold, the avidity with which all
descriptions of people grasped at what was to be purchased was
extraordinary, and could only be accounted for by the distance of our
situation from the mother country, the uncertainty of receiving supplies
thence, and the length of time which we had heretofore the mortification
to find elapse without our receiving any.

March.] It being necessary to send to Norfolk Island a proportion of what
provisions were in store, the Pitt was engaged for that purpose; and for
performing this service her owners were to receive L651, a sum equal to
six weeks demurrage for that ship. From Norfolk Island she was to
proceed, upon her owners account, to Bengal; and her commander was
charged with duplicates of the letters and instructions given to
Lieutenant Bowen. In the event of any accident having prevented the
arrival of that officer at Calcutta, Captain Manning was to cause the
service with which he was entrusted to be executed, by applying to the
governor-general, and the house of Messrs. Lambert, Ross, and company,
for the supply of provisions, which the _Atlantic_ was to have brought,
to be forwarded to this country either by the _Pitt_, or by vessels to be
hired by that house at Calcutta.

This precaution was taken rather to guard against the worst that might
happen, than from any probability that the _Atlantic_ would not have
reached Calcutta, that ship being well fitted for such a voyage, strong,
well manned, and under the direction of an able and an active officer. To
her arrival, however, we looked forward at this period with some anxiety,
as the flour and salt provisions in the settlement already occupied but a
small portion of the stores which contained them, there being only
fifty-two days flour, and twenty-one weeks salt meat in store at the
ration now issued.

On the morning of Saturday the 17th the marines and New South Wales corps
formed under arms on the parade in front of the quarters, when his
Majesty's commission appointing Francis Grose, Esquire, to be
lieutenant-governor of this territory, and the letters patent under the
great seal for establishing the civil and criminal courts of judicature,
were publicly read by the judge-advocate. The governor and the principal
officers of the settlement attended, and his excellency received from the
corps under arms the honours due to his rank in the colony. At the
conclusion of the ceremony, the _Pitt_, by a well-concerted signal, saluted
with fifteen guns, as a compliment to the lieutenant-governor.

A person who came out to this country in the capacity of a carpenter's
mate on board the _Sirius_, and who had been discharged from that ship's
books into the _Supply_, having been left behind when that vessel sailed
for England, offered his services to put together the vessel that arrived
in frame in the _Pitt_; and being deemed sufficiently qualified as a
shipwright, he was engaged at two shillings _per diem_ and his provisions
to set her up. Her keel was accordingly laid down on blocks placed for
the purpose near the landing-place on the east side. As this person was
the only shipwright in the colony, the vessel would much sooner have
rendered the services which were required of her, had she been put
together, coppered, and sent out manned and officered from England; by
these means too the colony would have received many articles which were
of necessity shut out of the _Pitt_ to make room for her stowage.

About this time a malady of an alarming nature was perceived in the
colony. Four or five of the convicts were seized with insanity; and, as
the major part of those who were visited by this calamity were females,
who on account of their sex were not harassed with hard labour, and who
in general shared largely of such little comforts as were to be procured
in the settlement, it was difficult to assign a cause for this disorder.

April.] With a dreadful sick list, and with death making rapid strides
among us, the month of April commenced: a lamentable circumstance to
those who had to provide by their labour for the support of a colony, in
which, from its great distance, not only from the parent country, but
from every port where supplies could be procured, it became an object of
the first magnitude and importance to endeavour speedily, and by every
possible exertion, to place its inhabitants in a situation that accident
or delay might not affect. His Majesty's ship _Guardian_ afforded a
melancholy recollection how much this colony had already felt from
misadventure, and the delay which occurred in the voyage of the _Lady
Juliana_ transport had proved equally calamitous. The recent circumstance
of a ship arriving without a supply of flour, and other contingencies,
spoke with a warning voice, and loudly demanded that every arm which
could be raised should be exerted to make provision against the hour of
want. Few, however, in comparison with the measure of our necessities,
were the numbers daily brought into the field for the purpose of
cultivation; and of those who could handle the hoe or the spade by far the
greater part carried hunger in their countenances; but it was earnestly
hoped and anxiously expected, that by the speedy arrival of supplies from
England the full ration of every species of provisions would be again
issued, when labour would be renewed with additional vigour and effect;
health and strength be seen residing among us; and the approaches of
independence on Great Britain be something more than a sanguine hope or
visionary speculation.

The convicts, and such stores and provisions as the governor thought it
necessary to send to Norfolk Island, being embarked, the _Pitt_ sailed on
the 7th. Previous to her departure, a female convict was found secreted
on board, who declaring in her justification that the fourth mate of the
ship had assisted her in her escape, he was tried by the civil court of
judicature for taking a convict from the settlement, but, for want of
sufficient proof, was acquitted.

The practicability of being secreted on board of ships would always
operate as an inducement to wretches who saw a long term of servitude
before them to attempt their escape; but it certainly behoved every
master of a merchantman bound from this port to be very vigilant and
sedulous to prevent their succeeding, as the safety of the ship might be
very much endangered by having numbers of such people on board mixing
with their ship's company.

On Friday the 13th died Mr. David Burton, of a gunshot wound which he
received on the preceding Saturday. This young man, on account of the
talents he possessed as a botanist, and the services which he was capable
of rendering in the surveying line, could be but ill spared in this
settlement. His loss was occasioned by one of those accidents which too
frequently happen to persons who are inexperienced in the use of
fire-arms. Mr. Burton had been out with Ensign Beckwith, and some
soldiers of the New South Wales corps, intending to kill ducks on the
Nepean. With that sensation of the mind which is called presentiment he
is said to have set out, having more than once observed, that he feared
some accident would happen before his return; and he did not cease to be
tormented with this unpleasant idea, until his gun, which he carried
rather awkwardly, went off, and lodged its contents in the ground within
a few inches of the feet of the person who immediately preceded him in
the walk through the woods. Considering this as the accident which his
mind foreboded, he went on afterwards perfectly freed from any
apprehension. But he was deceived. Reaching the banks of the river, they
found on its surface innumerable flocks of those fowl of which they were
in search. Mr. Burton, in order to have a better view of them, got upon
the stump of a tree, and, resting his hand upon the muzzle of his piece,
raised himself by its assistance as high as he was able. The butt of the
piece rested on the ground, which was thickly covered with long grass,
shrubs, and weeds. No one saw the danger of such a situation in time to
prevent what followed. By some motion of this unfortunate young man the
piece went off, and the contents, entering at his wrist, forced their way
up between the two bones of his right arm, which were much shattered, to
the elbow. Mr. Beckwith, by a very happy presence of mind, applying
bandages torn from a shirt, succeeded in stopping the vast effusion of
blood which ensued, or his patient must soon have bled to death. This
accident happened at five in the afternoon, and it was not till ten
o'clock at night of the following day that Mr. Burton was brought into
Parramatta. The consequence was, such a violent fever and inflammation
had taken place that any attempt to save life by amputation would only
have hastened his end. In the night of the 12th the mortification came
on, and he died the following morning, leaving behind him, what he
universally enjoyed while living, the esteem and respect of all who knew

A person of a far different character and description met with an
accidental death the following day. He had been employed to take some
provisions to a settler who occupied a farm on the creek leading to
Parramatta, and was killed by a blow from the limb of a tree, which fell
on his head and fractured his skull, without having allowed him that time
for repentance of which a sinful life stood so much in need. His
companions and fellow prisoners (for he was a convict) declared him to
have been so great a reprobate, that he was scarcely ever known to speak
without an oath, or without calling on his Maker as a witness to the
truth of the lie he was about to utter.

The weather had been for some days extremely bad, heavy storms of wind
and rain having generally prevailed from Monday the 9th till Friday the
13th, when fair weather succeeded. At Parramatta the gale had done much
damage; several huts which were built in low grounds were rendered almost
inaccessible, and the greater part of the wattled huts suffered
considerably. A large portion of the cleared ground was laid under water,
and such corn as had not been reaped was beaten down. At Sydney the
effects of the storm, though it had been equally violent, were not so
severe. Most of the houses were rendered damp, and had leaks in different
parts; seeds which had been recently sown were washed out of the ground,
and the bridge over the stream was somewhat injured. In the woods it had
raged with much violence; the people employed to kill game reported that
it was dangerous to walk in the forests; and the ground, covered with
huge limbs or whole trunks of trees, confirmed the truth of their report.

The bricklayers were immediately sent up to Parramatta, to repair the
damages effected by the storm; and the bridge at Sydney was not only
repaired, but considerably widened.

On Saturday the 13th an alteration took place in the ration. Three pounds
of flour, and two pounds of maize, with four pounds of pork, were served
to each man, and three pounds of flour, and one pound of maize, with four
pounds of pork, were served to each woman in the settlement.The children
received the usual proportion. To such alterations the settlement had now
for some years been habituated; and although it was well known that they
never were imposed but when the state of the stores rendered them
absolutely necessary, it was impossible to meet the deduction without
reflecting, that the established ration would have been adequate to every
want; the plea of hunger could not have been advanced as the motive and
excuse for thefts; and disease would not have met so powerful an ally in
its ravages among the debilitated and emaciated objects which the gaols
had crowded into transports, and the transports had landed in these

The works in hand were, building brick huts at Sydney for convicts,
consisting of two apartments, each hut being twenty-six feet in front,
and fourteen feet in width, and intended to contain ten people, with a
suitable allotment of garden ground; completing tanks for water; widening
the bridge, etc. One day in each week was dedicated to issuing
provisions, and the labour of the other five (with interruptions from bad
weather, and the plea of the reduced ration) did not amount in all to
three good working days.

At Parramatta the principal labour was the getting in and housing the
maize, and preparing ground for the next year's grain. The foundations of
two material buildings were laid, a town-hall and an hospital. The
town-hall was intended to include a market-place for the sale of grain,
fish, poultry, live stock, wearing apparel, and every other article that
convicts might purchase or sell. An order establishing this regulation
had been given out at Parramatta, and a clerk of the market appointed to
register every commodity that was brought for sale or barter; directing,
in the case of non-compliance, the forfeiture both of the purchase-money
and of the article, to be given, one moiety to the informer, and the
other to the hospital for the benefit of the sick.

This order was meant to prevent the selling or interchanging of stolen
goods among the convicts; a measure that appeared to be daily becoming
more necessary. The depredations which were committed, hourly it might be
said, upon the maize, were very serious, and called for the interposition
of some measure that might prevent them, as punishments, however severe,
were not found effectually to answer the end. A convict who lived as a
servant with an officer was tried by the criminal court for robbing his
master, and being found guilty was sentenced to receive three hundred

The colony had now been so long established, that many convicts who had
come out in the first fleet, and might be termed the first settlers in
the country, had served the several terms of transportation to which they
had been sentenced. Of the people of this description, some had become
settlers; some had left the country; others, to use their own
expressions, had taken themselves off the stores, that is to say, had
declined receiving any farther provisions from the public stores or doing
any public labour, but derived their support from such settlers or other
persons as could employ and maintain them; while others, with somewhat
more discretion, continued to labour for government, and to receive
their provisions as usual from the commissary. Of the latter description,
fourteen who were indulged with the choice of the place where they were
to labour, preferred the settlement at Sydney, and there had one hut
assigned to them for their residence. To prevent any imposition on the
part of those who professed to be supported by settlers, they were
directed to render an account at the end of each week of their respective
employments; for people who had not any visible means of living would
soon have become nuisances in the settlement.

It required something more than common application to adapt remedies to
the various irregularities which from time to time grew up in the
settlement, and something more than common ingenuity to counteract the
artifices of those whose meditations were hourly directed to schemes of
evasion or depredation.

The natives had not lately given us any interruption by acts of
hostility. Several of their young people continued to reside among us,
and the different houses in the town were frequently visited by their
relations. Very little information that could be depended upon respecting
their manners and customs was obtained through this intercourse; and it
was observed, that they conversed with us in a mutilated and incorrect
language formed entirely on our imperfect knowledge and improper
application of their words.


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

May.] The mortality in the last month had been extremely great.
Distressing as it was, however, to see the poor wretches daily dropping
into the grave, it was far more afflicting to observe the countenances
and emaciated persons of many that remained soon to follow their
miserable companions. Every step was taken that could be devised to save
them; a fishery was established at the South Head, exclusively for the
use of the sick, under the direction of one Barton, who had been formerly
a pilot, and who, in addition to this duty, was to board all ships coming
into the harbour and pilot them to the settlement. The different people
who were employed by individuals to kill game were given up for the use
of the hospital; and to stimulate them to exertion, two pounds of flour
in addition to the ration were ordered for every kangaroo that they
should bring, beside the head, one forequarter, and the pluck of the

The weakest of the convicts were excused from any kind of hard labour;
but it was not hard labour that destroyed them; it was an entire want of
strength in the constitution to receive nourishment, to throw off the
debility that pervaded their whole system, or to perform any sort of
labour whatever.

This dreadful mortality was chiefly confined to the convicts who had
arrived in the last year; of one hundred and twenty-two male convicts who
came out in the _Queen_ transport from Ireland, fifty only were living at
the beginning of this month. The different robberies which were committed
were also confined to this class of the convicts, and the wretches who
were concerned in the commission of them were in general too weak to
receive a punishment adequate to their crimes. Their universal plea was
hunger; but it was a plea that in the then situation of the colony could
not be so much attended to as it certainly would have been in a country
of greater plenty.

The quantity of Indian corn stolen and destroyed this season was not
ascertained, but was supposed to have been at least one sixth of what was
raised. The people employed in bringing it in daily reported that they
found immense piles of the husks and stalks concealed in the midst of
what was standing, having been there shelled and taken off at different
times. This was a very serious loss, and became an object of immediate
consideration in such a scarcity as the colony then experienced; most
anxiously it expected supplies from England, which did not arrive, though
the time had elapsed in which they should have appeared had their
departure taken place at the period mentioned by the secretary of state
(the autumn of last year). His excellency therefore thought it prudent
still farther to abridge the ration of flour which was then issued; and
on the 9th of the month directed the commissary to serve weekly, until
further orders, one pound and an half of flour with four pounds of maize
to each man; and one pound and an half of flour with three pounds of
maize to each woman, and to every child ten years of age; but made no
alteration in the ration of salt provisions.

This ration was to take place on Saturday the 12th; and as maize or
Indian corn was now necessarily become the principal part of each
person's subsistence, hand-mills and querns were set to work to grind it
coarse for every person both at Sydney and at Parramatta; and at this
latter place, wooden mortars, with a lever and a pestle, were also used
to break the corn, and these pounded it much finer than it could be
ground by the hand-mills; but it was effected with great labour.

On comparing this ration with that issued in the month of April 1790, it
will appear that the allowance then received from the public store was in
most respects better than that now ordered. We then received, in addition
to two pounds and a half of flour, two pounds of rice, which taken
together yielded more nutritive substance than the four pounds of maize
and one pound and a half of flour; for the maize when perfectly ground,
sifted, and divested of the unwholesome and unprofitable part, the husk,
would not give more than three pounds of good meal; and the rice was used
by the convicts in a much greater variety of modes than it was possible
to prepare the maize in.

As at this period the flour in store was reduced to a very inconsiderable
quantity, twenty-four days at the new ration (one pound and a half per
week), and the salt provisions at the present ration not affording a
supply for a longer time than three months, it became a melancholy,
although natural reflection, that had not such numbers died, both in the
passage and since the landing of those who survived the voyage, we should
not at this moment have had any thing to receive from the public stores;
thus strangely did we derive a benefit from the miseries of our fellow

Several of the settlers who had farms at or near Parramatta,
notwithstanding the extreme drought of the season preceding the saving of
their corn, had such crops that they found themselves enabled to take off
from the public store, some one, and others two convicts, to assist in
preparing their grounds for the next season. The salt provisions with
which they supplied them they procured by bartering their corn for that
article, reserving a sufficiency for the support of themselves and
families, and for seed. Mr. Schaffer from a small patch of ground got in
about two hundred bushels of Indian corn; and with the assistance of four
convicts expected to have thirty acres in cultivation the next season.
But others of the settlers, inattentive to their own interests, and more
desirous of acquiring for the present what they deemed comforts, than
studious to provide for the future, not only neglected the cultivation of
their lands, but sold the breeding stock with which they had been
supplied by order of the governor. Two settlers of the former description
having clearly forfeited their grants, and it being understood that they
did not intend to proceed to cultivation any further than to save
appearances till they could get away, their grants were taken from them,
and other settlers placed on the grounds. But exclusive of the idle
people, of which there were but few, the settlers were found in general
to be doing very well, their farms promising to place them shortly in a
state of independence on the public stores in the articles of provisions
and grain; and it must not be omitted in this account, that they had to
combat with the bad effects of a short and reduced ration nearly the
whole of the time that they had been employed in cultivating ground on
their own account.

Many complaints having been made by the settlers, of depredations
committed on their Indian corn by some of the convicts, it was ordered,
that every convict residing at Parramatta, who should be fully convicted
before a magistrate of stealing Indian corn, should, in addition to such
corporal punishment as he might think it necessary to adjudge, be sent
from Parramatta to the New Grounds, there to be employed in cultivation.
Mr. Richard Atkins, who came out in the Pitt, and who had been sworn a
Justice of the peace, went up to Parramatta to reside there, the constant
presence of a magistrate being deemed by the governor indispensable at
that settlement.

It was soon perceived, that the punishment of being sent from Parramatta
was more dreaded by the convicts than any corporal correction, however
severe, that could have been inflicted on them. The being deprived of a
comfortable hut and garden, and quitting a place whence the communication
with Sydney was frequent, particularly when shipping were in the cove,
operated so powerfully with one offender, who was ordered out to the New
Grounds, that he chose rather to make an attempt to destroy himself than
be sent thither; and had very nearly effected his purpose, having made an
incision in his neck of such depth as to lay bare the carotid artery.

In addition to the depredations of our own people, the natives had for
some time been suspected of stealing the corn at the settlements beyond
Parramatta. On the 18th a party of the tribe inhabiting the woods, to the
number of fifteen or sixteen, was observed coming out of a hut at the
middle settlement, dressed in such clothing as they found there, and
taking with them a quantity of corn in nets. The person who saw them
imagined at first from their appearance that they were convicts; but
perceiving one of them preparing to throw a spear at him, he levelled his
piece, which was loaded with small shot, and fired at him. The native
instantly dropped his spear, and the whole party ran away, leaving behind
them the nets with the corn, some blankets, and one or two spears. It was
supposed that the native was wounded; for in a few days information was
received from Parramatta, that a convict who was employed in well-digging
at Prospect Hill, having come in from thence to receive some slops which
were issued, was on his return met midway and murdered, or rather
butchered by some of the natives. When the body was found, it was not
quite cold, and had at least thirty spear wounds in it. The head was cut
in several places, and most of the teeth were knocked out. They had taken
his clothing and provisions, and the provisions of another man which he
was carrying out to him. The natives with whom we had intercourse said,
that this murder was committed by some of the people who inhabited the
woods, and was done probably in revenge for the shot that was fired at
the natives who some time before were stripping the hut.

Toward the end of the month the corn was all got in and housed at
Parramatta. As the grounds were cleared of the stalks, the depredations
which had been committed became visible; and several of the convicts were
detected by the night-watch in bringing in large quantities of shelled
corn which had been stolen, buried or concealed in the woods, and shelled
as they could find opportunity. Seven bushels were recovered in one night
by the vigilance of the watch; and as different quantities were found
from time to time in the huts, the people who resided in them were all
ordered to the New Grounds.

The works during this month, both at Sydney and at Parramatta, went on
but slowly. At Sydney a tank that would contain about seven thousand nine
hundred and ninety-six gallons of water, with a well in the centre
fifteen feet deep, was finished, and the water let into it. Brick huts
were in hand for the convicts in room of the miserable hovels occupied by
many, which had been put up at their first landing, and in room of others
which, from having been erected on such ground as was then cleared, were
now found to interfere with the direction of the streets which the
governor was laying out. People were also employed in cutting paling for
fencing in their gardens. At Parramatta and the New Grounds, during the
greatest part of the month, the people were employed in getting in the
maize and sowing wheat. A foundation for an hospital was laid, a house
built for the master carpenter, and roofs prepared for the different huts
either building, or to be built in future.

The following were the prices of grain and other articles, as they were
sold during this month at Sydney, and at the market-place at Parramatta.


Flour from 6d to 1s per lb.
Maize per bushel from 12s 6d to 15s.
Laying hens from 7s to 10s each.
Cocks for killing from 4s to 7s each.
Half grown chickens from 2s 6d to 3s 6d each.
Chickens six weeks old 1s each.
Eggs 3s per dozen, or 3d a-piece.
Fresh pork 1s per lb.
Potatoes 3d per lb.
Good white heart cabbages 1d each.
Greens per dozen 6d.
Turnips 6d per dozen.
Sows in pig from L4 10s to L6 6s.
Sows just taken the boar from L3 to L4 4s.
Growing pigs from L1 to L2 10s each.
Sucking pigs 10s each.
Moist sugar from 1s 6d to 2s 6d per lb.
Coffee 2s to 2s 6d per lb.
Salt pork per lb. from 8d to 9d.
Tobacco, Brazil, per lb. from 3s to 5s.


Flour 1s per lb.
Maize per bushel from 11s to 13s.
Laying hens from 7s 6d to 10s each.
Cocks for killing from 4s 6d to 5s each.
Chickens two months old 3s each.
Eggs per dozen 3s.
Fresh pork per lb. from 1s 1d to 1s 3d.
Salt pork per lb. from 10d to 1s.
Potatoes per lb. from 3d to 4d.
A lot of cabbages, per hundred 10s.
Tea per lb. from 16s to L1 1s.
Coffee per lb. from 2s to 3s.
Moist sugar from 2s to 2s 6d per lb.
Tobacco grown in the country from 1s 6d to 2s per lb.
Virginia or Brazil from 4s to 6s.
Soap from 1s 6d to 2s 6d per lb.
Cheese from 1s 6d to 2s per lb.

June.] With infinite satisfaction it was observed at the beginning of the
month, that the mortality and sickness among the people had very much
decreased. This was attributed by the medical gentlemen to the quantities
of fresh meat which had been obtained at Parramatta by the people who
were employed to shoot for the hospital; a sufficiency having been
brought in at one time to supply the sick with fresh meat for a week; and
for the remainder of the month in the proportion of twice or three times
a week. Great quantities of vegetables had also been given to those who
were in health, as well as to the sick, both from the public ground at
the farther settlement (which had been sown, and produced some most
excellent turnips) and from the governor's garden.

4th.] The anniversary of his Majesty's birthday was observed with as much
distinction as was in our power. The governor always wished to celebrate
that day in the year in a manner that should render it welcome to all
descriptions of people in the different settlements. Heretofore on the
same occasion he had increased the ration of provisions; but the
situation of the public stores not admitting of such increase at the
present, the commissary was directed to issue on that day half a pint of
rum to each person of the civil and military department, and a quarter of
a pint of rum to each female in the settlement. At noon the New South
Wales corps fired three volleys, and the governor received the
compliments of the day; after which the officers of each department were
entertained by his Excellency at dinner at government-house. Bonfires
were made at night, and the day concluded joyfully, without any
interruption to the peace of the settlement.

The small allowance of spirits which was given for the day to the
convalescents, and to such sick in the hospital as the surgeon judged
proper, being found of infinite service to them, the governor directed
that the surgeon should receive a certain quantity, and at his discretion
issue it from time to time to such sick under his care as he thought
would derive benefit from it; the remainder was ordered to be reserved
for the use of the sloop when it might be necessary to send her to sea.
The spirits at this time in the colony were the surplus of what had been
sent out for his majesty's ship _Sirius_, and the _Supply_ armed tender.

As it had been customary too, on this day, to grant a pardon to such
offenders as might be in custody or under sentence of corporal
punishment, his Excellency was pleased a few days after to release such
convicts as were sentenced to work in irons for a limited time at
Parramatta and the New Grounds, and who were not very notorious
offenders. This lenity was the rather shown at this time, as the
convicts were in general giving proofs of a greater disposition to
honesty than had for some time been visible among them. The convicts at
the New Grounds being assembled for this purpose, the governor
acquainted them, 'that the state of the colony requiring a still farther
reduction in the ration, it would very shortly take place; but that he
hoped soon to have it in his power to augment it. The deficiencies in
the established ration, he informed them, should at a future period be
made up; but in the meantime he expected that every man would continue
to exert himself and get the corn into the ground to insure support for
the next year.' Indeed these exertions became every day more necessary.
On the 6th of this month there was only a sufficiency of flour in store
to serve till the 2nd of July, and salt provisions till the 6th of
August following, at the ration then issued; and neither the _Atlantic_
storeship from Calcutta, nor the expected supplies from England, had

Notwithstanding the mortality and sickness which had prevailed among the
convicts who came out in the last ships, much labour had been performed
at the New Grounds by those who were capable of handling the hoe and the
spade. At this time the quantity of ground in wheat, and cleared and
broken up for maize, there and at Parramatta, was such as (if not visited
again by a dry season) would at least, computing the produce even at what
it was the last year, yield a sufficiency of grain for all our numbers
for a twelvemonth. But every one doubted the possibility of getting all
the corn into the ground within the proper time, unless the colony should
be very speedily relieved from its distresses, as the reduction in the
ration would inevitably be followed by a diminution of the daily labour.

On the 20th however, to the inexpressible joy of all ranks of people in
the settlements, the _Atlantic_ storeship anchored safely in the cove,
with a cargo of rice, soujee, and dholl, from Calcutta, having been much
longer performing her voyage than was expected, owing to some delays at
Calcutta, in settling and arranging the contract for the supply of
provisions which had been required. The merchants who, in the year 1790,
had made a tender to supply this colony with certain articles at a
stipulated price, were, from several concurring circumstances, unable to
furnish what was required by Lieutenant Bowen, agreeable to the prices
then stipulated; it was therefore determined by the members of the
council at Calcutta, to whom Lieutenant Bowen delivered his letters and
instructions (Earl Cornwallis, who had, several months previous to his
arrival, been desired by the secretary of state to direct any supplies
which might be required for this settlement, being absent with the army),
to invite offers for supplying the different articles which were required
by contract. Lieutenant Bowen arrived at Calcutta on the 4th of February,
and it was not till the 27th of the following month that the business was
finally arranged, and a contract entered into by the house of Lambert,
Ross, and Co. satisfactory to the council and to Lieutenant Bowen.

It appearing that the flour of Bengal, unless it was dressed for the
purpose, which would have taken a great deal of time, was not of a
quality to keep even for the voyage from Calcutta to this country a large
proportion of rice, of that sort which was said to be the fittest for
preservation, was purchased. A small quantity of flour too was put on
board, but merely for the purpose of experiment. It was called soujee by
the natives, but was much inferior in quality to the flour prepared in
Europe, and more difficult to make into bread.

The _Atlantic_ left Calcutta the 28th of March, and on her passage met
with much bad weather, and some heavy gales of wind. She brought two
bulls and a cow of the Bengal breed, together with twenty sheep and
twenty goats; but these were of so diminutive a species, that, unless the
breed could be considerably improved by that already in the country, very
little benefit was for a length of time to be expected from their
importation. Various seeds and plants also were received from the
company's botanical garden; and much commendation was due to Colonel
Kydd, the gentleman who superintended the selection and arrangement of
them for the voyage; as well as to Lieutenant Bowen, for his care, and
for the accommodation which he gave up, both to them and to the cattle,
in the cabin of the ship.

Information was received by the Calcutta papers of the loss of his
Majesty's ship _Pandora_, Captain Edwards, who had been among the
Friendly islands in search of Christian and his piratical crew, fourteen
of whom he had secured, and was returning with the purpose of surveying
Endeavour Straits pursuant to his instructions, when he unfortunately
struck upon a reef in latitude 23 degrees S eleven degrees only to the
northward of this port. By his boats he providentially reached Timor with
ninety-nine of his officers and people, being the whole of his ship's
company which were saved. At Timor, on his arrival, he found Bryant and
his companions, who made their escape from this place in the fishing
cutter in the night of the 28th of March 1791. These people had framed
and told a plausible tale of distress, of their having been cast away at
sea; and this for a time was believed; but they soon, by their language
to each other, and by practising the tricks of their former profession,
gave room for suspicion; and being taken up, their true characters and
the circumstances of their escape were divulged. The Dutch governor of
Timor delivered them to Captain Edwards, who took them on with him to
Batavia, whence he was to proceed to England. The circumstance of these
people having reached Timor confirmed what was suggested immediately
after their departure, that the master of the snow _Waaksamheyd_ had
furnished Bryant with instructions how to proceed, and with every thing
he stood in need of for his voyage; and it must be remembered, that
though this man, during his stay in this port, had constantly said that
every sort of refreshment was to be procured at Timor, yet when Captain
Hunter, while at sea, proposed to steer for that island, he declared that
nothing was to be got there, and so prevented that officer from going
thither. There cannot be a doubt that, expecting to find his friends at
Timor, he did not choose either to endanger them, or risk a discovery of
the part he had acted in aiding their escape.

Had it not been for the fortunate discovery and subsequent delivery of
these people to a captain of a British man of war, the evident
practicability of reaching Timor in an open boat might have operated with
others to make the attempt, and to carry off boats from the settlements;
which, during the absence of the king's ships belonging to the station,
was never difficult; and it was now hoped, that the certainty of every
boat which should reach that or any other Dutch settlement under similar
circumstances being suspected and received accordingly, would have its
due effect here.

The supply of provisions received by the Atlantic being confined to
grain, it became necessary to reduce the ration of salt meat. It was
therefore ordered on the 21st, that after the Friday following only two
pounds of pork should be issued in lieu of four. The allowance of one
pound and a half of flour and four pounds of maize was continued, but one
pound of rice and one quart of peas were added.

The general order given out on this occasion stated,

That the arrival of ships with further supplies of provisions might be
daily looked for; but as it was possible that some unforeseen accident
might have happened to the ships which were expected to have sailed from
England shortly after the departure of the _Pitt_, it became necessary to
reduce the ration of provisions then issued, in order that the quantity
in store might hold out till the arrival of those ships, which might be
supposed to have sailed for this country about the months of January or
February last; it having been the intention of government that ships
should sail from England for this colony twice in every year. And as all
deficiencies in the ration were to be made good hereafter, the following
extract from the instructions which fixed the ration for the colony was
inserted, viz

Ration for each marine and male convict for seven days successively: 7
pounds of bread, or in lieu thereof 7 pounds of flour; 7 pounds of beef,
or in lieu thereof 4 pounds of pork; 3 pints of peas; 6 ounces of butter;
1 pound of flour, or in lieu thereof half a pound of rice:

Being the same as are allowed his Majesty's troops serving in the
West-India Islands, excepting only the allowance of spirits.

And two thirds of the above ration were directed to be issued to each
woman in the settlement.

So far the general order.

As, however, a sufficient quantity of rice could not be landed in time to
issue on the Saturday, one pound of maize was issued in lieu of the same
quantity of rice.

At this ration the rice and flour or soujee were calculated to last five
months; and the peas or dholl for nearly a twelvemonth. But if the
_Atlantic_ had not arrived, the prospect in the colony would have been
truly dreary and distressing; as it was intended to have issued only one
pound and a half of flour, three pounds of maize, and two pounds of pork
per week, on Saturday the 23rd; a ration that would have derived very
little assistance from vegetables, as at that season of the year the
gardens had scarcely any thing in them. Gloomy and unpromising, however,
as was the situation of the settlements before her arrival, that event,
which happened the very day on which, two years before, the colony had
been relieved by the arrival of the _Justinian_ storeship, cast a gleam
of sunshine which penetrated everyone capable of reflection, and, by
effecting a sudden change in the ideas, operated so powerfully on the
mind, that we all felt alike, and found it impossible to sit for one
minute seriously down to any business or accustomed pursuit.

A black, the same who had secreted himself on board the _Supply_ when she
went to Batavia, having found means to conceal himself on board the
_Atlantic_ on her departure for Calcutta, and to remain concealed until
she had left Norfolk Island, was brought back again to the settlement,
notwithstanding he endeavoured to escape from the ship in the Ganges. As
it appeared that he had served the term for which he was sentenced to be
transported even before he got off on board the _Atlantic_, of which
Lieutenant Bowen had only his assertion, no punishment was inflicted upon
him, and he was left at liberty to get away in any ship that would
receive him on board.

The little live stock that was received by the _Atlantic_ was landed at
Parramatta directly after her arrival, and placed in an inclosure
separated from the others.

About two hundred and fifty gallons of Bengal rum having been received,
the governor directed, that in consequence of the ration being reduced,
that quantity, together with what was in store, and had been intended for
the use of the sloop at a future time, should be issued to the civil and
military, reserving a proportion for those at Norfolk Island.

The flag-staff which had been erected at the South Head under the
direction of Captain Hunter, in the month of January 1790, being found
too short to show the signal at any great distance, a new one was taken
down the harbour, and erected the day the _Atlantic_ arrived, within a
few feet of the other; its height above ground was sixty feet.

It was not found that the return of the _Atlantic_ had caused any
diminution in the price of grain or stock, either at Parramatta or at
Sydney. At this latter place a market had been established for the sale
of grain, fish, or poultry, similar to that at Parramatta; a clerk being
appointed to superintend it, and take account of the different articles
brought for sale, to prevent the barter of goods stolen by the convicts.

On the last day of the month, some natives residing at the south shore of
Botany Bay, whether from a hope of reward, or from actually having seen
some ships at a distance, informed the governor that a few days before
they had perceived four or five sail, one of which they described to be
larger than the others, standing off the land, with a westerly wind.
Little credit was however given to their report.

July.] As the merchants who supplied the provisions received by the
_Atlantic_ were only to be paid for such part of the cargo as was
actually landed, and found to be in a merchantable condition, it became
necessary to weigh and survey the whole of the cargo; for which purpose
two surveyors were appointed by the governor. This of course proved a
very tedious business, from the weakness of the gangs at Sydney. Seldom
more than four hundred bags, each bag containing one hundred and
sixty-four pounds, were at first landed in a day; latterly, this number
was by great exertions got up to somewhat more than five hundred in a
day. It was not, however, till the 21st of the month that she was

Having discharged her cargo, she began the serious labour of ballasting,
and it being wished to expedite her preparations for Norfolk Island, her
ship's company were assisted with twelve convicts from the settlement,
and the occasional use of such boats as could be spared to convey the
ballast to the ship. The governor was anxious to learn the state of that
dependency, not having heard from it since the return of the _Queen_
transport early in the last December.

The maize being all got in, it was hoped that the convicts would not find
any new object for their depredations, and that order and tranquillity
would for a time at least be restored among them. But the houses of
individuals soon became their prey, and three or four daring burglaries
were committed this month: I say daring burglaries, as the houses which
were broken into were either within the view of a sentinel, or within the
round of a watchman. This, however, must not be otherwise understood than
as a proof of the perseverance and cunning of these people, who could
find means to elude any vigilance that was opposed to their designs. An
attempt to steal some of the sheep at Parramatta was also made by two
notorious offenders, who, from being deemed incorrigible, were not
included in the pardon which the governor granted to the wretches in
irons after his Majesty's birthday, but were ordered to be chained
together for some longer time. Being fortunately overheard by the person
who lived in the inclosure, and had the care of the stock, he snapped a
piece at them, and, finding it miss fire, gave an alarm to the watch, by
whose activity they were apprehended two miles from the place. They were
provided with every thing necessary for their design, such as a tomahawk,
an iron kettle, knives, spoons, platters, and a quantity of vegetables.
It was found, that with the assistance of the tomahawk they had divided
the chain that linked them together, and had secured round the leg the
iron that remained with each, so as not to be heard when they moved.

The different species of provisions which had been received from Calcutta
were not much esteemed by the people. The flour or soujee, from our not
knowing the proper mode of preparing it for bread, soon became sour,
particularly if not assisted with some other grain; the dholl, or peas,
were complained of as boiling hard, and not breaking, though kept on the
fire for a greater length of time than the impatience of those who were
to use it would in general admit of; and the rice, though termed the best
of the cargo, was found to be full of husks, and ill dressed. Some pork
also, of which eight casks had been sent as an experiment, was, on being
issued, found to be for the most part putrid, and, in the language of
surveyors of provisions, not fit for men to eat. These circumstances,
together with the extreme minuteness of the Bengal breed of cattle,
excited a general hope, that these settlements would not have to depend
upon that country for supplies. To the parent country every one anxiously
looked for a speedy and substantial assistance; and day after day used to
pass in a fruitless hope that the morrow would come accompanied with the
long wished-for arrival of ships.

The natives who lived among us assured us from time to time, that the
report formerly propagated of ships having been seen on the coast had a
foundation in reality; and as every one remembered that the _Justinian_,
after making the heads of Port Jackson, had been kept at sea for three
weeks, a fond hope was cherished that the sun had shone upon the whitened
sails of some approaching vessel, which had been discovered by the
penetrating eyes of our savage neighbours at Botany Bay. In this anxiety
and expectation we remained till the 26th, when the long-wished-for
signal was made, and in a few hours after the _Britannia_ storeship,
Mr. William Raven master, anchored in the cove, after a passage of
twenty-three weeks from Falmouth, having sailed from thence on the 15th
of last February, the day after the arrival of the _Pitt_ in this country.

The _Britannia_ was the first of three ships that were to be dispatched
hither, having on board twelve months clothing for the convicts, four
months flour, and eight months beef and pork for every description of
persons in the settlements, at full allowance, calculating their numbers
at four thousand six hundred and thirty-nine, which it was at home
supposed they might amount to after the arrival of the _Pitt_. It was
still a matter of uncertainty in England, even at the departure of the
_Britannia_, whether the merchants of Calcutta had supplied this country
with provisions; and under the idea that some circumstance might have
prevented them, this supply was ordered to be forwarded. The _Kitty_
transport, one of the three ships which were to contain these supplies,
had sailed from Deptford, at the time the _Britannia_ passed through the
Downs; her arrival therefore might be daily expected, and in her, or on
board of the other ship, it was imagined that fifteen families of
Quakers, who had made proposals to government to be received in this
country as settlers, were to take their passage.

It was with great pleasure heard in the colony, that some steps had been
taken toward prosecuting Donald Trail, the master of the _Neptune_
transport, for his treatment of the convicts with which he sailed from
England for this settlement in the year 1790. The sickness and mortality
which prevailed among them excited a suspicion that they had been
improperly treated; and information upon oath was soon procured of many
acts of neglect, ill usage, and cruelty toward them.

In the consequence of the arrival of the _Britannia_, the commissary was
on the following day directed to issue, _until further orders_, the
following weekly ration, viz to each man 4 pounds of maize, 3 pounds of
soujee, 7 pounds of beef, or in lieu thereof 4 lbs. of pork, 3 pints of
peas or dholl, and 1/2 a pound of rice.

Two thirds of the man's ration was directed to be issued to each woman
and to every child above ten years of age; one half of the man's ration
to each child above two, and under ten years of age; and one fourth of
the man's ration to each child under two years of age.

Thus happily was the colony once more put upon something like a full
ration of provisions; a change in our situation that gave universal
satisfaction, as at the hour of the arrival of the _Britannia_ there were
in the public store only twenty-four days salt provisions for the
settlement at the ration then issued. A delay of a month in her voyage
would have placed the colony in a state that must have excited the
commiseration of its greatest enemies; a vast body of hard-working people
depending for their support upon one pound and a half of soujee, or bad
Bengal flour, four pounds of maize, one pound of rice, and one quart of
peas for one man per week, without one ounce of meat! But with this new
ration all entertained new hopes, and trusted that their future labours
would be crowned with success, and that the necessity of sending out
supplies from the mother country until the colony could support itself
without assistance would have become so evident from the frequency of our
distresses and the reduction of the ration, that the journalist would no
longer have occasion to fill his page with comparisons between what we
might have been and what we were; to lament the non arrival of supplies;
nor to paint the miseries and wretchedness which ensued; but might adopt
a language to which he might truly be said to have been hitherto a
stranger, and paint the glowing prospects of a golden harvest, the
triumph of a well-filled store, and the increasing and consequent
prosperity of the settlements.

His excellency this month thought fit to exercise the power vested in him
by act of parliament, and by his Majesty's commission under the great
seal, of remitting either wholly, or in part, the term for which felons
might be transported, by granting an absolute remission of the term for
which Elizabeth Perry had been sentenced. This woman came out in the
_Neptune_ in 1790, and had married James Ruse a settler. The good conduct
of the wife, and the industry of the husband, who had for some time
supported himself, his wife, a child, and two convicts, independent of
the public store, were the reasons assigned in the instrument which
restored her to her rights and privileges as a free woman, for extending
to her the hand of forgiveness.

This power, so pleasing to the feelings of its possessor, had hitherto
been very sparingly exercised; and those persons who had felt its
influence were not found to have been undeserving. I speak only of such
convicts as had been deemed proper objects of this favour by the governor
himself; the convicts, however, who came out in the _Guardian_ were
emancipated by the King's command, and of these by far the greater part
conducted themselves with propriety.

Preparing roofs for new barracks, bringing in bricks to the spot
appointed for their construction, and discharging the _Atlantic_ and the
_Britannia_, were the principal works in hand at Sydney during the month.
At the settlements beyond Parramatta (which had lately obtained and were
in future to be distinguished by the name of Toongabbie) the convicts
were employed in preparing the ground for the reception of next year's
crop of maize. At and near Parramatta, the chief business was erecting
two houses on allotments of land which belonged to Mr. Arndell the
assistant surgeon, and to John Irving (one of those persons whose
exemplary conduct and meritorious behaviour both in this country and on
the passage to it had been rewarded with unconditional freedom by the
governor), each of whom had been put in possession, the former of sixty
and the latter of thirty acres of land on the creek leading to
Parramatta; erecting chimneys for the different settlers at the ponds,
preparing roofs for various buildings, sawing timber, cutting posts and
railing for inclosures, and hoeing and preparing ground for maize.


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

August.] The Britannia was cleared, and discharged from government
employ, on the 17th of this month. A deficiency appearing in the weight
of the salt provisions delivered from that ship, a survey was immediately
ordered; and it appeared from the report of the persons employed to
conduct it, and who from their situations were well qualified to judge,
Mr. Bowen, a lieutenant in the navy, and Mr. Raven, the commander of the
_Britannia_ and a master of a man of war, that the casks of beef were
deficient, on an average, thirty-six pounds and one-third, and the
tierces twenty-one pounds and one-third. It also appeared that the meat
was lean, coarse, and boney, and worse than they have ever been issued in
his Majesty's service. A deception of this nature would be more severely
felt in this country, as its inhabitants had but lately experienced a
change from a very short ration of salt provisions; and every ounce lost
here was of importance, as the supply had been calculated on a
supposition of each cask containing its full weight.

It having been covenanted, as already mentioned, by Messrs. Lambert,
Ross, and Company, that only such part of the cargo as on its arrival
here should be found to be in a merchantable state should be paid for,
the following quantity, having been deemed merchantable by the persons
appointed to take the survey, was received into the store; viz

Tons Cwt Qrs lbs
Rice 190 3 2 3
Dholl 152 18 2 13
Peas 15 9 2 23
Soujee 57 3 0 4
Wheat 1 15 1 24
Total of Grain 417 10 1 11
[28lb=1qr, 4qr=1cwt, 20cwt=1ton. 67lb=2qr+11lb, etc.]

Eight casks of pork (as an experiment) from Lambert and Company; and two
casks of rum containing one hundred and twenty-six gallons, supplied at
3s per gallon. Four casks of flour, and four casks of soujee from Mr.
Cockraine (sent likewise as an experiment) were also received into the

The unmerchantable articles, consisting of soujee, dholl, and rice, were
sold at public auction; and though wholly unfit for men to eat, yet being
not too bad for stock, were quickly purchased, and in general went off at
a great price. Several lots, consisting of five bags of the soujee, each
bag containing about one hundred and fourteen pounds, sold for L4 14s.
The whole quantity of damaged grain which was thus disposed of amounted
to nine hundred and ninety-one bags, and sold for L373 9s making a most
desirable and acceptable provision for the private stock in the colony.
For this sum of L373 9s credit was given to the merchants at the final
settling of the account; at which time it appeared, that the whole of the
_Atlantic's_ cargo of rice, dholl, peas, soujee, wheat, and rum, which
was to be paid for by government, amounted to the sum of L7538 14s 4d.

This cargo might be termed an experiment, to which it was true we were
driven by necessity; and it had become the universal and earnest wish
that no cause might ever again induce us to try it.

The maize being expended, except a certain proportion which was reserved
for seed, seven pounds of soujee were issued per week to each man; but as
the quantity of this article which had been received from India was but
small (fifty-seven tons) compared with the rice and dholl, toward the
latter end of the month it became necessary to make up a new ration
compounded of the various grain which had been introduced from Calcutta,
and the different articles of food which had been received from England.

One third of the provisions received from Bengal by the _Atlantic_, and
the like proportion of the stores add provisions which had been landed
from the _Britannia_, having been put on board the former of those ships,
she sailed on the 19th for Norfolk Island, having also on board two
settlers from the marine detachment, twenty-two male convicts, an
incorrigible lad who had been drummed out of the New South Wales corps,
three natives, and a free woman, wife to one of the convicts. Among the
latter description of persons were some of very bad character; others who
were supposed to have formed a design of escaping from the colony; some
who professed to be flax dressers, and a few artificers who might be
useful at that island.

At the head of a party of convicts who were said to have formed a design
of seizing a boat and effecting their escape, was J. C. Morris, one of
those convicts who left England in the _Guardian_, and who, from their
meritorious behaviour before and after the disaster that befel that ship,
received conditional emancipation by his Majesty's command. Morris was
at Norfolk Island when the intimation of the royal bounty reached this
country. Being permitted to return to this settlement, he obtained a
grant of thirty acres of land at the Eastern Farms, in an advantageous
situation on the northside of the creek leading to Parramatta. Here it
soon became evident that he had not the industry necessary for a _bona
fide_ settler, and that, instead of cultivating his own ground, he lent
himself to his neighbours, who were to repay his labour by working for
him at a future day. The governor deemed this a clear forfeiture of his
grant, in which it was unequivocally expressed, that he held the thirty
acres on condition of his residing within the same, and proceeding to the
improvement and cultivation thereof. Being no longer a settler, he
declared himself able to procure his daily support without the assistance
of the public stores, from which, it must be remarked, he had been
maintained all the time he held his grant. Soon after this, it was said,
he formed the plan of going off with a boat; yet not so cautiously, but
that information was given of it to the governor, who resolved to send
him back to Norfolk Island, whence an escape was by no means so
practicable as from this place; and he was, very much against his
inclination, put on board the _Atlantic_ for that purpose. He found
means, however, to get on shore in the night preceding her departure; and
she sailed without him. A reward being offered for apprehending him, he
was soon taken, and sent up to Parramatta, there to be confined on a
reduced ration, until an opportunity offered of sending him to Norfolk

During the month the governor thought it necessary to issue some
regulations to be observed by those convicts whose sentences of
transportation had expired. The number of people of this description in
the colony had been so much increased of late, that it had become
requisite to determine with precision the line in which they were to
move. Having emerged from the condition of convicts, and got rid of the
restraint which was necessarily imposed on them while under that
subjection, many of them seemed to have forgotten that they were still
amenable to the regulations of the colony, and appeared to have shaken
off, with the yoke of bondage, all restraint and dependence whatsoever.
They were, therefore, called upon to declare their intentions respecting
their future mode of living. Those who wished to be allowed to provide
for themselves were informed, that on application to the judge-advocate,
they would receive a certificate of their having served their several
periods of transportation, which certificate they would deposit with the
commissary as his voucher for striking them off the provision and
clothing lists; and once a week they were to report in what manner and
for whom they had been employed.

Such as should be desirous of returning to England were informed, that no
obstacle would be thrown in their way, they being at liberty to ship
themselves on board of such vessels as would give them a passage. And
those who preferred labouring for the public, and receiving in return
such ration as should be issued from the public stores, were to give in
their names to the commissary, who would victual and clothe them as long
as their services might be required.

Of those, here and at Parramatta, who had fulfilled the sentence of the
law, by far the greater part signified their intention of returning to
England by the first opportunity; but the getting away from the colony
was now a matter of some difficulty, as it was understood that a clause
was to be inserted in all future contracts for shipping for this country,
subjecting the masters to certain penalties, on certificates being
received of their having brought away any convicts or other persons from
this settlement without the governor's permission; and as it was not
probable that many of them would, on their return, refrain from the vices
or avoid the society of those companions who had been the causes of their
transportation to this country, not many could hope to obtain the
sanction of the governor for their return.

With very few exceptions, however, the uniform good behaviour of the
convicts was still to be noted and commended.

September.] The month of September was ushered in with rain, and storms
of wind, thunder, and lightning. At Parramatta and Toongabbie too, as
well as at Sydney, much rain fell for several days. On the return of fine
weather, it was seen with general satisfaction that the wheat sown at
the latter settlement looked and promised well, and had not suffered from
the rain.

Early in the month the criminal court was assembled for the trial of
Benjamin Ingram, a man who had served the term for which he was ordered
to be transported. He had broken into a house belonging to a female
convict, in which he was detected packing up her property for removal.
Being found guilty, he received sentence of death; but, on the
recommendation of the court, the governor was induced to grant him a
pardon, upon condition of his residing for life on Norfolk Island. With
this extension of mercy the culprit was not made acquainted till that
moment had arrived which he thought was to separate him from this world
for ever. Upon the ladder, and expecting to be turned off, the condition
on which his life was spared was communicated to him; and with gratitude
both to God and the governor, he received the welcome tidings. He
afterwards confessed, that he had for some time past been in the habit of
committing burglaries and other depredations; for, having taken himself
off the stores to avoid working for the public, he was frequently
distressed for food, and was thus compelled to support himself at the
expense perhaps of the honest and industrious. He readily found a rascal
to receive what property he could procure for sale, and for a long time
escaped detection. This depraved man had two brothers in the colony; one
who came out with him in the first fleet, and who had been for some time
a sober, hard-working, industrious settler, having also served the term
of his transportation; the other brother came out in the last year, and
bore the character of a well-behaved man. There was also a fourth
brother; but he was executed in England. It was said, that these
unfortunate men had honest and industrious people for their parents; they
could not, however, have paid much attention to the morals of their
family; or, out of four, some might surely have laid claim to the
character of the parents.

The criminal court was again assembled on the 20th of this month, for the
trial of William Godfrey, who was taken up on a suspicion of having
seized the opportunity of some festivity on board of the _Britannia_,
then nearly ready for sea, and taken half a barrel of powder out of the
gun-room, about nine o'clock at night. Proof however was not brought home
to him; although many circumstances induced every one to suppose he was
the guilty person.

This month was fixed for beginning the new barracks. For the private
soldiers there were to be five buildings, each one hundred feet by
twenty-four in front, and connected by a slight brick wall. At each end
were to be two apartments for officers, seventy-five feet by eighteen;
each apartment containing four rooms for their accommodation, with a
passage of sixteen feet. Of these barracks, one at each end was to be
constructed at right angles with the front, forming a wing to the centre
buildings. Kitchens were to be built, with other convenient offices, in
the rear, and garden ground was to be laid out at the back. Their
situation promised to be healthy, and it was certainly pleasant, being
nearly on the summit of the high ground at the head of the cove,
overlooking the town of Sydney, and the shipping in the cove, and
commanding a view down the harbour, as well of the fine piece of water
forming Long Cove, as that branching off to the westward at the back of
the lieutenant governor's farm.

The foundation of one of the buildings designed for an officer's barrack
having been dug, and all the necessary materials brought together on the
spot, the walls of it were got up, and the whole building roofed and
covered in, in eleven days.

Their situation being directly in the neighbourhood of the ground
appropriated to the burial of the dead, it became necessary to choose
another spot for the latter purpose; and the governor, in company with
the Rev. Mr. Johnson, set apart the ground formerly cultivated by the
late Captain Shea of the marines.

Several thefts were committed at Sydney and at Parramatta, from which
latter place three male convicts absconded, taking with them the
provisions of their huts, intending, it was supposed, to get on board the
_Britannia_. Rewards being offered, some of them were taken in the woods.
It had been found, that the masters of ships would give passages to such
people as could afford to pay them from ten to twenty pounds for the
same, and the perpetrators of some of the thefts which were committed
appeared to have had that circumstance in view, as one or two huts, whose
proprietors were well known to have amassed large sums of money for
people in their situations, were broken into; and in one instance they
succeeded. On the night of the 22nd the hut of Mary Burne, widow of a man
who had been employed as a game-killer, was robbed of dollars to the
amount of eleven pounds; with which the pillagers got off undiscovered.

On the 30th the _Britannia_ left the cove, dropping down below Bradley's
Point, preparatory to sailing on her intended voyage to Dusky Bay in New
Zealand; and while every one was remarking, that the cove (being left
without a ship) again looked solitary and uncomfortable, the signal was
made at the South Head, and at ten o'clock at night the _Atlantic_
anchored in the cove from Norfolk Island, where, we had the satisfaction
to learn, the large cargo which she had on board was landed in safety,
although at one time the ship was in great danger of running ashore at
Cascade Bay. We now learned that the expectations which had been formed
of the crops at Norfolk Island had been too sanguine; but their salt
provisions lasted very well. Governor King, however, wrote that the crops
then in the ground promised favourably, although he would not venture to
speak decidedly, as they were very much annoyed by the grub. This was an
enemy produced by the extreme richness of the soil; and it was remarked,
that as the land was opened and cleared, it was found to be exposed to
the blighting winds which infest the island.

The great havoc and destruction which the reduced ration had occasioned
among the birds frequenting Mount Pitt had so thinned their numbers, that
they were no longer to be depended upon as a resource. The convicts,
senseless and improvident, not only destroyed the bird, its young, and
its egg, but the hole in which it burrowed; a circumstance that ought
most cautiously to have been guarded against; as nothing appeared more
likely to make them forsake the island.

The stock in the settlement was plentiful, but, from being fed chiefly on
sow thistle during the general deficiency of hard food, the animals
looked ill, and were as badly tasted. The _Pitt_, however, took from the
island a great quantity of stock; barrow pigs and fowls, pumpkins and
other vegetables; for which Captain Manning and his officers paid the
owners with many articles of comfort to which they had long been

The convicts in general wore a very unhealthy cadaverous appearance,
owing, it was supposed, not only to spare diet, but to the fatigue
consequent on their traversing the woods to Mount Pitt, by night, for the
purpose of procuring some slender addition to their ration, instead of
reposing after the labours of the day. They had committed many
depredations on the settlers, and one was shot by a person of that
description in the act of robbing his farm.

Governor King, having discovered that the island abounded with that
valuable article lime-stone, was building a convenient house for his own
residence, and turning his attention to the construction of permanent
storehouses, barracks for the military, and other necessary buildings.

The weather had been for some time past very bad, much rain having fallen
accompanied with storms of wind, thunder, and lightning. In some of these
storms the wreck of his Majesty's ship _Sirius_ went to pieces and
disappeared, no part of that unfortunate ship being left together, except
what was confined by the iron ballast in her bottom.

On board of the _Atlantic_ came sixty-two persons from Norfolk Island,
among whom were several whose terms of transportation had expired;
thirteen offenders; and nine of the marine settlers, who had given up the
hoe and the spade, returned to this place to embrace once more a life to
which they certainly were, from long habit, better adapted than to that
of independent settlers. They gave up their estates, and came here to
enter as soldiers in the New South Wales corps.'

Mr. Charles Grimes, the deputy-surveyor, arrived in the _Atlantic_, being
sent by Mr. King to state to the governor the situation of the settlers
late belonging to the _Sirius_, whose grounds had, on a careful survey by
Mr. Grimes, been found to intersect each other. They had been originally
laid down without the assistance of proper instruments, and being
situated on the side of the Cascade Stream, which takes several windings
in its course, the different allotments, being close together, naturally
interfered with each other when they came to be carried back. The
settlers themselves saw how disadvantageously they were situated, and how
utterly impossible it was for every one to possess a distinct allotment
of sixty acres, unless they came to some agreement which had their mutual
accommodation in view; but this, with an obstinacy proportioned to their
ignorance, they all declined: as their grounds were marked out so would
they keep them, not giving an inch in one place, though certain of
possessing it with advantage in another. These people proved but
indifferent settlers; sailors and soldiers, seldom bred in the habits of
industry, but ill brooked the personal labour which they found was
required from them day after day, and month after month. Men who from
their infancy had been accustomed to have their daily subsistence found
them were but ill calculated to procure it by the sweat of their brows,
and must very unwillingly find that without great bodily exertions they
could not provide it at all. A few months experience convinced them of
the truth of these observations, and they grew discontented; as a proof
of which they wrote a letter to the judge-advocate, to be submitted to
the governor, stating, as a subject of complaint among other grievances,
that the officers of the settlement bred stock for their own use, and
requesting that they might be directed to discontinue that practice, and
purchase stock of them.

Very few of the convicts at Norfolk Island whose terms of transportation
had expired were found desirous of becoming permanent settlers; the sole
object with the major part appearing to be, that of taking ground for the
purpose of raising by the sale of the produce a sum sufficient to enable
them to pay for their passages to England. The settler to benefit this
colony, the _bona fide_ settler, who should be a man of some property, must
come from England. He is not to be looked for among discharged soldiers,
shipwrecked seamen, or quondam convicts.

Governor King finding, after trying every process that came within his
knowledge for preparing and dressing the flax-plant, that unless some
other means were devised, it never would be brought to the perfection
necessary to make the canvas produced from it an object of importance,
either as an article of clothing for the convicts or for maritime
purposes, proposed to Mr. Ebor Bunker, the master of the _William and
Ann_, who had some thoughts of touching at Dusky Bay in New Zealand, to
procure him two natives of that country, if they could be prevailed on to
embark with him, and promised him one hundred pounds if he succeeded,
hoping from their perfect knowledge of the flax-plant, and the process
necessary to manufacture it into cloth, that he might one day render it a
valuable and beneficial article to his colony; but Captain Bunker had
never returned.

Norfolk Island had been visited by all the whalers which sailed from this
port on that fishery. The _Admiral Barrington_ and _Pitt_ left with Mr.
King eleven men and two female convicts, who had secreted themselves at
this port on board of those ships.

October.] The _Britannia_, which had quitted the cove on the last day of
September, preparatory to her departure on a fishing voyage (a licence
for which had been granted by the East India Company for the space of
three years), returned to the cove on the third of this month for the
purpose of fitting for the Cape of Good Hope, the officers of the New
South Wales corps having engaged the master to proceed thither and return
on their account with a freight of cattle, and such articles as would
tend to the comfort of themselves and the soldiers of the corps, and
which were not to be found in the public stores. Mr. Raven, the master,
let his ship for the sum of L2000; and eleven shares of L200 each were
subscribed to purchase the stock and other articles. The ship was well
calculated for bringing cattle, having a very good between-decks; and
artificers from the corps were immediately employed to fit her with
stalls proper for the reception and accommodation of cows, horses, etc. A
quantity of hay was put on board sufficient to lessen considerably the
expense of that article at the Cape; and she was ready for sea by the
middle of the month. Previous to her departure, on the 7th, the _Royal
Admiral_ East-Indiaman, commanded by Captain Essex Henry Bond, anchored in
the cove from England, whence she had sailed on the 30th of May last. Her

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