An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, Vol. 1
by David Collins
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Many might be saved who now suffer an ignominious and an early death; and many might be so much purified in the furnace of punishment and adversity, as to become the ornaments of that society of which they had formerly been the bane. The vices of mankind must frequently require the severity of justice; but a wise State will direct that severity to the greatest moral and political good.






One of His Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, Chief Justice in Eyre South of Trent, A Governor of the Charter-house, and a Vice-President of the Asylum


The honour that your Lordship has done me, in permitting this volume to go forth into the world under the sanction of your name, demands my warmest acknowledgments. I can only wish that the Work had been more worthy of its patron.

The originator of the plan of colonization for New South Wales was too conspicuous a character to be overlooked by the narrator of its rise and progress. The benevolent mind of your Lordship led you to conceive this method of redeeming many lives that might be forfeit to the offended laws; but which, being preserved, under salutary regulations, might afterward become useful to society: and to your patriotism the plan presented a prospect of commercial and political advantage. The following pages will, it is hoped, serve to evince, with how much wisdom the measure was suggested and conducted; with what beneficial effects its progress has been attended; and what future benefits the parent country may with confidence anticipate.

That your Lordship may long live to enjoy those grateful reflections which a sense of having advanced the public welfare must be presumed to excite; and that our most gracious sovereign, the father of his people, may long, very long reign over these kingdoms, and continue to be served by statesmen of tried talents and integrity, is the earnest prayer of,

MY LORD, Your Lordship's much obliged, and most devoted servant, DAVID COLLINS

Poland Street, May 25, 1798

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To the public the following work is with respectful deference submitted by its author, who trusts that it will be found to comprise much information interesting in its nature, and that has not been anticipated by any former productions on the same subject. If he should be thought to have been sometimes too minute in his detail, he hopes it will be considered, that the transactions here recorded were penned as they occurred, with the feelings that at the moment they naturally excited in the mind; and that circumstances which, to an indifferent reader, may appear trivial, to a spectator and participant seem often of importance. To the design of this work (which was, to furnish a complete record of the transactions of the colony from its foundation), accuracy and a degree of minuteness in detail seemed essential; and on reviewing his manuscript, the author saw little that, consistently with his plan, he could persuade himself to suppress.

For his labours he claims no credit beyond what may be due to the strictest fidelity in his narrative. It was not a romance that he had to give to the world; nor has he gone out of the track that actual circumstances prepared for him, to furnish food for sickly minds, by fictitious relations of adventures that never happened, but which are by a certain description of readers perused with avidity, and not unfrequently considered as the only passages deserving of notice.

Though to a work of this nature a style ornamental and luxuriant would have been evidently inapplicable, yet the author has not been wholly inattentive to this particular, but has endeavoured to temper the dry and formal manner of the mere journalist, with something of the historian's ease. Long sequestered, however, from literary society, and from convenient access to books, he had no other models than those which memory could supply; and therefore does not presume to think his volume proof against the rigid censor: but to liberal criticism he submits, with the confidence of a man conscious of having neither negligence nor presumption to impute to himself. He wrote to beguile the tedium of many a heavy hour; and when he wrote looked not beyond the satisfaction which at some future period might be afforded to a few friends, as well as to his own mind, by a review of those hardships which in common with his colleagues he had endured and overcome; hardships which in some degree he supposes to be inseparable from the first establishment of any colony; but to which, from the peculiar circumstances and description of the settlers in this instance, were attached additional difficulties.

In the progress of his not unpleasing task, the author began to think that his labours might prove interesting beyond the small circle of his private friends; that some account of the gradual reformation of such flagitious characters as had by many (and those not illiberal) persons in this country been considered as past the probability of amendment, might be not unacceptable to the benevolent part of mankind, but might even tend to cherish the seeds of virtue, and to open new streams from the pure fountain of mercy*.

[* "It often happens," says Dr. Johnson, "that in the loose and thoughtless and dissipated, there is a secret radical worth, which may shoot out by proper cultivation; that the spark of heaven, though dimmed and obstructed, is yet not extinguished, but may, by the breath of counsel and exhortation, be kindled into flame . . .

"Let none too hastily conclude that all goodness is lost, though it may for a time be clouded and overwhelmed; for most minds are the slaves of external circumstances, and conform to any hand that undertakes to mould them; roll down any torrent of custom in which they happen to be caught; or bend to any importunity that bears hard against them."

Rambler, No. 70.]

Nor was he without hope, that through the humble medium of this history, the untutored savage, emerging from darkness and barbarism, might find additional friends among the better-informed members of civilized society.

With these impressions, therefore, he felt it a sort of duty to offer his book to the world; and should the objects alluded to be in any degree promoted by it, he shall consider its publication as the most fortunate circumstance of his life.

Occurrences such as he has had to relate are not often presented to the public; they do not, indeed, often happen. It is not, perhaps, once in a century that colonies are established in the most remote parts of the habitable globe; and it is seldom that men are found existing perfectly in a state of nature. When such circumstances do occur, curiosity, and still more laudable sentiments, must be excited. The gratification even of curiosity alone might have formed a sufficient apology for the author; but he has seen too much of virtue even among the vicious to be indifferent to the sufferings, or backward in promoting the felicities of human nature.

A few words, he hopes, may be allowed him respecting the colony itself, for which he acknowledges what, he trusts, will be considered as at least an excusable partiality. He bore his share of the distresses and calamities which it suffered; and at his departure, in the ninth year of its growth, with pleasure saw it wear an aspect of ease and comfort that seemed to bid defiance to future difficulties. The hardships which it sustained were certainly attributable to mischance, not to misconduct. The Crown was fortunate in the selection of its governors, not less with respect to the gentlemen who were sent out expressly in that capacity, than in those on whom the temporary administration occasionally devolved.

Under Governor Hunter, who at present presides there, the resources of the country and the energies of the colonists will assuredly be called forth. The intelligence, discretion, and perseverance of that officer will be zealously applied to discover and fix every local advantage. His well-known humanity will not fall to secure the savage islander from injury or mortification; reconcile him to the restraints, and induce him to participate in the enjoyments, of civilized society; and instruct him to appreciate justly the blessings of rational freedom, whose salutary restrictions are not less conducive to individual benefit than to the general weal.

With respect to the resources of the settlement, there can be little doubt, that at this moment it is able to support itself in the article of grain; and the wild stock of cattle to the westward of the Nepean will soon render it independent on this country in the article of animal food. As to its utility, beside the circumstance of its freeing the mother country from the depraved branches of her offspring, in some instances reforming their dispositions, and in all cases rendering their labour and talents conducive to the public good, it may prove a valuable nursery to our East India possessions for soldiers and seamen.

If, beside all this, a whale fishery should be established, another great benefit may accrue to the parent country from the coast of New South Wales.

The island, moreover, abounds with fine timber in every respect adapted to the purposes of ship-building: iron too it possesses in abundance. Coal has been found there, and some veins of copper; and however inconsiderable the quantity of these articles that has been hitherto found, yet the proof of their existence will naturally lead to farther research, and most probably terminate in complete success.

The flax plant grows spontaneously, and may, with the assistance of proper implements and other necessaries, be turned to very profitable account.

The climate is for the most part temperate and healthy; cattle are prolific; and fruits and culinary vegetables thrive with almost a tropical luxuriance.

To be brief: Such is the English Colony in New South Wales, for which the author is anxiously solicitous to obtain the candid consideration of his countrymen; among whom it has been painful to him to remark a disposition too prevalent for regarding it with odium and disgust.

London, May 25, 1798

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Section I

Transports hired to carry convicts to Botany Bay The Sirius and the Supply commissioned Preparations for sailing Tonnage of the transports Persons left behind Two convicts punished on board the Sirius The Hyaena leaves the Fleet Arrival of the fleet at Teneriffe Proceedings at that island Some particulars respecting the town of Santa Cruz An excursion made to Laguna A convict escapes from one of the transports, but is retaken Proceedings The fleet leaves Teneriffe, and puts to sea

Section II

Proceed on the voyage Altitude of the peak of Teneriffe Pass the isles of Sal, Bonavista, May, and St. Iago Cross the equator Progress Arrive at the Brazils Transactions at Rio de Janeiro Some particulars of that town Sail thence Passage to the Cape of Good Hope Transactions there Some particulars respecting the Cape Depart for New South Wales

Section III

Proceed on the voyage Captain Phillip sails onward in the Supply, taking with him three of the transports Pass the island of St. Paul Weather, January 1788 The South Cape of New Holland made The Sirius and her convoy anchor in the harbour of Botany Bay.


Arrival of the fleet at Botany Bay The governor proceeds to Port Jackson, where it is determined to fix the settlement Two French ships under M. de la Perouse arrive at Botany Bay The Sirius and convoy arrive at Port Jackson Transactions Disembarkation Commission and letters patent read Extent of the territory of New South Wales Behaviour of the convicts The criminal court twice assembled Account of the different courts The Supply sent with some settlers to Norfolk Island Transactions Natives Weather


Broken Bay visited M. de la Perouse sails Transactions The Supply returns Lord Howe Island discovered The ships for China sail Some convicts wounded by the natives Scurvy New store-house Necessary orders and appointments Excursions into the country New branch of the harbour into Port Jackson Sheep


Transactions Transports sail for China The Supply sails for Lord Howe Island Return of stock in the colony in May The Supply returns Transactions A convict wounded Rush-cutters killed by the natives Governor's excursion His Majesty's birthday Behaviour of the convicts Cattle lost Natives Proclamation Earthquake Transports sail for England Supply sails for Norfolk Island Transactions Natives Convicts wounded


Heavy rains Public works Sheep stolen Prince of Wale's birthday Fish Imposition of a convict Natives Apprehensive of a failure of provisions Natives Judicial administration A convict murdered


Settlement of Rose Hill The Golden Grove returns from Norfolk Island The storeships sail for England Transactions James Daley tried and executed for housebreaking Botany Bay examined by the governor A convict found dead in the woods Christmas Day A native taken and brought up to the settlement Weather Climate Report of deaths from the departure of the fleet from England to the 31st of December 1788


New Year's Day Convicts, how employed Their disposition to idleness and vice Her Majesty's birthday kept Natives Captain Shea dies Regulations respecting the convicts Instances of their misconduct Transactions The Supply sails for Norfolk Island Public Works Natives Convicts killed Stores robbed The Supply returns Insurrection projected at Norfolk Island Hurricane there Transactions at Rose Hill


Neutral Bay Smallpox among the natives Captain Hunter in the Sirius returns with supplies from the Cape of Good Hope Middleton Island discovered Danger of wandering in the forests of an unknown country Convicts The King's birthday kept Convicts perform a play A reinforcement under Lieutenant Cresswell sent to Norfolk Island Governor Phillip makes an excursion of discovery Transactions Hawkesbury River discovered Progress at Rose Hill Important papers left behind in England


Barracks Stock Intelligence from Norfolk Island Police established at the principal settlement A successful haul of fish A soldier tried for a rape Provisions begin to fail Natives A launch completed Rats Ration reduced to two-thirds Sirius returns to the Cove One of her mates lost in the woods Supply sails for Norfolk Island Utility of the night watch A female convict executed for house-breaking Two natives taken Serious charge against the assistant commissary satisfactorily cleared up Lieutenant Dawes's excursion The Supply returns Transactions


A convict made a free settler A pleasing delusion Extraordinary supply of fish Caesar's narrative Another convict wounded by the natives The Supply arrives from Norfolk Island A large number of settlers sent thither on board the Sirius and Supply Heavy rains Scarcity of provisions increasing in an alarming degree Lieutenant Maxwell's insanity News brought of the loss of the Sirius Allowance of provisions still further reduced The Supply sent to Batavia for relief Robberies frequent and daring An old man dies of hunger Rose Hill Salt and fishing-lines made The native escapes Transactions


The Lady Juliana transport arrives from England The Guardian His Majesty's birthday Thanksgiving for His Majesty's recovery The Justinian storeship arrives Full ration ordered Three transports arrive Horrid state of the convicts on board Sick landed Instance of sagacity in a dog A convict drowned Mortality and number of sick on the 13th Convicts sent to Rose Hill A town marked out there Works in hand at Sydney Instructions respecting grants of land Mr. Fergusson drowned Convicts' claims on the master of the Neptune Transactions Criminal Court Whale


Governor Phillip wounded by a native Intercourse opened with the natives Great haul of fish Convicts abscond with a boat Works Want of rain Natives Supply returns from Batavia Transactions there Criminal Courts James Bloodworth emancipated Oars found in the woods A convict brought back in the Supply A boat with five people lost Public works A convict wounded by a native Armed parties sent out to avenge him A Dutch vessel arrives with supplies from Batavia Decrease by sickness and casualties in 1790


New Year's Day A convict drowned A native killed Signal colours stolen Supply sails for Norfolk Island H. E. Dodd, Superintendant at Rose Hill, dies Public works Terms offered for the hire of the Dutch snow to England The Supply returns State of Norfolk Island Fishing-boat overset Excessive heats Officers and seamen of the Sirius embark in the snow Supply sails for Norfolk Island, and the Waaksamheyd for England William Bryant and other convicts escape from New South Wales Ruse, a settler, declares that he can maintain himself without assistance from the public stores Ration reduced Orders respecting marriage Port regulations Settlers Public works


A Musket found by a native Reports of plans to seize boats Supply arrives from Norfolk Island The King's birthday A canoe destroyed Its evil effects Corn sown Battery begun One hundred and forty acres inclosed for cattle The Mary Ann arrives Two criminal courts held Ration improved The Matilda arrives The Mary Ann sails for Norfolk Island Settlers The Atlantic and Salamander arrive Full ration issued The William and Ann arrives Natives Public works


The Salamander sails for, and the Mary Ann arrives from Norfolk Island Bondel, a native, returns A seaman, for sinking a canoe, punished The Gorgon arrives Commission of emancipation, and public seal The Active and Queen arrive Complaints against the master of the Queen Supply ordered home Albemarle arrives Mutiny on board Britannia and Admiral Barrington arrive Future destination of the transports The Atlantic and Queen hired Atlantic sails for Bengal Salamander returns from Norfolk Island Transactions Public works Suicide


A party of Irish convicts abscond The Queen sails for Norfolk Island Whale fishery Ration altered The Supply sails for England Live stock (public) in the colony Ground in cultivation Sick Run of water decreasing Two transports sail Whale fishery given up The Queen arrives from Norfolk Island The Marines embark in the Gorgon for England Ration further reduced Transactions Convicts who were in the Guardian emancipated Store finished Deaths in 1791


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


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


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


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


Order respecting. spirits Seamen punished Convicts enlisted into the new corps Regulations respecting Divine Service The Hope sails The Bellona arrives Cargo damaged Information Two women and a child drowned The Kitty sails for Norfolk Island Ration An Officer sent up to inspect the cultivation at Parramatta A theft committed Works Kangaroo Ground opened Settlers Liberty Plains Conditions Bellona sails Transactions The Shah Hormuzear from Calcutta arrives Information received by her The Dholl expended Sickness and death occasioned by the American spirits The Chesterfield sent to Norfolk Island Convicts sell their clothing Two Spanish ships arrive Information Epitaph A Criminal Court The Kitty returns from Norfolk Island Fraud at the store at Parramatta


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


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 Accident 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


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 Transactions Harvest begun Criminal Court held A convict executed Provisions Mill at Parramatta Christmas Day Natives Convicts Boats Grants of land Settlers Public works Expenses how to be calculated Deaths in 1793 Prices of grain, stock, and labour


A murder committed near Parramatta The Francis sails for Norfolk Island Provisions Storm of wind at Parramatta Crops A Settlement fixed at the Hawkesbury Natives A burglary committed Samuel Burt emancipated Death of William Crozier Cook The watches recovered The Francis returns from Norfolk Island Information 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


Alarming State of the provisions The William arrives with supplies from England, and the Arthur from Bengal The amor patriae natural to man in all parts of the earth Information Mr. Bampton Captain Bligh Admiral Barrington transport lost Full ration issued Ingratitude and just punishment of the settlers Buffin's corn-mill set to work Gaming Honesty of a native The Daedalus arrives from America Information Female inconstancy, and its consequences The Arthur sails The Francis returns from Norfolk Island A boat stolen Natives killed A new mill Disorder in the eyes prevalent


The William sails Cultivation Excursion in search of a river A storeship arrives Captain Bampton Full ration The Britannia, Speedy, and Halcyon arrive The Indispensable and Halcyon sail The Fanny arrives from Bombay Information Two convicts executed The Hope sails


The Speedy sails and returns Excursion to the western mountains The Francis returns from Norfolk Island Corn bills not paid The Britannia sails for the Cape, and the Speedy on her fishing voyage Notification respecting the corn bills The Resolution and Salamander arrive from England Irish prisoners troublesome Gales of wind Natives Daedalus sails for Norfolk Island Emancipations The Fancy sails A death Bevan executed A settler murdered at Parramatta The Mercury arrives Spanish ships Emancipation Settlers and natives Civil Court The Surprize arrives Deaths Resolution and Salamander sail Transactions The Daedalus returns from Norfolk Island The Mercury sails for America The Lieutenant-Governor leaves the Settlement The Daedalus sails for England, and the Surprize for Bengal The Experiment arrives Captain Paterson assumes the government pro tempore Ration Deaths in 1794


Gangs sent to till the public grounds The Francis sails Regulations for the Hawkesbury Natives Works Weather Deaths Produce at the river Transactions there Natives The Francis arrives from the Cape The Fancy from New Zealand Information The Experiment sails for India A native killed Weather Wheat Criminal Court Ration reduced The Britannia hired to procure provisions Natives at the Hawkesbury The Endeavour arrives with cattle from Bombay Deaths Returns of ground sown with wheat The Britannia sails for India The Fancy for Norfolk Island Convicts Casualties


Ration A Criminal and a Civil Court held Circumstances of the death of Francis T. Daveney Salt made Wilson, Knight, and the natives The new mill Providence arrives from England Four convicts brought from Port Stephens Public labour Storm The Fancy arrives from Norfolk Island The Supply and Reliance arrive Governor Hunter's commission read Transactions The India ships sail Another arrival from England Military promotions Colonial regulations The Providence, Supply, and Young William sail The Sovereign storeship arrives from England Criminal court held Convict executed Printing-press employed Ration Information from Norfolk Island The Cattle lost in 1788 discovered Transactions Bennillong's Conduct after his return from England Civil Court held Harvest Regulations Natives Meteorological phenomenon at the Hawkesbury Mr. Barrow's death Deaths in 1795


The Arthur arrives from India Francis from Norfolk Island A playhouse opened Her Majesty's birthday kept Stills destroyed Ceres storeship arrives and Experiment from India Ship Otter from America Natives Harvest got in Deaths A hut demolished by the military A Transport arrives with prisoners from Ireland A criminal court held Caesar shot General court martial Otter takes away Mr. Muir Abigail from America arrives A forgery committed Works The Reliance Particulars respecting Mr. Bampton, and of the fate of Captain Hill and Mr. Carter A Schooner arrives from Duskey-Bay Crops bad Robberies committed Supply for Norfolk Island Natives Bennillong Cornwallis sails Gerald and Skirving die


Slops served Orders Licences granted The Supply returns from Norfolk Island The Susan from North America and the Indispensable from England A Criminal and Civil Court held Sick Thefts committed The Britannia arrives from Bengal Mr. Raven's opinion as to the time of making a passage to India A Civil Court The Cornwallis and Experiment sail for India Caution to masters of ships A Wind-mill begun Thefts committed State of the settlers The Governor goes to Mount Hunter Regulations Public works Deaths


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


Comprising particulars of the Britannia's voyage to England; with remarks on the state of Norfolk Island, and some account of New Zealand.

Particulars of the state of Norfolk Island to the time when the ships left it:

Court of Judicature Number of Inhabitants Male Convicts State of Cultivation Appropriation of the Land Statement of the Stock belonging to Government and individuals on the 18th October 1796 Hours of Labour Ordinary Price of Labour Average Prices of Provisions raised on the Island Account of Grain raised on Norfolk Island, from the 6th of March 1788 (when it was first settled) to October 1796 Account of Births and Deaths from November 12th, 1791, to September 31st, 1796 State of the Flax Manufactory An Account of New Zealand and its inhabitants A Short Vocabulary of the New Zealand Language


General Remarks: Government and Religion Stature and Appearance Habitations Mode of Living Courtship and Marriage Customs and Manner Superstition Diseases Property Dispositions Funeral Ceremonies Language



Chart of the three harbours of Botany Bay, Port Jackson, and Broken Bay, showing the cultivated grounds in and about the different settlements, with the course of the Rivers Hawkesbury and Nepean, and the situation of the wild cattle to the westward of the last-mentioned river. View of the Governor's house at Rose Hill in the township of Parramatta By water to Parramatta, with a distant view of the western mountains Eastern view of Sydney Western view of Sydney Cove Direct south view of Sydney South-east view in Sydney, including the church, etc. North view of Sydney Cove Baker's Farm on the banks of the river Western view of Toongabbie Portraits of Ben-nil-long, Wo-lar-ra-bar-ray, Wo-gul-trow-el Boin-ba, and Bun-de-bun-da The Brick Field, or High Road to Parramatta View of Sydney in Norfolk Island Facsimile of a chart of New Zealand, drawn by Too-gee Saunderson's Farm Yoo-long Erah-ba-diang, No. 1 Ditto No. 2 Ditto No. 3 Ditto No. 4 Ditto No. 5 Ditto No. 6 Ditto No. 7 Ditto No. 8 Ceremony of burning a corpse

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Transports hired to carry convicts to Botany Bay The Sirius and the Supply commissioned Preparations for sailing Tonnage of the transports Persons left behind Two convicts punished on board the Sirius The Hyaena leaves the Fleet Arrival of the fleet at Teneriffe Proceedings at that island Some particulars respecting the town of Santa Cruz An excursion made to Laguna A convict escapes from one of the transports, but is retaken Proceedings The fleet leaves Teneriffe, and puts to sea

1786.] The Commissioners of his Majesty's Navy, near the end of the year 1786, advertised for a certain number of vessels to be taken up for the purpose of conveying between seven and eight hundred male and female felons to Botany Bay in New South Wales, on the eastern coast of New Holland; whither it had been determined by Government to transport them, after having sought in vain upon the African coast for a situation possessing the requisites for the establishment of a colony.

The following vessels were at length contracted for, and assembled in the River to fit, and take in stores and provisions, viz the Alexander, Scarborough, Charlotte, Lady Penrhyn, and Friendship, as transports; and the Fishbourn, Golden Grove, and Borrowdale, as store-ships. The Prince of Wales was afterwards added to the number of transports, on a representation being made to the Treasury Board that such an addition was necessary. The transports were immediately prepared for the reception of the convicts, and the store-ships took on board provisions for two years, with tools, implements of agriculture, and such other articles as were considered necessary to a colonial establishment.

October.] On the 24th of October, Captain Arthur Phillip hoisted a pendant on board his Majesty's ship the Sirius of 20 guns, then lying at Deptford. This ship was originally called the Berwick, and intended for the East India Company; but having, while on the stocks, met with some accident by fire, was purchased by Government for a store-ship, and as such had performed one voyage to America. Her burden was about 520 tons; and being, from her construction, well-calculated for this expedition, she was taken into the service as a man of war, and with her capacity changed also her name.

As the government of the intended colony, as well as the command of the Sirius, was given to Captain Phillip, it was thought necessary to appoint another captain to her, who might command her on any service in which she might be employed for the colony, while Captain Phillip should be engaged in his government. For this purpose an order was signed by his Majesty in Council, directing the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to appoint John Hunter esquire (then a master and commander) second captain of the Sirius, with the rank of post. Although this ship mounted only 20 guns, and those but six-pounders, yet on this particular service her establishment was not confined to what is usual in a ship of that class; but, with a first and second captain, she had also three lieutenants, a master, purser, surgeon and two mates, a boatswain, a gunner, and a subaltern's detachment of marines.

The Supply brig was also put into commission, and the command given to Lieutenant Henry Lidgbird Ball. This vessel was to accompany the Sirius as an armed tender; and both ships, having completed their equipment at Deptford-yard, dropped down on the 10th of December to Long Reach, where they took in their guns, powder, and other stores.

1787.] January.] They were here joined by some of the transports, and continued waiting for orders until the 30th of January 1787, when they sailed for Spithead; which port, however, they were prevented from reaching, by heavy and contrary gales of wind, which they continued to experience both in the Downs and on their passage, until the latter end of the following month.

One or two of the transports had in the mean time arrived at Portsmouth, and the Charlotte and Alexander proceeded to Plymouth, where they were to receive the male and female convicts that were ready for them.

March.] On the 5th of March, the order for their embarkation, together with that of the detachment of marines provided as an escort, was sent from the Secretary of State's office, with directions for their immediately joining the other ships of the expedition at the Motherbank. This was done accordingly; and, every necessary arrangement having taken place, the troops intended for the garrison embarked, and the convicts, male and female, were distributed in the different transports.

May.] On Monday the 7th of May Captain Phillip arrived at Portsmouth, and took the command of his little fleet, then lying at the Motherbank. Anxious to depart, and apprehensive that the wind, which had for a considerable time been blowing from the quarter favourable to his passage down the Channel, might desert him at the moment when he most wished for its continuance, he on the Thursday following made the signal to prepare for sailing. But here a demur arose among the sailors on board the transports, who refused to proceed to sea unless they should be paid their wages up to the time of their departure, alleging as a ground for this refusal, that they were in want of many articles necessary for so long a voyage, which this money, if paid, would enable them to purchase. The custom of their employ, however, being against a demand which yet appeared reasonable, Captain Phillip directed the different masters to put such of their people as refused to proceed with them to sea, on board of the Hyaena frigate, and to receive an equal number of her seamen, who should afterwards be re-exchanged at sea, her captain being directed to accompany the fleet to a certain distance.

This difficulty being removed, and the ship's companies of the Sirius and the Supply having received the usual advance of two months' wages, on Saturday the 12th the men of war and some of the transports got under sail, with a view of dropping down to St. Helen's, and thence proceeding to sea; but the wind falling short, and proving unfavourable, they brought up at Spithead for the night, and at day-break next morning the whole fleet weighed with a fresh breeze, and, having a leading wind, passed without any accident through the Needles.

The transports were of the following tonnage, and had on board the undermentioned number of convicts, and other persons, civil and military, viz

The Alexander, of 453 tons, had on board 192 male convicts; 2 lieutenants, 2 sergeants, 2 corporals, 1 drummer, and 29 privates, with 1 assistant surgeon to the colony.

The Scarborough, of 418 tons, had on board 205 male convicts; 1 captain, 2 lieutenants, 2 sergeants, 2 corporals, 1 drummer, and 26 privates, with 1 assistant surgeon to the colony.

The Charlotte, of 346 tons, had on board 89 male and 20 female convicts; 1 captain, 2 lieutenants, 2 sergeants, 3 corporals, 1 drummer, and 35 privates, with the principal surgeon of the colony.

The Lady Penrhyn, of 338 tons, had on board 101 female convicts; 1 captain, 2 lieutenants, and 3 privates, with a person acting as a surgeon's mate.

The Prince of Wales, of 334 tons, had on board 2 male and 50 female convicts; 2 lieutenants, 3 sergeants, 2 corporals, 1 drummer, and 24 privates, with the surveyor-general of the colony.

The Friendship, (snow,) of 228 tons, had on board 76 male and 21 female convicts; 1 captain, 2 lieutenants, 2 sergeants, 3 corporals, 1 drummer, and 36 privates, with 1 assistant surgeon to the colony.

There were on board, beside these, 28 women, 8 male and 6 female children, belonging to the soldiers of the detachment, together with 6 male and 7 female children belonging to the convicts.

The Fishbourn store-ship was of 378 tons; the Borrowdale of 272 tons; and the Golden Grove of 331 tons. On board this last ship was embarked the chaplain of the colony, with his wife and a servant.

Not only these as store-ships, but the men of war and transports, were stored in every part with provisions, implements of agriculture, camp equipage, clothing for the convicts, baggage, etc.

On board of the Sirius were taken, as supernumeraries, the major commandant of the corps of marines embarked in the transports*, the adjutant and quarter-master, the judge-advocate of the settlement, and the commissary; with 1 sergeant, 3 drummers, 7 privates, 4 women, and a few artificers.

[* This officer was also lieutenant-governor of the colony.]

Proper day and night signals were established by Captain Phillip for the regulation of his convoy, and every necessary instruction was given to the masters to guard against separation. On board the transports a certain number of prisoners were allowed to be upon deck at a time during the day, the whole being properly secured at night: and as the master of each ship carrying convicts had indented for their security in a penalty of forty pounds for every one that might escape, they were instructed constantly to consult with the commanding marine officer on board the transports, both as to the number of convicts that were to be suffered to come on deck during the passage, and the times when such indulgence should be granted. To the military was left the care of those essential services, the preservation of their health, the inspection of their provisions, and the distribution of the sentinels who were to guard them. Their allowance of provisions during the voyage (two-thirds of the usual allowance to a seaman in the navy) was contracted for in London*; and Mr. Zachariah Clark was sent out in one of the transports as the agent responsible for the due performance of the contract. This allowance was to be suspended on their arrival at any foreign port, the commissary of the settlement being then to furnish them with fresh provisions.

[* By William Richards jun. esquire, of Walworth in the county of Surry.]

At our outset we had the mortification to find that two of our convoy were very heavy sailers, and likely to be the occasion of much delay in so long a voyage as that in which we had embarked. The Charlotte was on the first and second day taken in tow by the Hyaena, and the Lady Penrhyn fell considerably astern. As the separation of any of the fleet was a circumstance to be most sedulously guarded against and prevented, the Sirius occasionally shortened sail to afford the sternmost ships time to come up with her; at the close of evening she was put under an easy sail for the night, during which time she carried, for the guidance of the whole, a conspicuous light in the main-top.

On the 15th the signal was made for the transports to pass in succession within hail under the stern of the Sirius, when, on inquiry, it appeared, that the provost-marshal of the settlement (who was to have taken his passage on board the Prince of Wales) was left behind, together with the third mate of the Charlotte transport, and five men from the Fishbourn store-ship; the loss of these five persons was supplied by as many seamen from on board the Hyaena.

Light or unfavourable winds prevented our getting clear of the Channel until the 16th, at which time we had the satisfaction of finding that we had accomplished it without returning, or putting in at any of the ports which offered themselves in our way down.

Sunday the 20th was marked by the discovery of a design formed among the convicts on board the Scarborough transport to mutiny and take possession of the ship. The information was given by one of the convicts to the commanding marine officer on board, who, on the lying-to of the convoy at noon to dispatch Captain De Courcy to England, waited on the major-commandant on board the Sirius, and communicated the particulars to him and Captain Phillip, who, after some deliberation, directed that the ringleaders (two in number) should be brought on board the Sirius, there punished, and afterwards secured in the Prince of Wales transport. This was accordingly put in execution, and two dozen lashes were inflicted by the boatswain's mate of the Sirius on each of the offenders, who stedfastly denied the existence of any such design as was imputed to them.

A boat from each of the transports coming on board the Sirius with letters for England, some additional signals were given to the masters, with directions to those who had convicts on board to release from their irons such as might by their behaviour have merited that indulgence; but with orders to confine them again with additional security on the least appearance among them of irregularity.

These necessary regulations being adjusted, and the Hyaena sent off with the commanding officer's letters, the fleet made sail again in the evening. But it should have been observed, that when the Hyaena's boat came on board she brought some necessaries for the five men belonging to her, who had been lent to the Fishbourn store-ship, and who, animated with a spirit of enterprise, chose rather to remain in her than return in the frigate to England.

The wind was more favourable to the Hyaena's return to Plymouth (which port she was directed to make) than to our progress southward, for the two following days; but it then coming round to the NW, by the 24th we had reached the latitude of Cape Ortegal.

On the 25th, the signal was made for Lieutenant Shortland, the agent on board the Alexander, who, at his coming on board, was directed to visit the several transports, and collect from each a list of the different trades and occupations of the respective convicts, agreeably to a form given him for that purpose by Captain Phillip. From this time to the 29th the wind continued favourable, but blowing exceedingly fresh, and attended with a heavy rolling sea. The Supply was now directed to make sail and keep six miles ahead during the day, and two during the night; and to look out for the land, as it was expected that the fleet would on the morrow be in the neighbourhood of the Madeira Isles. Accordingly, soon after day-break the following morning, she made the signal for seeing land, and at noon we were abreast of the Deserters—certain high barren rocks so named, to the SSE of the Island of Madeira, and distant about three leagues.

In the afternoon of the 31st, the Supply ahead again made the signal for seeing land; and shortly after we were abreast of the ridge of rocks situated between the Madeira and Canary Isles, called the Salvages.

June.] Our strong trade-wind appeared to have here spent its force, and we were baffled (as frequently happens in the vicinity of islands) by light airs or calms. With these and contrary winds our patience was exercised until the evening of the 2nd of June, when a favourable breeze sprang up, which continued during that night. At six the next morning the island of Teneriffe was seen right ahead; and about seven in the evening the whole fleet came to an anchor in the road of Santa Cruz. The ships were immediately moored, taking the precaution of buoying their cables with empty casks, to prevent their being injured by rocks or foul ground, an inconvenience which had frequently been experienced by navigators in this road. We found riding here a Spanish packet, an English brig bound to London, and some smaller vessels.

Captain Phillip designed to have sent an officer forward in the Supply, to announce his arrival to the governor, and to settle as well the hour of his waiting upon him, as some necessary arrangements respecting fresh provisions, water, etc.; but as it was growing dark before the fleet anchored, and night coming on, when business of that nature could not well be transacted, his visit was postponed until the morning. Before we came to an anchor the port-officer, or harbour-master, came on board to make the customary inquiries, accompanied by some Spanish officers and gentlemen of the town. The ceremony of a salute was on their side declined, having, as was alleged, but two or three guns mounted for use; and on our part this omission was readily acquiesced in, as expediting the service which brought us thither, that of watering the ships, and taking on board wine and such other refreshments as could be procured; an object of more consequence than the scrupulous observance of compliment and etiquette, particularly in the then necessarily crowded state of the Sirius. And as it was afterwards understood, that it was not usual at this place to return an equal number of guns upon those occasions (a circumstance always insisted on by his Majesty's ships when they salute), all unpleasant discussion of this point was thereby avoided.

Early in the morning the officer was dispatched on shore by Captain Phillip to learn at what time he might pay his respects to the governor. The hour of noon was appointed for that ceremony; and accordingly at that time Captain Phillip, accompanied by the civil, military, and naval officers under his orders, waited on his excellency the Marquis De Branceforte, and were received by him with the utmost politeness.

The same reasons which induced Captain Phillip to acquiesce in omitting to salute on his arrival at this port, operated against his taking public notice of his Majesty's birthday, which he would otherwise have made a point of celebrating with every mark of respect.

In the afternoon of this day the marquis sent an officer on board the Sirius, politely offering Captain Phillip whatever assistance he might stand in need of, and that was in his power to furnish. In the forenoon of Wednesday the 6th, he came in person on board, attended by several of his officers, to return Captain Phillip's visit; and afterwards entertained him, the lieutenant-governor, and other officers of the settlement, navy, and marines, to the number of ten, at dinner.

The next being the day of Corpus Christi, a day of great religious observance and ceremony in Roman Catholic countries, no boats were sent from the transports to the shore. The business of watering, getting off wine, etc. was suspended by Captain Phillip's directions until the morrow, to prevent the least interruption being given by any of the people under his command to the ceremonies and processions which were to take place. Those officers, whose curiosity led them to observe the religious proceedings of the day, very prudently attended uncovered, and knelt, wherever kneeling was required, in the streets, and in their churches; for, when it was considered that the same great Creator of the universe was worshipped alike by Protestant and Catholic, what difficulty could the mind have in divesting their pageant of its tinsel, its trappings, and its censers, and joining with sincerity in offering the purest incense, that of a grateful heart?

The Marquis De Branceforte, whom we found in the government of the Canary Isles, was, we were informed, a major-general in the Spanish service, and having been three years in the government, only waited, it was said, for his promotion to the rank of lieutenant-general to return to Spain. The salary annexed to this government, as we understood, was not quite equal to fifteen hundred pounds a year. His Excellency's house was situated at the upper end of the High Street, or Square, as it was called, and was by no means the best in the town. Mr. Carter (the treasurer) and some private merchants appearing to reside in larger and much better habitations. The houses in most of the streets were built with quadrangles, a gallery running round the interior sides of the first floor, on which indeed the families chiefly resided, appropriating the ground floor to offices for domestic purposes. The dwelling-rooms were not ceiled, but were open to the roof of the building, which rarely exceeded two stories in height. The upper part of the windows was glazed with very bad glass; the lower part consisted of close lattice-work, through the small apertures of which, as we traversed the streets, we had now and then opportunities of noticing the features of the women, whom the custom of the country had confined within doors to the lattice, and in the street to the roba zilia, or veil. There were but few objects in the town sufficiently striking to draw the attention of a stranger.

The landing-place was commodious, being formed by a stone pier, alongside of which two boats at a time might lie with great ease and take in their fresh water. It appeared by an inscription in Spanish, that the pier, having fallen nearly into a state of entire ruin, was indebted for its present convenience to the liberality of the governor assisted indeed by some merchants, who superintended and contributed largely to its repair, which was completed in the year 1786.

At the lower end of the High Street was observed a light and well-finished monument of white marble, commemorating the marvellous appearance of the image or bust of Our Lady at Candelaria, to the Guanches, the aborigines of the country, who were thereby converted to Christianity 104 years before the preaching of the gospel. The four sides of the monument bore long inscriptions to this effect, and further intimated, that it was erected, as an act of piety and cordial devotion, at the expense of Don Bartholomi di Montagnes, perpetual captain of the Royal Marine Castle at Candelaria.

In the centre of this street were a stone basin and fountain, from which the inhabitants were supplied with a stream of very good water, conveyed from the neighbouring hills by wooden troughs supported on slight posts, and reaching quite to the town. At the head of the street, near the government-house, stood a large stone cross, and at a small distance the church of St Francis, annexed to which was a monastery of Franciscans. The name of Santa Cruz, the Holy Cross, seemed not inapplicable to this town, for one or more crucifixes of wood or stone were to be found in most of the streets, and in others the form of the Cross was painted upon the walls of the houses. Over the entrances of some houses we observed, inclosed in small glass-cases, the images and pictures of favourite saints, with lamps before them, which were lighted in the evenings and on certain public occasions.

There were not any fortifications upon the commanding ground above the town; but at each end of the bay stood a fort, between which were erected three or four circular redoubts, connected with each other by a low parapet wall, wearing the appearance of a line of communication between the forts; but very few cannon were to be seen in the works.

On the skirts of the town to the southward we visited a workhouse, which had been originally designed for the reception of the mendicants with which the town had been very much infested. About forty families had subscribed a certain sum to erect this building, and to furnish in a manner every way convenient and consistent with such a design. But we were informed that the governor had filled it with the daughters of the labouring poor, who were here instructed in weaving and spinning, and were brought up in industry and cleanliness, remaining in the house until of a marriageable age, when a portion equal to ten pounds sterling was given with each on the day of her nuptials. This and the other expenses of the house were furnished by a fund produced from the labour of the young people, who appeared all in the same dress, plain indeed, but cleanly and neat.

We heard with surprise, and not without regret, that this institution was likely to fall to the ground whenever the governor's departure should take place, the subscribers being dissatisfied with the plan that was then pursued, alleging that their money had been given to get rid of their beggars, whose numbers were not diminished; and that the children were only taught what they could learn from their mothers at home. To us however, judging without prejudice or partiality, the design of the institution appeared to have been more effectually answered by striking at the root of beggary, than if the charity had been merely confined to objects who would have been found daily to multiply, from the comfortable provision held out to them by that charity.

A whole-length picture of the governor was hung up in the working-rooms of the house. He was represented, agreeably to the end that was at first proposed by the institution, conducting a miserable object to the gate of the workhouse; a front view of which was also given.

These islands, known to the Romans by the appellation of the Fortunate Islands, appeared even at this day to deserve that epithet; for the inhabitants were so fortunate, and the soil so happy, that no venomous creature had been found to live there; several toads, adders, and other poisonous reptiles, which had been brought thither for proof, having died almost immediately after their arrival. The air of this place is very salubrious; an instance of which was remarked in a gentleman who was said to be 113 years of age, and who had been happy enough to preserve his faculties through such a series of time, nearly entire, his memory alone appearing to be impaired. He came from Waterford in Ireland, and had been vice-consul at this port ever since the year 1709.

We were informed that a slight shock of an earthquake had been felt here in the month of February preceding, but was unattended with any eruption from the Peak, which had not alarmed the island since the year 1703, when it destroyed the port of Guarrachica.

When the weather was very hot at Santa Cruz, the better sort of the inhabitants chose cooler residences higher up in the mountains, and these they could establish in whatever degree of temperature they chose; for in proportion as they ascended the air became cooler, the famous Peak being (though a volcano) clad in perpetual snow at its summit. We understood that the rain fell very heavy at certain seasons; and, on the sides of the hills which surrounded the town, ridges or low walls of stone were constructed at short distances, with intervals in them, to break the force of the water, which otherwise, descending in torrents, would sweep away every thing before it. Around Santa Cruz, indeed, there appeared but little vegetation for which to be apprehensive, nor did the prospect brighten till we came within view of the town named Laguna, an inland settlement, and once the capital of the island.

For this place a party of us set forward on the 8th, mounted, according to the custom of the country, upon mules or asses. Our route lay over hills and mountains of rock continually ascending, until within a short distance of the town, at which we arrived in between two and three hours from our leaving Santa Cruz. The road over which we passed was wide, but for the greatest part of it we travelled over loose stones that bore all the appearance of cinders; in some places resembling a regular pavement, and in others our beasts were compelled to scramble as well as they could over the hard solid rock. We found that Laguna, which was somewhat better than three English miles distant from Santa Cruz, had formerly been a populous city; the streets were spacious, and laid out at right angles with each other.

Here were two monasteries and as many convents. The monastery of St Augustine we visited; and the good fathers of it with great civility conducted us to their chapel, though it was preparing for the celebration of some religious ceremony. We found the altar-piece, on which was commonly displayed all their finery and taste, neat, light, and elegant. Few paintings were to be seen; the best were half-lengths of some of the saints disposed round the pulpit. The form of this building was a quadrangle, the centre of which was laid out in garden-ground, elegantly divided into walks, bordered with roses, myrtle, and a variety of other shrubs and flowers. Hence we proceeded to the retreat of religious females, but had not chosen the proper time for paying our respects, which ceremony we therefore deferred until our return in the evening from an excursion into the adjacent country.

The town of Laguna (a name which signifies Lake or Swamp) is situated upon a plain surrounded by high hills, and watered by the same means as Santa Cruz, from a great distance up the country. We noticed, indeed, two stone-basins, and fountains playing in different streets of the place. The buildings here had a manifest superiority over those of Santa Cruz, the streets were far more spacious, and the houses larger. In some of the former we perceived a regular line of shops filled chiefly with articles from England. The insalubrity of the air of this place, however, had driven, and was continuing to drive, such numbers almost daily from its influence, that it had more the appearance of a deserted than of an inhabited town, weeds and grass literally growing in the streets. As this town decreased in its population, Santa Cruz, with some others on the island, received the benefit; and it must be acknowledged, that although in quitting Laguna they removed from fertile fields and a romantic pleasant country, to uncouth and almost barren rocks at Santa Cruz, they changed a noxious for a very healthy situation.

After viewing the town we remounted our beasts, and proceeded by the side of the aqueduct into a most delightful country, where we found the people cheerfully employed in gathering their harvest, and singing their rural roundelays. The soil produced oats, barley, wheat, and Indian corn; but, though it bore always two, and sometimes three crops, it was nevertheless unequal in the whole of its produce to the consumption of the island, the deficiency being supplied from the Grand Canary.

The sides of the hills were clothed with woods, into one of which we rode, and arriving at a place named Il Plano de los Vieios, or the Plain of the Old People, we rested for some little time, and afterward, crossing through a cultivated valley, ascended the hill on the opposite side, where we visited the source of the stream that supplied the aqueduct. Returning thence, we refreshed under the walls of a small chapel, where a friar occasionally performed mass for the neighbouring country people. About five o'clock we again entered Laguna, with the intention of paying our compliments to the sisterhood of the convent which we had visited in the morning; but whether our party was too numerous, or from what other cause it proceeded we could not learn, we were only favoured with the company of four or five of the elder ladies of the house, who talked very loud and very fast. After purchasing some few bunches of artificial fruit, we took our leave, and proceeded to Santa Cruz, cautiously indeed, down the hills and rocks which we had ascended in the morning, and arrived about sun-set.

An outward-bound Dutch East-Indiaman had anchored in the road since the morning.

In the evening of this day John Powers, a convict, made his escape from the Alexander transport, in a small boat which by some accident was suffered to lie unattended to alongside the ship, with a pair of oars in it; he was however retaken at day-break the next morning, by the activity of the master and a party of marines belonging to the transport, and brought on board the Sirius, whence he was removed to his own ship, with directions for his being heavily ironed.

It appeared that he had at first conceived hopes of being received on board the Dutch East India ship that arrived in the morning; but, meeting with a disappointment there, rowed to the southern part of the island, and concealed himself among the rocks, having first set his boat and oars adrift, which fortunately led to a discovery of the place he had chosen for his retreat. The Marquis de Branceforte, on hearing of his escape, expressed the greatest readiness to assist in his recovery; and Captain Phillip offered a considerable reward for the same purpose.

Having completed the provisioning and watering of the fleet, and being again ready to proceed on our voyage, in the afternoon of Saturday the 9th the signal was made from the Sirius for all boats to repair on board; shortly after which she unmoored, and that night lay at single anchor.

At daybreak the following morning the whole fleet got under way.


Proceed on the voyage Altitude of the peak of Teneriffe Pass the isles of Sal, Bonavista, May, and St. Iago Cross the equator Progress Arrive at the Brazils Transactions at Rio de Janeiro Some particulars of that town Sail thence Passage to the Cape of Good Hope Transactions there Some particulars respecting the Cape Depart for New South Wales

Light airs had, by the noon of Monday the 11th, carried the fleet midway between the islands of Teneriffe and the Grand Canary, which latter was now very distinctly seen. This island wore the same mountainous appearance as its opposite neighbour Teneriffe, from which it seemed to be divided by a space of about eleven leagues. Being the capital of the Canary Islands, the chief bishop had his residence there, and evinced in his diocese the true spirit of a primitive Christianity, by devoting to pious and charitable purposes the principal part of a revenue of ten thousand pounds per annum. The chief officers of justice also reside in this island, before whom all civil causes are removed from Teneriffe and the other Canary Islands, to be finally decided.

While detained in this spot, we had a very fine view of the Peak of Teneriffe, lifting its venerable and majestic head above the neighbouring hills, many of which were also of considerable height, and perhaps rather diminished the grandeur of the Peak itself, the altitude of which we understood was 15,396 feet, only 148 yards short of three miles.

On the 14th, the wind began to blow steady from the north-east; and on the 15th, about eleven in the forenoon, we crossed the tropic of Cancer. Our weather now became hot and close, and we rolled along through a very heavy sea, the convoy, however, keeping well together.

At six o'clock in the morning of the 18th, the Supply, then ahead of the fleet, made the signal for seeing land. The weather being very hazy, we had but an indistinct view of the Isle of Sal, one of the Cape de Verd islands, bearing NW by W 1/4 W distant eight leagues; and at one the same day, we came in sight of the Island of Bonavista, bearing S.W. distant two leagues.

Captain Phillip designing to anchor for a few hours at the Island of St. Iago, to procure water and other refreshments, if he could get in without any risk or difficulty, in the evening shortened sail, and made the convoy's signal to close, the run from thence to that island being too great to admit of our reaching it before dark. The Supply was directed at the same time to keep ahead with a light during the night; and at twelve o'clock the night signal was made for the fleet to bring-to.

At six the next morning we made sail again, and soon after passed the Isle of May, distant about four leagues, bearing NW by W of us. Between nine and ten o'clock we made the south end of the Island of St. Iago and at the distance of about two leagues. The wind freshening soon after we saw the island, at noon we were ranging along the south side of it, with the signal flying for the convoy to prepare to anchor; but at the moment of our opening Praya-bay, and preparing to haul round the southern extremity of it, the fleet was suddenly taken aback, and immediately after baffled by light airs. We could however perceive, as well by the colours at the fort, as by those of a Portuguese snow riding in the bay, that the wind blew directly in upon the shore, which would have rendered our riding there extremely hazardous; and as it was probable that our coming to an anchor might not have been effected without some accident happening to the convoy, Captain Phillip determined to wave, for the superior consideration of the safety of the fleet under his care, the advantages he might otherwise have derived from the supply of fresh provisions and vegetables to be procured there: the breeze therefore coming off the land, and with sufficient effect to carry us clear of the island and its variable weather, the anchoring signal was taken in, and we made sail about two o'clock, the fleet standing away due south. Our sudden departure from the island, we imagined, must have proved some disappointment to the inhabitants, as we noticed that a gun was fired at the fort, shortly after our opening the bay; a signal, it was supposed, to the country people to bring down their articles for trade and barter.

July.] On the 14th of July the fleet crossed the equator in the 26th degree of east longitude. Such persons as had never before crossed the Line were compelled to undergo the ridiculous ceremonies which those who were privileged were allowed to perform on them.

From this time our weather was pleasant, and we had every appearance of soon reaching our next port, the Rio de Janeiro, on the Brazil coast.

The track which we had to follow was too beaten to afford us any thing new or interesting. Captain Phillip proposed making the Island of Trinidada; but the easterly winds and southerly currents which we had met with to the northward of the Line having set us so far to the westward when we crossed it, he gave up all expectation of seeing it, and on the 28th altered his course, steering SW. Trinidada is laid down in 20 degrees 25 minutes south latitude, and 28 degrees 35 minutes west longitude, while we at noon on the 29th were in 19 degrees 36 minutes south latitude, and 33 degrees 18 minutes west longitude.

The longitude, when calculated by either altitudes of the sun, for the time-piece (of Kendal's constructing, which was sent out by the Board of Longitude), or by the means of several sets of lunar observations, which were taken by Captain Hunter, Lieutenant Bradley, and Lieutenant Dawes, was constantly shown to the convoy, for which purpose the signal was made for the whole to pass under the stern of the Sirius, when a board was set up in some conspicuous part of the ship with the longitude marked on it to that day at noon.

A good look-out (to make use of the sea-phrase usual on these occasions) was kept for an island, not very well known or described, which was laid down in some charts, nearly in the track which we were to cross, but it was not seen by any of the ships of the fleet; nor was implicit credit given to its existence, although named (the island of Ascension) and a latitude and longitude assigned to it. It was conjectured, that the islands of Martin Vas and Trinidada, lying within about five leagues of each other, had given rise to the idea of a new island, and that Ascension was in reality one or other of those islands.

Only two accidents happened during the passage to the Brazils. A seaman belonging to the Alexander was so unfortunate as to fall overboard, and could not be recovered—and a female convict on board the Prince of Wales was so much bruised by the falling of a boat from off the booms (which, owing to the violent motion of the ship, had got loose) that she died the following day, notwithstanding the professional skill and humane attention of the principal surgeon; for as the boat in launching forward fell upon the neck and crushed the vertebrae and spine, all the aid he could render her was of no avail.

August.] On Thursday the 2nd of August we had the coast of South America in sight; and the head-land, named Cape Frio, was distinctly seen before the evening closed in. Our time-piece had given us notice when to look out for it, and the land was made precisely to the hour in which it had taught us to expect it. It was not, however, until the evening of the 4th that we anchored within the islands at the entrance of the harbour of Rio de Janeiro.

At day-break the next morning an officer was dispatched from the Sirius to inform the viceroy of the arrival of the fleet; and he most readily and politely promised us every assistance in his power. A ship bound to Lisbon passing us about noon, that opportunity was taken of sending an account to England of the fortunate progress which we had so far made in the long voyage before us; soon after which the port-officer, or harbour-master, came on board, and, the seabreeze beginning to blow, the fleet got under sail. About five in the afternoon we crossed the bar, and soon after passing the fort of Santa Cruz, saluted it with thirteen guns, which were returned by an equal number of guns from the fort. While saluting, it fell calm; but by the assistance of a light breeze which afterwards sprung up, and the tide of flood, the Sirius was enabled to reach far enough in by seven o'clock to come to an anchor in the harbour of Rio de Janeiro; the convoy also anchored as they came up, at the distance of about a mile and a half from the landing-place, which was found very commodious.

Our passage from Teneriffe, although rather a long one, had fortunately been unattended with any disease, and the surgeon reported that we had brought in only ninety-five persons sick, comprehending every description of people in the fleet. Many, however, of this number were bending only under the pressure of age and its attendant infirmities, having no other complaints among them.

On the morning after our arrival the intendant of the port, with the usual officers, repaired on board the Sirius, requiring the customary certificates to be given, as to what nation she belonged to, whither bound, the name of her commander, and his reason for coming into that port; to all which satisfactory answers were given; and at eleven o'clock the day following Captain Phillip, accompanied by the officers of the settlement, civil and military, waited upon Don Louis Vasconcellos, the viceroy of the Brazils, at his excellency's palace, who received them with much politeness, readily assenting to a tent being pitched on shore for the purpose of an observatory; as well as to the drawing of the Seine in different parts of the bay for fish; only pointing out the restrictions that would be necessary to prevent the sailors from straggling into the country. On their taking leave, it was most politely intimated, that no restraint would be imposed upon the officers, whenever they came on shore to the town, in which they were free to pass wherever they desired. A conduct so opposite to that in general observed to foreigners in this port could by us be attributed only to the great esteem in which Captain Phillip was held here by all ranks of people during the time of his commanding a ship in the Portuguese service; for on being informed of the employment he now held, the viceroy's guard was directed to pay him the same honours during his stay here, that were paid to himself as the representative of the crown of Portugal.

The palace of the viceroy stood in the Royal Square, of which, together with the public prison, the mint, and the opera-house, it formed the right wing. Of these buildings the opera-house alone was shut up; and we were informed, that the gloom which was thrown over the court and kingdom of Portugal by the death of the late king, had extended in full force to the colonies also; all private and public amusements being since that time discouraged as much as possible, the viceroy himself setting the example. Once a week, indeed, his excellency had a music-meeting at the palace for the entertainment of himself and a few select friends; but nothing more.

The town of St. Sebastian (or, as it is more commonly named, the town of Rio de Janeiro, which was in fact the name of the river forming the bay, on the western side of which was built the town) is large, and was originally designed to have had an elevated and airy situation, but was, unfortunately for the inhabitants, erected on low ground along the shore, and in a recess almost wholly out of the reach of the refreshing seabreeze, which was observed to be pretty regular in its visitations. The inhabitants, nevertheless, deemed the air salubrious; and we were informed that epidemic distempers were rare among them. In their streets, however, were frequently seen objects of wretchedness and misery, crawling about with most painful and disgusting swellings in their legs and privities. The hospital, which had formerly been a Jesuit's convent, stood near the summit of the hill, in an open situation, at the back of the town. From the great estimation in which English surgeons were held here, it would seem that the town is not too well provided in that respect. Senor Ildefonse, the principal in the place had studied in England, where he went under the course of surgical education called walking the hospitals, and might by his practice in this place, which was considerable, and quite as much as he could attend to, have soon realised a handsome fortune; but we understood, that to the poor or necessitous sick he always administered gratis.

The township of the Rio de Janeiro was said to contain on the whole not less than 40,000 people, exclusive of the native Indians and negroes. These last appear to be very numerous, of a strong robust appearance, and are brought from the coast of Guinea, forming an extensive article of commerce. With these people of both sexes the streets were constantly filled, scarcely any other description of people being seen in them. Ladies or gentlemen were never seen on foot in the streets during the day; those whose business or inclination led them out being carried in close chairs, the pole of which came from the head of the vehicle, and rested on the shoulders of the chairmen, having, notwithstanding the gaudiness of the chair itself, a very awkward appearance.

The language spoken here by the white people was that of the mother country—Portuguese. The ecclesiastics in general could converse in Latin; and the negro slaves spoke a corrupt mixture of their own tongue with that of the people of the town. The native Indians retained their own language, and could be distinctly discerned from the natives of Guinea, as well by the colour of the skin, as by the hair and the features of the face. Some few of the military conversed in French; but this language was in general little used.

The town appeared to be well supplied with water, which was conveyed into it from a great distance by means of an aqueduct (or carioca) which in one place having to cross a road or public way was raised upon a double row of strong lofty arches, forming an object that from the bay, and at the entrance of the harbour, added considerably to the beauty of the imagery. From this aqueduct the water was received into stone fountains, constructed with capacious basins, whither the inhabitants sent their linen, to have the dirt rather beaten than washed out of it, by slaves. One of these fountains of a modern construction was finished with great taste and neatness of execution.

We also observed several large and rich convents in the town. The chief of these were, the Benedictine and the Carmelite; one dedicated to St. Anthony, another to Our Lady of Assistance, and another to St. Theresa. The two last were for the reception of nuns; and of the two, that of St. Theresa was reported the severest in its religious duties, and the strictest in its restraints and regulations. The convent D. Ajuda, or of Assistance, received as pensioners, or boarders, the widows of officers, and young ladies having lost their parents, who were allowed to remain, conforming to the rules of the convent, until married, or otherwise provided for by their friends. There were many inferior convents and churches, and the whole were under the spiritual direction of a bishop, whose palace was in the town, a short distance from one of the principal convents.

Near the carioca, or aqueduct, stood the seminary of St. Joseph, where the servants of the church received their education, adopting on their entrance the clerical habit and tonsure. The chapel to the seminary was neat, and we were conducted by a sensible well-informed father of the Benedictine Order to a small library belonging to it.

To a stranger nothing could appear more remarkable than the innumerable religious processions which were to be seen at all hours in this town. At the close of every day an image of the Virgin was borne in procession through the principal streets, the attendants arrayed in white surplices, and bearing in their hands lighted tapers; chanting at the same time praises to her in Latin. To this, as well as to all other religious processions, the guards turned out, grounded their arms, kneeled, and showed the most submissive marks of respect; and the bells of each church or convent in the vicinity of their progress sounded a peal while they were passing.

Every church, chapel, or convent, being under the auspices of some tutelary saint, particular days were set apart as the festival of each, which were opened with public prayers, and concluded with processions, music, and fireworks. The church and altars of the particular saint whose protection was to be solicited were decorated with all the splendor of superstition*, and illuminated both within and without. During several hours after dark, on these solemn festivals, the inhabitants might be seen walking to and from the church, dressed in their best habiliments, accompanied by their children, and attended by their slaves and their carriages.

[* We were informed that they never permitted any base metals near their altars, all their vessels, etc. being of the purest gold or silver.]

An instance was related to us, of the delay that was thrown in the way of labour by this extravagant parade of public worship, and the strict observance of saints' days, which, though calculated, no doubt, by the glare which surrounds the shrine, and decorates the vesture of its priests, to impress and keep in awe the minds of the lower sort of people, Indians and slaves, had nevertheless been found to be not without its evil effects:

A ship from Lisbon, laden chiefly with bale goods, was burnt to the water's edge, with her whole cargo, and much private property, the fourth day after her anchoring in the harbour, owing to the intervention of a sabbath and two saints' days which unfortunately ensued that of her arrival. All that could be done was, to tow the vessel on shore near the Island of Cobres, clear of the shipping in the bay, where grounding, she was totally consumed. One of the passengers, whose whole property was destroyed with her, came out to fill an high judicial employment, and had with all his family removed from Lisbon for that purpose, bringing with him whatever he had valuable in Europe.

At a corner of almost every street in the town we observed a small altar, dedicated generally to the Virgin, and decorated with curtains and lamps. Before these altars, at the close of every evening, the negroes assembled to chant their vespers, kneeling together in long rows in the street. The policy of thus keeping the minds of so large a body, as that of the black people in this town, not only in constant employment, but in awe and subjection, by the almost perpetual exercise of religious worship, was too obvious to need a comment. In a colony where the servants were more numerous than the masters, a military, however excellent, ought not to be the only control; to keep the mind in subjection must be as necessary as to provide a check on the personal conduct.

The trades-people of the town have adopted a regulation, which must prove of infinite convenience to strangers, as well as to the inhabitants. We found the people of one profession or trade dwelling together in one, two, or as many streets as were necessary for their numbers to occupy. Thus, for instance, the apothecaries resided in the principal street, or Rua Direita, as it was named; one or more streets were assigned to the jewellers; and a whole district appeared to be occupied by the mercers. By this regulation the labour of traversing from one street to another, in search of any article which the purchaser might wish to have a choice of, was avoided*. Most of the articles were from Europe, and were sold at a high price.

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