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

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woman acquitted her companion of any intention to do her so shocking an
injury, and when the account reached Sydney she was in a favourable way.

In this accident Williams, it is true, had no further share than what he
might claim from their having intoxicated themselves at his house; but
that, however, established him more firmly in the opinion of those who
could judge of his conduct as a public nuisance.

The principal labour in hand at Sydney at this time was what the building
of the barracks occasioned; and at the other settlements the people were
chiefly employed in getting into the ground the grain for the ensuing
season, and in preparing for sowing the maize. This article of
subsistence having in the late season proved very unprofitable, the
average quantity being not more than six bushels per acre in the whole,
the lieutenant-governor determined to sow with wheat as much of the
public grounds as he could; and every settler who chose to apply was
permitted to draw as much wheat from the public granary as his ground
required, proper care being taken to insure its being applied solely to
that use. At Toongabbie no addition had been made to the public ground
since Governor Phillip's departure; but by a survey made at the latter
end of this month it appeared, that the officers to whom lands had been
granted, had cultivated and cleared two hundred and thirty-three acres,
and had cut down the timber from two hundred and nineteen more. All the
settlers of a different description had added something to their grounds;
and there were many who might be pronounced to be advancing fast toward
the comfortable situation of independent farmers.

The quantity of land granted since the governor's departure amounted to
one thousand five hundred and seventy-five acres, eight hundred and
thirty of which lay between the towns of Sydney and of Parramatta, the
lieutenant-governor wishing and purposing to form a chain of farms
between these settlements. The advantages to be derived from this
communication were, the opening of an extent of country in the
neighbourhood of both townships, and the benefit that would ultimately
accrue to the colony at large from the cultivation of a track of as good
land as any that had been hitherto opened; by some indeed it was deemed
superior to the land immediately about Parramatta or Toongabbie. In this
chain, on the Parramatta side, were placed those settlers who came out in
the _Bellona_; and although they had only taken possession of their farms
about the middle of February, they had got some ground ready for wheat,
and by their industry had approved themselves deserving of every

June.] The _Kitty_ transport, which, since her arrival from Norfolk
Island on the 21st of April last, had been fitting for her return to
England, at length hauled out of the cove on the 1st of this month, it
being intended that she should sail on the following morning. Her
departure, however, was delayed by the appearance of a mutiny among the
sailors at the very moment of being ordered to get the anchor up and
proceed to sea. The master, George Ramsay, had frequently complained of
some of the sailors belonging to the ship for various offences, and
several of them had been punished on shore; one in particular, Benjamin
Williams, for resisting Mr. Ramsay's authority as master of this ship,
had been punished with one hundred lashes. This man, and four or five of
the other sailors, having procured half a gallon of liquor from a man who
(his term of transportation having expired) was permitted to return to
England, were found by the master drinking, and with a light burning in
the forecastle, at the late and improper hour of twelve o'clock on the
night preceding their intended sailing. On being ordered to put out the
light, they refused, Williams declaring with an oath, that if the master
extinguished it, he would light it again. This, however, the master
effected; but on his afterwards going forward for the purpose of
discovering if they had procured another light, he was seized by Williams
and the other sailors, and thrown clear of the ship into the water.
Fortunately he could swim, a circumstance unknown to these miscreants,
and he reached the ship's side, whence, the mate coming to his
assistance, he was, though with some difficulty, being a very heavy man,
got into the ship. The master, notwithstanding the outrage which he had
thus experienced at their hands, would have contented himself with making
a deposition of the circumstance, and have put to sea the next morning;
but when he ordered the topsails to be hoisted, and the ship got under
way, Williams stood forward, and, for himself and the rest, declared with
much insolence, that the anchor should not be moved until the proper
number of hands belonging to the ship were on board*. The anchor,
however, was got up by the assistance of the passengers and some people
who had boats from the settlement alongside, and with the wind at west
she dropped gradually down the harbour. The lieutenant-governor, on being
informed by some officers who were present of the dangerous and alarming
temper which the seamen manifested on board, resolved, by taking a firm
and very active part, to crush the disorder at once, He accordingly went
on board in person, with some soldiers, and, ordering the ship to be
brought to an anchor, returned with Williams, and two others who were
pointed out by the master as his confederates, not only in refusing the
duty of the ship, but in throwing him overboard during the preceding
night. This resolute step was instantly followed up by their being taken
to the public parade, and there punished, Williams with one hundred and
fifty, and his companions with one hundred lashes each, by the drummers
of the New South Wales corps. At the place and in the moment of
punishment Williams's courage forsook him, and the spirit which he had
displayed on board the _Kitty_ was all evaporated**. He would have said
or done any thing to have averted the lash.

[* She was deficient three men and two boys. The latter had run away the
night before.]

[** He pretty well knew what a flogging was; for he was recognised by a
soldier of the New South Wales corps, who had seen him flogged from ship
to ship at Spithead for a similar offence.]

The appearance of a mutiny is at all times and in every situation to be
dreaded; but in this country nothing could be more alarming. The
lieutenant-governor saw the affair in that light; and with a celerity and
firmness adapted to the exigency of the case restored tranquillity and
safety to all those who were concerned in the fate of the _Kitty_. The
day following several depositions were taken by the judge-advocate, for
the purpose of being transmitted to the navy-board, and the three seamen
who had been taken out of the _Kitty_ being replaced by two convicts and
one seaman lately discharged from the _Daedalus_, she sailed at daylight
on the morning of the 4th instant, and by twelve o'clock at noon was not
to be seen from the South Head.

On board the _Kitty_ were embarked Mr. Dennis Considen, one of the
assistant-surgeons of the settlement, who had received permission to
return to England on account of his health, which had been formerly
impaired in the East Indies, Lieutenant Stephen Donovan, who had been
employed in superintending the landing of provisions and stores at
Norfolk Island, and was now returning to England, having been appointed a
lieutenant in the navy; Mr. Richard Clarke, who came out in the _Bellona_
as a medical superintendant; Mr. Alexander Purvis Cranston, late surgeon
of his Majesty's sloop _Discovery_, who was returning to England, being
from ill health no longer capable of attending to the duties of his
profession; Mr. Henry Phillips, late carpenter of the same vessel, who
was sent hither to be forwarded to England as a prisoner; two seamen and
one marine, invalids from the vessels under the command of Captain
Vancouver; five men and one woman*, who, their terms of transportation
being expired, were permitted to return to their friends; the seaman who
was left behind from the _Atrevida_; also five men, who were permitted to
enter on board the _Kitty_ for the purpose of navigating her. For the
officers and invalids who were on board, provisions for six months were
sent from the colony; but the others provided for themselves.

[* Dorothy Handland, who at the time of her departure was upwards of
eighty years of age, but who nevertheless had not a doubt of weathering
Cape Horn.]

The services of the _Kitty_ were to be summed up in very few words. Of
ten artificers with which she sailed from England, she lost eight; and of
the cargo of stores and provisions which she brought out, a part was
damaged. In seventeen months that she had been in the service of
government, she had made a long and circuitous voyage from England, and
had taken one freight of provisions, stores, and troops to Norfolk Island
from this place. For these services her owners were to receive the sum of
L3500; and, allowing her to be seven months on her passage to England,
the total amount of her hire will be found to be very little short of

His Majesty's birthday passed with the usual marks of distinction.
The regiment fired three vollies on their own parade, and the convicts
were allowed the day to themselves. On this occasion also the
lieutenant-governor caused twelve of the largest hogs which had been
received by the _Daedalus_, to be killed and divided among the military,
superintendants, and sick at the hospital; sufficient being given to the
latter for two days.

Notwithstanding the purchases of provisions which had fortunately been
made from the _Philadelphia_ brigantine before governor Phillip's
departure, and since that time from the _Hope_ and from the _Shah
Hormuzear_, the lieutenant-governor found it necessary on the 12th of the
month to give notice, 'That unless supplies arrived before the 22nd he
should be under the disagreeable necessity of ordering the ration to be
reduced on that day.'

A view of the provisions remaining in store here and at Parramatta on the
24th of last month (the date of the return sent home by the commissary in
the _Kitty_) will evince the necessity of such an alteration.

On the 24th of May there were in store

Of Flour 137,944 lbs
Of Wheat 154,560 lbs
Of Paddy 49,248 lbs

making a total of three hundred and forty-one thousand seven hundred and
fifty-two pounds of grain; which, at the established ration of eight
pounds per man per week, would last six weeks and three days.

Beef 93,969 lbs
Pork 125,178 lbs

which, at the ration of seven pounds of beef, or four pounds of pork, per
man per week, would last, the beef five weeks, and the pork eleven weeks
and a half.

There was also in store, though not at present issued, the Indian corn
rendering it unnecessary, seventy-one thousand two hundred and eighty
pounds of grain and peas; which, at the allowance of three pints per man
per week, would last eight weeks and a half, and nineteen thousand eight
hundred pounds of sugar; which, at six ounces per man per week, would
last eighteen weeks and a half. This latter article had been issued since
the beginning of the last month, when it was served as an equivalent for

It must be remarked, that but for the purchases which had most
fortunately been made of provisions, the colony must at this moment have
been again groaning under the oppression of a very reduced ration.

From the Philadelphia were purchased Beef 109,817 lbs.
From the Hope were purchased Beef 38,600 lbs.
From the Shah Hormuzear were purchased Beef 107,988 lbs.
Total of Beef 256,405 lbs.

From the Hope were purchased Pork 15,600 lbs.
Whole quantity purchased 272,005 lbs.

of which, deducting the quantity remaining, we shall be found to have
then consumed fifty-two thousand eight hundred and fifty-eight pounds,
something more than equal to one-fifth part.

From the Hope were purchased Flour 8,800 lbs.
From the Shah Hormuzear were purchased Flour 36,539 lbs.
Whole quantity purchased 45,339 lbs.

which deducted from the quantity remaining,
we should then only have had in store 92,605 lbs.
of the other articles of which the present ration was composed (the maize
excepted) we should not have had any in the colony; for the wheat and the
sugar were brought hither in the ship from Bengal.

As none of these incidental supplies could be known in England, it was
fair to conclude, that our situation must have been adverted to, and that
ships with provisions were now not very distant. Under this idea,
although on the 22nd no supplies had arrived, the lieutenant-governor did
not make any alteration in the ration, determining to wait one week
longer before he directed the necessary reduction. It was always a
painful duty to abridge the food of the labouring man, and had been too
often exercised here. The putting off, therefore, the evil day for
another week in the hope of any decrease being rendered unnecessary by
the arrival of supplies, met with general applause.

On the Monday following the signal was made for a sail, and about nine
o'clock at night the _Britannia_ was safe within the Heads, having to a
day completed eight months since she sailed hence. The length of time she
had been absent gave birth to some anxiety upon her account, and her
arrival was welcomed with proportionate satisfaction.

Mr. Raven touched at Dusky Bay in New Zealand, where he left his second
mate Mr. John Leith and some of his people, for the purpose of procuring
seals (the principal object of his voyage from England); and of the
timber which he found there he made a very favourable report, pronouncing
it to be light, tough, and in every respect fit for masts or yards. From
New Zealand the _Britannia_, after rounding Cape Horn in very favourable
weather, proceeded to the island of Santa Catherina, on the Brasil coast,
where the Portuguese have a settlement, and from whose governor Mr. Raven
received much civility during the eighteen days that he remained there.
Not being able to procure at this place any of the articles he was
instructed to purchase (one cow and one cow-calf excepted) he stood over
to the African continent, and arrived at the Cape of Good Hope on the
24th of March last. At this port he took on board thirty cows; three
mares; twelve goats; a quantity of flour, sugar, tobacco, and spirits;
and other articles, according to the orders of his employers. Mr. Raven
afforded another instance of the great difficulty attending the
transporting of cattle to this country; for, notwithstanding the extreme
care and attention which were paid to them, twenty-nine of the cows and
three goats unfortunately died. This he attributed solely, and no doubt
justly, to their not being properly prepared for such a voyage, and
previously fed for some weeks on dry food.

In her passage from the Cape of Good Hope to this port, the _Britannia_
met with much bad weather, running for fourteen days under her bare
poles. The prevailing winds were from SW to NW. She came round Van
Dieman's Land in a gale of wind without seeing it. To the southward of
New Zealand Mr. Raven fell in with the rocks seen by Captain Vancouver,
and named by him the Snares. In the latitude of them Mr. Raven differed
from Captain Vancouver only four miles; their longitude he made exactly
the same. Such similarity in the observations was rare and remarkable. He
passed some islands of ice at three and five leagues distance, in
latitudes 51 degrees and 52 degrees S and longitudes 232 degrees and 240
degrees East.

At the Cape Mr. Raven found the _Pitt_, Captain Manning, from Calcutta,
to whom he delivered his dispatches; and he received information from the
captains of the _Triton_ and _Warley_ East Indiamen of the agitated state
of Europe; of the naval and military preparations which were making in
our own country; and of the spirit of loyalty and affection for our
justly-revered sovereign which breathed throughout the nation,
accompanied with firm and general determinations to maintain inviolate
our happy constitution. These accounts, while they served to excite an
ardent wish for the speedy arrival of a ship from England, seemed to
throw the probability of one at a greater distance, particularly as
Mr. Raven could not learn with any certainty of a ship being preparing for
New South Wales.

Among other circumstances which he mentioned was one which deserved
notice. The _Royal Admiral_ East Indiaman, Captain Bond, was lying on the
19th of last December in the Tigris. She sailed hence on the 13th of
November, and, admitting that she had only arrived on the day on which
she was stated to a certainty to be at anchor in the river, she must have
performed the voyage in thirty-seven days from this port. This ship, it
may be remembered, made the passage from the Cape of Good Hope to this
place in five weeks and three days; a run that had never before been made
by any other ship coming to this country.

From the length of time which the _Britannia_ had been absent, our
observation was forcibly drawn to the distance whereat we were placed
from any quarter which could furnish us with supplies; and a calculation
of the length of time which had been taken by other ships to procure them
confirmed the necessity that existed of using every exertion that might
place the colony in a state of independence.

When the _Sirius_ went to the Cape of Good Hope in 1788, she was absent
seven months and six days.

The _Supply_, which was sent for provisions in 1789, returned herself in
six months and two days; but the supplies which had been purchased for
the colony were two months longer in reaching it.

The _Atlantic_ sailed hence for Calcutta on the 26th of October 1791,
touching at Norfolk Island, from which place she took her departure on
the 13th of November; and, calculating her passage from that time, she
will be found to have been seven months and one week in procuring the
supplies for which she was sent out.

The _Britannia_ too was eight months absent. From all this it was to be
inferred, that there should not only be always provisions in the stores
for twelve months beforehand; but that, to guard against accidents,
whenever the provisions in the colony were reduced to that quantity and
no more, then would be the time to dispatch a ship for supplies.

The difficulty of introducing cattle into the colony had been rendered
evident by the miscarriage of the different attempts made by this and
other ships. In this particular we had indeed been singularly
unfortunate; for we had not only lost the greatest part of what had been
purchased and embarked for the colony, as will appear by the following
statement; but we had at the beginning, as will be remembered, lost the
few that did survive the passage. Of these it never was known with any
certainty what had been the fate. Some of the natives who resided among
us did, in observing some that had been landed, declare that they had
seen them destroyed by their own people; and even offered to lead any one
to the place where some of their bones might be found; but, from the
distance of the supposed spot, and our more important concerns, this had
never been sought after. It was very probable that they had been so
destroyed; if not, and that they had met with no other accident, their
increase at this time must have been very considerable.

Account of Black Cattle purchased for, lost in the passage to,
and landed in New South Wales.

Purchased Lost in Landed
(B=Bull Cw=Cow Cf=Calf) B Cw Cf B Cw Cf B Cw Cf
Embarked in 1787 on board the Sirius and
one of the transports 1 7 1 - 2 - 1 5 1
Embarked in 1789 on board the Guardian 2 16 - 2 16 - - - -
Embarked in 1791 on board the Gorgon,
Admiral Barrington, and calved
on the passage 3 24 1 3 7 - - 17 1 Bull
Embarked on board the Atlantic
in 1792, at Calcutta 2 2 1 - 1 1 2 1 -
Embarked on board the Pitt - 2 - - 1 - - 1 -
Embarked on board the Royal Admiral - 1 - - - - - - 0
Embarked on board the Shah Hormuzear
in 1792, in India 1 24 2 1 23 - - 1 2
Embarked on board the Daedalus 6 12 - 6 12 - - - -
Embarked on board the Britannia - 31 1 - 29 - - 2 1

Total Purchased 15 bulls, 119 cows, 6 calves;
Total Lost in the passage 12 bulls, 91 cows, 1 calf;
Total Landed 3 bulls, 28 cows, 5 calves.

Of the three bulls which were landed two only were living at this period,
beside the bull calf produced on board the _Gorgon_. Of the twenty-eight
cows only twenty, and of the five calves only two were living; but the
cows which arrived in the _Gorgon_ had produced three cow and two bull
calves; and one small cow must be added to the number in the colony,
which had been presented by the Spanish commodore to the

Sheep, horses, and hogs were found, better than any other stock, to stand
the rough weather which was in general met with between the Cape of Good
Hope and this country.

The mortality which had happened among the stock on board the _Britannia_
set a high price on those which survived. For the cows Mr. Raven bought
at the Cape he gave twenty dollars each, and for each horse he gave
thirty dollars. For the cow with her calf, which he purchased at Santa
Catharina, he gave no more than sixteen Spanish dollars.

On Saturday the 29th, the lieutenant-governor determining to try the
present ration yet another week, the usual allowance was issued, and on
the next day the following general order appeared: 'It being unsafe to
continue at the present ration, the commissary has received instructions
to reduce the weekly allowance, either one pound of pork, or two pounds
of beef, making a proportionate deduction from the women and children.
This alteration to take place on Saturday the 6th of July.'

The natives had lately become troublesome, particularly in lurking
between the different settlements, and forcibly taking provisions and
clothing from the convicts who were passing from one to another. One or
two convicts having been wounded by them, some small armed parties were
sent out to drive them away, and to throw a few shot among them, but with
positive orders to be careful not to take a life.

Several of these people, however, continued to reside in the town, and
to mix with the inhabitants in the most unreserved manner. It was no
uncommon circumstance to see them coming into town with bundles of
fire-wood which they had been hired to procure, or bringing water from
the tanks; for which services they thought themselves well rewarded with
any worn-out jacket or trousers, or blankets, or a piece of bread. Of
this latter article they were all exceedingly fond, and their constant
prayer was for bread, importuning with as much earnestness and
perseverance as if begging for bread had been their profession from their
infancy; and their attachment to us must be considered as an indication
of their not receiving any ill treatment from us.


The _Daedalus_ sails for Nootka
A temporary church founded
Criminal court
The colonial vessel launched
A scheme to take a longboat
Two soldiers desert
Counterfeit dollars in circulation
A soldier punished
The _Boddingtons_ arrives from Cork
General Court Martial held
The _Britannia_ hired and chartered for Bengal
The new church opened
Provisions in store
Corn purchased from settlers
The _Britannia_ sails for Bengal, and the _Francis_ Schooner for New Zealand
Irish convicts steal a boat
The _Sugar Cane_ arrives
Intended mutiny on board prevented
Excursion to the westward
Public works

July.] On the first of this month the _Daedalus_ sailed to convey to
Captain Vancouver the provisions and stores which had been required by
that officer. Lieutenant Hanson, the naval agent on board, received the
most pointed orders for the ship to return to this port immediately after
having executed the service on which she was then going. The _Daedalus_
was considered as a colonial ship; and nothing but Captain Vancouver's
express requisition to have the stores and provisions which were on board
her (the stores being chiefly articles of traffic) sent back to him, to
enable him to fulfil the instructions he had received, would have induced
the lieutenant-governor, in the present state of the colony, to have
parted with her, when it was not improbable that her services might be
wanting to procure supplies, and at no very distant period, if ships did
not arrive.

The _Daedalus_ being, like other ships which had preceded her, short of
hands, the master was permitted to recruit his numbers here, and took
with him six convicts, who had served their several terms of
transportation, and were of good character; and two seamen, who had been
left behind from other ships. The extensive population of the islands at
some of which the _Daedalus_ might have occasion to touch rendered it
absolutely necessary that she should be completely manned; as we well
knew the readiness with which, at all times, their inhabitants availed
themselves of any inferiority or weakness which they might discover
among us.

On board of the _Daedalus_ also was embarked a native of this country,
who was sent by the lieutenant-governor for the purpose of acquiring our
language. Lieutenant Hanson was directed by no means to leave him at
Nootka, but, if he survived the voyage, to bring him back safe to his
friends and countrymen. His native names were Gnung-a gnung-a,
Mur-re-mur-gan; but he had for a long time entirely lost them, even among
his own people, who called him 'Collins,' after the judge-advocate, whose
name he had adopted on the first day of his coming among us. He was a man
of a more gentle disposition than most of his associates; and, from the
confidence he placed in us, very readily undertook the voyage, although
he left behind him a young wife (a sister of Bennillong who accompanied
Governor Phillip) of whom he always appeared extremely fond.

On Saturday the 6th the intended change took place in the ration; and it
being a week on which pork was to be issued, three pounds of that
article were served instead of four. The other articles remained the

The clergyman, who suffered as much inconvenience as other people from
the want of a proper place for the performance of divine service, himself
undertook to remove the evil, on finding that, from the pressure of other
works it was not easy to foresee when a church would be erected. He
accordingly began one under his own inspection, and chose the situation
for it at the back of the huts on the east side of the cove. The front
was seventy-three feet by fifteen; and at right angles with the centre
projected another building forty feet by fifteen. The edifice was
constructed of strong posts, wattles, and plaster, and was to be
thatched.* Much credit was due to the Rev. Mr. Johnson for his personal
exertions on this occasion.

[* The expense of building it was computed to be about forty pounds]

Representation having been made to the lieutenant-governor, that several
of the soldiers had been so thoughtless as to dispose of the sugar and
tobacco which had been served out to them by their officers since the
arrival of the _Britannia_, almost as soon as they had received those
articles, and that some artful people had availed themselves of their
indiscretion, in many instances bartering a bottle of spirits (Cape
brandy) for six times its value, he judged it necessary to give notice,
that any convict detected in exchanging liquor with the soldiers for any
article served out to them by their officers, would immediately be
punished, and the articles purchased taken away: and further (now become
a most necessary restriction), that any persons attempting to sell liquor
without a licence might rely on its being seized, and the houses of the
offending parties pulled down.

About the middle of the month all the wheat which was to be sown on the
public account was got in at and near Toongabbie; the quantity of ground
was about three hundred and eighty acres. The wheat of last season being
now nearly thrashed out, some judgment was formed of its produce, and it
was found to have averaged between seventeen and eighteen bushels an
acre. A large quantity of wheat was also sown this season by individuals,
amounting to about one thousand three hundred and eighty-one bushels,
every encouragement having been given to them to sow their grounds with
that grain.

Several houses having been lately broken open, the criminal court of
judicature was assembled on the 15th, when Samuel Wright, a convict who
arrived in 1791, was tried for breaking into a hut in the day-time, and
stealing several articles of wearing apparel; of which offence being
found guilty, he received sentence of death, and was to have been
executed on the Monday following; but the court having recommended him to
mercy on account of his youth, being only sixteen years of age, the
lieutenant-governor as readily forgave as the court had recommended him;
but, that the prisoner might have all the benefit of so awful a
situation, the change in his fate was not imparted to him until the very
moment when he was about to ascend the ladder from which he was to be
plunged into eternity. He had appeared since his conviction as if devoid
of feeling; but on receiving this information, he fell on his knees in an
agony of joy and gratitude. The solemn scene appeared likewise to make a
forcible impression on all his fellow prisoners, who were present.

The weather of this winter having been colder than any that we had before
experienced, great exertions were made to clothe all the labouring
convicts; and for that purpose the work of the tailors had for some time
been confined to them. Every male convict received one cloth jacket, two
canvas frocks, one pair of shoes, and one leathern cap. The females also
had been clothed.

The vessel which had been received in frame by the _Pitt_ was now
completed, and, to avoid the labour which would have attended her being
launched in the usual manner, Mr. Raven, the master of the _Britannia_,
offered his own services and the assistance of his ship to lay her down
upon her bilge, and put her into the water on rollers. This mode having
been adopted, in the forenoon of Wednesday the 24th of this month she was
safely let down upon the rollers, and by dusk, with the assistance of the
_Britannia_, was hove down to low-water mark, whence, at a quarter before
eight o'clock, she floated with the tide, and was hauled safely alongside
the _Britannia_. The ceremony of christening her was performed at sunrise
the next morning, when she was named _The Francis_, in compliment to the
lieutenant-governor's son, whose birthday this was; and, Mr. Raven
coinciding with the general opinion that she would be much safer if
rigged as a schooner than as a sloop, for which she had been originally
intended, the carpenters were directed to fit her accordingly; and that
gentleman very obligingly supplied a spar, which he had procured for the
_Britannia_ at Dusky Bay, to make her a foremast.

The command of this little vessel, of whose utility great expectations
were formed, was given by the lieutenant-governor to Mr. William House,
late boatswain of the _Discovery_, who arrived here in the _Daedalus_ for
the purpose of proceeding to England as an invalid; but being strongly
recommended by Captain Vancouver as an excellent seaman, with whom he was
very unwilling to part, and signifying a wish to be employed in this
country, the command of this vessel was given to him, with the same
allowance that is made to a superintendant; on which list he was placed.
The two boys who were left behind from the _Kitty_ were also entered for
her, and she was ordered to be fitted forthwith for sea. As it was well
known that many people had their eyes upon this vessel as the means of
their escaping from the colony, it was intended, in addition to other
precautions, that none but the most trusty people should ever be employed
in her.

On the last day of the month a plan to take off one of the longboats was
revealed to the lieutenant-governor. The principal parties in it were
soldiers; and their scheme was, to proceed to Java, with a chart of which
they had by some means been furnished. If their plan had been put into
execution, the evil would have carried with it its own punishment; for,
had they survived the voyage, they would never have been countenanced by
the Dutch, who were always very jealous of strangers coming among them,
and had, no doubt, heard of the desertion of Bryant and his associates
from this settlement. Two of the soldiers were immediately put into
confinement; and in the night two others, one a corporal, went off into
the woods, taking with them their arms, about one hundred rounds of
powder and ball, which they collected from the different pouches in the
barrack, their provisions and necessaries.

The principal works in hand by the people at Sydney were, erecting
kitchens and storerooms for the officers' new barracks, bringing in
timber for rollers for the sloop, and constructing huts at Petersham for
convicts. At Toongabbie the Indian corn was not all gathered, and housing
of that, and preparing the ground for the reception of the next season's
crop, occupied the labouring convicts at that settlement.

Some counterfeit dollars were at this time in circulation; but the
manufacturers of them were not discovered.

August.] The two soldiers who were put into confinement on suspicion of
being parties in a plan to seize one of the long-boats, were tried by a
regimental court-martial on the first day of this month, and one was
acquitted; but Roberts, a drummer, who was proved to have attempted to
persuade another drummer to be of the party, was sentenced to receive
three hundred lashes, and in the evening did receive two hundred and
twenty-five of them. While smarting under the severity with which his
punishment was inflicted, he gave up the names of six or eight of his
brother soldiers as concerned with him, among whom were the two who had
absented themselves the preceding evening. These people, the day
following their desertion, were met in the path to Parramatta, and told
an absurd story of their being sent to the Blue Mountains. They were next
heard of at a settler's (John Nicholls) at Prospect Hill, whose house
they entered forcibly, and, making him and a convict hutkeeper prisoners,
passed the night there. At another settler's they took sixteen pounds of
flour, which they sent by his wife to a woman well known to one of them,
and had them baked into small loaves. They signified a determination not
to be taken alive, and threatened to lie in wait for the game-killers, of
whose ammunition they meant to make themselves masters. These
declarations manifested the badness of their hearts, and the weakness of
their cause; and the lieutenant-governor, on being made acquainted with
them, sent out a small armed party to secure and bring them in, rightly
judging that people who were so ready at expressing every where a
resolution to part with their lives rather than be taken, would not give
much trouble in securing them.

This desertion, and the disaffection of those who meant to take off a
long-boat, was the more unaccountable, as the commanding officer had
uniformly treated them with every indulgence, putting it entirely out of
their power to complain on that head. Spirits and other comforts had been
procured for them; he had distinguished them from the convicts in the
ration of provisions; he had allowed them to build themselves comfortable
huts, permitting them while so employed the use of the public boats; he
had indulged them with women; and, in a word, have never refused any of
them a request which did not militate against the rules of the service,
or of the discipline which he had laid down for the New South Wales
corps; at the same time, however, to prevent these indulgencies from
falling into contempt, they were counterbalanced by a certainty of their
being withdrawn when abused, and flagrant offenders were sure of meeting
with punishment: yet there were many among them who were so ungrateful
for the benefits which they received, and so unmindful of their own
interest and accommodation, that they behaved ill whenever they had an

The parties who had been sent after the runaways, by dividing themselves,
fell in with them near Toongabbie on the 6th. and secured them without
any opposition.

There were at this time in the New South Wales corps, distributed among
the different companies, thirty recruits who had been selected from among
the convicts as people of good characters, and, having formerly been in
the army, were permitted to enlist. These people had conducted themselves
with remarkable propriety, one man only excepted, who had some time since
been punished by the sentence of a court-martial, and who afterwards
misbehaving was discharged from the corps. They were in general enlisted
for life, a condition to which they subscribed on being attested; and
such as had a long time to serve under their sentence, were emancipated
on the above condition.

On the 7th the _Boddingtons_ transport anchored in the cove from Ireland,
having sailed from Cork on the 15th of February last, with one hundred
and twenty-four male, and twenty female convicts of that kingdom on
board, provisions calculated to serve them nine months* after their
arrival, and a proportion of clothing for twelve months. As a guard,
there was embarked a subaltern's party of the New South Wales corps; and
this precaution was found to have been very necessary, the ignorance of
the Irish convicts having displayed itself in an absurd scheme to take
the ship; but which was happily frustrated by the vigilance and activity
of the master** and the officers.

[* Two hundred and twenty-eight barrels of flour; one hundred and eight
tierces of pork, and fifty-four tierces of beef, twenty-eight bales and
thirteen cases of stores.]

[* Captain Robert Chalmers, on the captain's half pay of the marines.]

Mr. Richards jun, who had the contract for supplying the ships which
sailed for this country in 1788 and the _Lady Juliana_ transport, was
employed again by government; a circumstance of general congratulation
among the colonists on its being made known. On the present occasion he
had contracted to furnish two ships to bring out three hundred male and
female convicts from Ireland, with stores and provisions. The
_Boddingtons_, being the first ready, sailed alone; the _Sugar Cane_ (the
second ship) was at Deptford ready to drop down to Gravesend when her
intended companion was about leaving Ireland. Government were to pay four
pounds four shillings per ton for such stores as should be put on board,
and for the convicts at the rate of twenty-two pounds per head. This
mode of payment was complained of in the contract made formerly with
Messrs. Calvert and Co.; but in the present instance the evil attending
that contract was avoided, by a part of the above sum (five pounds) being
left to be paid by certificate for every convict which should be landed.
No ship, however, could have brought out their convicts in higher order,
nor could have given stronger proofs of attention to their health and
accommodation, than did this vessel. Each had a bed to himself, and a new
suit of clothes to land in. On the part of the crown also, to see justice
done to the convicts, there was a surgeon of the navy on board, Mr. Kent,
as a superintendant; and on the part of the contractor, a gentleman who
had visited us before with Mr. Marshall, in the second voyage of the
_Scarborough_ to this country, Mr. A. Jac. Bier, a surgeon also. They had
not any sick list, and had lost only one man on the passage.

Captain Chalmers informed us, that on his arrival at Rio de Janeiro, in
which port he anchored on the 10th of last April, he heard that the
_Atlantic_ transport had sailed thence about three weeks, and had made
her passage from this country round Cape Horn to Rio de Janeiro in
fifty-eight days. He learned from the gentlemen about the palace, that
his excellency Governor Phillip when he touched there appeared to be in
perfect health. He had there too heard of the agitated state of Europe;
and understanding that in all probability the Channel would be infested
with French privateers, he purchased some guns, to strengthen the force
which he had already on board the _Atlantic_.

Advices were received by this ship, that administration intended to make
arrangements for our being supplied from Bengal with live cattle: and
this became a favourite idea with every person in the colony; for the
sheep, though small, were found to be very productive, breeding twice in
the year, and generally bringing two lambs at a birth. The climate was
also found to agree well with the cattle of the buffalo species which had
been received.

The convicts received by the _Boddingtons_ were disembarked a day or two
after her arrival, and sent up to Toongabbie. On quitting the ship they
with one voice bore testimony to the humane treatment they had received
from Captain Chalmers, declaring that they had not any complaints to
prefer, and cheering him when the boats which carried them put off from
her side.

It being necessary to mark with some degree of severity the offence which
had been committed by the two soldiers, a general court-martial was
assembled for their trial on the 12th. The lieutenant-governor, with much
humanity, forebore to charge them with a capital offence; bringing them
to trial for absenting themselves from head-quarters without leave,
instead of the more serious crime of desertion.

By the mutiny act, a general court-martial may, in Africa, consist of
less than thirteen commissioned officers, but not less than five; the
like provision was also extended to New South Wales; and nine officers
formed the court now assembled for the first time in this colony.
Captain Collins officiated as deputy judge-advocate. The prisoners did
not deny the crime they were charged with; and the court, after reducing
the corporal to the ranks, sentenced him to receive five hundred lashes,
and the private soldier eight hundred. The sentence, being approved by
the lieutenant-governor, was in part carried into execution on Saturday
the 17th, the corporal receiving two hundred and seventy-five, and the
soldier three hundred lashes.

The _Britannia_ being now nearly ready for sea, having had some very
necessary articles of repair done to her, and which the master declared
had been as well executed by the artificers of the colony as if the ship
had been in England, she was tendered to be employed for the service of
the settlement wherever the lieutenant-governor might think it necessary
to send her. In the charter-party of the _Boddingtons_, a clause was
inserted, empowering the governor to send her to Norfolk Island, or
elsewhere, should he have occasion, the crown paying the same hire as was
paid for the _Atlantic_ transport (fifteen shillings and sixpence per ton
per month) during the time she should be so employed. The _Britannia_ was
tendered at one shilling per ton less, and had moreover the advantage of
being a coppered ship.

It has been seen that the supply brought by the _Boddingtons_ was very
inconsiderable. No greater quantity was expected with any degree of
certainty by the _Sugar Cane_. The salt provisions remaining in store (by
a calculation made up to the 28th) were sufficient for only fourteen
weeks at the full ration, including what had been received by the
_Boddingtons_, and some surplus provisions which had been purchased of
the agent to the contractor, and one hundred casks of pork, which had
been omitted by an oversight in the last account taken in May a few days
before the _Kitty_ sailed. When it was considered that our supplies would
always be affected by commotions at home, and that if a war should take
place between England and any other nation, which at the departure of the
_Boddingtons_ was hourly expected, they might be retarded, or taken by
the enemy, the lieutenant-governor determined, while he had in his own
hands the means of supplying himself, to employ them; and on the 26th
chartered the _Britannia_ for India. Our principal want was salt
provisions; of flour we well remembered that Bengal produced none, and a
coming crop was before us on our own grounds. The _Britannia_ was
therefore to proceed to Bengal, to be freighted by the government of that
presidency with salt provisions, Irish beef or pork; and in the event of
its not being possible to procure them, the ship was to return loaded
with sugar, rice, and dholl, these being the articles which, next to salt
provisions, were the most wanted in the colony.

Mr. Raven, the master of the _Britannia_, having, as was before observed,
left a mate and some of his people at Dusky Bay in New Zealand, the
lieutenant-governor directed the _Francis_ to be got ready with all
expedition, purposing that she should accompany the _Britannia_ as far on
her way as that harbour, where she had permission to touch; and Mr. Raven
was directed to transmit by the master all such information respecting
that extensive bay, and the seal-fishery in its vicinity, as he should be
of opinion might in anywise tend to the present or future benefit of his
Majesty's service as connected with these settlements.

The clergyman having completed the building which he began in July last,
divine service was performed in it for the first time on Sunday the 25th
of this month; and for a temporary accommodation it appeared likely to
answer very well. Mr. Johnson in his discourse, which was intended to
impress the minds of his audience with the necessity of holiness in every
place, lamented that the urgency of public works had prevented any
undertaking of the kind before, and had thus thrown it upon him; he
declared that he had no other motive for standing forward in the
business, than that of establishing a place sheltered from bad weather,
and from the summer heats, where public worship might be performed. He
said, that the uncertainty of a place where they might attend had
prevented many from coming; but he now hoped the attendance would be full
whenever he preached there. The place was constructed to hold five
hundred people.

It appeared by an estimate which Mr. Johnson afterwards gave in, for the
purpose of being reimbursed what it had cost him, that the expense of
this building considerably exceeded his first calculation, the whole
amount of it being L67 12s 111/2d; of which Mr. Johnson paid to the
different artificers he had employed L59 18s in dollars; twenty gallons
and a half of spirits; one hundred and sixteen pounds of flour; fifty-two
pounds of salt provisions; three pounds of tobacco; and five ounces of
tea. Spirits were at this time sold in the colony at ten shillings per
gallon; but Mr. Johnson observed in his estimate that he only charged
that and other articles at the prices which they had actually cost him.
This account Mr. Johnson requested might be transmitted to the secretary
of state, and he accompanied it with a letter stating his reasons for
having undertaken the building?

The _Boddingtons_ were cleared of her cargo, and discharged from
Government employ on the 26th. The cargo, when landed, was found in most
excellent condition, not a single article being damaged; far different
from that received by the _Bellona_, where the ship was overloaded. Had
the _Boddingtons_ been coppered, no ship could have been better
calculated for the transport of provisions to this country from any part
of the world.

A remarkable instance of fecundity in a female goat occurred at the house
of one of the superintendants at Sydney. She produced five kids, three
females and two males, all of which died (a blow which the animal
received bringing them before their time) excepting the first which was
kidded, a female. The same goat in March last brought four kids, three
males and one female, all of which lived. She was a remarkably fine

Much apprehension was now entertained for the wheat, which began to look
yellow and parched for want of rain. Toward the latter end of the month,
however, some rain fell during three days and nights, which considerably
refreshed it. But there being no fixed period at which wet weather was to
be expected in this country, it might certainly be pronounced too dry for

An unpleasant accident occurred at the lieutenant-governor's farm. A
convict of good character, who had the care of the sheep, was found dead
in the woods. He had declined coming in to his breakfast, and was left
eating some bread made of Indian corn and coarse-ground wheat. His body
was opened, but no cause for his sudden dissolution could be assigned
from its appearance.

At the Ponds, a district of settlers in the neighbourhood of Parramatta,
John Richards, in possession of a grant of thirty acres of land, died of
intoxication. This was the first death which had occurred among any of
the people of that description.

By an account taken of the provisions remaining in store on the 28th of
the month, it appeared that we had, calculating each article at the
established ration for two thousand eight hundred and forty-five persons,
the numbers victualled at Sydney and Parramatta,

Flour, to last 4 weeks, -- or 91,040 lbs
Beef, to last 3 weeks, -- or 59,745 lbs
Pork, to last 11 weeks, -- or 125,180 lbs
Wheat, to last 1 week, -- or 22,760 lbs
Gram and Peas, to last 8 weeks, -- or 68,280 lbs
Sugar, to last 3 weeks, -- or 3,200 lbs
Paddy, 43,000 lbs

September.] Unproductive as the Indian corn proved which was sown last
year on the public grounds, the settlers must have had a better crop;
for, after reserving a sufficiency for seed for the ensuing season, and
for their domestic purposes, a few had raised enough to enable them to
sell twelve hundred bushels to Government, who, on receiving it into the
public stores, paid five shillings per bushel to the bringer. Government,
however, was not resorted to in the first instance by the settler, who
preferred disposing of his corn where he could receive spirits in payment
(which he retailed for labour) to bringing it to the commissary for five
shillings a bushel; but at this price, from whose hands soever it might
come, it was received into the public stores.

The _Britannia_ and _Francis_ schooner sailed on Sunday. the 8th for
Dusky Bay. The _Francis_ was manned with seamen and boys who had been
left here from ships, and the master had for his assistant as mate Robert
Watson, who formerly belonged to his Majesty's ship _Sirius_, and was
afterwards a settler at Norfolk Island; but his allotment having been
erroneously surveyed, he, being obliged to resign a part of it, gave up
the whole, and gladly returned to his former way of life. One of the
three seamen who had been taken out of the _Kitty_, and punished, was
permitted to enter on board the schooner; another of them was taken by
the captain of the _Boddingtons_; Williams, the principal, remained in
the colony, not bearing that sort of character which would recommend him
to any master of a ship.

Captain Nicholas Nepean, the senior captain in the New South Wales corps,
having been for some time past in an ill state of health, obtained the
lieutenant-governor's leave to return to England by the way of Bengal,
and quitted the colony in the _Britannia_. Three men and one woman also
received permission to leave the settlement.

It might have been supposed, that the fatal consequences of endeavouring
to seek a place in the woods of this country where they might live
without labour had been sufficiently felt by the convicts who arrived
here in the _Queen_ transport from Ireland, to deter others from rushing
into the same error, as they would, doubtless, acquaint the new comers
with the ill success which attended their schemes of that nature. Several
of those, however, who came out in the _Boddingtons_ went off into the
woods soon after their landing; and a small party, composed of some
desperate characters, about the same time stole a boat from Mr. Schaffer,
the settler, with which, as they were not heard of for some days after,
it was supposed they had either got out of the harbour, or were lying
concealed until, being joined by those who had taken to the woods, they
could procure a larger and a safer conveyance from the country.

A slight change took place in the ration this month; the sugar being
expended, molasses was ordered to be served in lieu of that article, in
the proportion of a pint of molasses to a pound of sugar.

On Sunday the 15th died James Nation, a soldier in the New South Wales
corps, into which he had entered from the marine detachment. He sunk
under an inflammatory complaint brought on by hard drinking. With this
person Martha Todd cohabited at the time of her decease, which, as before
related, was occasioned by the same circumstance, and which, together
with her death, Nation had been frequently heard to say was the cause of
much unhappiness to him.

On Tuesday the 17th the signal was made at the South Head, and about six
o'clock in the evening the _Sugar Cane_ transport anchored in the cove
from Cork, whence she sailed the 13th of last April, having on board one
hundred and ten male and fifty female convicts, with a sergeant's party
of the New South Wales corps as a guard. Nothing had happened on board
her until the 25th of May, when information was given to Mr. David Wake
Bell, the agent on the part of Government, that a mutiny was intended by
the convicts, and that they had proceeded so far as to saw off some of
their irons. Insinuations were at the same time thrown out, of the
probability of their being joined by certain of the sailors and of the
guard. The agent, after making the necessary inquiry, thought it
indispensable to the safety of the ship to cause an instant example to
be made, and ordered one of the convicts who was found out of irons to
be executed that night. Others he punished the next morning; and by
these measures, as might well be expected, threw such a damp on the
spirits of the rest, that he heard no more during the voyage of attempts
or intentions to take the ship.

Since the arrival of the _Boddingtons_ many circumstances respecting the
intended mutiny in that ship had been disclosed by the convicts
themselves which were not before known. They did not hesitate to say,
that all the officers were to have been murdered, the first* mate and the
agent excepted, who were to be preserved alive for the purpose of
conducting the ship to a port, when they likewise were to be put to

[* Mr. Duncan McEver. He belonged to the _Atlantic_, which ship he
quitted at Bengal.]

As intentions of this kind had been talked of in several ships, the
military guard should never have been less than an officer's command, and
that guard (especially when embarked for the security of a ship full of
wild lawless Irish) ought never to have been composed either of young
soldiers, or of deserters from other corps.

This ship had a quick passage from Rio de Janeiro, arriving here in
sixty-five days from that port. She brought the following quantity of
provisions and stores for the colony:

Beef 46 tierces 15,496 ) 31,496 pounds;
Shipped at Cork 80 barrels 16,000 )
Pork 92 tierces 29,440 ] 45,440 pounds;
Shipped at Cork 80 barrels 16,000 ]
Flour 192 barrels, 64,512 pounds;
Lime-stone, shipped at Cork 44 tons;
Clothing and necessaries 17 bales and 5 cases

The convicts arrived in a very healthy state, nor was any one lost by
sickness during the voyage.

Captain Paterson, of the New South Wales corps, an account of whose
journeys in Africa appeared in print some years ago, conceiving that he
might be able to penetrate as far as, or even beyond, the western
mountains (commonly known in the colony by the name of the Blue
Mountains, from the appearance which land so high and distant generally
wears), set off from the settlement with a small party of gentlemen
(Captain Johnston, Mr. Palmer, and Mr. Laing the assistant-surgeon) well
provided with arms, and having provisions and necessaries sufficient for
a journey of six weeks, to make the attempt. Boats were sent round to
Broken Bay, whence they got into the Hawkesbury, and the fourth day
reached as far as Richmond Hill. At this place, in the year 1789, the
governor's progress up the river was obstructed by a fall of water, which
his boats were too heavy to drag over. This difficulty Captain Paterson
overcame by quitting his large boats, and proceeding from Richmond Hill
with two that were smaller and lighter. He found that this part of the
river carried him to the westward, and into the chasm that divided the
high land seen from Richmond Hill. Hither, however, he got with great
difficulty and some danger, meeting in the space of about ten miles with
not less than five waterfalls, one of which was rather steep, and was
running at the rate of ten or twelve miles an hour. Above this part the
water was about fifteen yards from side to side, and came down with some
rapidity, a fall of rain having swollen the stream. Their navigation was
here so intricate, lying between large pieces of rock that had been borne
down by torrents, and some stumps of trees which they could not always
see, that (after having loosened a plank in one boat, and driven the
other upon a stump which forced its way through her bottom) they gave up
any further progress, leaving the western mountains to be the object of
discovery at some future day. It was supposed that they had proceeded ten
miles farther up the river than had ever before been done, and named that
part of it which until then had been unseen, 'the Grose;' and a high peak
of land, which they had in view in the chasm, they called 'Harrington

Captain Paterson, as a botanist, was amply rewarded for his labour and
disappointment by discovering several new plants. Of the soil in which
they grew, he did not, however, speak very favourably.

He saw but few natives, and those who did visit them were almost
unintelligible to the natives of this place who accompanied him. He
entertained a notion that their legs and arms were longer than those of
the inhabitants of the coast. As they live by climbing trees, if there
really was any such difference, it might perhaps have been occasioned by
the custom of hanging by their arms and resting on their feet at the
utmost stretch of the body, which they practise from their infancy. The
party returned on the 22nd, having been absent about ten days.

In their walk to Pitt Water, they met with the boat which had been stolen
by some of the Irish convicts; and a few days after their return some of
those who had run into the woods came into Parramatta, with an account of
two of their party having been speared and killed by the natives. The men
who were killed were of very bad character, and had been the principals
in the intended mutiny on board the _Boddingtons_. Their destruction was
confirmed by some of the natives who lived in the town.

The foundation of another barrack for officers was begun in this month.
For the privates one only was yet erected; but this was not attended with
any inconvenience, as all those who were not in quarters had built
themselves comfortable huts between the town of Sydney and the
brick-kilns. This indulgence might be attended with some convenience to
the soldiers; but it had ever been considered, that soldiers could no
where be so well regulated as when living in quarters, where, by frequent
inspections and visitings, their characters would be known, and their
conduct attended to. In a multiplicity of scattered huts the eye of
vigilance would with difficulty find its object, and the soldier in
possession of a habitation of his own might, in a course of time, think
of himself more as an independent citizen, than as a subordinate soldier.

On the 23rd the first part of the cargo of the _Sugar Cane_ was
delivered, and in a very few days all that she had on board on account of
government was received into the store, together with some surplus
provisions of the contractor's. The convicts which she brought out were,
very soon after her arrival, sent to the settlements up the harbour. At
these places the labouring people were employed, some in getting the
Indian corn for the ensuing season into such ground as was ready, and
others in preparing the remainder. At the close of the month, through the
favourable rains which had fallen, the wheat in general wore the most
flattering appearance, giving every promise of a plenteous harvest. At
Toongabbie the wheat appeared to bid defiance to any accident but fire,
against which some precautions had however been judiciously and timely
taken. From this place, and from the settlers, a quantity of corn
sufficient to supply all our numbers for a twelvemonth was expected to be
received into the public granaries, if those who looked so far forward,
and took into their calculation much corn not yet in ear, were not too
sanguine in their expectations.


The _Boddingtons_ and _Sugar Cane_ sail
A mill erected
Thefts committed
Convicts emancipated
Two persons killed by lightning
The _Fairy_ arrives
Farms sold
Public works
The _Francis_ returns from New Zealand
The _Fairy_ sails
Ration altered
Harvest begun
Criminal Court held
A convict executed
Mill at Parramatta
Christmas Day
Grants of land
Public works
Expenses how to be calculated
Deaths in 1793
Prices of grain, stock, and labour

October.] The _Boddingtons_ and _Sugar Cane_ being both bound for the
same port in India (Bengal) the masters agreed to proceed together; and
on the 13th, the _Sugar Cane_ having set up her rigging, and hurried
through such refitting as was indispensably necessary, both ships left
the harbour with a fair wind, purposing to follow in the _Atlantic's_
track. The master of the _Boddingtons_ was furnished by us with a copy of
a chart made on board the _Pitt_ Indiaman, and brought hither by the
_Britannia_, of a passage or channel found by that ship in the land named
by Lieutenant Shortland New Georgia; which channel was placed in the
latitude of 8 degrees 30 minutes S and in the longitude of 158 degrees 30
minutes E and named 'Manning's Straits,' from the commander of the

The master of the _Sugar Cane_, had he been left to sail alone,
determined to have tried the passage to India by the way of the South
Cape of this country, instead of proceeding to the northward, and seemed
not to have any doubt of meeting with favourable winds after rounding the
cape. By their proceeding together, however, it remained yet to be
determined, whether a passage to India round the South Cape of this
country was practicable, and whether it would be a safer and a shorter
route than one through Endeavour or Torres Strait, the practicability of
which was likewise undetermined as to any knowledge which was had of it
in this colony.

Seven persons whose terms of transportation had expired, were permitted
to quit the colony in these ships, and the master of the _Sugar Cane_ had
shipped Benjamin Williams, the last of the _Kitty's_ people who remained
undisposed of. One free woman, the wife of a convict, took her passage in
the _Sugar Cane_.

Notwithstanding the facility with which passages from this place were
procured (very little more being required by the masters than permission
to receive them, and that the parties should find their own provisions)
it was found after the departure of these ships that some convicts had,
by being secreted on board, made their escape from the colony; and two
men, whose terms as convicts had expired, were brought up from the _Sugar
Cane_ the day she sailed, having got on board without permission; for
which the lieutenant-governor directed them to be punished with fifty
lashes each, and sent up to Toongabbie.

Early in the month an alteration took place in the weekly ration, the
four pounds of wheat served to the convicts were discontinued, and a
substitution of one pint of rice, and two pints of gram (an East India
grain resembling dholl) took place. The serving of wheat was discontinued
for the purpose of issuing it as flour; to accomplish which a mill had
been constructed by a convict of the name of James Wilkinson, who came to
this country in the _Neptune_. His abilities as a millwright had hitherto
lain dormant, and perhaps would longer have continued so, had they not
been called forth by a desire of placing himself in competition with
Thorpe the millwright sent out by government.

His machine was a walking mill, the principal wheel of which was fifteen
feet in diameter, and was worked by two men; while this wheel was
performing one revolution, the mill-stones performed twenty. As it was in
opposition to the public millwright that he undertook to construct this
mill, he of course derived no assistance whatever from Thorpe's knowledge
of the business, and had to contend not only with his opinion, but the
opinion of such as he could prejudice against him. The heavy part of the
work, cutting and bringing in the timber, and afterwards preparing it,
was performed by his fellow-prisoners, who gave him their labour
voluntarily. He was three months and five days from taking it in hand to
his offering it for the first trial. On this trial it was found defective
in some of the machinery, which was all constructed of the timber of the
country, and not properly seasoned. Its effects in grinding were various;
at first it would grind no more than two bushels an hour; with some
alteration, it ground more, and did for some time complete four bushels;
it afterwards ground less, and at the end of the month produced not more
than one bushel. Had the whole of the machinery been upon a larger scale,
there was reason to suppose it would have answered every expectation of
the most interested. The constructor, however, had a great deal of merit,
and perceiving himself what the defects were in this, he undertook to
make another upon a larger scale at Sydney, and on an improved plan. For
this purpose, all the artificers and a gang of convicts were brought down
from Parramatta, and were first employed in forming a timber-yard at
Petersham, two hundred feet square.

At that place, a small district in the neighbourhood of Sydney so named
by the lieutenant-governor, nine huts for labouring convicts were built,
and sixty acres of government ground cleared of timber, twenty of which
were sown with Indian corn. This was the only addition made to the public
ground this season; and the sole difference that was observable in the
progress of our cultivation consisted in sowing this year with wheat a
large portion of that ground which last year grew Indian corn. The
weather throughout the month continued extremely favourable for wheat.

The number of convicts which it was intended to receive for the present
into the New South Wales corps being determined, a warrant of
emancipation passed the seal of the territory, giving conditional freedom
to twenty three persons of that description, seven of whom were
transported for life, and three had between six and nine years to serve,
having been sent out for fourteen. The condition of the pardon was, their
continuing to serve in the corps into which they had enlisted until they
should be regularly discharged therefrom.

Several instances of irregularity and villainy among the convicts
occurred during this month. From Parramatta, information was received,
that in the night of the 15th four people broke into the house of John
Randall, a settler, where with large bludgeons they had beaten and nearly
murdered two men who lived with him. The hands and faces of these
miscreants were blackened; and it was observed, that they did not speak
during the time they were in the hut. It was supposed, that they were
some of the new-comers, and meant to rob the house; and this they would
have effected, but for the activity of the two men whom they attacked,
and for the resistance which they met with from them. At this time seven
of the male convicts lately arrived from Ireland, with one woman, had
absconded into the woods. Some of these people were afterwards brought in
to Parramatta, where they confessed that they had planned the robbing of
the millhouse, the governor's, and other houses; and that they were to be
visited from time to time in their places of concealment by others of
their associates who were to reside in the town, and to supply them with
provisions, and such occasional information as might appear to be
necessary to their safety. They also acknowledged that the assault at
Randall's hut was committed by them and their companions.

About the same time the house of Mr. Atkins at Parramatta was broken
into, and a large quantity of provisions, and a cask of wine, removed
from his store-room to the garden fence, where they left them on being
discovered and pursued. They, however, got clear off, though without
their booty.

At Sydney, in the night of the 26th, a box belonging to John Sparrow (a
convict) was broke open, and three watches stolen out, one of which with
the seals had cost thirty-two guineas, and belonged to an officer. This
theft was committed at the hospital, where Sparrow was at the time a
patient, although able to work occasionally at his business; and being a
young man of abilities as a watchmaker, and of good character, was
employed by most of the gentlemen of the settlement. Suspicion fell upon
a notorious thief who was in the same ward, and who had some time before
proposed to another man to take the box. On his examination he accused
two others of the theft, but with such equivocation in his tale as
clearly proved the falsehood of it. As there was no evidence against him,
except the proposal just mentioned, he was discharged, and during the
month nothing was heard of the watches. An old man belonging to the
hospital was robbed at the same time of eight guineas and some dollars,
which he had got together for the purpose of paying for his passage and
provisions in any ship that would take him home.

During a storm of rain and thunder which happened in the afternoon of
Saturday the 26th, two convict lads Dennis Reardon and William Meredith,
who were employed in cutting wood just by the town when the rain
commenced, ran to a tree for shelter, where they were found the next
morning lying dead, together with a dog which followed them. There was no
doubt that the shelter which they sought had proved their destruction,
having been struck dead by lightning, one or two flashes of which had
been observed to be very vivid and near. One of them, when he received
the stroke, had his hands in his bosom; the hands of the other were
across his breast, and he seemed to have had something in them. The
pupils of their eyes were considerably dilated, and the tongue of each,
as well as that of the dog, was forced out between the teeth. Their faces
were livid, and the same appearance was visible on several parts of their
bodies. The tree at the foot of which they were found was barked at the
top, and some of its branches torn off. In the evening they were decently
buried in one grave, to which they were attended by many of their
fellow-prisoners. Mr. Johnson, to a discourse which he afterwards
preached on the subject, prefixed as a text these words from the first
book of Samuel, chap xx verse 3. 'There is but a step between me and

This was the first accident of the kind that, to our knowledge, had
occurred in the colony, though lightning more vivid and alarming had
often been seen in storms of longer duration.

While every one was expecting our colonial vessel, the _Francis_, from
New Zealand. the signal for a sail was made on the 29th; and shortly
after the _Fairy_, an American snow, anchored in the cove from Boston in
New England, and last from the island of St. Paul, whence she had a
passage of only four weeks. The master, Mr. Rogers, touched at False
Bay; but from there not having been any recent arrivals from Europe, he
procured no other intelligence at that port, than what we had already
received. At the island of St. Paul he found five seamen who had been
left there from a ship two years before, and who had procured several
thousand seal-skins. They informed him, that Lord Macartney in his
Majesty's ship the _Lion_, and the _Hindostan_ East-Indiaman, had
touched there in their way to China, and Mr. Rogers expected to have
heard that his lordship had visited this settlement.

The _Fairy_ was to proceed from this place to the north-west coast of
America, where the master hoped to arrive the first for the fur market.
Thence he was to go to China with his skins, and from China back to St.
Paul, where he had left a mate and two sailors. Their success was to
regulate his future voyages.

Mr. Rogers expressed a surprise that we had not any small craft on the
coast, as he had observed a plentiful harvest of seals as he came along.
He came in here merely to refresh, not having any thing on board for
sale, his cargo consisting wholly of articles of traffic for the
north-west coast of America.

Charles Williams, the settler so often mentioned in this narrative,
wearied of being in a state of independence, sold his farm with the
house, crop, and stock, for something less than one hundred pounds, to an
officer of the New South Wales corps, Lieutenant Cummings, to whose
allotment of twenty-five acres Williams's ground was contiguous. James
Ruse also, the owner of Experiment farm, anxious to return to England,
and disappointed in his present crop, which he had sown too late, sold
his estate with the house and some stock (four goats and three sheep) for
forty pounds. Both these people had to seek employment until they could
get away; and Williams was condemned to work as a hireling upon the
ground of which he had been the master. But he was a stranger to the
feelings which would have rendered this circumstance disagreeable to him.

The allotment of thirty acres, late in the possession of James Richards,
a settler at the Ponds, deceased, was put into the occupation of a
private soldier of the New South Wales corps; and a grant of thirty acres
at the Eastern Farms was purchased for as many pounds by another soldier.

The greatest inconvenience attending this transfer of landed property
was the return of such a miscreant as Williams, and others of his
description, to England, to be let loose again upon the public. The land
itself came into the possession of people who were interested in making
the most of it, and who would be more studious to raise plentiful crops
for market.

Building and covering the new barrack, and bringing in timber for the new
mill-house, which was not to be built of brick, formed the principal
labour of this month at Sydney. The shipwrights were employed in putting
up the frame of a long-boat purchased of the master of the _Britannia_,
and repairing the hoy, which had been lying for some months useless for
want of repairs, having been much injured by the destructive worm that
was found in the waters of this cove.

At the other settlements the convicts were employed in planting the
Indian corn. About four hundred and twenty acres were planted with that
article for this season's crop.

November.] In the night of Thursday the 7th of November, the _Francis_
schooner anchored in the cove from Dusky Bay in New Zealand; her long
absence from this place (nearly nine weeks) having been occasioned by
meeting with contrary and heavy gales of wind. The alteration which had
been made in this vessel by rigging her as a schooner instead of a sloop,
for which she was built, was found to have materially affected her
sailing; for a schooner she was too short, and, for want of proper sail,
she did not work well. Four times she was blown off the coast of New
Zealand, the _Britannia_ having anchored in Dusky Bay sixteen days before
the _Francis_.

Mr. Raven found in health and safety all the people whom he had left
there. They had procured him only four thousand five hundred seal-skins,
having been principally occupied in constructing a vessel to serve them
in the event of any accident happening to the _Britannia_. This they had
nearly completed when Mr. Raven arrived. She was calculated to measure
about sixty-five tons, and was chiefly built of the spruce fir, which
Mr. Raven stated to be the fittest wood he had observed there for
ship-building, and which might be procured in any quantity or of any
size. The carpenter of the _Britannia_, an ingenious man, and master of
his profession, compared it to English oak for durability and strength.

The natives had never molested the _Britannia's_ people: indeed they
seemed rather to abhor them; for if, by chance, in their excursions,
which were but very few, they visited and left any thing in a hut, they
were sure, on their next visit, to find the hut pulled down, and their
present remaining where it had been left. Some few articles which
Mr. Raven had himself placed in a hut, when he touched there to establish
his little fishery, were found three months after by his people in the
same spot.

Their weather had been very bad; severe gales of wind from the north-west
and heavy rains often impeding their fishery and other labour. A shock of
an earthquake too had been felt. They had an abundance of fresh
provisions, ducks, wood-hens, and several other fowl; and they caught
large quantities of fish. The soil, to a great depth, appeared to be
composed of decayed vegetable substances.

From Mr. Raven, who had waited some days for the appearance of the
_Francis_, the master received such assistance as he stood in need of;
and on the 20th of October she sailed from Dusky Bay, in company with the
_Britannia_, with whom she parted immediately, leaving her to pursue her
voyage to Bengal.

Nothing appeared by this information from Dusky Bay, that held out
encouragement to us to make any use of that part of New Zealand. So
little was said of the soil, or face of the country, that no judgment
could be formed of any advantages which might be expected from attempting
to cultivate it; a seal fishery there was not an object with us at
present, and, beside, it did not seem to promise much. The time, however,
that the schooner was absent was not wholly misapplied; as we had the
satisfaction of learning the event of a rather uncommon speculation, that
of leaving twelve people for ten months on so populous an island, the
inhabitants whereof were known to be savages, fierce and warlike. We
certainly may suppose that these people were unacquainted with the
circumstance of there being any strangers near them; and that
consequently they had not had any communication with the few miserable
beings who were occasionally seen in the coves of Dusky Bay.

A few days after the arrival of the _Francis_, Mr. Rogers sailed for
China, taking with him two women and three men who had received
permission to quit the colony. On board of the _Fairy_ was found a
convict, John Crow, who for some offence had been confined in the
military guardhouse at Parramatta, whence he found means to make his
escape, and reached Sydney in time to swim on board the American. On
being brought on shore he received a slight punishment, and was confined
in the black hole at the guardhouse at Sydney, out of which he escaped a
night or two after, by untiling a part of the roof. After this he was not
heard of, till the watch apprehended him at Parramatta, where he had
broken into two houses, which he had plundered, and was caught with the
property upon him.

The frequency of enormous offences had rendered it necessary to inflict a
punishment that should be more likely to check the commission of crimes
than mere flagellation at the back of the guardhouse, or being sent to
Toongabbie. Crow, therefore, was lodged in the custody of the civil
power, and ordered for trial by the court of criminal judicature.

During the time the _Fairy_ lay at anchor in this cove, a sergeant and
three privates of the New South Wales corps were sent and remained on
board, for the purpose of preventing all improper visitations from the
shore, and inspecting whatever might be either received into or sent from
the ship in a suspicious manner: a regulation from which the master
professed to have found essential service, as he thereby kept his decks
free from idle or bad people, and his seamen went on unmolested with the
duty of the vessel.

On Saturday the 23rd, the flour and rice in store being nearly expended,
the ration was altered to the following proportions of those articles,

To the officers, civil and military, soldiers, overseers, and the
settlers from free people, were served, of biscuit or flour 2 pounds;
wheat 2 pounds; Indian corn 5 pounds; peas 3 pints.

To the male convicts were served, women and children receiving in the
proportions always observed, (of biscuit or flour, none, and for the
first time since the establishment of the colony) wheat 3 pounds; Indian
corn 5 pounds; paddy 2 pints; gram 2 pints.

This was universally felt as the worst ration that had ever been served
from his Majesty's stores; and by the labouring convict particularly so,
as no one article of grain was so prepared for him as to be immediately
made use of. The quantity that was now to be ground, and the numbers who
brought grain to the mill, kept it employed all the night as well as the
day; and as, from the scarcity of mills, every man was compelled to wait
for his turn, the day had broke, and the drum beat for labour, before
many who went into the mill house at night had been able to get their
corn ground. The consequence was, that many, not being able to wait,
consumed their allowance unprepared. By the next Saturday, a quantity
of wheat sufficient for one serving having been passed through the large
mill at Parramatta, the convicts received their ration of that article
ground coarse.

The lumber yard near Sydney being completed, the convict millwright
Wilkinson was preparing his new mill with as much expedition as he could
use; and John Baughan, an ingenious man, formerly a convict, had
undertaken to build another mill upon a construction somewhat different
from that of Wilkinson's, in which he was assisted by some artificers of
the regiment. Both these mills were to be erected on the open spot of
ground formerly used as a parade by the marine battalion.

Short as was the quantity of flour in store, we did not, however, despair
of being able to issue some meal of this season's growth before it could
be entirely expended. About the middle of the month, the wheat that was
sown in April last, about ninety acres, being perfectly ripe, the harvest
commenced, and from that quantity of ground it was calculated that
upwards of twenty-two bushels an acre would be received. Most of the
settlers had also begun to reap; and they, as well as others who had
grown that grain, were informed, that 'Wheat properly dried and cleaned
would be received at Sydney by the commissary at ten shillings the
bushel; but that none could be purchased from any other persons than
those who had grown it on their own farms; neither could any be taken
into the stores at Parramatta.'

The precaution of receiving wheat only from those persons who had raised
it on their own farms was intended to prevent the petty and rascally
traffic which would otherwise have been carried on between free people
off the stores and persons who might employ them to sell the fruits of
their depredations on the public and other grounds.

December.] Early in this month a criminal court was assembled, at which
Charles Williams, a boy of fourteen years of age, and John Bevan, a
notorious offender, though also very young, were tried for breaking into
a house at Toongabbie; but, for want of evidence, were acquitted. John
Crow was also tried for the burglary in the hut at Parramatta, out of
which he had stolen a quantity of wearing apparel and provisions; and,
being clearly convicted, he received sentence of death.

An idea very generally prevailed among the ignorant part of the convicts,
that the lieutenant-governor was not authorised to cause a sentence of
death to be carried into execution, a notion that was in their minds
confirmed by the mercy which he had extended to Samuel Wright, who was
pardoned by him in July. It became, therefore, absolutely necessary, for
their own sakes, to let them see that he was not only possessed of the
power, but that he would also exercise it. On this account the prisoner,
after petitioning more than once for a respite, which he received, was
executed on Tuesday the 10th, eight days after his trial. There did not
exist in the colony at this time a fitter object for example than John
Crow. Unfortunately, the poor wretch to his last moment cherished the
idea that he should not suffer; and consequently could have been but ill
prepared for the change he was about to experience. He had endeavoured to
effect his escape by jumping down a privy a few hours before his
execution; and it was afterwards found, that he had with much ingenuity
removed some bricks in the wall of the hole in which he was confined,
whence, had he obtained the respite of another day, he would easily have

Independent of the consideration that this man had long been a proper
object of severe punishment, to have pardoned him (even on any condition)
would only have tended to strengthen the supposition that the
lieutenant-governor had not the power of life and death; and many daring
burglaries and other enormities would have followed. Crow pretended that
he was in the secret respecting the watches which were stolen from the
hospital in October last; but all that he knew amounted to nothing that
could lead to a discovery either of them or of the thief. He did not
appear to be at all commiserated or regretted by any of his fellow
prisoners; a certain proof of the absence of every good quality in his

In the night of the 6th, during a violent storm of rain and thunder, a
long-boat, which had arrived in the evening from Parramatta with grain
for the next day's serving, and was then lying at the wharf on the west
side under the care of a sentinel, filled with the quantity of water
which ran from the wharf, and sunk. By this accident two hundred and
eighty bushels of Indian corn in cob, and a few bushels of wheaten meal,
were totally lost. The natives who could dive availed themselves of the
circumstance, and recovered a great quantity of the corn, of which they
were very fond. The boats were not injured.

Sudden storms of this kind were frequent; and gusts of wind have been so
sudden and violent, that ships, loosely moored, have driven at their
anchors in the cove.

On Saturday the 7th a change took place in the ration; this was, the
discontinuing of the three pints of peas which were served to the civil
and military, and the three pints of gram which were served to the
convicts, and giving them instead an equal quantity of wheat.

Notwithstanding every supply of flour which had been purchased, or
received into the store from England, it was at length entirely
exhausted; the civil and military receiving the last on Monday the 9th.
This total deprivation of so valuable, so essential an article in the
food of man happened, fortunately, at a season when its place could in
some measure be supplied immediately, the harvest having been all safely
got in at Toongabbie by the beginning of this month. About the middle of
it, eight hundred bushels were threshed out, and on Monday the 16th the
civil and military received each seven pounds of wheat coarsely ground at
the mill at Parramatta. This mill, from the brittleness of the timber
with which it was constructed, was found to be unequal to the consumption
of the settlements. The cogs frequently broke, and hence it was not of
any very great utility. To remedy this inconvenience, a convict
blacksmith undertook to produce one iron hand-mill each week, for which
he was to be paid at the rate of two guineas; and by his means several
mills were distributed in the settlements.

The salt meat being the next article which threatened a speedy
expenditure, on Saturday the 28th one pound was taken from the weekly
allowance of beef; and but a small quantity of Indian corn remaining in
store, the male convicts received eight pounds of new wheat, whole; and
only three pounds of Indian corn, or paddy, were served.

On Christmas day, the Reverend Mr. Johnson preached to between thirty and
forty persons only, though on a provision day some four or five hundred
heads were seen waiting round the storehouse doors. The evening produced
a watchhouse full of prisoners; several were afterwards punished, among
whom were some servants for stealing liquor from an officer.

The passion for liquor was so predominant among the people, that it
operated like a mania, there being nothing which they would not risk to
obtain it: and while spirits were to be had, those who did any extra
labour refused to be paid in money, or any other article than spirits,
which were now, from their scarcity, sold at six shillings per bottle.
Webb, the settler near Parramatta, having procured a small still from
England, found it more advantageous to draw an ardent diabolical spirit
from his wheat, than to send it to the store and receive ten shillings
per bushel from the commissary. From one bushel of wheat he obtained
nearly five quarts of spirit, which he sold or paid in exchange for
labour at five and six shillings per quart.

McDonald, a settler at the Field of Mars, made a different and a better
use of the produce of his farm. Having a mill, he ground and dressed his
wheat, and sold it to a baker at Sydney at fourpence per pound, procuring
forty-four pounds of good flour from a bushel of wheat, which was taken
at fifty-nine pounds. This person also killed a wether sheep (the produce
of what had been given to him by Governor Phillip) at Christmas, and sold
it at two shillings per pound, each quarter weighing about fifteen

The town of Sydney had this year increased considerably; not fewer than
one hundred and sixty huts, beside five barracks, having been added since
the departure of Governor Phillip. Some of these huts were large, and to
each of them upwards of fourteen hundred bricks were allowed for a
chimney and floor. These huts extended nearly to the brickfields, whence
others were building to meet them, and thus to unite that district with
the town.

About the latter end of the month a large party of the natives attacked
some settlers who were returning from Parramatta to Toongabbie, and took
from them all the provisions which they had just received from the store.
By flying immediately into the woods, they eluded all pursuit and search.
They were of the Hunter's or Woodman's tribe, people who seldom came
among us, and who consequently were little known.

The natives who lived about Sydney appeared to place the utmost
confidence in us, choosing a clear spot between the town and the
brickfield for the performance of any of their rites and ceremonies; and
for three evenings the town had been amused with one of their spectacles,
which might properly have been denominated a tragedy, for it was attended
with a great effusion of blood. It appeared from the best account we
could procure, that one or more murders having been committed in the
night, the assassins, who were immediately known, were compelled,
according to the custom of the country, to meet the relations of the
deceased, who were to avenge their deaths by throwing spears, and drawing
blood for blood. One native of the tribe of Cammerray, a very fine fellow
named Carradah*, who had stabbed another in the night, but not mortally,
was obliged to stand for two evenings exposed to the spears not only of
the man whom he had wounded, but of several other natives. He was
suffered indeed to cover himself with a bark shield, and behaved with the
greatest courage and resolution. Whether his principal adversary (the
wounded man) found that he possessed too much defensive skill to admit of
his wounding him, or whether it was a necessary part of his punishment,
was not known with any certainty; but on the second day that Carradah had
been opposed to him and his party, after having received several of their
spears on his shield, without sustaining any injury, he suffered the
other to pin his left arm (below the elbow) to his side, without making
any resistance; prevented, perhaps, by the uplifted spears of the other
natives, who could easily have destroyed him, by throwing at him in
different directions. Carradah stood, for some time after this, defending
himself, although wounded in the arm which held the shield, until his
adversaries had not a whole spear left, and had retired to collect the
fragments and piece them together. On his sitting down his left hand
appeared to be very much convulsed, and Mr. White was of opinion that the
spear had pierced one of the nerves. The business was resumed when they
had repaired their weapons, and the fray appeared to be general, men,
women, and children mingling in it, giving and receiving many severe
wounds, before night put an end to their warfare.

[* So he was called among his own people before he knew us; but having
exchanged names with Mr. Ball (who commanded the _Supply_,) he went
afterwards by that name, which they had corrupted into Midjer Bool.]

What rendered this sort of contest as unaccountable as it was
extraordinary was, that friendship and alliance were known to subsist
between several that were opposed to each other, who fought with all the
ardour of the bitterest enemies, and who, though wounded, pronounced the
party by whom they had been hurt to be good and brave, and their friends.

Possessing by nature a good habit of body, the combatants very soon
recovered of their wounds; and it was understood, that Carradah, or
rather Midjer Bool, had not entirely expiated his offence, having yet
another trial to undergo from some natives who had been prevented by
absence from joining in the ceremonies of that evening.

About this time several houses were attempted to be broken into; many
thefts were committed; and the general behaviour of the convicts was far
from that _propriety_ which ought to have marked them. The offences were
various, and several punishments were of necessity inflicted. The Irish
who came out in the last ships were, however, beginning to show symptoms
of better dispositions than they landed with, and appeared only to
dislike hard labour.

Among the conveniencies that were now enjoyed in the colony must be
mentioned the introduction of passage-boats, which, for the benefit of
settlers and others, were allowed to go between Sydney and Parramatta.
They were the property of persons who had served their respective terms
of transportation; and from each passenger one shilling was required for
his passage; luggage was paid for at the rate of one shilling per cwt;
and the entire boat could be hired by one person for six shillings. This
was a great accommodation to the description of people whom it was
calculated to serve, and the proprietors of the boats found it very
profitable to themselves.

The boat-builders and shipwrights found occupation enough for their
leisure hours, in building boats for those who could afford to pay them
for their labour. Five and six gallons of spirits was the price, and five
or six days would complete a boat fit to go up the harbour; but many of
them were very badly put together, and threatened destruction to whoever
might unfortunately be caught in them with a sail up in blowing weather.

On the 24th ten grants of land passed the seal of the territory, and
received the lieutenant-governor's signature. Five allotments of
twenty-five acres each, and one of thirty, were given to six
non-commissioned officers of the New South Wales corps, who had chosen an
eligible situation nearly midway between Sydney and Parramatta; and who,
in conjunction with four other settlers, occupied a district to be
distinguished in future by the name of _Concord_. These allotments
extended inland from the water's side, within two miles of the district
named Liberty Plains.

The settlers at this latter place appeared to have very unproductive
crops, having sown their wheat late. They were, indeed, of opinion, that
they had made a hasty and bad choice of situation; but this was nothing
more than the language of disappointment, as little judgment could be
formed of what any soil in this country would produce until it had been
properly worked, dressed, cleansed, and purged of that sour quality that
was naturally inherent in it, which it derived from the droppings of wet
from the leaves of gum and other trees, and which were known to be of an
acrid destructive nature.

Another barrack for officers was got up this month at Sydney; but, for
want of tiles, was only partly covered in. The millwrights Wilkinson and
Baughan had got up the frames and roofs of their respective mill-houses,
and, while waiting for their being tiled, were proceeding with preparing
the wood-work of their mills.

The great want of tiles that was occasionally felt, proceeded from there
being only one person in the place who was capable of moulding tiles, and
he could never burn more than thirty thousand tiles in six weeks, being
obliged to burn a large quantity of bricks in the same kilns. It required
near sixty-nine thousand bricks to complete the building of one barrack,
and twenty-one thousand tiles to cover it in. The number of tiles
rendered useless by carriage, and destroyed in the kilns, was estimated
at about three thousand in each kiln, and fifteen thousand were generally
burnt off at a time.

To furnish bricks for these barracks, and other buildings, three gangs
were constantly at work, finding employment for three overseers and about
eighty convicts.

To convey these materials from the brickfield to the barrack-ground, a
distance of about three-quarters of a mile, three brick-carts were
employed, each drawn by twelve men, under the direction of one overseer.
Seven hundred tiles, or three hundred and fifty bricks, were brought by
each cart, and every cart in the day brought either five loads of bricks,
or four of tiles. To bring in the timber necessary for these and other
buildings, four timber-carriages were employed, each being drawn by
twenty-four men. In addition to these, to each carriage were annexed two
fallers, and one overseer, making a total of two hundred and twenty-eight
men, who must be employed in any such heavy labour as the building of a
barrack or a storehouse, exclusive of the sawyers, carpenters, smiths,
painters, glaziers, and stonemasons, without whose labour they could not
be completed.

The expense of victualling and clothing these people (both their
provisions and the materials for making their clothes being augmented
above their prime cost, by freight and by the cost of what might be
damaged and useless) must be supposed to be considerable; and must be
taken into account, together with the cost of tools and of such materials
as were not to be procured in the country, when calculating the expenses
of the public works erected in this colony.

There died between the 1st of January and 31st of December, both
inclusive, two settlers, seven soldiers, seventy-eight male convicts,
twenty-six female convicts, and twenty-nine children. One male convict
was executed; six male convicts were lost in the woods; one male convict
was found dead in the woods; one male convict was killed by the fall of a
tree, and two male convicts were killed by lightning; making a decrease
by death and accidents of one hundred and fifty-three persons. To this
decrease may be added, four male convicts, who found means to escape from
the colony on board of some of the ships which had been here.

The following were the prices of grain, live and dead stock, grocery,
spirits, etc. as they were sold or valued at Sydney and Parramatta at the
close of the year 1793:


Wheat per bushel, for cash, 10s
Ditto, in payment for labour, 14s
Maize per bushel, for cash, 7s
Ditto, in payment for labour, 12s 6d
Caffre corn 5s
English flour per lb 6d
Flour of this country, for cash, 3d
Ditto, for labour, 4d

Potatoes per cwt 10s
Ditto per lb 11/2d

Ewes (Cape) from L6 to L8 8s
Wethers (Cape) from L4 to L5 10s
She goats, full grown, L8 8s
Ditto, half grown, L4 4s
Male goat, full grown, L2
Breeding sows from L3 to L6
Sucking pigs 6s
A full grown hog from L3 to L3 10s
Turkeys per couple, nearly full grown, L2 ss
Ducks per couple, nearly ditto, 10s
Laying hens, each 5s
A full grown cock 4s
Half grown fowls 2s
Chickens, six weeks old, per couple 2s
Fresh pork per lb 9d
Mutton per lb from 2s to 2s 6d
Kangaroo per lb 4d
Salt pork per lb 9d
Salt beef per lb 6d

Tea (green) from 12s to 16s
Tea (black) from 10s to 12s
Loaf sugar per lb 2s 6d
Fine moist sugar per lb 2s
Coarse moist sugar per lb 1s 6d
Butter from 2s per lb to 2s 6d
Cheese from 2s per lb to 2s 6d
Soap per lb from 2s to 3s
Tobacco per lb from 1s to 1s 6d
Lamp oil, made from shark's liver, per gall 4s

Jamaica rum per gallon from L1 to L1 8s
Rum (American) from 16s per gall to L1
Coniac brandy per gallon from L1 to L1 4s
Cape brandy per gallon from 16s to L1
Cherry brandy per dozen L3 12s
Wine (Cape Madeira) per gallon 12s
Porter per gallon from 4s to 6s


Wheat per bushel, for cash, 10s
Ditto, in payment for labour, 14s
Maize per bushel, for cash, 7s 6d
Ditto, in payment for labour, l0s
Caffre corn, none
English flour per lb 6d
Flour of this country, for cash, 4d
Ditto, for labour, 6d

Potatoes per lb 3d
Greens per hundred 6s

Ewes from L4 to L10
Wethers from L2 10s to L4
She goats from L4 to L10 10s
A young male goat L3
Breeding sows from L3 to L7
Sucking pigs from 4s to 7s 6d
Turkeys per couple, nearly full grown, L2 2s
Ducks per couple, full grown, L1 1s
Laying Hens, each from 4s to 7s 6d
A full grown cock 5s
Half grown fowls 3s
Chickens, six weeks old, per couple 2s
Fresh pork per lb 9d
Mutton per lb from 2s to 2s 6d
Kangaroo per lb 4d
Salt pork per lb 9d
Salt beef per lb 5d

Tea (green) from 16s to L1 1s
Black tea from 10s to 16s
Moist sugar (coarse) 2s
Butter per lb 2s 6d
Cheese per lb 2s 6d
Soap per lb 3s
Tobacco per lb 2s
Lamp oil, made from shark's liver, per gall 4s

Neat spirits per gallon from L1 10s to L2
Wine of the most inferior quality per gall 16s

The high prices of wine, spirits, and porter, proceeded not only from
their scarcity, but from the great avidity with which they were procured
by the generality of the people in these settlements, with whom money was
of so little value, that the purchaser had been often known (instead of
asking) to name himself a price for the article he wanted, fixing it at
as high again would otherwise have been required of him.

The live stock in the country belonging to individuals was confined to
three or four persons, who kept up the price in order to create an
interest in the preservation of it. An English cow, in calf by the bull
which was brought here in the _Gorgon_, was sold by one officer to
another for eighty pounds; and the calf, which proved a male, was sold
for fifteen pounds. A mare, brought in the _Britannia_ from the Cape, was
valued at forty pounds, and, although aged and defective, was sold twice
in the course of a few days for that sum. It must however be remarked,
that in these sales stock itself was generally the currency of the
country, one kind of animals being commonly exchanged for another.

Labour was also proportionably high. For sawing one hundred feet of
timber, in their own time, for individuals, a pair of sawyers demanded
seven shillings; a carpenter for his day's work charged three shillings;
and for splitting paling for fences, and bringing it in from the woods,
they charged from one shilling and six-pence to two shillings and
six-pence per hundred. An officer who had an allotment of one hundred
acres of land near the town of Sydney having occasion for a hundred
thousand bricks to build a dwelling-house, contracted with a brickmaker
and his gang, and for that number of bricks paid him the sum of forty-two
pounds ten shillings. In the fields, for cutting down the timber of an
acre of ground, burning it off, and afterwards hoeing it for corn, the
price was four pounds. Five-and-twenty shillings were demanded and paid
for hoeing an acre of ground already cleared.

For all this labour, where money was paid, it was taken at its reputed
value; but where articles were given in lieu of labour, they were charged
according to the prices stated.

The masters of merchantmen, who generally made it their business
immediately on their arrival to learn the prices of commodities in the
colony, finding them so extravagantly high as before related, thought it
not their concern to reduce them to anything like a fair equitable value;
but, by asking themselves what must be considered a high price, after
every proper allowance for risk, insurance, and loss, kept up the
extravagant nominal value which every thing bore in the colony.


A murder committed near Parramatta
The _Francis_ sails for Norfolk Island
Storm of wind at Parramatta
A Settlement fixed at the Hawkesbury
A burglary committed
Samuel Burt emancipated
Death of William Crozier Cook
The watches recovered
The _Francis_ returns from Norfolk Island
The New Zealand natives sent to their own country
Disturbance at Norfolk Island
Court of inquiry at Sydney
The _Francis_ returns to Norfolk Island
Natives troublesome
State of provisions


January.] The report that was spread in April last, of a murder having
been committed on a watchman belonging to the township of Parramatta,
never having been confirmed, either by finding the body among the stalks
of Indian corn as was expected, or by any one subsequent circumstance, it
was hoped that the story had been fabricated, and that murder was a crime
which for many years to come would not stain the annals of the colony. In
proportion, indeed, as our numbers increased, and the inhabitants began
to possess those comforts or necessaries which might prove temptations to
the idle and the vicious, that high and horrid offence might, in common
with others of the same tendency, be expected to exist; but at this
moment all thought their persons secure, though their property was
frequently invaded. On the 5th of this month, however, John Lewis, an
elderly convict, employed to go out with the cattle at Parramatta, was
most barbarously murdered. The cattle, having lost their conductor,
remained that night in the woods; and when they were found, the absence
of Lewis excited an apprehension that some accident had happened to him.
His body was not discovered however until the Wednesday following, when,
by the snorting and great uneasiness of the cattle which had been driven
out for the purpose, it was perceived lying in a hollow or ravine, into
which it had been thrown by those who had butchered him, covered with
logs, boughs, and grass. Some native dogs, led by the scent of human
blood, had found it, and by gnawing off both the hands, and the entire
flesh from one arm, had added considerably to the horrid spectacle which
the body exhibited on being freed from the load of rubbish which had been
heaped upon it.

This unfortunate man had imprudently boasted of being worth much money,
and that he always carried it with him sewed up in some part of his
clothes, to guard against losing it while absent from his hut. If this
was true, what he carried with him certainly proved his destruction; if
not, the catastrophe must be attributed to his indiscreet declarations.
By the various wounds which he had received, it appeared that he must
have well defended himself, and could not have parted with his life until
overpowered by numbers; for, though advanced in years, he was a stout,
muscular man; and it was from this circumstance concluded, that more than
one person was concerned in the murder of him. To discover, if possible,
the perpetrators of this atrocious offence, one or two men of bad
characters were taken up and examined, as well as all the people employed
about the stockyard: but nothing came out that tended to fix it upon any
one of them; and, desirable as it was that they should be brought to that
punishment which sooner or later awaited them, it was feared that until
some riot or disagreement among themselves should occur, no clue would be
furnished that would lead to their detection. The body was therefore
brought in from the spot where it had been concealed, about four miles
from Parramatta, and buried at that place, after having been very
carefully examined by the assistant-surgeon Mr. Arndell.

In tracing the motives that could lead to this murder, the pernicious
vice of _gaming_ presented itself as the first and grand cause. To such
excess was this pursuit carried among the convicts, that some had been
known, after losing provisions, money, and all their spare clothing, to
have staked and lost the very clothes on their wretched backs, standing
in the midst of their associates as naked, and as indifferent about it,
as the unconscious natives of the country. Money was, however, the
principal object with these people; for with money they could purchase
spirits, or whatever else their passions made them covet, and the colony
could furnish. They have been seen playing at their favourite games
cribbage and all-fours, for six, eight, and ten dollars each game; and
those who were not expert at these, instead of pence, tossed up for
dollars. Their meetings were scenes of quarrelling, swearing, and every
profaneness that might be expected from the dissolute manners of the
people who composed them; and to this improper practice must undoubtedly
be attributed most of the vices that existed in the colony, pilferings,
garden-robberies, burglaries, profanation of the Sabbath, and murder.

On the 5th the _Francis_ sailed for Norfolk Island. The last accounts
from thence were dated in March 1793; and as we were uncertain that the
supplies which had been sent in the April following by Mr. Bampton had
been safely landed, we became extremely anxious to learn the exact state
of the settlement there. This information was all the advantage that was
expected to be derived from the voyage; for, whatever Mr. King's wants
might be, the stores at Sydney were incapable of alleviating them. Little
apprehension was however entertained of his being in any need of
supplies, as, at the date of his last letter, he reckoned that his crops
of wheat and maize would produce more grain than would be sufficient for
twelve months consumption.

At this time, an account of the salt provisions remaining in store at
Sydney and Parramatta being taken, it appeared, that there were
sufficient for only ten weeks at the ration then issued, viz three pounds
per man per week. In this situation, every addition that could be made to
the ration was eagerly sought after. Wheat was paid to the industrious in

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