The Voyage of Governor Phillip to Botany Bay with an Account of the Establishment of the Colonies of Port Jackson and Norfolk Island; compiled from Authentic Papers, which have been obtained from the several Departments to which are added the Journals of Lieuts. Shortland, Watts, Ball and Capt. Marshall with an Account of their New Discoveries, embellished with fifty five Copper Plates, the Maps and Charts taken from Actual Surveys, and the plans and views drawn on the spot, by Capt. Hunter, Lieuts. Shortland, Watts, Dawes, Bradley, Capt. Marshall, etc.
London Printed for John Stockdale, Piccadilly 1789
TO THE MOST NOBLE THE MARQUIS OF SALISBURY, LORD CHAMBERLAIN OF HIS MAJESTY'S HOUSEHOLD, ETC., ETC. THIS VOLUME, CONTAINING ALL THAT IS YET KNOWN OF THE SETTLEMENT AT SYDNEY COVE, IS MOST RESPECTFULLY INSCRIBED, BY HIS LORDSHIP'S MUCH OBLIGED, AND MOST FAITHFUL HUMBLE SERVANT, JOHN STOCKDALE. NOVEMBER 25, 1789.
ANECDOTES OF GOVERNOR PHILLIP.
Arthur Phillip is one of those officers, who, like Drake, Dampier, and Cook, has raised himself by his merit and his services, to distinction and command. His father was Jacob Phillip, a native of Frankfort, in Germany, who having settled in England, maintained his family and educated his son by teaching the languages. His mother was Elizabeth Breach, who married for her first husband, Captain Herbert of the navy, a kinsman of Lord Pembroke. Of her marriage with Jacob Phillip, was her son, Arthur, born in the parish of Allhallows, Bread-street, within the city of London, on the 11th of October, 1738.
Being designed for a seafaring life, he was very properly sent to the school of Greenwich, where he received an education suitable to his early propensities. At the age of sixteen, he began his maritime career, under the deceased Captain Michael Everet of the navy, at the commencement of hostilities, in 1755: and at the same time that he learned the rudiments of his profession under that able officer, he partook with him in the early misfortunes, and subsequent glories of the seven years war. Whatever opulence Phillip acquired from the capture of the Havannah, certain it is, that, at the age of twenty-three, he there was made a Lieutenant into the Stirling-castle, on the 7th of June, 1761, by Sir George Pococke, an excellent judge of naval accomplishments.
But of nautical exploits, however they may raise marine officers, there must be an end. Peace, with its blessings, was restored in 1763. And Phillip now found leisure to marry; and to settle at Lyndhurst, in the New Forest, where he amused himself with farming, and like other country gentlemen, discharged assiduously those provincial offices, which, however unimportant, occupy respectably the owners of land, who, in this island, require no office to make them important.
But sailors, like their own element, are seldom at rest. Those occupations, which pleased Phillip while they were new, no longer pleased him when they became familiar. And he hastened to offer his skill and his services to Portugal when it engaged in warfare with Spain. His offer was readily accepted, because such skill and services were necessary amidst an arduous struggle with a too powerful opponent. And, such was his conduct and such his success, that when the recent interference of France, in 1778, made it his duty to fight for his king, and to defend his country, the Portugueze court regretted his departure, but applauded his motive.
His return was doubtless approved by those who, knowing his value, could advance his rank: For he was made master and commander into the Basilisk fireship, on the 2d of September, 1779. But in her he had little opportunity of displaying his zeal, or of adding to his fame. This step, however, led him up to a higher situation; and he was made post-captain into the Ariadne frigate, on the 13th of November, 1781, when he was upwards of three and forty. This is the great epoch in the lives of our naval officers, because it is from this that they date their rank. In the Ariadne, he had little time for active adventures, or for gainful prizes, being appointed to the Europe of sixty-four guns, on the 23d of December, 1781. During the memorable year 1782, Phillip promoted its enterprises, and shared in its glories. And in January, 1783, he sailed with a reinforcement to the East Indies, where superior bravery contended against superior force, till the policy of our negotiators put an end to unequal hostilities by a necessary peace.
The activity, or the zeal of Phillip, was now turned to more peaceful objects. And when it was determined to form a settlement on that part of New Holland, denominated New South Wales, he was thought of as a proper officer to conduct an enterprize, which required professional knowledge, and habitual prudence. His equipment, his voyage, and his settlement, in the other hemisphere, will be found in the following volume. When the time shall arrive that the European settlers on Sydney Cove demand their historian, these authentic anecdotes of their pristine legislator will be sought for as curious, and considered as important.
ERRATA (These have been corrected in this eBook) Page, line 1, 15, for enterprizes, read enterprises. 13, penult. for only fifty, read an hundred. Ibid. ult. for Penryn, read Penrhyn. 75, 7, for Surprize, read Surprise. 87, 14, after 17, dele th. 96, 13, for into, read in. 149, 10, for Kangooroo, read Kanguroo. The orthography of a word derived only from oral sound is in some degree arbitrary; but it ought to be consistant. The plates, by mistake, have Kangooroo. 185, 14, for it were were, read if it were. 203, 3, for Fobn, read Thomas. 213, 10, for four, read forty. 228, 23, bis, for Macauley, read Macaulay. 231, 15, for Patri, read Pabi. 252, Margin, for May, read June. 253, Ditto. 255, Margin, for July, read June. 256, Ditto. 232, 18, for Taha, read Toha. 242, 9, for who, read whom. 246, 25, for veer'd, read near'd.
N. B. Some of the early impressions of the plates have erroneously Wulpine Oppossum for Vulpine Opossum. After a few were work'd off the fault was perceived, and corrected.
The arrangement of materials in this volume being in some respects less perfect than might be wished, it is necessary that something should be said to obviate any imputation of negligence. The truth will be the best, and, as it ought, the only apology. The official papers of Governor Phillip, which were liberally communicated by Government, formed at first our principal source of intelligence. These, from their nature, could contain but little information on subjects of natural history, and many other points, concerning which the curiosity of every reader would naturally be excited. The efforts of the publisher to give satisfaction to the public in these respects produced a gradual influx of materials; and the successive arrival of different vessels from the Indian seas, occasioned additions to the work, which made it necessary to engrave new plates. While, therefore, the completion of the book was anxiously pressed by many who were eager to possess it, that desirable point has constantly been deferred by the communications of those who were studious to render it more valuable; and the word Finis, has seemed to fly from us, like Italy before the wandering Trojans. From the combination of these circumstances it has arisen, that every separate part has been hurried on in the execution; and yet, in the finishing of the whole, more time has elapsed, than would have been necessary to complete a much more ample volume. The defects that proceed from these causes, it is hoped, the reader will forgive, and accept with complacency a volume in which, it is confidently hoped, nothing material has been omitted that is connected with its principal object, the formation of a settlement promising both glory and advantage to this country; in which several important discoveries are announced; no small accession is made to the stores of natural history; and interesting notices are communicated of countries visited before, and persons in whose fate the public has long felt an interest.
The publisher thinks it his duty, in this place, to return thanks to the following noblemen and gentlemen, for their kind assistance and free communications. The Marquis of Salisbury, Viscount Sydney, Lord Hood, Sir Joseph Banks, Bart. Mr. Rose, Mr. Nepean, Mr. Stephens, Sir Charles Middleton, Sir Andrew Snape Hammond, Mr. Dalrymple, and Mr. Chalmers: but, to Mr. Latham particularly, the most grateful acknowledgements are due, for having furnished many drawings and accurate descriptions, which stamp a value on the natural history contained in this work, and must for ever render it an object of attention to all lovers of that science: and to Lieutenant Shortland, Lieutenant Watts, and Captain Marshall, of the Scarborough transport, the public owe whatever important discoveries and useful knowledge may be found in their journals, which they communicated with a disinterestedness that the publisher will be always happy to acknowledge.
ACCOUNT OF THE VIGNETTE.
The elegant vignette in the title-page, was engraved from a medallion which the ingenious Mr. Wedge-wood caused to be modelled from a small piece of clay brought from Sydney Cove. The clay proves to be of a fine texture, and will be found very useful for the manufactory of earthern ware. The design is allegorical; it represents Hope encouraging Art and Labour, under the influence of Peace, to pursue the employments necessary to give security and happiness to an infant settlement. The following verses upon the same subject, and in allusion to the medallion, were written by the author of The Botanic Garden, and will speak more powerfully for themselves than any encomium we could bestow.
VISIT OF HOPE TO SYDNEY-COVE, NEAR BOTANY-BAY.
Where Sydney Cove her lucid bosom swells, Courts her young navies, and the storm repels; High on a rock amid the troubled air HOPE stood sublime, and wav'd her golden hair; Calm'd with her rosy smile the tossing deep, And with sweet accents charm'd the winds to sleep; To each wild plain she stretch'd her snowy hand, High-waving wood, and sea-encircled strand. "Hear me," she cried, "ye rising Realms! record "Time's opening scenes, and Truth's unerring word.— "There shall broad streets their stately walls extend, "The circus widen, and the crescent bend; "There, ray'd from cities o'er the cultur'd land, "Shall bright canals, and solid roads expand.— "There the proud arch, Colossus-like, bestride "Yon glittering streams, and bound the chasing tide; "Embellish'd villas crown the landscape-scene, "Farms wave with gold, and orchards blush between.— "There shall tall spires, and dome-capt towers ascend, "And piers and quays their massy structures blend; "While with each breeze approaching vessels glide, "And northern treasures dance on every tide!"— Then ceas'd the nymph—tumultuous echoes roar, And JOY's loud voice was heard from shore to shore— Her graceful steps descending press'd the plain, And PEACE, and ART, and LABOUR, join'd her train.
VIEW of the FLEET and ESTABLISHMENT sent out with GOVERNOR PHILLIP to NEW SOUTH WALES.
Captain ARTHUR PHILLIP of the Navy, Governor and Commander in Chief of the territory of New South Wales, and of his Majesty's ships and vessels employed on that coast.
Major Robert Ross, Lieutenant Governor. Richard Johnson, Chaplain. Andrew Miller, Commissary. David Collins, Judge Advocate. John Long, Adjutant. James Furzer, Quarter-Master. *George Alexander, Provost Martial. John White, Surgeon. Thomas Arndell, Assistant Ditto. William Balmain, Ditto Ditto.
His Majesty's ship Sirius, Captain Arthur Phillip. Captain John Hunter.
His Majesty's armed tender Supply, Lieutenant H. L. Ball.
Six transports carrying the convicts. Alexander 210 men convicts. women convicts. Scarborough 210 men convicts. Friendship 80 men convicts. 24 Charlotte 100 men convicts. 24 Prince of Wales — — 100 Lady Penrhyn — — 102
Each transport had a detachment of marines on board.
Three store ships:
The Golden Grove, Fishburn, and Borrowdale; With provisions, implements for husbandry, cloathing, etc. for the convicts.
Lieutenant John Shortland, agent for the transports.
The garrison is formed from the marines.
Distribution of the Detachment of MARINES for NEW SOUTH WALES, with the Number embarked on board of each of the Transports upon that Service.
Ships Names Captains Subs Serj- Corp- Drum and Privates Embarked Names of Officers eants orals fife
Lady Captain Campbell 1 2 0 0 0 3 Portsmouth Penrhyn Lieut G. Johnston Lieut. Wm Collins
Scarb- Captain Shea 1 2 2 2 1 26 Portsmouth orough Lieutenant Kellow Lieutenant Morrison
Friend- Capt. Lieut. Meredith 1 2 2 3 1 36 Plymouth ship Lieutenant Clarke Lieutenant Faddy
Charl- Captain Tench 1 2 3 3 1 34 Plymouth otte Lieutenant Cresswell Lieutenant Poulden
Alex- Lieutenant J. Johnston 0 2 2 2 1 30 Woolwich. ander Lieutenant Shairp
Prince Lieutenant Davy 0 2 2 2 1 25 of Lieutenant Timmins Wales Provost Martial ———————————————————- 4 12 11 12 5 154 put on board his Majesty's ship 0 0 1 0 3 6 Sirius, as supernumeraries. ———————————————————- Total of the detachment 4 12 12 12 8 160 ———————————————————-
Forty women, wives to the Marines, permitted to go out with the Garrison.
Public utility of voyages—Peculiar circumstances of this—New Holland properly a continent—Reasons for fixing our settlement there—Transportation to America, its origin, advantages, and cessation—Experiments made—The present plan adopted—Disadvantages of other expedients.
Preparation of the fleet ordered to Botany Bay.—Particulars of its arrangement.—Departure and passage to the Canary Isles.
Reasons for touching at the Canary Isles—Precautions for preserving Health—Their admirable Success—Some Account of the Canaries—Fables respecting them—Attempt of a Convict to escape—Departure. Report of the Marines and Convicts under medical treatment, June 4, 1787
Attempt to put in at Port Praya—Relinquished—Weather—Sail for Rio de Faneiro—Reasons for touching at a South American port—The Fleet passes the Line—Arrives at Rio de Faneiro—Account of that Place—Transactions there—Departure.
Prosperous passage from Rio to the Cape—Account of the Harbours there—The Cape of Good Hope not the most Southern point—Height of Table Mountain and others—Supineness of the European nations in neglecting to occupy the Cape—Live stock laid in—Departure—Separation of the fleet—Arrival of the Supply at Botany Bay.
First interview with the natives—the bay examined—arrival of the whole fleet—Port Jackson examined—second interview with the natives—and third—Governor Phillip returns to Botany Bay—and gives orders for the evacuation of it.
Removal from Botany Bay—Arrival of two French ships—Account of them—Preparations for encampment—Difficulties—Scurvy breaks out—Account of the red and yellow gum trees.
Description of Port Jackson and the adjacent country—The Governor's commission read—his Speech—his humane resolutions respecting the Natives—difficulties in erecting huts and other buildings—departure of Lieutenant King to Norfolk Island. Instructions for P. G. King, Esq; Superintendant and Commandant of the Settlement of Norfolk Island
A Criminal Court held—Broken Bay explored by Governor Phillip—Interviews with the Natives—Peculiarities remarked—Friendly behaviour and extraordinary courage of an old man.
Departure of the French Ships—Death of M. Le Receveur—Return of the Supply from Norfolk Island—Description of that Place—Howe Island discovered. Particulars of the life of P. G. King, Esq
Three of the transports cleared—Two excursions made into the country, on the fifteenth of April, and on the twenty-second—Huts of the natives—Sculpture, and other particulars. Description of the Kanguroo. Dimensions of the stuffed Kanguroo, in the possession of Mr. Stockdale. Account of the live stock in the settlement at Port Jackson, May 1, 1788
The Supply returns from Lord Howe Island—Some convicts assaulted by the natives—excursion of Governor Phillip to Botany Bay by Land—interview with many natives—the fourth of June celebrated—some account of the climate. Return of Sick, &c. June 30, 1788
Particular description of Sydney Cove—Of the buildings actually erected—and of the intended town—A settlement made at the head of the harbour.
Fish violently seized by the natives—Another expedition of the Governor—Further account of the manners and manufactures of the native inhabitants of New South Wales—Difficulty of obtaining any intercourse. Remarks and Directions for sailing into PORT JACKSON, by Capt. J. HUNTER, of the SIRIUS. Height of neap and spring tides, at full and change of the moon.
Some Specimens of Animals from New South Wales; description of The spotted Opossum; Vulpine Opossum; Norfolk Island Flying-Squirrel. Blue Bellied Parrot; Tabuan Parrot; Pennantian Parrot; Pacific Parrakeet; Sacred King's-fisher; Superb Warbler, male; Superb Warbler, female; Caspian Tern; Norfolk Island Petrel; Bronze-winged Pigeon; White-fronted Heron; Wattled Bee-Eater; Psittaceous Hornbill; dimensions of a large Kanguroo.
Papers relative to the settlement at Port Jackson.—General return of marines.—Return of officers.—Artificers belonging to the Marine Detachment.—List of officers and privates desirous of remaining in the country.—Return of provisions.—Return of Sick.
Nautical directions, and other detached remarks, by Lieutenant Ball, concerning Rio de Janeiro, Norfolk Island, Ball Pyramid, and Lord Howe Island.
Concise account of Lieutenant Shortland—His various services—Appointed agent to the transports sent to New South Wales—Ordered by Governor Phillip to England, by Batavia—Journal of his voyage—New discoveries.
August 1788 to February 1789
Appearance of the scurvy—The boats land at one of the Pelew Islands—Account of the Natives who were seen, and conjectures concerning them—Distresses—The Friendship cleared and sunk—Miserable condition of the Alexander when she reached Batavia.—Conclusion.
Lieutenant Watts's Narrative of the Return of the Lady Penrhyn Transport; containing an Account of the Death of Omai, and other interesting Particulars at Otaheite.
The Scarborough leaves Port Jackson—Touches at Lord Howe's Island—Joins the Charlotte—Falls in with a large Shoal—Discover a number of Islands—Short account of the Inhabitants—Canoes described—Ornaments— Discover Lord Mulgrave's Islands—Arrival at Tinian—Sick people sent on shore—Departure from Tinian—Arrival in Mocao Roads.
Supplemental Account of Animals from New South Wales, containing, Descriptions of the Bankian Cockatoo; Red-shouldered Parrakeet; Crested Goat Sucker; New Holland Cassowary; White Gallinule; Dog from New South Wales; Spotted Martin; Kanguroo Rat; Laced Lizard; Port Jackson Shark; Bag Throated Balistes; Unknown Fish from New South Wales; Watts's Shark; Great Brown Kingsfisher.—Additional Account of the Kanguroo—Anecdote of Captain Cook and Otoo, by Mr. Webber.—Dr. Blane's Account of the good Effects of the Yellow Gum.—Botany Bay Plants.—Lieut. Watts's Account of the Weather at Botany Bay and Port Jackson.—Conclusion.
CONTENTS OF THE APPENDIX.
Table I. Route of the Alexander, Lieutenant Shortland, from the Cape of Good Hope to Botany Bay Table II. Route of the Supply, Lieut. Ball, after parting with the Alexander, to Botany Bay Table III. Route of the Supply, Lieut. Ball, from Port Jackson to Norfolk Island Table IV. Route of the Supply from Norfolk Island to Port Jackson Table V. Route of the Supply from Port Jackson to Lord Howe Island, and from thence to Port Jackson Table VI. Route of the Alexander, Lieut. Shortland, from Port Jackson to Batavia Table VII. Route of the Lady Penrhyn, Capt. Sever, from Port Jackson to Otaheite Table VIII.Route of the Lady Penrhyn, Capt. Sever, from Otaheite to China Table IX. Route of the Scarborough, Capt. Marshall, from Port Jackson to China List of the Convicts sent to New South Wales
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Salisbury, Marquis of, 2 copies Salisbury, Marchioness of St. Albans, Duke of Stanley, Thomas, Esq. M. P. Sturt, Charles, Esq. M. P. Speke, Mrs. Swale, John, Esq. Smyth, John, Esq. Saville, Hon. Henry Scott, Major, M. P. Shuckburgh, Sir George, Bart. M. P. Stephens, Philip, Esq. M. P. Skipwith, Sir Thomas George, Bart. Sykes, Sir Francis, Bart. M. P. St. John, St. Andrew, Esq. Stanley, John, Esq. M. P. Shore, Samuel, Esq. Sitwell, Francis, Esq. Spooner, Charles, Esq. Smith, Sir John, Bart. Smart, Baptist, Esq. Sydney, Viscount, two copies Spence, Mr. George Scott, Thomas, Esq. M. P. Sotheron, William, Esq. M. P. Strahan, Mr. bookseller, 6 copies Steele, Mr. bookseller, 6 copies Scatcherd and Whittaker, booksellers, 6 copies Sewell, Mr. bookseller, 6 copies Spens, Walter, Esq. Silvester, Mr. John, architect Smith and Gardner, booksellers Simmons and Kerby, booksellers, Canterbury Swinney, Mr. bookseller, Birmingham Smart and Cowslade, booksellers, Reading Steele, Thomas, Esq. M. P. Secker, George, Esq. Swain, Rev. John Hadley Scowen, James, Esq. Staunton, G. T. Esq. Sumner, John, Esq. Society, the Philosophical, Derby Stockdale, Mr. Jeremiah Selkirk, Lord Sumner, George, Esq. M. P. Stanley, John Thomas, Esq. Stalker, Mr. bookseller, 12 copies Southern, Mr. bookseller, 3 copies
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Yorke, Hon. Philip, M. P. Yorke, Charles, Esq. Young, Sir Wm. Bart. M. P. Yorke, the Hon. Mrs. Sydney-Farm Young, William, Esq. Yonge, Right Hon. Sir George, Bart. M. P. Younge, Major William, Little Darnford Place.
LIST OF THE PLATES.
1. Head of Governor Phillip 2. View of Botany Bay 3. Yellow Gum Plant 4. View in Port Jackson 5. Caspian Tern 6. Natives of Botany Bay 7. Chart of Norfolk Island 8. Lieutenant King 9. Hut in New South Wales 10. The Kanguroo 11. View in New South Wales 12. Sketch of Sydney Cove 13. Axe, Basket, and Sword 14. Plan of Port Jackson 15. Spotted Opossum 16. Vulpine Opossum 17. Flying Squirrel 18. Blue-bellied Parrot 19. Tabuan Parrot 20. Pennantian Parrot 21. Pacific Parrakeet 22. Sacred Kings-fisher 23. Male Superb Warbler 24. Female Superb Warbler 25. Norfolk Island Petrel 26. Bronze-winged Pigeon 27. White-fronted Heron 28. Wattled Bee-eater 29. Psittaceous Hornbill 30. Skeleton of the Head of the Kanguroo and Vulpine Opossum 31. Map and View of Lord Howe Island 32. Ball's Pyramid 33. Lieutenant Shortland 34. Chart of the Track of the Alexander 35. Shortland's Chart of New Georgia 36. Curtis's Isles 37. Macaulay's Isles 38. Track of the Scarborough 39. A Canoe, &c. Mulgrave's Range 40. Bankian Cockatoo 41. Red Shouldered Parrakeet 42. New Holland Goat-sucker 43. New Holland Cassowary 44. White Gallinule 45. Dog of New South Wales 46. Martin Cat 47. Kanguroo Rat 48. Laced Lizard 49. Bag-throated Balistes 50. Fish of New South Wales 51. Port Jackson Shark 52. Watt's Shark 53. Great brown Kingsfisher 54. Black flying Opossum 55. Vignette in title page.—For an explanation see the Preface.
Public utility of voyages—Peculiar circumstances of this—New Holland properly a continent—Reasons for fixing our settlement there—Transportation to America, its origin, advantages, and cessation—Experiments made—The present plan adopted—Disadvantages of other expedients.
From voyages undertaken expressly for the purpose of discovery, the public naturally looks for information of various kinds: and it is a fact which we cannot but contemplate with pleasure, that by the excellent publications subsequent to such enterprises, very considerable additions have been made, during the present reign, to our general knowledge of the globe, of the various tribes by which it is peopled, and of the animals and vegetables to which it gives support.
An expedition occasioned by motives of legislative policy, carried on by public authority, and concluded by a fixed establishment in a country very remote, not only excites an unusual interest concerning the fate of those sent out, but promises to lead us to some points of knowledge which, by the former mode, however judiciously employed, could not have been attained. A transient visit to the coast of a great continent cannot, in the nature of things, produce a complete information respecting its inhabitants, productions, soil, or climate: all which when contemplated by resident observers, in every possible circumstance of variation, though they should be viewed with less philosophical acuteness, must yet gradually become more fully known: Errors, sometimes inseparable from hasty observation, will then be corrected by infallible experience; and many objects will present themselves to view, which before had escaped notice, or had happened to be so situated that they could not be observed.
The full discovery of the extent of New Holland, by our illustrious navigator, Capt. Cook, has formed a singular epocha in geography; a doubt having arisen from it, whether to a land of such magnitude the name of island or that of continent may more properly be applied. To this question it may be answered, that though the etymology of the word island,* and of others synonymous to it, points out only a land surrounded by the sea, or by any water, (in which sense the term is applicable even to the largest portions of the habitable globe) yet it is certain that, in the usual acceptation, an island is conceived to signify a land of only moderate extent, surrounded by the sea.** To define at what point of magnitude precisely, a country so situated shall begin to be a continent, could not answer any purpose of utility; but the best and clearest rule for removing the doubt appears to be the following: As long as the peculiar advantages of an insular situation can be enjoyed by the inhabitants of such a country, let it have the title of an island; when it exceeds those limits let it be considered as a continent. Now the first and principal advantage of an island, is that of being capable of a convenient union under one government, and of deriving thence a security from all external attacks, except by sea. In lands of very great magnitude such an union is difficult, if not impracticable, and a distinction founded on this circumstance, is therefore sufficient for convenience at least, if*** not for speculative accuracy. If we suppose this extent to be something about one thousand miles each way, without, however, affecting much rigour in the limitation, the claim of New Holland to be called a continent, will be indisputable: The greatest extent of that vast country being, from East to West, about two thousand four hundred English miles, and, from North to South, not less than two thousand three hundred.****
[* Insula, from which island is derived, is formed from in sulo, in the sea; and, the corresponding word in Greek, is usually deduced from to swim, as appearing, and probably having been originally supposed to swim in the sea.]
[** Thus when Dionysius Periegetes considers the whole ancient world as surrounded by the sea, he calls it, an immense island; on which Eustathius remarks, that the addition of the epithet immense was necessary, otherwise the expression would have been low and inadequate.]
[*** We do not here consider whether a country be actually united under one government, but whether from its size it might be so conveniently. If we might derive from, or to inhabit, the etymological distinction would be complete on these principles. An island being one distinct habitation of men; and a continent land continued from one state to another. The former derivation might be rendered specious by remarking how singularly Homer and others use with, as if they had a natural connection. See II. B. 626. and, Sophoc. Ajax. 601.]
[**** In or near the latitude of 30 deg. South, New Holland extends full 40 degrees of longitude, which, under that parallel, may be estimated at 60 English miles to a degree. The extent from York Cape to South Cape is full 33 degrees of latitude, which are calculated of course at 691/2 English miles each.]
To New South Wales England has the claim which a tacit consent has generally made decisive among the European States, that of prior discovery. The whole of that Eastern coast, except the very Southern point, having been untouched by any navigator, till it was explored by Captain Cook. This consideration, added to the more favourable accounts given of this side of the continent than of the other, was sufficient to decide the choice of the British government, in appointing a place for the banishment of a certain class of criminals.
The cause of the determination to send out in this manner the convicts under sentence of transportation, was, as is well known, the necessary cessation of their removal to America; and the inconveniences experienced in the other modes of destination adopted after that period.
Virginia, greatly in want, at its first settlement, of labourers to clear away the impenetrable forests which impeded all cultivation, was willing, from very early times, to receive as servants, those English criminals whom our Courts of Law deemed not sufficiently guilty for capital punishment.* The planters hired their services during a limited term; and they were latterly sent out under the care of contractors, who were obliged to prove, by certificates, that they had disposed of them, according to the intention of the law.
[* Banishment was first ordered as a punishment for rogues and vagrants, by statute 39 Eliz. ch. 4. See Blackst. Com. IV. chap. 31. But no place was there specified. The practice of transporting criminals to America is said to have commenced in the reign of James I; the year 1619 being the memorable epoch of its origin: but that destination is first expressly mentioned in 18 Car. II. ch. 2.—The transport traffic was first regulated by statute 4 George I. ch. II. and the causes expressed in the preamble to be, the failure of those who undertook to transport themselves, and the great want of servants in his Majesty's plantations. Subsequent Acts enforced further regulations.]
The benefits of this regulation were various. The colonies received by it, at an easy rate, an assistance very necessary; and the mother country was relieved from the burthen of subjects, who at home were not only useless but pernicious: besides which, the mercantile returns, on this account alone, are reported to have arisen, in latter times, to a very considerable amount.* The individuals themselves, doubtless, in some instances, proved incorrigible; but it happened also, not very unfrequently, that, during the period of their legal servitude, they became reconciled to a life of honest industry, were altogether reformed in their manners, and rising gradually by laudable efforts, to situations of advantage, independence, and estimation, contributed honourably to the population and prosperity of their new country.**
[* It is said, forty thousand pounds per annum, about two thousand convicts being sold for twenty pounds each.]
[** The Abbe Raynal has given his full testimony to the policy of this species of banishment, in the fourteenth Book of his History, near the beginning.]
By the contest in America, and the subsequent separation of the thirteen Colonies, this traffic was of course destroyed. Other expedients, well known to the public, have since been tried; some of which proved highly objectionable;* and all have been found to want some of the principal advantages experienced from the usual mode of transportation.—The deliberations upon this subject, which more than once employed the attention of Parliament, produced at length the plan of which this volume displays the first result. On December 6, 1786, the proper orders were issued by his Majesty in Council, and an Act establishing a Court of Judicature in the place of settlement, and making such other regulations as the occasion required, received the sanction of the whole legislature early in the year 1787.
[* Particularly, the transporting of criminals to the coast of Africa, where what was meant as an alleviation of punishment too frequently ended in death.]
To expatiate upon the principles of penal law is foreign to the purpose of this work, but thus much is evident to the plainest apprehension, that the objects most to be desired in it are the restriction of the number of capital inflictions, as far as is consistent with the security of society; and the employment of every method that can be devised for rendering the guilty persons serviceable to the public, and just to themselves; for correcting their moral depravity, inducing habits of industry, and arming them in future against the temptations by which they have been once ensnared.
For effectuating these beneficial purposes, well regulated penitentiary houses seem, in speculation, to afford the fairest opportunity; and a plan of this kind, formed by the united efforts of Judge Blackstone, Mr. Eden, and Mr. Howard, was adopted by Parliament in the year 1779. Difficulties however occurred which prevented the execution of this design: a circumstance which will be something the less regretted when it shall be considered, that it is perhaps the fate of this theory, in common with many others of a very pleasing nature, to be more attractive in contemplation than efficacious in real practice. A perfect design, carried on by imperfect agents, is liable to lose the chief part of its excellence; and the best digested plan of confinement must in execution be committed, chiefly, to men not much enlightened, very little armed against corruption, and constantly exposed to the danger of it. The vigilance which in the infancy of such institutions effectually watches over the conduct of these public servants, will always in a little time be relaxed; and it will readily be conceived that a large penitentiary house, very corruptly governed, would be, of all associations, one of the most pernicious to those confined, and most dangerous to the peace of society.
In some countries, malefactors not capitally convicted, are sentenced to the gallies or the mines; punishments often more cruel than death, and here, on many accounts, impracticable. In other places they are employed in public works, under the care of overseers. This method has been partially tried in England on the Thames, but has been found by no means to produce the benefits expected from it. There is, therefore, little temptation to pursue it to a further extent. The employment of criminals in works carried on under the public eye, is perhaps too repugnant to the feelings of Englishmen ever to be tolerated. Reason, indeed, acquiesces in the melancholy necessity of punishing, but chains and badges of servitude are unpleasing objects, and compassion will always revolt at the sight of actual infliction. Convicts so employed would either by an ill placed charity be rewarded, or the people, undergoing a change of character far from desirable, would in time grow callous to those impressions which naturally impel them to give relief.
It remains therefore, that we adhere as much as possible to the practice approved by long experience, of employing the services of such criminals in remote and rising settlements. For this purpose the establishment on the eastern coast of New Holland has been projected, and carried on with every precaution to render it as beneficial as possible. That some difficulties will arise in the commencement of such an undertaking must be expected; but it is required by no moral obligation that convicts should be conveyed to a place of perfect convenience and security; and though the voluntary emigrants and honourable servants of the state, must in some measure, be involved for a time in the same disadvantages, yet to have resisted difficulties is often finally an advantage rather than an evil; and there are probably few persons so circumstanced who will repine at moderate hardships, when they reflect that by undergoing them they are rendering an essential and an honourable service to their country.
March 1787 to June 1787
Preparation of the fleet ordered to Botany Bay.—Particulars of its arrangement.—Departure and passage to the Canary Isles.
16 March 1787
The squadron destined to carry into execution the above design, began to assemble at its appointed rendezvous, the Mother Bank, within the Isle of Wight, about the 16th of March, 1787. This small fleet consisted of the following ships: His Majesty's frigate Sirius, Captain John Hunter, and his Majesty's armed tender Supply, commanded by Lieutenant H. L. Ball. Three store-ships, the Golden Grove, Fishburn, and Borrowdale, for carrying provisions and stores for two years; including instruments of husbandry, clothing for the troops and convicts, and other necessaries; and lastly, six transports, the Scarborough, and Lady Penrhyn, from Portsmouth; the Friendship, and Charlotte, from Plymouth; the Prince of Wales, and the Alexander, from Woolwich. These were to carry the convicts, with a detachment of Marines in each, proportioned to the nature of the service; the largest where resistance was most to be expected, namely, in those ships which carried the greatest number of male convicts. Altogether they formed a little squadron of eleven sail.
They only who know the nature of such equipments, and consider the particular necessity in the present instance for a variety of articles not usually provided, can judge properly of the time required for furnishing out this fleet. Such persons will doubtless be the least surprised at being told that nearly two months had elapsed before the ships were enabled to quit this station, and proceed upon their voyage: and that even then some few articles were either unprepared, or, through misapprehension, neglected. The former circumstance took place respecting some part of the cloathing for the female convicts, which, being unfinished, was obliged to be left behind; the latter, with respect to the ammunition of the marines, which was furnished only for immediate service, instead of being, as the Commodore apprehended, completed at their first embarkation: an omission which, in the course of the voyage, was easily supplied.
This necessary interval was very usefully employed, in making the convicts fully sensible of the nature of their situation; in pointing out to them the advantages they would derive from good conduct, and the certainty of severe and immediate punishment in case of turbulence or mutiny. Useful regulations were at the same time established for the effectual governing of these people; and such measures were taken as could not fail to render abortive any plan they might be desperate enough to form for resisting authority, seizing any of the transports, or effecting, at any favourable period, an escape. We have, however, the testimony of those who commanded, that their behaviour, while the ships remained in port, was regular, humble, and in all respects suitable to their situation: such as could excite neither suspicion nor alarm, nor require the exertion of any kind of severity.
When the fleet was at length prepared for sailing, the complement of convicts and marines on board the transports was thus arranged. The Friendship carried a Captain and forty-four marines, subalterns and privates, with seventy-seven male and twenty female convicts. The Charlotte, a Captain and forty-three men, with eighty-eight male and twenty female convicts. In the Alexander, were two Lieutenants and thirty-five marines, with two hundred and thirteen convicts, all male. In the Scarborough, a Captain and thirty-three marines, with male convicts only, two hundred and eight in number. The Prince of Wales transport had two Lieutenants and thirty marines, with an hundred convicts, all female. And the Lady Penrhyn, a Captain, two Lieutenants, and only three privates, with one hundred and two female convicts. Ten marines, of different denominations, were also sent as supernumeraries on board the Sirius. The whole complement of marines, including officers, amounted to two hundred and twelve; besides which, twenty-eight women, wives of marines, carrying with them seventeen children, were permitted to accompany their husbands. The number of convicts was seven hundred and seventy-eight, of whom five hundred and fifty-eight were men. Two, however, on board the Alexander, received a full pardon before the departure of the fleet, and consequently remained in England.
13 May 1787
Governor Phillip, on his arrival at the station, hoisted his flag on board the Sirius, as Commodore of the squadron: and the embarkation being completed, and the time requiring his departure, at day break on the 13th of May, he gave the signal to weigh anchor. To the distance of about an hundred leagues clear of the channel, his Majesty's frigate Hyena, of twenty-four guns, was ordered to attend the fleet, in order to bring intelligence of its passage through that most difficult part of the voyage; with any dispatches which it might be requisite for the Governor to send home.
20 May 1787
On the 20th of May, the ships being then in latitude 47 deg. 57', and longitude 12 deg. 14' west of London, the Hyena returned. She brought, however, no exact account of the state of the transports; for the sea at that time ran so high, that the Governor found it difficult even to sit to write, and quite impracticable to send on board the several ships for exact reports of their situation, and of the behaviour of the convicts. All, however, had not been perfectly tranquil; the convicts in the Scarborough, confiding probably in their numbers, had formed a plan for gaining possession of that ship, which the officers had happily detected and frustrated. This information was received from them just before the Hyena sailed, and the Governor had ordered two of the ringleaders on board the Sirius for punishment. These men, after receiving a proper chastisement, were separated from their party by being removed into another ship, the Prince of Wales. No other attempt of this kind was made during the voyage.
We may now consider the adventurers in this small fleet as finally detached, for the present, from their native country; looking forward, doubtless with very various emotions, to that unknown region, which, for a time at least, they were destined to inhabit. If we would indulge a speculative curiosity, concerning the tendency of such an enterprize, there are few topics which would afford an ampler scope for conjecture. The sanguine might form expectations of extraordinary consequences, and be justified, in some degree, by the reflection, that from smaller, and not more respectable beginnings, powerful empires have frequently arisen. The phlegmatic and apprehensive might magnify to themselves the difficulties of the undertaking, and prognosticate, from various causes, the total failure of it. Both, perhaps, would be wrong. The opinion nearest to the right was probably formed by the Governor himself, and such others among the leaders of the expedition, as from native courage, felt themselves superior to all difficulties likely to occur; and by native good sense were secured from the seduction of romantic reveries. To all it must appear a striking proof of the flourishing state of navigation in the present age, and a singular illustration of its vast progress since the early nautical efforts of mankind; that whereas the ancients coasted with timidity along the shores of the Mediterranean, and thought it a great effort to run across the narrow sea which separates Crete from Egypt, Great Britain, without hesitation, sends out a fleet to plant a settlement near the antipodes.
3 June 1787
The high sea which had impeded the intercourse between the ships, as they were out of the reach of rocks and shoals, was not, in other respects, an unfavourable circumstance. On the whole, therefore, the weather was reckoned fine, and the passage very prosperous from Spithead to Santa Cruz, in the Isle of Teneriffe, where the fleet anchored on the 3d of June.
Reasons for touching at the Canary Isles—Precautions for preserving Health—Their admirable Success—Some Account of the Canaries—Fables respecting them—Attempt of a Convict to escape—Departure.
3 June 1787
The chief object proposed by Governor Phillip in touching at Teneriffe, was the obtaining a fresh supply of water and vegetables. It was adviseable also at this period to give the people such advantages and refreshments, for the sake of health, as this place would readily supply, but which can only be obtained on shore. In this, and every port, the crews, soldiers, and convicts, were indulged with fresh meat, fruit, vegetables, and every thing which could conduce to preserve them from the complaints formerly inevitable in long voyages. The allowance was, to the marines, a pound of bread, a pound of beef, and a pint of wine per man, daily: the convicts had three quarters of a pound of beef, and of bread, but no wine. The fruits obtained here were only figs and mulberries, but these were plentiful and excellent. How successfully precautions of every kind, tending to this great end, were employed throughout the voyage, the reports of the number of sick and dead will sufficiently evince.
Captain Cook had very fully shown, how favourable such expeditions might be made to the health of those engaged in them; and Governor Phillip was happy enough to confirm the opinion, that the success of his great predecessor, in this essential point, was not in any degree the effect of chance, but arose from that care and attention of which he has humanely given us the detail; and which, in similar circumstances, may generally be expected to produce the same result. If the number of convicts who died between the time of embarkation and the arrival of the fleet at this place, should seem inconsistent with this assertion, it must be considered that the deaths were confined entirely to that class of people, many of whom were advanced in years, or labouring under diseases contracted in prison or elsewhere, while they were yet on shore.
A week was passed at this place, during which time the weather was very moderate, the thermometer not exceeding 70 deg. of Fahrenheit's scale. The barometer stood at about 30 inches.
The Governor of the Canaries, at this time, was the Marquis de Brancifort, by birth a Sicilian. He was resident as usual at Santa Cruz, and paid to Governor Phillip, and the other officers, a polite attention and respect equally honourable to all parties. The port of Santa Cruz, though not remarkably fine, is yet the best in the Canaries, and the usual place at which vessels touch for refreshment; the residence of the Governor General is therefore fixed always in Teneriffe, for the sake of a more frequent intercourse with Europe: in preference to the great Canary Isle, which contains the Metropolitan church, and the palace of the Bishop. The Marquis de Brancifort has lately established some useful manufactures in Teneriffe.
To enter into much detail concerning the Canary Islands, which lie exactly in the course of every ship that sails from Europe to the Cape, and consequently have been described in almost every book of voyages, must be superfluous. A few general notices concerning them may, perhaps, not be unacceptable. They are in number about fourteen, of which the principal, and only considerable are, Canary, Teneriffe, Fortaventure, Palma, Ferro, Gomera, Lancerotta. Their distance from the coast of Africa is from about forty to eighty leagues. The circumference of Teneriffe is not above one hundred and twenty miles, but that of Canary, or as it is usually called, the Great Canary, is one hundred and fifty. They have been possessed and colonized by Spain from the beginning of the 15th century.
There is no reason to doubt that these are the islands slightly known to the ancients under the name of Fortunate: though the mistake of Ptolemy concerning their latitude has led one of the commentators on Solinus to contend, that this title belongs rather to the Islands of Cape Verd. Pliny mentions Canaria, and accounts for that name from the number of large dogs which the island contained; a circumstance which some modern voyagers, perhaps with little accuracy, repeat as having occasioned the same name to be given by the Spaniards. Nivaria, spoken of by the same author, is evidently Teneriffe, and synonymous, if we are rightly informed, to the modern name*. Ombrion, or Pluvialia, is supposed to be Ferro; where the dryness of the soil has at all times compelled the inhabitants to depend for water on the rains.
[* Occasioned by the perpetual snows with which the Peak is covered. Tener is said to mean snow, and itte or iffe a mountain, in the language of the island.]
If the ancients made these islands the region of fable, and their poets decorated them with imaginary charms to supply the want of real knowledge, the moderns cannot wholly be exempted from a similar imputation. Travellers have delighted to speak of the Peak of Teneriffe, as the highest mountain in the ancient world, whereas, by the best accounts, Mont Blanc exceeds it* by 3523 feet, or near a mile of perpendicular altitude. The Isle of Ferro, having no such mountain to distinguish it, was celebrated for a century or two on the credit of a miraculous tree, single in its kind, enveloped in perpetual mists, and distilling sufficient water for the ample supply of the island.** But this wonder, though vouched by several voyagers, and by some as eye-witnesses, vanished at the approach of sober enquiry, nor could a single native be found hardy enough to assert its existence. The truth is, that the Canary Isles, though a valuable possession to Spain, and an excellent resource to voyagers of all nations, contain no wonders, except what belong naturally to volcanic mountains such as the Peak, which, though it always threatens, has not now been noxious for more than eighty years***.
[* The height of Mont Blanc, on a mean of the best accounts, is 15,673 English feet from the level of the sea, Teneriffe 12,150.]
[** Clipperton speaks of it as a fact, Harris's Voyages, Vol. I. p. 187. Mandelsloe pretended to have seen it, ibid. p. 806. Baudrand was the first who by careful enquiry detected the fiction. An account of this imaginary tree, curious from being so circumstantial, is here given from a French book of geography, of some credit in other respects. "Mais ce qu'il-y-a de plus digne de remarque, est cet arbre merveilleux qui fournit d'eau toute l'isle, tant pour les hommes que pour les betes. Cet arbre, que les habitans appellent Caroe, Garoe, ou Arbre Saint, unique en son espece, est gros, et large de branches; son tronc a environ douze pieds de tour; ses feuilles sont un peu plus grosses que celles des noiers, et toujours vertes; il porte un fruit, semblable a un gland, qui a un noiau d'un gout aromatique, doux et piquant. Cet arbre est perpetuellement convert d'un nuage, qui l'humecte partout, en sorte que l'eau en distille goutte a goutte par les branches et par les feuilles, en telle quantite qu'on en peut emplir trente tonneaux par jour. Cette eau est extremement fraiche, claire, fort bonne a boire, et fort saine. Elle tombe dans deux bassins de pierre que les insulaires ont batis pour la recevoir. La nuage qui couvre cet arbre ne se dissipe pas; settlement dans les grandes chaleurs de l'ete il se diminue un peu; mais en echange la mer envoie une vapeur epaisse, qui se jette sur l'arbre, et qui supplee a ce manquement." Du Bois Geogr. Part. iii. ch. 17. Can all this have arisen from Pliny's arbores ex quibus aquae exprimantur?]
[*** See Captain Glasse's elaborate account of the Canaries, and Captain Cook's last Voyage.]
The capital of Teneriffe is Laguna, or more properly San Christoval de la Laguna, St. Christopher of the Lake, so called from its situation near a lake. Both this and Santa Cruz are built of stone, but the appearance of the latter is more pleasing than that of Laguna. They are distant from each other about four miles. The capital of the Great Canary, and properly of the whole government, is the City of Palms: But that place has been for some time the centre of ecclesiastical government only. The custom of reckoning the first meridian as passing through these isles was begun by Ptolemy; and perhaps it is still to be wished that the French regulations on that subject were generally adopted.
9 June 1787.
Our ships were at length preparing to depart, when on the evening of the 9th of June, a convict belonging to the Alexander, having been employed on deck, found means to cut away the boat, and make a temporary escape; but he was missed and soon retaken. It is not probable that he had formed any definite plan of escape; the means of absconding must have been accidentally offered, and suddenly embraced; and for making such an attempt, the vague hope of liberty, without any certain prospect, would naturally afford sufficient temptation.
10 June 1787
By the 10th of June the ships had completed their water, and early the next morning, the Governor gave the signal for weighing anchor, and the fleet pursued its course.
Report of the marines and convicts under medical treatment, given in to Governor Phillip, June 4th, 1787.
Charlotte, — Marines 4 Convicts 16 Alexander, — Marines 2 Convicts 26 Scarborough, — Marine 1 Convicts 9 Friendship, — Convicts 13 Lady Penrhyn, Convicts 11 Prince of Wales, Marines 2 Convicts 7 —- Total Marines 9 Convicts 72
Convicts dead since the first embarkation 21 Children of convicts 3
Of these only fifteen, and one child, had died since the departure from Spithead.
June 1787 to September 1787
Attempt to put in at Port Praya—Relinquished—Weather—Sail for Rio de Faneiro—Reasons for touching at a South American port—The Fleet passes the Line—Arrives at Rio de Faneiro—Account of that Place—Transactions there—Departure.
Vegetables not having been so plentiful at Santa Cruz as to afford a sufficient supply, it was the intention of Governor Phillip to anchor for about twenty-four hours in the Bay of Port Praya. The islands on this side of the Atlantic, seem as if expressly placed to facilitate the navigation to and from the Cape of Good Hope: by offering to vessels, without any material variation from their course, admirable stations for supply and refreshment. About latitude 40, north, the Azores; in 33, the Madeiras; between 29 and 27, the Canaries; and between 18 and 16, the Islands of Cape Verd, successively offer themselves to the voyager, affording abundantly every species of accommodation his circumstances can require. On the Southern side of the Equator, a good harbour and abundance of turtles give some consequence even to the little barren island of Ascension; and St. Helena, by the industry of the English settlers, has become the seat of plenty and of elegance. Without the assistance derived, in going or returning, from some of these places, the interval of near forty degrees on each side of the line, in a sea exposed to violent heat, and subject to tedious calms, would be sufficient to discourage even the navigators of the eighteenth century.
18 June 1787
On the 18th of June, the fleet came in sight of the Cape Verd Islands, and was directed by signal to steer for St. Jago. But the want of favourable wind, and the opposition of a strong current making it probable that all the ships would not be able to get into the Bay, the Governor thought it best to change his plan. The signal for anchoring was hauled down, and the ships were directed to continue their first course; a circumstance of much disappointment to many individuals on board, who, as is natural in long voyages, were eager on every occasion to enjoy the refreshments of the shore. As an additional incitement to such wishes, the weather had now become hot; the thermometer stood at 82 deg., which, though not an immoderate heat for a tropical climate, is sufficient to produce considerable annoyance. But, unmoved by any consideration except that of expedience, Governor Phillip persisted in conducting his ships to their next intended station, the harbour of Rio de Janeiro.
It may appear perhaps, on a slight consideration, rather extraordinary, that vessels bound to the Cape of Good Hope should find it expedient to touch at a harbour of South America. To run across the Atlantic, and take as a part of their course, that coast, the very existence of which was unknown to the first navigators of these seas, seems a very circuitous method of performing the voyage. A little examination will remove this apparent difficulty. The calms so frequent on the African side, are of themselves a sufficient cause to induce a navigator to keep a very westerly course; and even the islands at which it is so often convenient to touch will carry him within a few degrees of the South American coast.—The returning tracks of Captain Cooks's three voyages all run within a very small space of the 45th degree of west longitude, which is even ten degrees further to the west than the extremity of Cape St. Roque: and that course appears to have been taken voluntarily, without any extraordinary inducement. But in the latitudes to which Governor Phillip's squadron had now arrived, the old and new continent approach so near to each other, that in avoiding the one it becomes necessary to run within a very moderate distance of the opposite land.
In the passage from the Cape Verd Islands, the fleet suffered for some time the inconvenience of great heat, attended by heavy rains. The heat, however, did not at any time exceed the point already specified,* and the precautions unremittingly observed in all the ships happily continued efficacious in preventing any violent sickness. Nor did the oppression of the hot weather continue so long as in these latitudes might have been expected; for before they reached the equator the temperature had become much more moderate.
[* 82 deg., 51. It is not unusual in England, to have the thermometer, for a day or two in a summer, at 81 deg..]
5 July 1787
On July 5, 1787, being then in long. 26 deg. 10' west from Greenwich, the Botany Bay fleet passed from the Northern into the Southern Hemisphere. About three weeks more of very favourable and pleasant weather conveyed them to Rio de Janeiro.
5-6 August 1787
On the 5th of August they anchored off the harbour, and on the evening of the 6th were at their station within it. The land of Cape Frio had been discovered some days before, but a deficiency of wind from that time a little slackened their course.
Rio de Janeiro, or January River, so called because discovered by Dias de Solis on the feast of St. Januarius, (Sept. 19) 1525, is not in fact a river, though its name denotes that it was then supposed to be so: it is an arm of the sea, into which a considerable number of small rivers descends.
The city of Rio de Janeiro, called by some writers St. Sebastian, from the name of its tutelar patron, is situated on the west side of this bay, within less than a degree of the tropic of Capricorn, and about 43 deg. west of Greenwich. It is at present the capital of all Brasil, and has been for some time the residence of the Viceroy. These distinctions it obtained in preference to St. Salvador, which was formerly the capital, by means of the diamond mines discovered in its vicinity, in the year 1730. The place increasing rapidly by the wealth thus brought to it, was fortified and put under the care of a governor in 1738. The port is one of the finest in the world, very narrow at the entrance, and within capacious enough to contain more ships than ever were assembled at one station. It has soundings from twenty to one hundred and twenty fathoms. A hill shaped like a sugar loaf, situated on the west side, marks the proper bearing for entering the harbour: the situation of which is fully pointed out at the distance of two leagues and a half by some small islands, one of which, called Rodonda, is very high, and in form not unlike a haycock. The mouth of the harbour is defended by forts, particularly two, called Santa Cruz and Lozia; and the usual anchorage within it is before the city, north of a small island named Dos Cobras.
There are in this port established fees, which are paid by all merchant ships, Portuguese as well as strangers: 3l. 12s. each on entering the bay, the same on going out, and 5s. 6d. a day while they remain at anchor. The entrance fee was demanded for the transports in this expedition, but when Governor Phillip had alledged that they were loaded with King's stores, the payment was no more insisted upon. Nevertheless, the Captain of the Port gave his attendance, with his boat's crew, to assist the ships in coming in, there being at that time only a light air, hardly sufficient to carry them up the bay.
In the narrative of Captain Cook's Voyage in 1768, we find, on his arrival at this place, great appearance of suspicion on the part of the Viceroy, harsh prohibitions of landing, even to the gentlemen employed in philosophical researches, and some proceedings rather of a violent nature. The reception given by the present Viceroy to Governor Phillip and his officers was very different: it was polite and flattering to a great degree, and free from every tincture of jealous caution.
Don Lewis de Varconcellos, the reigning Viceroy, belongs to one of the noblest families in Portugal; is brother to the Marquis of Castello Methor, and to the Count of Pombeiro. Governor Phillip, who served for some years as a Captain in the Portuguese navy, and is deservedly much honoured by that nation, was not personally unknown to the Viceroy, though known in a way which, in a less liberal mind, might have produced very different dispositions. There had been some difference between them, on a public account, in this port, when Governor Phillip commanded the Europe: each party had acted merely for the honour of the nation to which he belonged, and the Viceroy, with the true spirit of a man of honour, far from resenting a conduct so similar to his own, seemed now to make it his object to obliterate every recollection of offence. As soon as he was fully informed of the nature of Governor Phillip's commission, he gave it out in orders to the garrison that the same honours should be paid to that officer as to himself. This distinction the Governor modestly wished to decline, but was not permitted. His officers were all introduced to the Viceroy, and were, as well as himself, received with every possible mark of attention to them, and regard for their country. They were allowed to visit all parts of the city, and even to make excursions as far as five miles into the country, entirely unattended: an indulgence very unusual to strangers, and considering what we read of the jealousy of the Portuguese Government respecting its diamond mines, the more extraordinary.
Provisions were here so cheap, that notwithstanding the allowance of meat was fixed by Governor Phillip at twenty ounces a day, the men were victualled completely, rice, fresh vegetables, and firing included, at three-pence three-farthings a head. Wine was not at this season to be had, except from the retail dealers, less was therefore purchased than would otherwise have been taken. Rum, however, was laid in; and all such seeds and plants procured as were thought likely to flourish on the coast of New South Wales, particularly coffee, indigo, cotton, and the cochineal fig.* As a substitute for bread, if it should become scarce, one hundred sacks of cassada were purchased at a very advantageous price.
[* Cactus Cochinilifer, of Linnaeus.]
Cassada, the bread of thousands in the tropical climates, affords one of those instances in which the ingenuity of man might be said to triumph over the intentions of nature, were it not evidently the design of Providence that we should in all ways exert our invention and sagacity to the utmost, for our own security and support. It is the root of a shrub called Cassada, or Cassava Jatropha, and in its crude state is highly poisonous. By washing, pressure, and evaporation, it is deprived of all its noxious qualities, and being formed into cakes becomes a salubrious and not an unpalatable substitute for bread.
By the indulgence of the Viceroy, the deficiency in the military stores observed at the departure of the transports from England, was made up by a supply purchased from the Royal arsenal; nor was any assistance withheld which either the place afforded, or the stores of government could furnish.
The circumstances, which in this place most astonish a stranger, and particularly a Protestant, are, the great abundance of images dispersed throughout the city, and the devotion paid to them. They are placed at the corner of almost every street, and are never passed without a respectful salutation; but at night they are constantly surrounded by their respective votaries, who offer up their prayers aloud, and make the air resound in all quarters with the notes of their hymns. The strictness of manners in the inhabitants is not said to be at all equivalent to the warmth of this devotion; but in all countries and climates it is found much easier to perform external acts of reputed piety, than to acquire the internal habits so much more essential. It must be owned, however, that our people did not find the ladies so indulgent as some voyagers have represented them.
It was near a month before Governor Phillip could furnish his ships with every thing which it was necessary they should now procure. At length, on the 4th of September he weighed anchor, and as he passed the fort, received from the Viceroy the last compliment it was in his power to pay, being saluted with twenty-one guns. The salute was returned by an equal number from the Sirius; and thus ended an intercourse honourable to both nations, and particularly to the principal officer employed in the service of each.
September 1787 to January 1788
Prospercus passage from Rio to the Cape—Account of the Harbours there—The Cape of Good Hope not the most Southern point—Height of Table Mountain and others—Supineness of the European nations in neglecting to occupy the Cape—Live stock laid in—Departure—Separation of the fleet—Arrival of the Supply at Botany Bay.
4 September 1787
A Prosperous course by sea, like a state of profound peace and tranquility in civil society, though most advantageous to those who enjoy it, is unfavourable to the purposes of narration. The striking facts which the writer exerts himself to record, and the reader is eager to peruse, arise only from difficult situations: uniform prosperity is described in very few words. Of this acceptable but unproductive kind was the passage of the Botany Bay fleet from Rio de Janeiro to the Cape of Good Hope; uniformly favourable, and not marked by any extraordinary incidents. This run, from about lat. 22 deg. south, long. 43 west of London, to lat. 34 deg. south, long. 18 deg. east of London, a distance of about four thousand miles, was performed in thirty-nine days: for having left Rio on the 4th of September, on the 13th of October the ships came to anchor in Table Bay. Here they were to take their final refreshment, and lay in every kind of stock with which they were not already provided. In this period no additional lives had been lost, except that of a single convict belonging to the Charlotte transport, who fell accidentally into the sea, and could not by any efforts be recovered.
13 October 1787
Table Bay, on the north-west side of the Cape of Good Hope, is named from the Table Mountain, a promontory of considerable elevation, at the foot of which, and almost in the centre of the Bay, stands Cape Town, the principal Dutch settlement in this territory. This Bay cannot properly be called a port, being by no means a station of security; it is exposed to all the violence of the winds which set into it from the sea; and is far from sufficiently secured from those which blow from the land. The gusts which descend from the summit of Table Mountain are sufficient to force ships from their anchors, and even violently to annoy persons on the shore, by destroying any tents or other temporary edifices which may be erected, and raising clouds of fine dust, which produce very troublesome effects. A gale of this kind, from the south-east, blew for three days successively when Capt. Cook lay here in his first voyage, at which time, he informs us, the Resolution was the only ship in the harbour that had not dragged her anchors. The storms from the sea are still more formidable; so much so, that ships have frequently been driven by them from their anchorage, and wrecked at the head of the Bay. But these accidents happen chiefly in the quaade mousson, or winter months, from May 14 to the same day of August; during which time few ships venture to anchor here. Our fleet, arriving later, lay perfectly unmolested as long as it was necessary for it to remain in this station.
False Bay, on the south-east side of the Cape, is more secure than Table Bay, during the prevalence of the north-west winds, but still less so in strong gales from the south-east. It is however less frequented, being twenty-four miles of very heavy road distant from Cape Town, whence almost all necessaries must be procured. The most sheltered part of False Bay is a recess on the west side, called Simon's Bay.
The Cape of Good Hope, though popularly called, and perhaps pretty generally esteemed so, is not in truth the most southern point of Africa. The land which projects furthest to the south is a point to the east of it, called by the English Cape Lagullus; a name corrupted from the original Portugueze das Agulhas, which, as well as the French appellation des Aiguilles, is descriptive of its form, and would rightly be translated Needle Cape. Three eminences, divided by very narrow passes, and appearing in a distant view like three summits of the same mountain, stand at the head of Table Bay.—They are however of different heights, by which difference, as well as by that of their shape, they may be distinguished. Table Mountain is so called from its appearance, as it terminates in a flat horizontal surface, from which the face of the rock descends almost perpendicularly. This mountain rises to about 3567 feet above the level of the sea. Devil's Head, called also Charles mountain, is situated to the east of the former, and is not above 3368 feet in height; and on the west side of Table Mountain, Lion's Head, whose name is also meant to be descriptive, does not exceed 2764 feet. In the neighbourhood of the latter lies Constantia, a district consisting of two farms, wherein the famous wines of that name are produced.
Our voyagers found provisions less plentiful and less reasonable in price at Cape Town than they had been taught to expect. Board and lodging, which are to be had only in private houses, stood the officers in two rix-dollars a day, which is near nine shillings sterling. This town, the only place in the whole colony to which that title can be applied with propriety, is of no great extent; it does not in any part exceed two miles: and the country, colonized here by the Dutch, is in general so unfavourable to cultivation, that it is not without some astonishment that we find them able to raise provisions from it in sufficient abundance to supply themselves, and the ships of so many nations which constantly resort to the Cape.
When we consider the vast advantages derived by the Dutch colonists from this traffic, and the almost indispensible necessity by which navigators of all nations are driven to seek refreshment there, it cannot but appear extraordinary, that from the discovery of the Cape in 1493, by Barthelemi Diaz, to the year 1650, when, at the suggestion of John Van Riebeck, the first Dutch colony was sent, a spot so very favourable to commerce and navigation should have remained unoccupied by Europeans. Perhaps all the perseverance of the Dutch character was necessary even to suggest the idea of maintaining an establishment in a soil so burnt by the sun, and so little disposed to repay the toil of the cultivator. The example and success of this people may serve, however, as an useful instruction to all who in great undertakings are deterred by trifling obstacles; and who, rather than contend with difficulties, are inclined to relinquish the most evident advantages.
But though the country near the Cape had not charms enough to render it as pleasing as that which surrounds Rio de Janeiro, yet the Governor, Mynheer Van Graaffe, was not far behind the Viceroy of Brazil in attention to the English officers. They were admitted to his table, where they were elegantly entertained, and had reason to be pleased in all respects with his behaviour and disposition. Yet the minds of his people were not at this time in a tranquil state; the accounts from Holland were such as occasioned much uneasiness, and great preparations were making at the fort, from apprehension of a rupture with some other power.
In the course of a month, the live stock and other provisions were procured; and the ships, having on board not less than five hundred animals of different kinds, but chiefly poultry, put on an appearance which naturally enough excited the idea of Noah's ark. This supply, considering that the country had previously suffered from a dearth, was very considerable; but it was purchased of course at a higher expence considerably than it would have been in a time of greater plenty.
12 November 1787
On the 12th of November the fleet set sail, and was for many days much delayed by strong winds from the south-east.
25 November 1787
On the 25th, being then only 80 leagues to the eastward of the Cape, Governor Phillip left the Sirius and went on board the Supply tender; in hopes, by leaving the convoy, to gain sufficient time for examining the country round Botany Bay, so as to fix on the situation most eligible for the colony, before the transports should arrive. At the same time he ordered the agents for the transports, who were in the Alexander, to separate themselves from the convoy with that ship, the Scarborough and Friendship, which, as they were better sailors than the rest, might reasonably be expected sooner: in which case, by the labour of the convicts they had on board, much might be done in making the necessary preparations for landing the provisions and stores.
Major Ross, the Commandant of Marines, now left the Sirius, and went on board the Scarborough, that he might accompany that part of the detachment which probably would be landed first. Captain Hunter, in the Sirius, was to follow with the store-ships, and the remainder of the transports; and he had the necessary instructions for his future proceedings, in case the Supply had met with any accident. Lieutenant Gidley King, since appointed Commandant of Norfolk Island, accompanied Governor Phillip in the Supply.
3 January 1788
From this time to the 3d of January, 1788, the winds were as favourable as could be wished, blowing generally in very strong gales from the north-west, west, and south-west. Once only the wind had shifted to the east, but continued in that direction not more than a few hours. Thus assisted, the Supply, which sailed but very indifferently, and turned out, from what she had suffered in the voyage, to be hardly a safe conveyance, performed in fifty-one days a voyage of more than seven thousand miles. On the day abovementioned she was within sight of the coast of New South Wales. But the winds then became variable, and a current, which at times set very strongly to the southward, so much impeded her course, that it was not till the 18th that she arrived at Botany Bay.
First interview with the natives—the bay examined—arrival of the whole fleet—Port Jackson examined—second interview with the natives—and third—Governor Phillip returns to Botany Bay—and gives orders for the evacuation of it.
18 January 1788
At the very first landing of Governor Phillip on the shore of Botany Bay, an interview with the natives took place. They were all armed, but on seeing the Governor approach with signs of friendship, alone and unarmed, they readily returned his confidence by laying down their weapons. They were perfectly devoid of cloathing, yet seemed fond of ornaments, putting the beads and red baize that were given them, on their heads or necks, and appearing pleased to wear them. The presents offered by their new visitors were all readily accepted, nor did any kind of disagreement arise while the ships remained in Botany Bay. This very pleasing effect was produced in no small degree by the personal address, as well as by the great care and attention of the Governor. Nor were the orders which enforced a conduct so humane, more honourable to the persons from whom they originated, than the punctual execution of them was to the officers sent out: it was evident that their wishes coincided with their duty; and that a sanguinary temper was no longer to disgrace the European settlers in countries newly discovered.
The next care after landing was the examination of the bay itself, from which it appeared that, though extensive, it did not afford a shelter from the easterly winds: and that, in consequence of its shallowness, ships even of a moderate draught, would always be obliged to anchor with the entrance of the bay open, where they must be exposed to a heavy sea, that rolls in whenever it blows hard from the eastward.
Several runs of fresh water were found in different parts of the bay, but there did not appear to be any situation to which there was not some very strong objection. In the northern part of it is a small creek, which runs a considerable way into the country, but it has water only for a boat, the sides of it are frequently overflowed, and the low lands near it are a perfect swamp. The western branch of the bay is continued to a great extent, but the officers sent to examine it could not find there any supply of fresh water, except in very small drains.
Point Sutherland offered the most eligible situation, having a run of good water, though not in very great abundance. But to this part of the harbour the ships could not approach, and the ground near it, even in the higher parts, was in general damp and spungy. Smaller numbers might indeed in several spots have found a comfortable residence, but no place was found in the whole circuit of Botany Bay which seemed at all calculated for the reception of so large a settlement. While this examination was carried on, the whole fleet had arrived. The Supply had not so much outsailed the other ships as to give Governor Phillip the advantage he had expected in point of time. On the 19th of January, the Alexander, Scarborough, and Friendship, cast anchor in Botany Bay; and on the 20th, the Sirius, with the remainder of the convoy*. These ships had all continued very healthy; they had not, however, yet arrived at their final station.
[* The annexed view of Botany Bay, represents the Supply, etc. at anchor, and the Sirius with her convoy coming into the bay.]