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

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passage from the Cape of Good Hope was the most rapid that had ever been
made, being only five weeks and three days from port to port.

On board of the _Royal Admiral_ came stores and provisions for the
colony; one sergeant, one corporal, and nineteen privates, belonging to
the New South Wales corps; a person to be employed in the cultivation of
the country; another as a master miller; and a third as a master
carpenter; together with two hundred and eighty-nine male and forty-seven
female convicts. She brought in with her a fever, which had been much
abated by the extreme attention paid by Captain Bond and his officers to
cleanliness, the great preservative of health on board of ships, and to
providing those who were ill with comforts and necessaries beyond what
were allowed for their use during the passage. Of three hundred male
convicts which she received on board, ten only died, and one made his
escape from the hospital at False Bay; in return for whom, however,
Captain Bond brought on with him Thomas Watling, a male convict, who
found means to get on shore from the _Pitt_ when at that port in December
last, and who had been confined by the Dutch at the Cape town from her
departure until this opportunity offered of sending him hither.

We had the satisfaction of hearing that the _Supply_ armed tender made
good her passage to England in somewhat less than five months, arriving
at Plymouth on the 21st of April last. It was, however, matter of much
concern to all who were acquainted with him, to learn at the same time,
that Captain Hunter, who sailed from this port in March 1791, in the
Dutch snow _Waaksamheyd_, and who had anxiously desired to make a speedy
passage, had been thirteen months in that vessel striving to reach
England, where he at last let go his anchor a day after the termination
of Lieutenant Ball's more successful voyage in the _Supply_, arriving at
Spithead on the evening of the 22nd of April last. His Majesty's ship
_Gorgon_ had been at the Cape of Good Hope, but had not arrived in
England when the _Royal Admiral_ left that country.

We were also informed, that the _Kitty_ transport had sailed with
provisions and a few convicts from England some weeks before the _Royal
Admiral_; and Captain Bond left at False Bay an American brig, freighted
on speculation with provisions for this colony, and whose master intended
putting to sea immediately after him.

The sick, to the number of eighty, were all immediately disembarked from
the Indiaman; the remainder of her convicts were sent up to be employed
at Parramatta and the adjoining settlement. At these places was to be
performed the great labour of clearing and cultivating the country; and
thither the governor judged it necessary at once to send such convicts as
should arrive in future, without permitting them to disembark at Sydney,
which town (from the circumstance of its being the only place where
shipping anchored) possessed all the evils and allurements of a sea port
of some standing, and from which, if once they got into huts, they would
be with difficulty removed when wanted; they pleaded the acquirement of
comforts, of which, in fact, it would be painful though absolutely
necessary to deprive them. At once to do away therefore the possibility
of any attachment to this part of the colony, the governor gave
directions for their being immediately sent from the ship to the place of
their future residence and employment; and, having no other thoughts,
they went with cheerfulness.

There arrived in the _Royal Admiral_ as a superintendant charged with the
care of the convicts, Mr. Richard Alley, who formerly belonged to the
_Lady Juliana_ transport, in quality of surgeon, in the memorable voyage
of that ship to this colony; a voyage that could never be thought on by
an inhabitant of it without exciting a most painful sensation. This
gentleman went to England in the snow with Captain Hunter, whither the
comforts of long voyages seemed to accompany him. Immediately on his
arrival there, he was appointed by the commissioners of the navy to come
out in the _Royal Admiral_ as surgeon and superintendant of the convicts
embarked in that ship, with an allowance of twelve shillings and sixpence
_per diem_ until his arrival in England, exclusive of his half pay as
surgeon of the navy.

It had always been an object of the first consequence, that the people
employed about the stores, if not free, should at least have been so
situated as to have found it their interest to resist temptation. This
had never hitherto been accomplished; capital and other exemplary
punishments did not effect it; the stores were constantly robbed,
although carefully watched, and as well secured as bolts, locks, and iron
fastenings could make them. The governor therefore now adopted a plan
which was suggested to him; and, discharging all the convicts employed at
the provision-store, replaced them by others, to whom he promised
absolute emancipation at the end of a certain number of years, to be
computed from the dates of their respective arrivals in this country.

If any thing could produce the integrity so much to be desired, this
measure seemed the best calculated for the purpose; an interest was
created superior to any reward that could have been held out, a certain
salary, an increase of ration, a greater proportion of clothing, or even
emancipation itself, if given at the time. To those who had no other
prospect but that of passing their lives in this country, how cheering,
how grateful must have been the hope of returning to their families at no
very distant period, if not prevented by their own misconduct! There were
two in this situation among those placed at the stores, Samuel Burt and
William Sutton, both of whom had conducted themselves with the greatest
propriety since their conviction, and who beheld with joy the probability
that appeared of their being again considered and ranked in the class of
honest men and good members of society; estimations that depended wholly
upon themselves.

As a store-keeper was a person on whom much dependence must necessarily
be placed, it being his duty to be constantly present whenever the stores
were opened, and with a vigilant eye to observe the conduct of the
inferior servants, at the strong recommendation of the officers under
whom he had served, Sergeant Thomas Smyth was discharged from the marine
detachment, and placed upon the list of superintendants of convicts as a
storekeeper. This appointment gave general satisfaction; and the
commissary now felt himself, under all these arrangements, more at ease
respecting the safety of the stores and provisions under his charge.

On the night of the 10th a daring burglary was committed. Mr. Raven, the
master of the _Britannia_, occupied a hut on shore, which was broken open
and entered about midnight, and from the room in which he was lying
asleep, and close to his bedside, his watch and a pair of knee-buckles
were stolen; a box was forced open, in which was a valuable timepiece and
some money belonging to Mr. Raven, who, fortunately waking in the very
moment that the thief was taking it out at the door, prevented his
carrying it off. Assistance from the guard came immediately, but too
late--the man had got off unseen. In a day or two afterwards, however,
Charles Williams, a settler, gave information that a convict named
Richard Sutton, the morning after the burglary, had told him that he had
stolen and secured the property, which he estimated at sixty pounds, and
which he offered to put into his possession for the purpose of sale,
first binding him by a horrid ceremony* and oath not to betray him.
Williams, on receiving the watch, which proved a metal one, worth only
about ten pounds, and the disproportion of which to the value he had
expected, probably had induced him to make the discovery, immediately
caused him to be taken into custody, and delivered the property to a
magistrate, giving at the same time an account how he came by them. All
these circumstances were produced in evidence before a criminal court;
but the prisoner, proving an _alibi_ that was satisfactory to the court,
was acquitted. With the evidence that he produced in his defence it was
impossible to convict him; but the court and the auditors were in their
consciences persuaded that the prisoner had committed the burglary and
theft, and that he intended to have employed Williams to dispose of the
property; which the latter had undertaken, and would have performed, had
the watch proved to have been a timepiece which the prisoner imagined he
had been lucky enough to secure. Williams, had he been put to prove where
he was at the very time the house was entered, had people ready to depose
that he was on his way by water to his farm near Parramatta. This man had
formerly been remarkable for propriety of conduct; but, after he became a
settler, gave himself up to idleness and dissipation, and went away from
the court in which he had been giving his testimony, much degraded in the
opinion of every man who heard him.

[* They cut each other on the cheek with their knives.]

The _Britannia_ sailed on the 24th for the Cape of Good Hope, Mr. Raven
taking with him Governor Phillip's dispatches for England, in which was
contained a specific demand for twelve months provisions for the colony,
and the wishes as well of those whom he considered as his employers, as
of those who were not, for the safe and speedy execution of his
commission; as his return to the colony would introduce many articles of
comfort which were not to be found in the public stores among the
articles issued by government.

At Sydney and at Parramatta shops were opened for the sale of the
articles of private trade brought out in the _Royal Admiral_. A licence
was given for the sale of porter; but, under the cover of this, spirits
found their way among the people, and much intoxication was the
consequence. Several of the settlers, breaking out from the restraint to
which they had been subject, conducted themselves with the greatest
impropriety, beating their wives, destroying their stock, trampling on
and injuring their crops in the ground, and destroying each other's
property. One woman, having claimed the protection of the magistrates,
the party complained of, a settler, was bound over to the good behaviour
for two years, himself in twenty pounds, and to find two sureties in ten
pounds each. Another settler was at the same time set an hour in the
stocks for drunkenness. The indulgence which was intended by the governor
for their benefit was most shamefully abused; and what he suffered them
to purchase with a view to their future comfort, was retailed among
themselves at a scandalous profit; several of the settlers houses being
at this time literally nothing else but porter-houses, where rioting and
drunkenness prevailed as long as the means remained. It was much to be
regretted that these people were so blind to their own advantage, most of
them sacrificing to the dissipation of the moment what would have
afforded them much comfort and convenience, if reserved for refreshment
after the fatigue of the day.

The only addition made to the weekly ration in consequence of the arrival
of the _Royal Admiral_ was an allowance of six ounces of oil to each
person; a large quantity, nine thousand two hundred and seventy-eight
gallons, having been put on board that ship and the _Kitty_ transport, to
be issued in lieu of butter; as an equivalent for which it certainly
would have answered well, had it arrived in the state in which it was
reported to have been put on board; but it grew rancid on the passage,
and was in general made more use of to burn as a substitute for candles,
than for any other purposes to which oil might have been applied.

Toward the latter end of the month, the convicts received a general
serving of clothing, and other necessary articles. To each male were
issued two frocks made of coarse and unsubstantial osnaburgs, in which
there were seldom found more than three weeks wear; two pairs of trousers
made of the same slight materials as the frocks, and open to the same
observation as to wear; one pair of yarn stockings; one hat; one pair of
shoes; one pound of soap; three needles; a quarter of a pound of thread,
and one comb.

The females received each one cloth petticoat; one coarse shift; one pair
of shoes; one pair of yarn stockings; one pound of soap; a quarter of a
pound of thread; two ounces of pins; six needles; one thimble, and one
pair of scissors.

These articles were supplied by commission; and Mr. Davison, the person
employed by government, was limited in the price of each article, which
was fixed too low to admit of his furnishing them of the quality
absolutely necessary for people who were to labour in this country. The
osnaburgs in particular had always been complained of, for it was a fact,
that the frocks and trousers made of them were oftener known to have been
worn out within a fortnight, than to have lasted three weeks.

The month closed with a circumstance that excited no small degree of
concern in the settlement: Governor Phillip signified a determination of
quitting his government, and returning to England in the _Atlantic_. To
this he was induced by perceiving that his health hourly grew worse, and
hoping that a change of air might contribute to his recovery. His
Excellency had the satisfaction, at the moment that he came to this
resolution, of seeing the public grounds wear every appearance of a
productive harvest. At Toongabbie, forty-two acres of wheat, sown about
the middle of last March, looked as promising as could be wished; the
remainder of the wheat, from being sown six weeks later, did not look so
fine and abundant, but still held out hopes of an ample return. The
Indian corn was all got into the ground, and such of it as was up looked
remarkably well.


A vessel from America arrives
Part of her cargo purchased
George Barrington and others emancipated conditionally
The _Royal Admiral_ sails
Arrival of the _Kitty_ Transport
L1001 received by her
Hospital built at Parramatta
Harvest begun at Toongabbie
Ration increased
The _Philadelphia_ sails for Norfolk Island
State of the cultivation previous to the governor's departure
Governor Phillip sails for England
Regulations made by the Lieutenant Governor
The _Hope_, an American Ship, arrives
Her cargo purchased for the colony
The _Chesterfield_ whaler arrives
Grant of land to an officer
Extreme heat and conflagration
Deaths in 1792
Prices of Stock, etc

November.] On the 1st of November, about eleven o'clock at night, the
_Philadelphia_ brigantine, Mr. Thomas Patrickson master, anchored in
the cove from Philadelphia. Lieutenant-governor King, on his passage
to this country in the _Gorgon_ in the month of July 1791, had seen
Mr. Patrickson at the Cape of Good Hope, and learning at that time from
the _Lady Juliana_ and _Neptune_ transports, which had just arrived there
from China, that the colony was in great distress for provisions,
suggested to him the advantage that might attend his bringing a cargo to
this country on speculation. On this hint Captain Patrickson went to
England, and thence to Philadelphia, from which place he sailed the
beginning of last April with a cargo consisting chiefly of American beef,
wine, rum, gin, some tobacco, pitch, and tar. He sailed from Philadelphia
with thirteen hands; but, in some very bad weather which he met with
after leaving the African shore, his second mate was washed overboard and
lost, it blowing too hard to attempt saving him.

The governor directed the commissary to purchase such part of the
_Philadelphia's_ cargo as he thought was immediately wanting in the
colony; and five hundred and sixty-nine barrels of American cured beef,
each barrel containing one hundred and ninety-three pounds, and
twenty-seven barrels of pitch and tar, were taken into store; the expense
of which amounted to L2829 lls.

Notwithstanding the great length of time Captain Patrickson had been on
his voyage (from the beginning of April to November) his speculation did
not prove very disadvantageous to him. A great part of his cargo, that
was not taken by government, was disposed of among the officers and
others of the settlement; and the governor hired his vessel to take
provisions to Norfolk Island, giving him L150 for the run. Captain
Patrickson had formed some expectation of disposing of his vessel in this
country; but the governor, having received intimation that the _Kitty_
might be detained in the service as long as he found it necessary after
her arrival, did not judge it expedient to purchase the vessel.

On the 3rd of the month three warrants of emancipation passed the seal of
the territory: one to John Trace, a convict who came out in the first
fleet; having but three months of his term of transportation remaining,
that portion of it was given up to him, that he might become a settler.
The second was granted to Thomas Restil (alias Crowder) on the
recommendation of the lieutenant-governor of Norfolk Island, on condition
that he should not return to England during the term of his natural life,
his sentence of transportation being _durante vitae_. The third warrant
was made out in favour of one who whatever might have been his conduct
when at large in society, had here not only demeaned himself with the
strictest propriety, but had rendered essential services to the
colony--George Barrington. He came out in the _Active_; on his arrival
the governor employed him at Toongabbie, and in a situation which was
likely to attract the envy and hatred of the convicts, in proportion as
he might be vigilant and inflexible. He was first placed as a
subordinate, and shortly after as a principal watchman; in which
situation he was diligent, sober, and impartial; and had rendered himself
so eminently serviceable, that the governor resolved to draw him from the
line of convicts; and, with the instrument of his emancipation, he
received a grant of thirty acres of land in an eligible situation near
Parramatta.* Here was not only a reward for past good conduct, but an
incitement to a continuance of it; and Barrington found himself, through
the governor's liberality, though not so absolutely free as to return to
England at his own pleasure, yet enjoying the immunities of a free man, a
settler, and a civil officer, in whose integrity much confidence was

[* He was afterwards sworn in as a peace officer.]

On the 13th the _Royal Admiral_ sailed for Canton. Of the private
speculation brought out in this ship, they sold at this place and at
Parramatta to the amount of L3600 and left articles to be sold on
commission to the amount of L750 more.

Captain Bond was obliged to leave behind him one of his quartermasters
and six sailors, who ran away from the ship. The quartermaster had served
in the same capacity on board of the _Sirius_, and immediately after his
arrival in England (in the snow) engaged himself with Captain Bond for
the whole of the voyage; but a few days before the departure of the ship
from this port, he found means to leave her, and, assisted by some of the
settlers, concealed himself in the woods until concealment was no longer
necessary. On giving himself up, he entered on board the _Atlantic_; but
on his declaring that he did not intend returning to England, the
governor ordered him into confinement. The sailors were put into one of
the longboats, to be employed between this place and Parramatta, until
they could be put on board a ship that might convey them hence.

It was never desirable that seamen should receive encouragement to run
from their ships; they became public nuisances here; the masters of such
ships would find themselves obliged to procure convicts at any rate to
supply their places; indeed, so many might be shipped or secreted on
board, as might render the safety of the vessel very precarious; and as
the governor determined to represent the conduct of any master who
carried away convicts without his approbation, so he resolved never to
deprive them of their seamen. Under this idea, a hut, in which a seaman
from the _Royal Admiral_ was found concealed, was pulled down, and two
convicts who had been secreted on board that ship were sent up to
Toongabbie, as a punishment, as well as to be out of the way of another

On the 18th the _Kitty_ transport anchored in the cove from England,
after a circuitous passage of thirty-three weeks, round by the Rio de
Janeiro and the Cape of Good Hope. She twice sailed from England. On her
first departure, which was in March last, she had on board thirty female
and ten male convicts; but being obliged to put back to Spithead, to stop
a leak which she sprung in her raft port, eight of her ten male convicts
found means to make their escape. This was an unfortunate accident; for
they had been particularly selected as men who might be useful in the
colony. Of the two who did remain, the one was a brick-maker and the
other a joiner.

When her cargo was landing, it was found to have suffered considerably by
the bad weather she had experienced; the flour in particular, an article
which could at no time bear any diminution in this country, was much
damaged. The convicts had for a long time been nearly as much distressed
for utensils to dress their provisions, as they had been for provisions;
and we had now the mortification to find, that of the small supply of
iron pots which had been put on board, a great part were either broken or
cracked, having been literally stowed among the provision casks in the

There arrived in this ship two chests, containing three thousand eight
hundred and seventy ounces of silver, in dollars, amounting to L1001.
This remittance was sent out for the purpose of paying such sums as were
due to the different artificers who had been employed in this country. It
was also applied to the payment of the wages due to the superintendants,
who had experienced much inconvenience from not receiving their salaries
here; and indeed the want of public money had been very much felt by
every one in the colony. When the marines, who became settlers before and
at the relief of the detachment, were discharged for that purpose, they
would have suffered great difficulties from the want of public money to
pay what was due to them, had not the commissary taken their respective
powers of attorney, and given them notes on himself, payable either in
cash, or in articles which might be the means of rendering them
comfortable, and of which he had procured a large supply from Calcutta.
These notes passed through various hands in traffic among the people of
the description they were intended to serve, and became a species of
currency which was found very convenient to them.

The female convicts who arrived in the _Kitty_, twenty-seven in number,
were immediately sent up to Parramatta.

Government had put on board the _Kitty_ a naval agent, Lieutenant Daniel
Woodriff, for the purpose of seeing that no unnecessary delays were made
in the voyage, and that the convicts on board were not oppressed by the
master or his people. This officer, on his arrival, stated to the
governor his opinion that the master had not made the best of his way,
and that he had remained longer in the port of Rio de Janeiro than there
could possibly be occasion for. He likewise stated several disagreements
which had occurred between him and the master, and in which the latter
seemed to think very lightly of the authority of a naval agent on board
his ship. There was also on board this ship, on the part of the crown, a
medical gentleman who was appointed for the express purpose of attending
to such convicts as might be ill during the voyage; so extremely
solicitous were the members of Administration to guard against the evils
which had befallen the convicts in former passages to this country.

At Parramatta a brick hospital, consisting of two wards, was finished
this month; and the sick were immediately removed into it. The spot
chosen for this building was at some distance from the principal street
of the town, and convenient to the water; and, to prevent any improper
communication with the other convicts, a space was to be inclosed and
paled in round the hospital, in which the sick would have every necessary
benefit from air and exercise.

At the other settlement they had begun to reap the wheat which was sown
in April last; and for want of a granary at that place it was put into
stacks. From not being immediately thrashed out, there was no knowing
with certainty what the produce of it was; but it had every appearance of
turning out well. The ear was long and full, and the straw remarkably

December.] On the 3rd of this month, the governor, as one of his last
acts in the settlement, ordered one pound of flour to be added to the
weekly ration, which, by means of this addition, stood on his departure
at 3 pounds of flour, 5 pounds of rice, 4 pounds of pork or 7 pounds of
beef, 3 pounds of dholl, and 6 ounces of oil.

On the 7th the _Philadelphia_ sailed for Norfolk Island, having on board
for that settlement Mr. Grimes, the deputy surveyor; Mr. Jamieson who was
to superintend the convicts employed there in cultivations; Mr. Peat, the
master-carpenter (there being a person* in that situation here of much
ability); a convict who came out in the _Royal Admiral_, to be employed
as a master-tailor; two Convicts sawyers, and one convict carpenter, the
same who came out with his family in the _Kitty_; together with some
provisions and stores. His excellency had always attended to this little
colony with a parental care; often declaring, that from the peculiarity
of its situation he would rather that want should be felt in his own
government than in that dependency; and as they would be generally eight
or ten weeks later than this colony in receiving their supplies, by
reason of the time which the ships necessarily required to refit after
coming in from sea, he purposed furnishing them with a proportion of
provisions for three months longer than the provisions in store at this
place would last: and his excellency took leave of that settlement, by
completing, as fully as he was able, this design.

[* Mr. Thomas Livingstone, at a salary of L50 per annum.]

He was now about taking leave of his own government. The accommodations
for his excellency and the officers who were going home in the _Atlantic_
being completed, the detachment of marines under the command of
Lieutenant Poulden embarked on the 5th, and at six o'clock in the evening
of Monday the 10th Governor Phillip quitted the charge with which he had
been entrusted by his Sovereign, and in the execution of which he had
manifested a zeal and perseverance that alone could have enabled him to
surmount the natural and artificial obstacles which the country and its
inhabitants had thrown in his way.

The colony had now been established within a few weeks of five years; and
a review of what had been done in cultivation under his excellency's
direction in that time cannot more properly be introduced than at the
close of his government.

Previous to the sailing of the _Britannia_ on the 24th of last October,
an accurate survey of the whole ground in cultivation, both on account of
the crown, and in the possession of individuals, was taken by the
surveyor-general, and transmitted to England by that ship; and from the
return which he then made, the following particulars were extracted:

Acres Acres Acres Ground Total
in in in Garden cleared number
wheat barley maize ground of timber of acres
At Parramatta 3/4 71/2 308 - - 3161/4
At and leading to 1711/2 14 511 - - 6961/2
Total public ground 1721/4 211/2 819 - - 10123/4

_Belonging to Settlers and others_
At Parramatta, (1
The governor's garden - 1/2 2 (3 vines - 61/2
Garden ground belonging to
different people, including
convicts' gardens - - - 104 - 104
At Parramatta, 1 settler 3 - 18 1 7 29
At Prospect Hill, four miles
to the westward of
Parramatta, 18 settlers 111/4 - 84 - - 951/4
At the Ponds, two miles to
the northeast of
Parramatta, 16 settlers 101/4 21/4 63 31/2 161/2 951/2
At the Northern boundary
farms, two miles from
Parramatta, 5 settlers 3 - 35 23/4 11 513/4
At the Field of Mars, on
the north shore, near the
entrance of the creek
leading to Parramatta,
8 settlers, (marines) 4 - 441/2 2 31 811/2
At the Eastern farms,
12 settlers - - 401/2 - 121/2 53
On the creek leading to
Parramatta, 7 settlers 43/4 - 801/2 4 22 1111/4
In cultivation by the civil
and military at Sydney - - - - 61/2 61/2
Total 2081/2 241/4 11861/2 1211/4 1621/2 1703

Of the sixty-seven settlers above enumerated, one, James Ruse, who had a
grant of thirty acres at Parramatta, went upon his farm the latter end of
November 1789; but none of the others began to cultivate ground upon
their own accounts earlier than the middle of July 1791; but many of them
at a much later date. The eight marine settlers at the Field of Mars took
possession of their allotments at the beginning of February 1792. The
conditions held out to settlers were, to be victualled and clothed from
the public store for eighteen months from the term of their becoming
settlers; to be furnished with tools and implements of husbandry; grain
to sow their grounds, and such stock as could be spared from the public.
They were likewise to have assigned them the services of such a number of
convicts as the governor should think proper, on their making it appear
that they could employ, feed, and clothe them. Every man had a hut
erected on his farm at the public expense. At the time of the governor's
departure, many of them, by their own industry, and the assistance he had
afforded them, were enabled to have one or two convicts off the store,
and employed by them at their farms; and such as were not married were
allowed a convict hutkeeper. In general they were not idle, and the major
part were comfortably situated.

At this time the quantity of land which had passed to settlers* in this
territory under the seal of the colony amounted to three thousand four
hundred and seventy acres; of which quantity four hundred and seventeen
acres and a half were in cultivation, and the timber cleared from one
hundred more, ready for sowing; which, compared with the total of the
_public ground_ in cultivation (one thousand and twelve acres and three
quarters) will be found to be by eleven acres more than equal to one half
of it. A striking proof of what some settlers had themselves declared, on
its being hinted to them that they had not always been so diligent when
labouring for the whole, 'We are now working for ourselves.' One material
good was, however, to be expected from a tract of land of that extent
being cultivated by individuals, if at any time an accident should happen
to the crop on the public ground, they might be a resource, though an
inconsiderable one. Fortunately, no misfortune of that nature had ever
fallen upon the colony; but it had been, at the beginning of this month,
very near experiencing a calamity that would have blasted all the
prospects of the next season, and in one moment have rendered ineffectual
the labour of many hands and of many months. Two days after the wheat had
been reaped, and got off the ground at Toongabbie, the whole of the
stubble was burnt. The day on which this happened had been unusually hot,
and the country was every where on fire. Had it befallen us while the
wheat was upon the ground, nothing could have saved the whole from being
destroyed. From this circumstance, however, one good resulted;
precautions against a similar accident were immediately taken, by
clearing the timber for a certain distance round the cultivated land.

[* Some few had been added since the surveyor's return of the 16th

The stock belonging to the public was kept at Parramatta. It consisted of
three bulls*, two bull calves, fifteen cows, three calves, five
stallions, six mares, one hundred and five sheep, and forty-three hogs.

[* Two from Calcutta, and one which was calved on board the _Gorgon_.]

Of the sheep, the governor gave to each of the married settlers from the
convicts, and to each settler from the marines, and from the _Sirius_,
one ewe for the purpose of breeding; and to others he gave such female
goats as could be spared. This stock had been procured at much expense;
and his excellency hoped that the people among whom he left it would see
the advantage it might prove to them, and cherish it accordingly.

His excellency, at embarking on board the _Atlantic_, was received near
the wharf on the east-side, (where his boat was lying), by Major Grose,
at the head of the New South Wales corps, who paid him, as he passed, the
honors due to his rank and situation in the colony. He was attended by
the officers of the civil department, and the three marine officers who
were to accompany him to England.

At daylight on the morning of the 11th, the _Atlantic_ was got under way,
and by eight o'clock was clear of the Heads, standing to the ESE with a
fresh breeze at south. By twelve o'clock she had gained a considerable

With the governor there embarked, voluntarily and cheerfully, two natives
of this country, Bennillong and Yem-mer-ra-wan-nie, two men who were much
attached to his person; and who withstood at the moment of their
departure the united distress of their wives, and the dismal lamentations
of their friends, to accompany him to England, a place that they well
knew was at a great distance from them."

One or two convicts also who had conducted themselves to his
satisfaction, and whose periods of transportation were expired, were
permitted by the governor to return to England in the same ship with

The _Atlantic_ had likewise on board various specimens of the natural
productions of the country, timber, plants, animals, and birds. Among the
animals were four fine kangaroos, and several native dogs.

The _Atlantic_ had been put into excellent condition for the voyage which
she had to perform; she was well found and well manned, and there
appeared no reason to doubt her reaching England in six months from her
departure. A safe and speedy passage to her was the general wish, not
only on account of the governor, whose health and constitution (already
much impaired) might suffer greatly by the fatigues of a protracted
voyage; but that the information of which his excellency was in
possession respecting these settlements, from their establishments to the
moment of his quitting them, might as quickly as possible be laid before

The government of the colony now devolved, by his Majesty's letters patent
under the great seal of Great Britain, upon the lieutenant-governor.
This office was filled by the major-commandant of the New South Wales
corps, Francis Grose, esq who arrived in February last in the _Pitt_
transport. At his taking upon himself the government, on which occasion
the usual oaths were administered by the judge-advocate, he gave out the
following order, regulating the mode of carrying on the duty at Parramatta:

'All orders given by the captain who commands at Parramatta, respecting
the convicts stationed there, are to be obeyed; and all complaints or
reports that would be made to the lieutenant-governor when present, are
in his absence to be communicated to captain Foveaux, or such other
captain as may be doing duty with the detachment.'

The alteration which this order produced, consisted in substituting the
military for the civil officer. Before this period, all complaints had
been inquired into by the civil magistrate, who, in the governor's
absence from Parramatta, punished such slight offences as required
immediate cognizance, reporting to the governor from time to time
whatever he did; and all orders and directions which regarded the
convicts, and all reports which were made respecting them, went through

The military power had hitherto been considered as requisite only for the
protection of the stores, and the discharge of such duties as belonged to
their profession, without having any share in the civil direction of the
colony*; but as it was provided by his Majesty's commission already
spoken of, that, in case, of the death or absence both of the governor
and lieutenant-governor of the territory, the officer next in rank on
service in the colony should take upon himself and exercise the functions
of the governor, until such time as instructions should be received from
England; under this idea, the lieutenant-governor issued the above order,
placing the captain commanding the detachment of the New South Wales
corps at Parramatta, in the direction of the civil duties of that

[* The commanding officer of the corps or regiment serving in the
territory excepted, who held likewise the _civil_ appointment of

Similar regulations took place at Sydney, where 'the captain of the day
was directed to report to the commanding officer all convict prisoners,
stating by whom and on what account they might be confined;' and this
order was in a few days after enforced by another, which directed 'that
all inquiries by the civil magistrate were in future to be dispensed
with, until the lieutenant-governor had given directions on the subject;
and the convicts were not on any account to be punished but by his
particular order.'

At Sydney, it had been usual for the magistrates to take examinations,
and make enquiry into offences, either weekly, or as occasion required,
and to order such punishment as they thought necessary, always reporting
their proceedings to the chief authority.

It must be noticed, that at this time the civil magistrates in the colony
consisted of the lieutenant-governor and the judge-advocate, who were
justices of the peace by virtue of their respective commissions; the Rev.
Mr. Johnson; Augustus Alt and Richard Atkins*, Esquires, who had been
sworn in as magistrates by authority of the governor.

[* This gentleman had been appointed registrar of the court of
vice-admiralty by Governor Phillip.]

As no inconvenience had ever been experienced in the mode which was
practised of conducting the business of the settlement, the necessity or
cause of these alterations was not directly obvious, and could not be
accounted for from any other motive than that preference which a military
man might be supposed to give to carrying on the service by means of his
own officers, rather than by any other.

On Saturday the 15th the convicts received their provisions according to
the ration that was issued before the governor's departure; but on the
Monday following, the usual day of serving provisions to the civil and
military, a distinction was made, for the first time, in the ration they
received; the commissary being directed to issue to the officers of the
civil and military departments, the soldiers, superintendants, watchmen,
overseers, and settlers from the marines, six pounds of flour, and but
two pounds of rice per man, per week, instead of three pounds of flour,
and five pounds of rice, which was the allowance of the convicts. This
distinction was intended to be discontinued whenever the full ration
could be served.

The stock which had been distributed among the married settlers and
others by Governor Phillip for the purpose of breeding from (as has been
already observed) appeared to have been thrown away upon them when viewed
as a breeding stock for settlers. No sooner had the _Atlantic_ sailed,
than the major part of them were offered for sale; and there was little
doubt (many of their owners making no scruple to publish their
intentions) that had they not been bought by the officers, in a very few
weeks many of them would have been destroyed. By this conduct, as far as
their individual benefit was concerned, they had put it out of their own
power to reap any advantage from the governor's bounty to them; but the
stock by this means was saved, and had fallen into hands that certainly
would not wantonly destroy it. There were a few among the settlers who
exchanged their sheep for goats, deeming them a more profitable stock;
but, in general, spirits were the price required by the more ignorant and
imprudent part of them; and several of their farms, which had been, and
ought to have always been, the peaceful retreats of industry, were for a
time the seats of inebriety and consequent disorder.

About this time there anchored in the cove an American ship, the _Hope_,
commanded by a Mr. Benjamin Page, from Rhode island, with a small cargo
of provisions and spirits for sale. The cause of his putting into this
harbour, the master declared, was for the purpose of procuring wood and
water, of which he stated his ship to be much in want; thus making the
sale of his cargo appear to be but a secondary object with him.

As the colony had not yet seen the day when it could have independently
said, 'We are not in want of provisions; procure your wood and your
water, and go your way,' the lieutenant-governor directed the commissary
to purchase such part of his cargo as the colony stood in need of; and
two hundred barrels of American cured beef, at four pounds per barrel;
eighty barrels of pork, at four pounds ten shillings per barrel;
forty-four barrels of flour, at two pounds per barrel; and seven thousand
five hundred and ninety-seven gallons of (new American) spirits at four
shillings and sixpence per gallon, were purchased; amounting in all to
the sum of L2957 6s 6d.

This ship had touched at the Falkland Islands for the purpose of
collecting skins from the different vessels employed in the seal trade
from the United States of America, with which she was to proceed to the
China market. From the Cape of Good Hope her passage had been performed
in two months and one day. The master said, he found the prevailing winds
were from the NW and described the weather as the most boisterous he had
ever known for such a length of time. By one sea, his caboose was washed
over the side, and one of his people going with it was drowned. He
observed, when about the South-cape of this country, that the weather was
clear; but after passing the latitude of the Maria Islands, he found it
close, hazy, and heated, and had every appearance of thick smoke. About
that time we had the same sort of weather here; and the excessive heats
which at other times have been experienced in the settlements have been
also noticed at sea when at some distance from the land.

By this ship we were not fortunate enough to receive any European news.
The master saw only one English ship at the Cape, the _Chesterfield_
whaler, commanded by a Mr. Alt, who had formerly been a midshipman in his
Majesty's ship _Sirius_, and who went home on board of the _Neptune_

In a few days after the arrival of the _Hope_, the signal was again made
at the South Head, and in a few hours the _Chesterfield_, the ship just
mentioned to us by the American, anchored in the cove. She sailed from
the Cape of Good Hope shortly after Mr. Page; and the master said he
touched at Kerguelan's Land, where, some other ship having very recently
preceded him (which he judged from finding several sea elephants dead on
the beach, and a club which is used in killing them) he remained but a
short time, having very bad weather. He supposed the ship which preceded
him to have been the first which had visited those desolate islands since
Captain Cook had been there, as he found the fragments of the bottle in
which that officer had deposited a memorial of his having examined them.
This was conjecture and might be erroneous, as the mere pieces of the
bottle afforded no proof that it had been recently broken.

Mr. Alt spoke of meeting with very bad weather, and of his ship having
thereby suffered such injury, that he was compelled on the representation
of his people to put in here for the purpose of getting repairs. Indeed
her appearance very amply justified their representations; and it was a
wonder how she had swam so far, for her complaints must have been of very
long standing.

To expedite the building of the new barracks, which formed the most
material labour at Sydney, two overseers and forty men were sent down
from Parramatta. One barrack being now completed, towards the latter end
of the month it was occupied by Captain George Johnston, a party-wall
having been thrown down adapting the building to the accommodation of one
instead of two officers.

On the last day of the month, two warrants of emancipation passed the
seal of the territory, together with a grant of twenty-five acres of land
to Ensign Cummings of the New South Wales corps. In the instructions for
granting lands in this country, no mention of officers had yet been made;
it was however fairly presumed that the officers could not be intended to
be precluded from the participation of any advantages which the crown
might have to bestow in the settlements; particularly as the greatest in
its gift, the free possession of land, was held out to people who had
forfeited their lives before they came into the country.

Among the regulations which took place at Sydney, must be noticed the
dispensing with the officer's guard which had always mounted there; and
the changing the hours of labour. The convicts now had more time given to
them, for the purpose not only of avoiding the heat of the day, but of
making themselves comfortable at home. They were directed to work from
five in the morning until nine; rest until four in the afternoon, and
then labour until sun-set.

The _Kitty_, having delivered her cargo, began to prepare for taking some
stores and provisions and a detachment of the New South Wales corps to
Norfolk Island.

The weather during this month was very hot. The 5th was a day most
excessively sultry. The wind blew strong from the northward of west; the
country, to add to the intense heat of the atmosphere, was everywhere on
fire. At Sydney, the grass at the back of the hill on the west side of
the cove, having either caught or been set on fire by the natives, the
flames, aided by the wind which at that time blew violently, spread and
raged with incredible fury. One house was burnt down, several gardens
with their fences were destroyed; and the whole face of the hill was on
fire, threatening every thatched hut with destruction. The conflagration
was with much difficulty (notwithstanding the exertions of the military)
got under, after some time, and prevented from doing any further
mischief. At different times during this uncomfortable day distant
thunder was heard, the air darkened, and some few large drops of rain
fell. The apparent danger from the fires drew all persons out of their
houses; and on going into the parching air, it was scarcely possible to
breathe; the heat was insupportable; vegetation seemed to suffer much,
the leaves of many culinary plants being reduced to a powder. The
thermometer in the shade rose above one hundred degrees. Some rain
falling toward evening, the excessive heat abated.

At Parramatta and Toongabbie also the heat was extreme; the country there
too was every where in flames. Mr. Arndell was a great sufferer by it. The
fire had spread to his farm; but by the efforts of his own people and the
neighbouring settlers it was got under, and its progress supposed to be
effectually checked, when an unlucky spark from a tree, which had been on
fire to the topmost branch, flying upon the thatch of the hut where his
people lived, it blazed out; the hut with all the out-buildings, and
thirty bushels of wheat just got into a stack, were in a few minutes
destroyed. The erecting of the hut and out-houses had cost L15 a short
time before.

The day preceding that of the excessive heat, James Castles, an
industrious and thriving settler at Prospect Hill, had his hut
accidentally burnt down, with all his comforts, and three bushels of
wheat which he had just reaped. The governor ordered his hut to be
rebuilt, and every assistance given which the stores afforded to repair
his loss.

There died between the 1st of January and 31st of December 1792, two of
the civil department, six soldiers, four hundred and eighteen male
convicts, eighteen female convicts, and twenty-nine children; one male
convict was executed; and three male convicts were lost in the woods;
making a decrease by death of four hundred and eighty-two persons.

The following were the prices of stock, grain, and other articles, as
they were sold at Sydney, and at Parramatta, at the close of the year:


Maize per lb. 3d
Rice per lb 3d
Peas or dholl from 11/2d to 2d per lb.
Flour 9d per lb.
Potatoes 3d per lb.
Sheep L10 10s each.
Milch goats from L8 8s to L10 10s
Kids from L2 10s to L4
Breeding sows from L6 6s to L7 7s and L10 10s
Young ditto from L3 to L4
Laying hens 10s
Full grown fowls from 5s to 7s 6d
Chickens 1s 6d
Fresh pork per lb 1s
Prime salt pork from 6d to 8d
Salt beef 4d
Eggs per dozen from 2s to 3s
Moist sugar per lb 1s 6d
Tea from 8s to 16s
Soap 1s
Butter from 1s 6d to 2s
Cheese from 1s 6d to 2s
Hams from 1s 6d to 2s
Bacon from 1s 6d to 2s


Maize per lb. 3d
Rice per lb. 3d
Peas or dholl 2d per lb.
Flour 6d per lb
Potatoes 2d per lb
Sheep L10 10s each
Milch goats from L5 5s to L10
Breeding sows from L6 6s to L10 10s
Pigs of a month old 12s
Laying hens from 7s to 10s
Full grown fowls from 7s to 10s
Chickens 1s 6d
Fresh pork per lb 1s
Prime salt pork 6d
Salt beef 4d
Eggs per dozen 2s
Moist sugar per lb 1s 6d
Tea from 6s to 16s
Soap 1s
Coffee 2s
Tobacco, American Brazil, 4s
Tobacco of the colony 2s

The price of fish and vegetables varied from day to day; spirits in
exchange were estimated at from twelve to twenty shillings per gallon;
porter was sold from nine to ten pounds per hogshead, or from one
shilling to one shilling and three pence per quart.

It did not appear that the settlers had brought any new wheat or other
grain to market.


Order respecting spirits
Seamen punished
Convicts enlisted into the new corps
Regulations respecting Divine Service
The _Hope_ sails
The _Bellona_ arrives
Cargo damaged
Two women and a child drowned
The _Kitty_ sails for Norfolk Island
An Officer sent up to inspect the cultivation at Parramatta
A theft committed
Kangaroo Ground opened
Liberty Plains
_Bellona_ sails
The _Shah Hormuzear_ from Calcutta arrives
Information received by her
The dholl expended
Sickness and death occasioned by the American spirits
The _Chesterfield_ sent to Norfolk Island
Convicts sell their clothing
Two Spanish ships arrive
A Criminal Court
The _Kitty_ returns from Norfolk Island
Fraud at the store at Parramatta


January.] The lieutenant-governor having directed the commissary to
dispose of the spirits purchased from the American to the military and
civil officers of the colony, in which were included the superintendants,
and some others in that line, it was found that it had been purchased by
many individuals of the latter description with the particular view of
retailing it among the convicts. He therefore found it necessary to
declare in public orders, 'That it was his intention to make frequent
inquiries on the subject; and it might be relied upon, that if it ever
appeared that a convict was possessed of any of the liquor so supplied by
the commissary, the conduct of those who had thought proper to abuse what
was designed as an accommodation to the officers of the garrison, would
not be passed over unnoticed.'

Some such order had indeed become very necessary; for the American spirit
had by some means or other found its way among the convicts; and, a
discreet use of it being wholly out of the question with those people,
intoxication was become common among them. The free use of spirits had
been hitherto most rigidly prohibited in the colony; that is to say, it
was absolutely forbidden to the convicts. It might therefore have been
expected, that when that restraint was in ever so small a degree removed,
they would break out into acts of disorder and contempt of former
prohibitions. It was therefore indispensable to the preservation of peace
and good order in the settlement, to prevent, if possible, the existence
of so great an evil as drunkenness; which, if suffered, would have been
the parent of every irregularity. The fondness expressed by these people
for even this pernicious American spirit was incredible; they hesitated
not to go any lengths to procure it, and preferred receiving liquor for
labour, to every other article of provisions or clothing that could be
offered them.

The master of the _Kitty_ having represented to the lieutenant-governor
that the conduct of his ship's company was at times so irregular and
mutinous (some of them refusing to do their duty, going on shore and
taking boats from the ship without permission) that he found it
impossible to carry on the business of the ship, unless he could receive
some assistance from the civil authority, the lieutenant-governor
directed one, of whom the master particularly complained, Benjamin
Williams, to receive one hundred lashes, and another, Adams, to receive
twenty-five lashes. This in some measure checked the spirit of
disobedience in the ship, and the duty was carried on better than before.
Her preparations for Norfolk Island however went on but slowly, four or
five of her hands having left her. These, together with some other seamen
who had been left behind from the _Royal Admiral_, were either employed
in the public boats belonging to the colony, or had entered into the New
South Wales corps; into which corps also several convicts of good
character had been lately received, to complete the company that had been
formed from the marines under the command of Captain Johnston. This
company was a valuable addition, being composed of many excellent
soldiers from the marines; who entered into it voluntarily, and whose
conduct had met the entire approbation of their officers.

On the departure of the governor, the house that he had lived in was
taken possession of by the oldest captain of the corps, his apartments in
the officers quarters being confined, and tumbling to pieces.

Divine service was now performed at six o'clock in the morning. For want
of a building dedicated to that purpose, many inconveniences were
suffered, as well by the clergyman as by those who attended him. The
lieutenant-governor therefore did not require the ceremony to be performed
more than once a day; and that the health of the convicts might not be
injured from the heat of the sun, which at this season of the year was
excessive, he directed the church call to be beat at a quarter before six
in the morning. The overseers were enjoined to be particularly careful to
collect as many of their gangs to attend Mr. Johnson as could
conveniently be brought together; for, although it was not wished that
the huts should be left without proper persons to look after them, it was
nevertheless expected, that no idle excuses should keep the convicts from
attending divine service.

On the 10th the _Hope_ sailed for Canton, the master having been allowed
to ship three convicts, whose sentences of transportation had expired;
viz Murphy, a sail-maker; Sheppard, a joiner; and Bateman, a lad who had
been employed as an attendant on an officer.

At six o'clock in the evening of Tuesday the 15th, the signal which
always gave satisfaction in the colony was made at the South Head;
several boats went down, but when night closed it was only known that a
ship was off. A large fire for the information of the stranger was made
at the South Head; and at about ten o'clock the following morning, the
_Bellona_ transport, Mr. Mathew Boyd commander, anchored in the cove from
England; from which place she sailed on the 8th day of August last,
having on board a cargo of stores and provisions for the colony;
seventeen female convicts; five settlers, and their families; Thorpe, a
person engaged as a master millwright at a salary of L100 per annum; and
Walter Broady, who returned to New South Wales to be employed in his
former capacity of master blacksmith. The quaker families which had been
expected for some time past had engaged to take their passage in the
_Bellona_; but it was said, that they had been diverted from their
purpose by some misrepresentations which had been made to them respecting
this country.

Among other articles now received were five pipes of port wine and a
quantity of rum, which were consigned to the governor for the purpose of
being sold to the officers of the civil and military establishments at
prime cost; and three thousand pounds of tobacco for the use of the
soldiers of the garrison and others.

The shameful impositions which had been practised by many who had brought
out articles for sale in the colony, and the advantage which had been
taken in too many instances of our necessities, had been properly stated
at home, and this measure had been adopted by Government for our
accommodation. The wine was immediately distributed; coming to the
officer, after every expense of wharfage, etc. at L19 10s per hogshead,
and the rum at five shillings per gallon. The tobacco was likely to
remain for some time undisposed of, as a quantity had been lately brought
into the settlement, and was selling at a lower price than could be taken
for that imported by this ship; and tobacco formed a material article of
the different investments in the _Britannia_.

With great pleasure we also found that Government, in consequence of the
representations of Governor Phillip, had directed a strong substantial
Russia duck to be substituted for the slight unserviceable Osnaburgs with
which the convicts had been hitherto supplied.

We learned by the _Bellona_, that his Majesty's ship _Gorgon_ arrived at
Spithead on the 19th of June last. In her passage, which she made by Cape
Horn, on the 18th of February last, being in the latitude of 51 degrees
30 minutes S and longitude 34 degrees 07 minutes W variation 13 degrees
37 minutes E she fell in with twenty-nine islands of ice. When the ship
reached within three or four miles of the first of these islands, they
observed one compact body, without the smallest appearance of any opening,
bearing from NNE to WNW and which with some difficulty, being embayed*,
they were enabled to clear, by hauling the ship from N to WSW. This was
done at ten in the forenoon; they did not reach the extreme western point
of the ice until five in the evening; and from the rate at which the ship
sailed, from her coming up with the first island of ice, until she cleared
the north-west point of the field abovementioned, it was computed that she
had run full twenty leagues.

[* When near this great body of ice, the thermometer was as low as
thirty-six degrees; and it rose from that point, as she drew off, to forty

It must be remarked, that the _Sirius_, in the month of December 1788,
saw several islands of ice in nearly the same latitude and longitude.

At the Cape of Good Hope Captain Parker had met with Captain Edwards of
the _Pandora_, who delivered to him Mary Braud, the widow of Bryant, who
escaped to Timor in the fishing cutter, with one of the children, and
only four of the male convicts who accompanied Bryant in his flight.
Bryant died at Batavia, with the other child, and two of his companions;
one of them, James Cox, was said to be drowned in the Straits of Sunda.
On their arrival in England the story of their sufferings in the boat
excited much compassion; and, before the _Bellona_ sailed, they had been
brought up to the bar of the Old Bailey, and ordered by the court to
remain in Newgate until the period of their original sentence of
transportation should expire, there to finish their unsuccessful attempts
to regain their liberty.

While the cargo of the _Bellona_ was landing much of it was found to be
damaged; the ship had been overloaded, and had met with very boisterous
weather on her passage. This practice of crowding too much into one ship
had in many instances been very prejudicial to the colony; in the present
instance, of the Russia duck, which was excellent in its kind, and which
had cost the sum of L6636 0s 9d; sixty-eight bales, containing thirteen
thousand one hundred and forty-eight yards, were damaged; sixty-nine casks
of flour also were found to be much injured. Of seventy-six hogsheads of
molasses, eleven hundred and seventy-two gallons were found to have leaked
out; one cask of pork was stinking and rotten; seventy-nine gallons of
rum, and one hundred and ninety-eight gallons of wine, were deficient,
owing to improper stowage; three hundred and thirty-five hammocks,
thirteen rugs, five hundred and twenty-seven yards of brown cloths, and
one case of stationary, were rendered totally unfit for use. Of the
articles thus found to be unserviceable to the colony, there was not one
which in its proper state would not have been valuable; and when the
expense attending their conveyance, the risk of the passage, the
inconvenience that must be felt from the want of every damaged article,
and the impossibility of getting them replaced for a great length of
time, were considered, it was difficult to ascertain their precise value.

Among the occurrences of this month one appears to deserve particular
notice. On Friday the 18th, Eleanor McCave, the wife of Charles Williams,
the settler, was drowned, together with an infant child, and a woman of
the name of Green. These unfortunate people had been drinking and
revelling with Williams the husband and others at Sydney, and were
proceeding to Parramatta in a small boat, in which was a bag of rice
belonging to Green. The boat heeling considerably, and some water getting
at the bag, by a movement of Green's to save her rice the boat overset
near Breakfast Point, and the two women and the child were drowned. If
assistance could have been obtained upon the spot, the child might have
been saved; for it was forced from the wretched mother's grasp just
before she finally sunk, and brought on shore by the father; but for want
of medical aid it expired. The parents of this child were noted in the
colony for the general immorality of their conduct; they had been rioting
and fighting with each other the moment before they got into the boat;
and it was said, that the woman had imprecated every evil to befal her
and the infant she carried about her (for she was six months gone with
child) if she accompanied her husband to Parramatta. The bodies of these
two unfortunate women were found a few days afterwards, when the wretched
and rascally Williams buried his wife and child within a very few feet of
his own door. The profligacy of this man indeed manifested itself in a
strange manner: a short time after he had thus buried his wife, he was
seen sitting at his door, with a bottle of rum in his hand, and actually
drinking one glass and pouring another on her grave until it was emptied,
prefacing every libation by declaring how well she had loved it during
her life. He appeared to be in a state not far from insanity, as this
anecdote certainly testifies; but the melancholy event had not had any
other effect upon his mind.

The _Kitty_ transport being ready for sea, on Sunday the 20th two
subalterns, three sergeants, three corporals, one drummer, and sixty
privates, of the New South Wales corps, were embarked, for the purpose of
relieving the detachment from that corps now on duty at Norfolk Island
under the command of a captain, who received orders to return to this

On board of this ship were also embarked, Mr. Clarke, the deputy-commissary
for Norfolk Island; Mr. Peate, the master carpenter, who came out in the
_Royal Admiral_; two coopers; two tailors; two officers' servants; John
Chapman Morris, Benjamin Ingram (pursuant to the conditional pardon which
he received from Governor Phillip), and a few women: and on the 25th
she sailed.

On Saturday the 26th, the rice being expended, the convicts received
three pounds of flour, and the civil and military one pound of flour in
addition to the former allowance.

In the course of this month the lieutenant-governor judged it necessary
to send an officer to Parramatta, whom he could entrust with the
direction of the convicts employed there and at Toongabbie in
cultivation, as well as to take charge of the public grain. This business
had always been executed by one of the superintendants, under the
immediate inspection and orders of the governor, who latterly had
dedicated the greatest part of his time and attention to these
settlements. But it was attended with infinite fatigue to his excellency;
and the business had now grown so extensive, that it became absolutely
necessary that the person who might have the regulation of it should
reside upon the spot, that he might personally enforce the execution of
his orders, and be at all times ready to attend to the various
applications which were constantly making from settlers.

The lieutenant-governor, therefore (his presence being required at
Sydney, the head-quarters of his regiment, and the seat of the government
of the country) deputed this trust to Lieutenant John Macarthur, of the
New South Wales corps; the superintendants, storekeepers, overseers, and
convicts at the two settlements, being placed under his immediate

Charles Gray, a man who had rendered himself notorious in the registers
of this colony by repeated acts of villainy, exhibited himself again to
public view at the close of this month, and at a time when every one
thought him a reclaimed man. He had been sent to Norfolk Island as a
place where he would have fewer opportunities of exercising his predatory
abilities than at Sydney; but the law having spent its force against him,
he returned to this settlement as a free man in September last. On his
declaring that he was able to provide for himself, he was allowed to work
for his own support, and for some time past he had cut wood and drawn
water for a drummer in the New South Wales corps, a man who, by much
self-denial and economy, had got together and laid up thirty-three
guineas, for the prudent and laudable purpose of hereafter apprenticing
his children; but having unfortunately and most indiscreetly suffered
this man to know, not only that he had such a sum, but where he kept it,
Gray availed himself of a convenient opportunity, and carried off the
whole sum, together with a shirt which lay in his way. On being taken up
(for suspicion was directly fixed on him) he readily acknowledged the
theft, and either was, or pretended to be, very much in liquor. On being
urged to restore the property, he sent the watchmen to search for it in
different places, but without directing them to the spot where he had
concealed it. At last he was taken out himself, when accidentally meeting
the lieutenant-governor he threw himself on the ground, pretending to be
in a fit; on which he was directly ordered to be tied up and punished
with one hundred lashes. After this he would not make any discovery, and
was sent to the hospital. The drummer who had suffered so materially by
this wretch, although the object of pity, yet, knowing as he must have
done the character of the man, was certainly entitled to no small degree
of blame for trusting with a secret of such importance to his family a
man who he must have known could not have withstood so great a temptation.

The lieutenant-governor proposing to open and cultivate the ground
commonly known by the name of the Kangaroo Ground, situate to the
westward of the town of Sydney between that settlement and Parramatta, a
gang of convicts was sent from the latter place for that purpose. The
soil here was much better for agriculture than that immediately adjoining
to the town of Sydney, and the ground lay well for cultivation; but it
had hitherto been neglected, from its being deficient in the very
essential requisite of water; on which account Parramatta had been
preferred to it. The eligibility of cultivating it was however now going
to be tried; and, permission having been received by the _Bellona_ to
grant lands to those officers who might desire it, provided the
situations of the allotments were such as might be advantageous to _bona
fide_ settlers hereafter, if they ever should fall into such hands,
several officers chose this as the spot which they would cultivate, and
allotments of one hundred acres each were marked out for the clergyman
(who, to obtain a grant here, relinquished his right to cultivate the
land allotted for the maintenance of a minister), for the principal
surgeon, and for two officers of the corps.

February.] The settlers who came out in the _Bellona_ having fixed on a
situation at the upper part of the harbour above the Flats, and on the
south side, their different allotments were surveyed and marked out; and
early in this month they took possession of their grounds. Being all free
people, one convict excepted, who was allowed to settle with them, they
gave the appellation of '_Liberty Plains_' to the district in which their
farms were situated. The most respectable of these people, and apparently
the best calculated for a _bona fide_ settler, was Thomas Rose, a farmer
from Dorsetshire, who came out with his family, consisting of his wife
and four children. An allotment of one hundred and twenty acres was
marked out for him. With him came also Frederic Meredith, who formerly
belonged to the _Sirius_, Thomas Webb, who also belonged to the _Sirius_,
with his nephew, and Edward Powell, who had formerly been here in the
_Lady Juliana_ transport. Powell having since his arrival married a free
woman, who came out with the farmer's family, and Webb having brought a
wife with him, had allotments of eighty acres marked out for each; the
others had sixty each. The conditions under which they engaged to settle
were, 'To have their passages provided by government*; an assortment of
tools and implements to be furnished them out of the public stores; to be
supplied with two years' provisions; their lands to be granted free of
expense; the service of convicts also to be assigned them free of
expense; and those convicts whose services might be assigned them to be
supplied with two years' rations and one year's clothing.' The convict
who settled with them (Walter Rouse, an industrious quiet man) came out
in the first fleet, and being a bricklayer by trade they thought he might
be of some service to them in constructing their huts. He had an
allotment of thirty acres marked out for him.

[* Government paid for each person above ten years of age the sum of
eight pounds eight shillings; and allowed one shilling _per diem_ for
victualling them; and sixpence _per diem_ for every one under that age.]

Many more officers availed themselves of the assent given by government
to their occupying land, and fixed, some at Parramatta and others in
different parts of the harbour, where they thought the ground most likely
to turn out to their convenience and advantage. They began their
settlements in high spirits; the necessary tools and implements of
husbandry were furnished to them from the stores; and they were allowed
each the use of ten convicts. From their exertions the lieutenant-governor
was sanguine in his hopes of being enabled to increase considerably the
cultivation of the country; they appeared indeed to enter vigorously into
these views, and not being restrained from paying for labour with spirits,
they got a great deal of work done at their several farms (on those days
when the convicts did not work for the public) by hiring the different
gangs; the great labour of burning the timber after it was cut down
requiring some such extra aid.

On the 5th of the month the _Bellona_ was discharged from government
employ. Twenty-one days were allowed for the delivery of her cargo; but,
by taking off the people from the brick carts, and from some other works,
she was cleared within the time. This ship was of four hundred and
fifty-four tons burden, and was paid by government at the rate of four
pounds four shillings per ton per month. A clause was inserted in the
charter-party, forbidding the master to receive any person from the
colony, without the express consent and order of the governor. The
governor was also empowered to take her up for the purposes of the colony
should he want her; but as the _Daedalus_ was expected, and the _Kitty_
was already here, both in the service of government, it was not necessary
to detain her, and she sailed on the 19th for Canton.

The master having been permitted to receive on board two convicts (the
number he requested) whose terms of transportation had expired, consented
to his ship being smoked, when four people were found secreted on board,
two of whom had not yet served the full periods of their sentences.

To prevent this ship's coming on demurrage while her cargo was
delivering, the convicts worked in their own hours, as well as those
allotted to the public, under a promise of having the extra time allowed
them at a future day. While this labour was in hand, the building of the
barracks stood still for want of materials; it therefore became
necessary, when the brick carts could again be manned, to lose no time in
bringing in a sufficient number of bricks to employ the bricklayers. This
having performed, they claimed their extra time, which now amounted to
sixteen days. As it would have proved very inconvenient to have allowed
them to remain unemployed for that number of days, the lieutenant-governor
directed the commissary to issue to each person so employed half a pint
of spirits _per diem_ for sixteen days. Liquor given to them in this way
operated as a benefit and a comfort to them: it was the intemperate use
of spirits, procured at the expense of their clothing or their provisions,
which was to be guarded against, and which operated as a serious evil.

For want of sufficient store-room, it was found necessary to stow a great
part of the wet provisions and flour arrived by the _Bellona_ in tiers
before the provision-store. Care was taken to shelter them from the sun
and from the weather; and when the pile was completed, it was, until the
eye was accustomed to the sight, an object of novelty and wonder; it
never having occurred to us since we first built a store, to have more
provisions than our stores could contain.

Gray, who had recovered from his last punishment, being now again urged
to discover what he had done with the drummer's money, trifled until he
was again punished, and then declared he had buried it in the man's
garden; but being taken to the spot he could not find it, and in fact did
not seem to know where to look for it. It was supposed, that, being in
liquor when he committed the robbery, he was ignorant how he had disposed
of the property, or that it had fallen into the hands of some person too
dishonest to give it to the right owner. He was afterwards sent to the
hospital, whence he made his escape into the woods.

On the evening of Sunday the 24th the signal was made at the South Head,
a short time before dark, but too late to be observed at the settlement;
at nine o'clock, however, information was received by the boat belonging
to the South Head, that a ship from Calcutta was at anchor in the lower
part of the harbour. In the morning she worked up, and anchored just
without the cove. She proved to be the _Shah Hormuzear_, of about four
hundred tons burden, commanded by Mr. Matthew Wright Bampton, from
Calcutta, who had embarked some property on a private speculation for
this country. Mr. Bampton, in September last, had sailed from Bombay,
with a cargo of provisions and stock for this settlement; but when near
the Line, his ship springing a leak, he was obliged to return, and got to
Bengal, where, with the sanction of Lord Cornwallis, he took on board a
fresh cargo for the colony. At Bengal he had met with Captain Manning,
who sailed from hence in the _Pitt_ in April last, and who mentioned to
him such articles as he thought were most wanted in these settlements.

Mr. Bampton had on board when he sailed, one bull, twenty-four cows, two
hundred and twenty sheep, one hundred and thirty goats, five horses, and
six asses; together with a quantity of beef, flour, rice, wheat, gram,
paddy, and sugar; a few pipes of wine, some flat iron, and copper
sufficient for the sloop's bottom which had been received in frame by the
_Pitt_, and which Captain Manning remembered to have been sent out
without that necessary article; a large quantity of spirits, and some
canvas. In the article of stock, however, Mr. Bampton had been very
unfortunate. His cattle died; of the sheep more than half perished; one
horse and three asses died; and very few of the goats survived the
voyage, a voyage by no means a long one, having been performed in eight
weeks wanting three days, and in good weather. This mortality evidently
did not proceed from any want of proper care, but was to be ascribed to
their having been embarked immediately on being taken from the fields,
and consequently wanting that stamina which a sea-voyage required.

The cattle that survived was purchased by the different officers of the
colony, while the other part of the cargo, the spirits and canvas
excepted, were taken by government. The amount of the whole purchased by
government was L9603 5s 6d; for although a supply of provisions had been
lately received from England, it was but a small one, and we were not yet
in possession of that plenty which would have warranted our rejecting a
cargo of provisions, particularly when brought on speculation. The hour
of distress might again arrive, and occasions might occur that would
excite a wish, perhaps in vain, for a cargo of provisions from Bengal. In
addition to these reasons, it must be remarked, that the different
articles which were purchased were of the best quality, and offered on
reasonable terms.

By this ship we received information, that the _Queen_ transport had
arrived safe at Bombay; but it was much feared that the _Admiral
Barrington_, which sailed in company with the _Queen_ from this place on
the 6th of January 1792, was lost, as no accounts had been received of
her at any port in India, a considerable time after her arrival at Bombay
from Batavia might reasonably have been expected. There arrived in the
_Chesterfield_ a person who had been a convict in this country, but who
had been allowed to take his passage on board the _Admiral Barrington_.
This man quitted the _Admiral Barrington_ at Batavia, and got to the Cape
in a Dutch ship, where meeting with Mr. Alt, he embarked with him, and by
the accident which brought the _Chesterfield_ hither returned to this
colony. On his arrival here, he circulated a report, that several of the
convicts who had got on board of these two ships had been landed by order
of the masters at an island which they met with in their passage to
Batavia, inhabited indeed, but by savages; and that those who remained
experienced such inhuman treatment, that they were glad to run away from
them at the first port where any civilised people were to be found. He
was himself among this number, and now declared that he was ready to make
oath to the truth of his relation if it should be required. If there was
any truth in his account, and the masters of these ships did actually
turn any people on shore in the manner already described, it was more
than probable that an act of such apparent cruelty had been occasioned by
some attempt of the convicts to take the ships from them; and the numbers
which were supposed to have been on board (seventeen) rather justified
the supposition. Captain Manning, of the _Pitt_, who had taken from this
settlement twenty men and nine women, found them so useless and
troublesome, that he was very glad to leave the greatest part of them at
Batavia*, and now declared that he regretted ever having received them on
board. When these circumstances should be made public, it was thought
that the masters of ships would not be so desirous of recruiting their
ships' companies from among the inhabitants of this colony.

[* At that grave of Europeans the _Pitt_ lost eighteen of her people.]

The grain called dholl, which had been issued as part of the ration at
the rate of three pints per man per week since the arrival of the
_Atlantic_, was discontinued on the 25th, the whole of that article
having been served out. It had been found useful for stock.

At Toongabbie the workmen were now employed in constructing a barn and
granary upon a very extensive scale.

Among the females who died this month was one, a stout healthy young
woman, of the name of Martha Todd, who came out in the _Mary Ann_, and
fell a victim to a dysenteric complaint, which seized her after drinking
too freely of the pernicious spirits which had been lately introduced
into the colony. The same fate attended James Hatfield, a man who had
been looked upon as a sober good character. He was on the point of
obtaining a grant of land, and came from Parramatta to Sydney for the
purpose of speaking about his allotment, when, unfortunately, he met with
some of his friends, and partaking intemperately of the American rum, he
was seized with a dysentery, which carried him off in a few days. In this
way many others were affected after drinking, through want of a
sufficient stamina to overcome the effect of the spirit.

March.] The repairs of the _Chesterfield_ having been completed, she was
on the point of proceeding to sea, when the lieutenant-governor proposed
to the master for the sum of L120 to take on board a freight of
provisions for Norfolk Island; which he consenting to, she was hauled
alongside the ship from Bengal, and a certain proportion of grain was put
into her; after which, such salt provisions and stores as were intended
to be conveyed by her were sent from the colony, and on the 10th she
sailed for Norfolk Island.

In lieu of the three pints of dholl, which were now discontinued, an
additional pound of flour was served; the civil and military receiving
eight pounds, and the convicts seven pounds of flour per week, from the
9th; and in order to make a little room in the store, and that the
officers might be accommodated with a better kind of flour, they were
permitted to receive from the commissary two casks of American flour
each, which were to be deducted from their ration.

The ship from Bengal, which was manned with Lascars, had no sooner hauled
into the cove, and opened a communication with the shore, than a practice
commenced among the convicts of disposing of the slops and blankets which
they had lately received to the Lascars, who, trembling with the cold
even of this climate, very readily availed themselves of their propensity
to part with them; which was so great, that it became necessary to punish
with severity such offenders as were detected.

On Tuesday the 12th the signal was made at the South Head, and by the
noon of the following day two Spanish ships anchored in the lower part of
the harbour. An officer from one of them arriving at the settlement, we
learned that they were the two ships of whose expected arrival
information had been received from government in the year 1790; and to
whom it was recommended that every attention should be paid. They were
named the _Descuvierta_ and _Atrevida_ (the _Discovery_ and the
_Intrepid_); the former commanded by Don Alexandro Malaspina, with a
broad pendant as the commander of the expedition, and the latter by Don
Jose de Bustamante y Guerra. They had been three years and a half from
Europe on a voyage of discovery and information; and were now arrived
from Manilla, after a passage of ninety-six days; touching in their way
hither at Dusky Bay in New Zealand, from which they had sailed about a

On their coming up, they anchored just abreast of the two points which
form Sydney Cove, declining saluting, as it was not in our power to
return it. These ships were of three hundred and five tons burden each,
and were built for the particular voyage on which they were sent. Great
care was observable in their construction, both as to the strength of the
vessels and the accommodation of the officers and the equipage. They were
well manned, and had, beside the officers customary in king's ships, a
botanist and limner on board each vessel.

They had visited all the Spanish possessions in South America and other
parts of the world, ascertaining with precision their boundaries and
situations; gaining much information respecting their customs and
manners, their importance with regard to the mother country, their
various productions commercial, agricultural, botanical, and mineral. For
all which purposes the officers on board appeared to have been selected
with the happiest success. They most forcibly reminded us of the
unfortunate Count de la Perouse and his followers, of whom these
gentlemen had only heard that they were no more; and for whose destiny
they expressed a feeling arising from their having traversed the ocean in
the same pursuit, and followed in the same path. Equally sincere and
polite as Count de la Perouse, the Spanish commodore paid a tribute to
the abilities and memory of our circumnavigator Cook, in whose steps the
Chevalier Malaspina, who was an Italian marquis and a knight of Malta,
declared it was a pleasure to follow, as it left him nothing to attend
to, but to remark the accuracy of his observations. They lost at the
island of Luconia Don Antonio Pineda, a colonel of the Spanish guards,
who was charged with that department of the expedition which respected
the natural history of the places they visited. They spoke of him in high
terms as a man of science and a gentleman, and favoured us with an
engraving of the monument which they had caused to be erected over his
grave at the place where he died; and from which the following
inscription was copied:

Tribuno . Militum .
Virtute . In . Patriam . Bello . Armisque . Insigni .
Naturae . Demum . Indefesso . Scrutatori .
Trienni . Arduo . Itinere . Orbis . Extrema . Adiit .
Telluris . Viscera . Pelagi . Abyssos . Andiumque . Cacumina. Lustrans .
Vitae . Simul . Et . Laborum . Gravium .
Diem . Supremum . Obiit . In . Luconia . Phillipicarum .
VI Calendas . Julii . M.D.C.C.X.C.II.
Prematuram . Optimi . Mortem .
Luget . Patria . Luget . Fauna . Lugent . Amici .
Qui . Hocce . Posuere . Monumenturn .

The monument was designed by Don Fernando Brambila, the landscape-painter
on board the _Atrevida_; and the inscription did credit to the classical
knowledge of Senor Don Fadeo Heencke, the botanist on board the

Having requested permission to erect an observatory, they chose the point
of the cove on which a small brick hut had been built for Bennillong by
Governor Phillip, making use of the hut to secure their instruments. They
did not profess to be in want of much assistance; but such as they did
require was directed to be furnished them without any expense; it was
indeed too inconsiderable to become an object of charge.

The arrival of these strangers, together with that of the ship from
Bengal, gave a pleasant diversity to the dull routine that commonly
prevailed in the town of Sydney; everyone striving to make their abode
among us as cheerful as possible, and to convince them, that though
severed from the mother country, and residing in woods and among savages,
we had not forgotten the hospitalities due to a stranger.

The commission of offences was now so frequent, that it had become
necessary to assemble the criminal court during this month; and William
Ashford, a lad who had been drummed out of the New South Wales corps, was
tried for stealing several articles of wearing apparel from some of the
convicts; of which being convicted, he was sentenced to receive three
hundred lashes.

On the 21st the _Kitty_ returned from Norfolk Island, having on board
Captain Paterson and his company of the new corps, together with a number
of free people and convicts; amounting in all to one hundred and
seventy-two persons; Governor King having been desired to get rid of any
such characters as might be dangerous or troublesome to him.

Mr. King wrote very favourably of the state of the settlements, under his
command. The crops of wheat and maize had produced so abundantly, as to
insure him a sufficiency of that article for the next twelve months. The
inhabitants were healthy; and such had been the effects of some wholesome
regulations, and the attention of the magistrates to enforce them, that
for the last three months not any offence deserving of punishment had
been committed, nor a cob of corn purloined either of private or public

At the departure of the _Kitty_, he was busied in erecting some necessary
buildings, as barracks, a granary, storehouses, etc. and had completed a
very excellent house for his own use. Lime-stone having been found in
great abundance on Norfolk Island, enabled him to build with some extent
and security than had hitherto been done even in New South Wales. Several
casks of this useful article were now imported in the _Kitty_, with a
quantity of plank.

Captain Johnston's company in the new corps received some addition by
this ship. Eight of the marine settlers, whose grounds, on extending the
lines of their allotments, were found to intersect each other, and who
had declined such accommodation as Governor King thought it proper to
offer them, had resigned their farms, and preferred returning to their
former profession.

Toward the latter end of the month information was received of some
nefarious practices which had been carrying on at the store at
Parramatta; the sum of which was, that the two convicts who had been
employed in issuing the provisions under the storekeeper had been for
some time in the habit of serving out on each issuing-day an extra
allowance of provisions to one, or occasionally to two messes. The messes
consisted of six people, and one of these six (taking any mess he chose)
used to be previously informed by one or other of the convicts who served
the provisions, that an extra allowance for the whole mess would be
served to him, which he was to receive and convey away, taking care to
return the allowance to them at night, then to be divided into three
shares. To accomplish this fraud, an opportunity was to be taken of the
storekeeper's absence, which might happen during the course of a long
serving, and for which they took care to watch. On his return the mess
for which one allowance had just been served was publicly called, and the
whole served a second time. With this practice they had trusted nine or
ten different people; and the wife of one man, who had assisted in the
crime, in a fit of drunkenness confessed the whole.

On examination before the judge-advocate it appeared, in addition to the
above circumstances, that this scheme had been carried on for about two
months past; but there was little doubt of its having existed much

It was no difficult matter to discover the persons who had assisted in
this practice; and on their being taken up several confessed the share
that they and others had had in it: upon which the lieutenant-governor
ordered them all to be severely punished.

In the _Kitty_ arrived one of the superintendants who had at Norfolk
Island been employed in manufacturing the flax plant; but which, for want
of some necessary tools, he could not bring to much perfection. These had
been written for to England, and he came hither to be employed at these
settlements till they should arrive. He was now sent up to Toongabbie, to
superintend the delivery of provisions at that place.

Notwithstanding the orders which had been given respecting spirits being
in the possession of the convicts, on a search made in some suspected
houses, fourteen or fifteen gallons were found in one night; and, being
seized by the watchmen and the guard, were divided among them as a
stimulus to future vigilance. The evil effect of this spirit was
perceptible in the number of prisoners which were to be found every
morning in the watch-house; for, when intoxicated, it could not be
expected that people of this description would be very careful to avoid
breaking the peace.


The Spanish ships sail
The _Chesterfield_ returns from Norfolk Island
A contract entered into for bringing cattle from India to this country
Provisions embarked on board the Bengal ship for Norfolk Island
The _Daedalus_ arrives
Cattle lost
Discoveries by Captain Vancouver
Two natives of New Zealand brought in
Bengal ship sails
Phenomenon in the sky
The hours of labour and ration altered
Lead stolen
Detachment at Parramatta relieved
Accident at that settlement
Lands cleared by officers
Mutiny on board the _Kitty_
The _Kitty_ sails for England
His Majesty's birthday
State of the provision store
The _Britannia_ arrives
Loss of cattle
General account of cattle purchased, lost in the passage, and landed in
New South Wales

April.] The Spanish officers having nearly completed the astronomical
observations which the commodore thought it necessary to make in this
port, that officer signified his intention of shortly putting to sea on
the further prosecution of the instructions and orders which he had
received from his court. Previous to their departure, however, the
lieutenant-governor, with the officers of the settlement and of the
corps, were entertained first on board the _Descuvierta_, and the next
day on board the _Atrevida_, the lieutenant-governor being each day
received with a salute of nine guns, with the Spanish flag hoisted on the
foretopmast-head, being the compliment that is paid in the Spanish
service to a lieutenant-general. The dinner was prepared and served up
after their own custom, and bore every appearance of having been
furnished from a plentiful market.* The healths of our respective
sovereigns, being united in one wish, were drank with every token of
approbation, under a discharge of cannon; and 'Prosperity to the British
colonies in New South Wales' concluded the ceremonials of each day.

[* A small cow from Monterrey was sacrificed on the occasion]

The commodore presented the lieutenant-governor with two drawings of this
settlement, and one of Parramatta, done in Indian ink, by F. Brambila;
together with a copy of the astronomical observations which had been made
at the observatory, and at Parramatta. From these it appeared that the
longitude of the observatory which they had erected at the Point, deduced
from forty-two sets of distances of the sun and moon, taken on the
morning of the 2nd of this month, was 151 degrees 18 minutes 8 seconds E
from Greenwich; and the latitude, 33 degrees 51 minutes 28 seconds S. The
latitude of the governor's house at Parramatta was 33 degrees 48 minutes
0 seconds S; and the distance west from the observatory about nineteen

The commodore left a packet with dispatches for the Spanish ambassador at
the court of London, to be forwarded by the first ship which should
depart hence direct for England; and on the 12th both ships sailed. Their
future route was never exactly spoken of by them; but, from what the
officers occasionally threw out, it appeared that they expected to be in
Europe in about fourteen months from their departure. They spoke of
visiting the Society and Friendly Islands, and of proceeding again to the
coast of South America.

As it had been the general wish to render the residence of these
strangers among us as pleasant as our situation would allow, we received
with great satisfaction the expressions of regret which they testified at
their departure, a regret that was at least equally felt on our part. Our
society was very small; we could not therefore but sensibly feel the
departure of these gentlemen, who united to much scientific knowledge
those qualities of the heart which render men amiable in society; and the
names of Malaspina, Bustamante, Tova, Espinosa, Concha, Cevallos,
Murphy*, Robredo, Quintano, Viana, Novales, Pineda**, Bauza, Heencke***,
Nee***, Ravenet****, and Brambila****, were not likely to be soon
forgotten by the officers of this settlement. During their stay here, the
greatest harmony subsisted between the seamen of the two ships and our
people, the latter in but few instances exercising their nimble-fingered
talents among them; such, however, as did choose to hazard a display, and
were detected, were severely punished.

[* This gentleman was of Irish extraction.]

[** Brother of D. A. Pineda.]

[*** The botanists.]

[**** The limner, and landscape-painter.]

A few days before these ships left us, the _Chesterfield_ returned (after
an absence of only thirty days) from Norfolk Island, where she landed
safely every thing she had on board for that settlement. Mr. Alt anchored
for some days in Cascade Bay, where Governor King had constructed a
wharf, and had hopes of making the landing more convenient that could
ever be practicable at Sydney Bay. This was truly a desideratum, as few
ships had gone to this island without having in the course of their stay
either been blown off, or been in some danger on the shore. It was
understood that scarcely any thing less than a miracle could have saved
the _Kitty_ from being wrecked on a rock just off the reef.

The master of the _Shah Hormuzear_ having laid before the
lieutenant-governor some proposals for bringing cattle to this country,
they were taken into consideration; and as the introducing cattle into
the colony was a most desirable object, and Bengal had been pointed out
as the settlement from which they were to be procured, after some days a
contract was entered into between Mr. Bampton on his own part, and the
lieutenant-governor on behalf of the crown, wherein it was covenanted,
that Mr. Bampton should freight at some port in India a ship with one
hundred head of large draught cattle; one hundred and fifty tons of the
best provision rice, and one hundred and fifty tons of dholl, both
articles to be equal in quality to samples then produced and approved of,
and one hundred tons of the best Irish cured beef or pork; or, in lieu of
the salt provisions, fifty tons of rice. For the cattle, it was
covenanted on the part of the crown that Mr. Bampton should receive at
the rate of thirty-five pounds sterling per head for all that he should
land in a merchantable condition in the colony; for the rice he was to be
paid twenty-six pounds sterling, and for the dholl eighteen pounds
sterling, for every merchantable ton which should be landed; and, lastly,
for the salt provisions he was to receive four-pence halfpenny per pound
for all that should be landed in proper condition. In this contract there
were several conditions and restrictions, and the master was bound in one
thousand five hundred pounds penalty to fulfil them.

The lieutenant-governor, wishing to send a supply to Norfolk Island
sufficient to place that settlement, as far as depended upon him, in a
comfortable state in point of provisions, engaged the _Shah Hormuzear_ to
carry two hundred and twenty tons of provisions thither for the sum of
L220; and the quantity now sent, added to what the _Kitty_ and
_Chesterfield_ had already conveyed, insured to Governor King provisions
for more than twelve months for all his people at the full ration.
Mr. Bampton engaging the _Chesterfield_ to carry some part of these
provisions, both ships began taking them in, and by the 19th had quitted
the cove, intending to sail the following morning; but the signal being
made for a sail at daylight, they waited to see the event.

At the close of the evening of the 10th the _Daedalus_ storeship anchored
in the cove, from the north-west coast of America. The _Daedalus_ left
England with a cargo of provisions and stores, consisting chiefly of
articles of traffic, for the use of the vessels under the command of
Captain Vancouver, whom she joined at Nootka Sound on the north-west
coast of America, and it was designed that she should, after delivering
her cargo, be dispatched to this colony with such stock as she might be
able to procure from the different islands whereat she might touch, and
be afterwards employed as the service might require, should Captain
Vancouver not make any application for her return; which was thought
probable, as well as that he might require some assistance from the

Captain Vancouver, after taking out as much of the cargo as could be
received on board the vessels under his command, dispatched her according
to his orders, although not so early as he could have wished, owing to
particular circumstances; and he was now obliged to send with her a
requisition for the remainder of the provisions and stores being returned
to him, together with a certain quantity of provisions from the colony;
the whole to be dispatched from hence so as to join him either at Nootka,
or some of the Sandwich islands, in the month of October next.

The agent Lieutenant Richard Hergist, who left England in this ship, was
unfortunately killed, together with a Mr. Gootch (an astronomer, on his
way to join Captain Vancouver) and one seaman, at Wahool one of the
Sandwich Islands, where they touched to procure refreshments. Captain
Vancouver had replaced this officer, by Lieutenant James Hanson, of the
_Chatham_ armed-tender, who now arrived in the ship.

On board of the _Daedalus_ were embarked at Monterrey, a Spanish
settlement at a short distance from Nootka, six bulls, twelve cows, six
rams, and eight ewes; and at Otaheite, Lieutenant Hanson took on board
upwards of one hundred hogs (most of them, unluckily, barrows) of all
which stock four sheep and about eighty hogs only survived the passage.
The loss of the cattle was attributed to their having been caught wild
from the woods, and put on board without ever having tasted dry food. The
major part of the hogs, apparently of a fine breed, arrived in very poor

Lieutenant Hanson, having touched at the northernmost island of New
Zealand, brought away with him two natives of that country, having
received directions to that effect for the purpose of instructing the
settlers at Norfolk Island in the manufacture of the flax plant. They
were both young men, and, as they arrived before the departure of the
_Shah Hormuzear_, the lieutenant-governor determined to send them at once
to Norfolk Island.

Captain Vancouver transmitted by Lieutenant Hanson a chart and drawings
of a spacious harbour, which he discovered on the southwest coast of this
country, and which he named King George the Third's Sound. Its situation
was without the line prescribed as the boundary of the British
possessions in this country, being in the latitude of 35 degrees 05
minutes 30 seconds South, and longitude 118 degrees 34 minutes 0 seconds
E. He also sent an account of the discovery of a dangerous cluster of
rocks, which he named the Snares, the largest of which was about a league
in circuit, and lay in latitude 48 degrees 03 minutes S and longitude 166
degrees 20 minutes East, bearing from the South-end of New Zealand S 40
degrees W true, twenty leagues distant; and from the southernmost part of
the Traps (rocks discovered by Captain Cook) S 671/2 degrees W true, twenty
leagues distant. The largest of these rocks, which was the highest and
the northeasternmost, might be seen in clear weather about eight or nine
leagues: the whole cluster was composed of seven barren rocks, extending
in a direction about N 70 degrees E and S 70 degrees W true, occupying
the space of about three leagues.

The _Chatham_, being separated in a gale of wind from the _Discovery_,
fell in with an island, which was named 'Chatham Island,' and along the
north-side of which she sailed for twelve leagues. Its inhabitants much
resembled the natives of New Zealand, and it was situated in latitude 43
degrees 48 minutes S and longitude 183 degrees 02 minutes East.

We learned from Lieutenant Hanson, that the _Matilda_ whaler, which
sailed hence in the latter end of the year 1791, on her fishing voyage,
was wrecked on a reef in 22 degrees South latitude, and 138 degrees 30
minutes West longitude. The master and people reached Otaheite, from
whence some were taken by an American vessel, and some by Captain Bligh
of the Providence. Five sailors only remained on the island, with one
runaway convict from this place, when the _Daedalus_ touched there in her
route hither, and of that number one sailor only could be prevailed on to
quit it.

We had now the satisfaction of learning that Captain Bligh had sailed for
Jamaica in July last, with ten thousand breadfruit plants on board in
fine order; having so far accomplished the object of this his second
mission to that island.

The natives from New Zealand having been put on board the _Shah
Hormuzear_ at the last moment of her stay in port, Lieutenant Hanson
remaining with them until the ship was without the Heads, she sailed,
together with the _Chesterfield_, on the 24th.

Mr. Bampton purposed making his passage to India through the straits at
the south end of New Guinea, known by the name of Torres Straits. Captain
Hill, of the New South Wales corps, took his passage to England by the
way of India with Mr. Bampton.

But few convicts were allowed to quit the colony in these ships; four men
and one woman only, whose terms of transportation were expired, being
received on board.

Gray, who had absconded from the hospital in February last, made his
appearance about the latter end of this month at Toongabbie, where he was
detected in stealing Indian corn.

Richard Sutton was stabbed with a knife in the belly by one Abraham
Gordon, at the house of a female convict, on some quarrel respecting the
woman, and at a time when both were inflamed with liquor. In the struggle
Sutton was also dangerously cut in the arm; and when the surgeon came to
dress him, he found six inches of the omentum protruding at the wound in
his belly. Gordon was taken into custody.

Some people were taken up at Parramatta on suspicion of having murdered
one of the watchmen belonging to that settlement; the circumstances of
which affair one of them had been overheard relating to a fellow convict,
while both were under confinement for some other offence. A watchman
certainly had been missing for some time past; but after much inquiry and
investigation nothing appeared that could furnish matter for a criminal
prosecution against them.

A soldier, who had been sentenced by a court-martial to receive three
hundred lashes, on being led out to receive his punishment, attempted to
cut his throat, wounding himself under the ear with a knife. The
punishment was put off until the evening, when he declared that he was
the person who killed the watchman at Parramatta, which he effected by
shooting him; and that he would lead any one to the place where the body
lay. This, however, not preventing his receiving as much of his
punishment as he could bear, he afterwards declared that he knew nothing
of the murder, and had accused himself of perpetrating so horrid a crime
solely in the hope of deferring his punishment.

The natives, who now and then showed themselves about the distant
settlements, toward the latter end of the month wounded a convict who was
taking provisions from Parramatta to a settler at Prospect Hill. The
wound was not dangerous; but it occasioned the loss of the provisions
with which he was entrusted.

The rains of this month came too late to save the Indian corn of the
season, which now wore a most unpromising appearance. A grain had been
lately introduced into the settlement, and grown at Toongabbie, and other
places, which promised to answer very well for stock. It was the caffre
corn of Africa, and had every appearance of proving a useful grain.

An extraordinary appearance in the sky was observed by several people
between five and six o'clock in the evening of Friday the 12th of this
month. It was noticed in the north-west, and appeared as if a ray of
forked lightning had been stationary in that quarter of the sky for about
fifteen minutes, which was the time it was visible. It was not to be
discerned, however, after the sun had quitted the horizon.

May.] The days being considerably shortened, and the weather having
lately been bad, it became necessary to alter the hours of labour. On the
first of May, therefore, the lieutenant-governor directed that the
convicts employed in cultivation, those employed under the master
bricklayer, and those who worked at the brick carts and timber carriages,
should labour from seven in the morning until ten, rest from that time
until three in the afternoon, and continue at their work till sunset. The
carpenters, whose business mostly lay within doors, and who were
therefore not exposed to the weather, were directed to work one hour more
in the afternoon, beginning at one instead of two o'clock.

On the 4th the weekly ration was altered, the male convicts receiving
(instead of seven) four pounds of flour, to which were added four pounds
of wheat and four pounds of maize; the allowance of salt provisions
continued the same; but, the oil being expended, six ounces of sugar were
issued in lieu of that article. The wheat was that received from Bengal,
and the maize was issued the first week shelled, but unground; on the
second the people received it in the cob, getting six pounds in that
state in lieu of four shelled. This was unquestionably a good ration, and
when a sufficient number of mills were put up to grind the maize and the
wheat, the people themselves allowed it to be so.

With a ration that they admitted to be a good one, with about six hours
labour during five days of the week, and with the advantages of gardens
and good huts, the situation of the convicts might at this period be
deemed comfortable, and such as precluded all excuse for misconduct.
Garden robberies were, notwithstanding, often committed at Sydney; and at
the other settlements the maize which was still in the field suffered
considerable depredation.

A distinction was made in the ration served to the civil and military,
they receiving weekly six instead of eight pounds of flour, two pounds of
wheat, and four pounds of maize _per_ man.

About the middle of the month the weather was remarkably bad. In the
forenoon of the 15th a report was spread, in the midst of a most violent
squall of wind and rain, that a ship was coming in. The wind having blown
from the southward for some days before favoured the story, and, every
one who heard it believing it to be true, the town was soon in motion
notwithstanding the storm; for, although it was not so rare as it had
been to hear of a ship, yet there was always something cheering and
grateful, and perhaps ever will be, in entertaining the idea that our
society was perhaps about to be increased, and that we were on the point
of receiving intelligence from our connections, or information of what
was doing in that world from which we felt ourselves almost severed. On
this occasion, however, we were disappointed; for, on the return of a
boat which had been sent to the South Head, we were informed that the
signal had not been made, nor a ship seen to occasion it. But we had been
well trained in New South Wales to meet and endure disappointment!

On the night of this day, during the very heavy rain which fell, some
person or persons found means to take off, undiscovered by the sentinel
at the store on the east side, five hundred weight of sheet lead, which
had been landed from the _Daedalus_, and rolled to the storehouse door,
where, being an article not likely from its weight to become an easy
object of depredation, it was supposed to be perfectly safe. A very
diligent search was made, but without success; and it remained
undiscovered until the 27th, when a seaman belonging to the _Kitty_
transport, on the ebbing of a spring tide, perceived it lying on the
shore at low-water mark, opposite to the spot where the _Daedalus_ lay at
anchor. From this circumstance suspicion fell upon the people belonging
to that ship; but as any design they could have in stealing it was not
very obvious it was more probable that some of the convicts had dropped
it there for the purpose of secreting it till a future day, when it would
have been got up, and cast into shot for those who are allowed to kill

About the end of the month the detachment of the New South Wales corps on
duty at Parramatta was relieved. The party that remained there was placed
under the command of Lieutenant Macarthur, the officer charged with the
direction of the civil duties of that settlement. The relief took place
by land, the party from Sydney marching up in about seven hours, and that
from Parramatta arriving at their quarters in Sydney in something more
than six. The computed distance by land is between seventeen and eighteen

On the 29th our colours were displayed at the fort, in grateful remembrance
of the restoration of monarchy in England.

Information was the same day received from Parramatta, that on the
evening of Saturday the 24th a settler of the name of Lisk, having been
drinking at the house of Charles Williams with Rose Burk (a woman with
whom he cohabited) until they were very much intoxicated, as he was
returning to his farm through the town of Parramatta, a dispute arose
between him and the woman, during which a gun that he had went off, and
the contents lodged in the woman's arm below the elbow, shattering the
bones in so dreadful a manner as to require immediate amputation; which
Mr. Arndell, being fortunately at home, directly performed. The unhappy

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