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Title:      Journal of a Voyage to New South Wales
Author:     John White (1757/8-1832)
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eBook No.:  0301531.txt
Edition:    1
Language:   English
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Date first posted:          December 2003
Date most recently updated: December 2003

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A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook

Title:      Journal of a Voyage to New South Wales
Author:     John White (1757/8-1832)

Journal of a Voyage to New South Wales with sixty-five plates of non descript
animals, birds, lizards, serpents, curious cones of trees and other natural

John White (1757/8-1832)
Surgeon-General to the First Fleet and the Settlement at Port Jackson

First Published: 1790

To Thomas Wilson, Esq.

Dear Sir,

As the following Journal was undertaken at your Request, and its principal
Object to afford you some Amusement during your Hours of Relaxation, I shall
esteem myself happy if it answers that Purpose.

I hope that the Specimens of Natural History may tend to the Promotion of your
favourite Science, and that, on this Account, it will not be unacceptable to
you. By the next Conveyance I trust I shall be enabled to make some Additions,
that will not be unworthy the Attention of the Naturalists.

Let my present Communications, which the sudden sailing of the Ships from
hence, and the Duties of my Department, have rendered less copious than I
intended, at least serve to convince you of my Readiness at all Times to comply
with your Wishes; and of the Respect and Esteem with which I am,


Port Jackson, New South Wales,
November 18th, 1788.


It becomes the duty of the Editor, as much as it is his inclination, to return
his public and grateful acknowledgments to the Gentlemen through whose
abilities and liberal communications, in the province of Natural History, he
has been enabled to surmount those difficulties that necessarily attended the
description of so great a variety of animals, presented for the first time to
the observation of the Naturalist, and consequently in the class of

Among those Gentlemen he has the honour, particularly, to reckon the names of
Dr. Shaw; Dr. Smith, the possessor of the celebrated Linnaean Collection; and
John Hunter, Esq., who, to a sublime and inventive genius, happily unites a
disinterested and generous zeal for the promotion of natural science.

The Public may rely, with the most perfect confidence, on the care and accuracy
with which the drawings have been copied from nature, by Miss Stone, Mr.
Catton, Mr. Nodder, and other artists; and the Editor flatters himself the
Engravings are all executed with equal correctness, by, or under the immediate
inspection of Mr. Milton. The Birds, etc. from which the drawings were taken are
deposited in the Leverian Museum.


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New Holland Cassowary
Great Brown King's Fisher
Banksian Cockatoo
Blue Bellied Parrot
Anamolous Hornbill
Wattled Bee-eater, male
Wattled Bee-eater, female
Golden Winged Pigeon
Port Jackson Thrush
Yellow Eared Fly Catcher
Tabuan Parrot, male
Tabuan Parrot, female
Pennantian Parrot, male
Pennantian Parrot, female
New Holland Creeper, male
Knob-fronted Bee-eater
Sacred King's Fisher
Banksia Serrata in Bud
Banksia serrata in Flower
Banksia Serrata in Fruit
Banksia pyriformis
Banksia, and Banksia gibbosa
Peppermint Tree
Tea Tree of New South Wales
Bark of the Red Gum Tree
Crested Cockatoo
White Fulica
Southern Motacilla
Crested Goatsucker
Skinc-formed Lizard
Muricated Lizard and Snake
Ribboned and Broad-Tailed Lizard
Blue Frogs
Root of the Yello Gum tree
White Hawke
White Vented Crow
Fuliginous Peteril
Variegated Lizard
Pungent Chaetedon. and Granulated Balistes
Muricated Lizard, Variety
Superb Warblers
Snake, No. 1
Snake, No. 2
Snake, No. 5
Snakes, No. 1 and 2
Insects of New South Wales, viz. Large Scolopendra, Spider, Crab,
     and Caterpillar
Small Paroquet
Red Shouldered Paroquet
Cyprinaceous Labrus and Hippocampus
Doubtful Lophius
Southern Cottus and Flying Fish
Fasciated Mullet and Doubtful Sparus
White Jointed Spider
Wha Tapoua Roo
Dog of New South Wales
Tapoa Tafa
Spotted Tapoa Tafa
Poto Roo
Hepoona Roo
Feather of the Cassowary and Fish Hooks
Implements of New South Wales; viz. a War Spear, Fish Gig, Hatchet,
     a Sword, and Basket of New South Wales
Atherine, Tobacco Pipe and Remora Fish
New Holland Creeper, female


March 1787.
I this day left London, charged with dispatches from the
Secretary of State's office, and from the Admiralty, relative to the
embarkation of that part of the marines and convicts intended for Botany
Bay; and on the evening of the seventh, after travelling two days of the
most incessant rain I ever remember, arrived at Plymouth, where the
Charlotte and Friendship transports were in readiness to receive them.

General Collins, commander in chief at that port, lost no time in carrying
the orders I had brought into execution: so that on the morning of the ninth
the detachment of marines were on board, with all the baggage. But the
next day being ushered in with a very heavy gale of wind, made it
impracticable to remove the convicts from on board the Dunkirk prisonship,
where they were confined. So violent was the gale, that his Majesty's
ship the Druid, of thirty-two guns, was forced to cut away her main-mast to
prevent her driving on shore.

The weather being moderate the following day, the convicts were put on
board the transports, and placed in the different apartments allotted for
them; all secured in irons, except the women. In the evening, as there was
but little wind, we were towed by the boats belonging to the guardships out
of the Hamaoze, where the Dunkirk lay, into Plymouth Sound. When this
duty was completed, the boats returned; and the wind now freshening so as
to enable us to clear the land, we proceeded to Spithead, where we arrived
the seventeenth, and anchored on the Mother Bank, among the rest of the
transports and victuallers intended for the same expedition, under the
conduct of his Majesty's ship the Sirius.

As soon as the ship came to anchor, I visited all the other transports,
and was really surprised to find the convicts on board them so
very healthy. When I got on board the Alexander, I found there
a medical gentleman from Portsmouth, among whose acquaintances
I had not the honour to be numbered. He scarcely gave me time
to get upon the quarter-deck before he thus addressed me--
"I am very glad you are arrived, Sir; for your people have got a malignant
disease among them of a most dangerous kind; and it will be necessary,
for their preservation, to get them immediately relanded!"

Surprised at such a salutation, and alarmed at the purport of it, I
requested of my assistant, Mr. Balmain, an intelligent young man, whom
I had appointed to this ship for the voyage, to let me see the people
who were ill.

"Sir," returned Mr. Balmain, taking me aside, "you will not find things by
any means so bad as this gentleman represents them to be; they are made
much worse by him than they really are. Unlike a person wishing to
administer comfort to those who are afflicted, either in body or in mind,
he has publicly declared before the poor creatures who are ill, that they
must inevitably fall a sacrifice to the malignant disorder with which they
are afflicted; the malignity of which appears to me to exist only in his
own imagination.

"I did not, however," continued Mr. Balmain, "think proper to contradict
the gentleman, supposing, from the consequence he assumed, and the ease
with which he had given his opinion, or more properly his directions,
that he was some person appointed by the Secretary of State to officiate
for you till your arrival. When you go among the people you will be better
able to judge of the propriety of what I have said."

Mr. Balmain had no sooner concluded than I went between decks, and found
every thing just as he had represented it to be. There were several in bed
with slight inflammatory complaints; some there were who kept their bed to
avoid the inconvenience of the cold, which was at this time very piercing,
and whose wretched clothing was but a poor defence against the rigour of
it; others were confined to their bed through the effects of long
imprisonment, a weakened habit, and lowness of spirits; which was not a
little added to by the declaration of the medical gentleman above
mentioned, whom they concluded to be the principal surgeon to the

However, on my undeceiving them in that point, and at the same time
confirming what Mr. Balmain had from the first told them, viz. that their
complaints were neither malignant nor dangerous, their fears abated. To
this I added, that I would immediately give orders for such as were in
want of clothing, to be supplied with what was needful; a power delegated
to me by Captain Phillip, together with the liberty of giving such other
directions as I thought would tend to the recovery or preservation of
their health. And, further, as they had been nearly four months on board,
and during that time had been kept upon salt provisions, I would endeavour
to get fresh for them while in port.

This short conversation had so sudden an effect on those I addressed,
and was of so opposite a tendency to that of the gentleman alluded to, that
before we got from between decks I had the pleasure to see several of them
put on such clothes as they had, and look a little cheerful.

I then pointed out to Lieutenant Johnson, commanding officer of the
marines on board, and to the master of the ship, the necessity there was
of admitting the convicts upon the deck, one half at a time, during the
course of the day, in order that they might breathe a purer air, as
nothing would conduce more to the preservation of their health. To this
these gentlemen readily assented; adding that they had no objection to the
whole number coming upon deck at once, if I thought it necessary, as they
were not apprehensive of any danger from the indulgence.

On returning to the quarter-deck, I found my new medical acquaintance
still there; and before I could give some directions to Mr. Balmain, as I
was about to do, he thus once more addressed me--"I suppose you are now
convinced of the dangerous disease that prevails among these people,
and of the necessity of having them landed, in order to get rid of it."

Not a little hurt at the absurd part the gentleman had acted, and at his
repeated importunity, I replied with some warmth, "that I was very sorry
to differ so essentially in opinion from him, as to be obliged to tell him
that there was not the least appearance of malignity in the disease under
which the convicts laboured, but that it wholly proceeded from the cold;
and was nearly similar to a complaint then prevalent, even among the
better sort of people, in and about Portsmouth."

Notwithstanding this, he still persisted so much in the propriety
of their being landed, and the necessity there was for an application
to the Secretary of State upon the occasion, that I could no longer
keep my temper; and I freely told him, "that the idea of landing
them was as improper as it was absurd. And, in order to make him perfectly
easy on that head, I assured him that when any disease rendered it
necessary to call in medical aid, he might rest satisfied I would not
trouble him; but would apply to Doctor Lind, Physician to the Royal
Hospital at Hasler, a gentleman as eminently distinguished for his
professional abilities as his other amiable qualities; or else to some of
the surgeons of his Majesty's ships in Portsmouth harbour, or at Spithead,
most of whom I had the pleasure of knowing, and on whose medical knowledge
I was certain I could depend."

This peremptory declaration had the desired effect. The gentleman
took his leave, to my great satisfaction, and thereby gave me an
opportunity of writing by that evening's post, to inform the Secretary
of State, and Captain Phillip, of the real state of the sick; and at the same
time to urge the necessity of having fresh provisions served to the whole of
the convicts while in port, as well as a little wine for those who were ill.
Fresh provisions I dwelt most on, as being not only needful for the
recovery of the sick, but otherwise essential, in order to prevent any of
them commencing so long and tedious a voyage as they had before them
with a scorbutic taint; a consequence that would most likely attend their
living upon salt food; and which, added to their needful confinement and
great numbers, would, in all probability, prove fatal to them, and thereby
defeat the intention of Government.

The return of the post brought me an answer, and likewise an order to the
contractor for supplying the marines and convicts daily with fresh beef and
vegetables, while in port. A similar order I found had been given long
before my arrival; but, by some strange mistake or other, had not been
complied with.

The salutary effect of this change of diet, with the addition of some
wine and other necessaries ordered for the sick, through the humanity
of Lord Sydney, manifested itself so suddenly that in the space of
a fortnight, on comparing my list of sick with that of a surgeon belonging
to one of the guardships, allowing for the disproportion of numbers, mine
did not exceed his. And yet, notwithstanding this, which is a well-known
fact, the report of a most malignant disease still prevailed: and so
industriously was the report promulgated and kept alive by some evilminded
people, who either wished to throw an odium on the humane promoters
of the plan, or to give uneasiness to the friends and relations of
those engaged in the expedition, that letters from all quarters were
pouring in upon us, commiserating our state.

The newspapers were daily filled with alarming accounts of the fatality
that prevailed among us; and the rumour became general, notwithstanding
every step was taken to remove these fears, by assurances (which were
strictly true) that the whole fleet was in as good a state of health,
and as few in it would be found to be ill, at that cold season of the
year, as even in the most healthy situation on shore.

The clearest testimony that there was more malignity in the report than in
the disease, may be deduced from the very inconsiderable number that have
died since we left England; which I may safely venture to say is much less
than ever was known in so long a voyage (the numbers being proportionate),
even though not labouring under the disadvantages we were subject to,
and the crowded state we were in.

During the absence of Captain Phillip, I mentioned to Captain Hunter, of
the Sirius, that I thought whitewashing with quick lime the parts of the
ships where the convicts were confined, would be the means of correcting
and preventing the unwholesome dampness which usually appeared on the
beams and sides of the ships, and was occasioned by the breath of the
people. Captain Hunter agreed with me on the propriety of the step: and
with that obliging willingness which marks his character, made the
necessary application to commissioner Martin; who, on his part, as readily
ordered the proper materials. The process was accordingly soon finished;
and fully answered the purpose intended.

12th May.
His Majesty's ship the Hyaena joined us this day, and put
herself under the command of Captain Phillip, who had instructions to take
her with him as far as he should think needful. In the evening the Sirius
made the signal to weigh, and attempted to get down to St. Helen's; but the
wind shifting, and several of the convoy not getting under way, through
some irregularity in the seamen, she was obliged to anchor. When this was
done, Captain Phillip sent Lieutenant King on board the ships which had
occasioned the detention, who soon adjusted the difficulties that had arisen,
as they were found to proceed more from intoxication than from any
nautical causes.

13th May.
This morning the Sirius and her convoy weighed again,
with an intention of going through St. Helen's; but the wind being fair for
the Needles, we ran through them, with a pleasant breeze. The Charlotte,
Captain Gilbert, on board of which I was, sailing very heavy, the Hyaena
took us in tow, until she brought us ahead of the Sirius, and then cast us

15th May.
An accident of a singular nature happened to-day. Corporal Baker
of the marines, on laying a loaded musquet down, which he had just taken
out of the arms chest, was wounded by it in the inner ankle of the right
foot. The bones, after being a good deal shattered, turned the ball, which,
taking another direction, had still force enough left to go through a
harnesscask full of beef, at some distance, and after that to kill two geese
that were on the other side of it. Extraordinary as this incident may appear,
it is no less true. The corporal being a young man, and in a good habit of
body, I had the pleasure, contrary to the general expectation, of seeing him
return to his duty in three months, with the perfect use of the wounded joint.

20th May.
A discovery of a futile scheme, formed by the convicts on board the
Scarborough, was made by one of that body, who had been recommended
to Captain Hunter previous to our sailing. They had laid a plan for making
themselves masters of the ship; but being prevented by this discovery, two
of the ringleaders were carried on board the Sirius, where they were
punished; and afterwards put on board the Prince of Wales transport, from
which time they behaved very well. Being now near one hundred leagues
to the westward of Scilly, and all well, Captain Phillip found it no longer
necessary to keep the Hyaena with him; therefore, having committed his
letters to the care of the Hon. Captain De Courcey, he in the course of this
day sent her back.

28th May.
Departed this life, Ismael Coleman, a convict, who, worn out by lowness
of spirits and debility, brought on by long and close confinement,
resigned his breath without a pang.

30th May.
In the forenoon passed to the southward of Madeira, and saw some turtle
of the hawks-bill kind.

2nd June.
Saw and passed the Salvages. These islands are not laid down
in any of the charts we had on board, except a small one, by Hamilton
Moore, in the possession of the second mate. They lie, by our observation,
in lat. 30°10'N. long. 15°9'W.

3rd June.
This evening, after seeing many small fish in our way from the
Salvages, we arrived at Teneriffe, and anchored in Santa Cruz road, about a
mile to the N.E. of the town of that name, in sixteen fathom water; some of
the ships came to in twenty fathom. We were visited the same night, as is
the custom of the port, by the harbour master, and gained permission to
water and procure such refreshments as the island afforded. The marines
were now served with wine in lieu of spirits; a pound of fresh beef was
likewise daily distributed to them as well as to the convicts, together with
a pound of rice instead of bread, and such vegetables as could be procured.
Of the latter indeed the portion was rather scanty, little besides onions
being to be got; and still less of fruit, it being too early in the season.

4th June.
Captain Phillip, as governor of his Majesty's territories in New South
Wales, and commander in chief of the expedition, accompanied by twenty
of the principal officers, paid his respects to the Marquis de Brancifort,
governor of this and the other Canary islands. We were received by his
Excellency with great politeness and cordiality; and, after the ceremony of
introduction was over, he entered into familiar conversation with Captain
Phillip on general topics. In person the Marquis is genteel; he is rather
above the middle size, but cannot boast of much embonpoint; his
countenance is animated; his deportment easy and graceful; and both his
appearance and manners perfectly correspond with the idea universally
entertained of the dignity of a grandee of Spain. This accomplished
nobleman, as I have been informed, is not a Spaniard by birth, but a
Sicilian; and descended from some of the princes of that island. On this
ancestry and descent, it is visible that he prides himself not a little. The
people he is placed over will have it that he carries himself with too much
stateliness to be long a favourite there; they cannot, however, help
acknowledging that he preserves a degree of disinterestedness, moderation,
and justice, in his conduct towards them, that is not to be objected to.

6th June.
A convict, named James Clark, died of a dropsy; he had been tapped
ten days before, and discharged twelve quarts of water.

8th June.
During the night, while the people were busily employed in taking in
water on board the Alexander, a service in which some of the convicts
assisted, one of them, of the name of Powel, found means to drop himself
unperceived into a small boat that lay along-side; and under cover of the
night to cast her off without discovery. He then drifted to a Dutch East
Indiaman that had just come to an anchor, to the crew of which he told a
plausible story and entreated to be taken on board; but, though they much
wanted men, they would have nothing to do with him. Having committed
himself again to the waves, he was driven by the wind and the current, in
the course of the night, to a small island lying to leeward of the ships,
where he was the next morning taken. The boat and oars, which he could
not conceal, led to a discovery; otherwise he would probably have effected
his escape. When brought back by the party sent after him, Captain Phillip
ordered him into irons, in which state he remained for some time; but at
length, by an artful petition he got written for him, he so wrought on the
governor's humanity as to procure a release from his confinement.

As you approach the island of Teneriffe, and even when you are near to
it, the appearance from the sea conveys no very favourable idea of its
fertility, one rugged, barren hill or mountain terminating in another, until
it forms the famous Peak. The town of Santa Cruz is large and populous, but
very irregular and ill built; some of the private houses, however, are
spacious, convenient, and well constructed. Although this town is not
considered as the capital, Laguna enjoying that pre-eminence, yet I cannot
help thinking it ought to be so; not only from its being more frequented by
ships of various nations, and having a greater share of trade than any other
port in the Canaries, but on account of its being the residence of the

Among other steps for its improvement, the Marquis set on foot a
contribution, and from the produce of it has caused to be built an elegant
and commodious mole, or pier, about the center of the town. To this pier,
water of an excellent quality is conveyed by pipes; so that boats may come
along-side, and by applying a hose to the cocks, placed there for this
purpose, fill the casks without the usual trouble and fatigue. The landing or
shipping of goods is likewise, by means of this pier, rendered both
convenient and expeditious. In short, I think I may safely recommend this
port as a very good one for ships undertaking long voyages to water at and
refresh their crews, more especially in the time of the fruit season.

About four or five miles, inland, from Santa Cruz, stands the city of
Laguna, so called from a lake near which it is situated. This lake, during
the winter, or in rainy weather, is full of stagnant water, that in a little
time becomes putrid, and, in very dry hot weather, is totally exhaled. I have
before observed, that Laguna is considered as the capital of the island, and
added my reasons for thinking this an ill-judged distinction. The road from
Santa Cruz to it is a pretty steep ascent until you approach the town, which
is situated at the extremity, or rather on a corner, of a plain three or four
miles long. This city has two churches, one of them richly ornamented; and
several convents both of friars and nuns. It has likewise three hospitals;
two of which were originally instituted for the wise, but ineffectual,
purpose of eradicating the lues venerea; a disease that has long been, and
still continues to be, very common in this island. I was, however, informed
that persons afflicted with other disorders are now received into these two
charitable institutions; and that the third is appropriated to the reception of

Besides the foregoing, there are some other public, as well as
private buildings, that tend to improve the appearance of the town. There is
very little trade carried on at Laguna, it being rather the retired residence
of the gentry of the island, and of the merchants of Santa Cruz, which is the
principal seat of commerce. The officers of justice likewise reside here;
such as the corrigedor, lieutenant of the police, etc. and a judge whose
business it is to regulate commercial affairs. An office of inquisition, with
the proper officers, delegated from, and subject to, the tribunal of the holy
office held at Grand Canary, is besides established here.

The present natives of this island seem to have in them very little of the
stock from whence they sprung; intermarriages with the Spaniards have
nearly obliterated all traces of the original stamina: they are of a middle
stature, inclining to be slender, and of a dark complexion, with large
animated black eyes. The peasants in general are wretchedly clothed; when
they do appear better, they are habited in the Spanish fashion. The men in a
genteeler line dress very gaily, and are seldom seen without long swords. It
is remarked that few of them walk with dignity and ease; which may be
attributed to the long cloaks they usually wear, except on particular

The women wear veils: those worn by the lower ranks are of black stuff,
those of the higher, of black silk; and such among the latter as have any
claim to beauty, are far from being over careful in concealing their faces by
them. The young ladies, some of whom I saw that were really pretty, wear
their fine long black hair plaited, and fastened with a comb, or a ribbon, on
the top of the head.

The common people, and in this they resemble the inhabitants of most of
the islands in the Pacific Ocean lately discovered, have a strong spice of
furacity in them; they are besides lazy; and the most importunate beggars
in the world: I observed likewise, that the itch was so common among
them, and had attained such a degree of virulence, that one would almost
be led to believe it was epidemic there.

Some of the women are so abandoned and shameless that it would be
doing an injustice to the prostitutes met with in the streets of London to say
they are like them. The females of every degree are said to be of an
amorous constitution, and addicted to intrigue, for which no houses could
be better adapted than those in Teneriffe.

The manufactures carried on here are very few, and the product of them
little more than sufficient for their own consumption. They consist of
taffeties, gauze, coarse linens, blankets, a little silk, and curious garters.
The principal dependance of the inhabitants is on their wine (their staple
commodity), oil, corn, and every kind of stock for shipping. With these the
island abounds, and, in their season, produces not only the tropical fruits
but the vegetable productions of the European gardens in the greatest

Teneriffe enjoys an agreeable and healthful mediocrity of climate.
Indeed I know of none better adapted for the restoration of a
valetudinarian; as, by going into the mountains, he may graduate the air,
and chuse that state of it which best suits his complaint. But although the
inhabitants are thus healthy, and have so little occasion for medical aid,
they loudly complain of the want of knowledge in the professional
gentlemen of the island.

The present governor has established a manufactory of silk and woollen
goods in the suburbs of Santa Cruz, which is carried on by poor children,
old and infirm people, and by abandoned females, with a view to
reclaiming them: an institution that will ever do honour both to his
excellency and to those who have liberally aided him in so laudable a

Like the inhabitants of most catholic countries, the people of this island
are very profuse in decorating their churches, and even their dwellinghouses,
on the festivals held in honour of their saints. This being Corpus
Christi, a day of much solemnity and parade, I went on shore with
Lieutenant Ball of the Supply to see the procession incident to the
occasion. Before we landed we formed a resolution to avoid, as much as
lay in our power, giving offence even to the most zealous devotee. But we
found this was not to be done.

When we arrived at the church, from whence the procession commenced,
the Host was just making its appearance, a circumstance that is
announced by ringing of bells and firing of guns. As it passed by
us we fell on our knees, as we observed those around us to do; but,
it unfortunately happening that the spot we knelt upon consisted
of sand intermixed with small rough pebbles, the posture we were
in soon became so exceedingly painful that, in order to procure a
momentary ease, we only let one knee remain on the ground. This heretical
act did not escape the observation of one of the holy fathers, all of whom
were intent on the exact performance of every ceremonious etiquette. It
procured for us a frown from him, and treatment that was not of the most
civil kind; so that, in order to pacify him, we again dropped on both knees.
He did not, however, pass on, without exhibiting strong marks of ill-nature
and resentment in his countenance, at this trivial and unintended breach of
respectful attention to the religious rights of the country.

The procession, in which the governor and all the principal inhabitants
joined, having passed through most of the streets, returned, with the same
solemnity, to the church it had set out from, which was richly ornamented
and splendidly illuminated with large wax tapers upon the occasion.

During our stay here, his excellency the governor entertained Captain
Phillip and all the officers belonging to the expedition with a very
elegant dinner.

Before we sailed from the Motherbank, a sporatic disease had appeared
among the marines and convicts. On its first appearance it resembled the
mumps, or swellings of the chaps; and as that distemper sometimes
terminates in a translation of the inflammation to the testicles, so this
complaint (after the swelling and induration of the jaws had subsided,
which usually happened on the sixth or seventh day) never in one instance
failed to fix on those parts; and that in so very obstinate a manner as not
to give way to the treatment generally found effectual in similar
inflammations. One of the convicts, thus affected, was seized with an
intermitting fever: between the paroxysm I gave him an emetic, which had
such a sudden and wonderful effect on this strange complaint that I was
induced to repeat it; and I found it effectual in this, as well as in all
subsequent cases.

As soon as we got to sea, the motion of the ship acted on all those
who were affected, to the number of seventeen, in a most surprising
and extraordinary manner. Indeed it was so sudden that it was like
a placebo. I could never account, with any satisfaction to myself, for
the origin of this uncommon disease, though much acquainted with those
incident to seamen; nor did I ever see or hear of any that resembled it. The
most steady and prudent of the mariners, even those who had their wives
on board, were equally affected with those who led more irregular lives.

At first I attributed it to the verdigrease that might gather on the copper
utensils wherein the provisions were cooked; but I am now fully persuaded
that this was not the source from which it proceeded; for at the very time it
was most prevalent, and attended with the greatest degree of inveteracy,
the coppers were cleaned, and made as bright as they could be, every day,
under my own inspection. Another proof, and a very strong one, that it did
not proceed from the before-mentioned cause is that the provisions still
continued to be dressed in the same coppers, when the smallest trace of the
disease was no longer to be perceived; which was the case after being four
or five days at sea.

9th June. P.M.
The Sirius made the signal for all officers to repair on board their
respective ships; an officer was likewise sent to the governor to
inform him that we intended to put to sea in the morning, and, at the same
time, to thank him for the civilities and politeness he had shown us. His
excellency returned, in answer to this message, that his best and most
sincere good wishes should attend us, and that he should ever feel a very
particular interest in our success, which he hoped would answer the
intention of government and the expectations of those who had so
cheerfully entered as volunteers on so novel and very uncertain a service.

10th June.
This morning the fleet got under way with a light breeze, which
carried us out of Santa Cruz, but left us two days becalmed between
Teneriffe and the Grand Canary. After this a fine breeze sprung up from
the north-east; and no occurrence worthy of notice happened for some
days. We crossed the tropical line in 18°20' west longitude, and was nearly
pressed on board the Lady Penrhynn transport, whose people did not attend
to her steerage, being deeply engaged in sluicing and ducking all those on
board who had never crossed it.

17th June.
In the morning saw a strange sail to the northward, and at night the
Sirius made the signal for the convoy to shorten sail.

18th June.
Early this morning the Sirius threw out the Supply's signal to make
sail, and look out ahead. She immediately obeyed, and at eight o'clock
made the signal for seeing land, which was repeated by the Sirius to the
convoy. At eleven we passed the Isle of Sal, in lat. 16°38'N. long. 22°5'W.,
and in the evening Bonavista; two of the Cape de Verd islands, a cluster of
islands so called from a cape of that name situated opposite to them on the
continent of Africa. We passed the latter island so close, that we saw the
breakers which endangered Captain Cook's ship in his last voyage.² It blew
at the time pretty fresh, and was so hazy that we could make no other
observation than that the land was high, and the shore (what we could
perceive of it through the haze, for the horizon line did not exceed two
miles) had a white appearance, as if sand or chalk cliffs. At six in the
evening, the Sirius made a signal for the convoy to observe a close order of
sailing, and to shorten sail for the night; and at twelve, running under an
easy sail, she made the signal for the ships to bring to, with their heads to
the south-east.

19th June.
At day-break we made sail, the Supply being ahead on the look-out.
At eight o'clock she made the signal for seeing land; which proved to be
the isle of Mayo, another of the Cape de Verd islands, lying in lat. 15°10'N.
long. 23°W. The Sirius now made the signal to prepare to anchor; which
was followed by one that the boats from the victuallers and transports may
land, as soon as the ships came to an anchor, without asking permission as
at Teneriffe. We ran down the east side of the island, close in with the shore,
on which we could perceive a high surf, or rather the sea, breaking
violently among the rocks. The haze still continued so thick that we could
only observe the shore to be rough, craggy, and bold, and that several parts
of the island seemed high and mountainous. At twelve, through the haze,
saw the island of Saint Jago, the principal of the Cape de Verd islands,
lying in lat. 14°54'N. long. 23°29'W.

Half after one, the Sirius leading into Port Praya Bay, on a sudden
brought to, as we imagined, to wait for the sternmost ships, which,
as they all came up, likewise brought to, on the outside of the
entrance into the bay. After the preparations which had been made
for anchoring, and the disposition shown by the Sirius to run in, we
were not a little surprised to see her, at two o'clock, throw out the signal
for the convoy to keep nearer the commanding officer; then make sail and bear
away, steering south-west. At six in the evening we lost sight of the island,
running with a smart top-gallant, and steering sail, breeze at north-east.

A small Portugueze brig lay at anchor in Port Praya, which was the only
vessel of any kind at that time there. This bay is rendered memorable by
the action that took place there, on the 16th of April 1781, between
Commodore Johnstone and Monsieur Suffrein; in giving an account of
which, the French admiral (in a letter said to be written by him)
humorously thus observes: "In leading into the bay, I was some time at a
loss to distinguish which was the commodore's ship: but on getting more
in, I at length saw his pendant blushing through a forest of masts; the
Romney being securely placed in shore of the merchant ships and smaller
men of war."

The entrance into this bay appeared to be about a mile, between two bluff
points, which makes it secure from every wind except a southerly one; and
when that prevails a very high sea tumbles into it. On an eminence, in the
center of the bay, stands a fort, where the Portugueze colours were
displayed. Many people appeared on the batteries, looking at the ships;
which were probably more in number than had been seen there since the
memorable 16th of April.

The appearance of the town and the island, from the distant view we had,
gave us no very favourable opinion of them. The face of the country
seemed to be sterile in the extreme. The lifeless brown of the Isle
of Mayo, described by Captain Cook, may very well be applied to this
island; for as far as my eye or glass could reach, not the smallest
trace of vegetation or verdure was to be perceived, except at the west end
of the fort, on the left side of the bay, where a few trees of the cocoa-nut
or palm kind appeared. But, notwithstanding the sterile picture it exhibits
when viewed from the sea, geographers, and those who have been on
shore, describe it to be, in many places, well cultivated and very fertile;
producing sugar canes, a little wine, some cotton, Indian corn, cocoa nuts,
and oranges, with all the other tropical fruits in great plenty; and point it
out as a place where ships bound on long voyages may be conveniently
supplied with water, and other necessaries, such as fowls, goats, and hogs;
all of which are to be purchased at a very easy rate.

20th June.
This evening, standing to the southward with all sail; the wind
moderate; the air warm and damp, with haze; the Sirius made the
Alexander's signal, who had dropped considerably astern, and reprimanded
the master for hoisting out a boat without permission. The two following
days the weather was moderately warm, with some flashes of lightning.

23rd June.
The weather became exceedingly dark, warm, and close, with heavy
rain, a temperature of the atmosphere very common on approaching
the equator, and very much to be dreaded, as the health is greatly
endangered thereby. Every attention was therefore paid to the people on
board the Charlotte, and every exertion used to keep her clean and
wholesome between decks. My first care was to keep the men, as far as
was consistent with the regular discharge of their duty, out of the rain; and
I never suffered the convicts to come upon deck when it rained, as they had
neither linen nor clothing sufficient to make themselves dry and
comfortable after getting wet: a line of conduct which cannot be too strictly
observed, and enforced, in those latitudes.

To this, and to the frequent use of oil of tar, which was used three
times a week, and oftener if found necessary, I attribute, in a great
degree, the uncommon good health we enjoyed. I most sincerely wish oil
of tar was in more general use throughout his Majesty's navy than it is.
If it were, I am certain that the advantage accruing from it to the
health of seamen, that truly useful and valuable class of the community,
and for whose preservation too much cannot be done, would soon manifest
itself. This efficacious remedy wonderfully resists putrefaction,
destroys vermin and insects of every kind; wherever it is applied
overcomes all disagreeable smells; and is in itself both agreeable
and wholesome.

In the evening it became calm, with distant peals of thunder, and the
most vivid flashes of lightning I ever remember. The weather was now so
immoderately hot that the female convicts, perfectly overcome by it,
frequently fainted away; and these faintings generally terminated in fits.
And yet, notwithstanding the enervating effects of the atmospheric heat,
and the inconveniences they suffered from it, so predominant was the
warmth of their constitutions, or the depravity of their hearts, that the
hatches over the place where they were confined could not be suffered to
lay off, during the night, without a promiscuous intercourse immediately
taking place between them and the seamen and marines.

What little wind there was, which was only at intervals, continuing
adverse, and the health of these wretches being still endangered by
the heat, Captain Phillip, though anxious to prevent as much as
possible this intercourse, gave an order, on my representing the
necessity of it, that a grating should be cut, so as to admit a small
wind sail being let down among them. In some of the other ships, the
desire of the women to be with the men was so uncontrollable, that
neither shame (but indeed of this they had long lost sight), nor the
fear of punishment, could deter them from making their way through
the bulk heads to the apartments assigned the seamen.

25th June.
Still inclinable to calms, in lat. 8°30'N. long. 22°36'W. we
perceived a strong current setting to the north-west; so that on the
following day, though by our log we had run thirty miles south by east, yet
by observation we found ourselves in lat. 8°45'; which shows the current
against us to be nearly a knot an hour. I visited the different transports, and
found the troops and convicts from the very great attention paid to
cleanliness, and airing the ships, in much better health than could be
expected in such low latitudes and unfavourable weather.

27th June.
Still calm, with loud thunder and incessant heavy rain.

28th June.
A gentle breeze sprung up to the westward, and the next day, about
eleven in the forenoon, we saw a strange sail standing to the south-west. At
twelve she tacked, stood towards us, and hoisted Portugueze colours. The
Sirius spoke her, after which we all made sail again, steering south-east by

2nd July.
The wind continuing southerly, in latitude 6°36'N. and being
still so far to the eastward as 20°23'W. longitude, the Sirius made the
signal for the convoy to tack, and stood to the westward. This day we saw
some remarkable flights of flying fish; they were so very numerous as to
resemble flights of small birds. The poor creatures were so closely pursued,
on all sides, by their common enemy, bonitoes, albacores, and skip-jacks,
that their wings availed them little.

The succeeding night was a continuation of heavy rain. Every evening,
while we continued between nine and six degrees of north latitude,
we were baffled with calms, and adverse winds. For seven days together
I observed that each day generally closed with heavy rains and some
squalls of wind, which were always remarked to be from the northward.

5th July.
The wind south-west by south, the fleet tacked by signal and stood to
the eastward. In the evening, a more numerous shoal of porpoises than ever
remembered to be seen by the oldest seaman on board, presented
themselves to our view. They were, as we conjectured, in pursuit of some
wounded fish; and so very intent were they on the object of their chase that
they passed through the fleet, and close to some of the ships, without
showing any disposition to avoid them. The sailors and mariners compared
them to a numerous pack of hounds, scouring through watery ground; and,
indeed, when the rays of the sun beamed upon them I know not what they
resembled more.

The weather being moderate, I went round the ships, and was really
surprised, considering the damp and unfavourable weather we had had,
to find the people look so well, and to be in so good a state of health.

6th July.
In lat. 5°38'N. long. 21°39'W. the wind S.S.W. we tacked by signal,
and in the course of the day spoke a sloop bound to the coast of Africa,
belonging to the house of Mether in London; had been out four months,
and was then standing to the westward.

The wind continuing adverse, and the fleet making little progress in their
voyage, Captain Phillip put the officers, seamen, marines, and convicts to
an allowance of three pints of water per day (not including a quart allowed
each man a day for boiling pease and oatmeal); a quantity scarcely
sufficient to supply that waste of animal spirits the body must necessarily
undergo, in the torrid zone, from a constant and violent perspiration, and a
diet consisting of salt provisions.² Necessity, however, has no law in this
instance as well as in every other; and I am fully persuaded the commander
acted upon this occasion from the best of motives, and for the good of the

Were it by any means possible, people subject to long voyages should
never be put to a short allowance of water; for I am satisfied that a
liberal use of it (when freed from the foul air, and made sweet by a
machine now in use on board his Majesty's navy) will tend to prevent a
scorbutic habit, as much, if not more, than any thing we are acquainted
with. My own experience in the navy has convinced me that when
scorbutic patients are restrained in the use of water (which I believe is
never the case but through absolute necessity), and they have nothing to
live on but the ship's provision, the surgeon's necessaries being ill-chosen
and very inadequate to the wise and salutary purposes for which
government intended them, all the antiseptics and antiscorbutics we know
of will avail very little in a disease so much to be guarded against, and
dreaded, by seamen.

In one of his Majesty's ships, I was liberally supplied with that
powerful antiscorbutic, essence of malt; we had also sour krout;
and, besides these, every remedy that could be comprised in the small
compass of a medicine chest; yet when necessity forced us to a short
allowance of water, although aware of the consequence, I freely
administered the essence, etc. as a preservative, the scurvy made its
appearance with such hasty and rapid strides, that all attempts to check it
proved fruitless, until good fortune threw a ship in our way, who spared us
a sufficient quantity of water to serve the sick with as much as they could
use, and to increase the ship's allowance to the seamen.

This fortunate and very seasonable supply, added to the free use of
the essence of malt, etc. which I had before strictly adhered to, made
in a few days so sudden a change for the better in the poor fellows,
who had been covered with ulcers and livid blotches, that every person
on board was surprised at it: and in a fortnight after, when we got
into port, there was not a man in the ship, though, at the time we
received the water, the gums of some of them were formed into such a
fungus as nearly to envelope the teeth, but what had every appearance
of health.

7th July.
Dark, cloudy, unpleasant, sultry weather; the wind south by east. We
saw many fish, and caught two bonitoes. The boat-swain struck, with a pair
of grains, out of the cabin window, a most beautiful fish, about ten pounds
weight. In shape it a good deal resembled a salmon, with this difference,
that its tail was more forked. It was in colour of a lovely yellow; and when
first taken out of the water, it had two beautiful stripes of green on each
side, which, some minutes after, changed to a delightful blue, and so
continued. In the internal formation of this fish I observed nothing
particular, except that its heart was larger, and its respirations contracted
and dilated longer, than I had ever seen before in any aquatic animal, a
tortoise not excepted. As we were at a loss what appellation to give it,
having never met with a fish of this species, and it being a non-descript, the
sailors gave it the name of the Yellow Tail.

8th July.
The wind still S. by E. in lat. 4°36'N. long. 23°W. we saw a large
vessel standing to the northward under a press of sail. Her colours, though
at a considerable distance, were judged to be Imperial. Again saw fish of
various kinds in chase of the flying fish, whose enemies seem to be
innumerable. In order to avoid being devoured by their pursuers, they
frequently sought for shelter in the ships, but much oftener flew with such
force against their sides as to drop lifeless into the water. We caught three
fine bonitoes, and thereby rid the poor flying fish, whose wings seemed to
excite the enmity of all the larger finny race, of three formidable enemies.

9th and 10th July.
Caught a great number of fish, as did the Alexander, who
was near us. At night, in the wake of the ship the sea appeared quite
luminous; a phaenomenon we attributed to the spawn of the fish which
surrounded us on all sides.

14th July.
About five in the evening we crossed the equator, without any
wish or inclination being shewn by the seamen to observe the ceremony
usually practised in passing under it. The longitude was 26°37'W. the
wind at east, the weather moderate and clear. In lat. 1°24'S. long. 26°22'W.
the boatswain caught sixteen fine bonitoes, which proved a very seasonable
and acceptable supply.

At night the sea, all around the ship, exhibited a most delightful
sight. This appearance was occasioned by the gambols of an incredible
number of various kinds of fish, who sported about us, and whose
sudden turnings caused an emanation which resembled flashes of
lightning darting in quick succession. What I before spoke of as the spawn,
I am now fully convinced were rather the fish themselves, turning up their
white bellies at some little distance below the surface of the water, and
these sudden evolutions were what gave the sea the luminous appearance
observed on it before.

I can the more readily affirm this to be the cause, as, one evening,
when we had immense quantities about us, I carefully attended to them
till it became dark, and was fully satisfied, from the observations
I was then able to make, that it was the fish, and not the spawn,
which occasioned the appearance; for there was not an officer or
person on board but what was able very plainly to perceive their frolicsome
turnings and windings. Indeed, some of them came so near the surface that
we frequently attempted to strike them with a pair of grains.

18th July.
Being informed that several of the mariners and convicts on board
the Alexander were suddenly taken ill, I immediately visited that ship, and
found that the illness complained of was wholly occasioned by the bilge
water, which had by some means or other risen to so great a height that the
pannels of the cabin, and the buttons on the clothes of the officers, were
turned nearly black by the noxious effluvia. When the hatches were taken
off, the stench was so powerful that it was scarcely possible to stand over

How it could have got to this height is very strange; for I well know
that Captain Phillip gave strict orders (which orders I myself delivered) to
the masters of the transports to pump the ships out daily, in order to keep
them sweet and wholesome; and it was added that if the ships did not make
water enough for that purpose they were to employ the convicts in
throwing water into the well, and pumping it out again, until it become
clear and untinged. The people's health, however, being endangered by the
circumstance, I found a representation upon the subject to Captain Phillip
needful, and accordingly went on board the Sirius for that purpose.

Captain Phillip, who upon every occasion showed great humanity and attention
to the people, with the most obliging readiness sent Mr. King, one of his
lieutenants, on board the Alexander with me, in order to examine into the
state of the ship, charging him, at the same time, with the most positive and
pointed instructions to the master of the ship instantly to set about
sweetening and purifying her. This commission Mr. King executed with
great propriety and expedition; and, by the directions he gave, such
effectual means were made use of, that the evil was soon corrected: and not
long after all the people, who, suffering from the effects of it, were under
Mr. Balmain, my assistant's care, got quite rid of the complaint.

I now returned to the Sirius and solicited an increase of water, which
Captain Phillip with equal readiness complied with; and as we had by this
time got into a regular south-east trade wind our allowance served
tolerably well, every man having three quarts a day.

22d July.
The weather moderate and cloudy, in lat. 9°6'S. long. 26°4'W. we
saw a noddy and two pintado birds. At night, the commanding officer of
marines having re ceived information that three men had made their way,
through the hole cut for the admission of the windsail, into the apartment
of the female convicts, against an express order issued for that purpose, he
apprehended them, and put them in confinement for trial.

23d July.
The weather being dark and cloudy, with heavy rain and strong
breezes, the Sirius carried away her main-topsail-yard, in the slings, which,
however, in a little time she got replaced. In the evening we saw some
grampuses sporting about.

26th July.
In latitude 15°18' south, the Sirius made the signal for the longitude
by lunar observation, which was found to be 29°34'W. Strong breezes and
cloudy weather. The Borrowdale victualler carried away her
foretop-gallant-mast. This evening we observed some flying fish, very different
from those we had before seen. They had wings on both the head and tail,
and when in the act of flying were said by our people to resemble a double-
headed shot. About six o'clock the Alexander brought to, and hoisted out a
boat in order to pick up a man who had fallen overboard from the spanker
boom; but, as he sunk before the boat could reach him, the attempt proved

27th July.
The Sirius made the signal to close and keep nearer the
commanding officer. The weather rainy and unsettled, with strong breezes
and a heavy swell from the eastward.

28th July.
Fresh breezes and cloudy weather. At ten in the morning the Sirius
made the Supply's signal to come within hail, and desired the commanding
officer to acquaint the different transports that in the track we then were,
lat. 18°9'S. long. 28°2'W., there were some sunken rocks, for which we
were directed to keep a good look-out. This signal was followed by one for
the ships to take their proper stations in the order of sailing, and for the
Lady Penrhyn, who was considerably to windward, and astern withal, to
come into the wake of the Sirius. After these orders were complied with,
we bore away, steering S. by W., the wind E.S.E.

30th July.
The Supply hailed us, and acquainted me that a female convict, on
board the Prince of Wales, had met with an accident which endangered her
life. It being then nearly dark, and the ships making quick way through the
water, it was judged imprudent to hoist a boat out. Lieutenant Ball, of the
Supply, therefore promised to send a boat early in the morning, in order
that I might go and see her: but it was then too late, as she died in the
night. Her death was occasioned by a boat, which rolled from the booms, and
jammed her in a most shocking manner against the side of the ship. August 1787

1st August.
In latitude 22°39'S. Captain Phillip for the first time
displayed his broad pendant; and in the evening made the signal for the
longitude, which, being considerably astern, we could not discern.

2nd August.
Early in the morning we passed and spoke a Portugueze brig steering
the same course with us, which was to the coast of Brazil. She sailed so
very dull that we passed her as if she lay at anchor, although we had not a
fast sailing ship in the fleet. At eight in the morning saw a ganet, which are
seldom seen out of soundings.

Being now in expectation of soon seeing land, the commodore made the
Supply's signal to look out ahead, and the Alexander's and Prince
of Wales's to take their station in the order of sailing, being too
far ahead. At three in the afternoon the Supply made the signal for
seeing land, which was repeated by the commodore to the convoy. At
nine at night, being well in with Cape Frio, we shortened sail, running
at an easy rate until morning, when the wind was little and variable.

3rd August.
This evening, finding it impossible to get hold of anchorage, the
commodore dispatched Lieutenant King in the Supply, which sailed well in
light winds, to the viceroy, with information that he was, with his convoy,
arrived near the mouth of the harbour. He then made the signal for the
ships to bring to, with their heads to the southward, about six miles from
the shore, Rio de Janeiro Sugar Loaf bearing west half north, distant about
six leagues. In the course of the day we saw many whales playing about.

4th August.
This morning, standing in for the harbour, the wind headed us, which
obliged us to tack, and stand out to sea a little, in order to prevent our
falling to leeward of the port, which it would have been no easy matter to
have regained.

5th August.
Still calm. This morning a boat came alongside, in which were three
Portugueze and six slaves, from whom we purchased some oranges,
plantains, and bread. In trafficking with these people, we discovered that
one Thomas Barret, a convict, had, with great ingenuity and address,
passed some quarter dollars which he, assisted by two others, had coined
out of old buckles, buttons belonging to the marines, and pewter spoons,
during their passage from Teneriffe. The impression, milling, character, in
a word, the whole was so inimitably executed that had their metal been a
little better the fraud, I am convinced, would have passed undetected. A
strict and careful search was made for the apparatus wherewith this was
done, but in vain; not the smallest trace or vestige of any thing of the kind
was to be found among them. How they managed this business without discovery,
or how they could effect it at all, is a matter of inexpressible
surprise to me, as they never were suffered to come near a fire and a
centinel was constantly placed over their hatchway, which, one would
imagine, rendered it impossible for either fire or fused metal to be
conveyed into their apartments. Besides, hardly ten minutes ever elapsed,
without an officer of some degree or other going down among them. The
adroitness, therefore, with which they must have managed, in order to
complete a business that required so complicated a process, gave me a high
opinion of their ingenuity, cunning, caution, and address; and I could not
help wishing that these qualities had been employed to more laudable

The officers of marines, the master of the ship, and myself fully
explained to the injured Portugueze what villains they were who had
imposed upon them. We were not without apprehensions that they might
entertain an unfavourable opinion of Englishmen in general from the
conduct of these rascals; we therefore thought it necessary to acquaint them
that the perpetrators of the fraud were felons doomed to transportation, by
the laws of their country, for having committed similar offences there.

About one o'clock a gentle breeze from the east carried us within about a
mile of the bar, where, at nine o'clock, we anchored in sixteen-fathom
water. The calms had baffled the Supply so much that she had only
dropped her anchor a little while before us.

6th August.
Early this morning, it being quite calm, the commodore dispatched
an officer to the viceroy, who met with a courteous reception, and about
eleven o'clock returned with the boat nearly full of fruit and vegetables,
sent as presents to the commodore from some of his old friends and

Some years ago Captain Phillip was on this coast, commander of a
Portugueze man of war. During that time he performed several gallant
acts, which, aided by his other amiable qualities, rendered him
extremely popular here, and recommended him to the notice of the
court of Lisbon. Shortly after, his own country having a claim to his
services, on the breaking out of a war, he declined a command offered him
by the Portugueze, and returned to the English navy, where he served some
time as lieutenant (a rank he had held before he had engaged in the service
of Portugal) on board the Alexander, under the command of that brave and
exemplary character, Lord Longford.

About two o'clock we got under way, with a gentle sea-breeze, which ran
us into the harbour. In passing Santa Cruz fort, the commodore saluted it
with thirteen guns, which was returned with an equal number. This day a
Portugueze ship sailed for Lisbon, which gave us an opportunity of writing
short letters to our friends in England.

8th August.
In the forenoon, the commodore, attended by most of the officers on the
expedition, paid the viceroy a visit of ceremony. On our landing, we
were received by an officer and a friar, who conducted us to the palace. As
we passed the guard on duty there, the colours were laid at the feet of the
commodore, than which nothing could have been a higher token of respect.
We then proceeded up stairs into a large anti-chamber, crowded with
officers, soldiers, and domestics. Here we were received by several officers
belonging to the household, and the surgeon-general to the army, who
spoke good English, having acquired his professional knowledge in

A few minutes after our arrival, a curtain, which hung over the door
of the presence-chamber, was drawn aside; and on our entrance we
were individually introduced to the viceroy by the commodore. The
ceremony being ended, and a short conversation having taken place, we
were ushered into another spacious room, where we all sat down. I could
not help remarking that the viceroy placed himself in such a manner as to
have his back turned on most of the officers. I was told afterwards that he
apologized for this; but I did not hear him, though very near.

Neither the room we were now in, nor that into which we were first
introduced, exhibited any marks of magnificence or elegance. I acknowledge
that, for my own part, I was exceedingly disappointed. From the parade
without, such as the number of guards, etc., I was led to suppose that we
should find everything within the palace proportionably magnificent and
princely. But this was by no means the case. The only furniture I saw in
the room we were in, except chairs, were six card tables, and portraits
of two of the sovereigns of Portugal, one of which was that of King
Sebastian the First, the other of her present majesty; the former placed
in the centre, the latter at the upper end of the room.

The viceroy appeared to be of a middle age, somewhere between forty and
fifty, stout and corpulent, with a strong cast or defect in both his eyes.
He seemed to be a person of few words, but at the same time civil and
attentive. I could not, however, help observing the very great difference
there was between his excellency's manner and address and that of the
elegant and accomplished Marquis de Brancifort.

9th August.
The contract being settled, the commissary supplied the troops and
convicts with rice (in lieu of bread), with fresh beef, vegetables, and
oranges, which soon removed every symptom of the scurvy prevalent
among them.

11th August.
The commodore ordered six female convicts, who had behaved
well, to be removed from the Friendship into the Charlotte; and at the same
time an equal number, whose conduct was more exceptionable, to be
returned to the Friendship in their stead. The commodore's view was (a
matter not easily accomplished) to separate those whose decent behaviour
entitled them to some favour from those who were totally abandoned and

13th August.
Cornelius Connell, a private in the marines, was, according to the
sentence of a court martial, punished with a hundred lashes, for having an
improper intercourse with some of the female convicts, contrary to orders.
Thomas Jones was also sentenced to receive three hundred lashes, for
attempting to make a centinel betray his trust in suffering him to go among
the women; but in consideration of the good character he bore previous to
this circumstance, the court recommended him to the clemency of the
commanding officer, and, in consequence thereof, he was forgiven. John
Jones and James Reiley, privates, accused of similar offences to that of
Connell's, were acquitted for want of evidence, their being no witnesses to
support the charge except convicts, whose testimony could not be

15th August.
This being a day of great parade and gaiety with the Portugueze,
the inhabitants of Rio de Janeiro, arrayed in their best and richest attire,
as their custom is on regale days, began to show themselves, during the
forenoon, between the city and the church of St. Gloria, which is about a
mile distant, and situated on a rising ground near the sea. Persons of all
ranks, as well in carriages as equestrians and pedestrians, joined in the
crowd; but what was the purpose of this cavalcade, or to what
circumstances it owed its origin, I am still at a loss to know.

Gloria church, which is rather neat than rich, was decorated with various
flowers (in the disposal of which some taste was displayed), and most
brilliantly illuminated. I observed that the multitude generally stopped here,
in succession, and employed themselves in some religious ceremonies, such
as praying and singing hymns, before they returned to the city. This kind of
parade was continued the whole day; the better sort of people, however,
made their appearance only in the afternoon.

Returning with the rest of the crowd, after it was dark, to the town,
I perceived a small church, in one of the bye streets, richly ornamented
and elegantly illuminated. As I saw men, women, and children, struggling
for entrance, I joined in the throng out of mere curiosity, and with no
little difficulty made my way in; but all the satisfaction I reaped from
being thus squeezed and jostled was seeing such as could gain admission
fall on their knees, and praying with more fervor, to appearance, than
real devotion.

On one side of the church stood a shabby ill-looking fellow, selling to
the multitude consecrated beads; as did another, on the outside of the
door. I own I could not help resembling them to mountebanks vending and
distributing their nostrums. There were many more of these religious
hawkers in the streets, from some of whom, as I saw it was the custom,
I purchased a few of their beads.

At a little distance from the door of the church was erected a stage,
on which was placed a band of vocal and instrumental performers, who
exerted themselves with might and main to please the surrounding audience.
I cannot, however, say that they succeeded in pleasing me. About ten
o'clock a display of fireworks and rockets, of which the Portugueze seem
to be very fond, concluded the entertainments of the day.

Some intrigues, I have reason to believe, followed. I was led to this
conclusion from seeing many well-dressed women in the crowd quite
unattended; and this was the only time during my stay in the country that
I ever saw any circumstances which could warrant my forming such an opinion.
I know it has been asserted by some writers, that the women of Rio de
Janeiro are not uncensurable in this point. They have affirmed that, as
soon as it became dark, the generality of them exposed themselves at their
doors and windows, distinguishing, by presents of nosegays and flowers,
those on whom they had no objection to bestow their favours, a distinction
in which strangers shared as well as their acquaintance.

That this might have been the case I will not take upon me to
deny, and, impressed with the idea, on my first arrival, I considered every
woman as a proper object of gallantry; but a month's residence among
them convinced me that this imputed turn for intrigue is chiefly confined to
the lower class, and that, in general, the higher ranks are as undeserving of
the imputation as the females of any other country.

The popularity of our commodore with the viceroy and principal
inhabitants here procured for the officers the liberty of going wherever they
pleased. It has always been the custom for a soldier to follow every foreign
officer that landed at this port, and it was scarcely ever dispensed with. It
was, however, unknown to us, and this unaccustomed liberty gave us an
opportunity of inspecting more minutely into the manners and disposition
of the women as well as the men.

21st August.
This being the Prince of Brazil's birth-day, the commodore, with
most of his officers, went to court, to compliment the viceroy on the
occasion. As soon as we landed, we were received by an officer, who
conducted us to the presence-chamber, where his excellency stood, under a
canopy of state, receiving the compliments of the officers of the garrison,
the principal inhabitants, and such foreigners as were in the place. After
having paid our respects, we withdrew, as did every other person, except
the principal officers of state, some general and law officers, and those of
the governor's household. The Sirius and one of the forts fired royal

The court was brilliant, if a place where a female does not appear can
be said to be brilliant; but this, I was informed, is always the case here.
Those gentlemen who appeared in the circle were richly and elegantly
dressed. The officers of the army and of the militia were particularly so,
and that in a stile and fashion which did no small credit to their taste.
The viceroy wore a scarlet coat trimmed with very broad rich gold lace, and
his hair, according to his usual mode of wearing it, in a remarkable long
queue, with very little powder; an article of dress to which I observed the
Portugueze were not very partial, while, on the contrary, they were profuse
in the use of pomatum.

The day ended without any other demonstrations of joy. As the Portugueze
seemed fond of fireworks and illuminations, and never fail to exhibit
them on every religious festival, we were not a little disappointed in
finding them omitted on the birth-day of their prince.

31st August.
James Baker, a private marine, received two hundred lashes, agreeable
to the sentence of a court-martial, for endeavouring to get passed
on shore, by means of one of the seamen, a spurious dollar, knowing it to
be so; and one he had undoubtedly got from some of the convicts, as it was
of a similar base metal to those which they had coined during the passage,
and had attempted to put off on our first arrival at this port. September

1st September.
Having now procured every thing at Rio de Janeiro that we stood
in need of, and thoroughly recovered and refreshed our people,
the commodore, with such officers of the fleet as could be spared from
duty, waited on the viceroy to take leave, and to return our
acknowledgments for the indulgence and attention shown us, which, I
think we may say, we experienced in a greater extent and latitude than any
foreigners had ever before done. On our landing, the same officer who had
attended us upon every other public occasion, conducted us to the
presence-chamber. As we passed, every military and public honour was
paid to the commodore; the colours were laid at his feet, as they hitherto
had been whenever he landed in his public character; a token of respect
that is never bestowed on any person but the governor himself.

When we arrived at the palace, an officer of the household, who was waiting
to receive us, conducted us through a most delightful recess, hung round
with bird-cages, whose inhabitants seemed to vie with each other both in the
melody of their notes and the beauty of their plumage. The passage we
walked through was adorned on each side with odoriferous flowers and
aromatic shrubs, which, while they charmed the eye, spread a delightful
fragrance around. This passage led to a private room, on the outside of the
door of which we were received by the viceroy, who stood uncovered, and
noticed each person separately in the most friendly and polite manner.

His excellency preceded us into the room, and having requested all of us to be
seated, placed himself by the commodore, in a position that fronted us. In
return for our thanks and acknowledgments, he said, "it gave him infinite
pleasure and satisfaction to find that the place had afforded us the supplies
we stood in need of:" to this he added, "that the attention of the inhabitants,
which we were good enough to notice, was much short of his wishes."

We then arose and took our leave; but not before his excellency had expressed
a desire of hearing from the commodore, with an account of his success in
the establishment of the new colony. He concluded with saying, "that he
hoped, nay did not doubt, from the character the English bore for
generosity of disposition, but that those who had so cheerfully engaged in a
service, strange and uncertain in itself, would meet with an adequate
reward--a recompense that every one must allow they justly merited."

The room in which the governor received us was that wherein he usually sat in
his retired moments. It was furnished and painted in a neat and elegant
stile; the roof displaying well-executed representations of all the tropical
fruits and the most beautiful birds of the country. The walls were hung round
with prints, chiefly on religious subjects.

Rio de Janeiro is said to derive its name from being discovered on St.
Januarius's day. It is the capital of the Portugueze settlements in South
America, and is situated on the west side of a river, or, more properly (in
my opinion), of a bay. Except that part which fronts the water, the city is
surrounded by high mountains, of the most romantic form the imagination
can fashion to itself any idea of.

The plan on which it is built has some claim to merit. The principal
street, called Strait Street, runs from the viceroy's palace, which is
near the south-east end of the town, to the northwest extremity, where
it is terminated by a large convent belonging to the Benedictine friars,
situated on an eminence. The street is broad, well built, and has in it
a great number of handsome shops. All the others are much inferior to
this, being in general only wide enough to admit two carriages to pass
each other in the centre. The pavement for foot-passengers (except in
Strait Street, which is without any) is so very unsociably narrow that two
persons cannot walk with convenience together.

The houses are commonly two, and sometimes three, stories high,
of which, even though inhabited by the most wealthy and respectable
families, the lower part is always appropriated to shops, and to the
use of the servants and slaves (who are here extremely numerous),
the family rather chusing to reside in the upper part, that they might
live in a less confined air. To every house there is a balcony, with
lattice-work before it, and the same before all the windows.

The churches are very numerous, elegant, and richly decorated; some of
them are built and ornamented in a modern stile, and that in a manner
which proclaims the genius, taste, and judgment of the architects and
artists. Two or three of the handsomest are at this time either unfinished or
repairing; and they appear to go on but very slowly, notwithstanding large
sums are constantly collecting for their completion. As they are erected or
repaired by charitable contributions, public processions are frequently
made for that purpose, and the mendicant friars belonging to them likewise
exert themselves in their line.

At these processions, which are not unfrequent, persons of every age
and description assist. They usually take place after it is dark, when
those who join in it are dressed in a kind of cloak adapted to religious
purposes and carry a lanthorn fixed at the end of a pole of a convenient
length: so that upon these occasions you sometimes see three or four
hundred moving lights in the streets at the same time, which has an
uncommon and a pleasing effect. Considerable sums are collected by
this mode. At the corner of every street, about ten feet from the ground,
is placed the image of a saint, which is the object of the common
people's adoration.

The town is well supplied with water from the neighbouring mountains; which is
conveyed over a deep valley by an aqueduct formed of arches of a
stupendous height, and from thence distributed by pipes to many parts of
the city. The principal fountain is close to the sea, in a kind of square, near
the palace, where ships water at a good wharf, nearly in the same manner
as at Teneriffe, and with equal expedition and convenience. On the
opposite side of the fountain are cocks, from which the people in the
neighbourhood are supplied. This convenient and capital watering place is
so near the palace that when disputes or contentions arise between the
boats' crews of different ships, the slaves, etc. they are suppressed and
adjusted by the soldiers on guard, who, in the Portugueze service, have
great power and often treat the people with no little severity.

While we staid at this place, we made several short excursions into the
country; but did not go near the mines; as we knew the attempt would not
only prove hazardous but ineffectual: and as the liberty and indulgence
granted us was on the commodore's account, we never extended our trips
beyond a few miles, lest our doing so should appear suspicious, and reflect
discredit on him, we considering him in some degree responsible for our
conduct. As far as we did go, we experienced the same polite and attentive
behaviour we met with from the inhabitants of the city. Never was more
distinguished urbanity shown to strangers than was shown to us by every

From its complicated state, I could learn but few particulars relative to
the government of Brazil. The viceroy is invested with great power and
authority, subject in some cases to an appeal to the court of Lisbon; but,
like a wise and prudent ruler, he seldom exerts it, unless in instances where
sound judgment and true policy render it expedient and necessary. He is a
man of little parade, and appears not to be very fond of pomp and
grandeur, except on public days, when it is not to be dispensed with. When
he goes abroad for amusement, or to take the air, his guard consists only of
seven dragoons; but on public occasions he makes his appearance in a
grander stile. I once saw him go in state to one of the courts of justice; and,
though it was situated not a hundred yards from his palace, he was attended
by a troop of horse. His state carriage is tolerably neat, but by no means
elegant or superb; it was drawn by four horses irregularly mottled.

Carriages are pretty common at this place; there is scarcely a family of
respectability without one. They are mostly of the chaise kind, and drawn
in general by mules, which are found to answer better than horses, being
more indefatigable and surer-footed, consequently better calculated to
ascend their steep hills and mountains.

The military force of Brazil consists of a troop of horse, which serve as
guards for the viceroy, twelve regiments of regulars from Europe, and six
raised in the country: these last enlist men of a mixed colour, which the
former are by no means suffered to do. Besides the foregoing, there are
twelve regiments of militia always embodied. This whole force, regulars
and militia, except those on out-posts and other needful duties, appear early
in the morning, on every first day of the month, before the palace, where
they undergo a general muster and review of arms and necessaries. The
private men, although they are considered as persons of great consequence
by the populace, are, on the other hand, equally submissive and obedient to
their officers. This strict discipline and regularity, as the city is in a
great measure under military orders, renders the inhabitants extremely civil
and polite to the officers, who, in return, study to be on the most agreeable
and happy terms with them.

A captain's guard (independent of the cavalry, who are always in
readiness to attend the viceroy) is mounted every day at the palace.
Whenever Commodore Phillip passed, which he did as seldom as possible,
the guard was turned out, with colours, etc. and, as I before observed, the
same mark of honour paid to him as to the governor. To obviate this
trouble and ceremony, he most frequently landed and embarked at the
north-west side of the town, where his boat constantly waited for him.

On both sides of the river which forms the bay or harbour, the country is
picturesque and beautiful to a degree, abounding with the most luxuriant
flowers and aromatic shrubs. Birds of a lovely and rich plumage are seen
hopping from tree to tree in great numbers; together with an endless variety
of insects, whose exquisite beauty and gaudy colours exceed all description.
There is little appearance of cultivation in the parts we visited;
the land seemed chiefly pasturage.

The cattle here are small, and when killed do not produce such beef as is
to be met with in England: it is not, however, by any means so bad as
represented by some travellers to be; on the contrary, I have seen
and eat here tolerably good, sweet, and well-tasted beef. I never saw
any mutton: they have indeed a few sheep, but they are small, thin,
and lean. The gardens furnish most sorts of European productions,
such as cabbages, lettuce, parsley, leeks, white radishes, beans,
pease, kidney beans, turnips, water melons, excellent pumpkins, and
pine-apples of a small and indifferent kind. The country likewise produces,
in the most unbounded degree, limes, acid and sweet lemons, oranges of an
immense size and exquisite flavour, plantains, bananas, yams, cocoa-nuts,
cashoo apples and nuts, and some mangos. For the use of the slaves and
poorer sort of people, the capado² is cultivated in great plenty; but this
cannot be done through a want of corn for bread, as I never saw finer flour
than at this place, which is plentiful, and remarkably cheap.

Brazil, particularly towards the northern parts, furnishes a number of
excellent drugs. In the shops of the druggists and apothecaries of Rio de
Janeiro, of which there are many, hippo, oil of castor, balsam capiva, with
most of the valuable gums, and all of an excellent quality, are to be found;
but they are sold at a much dearer rate than could possibly have been
conceived or expected in a country of which they are the natural produce.

The riches of this country arising from the mines are certainly very great.
To go near, or to get a sight of these inexhaustible treasuries, is impossible,
as every pass leading to them is strongly guarded; and even a person taken
on the road, unless he be able to give a clear and unequivocal account of
himself and his business, is imprisoned, and perhaps compelled ever after
to work in those subterraneous cavities, which avarice, or an ill-timed and
fatal curiosity, may have prompted him to approach. These circumstances
made a trial to see them without permission (and that permission I
understand has never been granted the most favoured foreigners) too
dangerous to be attempted.

In addition to the above source of wealth, the country produces excellent
tobacco, and likewise sugar canes, from which the inhabitants make good
sugar, and draw a spirit called aquadente. This spirit, by proper
management, and being kept till it is of a proper age, becomes tolerable
rum. As it is sold very cheap, the commodorepurchased a hundred pipes of
it for the use of the garrison when arrived at New South Wales.

Precious and valuable stones are also found here. Indeed they are so very
plenty that a certain quantity only is suffered to be collected annually.
At the jewellers and lapidaries, of which occupation there are many in Rio,
I saw some valuable diamonds and a great number of excellent topazes, with
many other sorts of stones of inferior value. Several topazes were purchased
by myself and others, but we chose to buy them wrought in order to avoid
imposition, which is not unfrequent when the stones are sold in a rough
state. One of the principal streets of this city is nearly occupied by
jewellers and the workers of these stones, and I observed that persons of a
similar profession generally resided in the same street.

The manufactures here are very few, and those by no means extensive.
All kinds of European goods sell at an immoderate price, notwithstanding
the shops are well stored with them.

The Brazil, or native Indians, are very adroit at making elegant cotton
hammocks of various dyes and forms. It was formerly the custom for the
principal people of Rio to be carried about in these hammocks; but that
fashion is succeeded by the use of sedan chairs, which are now very
common among them; but they are of a more clumsy form than those used
in England. The chair is suspended from an aukward piece of wood, borne
on the shoulders of two slaves, and elevated sufficiently to be clear of the
inequalities of the street. In carrying, the foremost slave takes the pavement
and the other the street, one keeping a little before the other, so that the
chair is moved forward in a sidelong direction, very unlike the procedure
of the London chairmen. These fellows, who get on at a great rate, never
take the wall of the foot-passengers, nor incommode them in the smallest

The inhabitants in general are a pleasant, cheerful people, inclining more
to corpulency than those of Portugal; and, as far as we could judge, very
favourably inclined to the English. The men are strait and wellproportioned.
They do not accustom themselves to high living, nor indulge
much in the juice of the grape.

The women, when young, are remarkably thin, pale, and delicately
shaped; but after marriage they generally incline to be lusty, without losing
that constitutional pale, or rather sallow, appearance. They have regular
and better teeth than are usually observable in warm climates, where sweet
productions are plentiful. They have likewise the most lovely, piercing,
dark eyes, in the captivating use of which they are by no means unskilled.
Upon the whole, the women of this country are very engaging; and
rendered more so by their free, easy, and unrestrained manner.

Both sexes are extremely fond of suffering their hair, which is black, to
grow to a prodigious length. The ladies wear it plaited and tied up in a
kind of club, or large lump, a mode of hair-dressing that does not seem to
correspond with their delicate and feminine appearance. Custom, however,
reconciles us to the most outré fashions; and what we thought unbecoming
the Portugueze considered as highly ornamental. I was one day at a
gentleman's house, to whom I expressed my wonder at the prodigious
quantity of hair worn by the ladies, adding that I did not conceive it
possible for it to be all of their own growth. The gentleman assured me that
it was; and, in order to convince me that it was so, he called his wife and
untied her hair, which, notwithstanding it was in plaits, dragged at least
two inches upon the floor as she walked along. I offered my service to tie it
up again, which was politely accepted, and considered as a compliment by

It has been said that the Portugueze are a jealous people, a disposition
I never could perceive among any of those with whom I had the pleasure of
forming an acquaintance; on the contrary, they seemed sensible of, and
pleased with, every kind of attention paid to their wives or daughters.

The current coin here is the same as that in Portugal, but silver as well as
gold is coined at this place, where they have an established mint. The
pieces of gold are of various sizes, and have marked on them the number of
thousand rees they are worth. The most common coin is a 4000 ree piece
which passes for £1. 2. 6, though not so heavy as an English guinea. The silver
pieces, called petacks, value two shillings, are also marked with the
number of rees they are worth. You get ten of these in exchange for a
guinea; and for a Spanish dollar two petacks, five vintins and a half, which
is about four shillings and eight-pence.

Here, as in Portugal, they have five, ten, and twenty thousand ree pieces.
A ree is a nominal coin; twenty make a vintin, value about three half-pence;
eight vintins make one shilling; a petack is worth two shillings, and of
these there are some double pieces, value four shillings sterling.

One morning, as I attended Mr. Il de Fonso, surgeon general to the army,
and a man of ingenuity and abilities in his profession, to a large public
hospital, a soldier was brought in with a wound in his left side. The
instrument had penetrated the abdomen, without injuring the intestines; and
from its form and nature the wound must have been inflicted with the point
of a knife, or a stiletto.

The patient, after being dressed, acquainted us that the preceding night
he had had some words with another man about a woman, who, notwithstanding
blows had not passed, stabbed him with some sharp instrument, of what kind
he could not see, as it was then dark, and afterwards made his escape.

This account led me to believe that assassinations were not unfrequent
in Brazil; but Mr. Il de Fonso assured me to the contrary, telling me that
such instances seldom happened except among the negroes, whose vindictive
and treacherous dispositions led them wonderful lengths to gratify their
revenge, whenever night and a convenient opportunity conspired, at once
to aid and to conceal their horrid acts.

While we remained here, the weather being cool and favourable, I
prevailed on the surgeon who was about to amputate a limb to allow me to
take it off according to Allenson's method. During the operation I could
plainly see that he and his pupils did not seem much pleased with it, and he
afterwards told me it was impossible it could ever answer. A very short
space of time, however, made them of a different opinion; and in eighteen
days after, when we sailed, I had the satisfaction to leave the patient with
his stump nearly cicatrized, to the no small joy of the surgeon, who said
that if the man had died he should have been heavily censured for making
him the subject of experiments.

The circumstance of a man's leg being cut off, and almost healed in
as many days as it generally takes weeks, soon became known, and added
very much to the estimation in which the people of this place held
English surgeons. Whenever I visited the hospital afterwards, the
objects of pity with which it was filled used to crowd around me in
such a manner, and in such numbers, for my advice, that I found it
difficult to get from them. And they now would readily have submitted
to any operation I should have proposed, but, as I saw the surgeon
did not much approve of my interference, I gave up all ideas of it.

The harbour of Rio de Janeiro lies in 22°54' south latitude, and 43°19'
west longitude, about eighteen or twenty leagues to the westward of Cape
Frio. The entrance is good, and cannot be mistaken, on account of a
remarkable hill, resembling a sugar loaf, that is on the left-hand side;
and some islands before it, one of which is oblong and does not, at some
distance, look unlike a thatched house: they lie from the mouth of the
harbour S. by W. about two leagues. Ships going in may run on either side.

The bar, over which we carried seven-fathom water, is not more than
three-fourths of a mile across, and well defended by forts. The strongest is
called Santa Cruz, built on a rock, on the starboard side as you run in,
from which every shot fired at ships passing must take effect. The other,
named Fort Lozia, is smaller, and built on an island or rock, on the larboard
side, a little higher up, and lying contiguous to the main-land. The tide
in the harbour rarely ebbs and flows more than seven feet; however, ships,
if possible, never anchor in this narrow pass between the forts, as the
bottom is foul and the tide runs with considerable rapidity. All danger in
going in, or running out, may be avoided by keeping the mid channel, or a
little bordering on the starboard shore.

After Santa Cruz fort is passed, the course is nearly N. by W. and N.N.W.;
but, as I before observed, the eye is the best pilot. When you get within
a mile of a strong fortified island which lies before the town (only
separated by a narrow pass), called the Isle of Cobras, you are then in
the great road, where we anchored in fifteen fathom water; or, should you
have occasion to get nearer the town, you may run round this island, on
the north side, and anchor above it, before the convent of Benedictine
friars at the N.W. end of the city, before spoken of.

The city and harbour are strongly defended and fortified, but with very
little judgment or regularity. The hills are very high, and so is the coast,
which has such strange, romantic, and almost inaccessible terminations that
nature of her own accord, without the aid of military skill, seems disposed
to defend them. Taking everything into the account, I think it one of the
best harbours I have ever seen, and, upon the whole, better calculated to
supply the wants of people who have long been at sea, and stand in need of
refreshment, than any part of the world, everything being so remarkably

Beef may be purchased at seven farthings per pound; hogs, turkeys, and
ducks, both English and Muscovy, were equally reasonable. Fowls were
dearer, but still sold at a lower rate than in England. Fish was not very
plentiful, but I was told that at other seasons they have a most excellent
market for that article. Their market for vegetables, however, abounded
with fruit, roots, and garden stuff of every kind, notwithstanding it was not
the best season for fruit, it then being too early in the spring to expect
abundance. Oranges, which we had in the greatest plenty, cost only fivepence
the hundred.

On a hill about half a mile S.E. of the city stands a convent, named
Convento de Santa Theresa, the nuns of which, amounting to about forty,
are not allowed to unveil when they come to the grate: and on a plain
between this convent and the city stands another, called Convento A. de
Juda, a very large building, governed by an abbess and several nuns, all
under the direction of a bishop. Here about seventy young ladies are placed
to be educated, who are subject to all the restrictions of a monastic life,
only they are permitted to be frequently at the grate, and that unveiled.

But, what is singular, the nuns of this convent, when they arrive at a proper
age, are allowed either to take a husband, or to take the veil, just as their
inclination leads. They are not, however, suffered to quit the convent on
any other terms than that of marriage, to which the consent and
approbation of the bishop is always necessary. If they do not get a husband
early in life, it is common for them to take the veil.

Many of these young ladies were very agreeable both in person and disposition,
and, by frequently conversing with them at the grate, we formed as tender an
intercourse with them as the bolts and bars between us would admit of.
Myself, and two other gentlemen belonging to the fleet, singled out three
of those who appeared to be the most free and lively, to whom we attached
ourselves during our stay, making them such presents as we thought would
prove most acceptable, and receiving more valuable ones in return. These
little attentions were viewed by them in so favourable a light, that when we
took a last farewell they gave us many evident proofs of their concern and

Indeed every circumstance while we continued at this charming place
(except there being no inns or coffee-houses, where a stranger could
refresh himself, or be accommodated when he chose to stay a night or two
on shore) conspired to make us pleased and delighted with it; and I can
truly say that I left it with reluctance, which I believe was the case with
many of my companions.

3rd September.
The commodore sent Mr. Moreton, the master of the Sirius, and two of his
midshipmen, who had been put on the invalid list, aboard an English ship
returning from the Southern whale fishery to England, which, being leaky,
had been forced into Rio. As this ship was to sail in a few days, it
furnished us with an opportunity of writing to our friends. About two
in the afternoon the commodore made the signal for all officers to repair
on board their respective ships, and for the transports to hoist in
their boats.

4th September.
At six the fleet weighed with a light land breeze. On the commodore's
approaching Santa Cruz Fort, he was saluted from the batteries with
twenty-one guns; which he returned from the Sirius with an equal
number. About ten o'clock we got clear of the land, steering to the
eastward with a gentle breeze.

Thomas Brown, a convict, was punished with a dozen lashes for behaving
insolently to one of the officers of the ship. This was the first that
had received any punishment since their embarkation on board the Charlotte.

5th September.
Wind variable and cloudy; Rio Sugar-loaf still in sight, about eight
or nine leagues distant.

6th September.
The officers, ship's company, marines, and convicts, were, by signal
from the Sirius, put to an allowance of three quarts of water per day,
including that usually allowed for cooking their provisions. In the course of
the day a steady breeze sprung up at N.E. About six in the evening, the
Fishburne victualler carried away her fore-top-gallant yard, which she soon
got replaced with another.

7th and 8th September.
The weather continued dark and cloudy, with some heavy showers of rain.
On the evening of the 8th, between the hours of three and four, Mary
Broad, a convict, was delivered of a fine girl.

9th and 10th September.
Fine, clear, dry weather. The commodore made a signal for the convoy
to close, being scattered about at a considerable distance from

11th, 12th, and 13th September.
Fresh breezes, with sudden squalls and heavy rain. The four succeeding
days, light airs, and hazy, with some showers, and a damp moist air.
On the evening of the 17th, our longitude being, by signal from the
commodore, 31°34'W. we caught a shark six feet long, of which the
people made a good mess.

18th September.
Heavy rain, with dark and cold weather. Saw several albatrosses
and pintado birds.

19th September.
William Brown, a very well-behaved convict, in bringing some clothing
from the bowsprit end, where he had hung them to dry, fell overboard.
As soon as the alarm was given of a man being overboard, the ship
was instantly hove to, and a boat hoisted out, but to no purpose.
Lieutenant Ball of the Supply, a most active officer, knowing from our
proceedings (as we were at the time steering with a fair wind, and going
near six knots an hour) that some accident must have happened, bore
down; but, notwithstanding every exertion, the poor fellow sunk before
either the Supply or our boat could reach him. The people on the forecastle,
who saw him fall, say that the ship went directly over him, which, as she
had quick way through the water, must make it impossible for him to keep
on the surface long enough to be taken up, after having received the stroke
from so heavy a body.

23rd September.
From the 19th, the weather had been cold, dry, and pleasant; it now
became wet, squally, and unsettled; the wind westerly, with a high sea;
albatrosses, pintado birds, and some small hawks hovering round the ship.

30th September.
The weather became more moderate and pleasant, the wind variable,
inclining to calms. October 1787

1st October.
Light airs, with haze and rain. Saw a great number of
different birds; we were then in latitude 34°42'S. longitude 1°10'E. of the
meridian of London.

13th October.
The Sirius made the signal for seeing land; and at seven in the
evening we came to, in Table Bay, at the Cape of Good Hope, in
seventeen-fathom water, abreast of Cape Town, distant about a mile or a
mile and half. As soon as the Sirius anchored, the commodore and
commissary went on shore and took up their residence in lodgings at the
house of Mrs. De Witt. They were soon followed by such officers as could
be spared from the duty of the fleet, all wishing to prepare themselves, by
the comforts and refreshments to be enjoyed on shore, for the last and
longest stage of their voyage.

14th October.
The contract for provisions being settled with Messrs. De Witts and
Caston, the troops, men, women, and children, were served with a pound
and half of soft bread, and an equal quantity of beef or mutton daily, and
with wine in lieu of spirits. The convicts, men, women, and children, had
the same allowance as the troops, except wine.

16th October.
Commodore Phillip, attended by most of the officers of the fleet,
paid a complimentary visit to his excellency Mynheer Van Graaf, the
Dutch governor, by whom we were received with extreme civility and
politeness.² A few hours after we had taken leave, he called on the
commodore at his lodgings, to return his visit, and the next day returned
the visit of such officers, residing on shore, as had paid their respects to

Notwithstanding this studied politeness, several days elapsed before the
commodore could obtain a categorical answer to the requisition he had
made for the supplies he stood in need of for the expedition: and had it not
been for the judicious perseverance Commodore Phillip observed, in
urging his particular situation, and the uncommon exigency of the service
he was engaged in, it was believed the governor fiscal, and council would
have sheltered their refusal under the pretence that a great scarcity had
prevailed in the Cape colony the preceding season, particularly of wheat
and corn, which were the articles we stood most in want of.

This idea they wished to impress us with; but, as just observed, the
commodore's sagacity and industrious zeal for the service subdued and got
over the supineness shown by the governor, etc. and procured permission
for the contractor to supply us with as much stock, corn, and other
necessaries, as we could stow. It is, however, much to be lamented that
the quantity we could find room for fell very short of what we ought to
have taken in, as the only spare room we had was what had been occasioned
by the consumption of provisions, etc. since we left Rio de Janeiro,
and the removal of twenty female convicts from the Friendship into the
Charlotte, the Lady Penrhyn, and the Prince of Wales.

After the supplies had been granted, his excellency Governor Graaf
invited the commodore, and many of the officers of the expedition, to a
very handsome dinner at his town residence. The house at which we were
entertained is delightfully situated, nearly in the centre of an extensive
garden, the property of the Dutch East India company, usefully planted,
and at the same time elegantly laid out. The governor's family make what
use they please of the produce of the garden, which is various and
abundant; but the original intention of the company in appropriating so
extensive a piece of ground to this purpose was that their hospital, which is
generally pretty full when their ships arrive after long voyages, may be
well supplied with fruits and vegetables, and likewise that their ships may
receive a similar supply.

This garden is as public as St. James's park; and, for its handsome,
pleasant, and well-shaded walks, is much frequented by persons of every
description, but particularly by the fashionable and gay. There are many
other agreeable walks about Cape Town, but none to be compared with
these. At the upper end of the principal of them is a small space walled in
for the purpose of confining some large ostriches and a few deer. A little to
the right of this is a small menagery, in which the company have half a
dozen wild animals and about the same number of curious birds.

As you approach the Cape of Good Hope, a very remarkable mountain may,
in clear weather, be discovered at a considerable distance; it is called
the Table Land, from its flat surface, which resembles that piece of
furniture. Mr. Dawes, lieutenant of marines on board the Sirius, an
ingenious and accurate observer, who has undertaken during the voyage
the astronomical observations, accompanied by Messrs. Fowell and
Waterhouse, midshipmen of the Sirius, Lieutenant De Witt, of the Dutch
navy, and myself, went to the top of this mountain, an undertaking which
we found to be of a far more serious nature than we at first were aware of.
For my own part, I suffered so much from heat and thirst that, had not the
fear of shame urged me on, my companions being determined to accomplish
it at all events, I should most certainly have given it up before I
reached the top. During this sultry and fatiguing expedition, I found great
benefit, towards alleviating my thirst, by keeping a small pebble in my
mouth; and sometimes by chewing rushes, which we met with in our way.
But, when we had reached the summit, the delightful and extensive prospect we
there enjoyed, the weather being uncommonly fine, fully atoned for
the trouble, fatigue, and every suffering, we had undergone. From this
elevation we could overlook all the country about the Cape.

As soon as we got to the top, our first business was to look out for water;
but all we could find was some stagnant rain, which lay in the hollow of
the stones. Our thirst, however, was so intolerable that the discovery even
of this gave us inexpressible pleasure, and, notwithstanding we all
perspired most violently, and were sensible of the danger and impropriety
of drinking a quantity of bad water in such a situation, yet we could not
refrain. As for my own part, it was utterly out of my power to listen at that
time to the dictates of prudence, and I believe it was equally difficult to my
companions, if I might judge from the avidity with which they drank out of
the little pools, lying on the ground at full length, that being the only
posture in which it was to be obtained.

The regularity of the streets of the town, which intersect each other at
right angles; the buildings, gardens, castle, and forts, with twenty-three
ships then at anchor in the bay, all which appeared directly underneath us,
was a sight beautiful and pleasing beyond description. The perpendicular
height of this land is 1857 feet from the surface of the water. On the top of
it we gathered several species of heath, some wild celery, a few shrubs, and
some nondescript plants; we found also some little stones of a fine polish
and singular whiteness.

In our descent, which proved nearly as difficult and troublesome as going
up, we saw some runaway negroes, round a fire, on the clift of a
stupendous rock, where it was entirely out of the power of their owners to
get at them. To look at their situation, one would think it beyond the
utmost stretch of human ingenuity to devise a way to reach it. Here they
remain all day in perfect security, and during the night make frequent
excursions to the town and the parts adjacent, committing great
depredations on the inhabitants.

The whole subsistence of these fugitives depends on this precarious
method: and even this method would prove insufficient were it not for
the assistance they receive from those who were once their fellow slaves.
Nor is it always that they succeed in the depredatory trips, which
necessity thus urges them to take; they are often betrayed by their
quondam friends; and when this happens, as the Dutch are not famed for
their lenity in punishing crimes, they are made horrid examples of. But
neither the fear of punishment, nor hunger, thirst, cold, and wretchedness,
to which they are often unavailably exposed, can deter them from making
Table Land their place of refuge from what they consider to be greater
evils. Scarcely a day passes but a smoke may be seen from some of these
inaccessible retreats.

In the mild or summer season, which commences in September, and continues
till March, the Table Land is sometimes suddenly capped with a white cloud,
by some called the Spreading of the Table-cloth. When this cloud seems to
roll down the steep face of the mountain, it is an unerring indication of
an approaching gale of wind from the south-east; which generally blows with
great violence and sometimes continues a day or more, but in common is of
short duration. On the first appearance of this cloud, the ships in Table
Bay begin to prepare for it, by striking yards and top-masts, and making
everything as snug as possible.

A little to the westward of the Table Land, divided by a small valley,
stands, on the right hand side of Table Bay, a round hill, called the Sugar
Loaf, and by many the Lion's Head, as there is a continuance from it,
contiguous to the sea, called the Lion's Rump; and when you take a general
view of the whole it very much resembles that animal with his head erect.
The Sugar Loaf, or Lion's Head, and the Lion's Rump have each a flagstaff
on them, by which the approach of ships is made known to the
governor, particularizing their number, nation, and the quarter from which
they come.

To the eastward, separated by a small chasm from the Table Land,
stands Charles's Mount, well known by the appellation of the Devil's
Tower, and so called from the violent gusts of wind supposed to issue from
it when it partakes of the cap that covers the Table Land, though these
gusts are nothing more than a degree of force the wind acquires in coming
through the chasm. When this phaenomenon appears in the morning, which
is by no means so frequent as in the evening, the sailors have a saying, as
the Devil's Tower is almost contiguous to the Table Land, that the old
gentleman is going to breakfast; if in the middle of the day, that he is going
to dinner; and if in the evening, that the cloth is spread for supper.

The foregoing high lands form a kind of amphitheatre about the Table
Valley, where the Cape Town stands. From the shipping the town appears
pleasantly situated but at the same time small, a deception that arises from
its being built in a valley with such stupendous mountains directly behind
it. On landing, however, you are surprised, and agreeably disappointed, to
find it not only extensive but well built, and in a good stile, the streets
spacious, and intersecting each other at right angles with great precision.
This exactness in the formation of the streets, when viewed from the Table
Land, is observed to be very great.

The houses in general are built of stone, cemented together with
a glutinous kind of earth which serves as mortar, and afterwards
neatly plastered, and whitewashed, with lime. As to their height,
they do not in common exceed two stories, on account of the violence
of the wind, which at some seasons of the year blows with great strength
and fury; indeed sometimes so violently as to shake the houses to the
very foundation. For the same reason, thatch has been usually preferred
to tiles or shingles, but the bad effects that have proceeded from this mode,
when fires happen, has induced the inhabitants in all their new buildings to
give the preference to slates and tiles. The lower parts of the houses,
according to the custom of the Dutch nation, are not only uncommonly
neat and clean in appearance, but they are really so; and the furniture is
rather rich than elegant. But this is by no means the case with the bedrooms
or upper apartments, which are more barely and worse furnished
than any I ever beheld: and the streets seem to be much upon a par with
them, they being rough, uneven, and unpaved. I was, however, upon the
whole, extremely well pleased with the town. Many of the houses have a
space flagged before the door, and others have trees planted before them,
which form a pleasant shade, and give pleasing novelty to the streets.

The only landing-place is at the east end of the town, where there is a
wooden quay running some paces into the sea, with several cranes on it, for
the convenience of loading and unloading the scoots that come along side.
To this place excellent water is conveyed by pipes, which makes the
watering of ships both easy and expeditious.

Close to this quay, on the left hand, stands the castle and principal
fortress, a strong extensive work, having excellent accommodations for the
troops, and for many of the civil officers belonging to the company. Within
the gates the company have their principal stores, which are spacious as
well as convenient. This fort covers and defends the east part of the town
and harbour, as Amsterdam fort does the west part. The latter, which has
been built since commodore Johnstone's expedition, and whereon both
French and Dutch judgment have been united to render it effectual and
strong, is admirably planned and calculated to annoy and harass ships
coming into the bay. Some smaller detached fortifications extend along the
coast, both to the east and west, and make landing, which was not the case
before the late war, hazardous and difficult.

In a word, Cape Town is at this time fortified with strength, regularity,
and judgment.

There are two churches here, one large, plain, and unadorned, for the
Calvinists, the prevailing sect, and a smaller one for the Lutherans.

The hospital, which is large and extensive, is situated at the upper end of
the town, close to the company's garden. It is an honour to that commercial
body, and no small ornament to the town. The only objection that can be
made to it, as a building, is its situation: had it been erected on an
eminence, and a little detached from the town, which might easily have
been done, no fault could have been found with it. As it is, the
convalescents have free access to the company's gardens, where they reap
the benefit of a wholesome pure air, perfumed with the exhalations of a great
variety of rich fruit trees, aromatic shrubs, and odorous plants and
flowers; and likewise have the use of every production of it, as before
observed, advantages that compensate, in a great measure, for the flat
situation of the hospital.

The inhabitants are all exceedingly fond of gardens, which they keep in
most excellent order. The doing this is very little trouble to them, the
climate and soil being most benign and friendly to vegetation. Among the
many which afforded me delight, I must not forget that belonging to
Colonel Gordon, commander in chief of the Dutch troops at the Cape;
where not only the taste and ingenuity of the gardener, but the skill and
knowledge of the botanist, are at once manifest.

The colonel is a man of science, of an active and well-cultivated
genius, and who appropriates those hours he can spare from his
military duties (in which he is said to excel), to a perusal of
the book of nature, and researches after useful knowledge. These
pursuits tend not only to his amusement, but to his honour; and
they will, doubtless, at some time or other, further conduce to the
advancement of natural history, and to the honour of his country, as it
is said he intends to publish the observations and remarks which have been
the result of his researches. Those he has made on the Hottentots, Caffres,
and the countries they inhabit, will doubtlessly be valuable, he having
made himself better acquainted with the subject, and penetrated farther into
the interior parts, than any traveller or naturalist that has hitherto visited
the Cape. It is to be lamented that he has so long withheld from the world the
gratification and improvement, which most assuredly must be derived from
the observations of a person so well and so extensively informed. His
polite attention and civility, during our stay at the Cape, claim our most
grateful acknowledgements.

Besides their hospital, the Dutch East India company have several other
public buildings which tend to improve the appearance of the town. The
two principal of these are the stables and a house for their slaves. The
former is a handsome range of buildings, capable of containing an
incredible number of horses. Those they have at the Cape are small,
spirited, and full of life. The latter is a building of considerable extent,
where the slaves, both male and female, have separate apartments, in a
very comfortable stile, to reside in after the fatigues and toil of the day,
which undoubtedly is great, but by no means equal, in my opinion, to that
endured by the slaves in our own colonies.

However severe and cruel the Dutch may be considered in other respects,
they certainly treat their slaves with great humanity and kindness,
which, I am sorry to say, I scarcely ever saw done in the West Indies,
during a residence there of three years. On the contrary, I have
frequently been witness to the infliction of the most brutal, cruel,
and wanton punishments on these poor creatures, who are the source
and immediate support of the splendour of the Creoles. The bare retrospect
of the cruelties I have seen exercised there excites a kind of horror that
chills my blood. At the Cape, there are several officers placed over the
slaves, who have commodious apartments, and treat them humanely.

The first week after our arrival at this place, the militia, consisting both
of horse and foot, were embodied, and held their annual meeting: I say
annual, as that is the usual period, but this was the first time of their
assembling since the conclusion of the war in 1783.

The Cape militia differ from the English in not receiving pay or
wearing regimentals. In fact they should rather be called volunteers,
who turn out for the protection of their own property, and are not
subject to strict military discipline. Most of them wore blue coats,
with white metal buttons, aukwardly long, and in the cut and shape
of which uniformity had not been attended to. Neither was it visible
in the other parts of their dress or accoutrements; some wore powder,
others none, so that, upon the whole, they made a very unmilitary
appearance. The officers are chosen annually from among themselves.
Some of these, indeed, I observed to be very well dressed. Neglect,
non-attendance, and every other breach of their military rules, is
punished by fine or forfeiture, and not corporally.

At this burlesque on the profession of a soldier, I could not help
observing that many of them had either got intoxicated that morning
or were not recovered from their overnight's debauch; notwithstanding
which they marched to the field and went through their evolutions with
a steadiness and regularity that was really astonishing, considering
the state they were in: but it is said, and I believe with some truth,
that a Dutchman when half drunk is more capable of performing every
kind of business than if he were perfectly sober.

After these annual exhibitions, the members of the corps meet their wives,
daughters, etc. (who take care to be present, that they may be witnesses of
their military skill and achievements) at some friend's house, where they
crown the night in dancing, of which they are uncommonly fond. To
dancing are added substantial suppers and potent libations, in which they
indulge not only upon this but on all other occasions. A Dutch supper to
me, at first, was a matter of wonder, as I could never see any kind of
difference, either in the quality or quantity, between them and their
dinners, which were always abundant, and consisting chiefly of heavy

The inhabitants of the Cape, though in their persons large, stout, and
athletic, have not all that phlegm about them which is the characteristic of
Dutchmen in general. The physical influence of climate may in some
degree account for this; for it is well known that in all southern latitudes
the temper and disposition of the people are more gay, and that they are
more inclined to luxury and amusements of every kind, than the inhabitants
of the northern hemisphere.

The ladies at the Cape are lively, good-natured, familiar, and gay. They
resemble the women of England more than any foreigners I have ever seen.
English fashions prevail among them (the female part of the governor's
family excepted, who imitate the French), notwithstanding their intercourse
with France is now by far greater than with England.

The habits and customs of the women of this place are extremely
contrasted to those of the inhabitants of Rio de Janeiro. Among
the latter a great deal of reserve and modesty is apparent between
the sexes in public. Those who are disposed to say tender and civil
things to a lady must do it by stealth, or breathe their soft sighs
through the lattice-work of a window, or the grates of a convent. But
at the Cape, if you wish to be a favourite with the fair, as the custom
is, you must in your own defence (if I may use the expression) grapple the
lady, and paw her in a manner that does not partake in the least of
gentleness. Such a rough and uncouth conduct, together with a kiss
ravished now and then in the most public manner and situations, is not only
pleasing to the fair one, but even to her parents, if present; and is
considered by all parties as an act of the greatest gallantry and gaiety.

In fact, the Dutch ladies here, from a peculiar gay turn, admit of
liberties that may be thought reprehensible in England; but perhaps
as seldom overstep the bounds of virtue as the women of other countries.

During my residence on shore, whenever I heard of any Hottentots being
in town, I made a point of endeavouring to get a sight of them, in order to
see whether their manners and appearance corresponded with the
description given of them by travellers; such as being besmeared with
grease, and decorated with the stinking entrails of animals, on which they
likewise, when pressed by hunger, are said to feed.

I saw many of the men, without being able to make any other remarks on
them, than that they were thin, of rather a low stature, but formed for
activity: and, further, that their hair, which was short and woolly, as well as
their whole bodies, was bedaubed with some unctuous or greasy substance,
which was very offensive. They were of a dark brown colour, had a flat
nose, thick lips, large full eyes, and were ornamented with ivory rings, and
wore narrow strips of the skin of some animal, devoid of its hair, around
their neck, legs, and arms. The only female of that nation I could get a
sight of was during a little excursion in the environs of Cape Town:
walking one evening with a Dutch gentleman, to see a garden about a mile
from the town, I accidentally met one of these ladies, who was equally as
offensive as the male I had met.

The heavy draft work about the Cape is mostly performed by oxen;
which are here brought to an uncommon degree of usefulness and docility.
It is not uncommon to see fourteen, sixteen, and sometimes eighteen in
one of their teams; when the roads are heavy they sometimes, though rarely,
yoke twenty; all which the Hottentots, Malayes, and Cape slaves have in
the most perfect subjection and obedience. One of these fellows places
himself on the fore part of the waggon, or, when loaded, on the top of the
load, and with a tremendous long whip, which, from its size, he is obliged
to hold in both his hands, manages these creatures with inexpressible
address. I have often seen the driver, when he has found expedition
needful, make them keep whatever pace he thought proper, either trot or
gallop (a gait performed or kept up with difficulty by European oxen), and
that with as much ease as if he was driving horses.

This immense whip, the only thing with which they guide the team,
the drivers use so dexterously that they make them turn a corner with
the utmost nicety; hitting even the leading pair, in whatever part
they please. The blows thus given must inflict intolerable pain,
or these slow animals could never be brought to go with the velocity
they do at the Cape.

These sooty charioteers likewise manage horses with the same dexterity.
To see one of them driving three, four, five, and sometimes six pair,
in hand, with one of these long whips, as I have often done with great
surprise, would make the most complete master of the whip in England
cut a despicable figure. Carriages are not very numerous at the Cape,
as the inhabitants in general travel in covered waggons, which better
suit the roughness of the country. The governor and some few of the
principal people keep coaches, which are a good deal in the English
stile, and always drawn by six horses. The only chariot I saw there
belonged to the governor; I however heard there were some others.

11th November.
Having got on board such animals, provisions, etc. as we could stow,
the commodore, with all the officers that had lodgings on shore,
embarked. Previous to the commodore's embarkation he gave a public
dinner to some of the gentlemen of the town and the officers of his
fleet. The Dutch governor was to have been of the party but by some
unforeseen event was detained in the country, where he had been for some
days before. Commodore Phillip had his band of music on shore upon the
occasion, and the day was spent with great cheerfulness and conviviality.

13th November.
About half past one o'clock we sailed from the Cape of Good Hope.

A small American ship had arrived during the forenoon, bound on a trading
voyage to China, with several passengers on board. We learnt from her that
the Hartwell East Indiaman had been lost, by bordering too close on the
island of Bonavista, in order to land some recruits, who had mutinied and
occasioned great disorder and confusion in the ship. It gave us pleasure to
hear from the carpenter of the Hartwell, who was on board the American
ship, that no lives were lost by the accident. The principal part of the crew,
we found, had got to Madeira, on their return to England.

Abreast of Penguin Island, about three o'clock, we passed a large Dutch ship
from Holland, bound to the Cape, with troops on board. A little before it was
dark, we spoke the Kent whaler, from London, who had been four months
out. She with ourselves was endeavouring to get to the eastward. On our
first discovering her, as she seemed desirous of joining or speaking to the
fleet, we were in hopes of her being from England, probably to us, or at
least that we might get letters by her; but our suspense on these points, a
suspense only to be conceived by persons on long voyages, was soon put
an end to by hearing she had been so many months out.

A few days before we left the Cape, some of the officers of the expedition
received letters from England by the Ranger East India packet, Captain
Buchanan, who had put in to water, and stop a leak; both of which being
soon accomplished, she proceeded on her voyage.

14th November.
This morning Catherine Pryor, one of the convicts, was delivered of
a male child. The officers, seamen, troops, and convicts, were put to an
allowance of three quarts of water a day.

17th November.
The wind variable, inclining to the southward and eastward, with
hazy weather, an epidemic dysentry appeared among the convicts, which
very soon made its way among the marines, and prevailed with violence
and obstinacy until about Christmas, when it was got under by an unremitting
attention to cleanliness, and every other method proper and essential for the
removal and prevention of contagion. It gives me pleasure to be
able to add that we only lost one person by this disease, violent and
dangerous as it was, and that was Daniel Cresswell, one of the troops
intended for the garrison, who was seized on the 19th of November and
died the 30th of the same month, the eleventh day of his illness. From the
commencement of his disorder, he was in the most acute agonizing pain I
ever was witness to; nor was it in the power of medicine to procure him the
shortest interval of ease. His case being a very singular one, I have
transmitted it, with some others, to a medical friend in London, with
permission to make what use of them he may think proper. The wind kept
to the southward and eastward until the 21st, without veering a point in our
favour, which carried us far out of our way to the westward; but that day it

23d November.
We spoke the Prince of Wales, who informed us, that the preceding
night one of the seamen had fallen from the top-sail yard, and was
drowned. Indeed it was so dark, and the ship went so fast through the
water, that all efforts to save him, had any been made, would have proved
fruitless. This day and the following running to eastward, with the wind to
the southward and westward, we saw many aquatic birds.

25th November.
The commodore removed into the Supply armed tender, and took
with him Lieutenant King of the Sirius, and Mr. Dawes of the marines,
whom I had before occasion to mention as having undertaken the
astronomical observations during the voyage. Having likewise selected
some artificers from among the convicts, he went on, taking the Alexander,
Scarborough, and Friendship with him, being fast sailing vessels; leaving
the heavy sailers, both transports and victuallers, under the direction of
Captain Hunter of the Sirius. Major Ross, commanding officer of the
troops, removed into the Scarborough, as did the adjutant.

26th November.
We had not lost sight of the Supply and other ships, though they
were considerably ahead. Between nine and ten at night the wind came to
the S.S.E. which made us tack and stand to the S.W. In the morning could
see nothing of the flying squadron, as the seamen termed them. The wind
continued all this day at E.S.E. with pleasant clear weather.

28th November.
The wind shifted to the E.N.E.; the weather hazy, with small rain
and strong breezes. The Sirius made a signal for the convoy to close.

30th November.
The wind variable, with some heavy showers, and in the intervals
clear weather. December 1787

1st and 2nd December.
The wind from W.S.W. to S.W. by W. in lat. 40° south, long. 35°10' east;
the weather moderate, cold, clear, and pleasant. We saw birds of different

3rd December.
In the evening, and on the succeeding day, the wind to northward and
westward; fresh gales, dark, wet, unpleasant weather, with a high sea. The
Sirius, for fear of separation, as the weather did not look kindly, made the
signal for the convoy to keep nearer the commanding officer.

5th December.
In the morning almost calm, with a heavy swell; in the evening a
small breeze sprung up at the N.E. which next day shifted to the westward.

16th December.
In lat. 41°7' south, long. 74°54' east, clear weather, with a small
breeze at N.N.W. we saw some large whales, several birds, mostly of the
peteral kind, a seal, and some rock weed.

17th December.
Dark, cold, and gloomy. Had some gulls and whales round the ship.

20th December.
Wind variable, inclining to the south. I visited the Prince of Wales,
where I found some of the female convicts with evident symptoms of the
scurvy, brought on by the damp and cold weather we had lately
experienced. The two succeeding days the wind to the westward, though at
times variable, with dark, wet, gloomy weather; in lat. 41°18' south, long.
90°7' east. We saw and passed some sea-weed. On those days the scurvy
began to show itself in the Charlotte, mostly among those who had the
dysentery to a violent degree; but I was pretty well able to keep it under by
a liberal use of the essence of malt and some good wine, which ought not
to be classed among the most indifferent antiscorbutics. For the latter we
were indebted to the humanity of Lord Sydney and Mr. Nepean, principal
and under secretaries of state.

24th December.
The weather still dark and gloomy. Had several birds round the ship
of the albatross and peteral kind; with what appeared to me to be
something of the sea-hawk species.

27th December.
Dark hazy weather, with some light squalls. We passed more seaweed;
some gulls, and many of the before-mentioned birds, about the ship.

30th and 31st December.

Strong breezes, with unsettled-looking weather; birds still
about us, and likewise some whales.

1st January.
The new year was introduced with a pretty heavy gale of wind from the
northward and westward, which was the first we had encountered since we
left England. It began a little before 12 o'clock the preceding night,
and continued till seven this evening. The Sirius was the whole day under
her stay-sails, and the convoy under their fore-sail and stay-sails.

2d and 3rd January.
Smart gales, with dark gloomy weather. Some seals and oceanic birds
about the ship.

4th January.
Cloudy weather, in latitude 44°2'S. The Sirius made the signal for
the longitude by lunar observation, which was found to be 135°30' East. In
the evening some birds, called Mother Cary's Chickens, were round the

5th January.
The weather cold and clear, the wind N.W. Passed some seaweed. In
the morning the third mate thought he saw some divers; but, as they were
not seen by any other person, not much attention was paid to the report. At
night we had some squalls, with light showers of rain.

7th January.
Early in the morning the Lady Penrhyn made the signal for seeing
land; but it only proved to be a fog-bank; a circumstance that often
deceives the anxious mariner. About two o'clock in the afternoon the
Prince of Wales, being the headmost ship, made the same signal. The
Charlotte being next in succession, the signal was scarcely displayed
before we also discovered it very plainly through the haze, and repeated the
signal, which was answered by the Sirius.

By our last lunar observation this land appears to be well laid down
in Maskelyne's Tables, and in the journals of the celebrated Cook:
but to the surprise of every one on board, we found a small chart,
published by Steele, and which was held in little estimation, to
be not only accurate as to the situation, but also to give a tolerable
appearance and description of Van Dieman's Land: indeed such as
may prove extremely useful to ships coming this way, and fully
sufficient to enable them to avoid all danger if the weather be clear.
For my own part, I see no hazard that attends making this land by day
(such an attempt by night would be very incautious and absurd),
as nature has been very particular in pointing out where it lies,
by rocks which jutt out of the sea, like so many beacons.

I believe a convoy was never conducted with more care, or made the
land with greater accuracy and certainly, than this. Indeed, ability
and experienced nautical knowledge were never more fully evinced on
all occasions than by Captain Hunter; who is, I may venture to pronounce,
without much risk of having my veracity called in question, one of
the most assiduous and accurate observers, and able navigators, the
present day furnishes. His appointment to this expedition by Lord Howe is
strongly marked with that prudence and wisdom which are known to
govern his Lordship's conduct. Captain Hunter has a pretty turn for
drawing, which will enable him, no doubt, to give such a description of this
coast as will do credit to himself, and be of singular advantage, as well to
those whose lot it may be to visit, hereafter, this extensive coast, as to
navigation at large.

The assistance of Lieutenant Bradley, first of the Sirius (who likewise
is an officer of more than common abilities), as a navigator in
conducting a convoy in a track so little known, must have been pleasing
to Captain Hunter.

As we run in with the land, which is pretty high, we were surprised to
see, at this season of the year, some small patches of snow. The haze being
dispersed, by a gentle breeze at N.N.W., we could observe, and hear, as we
were not more than six or seven miles from the shore, the surf beating high
and loudly against some uneven rocks which jutted out, in strange
projections, into the sea. This part of the coast, as far as we could see, is
bold, irregular, and craggy; and very few trees, or appearance of verdure, to
be seen.

At four in the afternoon, being about six or eight miles to the
eastward of the eastward-most rock, called the Mewstone (there being
several others which we distinctly saw), bearing N.N.W. we discovered to
the westward of them some eminences, which probably might be islands;
or, if not, some land running a considerable way into the sea. For my own
part I am inclined to believe the latter to be the case; though the distance
was too great to hazard a conclusive opinion upon it, as a large smoke was
seen close to the innermost height.

About seven, steering to the eastward, along shore, nearly at the distance
of four miles, being well in with the westward-most point of a very large
bay, called Storm Bay, laid down in lat. 44°3'S. and long. 146°E. we
discovered Swilly bearing S.E. 1/2S. and a little to the eastward of it a
small rock rising out of the sea, distinguished by the name of the
Eddystone, from its resemblance to the Eddystone light-house off
Plymouth, which was very perceptible at the distance we were then from it.
Our being close in with the land prevented us from seeing either of these
before, as they lie at least six or seven leagues out to sea. From the S.W.
cape, which lies in lat. 43°39'S. and long. 145°50'E. to the S.E. cape, which
is admitted to be Tasman's South Cape, is about the distance of fifteen or
sixteen leagues. As we got to the eastward, we saw many trees, mostly of a
dwarf or stunted kind, with a whitish bark, and perfectly leafless.

This part of the country still continued to be a rough, rugged, uneven tract,
with very little appearance of fertility. Some small patches of verdure were
discovered about Storm Bay, and the trees seemed to increase in number
and size. Between eight and nine at night we saw a large fire on the east
point of land which forms this bay, made by the natives, none of whom
could we see during the day, though close in with the shore: nor did we
perceive any other indication of its being inhabited but this fire, and the
smoke mentioned to be seen on our first falling in with the land. The
distance between the smoke and the fire was eight leagues, a space that
would surely have exhibited some other proofs of populosity had it been
thickly peopled.

About 10 o'clock, off Storm Bay, the weather moderately pleasant, the
ship was taken aback. The Lady Penrhyn was then under our lee quarter,
which obliged us to tack, after which we immediately wore, brought the
ship to the wind on the other tack, and stood to sea with the rest of the
ships. The wind was then at N.E. which just enabled us to weather Swilly
and the Eddystone. As we got to sea the wind increased moderately.

8th January.
The wind and weather variable; could perceive nothing of the land. I
went on board the Fishburne, to see the boatswain, who, on the first night
of the new year, having probably drank more grog than he ought, and the
ship labouring much, had fallen from the top-sail yard, by which he bruised
himself in a dreadful manner. The man being highly scorbutic, the parts
soon mortified, and he died about half an hour after I got on board.

The master of the ship showed evident marks of great concern for this
invaluable man, as he termed him. He declared to me that, sooner than
venture again on so long a voyage without a surgeon, he would put to sea
with less than half his complement of men; for he was strongly of opinion
that if the poor fellow had received immediate assistance he would have
recovered. I should have seen him sooner, but was prevented by my own
indifferent state of health. How owners of ships can think of sending them
through such a variety of climates, and a voyage of so great a length,
without a surgeon, is to me a matter of surprise. The Lady Penrhyn, owned
by Alderman Curtis, was the only merchant ship in our fleet that had a
surgeon. What the others will do on their return, Heaven only knows; but
this I well know, that they would never have reached thus far but for the
succour given them by myself and my assistants.

9th January. Wind variable, and weather hazy, damp and dark; with some vivid
flashes of lightning, succeeded by distant peals of loud thunder. On the
morning of this day died Edward Thomson, a convict, worn out with a
melancholy and long confinement. Had he lived, I think he would have
proved a deserving member of society, as he seemed sensible of the
impropriety and imprudence of his former life, and studious to atone for it.

10th January.
The wind variable and weather dark and gloomy, with a very troublesome
high sea. About two o'clock p.m. we had one of the most sudden gusts
of wind I ever remember to have known. In an instant it split our
main-sail; and but for the activity shewn by the sailors, in letting fly
the sheets and lowering the top-sails, the masts must have gone over the side.
The Prince of Wales, who was close to us, had her main yard carried away
in the slings. Fortunately for us the squall was of short duration, otherwise
the ships must have suffered considerably from the uncommon cross sea
that was running; which we had found to be the case ever since we reached
this coast.

11th and 12th January.
The wind variable, inclining to the southward and westward, and still
an unpleasant cross troublesome sea. We saw a whale, several seals,
and many large oceanous birds, which we frequently fired at, without
their betraying the smallest symptom of fear either at the report, or
at the balls, which frequently dropped close to them. A conclusion may be
drawn from hence, that they had never been harassed with fire-arms before;
if they had, they would undoubtedly have shown some fear, a sensation
they seemed to be totally unacquainted with. In all our firings we did not
kill one of them.

19th January.
In the evening we saw the land over Red Point, bearing W. by N.
the extremes of the land from S.S.W. to N. We were then about three
leagues from the shore, and, finding it unlikely to get in that night, Captain
Hunter made the signal for the convoy to come within hail, when he
acquainted them that the entrance into Botany Bay bore N.N.W.: adding
that for the night he intended to stand off and on, and early in the morning
make sail for the bay.

20th January.
At four in the morning the Sirius and convoy made sail, and at
eight o'clock anchored in eight fathom water; Cape Banks E.S.E., Point
Solander S.S.E., and the entrance of the bay, between these two lands,

We found here the Supply tender, which had arrived the 18th, and
the Alexander, Scarborough, and Friendship transports, who had only
arrived the day before. To see all the ships safe in their destined port,
without ever having, by any accident, been one hour separated, and all the
people in as good health as could be expected or hoped for, after so long a
voyage, was a sight truly pleasing, and at which every heart must rejoice.
As we sailed into the bay, some of the natives were on the shore, looking
with seeming attention at such large moving bodies coming amongst them.
In the evening the boats were permitted to land on the north side, in order
to get water and grass for the little stock we had remaining. An officer's
guard was placed there to prevent the seamen from straggling, or having
any improper intercourse with the natives.

Captain Hunter, after anchoring, waited on the governor, on board
the Supply, who, with several other officers, landed. As they rowed
along the shore, some of the natives followed the boat; but on her
putting in for the shore they ran into the woods. Some of the gentlemen,
however, before they returned on board, obtained an interview with
them, during which they showed some distrust, but, upon the whole,
were civilly inclined. The boats sent to haul the seine returned,
having had tolerable success. The fish they caught were bream, mullet,
large rays, besides many other smaller species.

21st January.
The governor, Captain Hunter, and the two masters of the men of
war, with a party of marines, set off this morning, in two rigged long boats,
to examine Port Jackson, a harbour lying a little to the northward, which
was discovered by Captain Cook.

23rd January.
The party returned this evening, full of praises on the extent and
excellence of the harbour, as well as the superiority of the ground, water,
and situation to that of Botany Bay, which, I own, does not, in my opinion,
by any means merit the commendations bestowed on it by the muchlamented
Cook, and others whose names and judgments are no less admired and

During his excellency's absence the lieutenant-governor had issued
his orders to land all the artificers that could be found among
the convicts, and a party of others, to clear the ground for the
intended town, to dig sawpits, and to perform everything that was essential
towards the works purposed to be carried on. Although the spot fixed on
for the town was the most eligible that could be chosen, yet I think it would
never have answered, the ground around it being sandy, poor, and swampy,
and but very indifferently supplied with water. The fine meadows talked of
in Captain Cook's voyage I could never see, though I took some pains to
find them out; nor have I ever heard of a person that has seen any parts
resembling them.

While the people were employed on shore, the natives came several
times among them, and behaved with a kind of cautious friendship.
One evening while the seine was hauling, some of them were present,
and expressed great surprise at what they saw, giving a shout
expressive of astonishment and joy when they perceived the quantity that
was caught. No sooner were the fish out of the water than they began to lay
hold of them, as if they had a right to them, or that they were their own;
upon which the officer of the boat, I think very properly, restrained them,
giving, however, to each of them a part. They did not at first seem very
well pleased with this mode of procedure, but on observing with what
justice the fish was distributed they appeared content.

While we remained at Botany Bay, as I was one morning on board the
Supply we saw twenty-nine of the natives on the beach, looking towards
the shipping; upon which Lieutenants Ball and King, Mr. Dawes, and
myself went on shore, landing at the place where they were. They were friendly
and pacific, though each of them was armed with a spear or long
dart and had a stick, with a shell at the end, used by them in throwing their
weapons. Besides these, some few had shields made of the bark of the cork
tree, of a plain appearance but sufficient to ward off or turn their own
weapons, some of which were pointed and barbed with the bones of fish,
fastened on with some kind of adhesive gum.

One of the most friendly, and who appeared to be the most confident,
on signs being made to him, stuck the end of his shield in the sand,
but could not be prevailed upon to throw his spear at it. Finding
he declined it, I fired a pistol ball through it. The explosion
frightened him, as well as his companions, a little; but they soon
got over it, and on my putting the pistol into my pocket he took up the
shield, and appeared to be much surprised at finding it perforated. He then,
by signs and gestures, seemed to ask if the pistol would make a hole
through him, and on being made sensible that it would, he showed not the
smallest signs of fear; on the contrary he endeavoured, as we construed his
motions, to impress us with an idea of the superiority of his own arms,
which he applied to his breast, and by staggering, and a show of falling,
seemed to wish us to understand that the force and effect of them was
mortal, and not to be resisted.

However, I am well convinced that they know and dread the superiority
of our arms, notwithstanding this show of indifference, as they, on
all occasions, have discovered a dislike to a musquet: and so very
soon did they make themselves acquainted with the nature of our
military dress, that, from the first, they carefully avoided a soldier,
or any person wearing a red coat, which they seem to have marked
as a fighting vesture.

Many of their warriors, or distinguished men, we observed to be painted
in stripes across the breast and back, which at some little distance
appears not unlike our soldiers' cross belts.

24th January.
The boats were employed in getting water and grass for the live
stock; as the governor, finding Port Jackson more suited to his wishes, had
determined to remove to that place and form the settlement there. While
these preparations were making, every person in the fleet was surprised to
see, in this part of the world, two large ships plying hard in the offing to
get into the bay. It was seen, in the evening, that they had French colours
flying; but, the wind blowing pretty strong out of the bay, they were unable
to get in, and, the weather becoming thick and hazy, we soon lost sight of

25th January.
Nothing of the strange ships to be seen. The governor, with a
detachment of marines, sailed in the Supply tender for Port Jackson,
leaving instructions with Captain Hunter to follow him, with all the
transports and victuallers, as soon as the wind and weather would permit.

26th January.
We again descried the French ships standing in for the bay, with a
leading wind; upon which Captain Hunter sent his first lieutenant on board
the commanding officer's ship, which was distinguished by a broad
pendant, to assist them in coming in. Soon after the lieutenants were
returned to the Sirius, Captain Clonnard, the French commodore's captain
(who during the late war commanded the Artois, taken by the Bienfaisant,
Captain Macbride), waited on Captain Hunter, and informed him that the
ships were the Astrolabe and the Boussale, which sailed from France in the
year 1786, under the command of Messieurs de la Perouse and De Langle.
He further acquainted him that, having touched at Navigator's Isles, they
had had the misfortune to lose Captain De Langle, the second in command,
with ten other officers and two boats crews, all of whom were cut off by
the natives of those islands, who appeared to be numerous and warlike.
This accident induced them to put into this port in order to build some
boats, which they had in frames. It also had afforded room for the
promotion of Monsieur Clonnard, who, on their leaving France, was only
the commodore's first lieutenant.

At ten o'clock the Sirius, with all the ships, weighed, and in the evening
anchored in Port Jackson, with a few trifling damages done to some of
them, who had run foul of each other in working out of Botany Bay.

Port Jackson I believe to be, without exception, the finest and most extensive
harbour in the universe, and at the same time the most secure, being safe
from all the winds that blow. It is divided into a great number of coves, to
which his excellency has given different names. That on which the town is
to be built, is called Sydney Cove. It is one of the smallest in the harbour,
but the most convenient, as ships of the greatest burden can with ease go
into it, and heave out close to the shore. Trincomalé, acknowledged to be
one of the best harbours in the world, is by no means to be compared to it.
In a word, Port Jackson would afford sufficient and safe anchorage for all
the navies of Europe.

The Supply had arrived the day before, and the governor, with every person
that could be spared from the ship, were on shore, clearing the ground
for the encampment. In the evening, when all the ships had anchored,
the English colours were displayed; and at the foot of the flag-staff
his Majesty's health, and success to the settlement, was drank by the
governor, many of the principal officers, and private men who were
present upon the occasion.

27th January.
A number of convicts from the different transports were landed to
assist in clearing the ground for the encampment. His excellency marked
the outlines, and, as much as possible to prevent irregularity, and to keep
the convicts from straggling, the provost marshal, aided by the patrole, had
orders to take into custody all convicts that should be found without the
lines, and to leave them in charge of the main or quarter guard.

The boats sent this day to fish were successful. Some of the natives came
into the little bay or cove where the seine was hauled, and behaved very
friendly. Indeed they carried their civility so far, although a people that
appeared to be averse to work, as to assist in dragging it ashore. For this
kind office they were liberally rewarded with fish, which seemed to please
them and give general satisfaction.

29th January.
A convenient place for the cattle being found, the few that
remained were landed. The frame and materials for the governor's house,
constructed by Smith in St. George's Fields, were likewise sent on shore,
and some preparations made for erecting it.

This day Captain Hunter and Lieutenant Bradley began to take a survey
of the harbour. In the course of the last week, all the marines, their
wives and children, together with all the convicts, male and female,
were landed. The laboratory and sick tents were erected, and, I am
sorry to say, were soon filled with patients afflicted with the true
camp dysentery and the scurvy. More pitiable objects were perhaps never
seen. Not a comfort or convenience could be got for them, besides the
very few we had with us.

His excellency, seeing the state these poor objects were in, ordered
a piece of ground to be inclosed, for the purpose of raising vegetables
for them. The seeds that were sown upon this occasion, on first appearing
above ground, looked promising and well, but soon after withered away,
which was not indeed extraordinary, as they were not sown at a proper
season of the year.

The sick have increased since our landing to such a degree, that a spot
for a general hospital has been marked out and artificers already
employed on it. A proper spot, contiguous to the hospital, has been
chosen, to raise such vegetables as can be produced at this season
of the year; and where a permanent garden for the use of the hospital
is to be established.

1st February.
We had the most tremendous thunder and lightning, with heavy rain,
I ever remember to have seen.

2nd February.
This morning five sheep, belonging to the lieutenant-governor and
quarter-master, were killed by lightning under a tree, at the foot of which
a shed had been built for them. The branches and trunk of the tree were
shivered and rent in a very extraordinary manner.

5th February.
A storehouse has been begun, for the purpose of receiving the stores
and provisions of the three transports bound to China. On a muster of the
convicts this morning, some were found to be missing, and supposed to
have gone to Botany Bay, in hopes of being received on board the French
ships, which are said to be short of hands, and made more so by the loss
they had recently sustained, as before mentioned.

7th February.
The governor's commission, and that for establishing a criminal
court of judicature, admiralty court, etc. were read. After this was done the
troops under arms fired three volleys, when his excellency thanked the
soldiers for their steady and good conduct, which Major Ross caused to be
inserted in the general order book.

The governor then addressed the convicts in a short speech, extremely well
adapted to the people he had to govern and who were then before him.
Among many circumstances that would tend to their future happiness and
comfort, he recommended marriage, assuring them that an indiscriminate
and illegal intercourse would be punished with the greatest severity
and rigour. Honesty, obedience, and industry, he told them, would make
their situation comfortable, whereas a contrary line of conduct would
subject them to ignominy, severities, and punishment. When the ceremony
was concluded, his excellency, attended by all the officers of the colony,
withdrew to a tent pitched for the occasion, where a cold dinner was
laid out; and, after the cloth was removed, many loyal and public toasts
were drank.

8th February.
A party of the gentlemen of the garrison set out by land to pay a visit
to the French at Botany Bay, from whom they met with the most
hospitable, polite, and friendly reception and treatment. Many of the
convicts who had been missing had been at Botany Bay. They had offered
themselves to the French navigators on any terms, but not one of them had
been received. This refusal obliged them to return; and when they came
back they were real objects of pity. Conscious of the punishment that
awaited so imprudent and improper an experiment, they had stayed out as
long as the cravings of nature would permit, and were nearly half starved.

A woman, named Ann Smith, and a man have never since been heard of. They are
supposed to have missed their way as they returned, and to have
perished for want. As the French commodore had given his honour that he
would not admit any of them on board, it cannot be thought he would take
them. The convict, it is true, was a Frenchman, named Peter Paris, and it is
possible, on that account, he might have been concealed, through pity, by
his countrymen, and carried off without the knowledge of the commanding

At the very time the party from hence were gone by land to Botany
Bay, Captain Clonnard came round in a boat, on a visit of ceremony from
Monsieur de la Peyrouse to the governor. He brought with him some
dispatches, which he requested might be forwarded to the French
ambassador at the court of London, by the first transports that sailed for
England. The captain stayed all night and returned the next morning.

This day, for the first time, a Kangaroo was shot and brought into camp. Some
of the natives passed pretty close to the Sirius, without seeming to express,
by their countenance or actions, either fear, curiosity, or surprise.

During the course of this week fourteen marriages were solemnized.

The criminal court, consisting of six officers of his Majesty's forces by
land or sea, with the judge advocate, sat for the first time, before whom
several convicts were tried for petty larceny. Some of them were acquitted,
others sentenced to receive corporal punishment, and one or two were, by
the decision of the court, ordered to a barren rock, or little island, in
the middle of the harbour, there to remain on bread and water for a stated

12th February.
The commissions were read a second time, at the desire of some of
the officers whose situation with the battalion prevented them from being
present at the first reading, after which the lieutenant-governor and judge
advocate were sworn in justices of the peace, and Lieutenant King (second
of the Sirius) superintendant and commanding officer of New Norfolk
Island, an appointment given him by the governor.

14th February.
The Supply sailed for Norfolk Island, with Lieutenant King and his
detachment, consisting of Mr. Cunningham, master's mate, and Mr.
Jameson, surgeon's first mate, of the Sirius, two marines, and twelve male
and female convicts. The governor furnished him with provisions and
stores of every kind for six months, and with tools for cutting down timber,
which last employment was the purpose of his mission.

27th February.
Thomas Barrett, Henry Lovel, and Joseph Hall, were brought
before the criminal court and tried for feloniously and fraudulently taking
away from the public store beef and pease, the property of the crown. They
were convicted on the clearest evidence, and, sentence of death being
passed on them, they were, about six o'clock the same evening, taken to the
fatal tree, where Barrett was launched into eternity, after having confessed
to the Rev. Mr. Johnson, who attended him, that he was guilty of the crime,
and had long merited the ignominious death which he was about to suffer,
and to which he said he had been brought by bad company and evil
example. Lovel and Hall were respited until six o'clock the next evening.
When that awful hour arrived, they were led to the place of execution, and,
just as they were on the point of ascending the ladder, the judge advocate
arrived with the governor's pardon, on condition of their being banished to
some uninhabited place.

29th February.
Daniel Gordon and John Williams were tried and convicted of
stealing wine, the property of Mr. Zachariah Clarke. Williams being an
ignorant black youth, the court recommended him to the governor as a
proper object of mercy, and he was accordingly pardoned. Gordon, who
was another black, had his sentence of death, while at the gallows, changed
to banishment with Lovel and Hall.

30th February (sic).
John Freeman was tried for stealing from another convict seven
pounds of flour. He was convicted and sentenced to be hanged; but while
under the ladder, with the rope about his neck, he was offered his free
pardon on condition of performing the duty of the common executioner as
long as he remained in this country; which, after some little pause, he
reluctantly accepted. William Sheerman, his accomplice, was sentenced to
receive on his bare back, with a cat-o'nine-tails, three hundred lashes,
which were inflicted.

[Colour plate of 'New Holland Cassowary']

A New Holland Cassowary was brought into camp. This bird stands
seven feet high, measuring from the ground to the upper part of the head,
and, in every respect, is much larger than the common Cassowary of all
authors, and differs so much therefrom, in its form, as to clearly prove it a
new species. The colour of the plumage is greatly similar, consisting of a
mixture of dirty brown and grey; on the belly it was somewhat whiter; and
the remarkable structure of the feathers, in having two quills with their
webs arising out of one shaft, is seen in this as well as the common sort. It
differs materially in wanting the horny appendage on the top of the head.
The head and beak are much more like those of the ostrich than the common
Cassowary, both in shape and size. Upon the upper part of the
head the feathers, with which it is but thinly covered, are very small,
looking more like hair than feathers, and in having the neck pretty well
clothed with them, except the chin and throat, which are so thinly covered
that the skin, which is there of a purplish colour, may be seen clearly. The
small wings are exceedingly short, which form a ridiculous contrast with
the body, as they are even less than those of the Cassowary: they have no
large quills in them, being only covered with the small feathers that grow
all over the body.

Another singularity also presents itself in this species, which is
in respect to the legs. As to the back part of them, the whole length
is indented, or sawed, in a remarkable manner. The toes are three in
number, the middle one long, the other two short, with strong claws, not
unlike the same part of the common species. On examining the viscera,
they differed from that of every other species of the feathered kind which I
had ever seen, particularly in having no gizzard, or second stomach, and
the liver was so very small that it did not exceed in size that of a black-
bird. To this liver was joined a large gall-bladder, well distended with bile.

The crop, or stomach, was filled with at least six or seven pounds of grass,
flowers, and a few berries and seeds. The intestinal canal was at least six
yards long, very wide, and of a regular cylindrical shape from the opening
of the stomach to the vent. The heart and lungs were separated by a
diaphragm or midriff, and bore a tolerable proportion to the size of the
bird. The flesh of this bird was very good, and tasted not unlike young
tender beef.

This bird is supposed to be not uncommon in New Holland, as it has been
frequently seen by our settlers both at Botany Bay and Port Jackson, but is
exceedingly shy and runs faster than a grey-hound. One of them, however,
has been shot. [* A drawing was taken from this bird, of which an
engraving is annexed. It has been lately sent to England by the governor
as a present to Lord Sydney, who, through the medium of Sir Joseph Banks,
has deposited it in the collections of Natural History of Mr. John Hunter
in Leicester Square.]

9th March.
The governor, with two long boats manned and armed,
returned from Broken Bay, situated a little to the northward, which he had
been exploring for several days. It affords good shelter for shipping, and
the entrance is bold; it cannot, however, be compared to Port Jackson.
While he was there, he saw a great many of the natives, some of whom he
thinks he had observed before, either at Botany Bay or in the
neighbourhood of Port Jackson. One of the females happened to fall in love
with his great coat; and to obtain it she used a vareity of means. First, she
danced, and played a number of antic tricks; but, finding this mode
ineffectual, she had recourse to tears, which she shed plentifully. This
expedient not answering, she ceased from weeping, and appeared as
cheerful as any of the party around her. From this little incident it may be
seen that they are not a people devoid of art.

At Broken Bay many of the females, young and old, had the first joint of
the little finger on their left hand cut off. As this was the case with
those who were married, or appeared to be so from their having young
children, as well as with those who were too young for a connection of
that nature, it was not possible to account for the cause of such an

Thefts and depredations on one another have become so very frequent
and glaring among the convicts, that scarcely a day passes without
some of these miserable delinquents being punished. So hardened
in wickedness and depravity are many of them, that they seem insensible
to the fear of corporal punishment, or even death itself.

The principal business going forward at present is erecting cabbage-tree
huts for the officers, soldiers, and convicts; some storehouses, etc.; and a
very good hospital; all which in the completion will cost a great deal of
time and trouble, as the timber of this country is very unfit for the purpose
of building. Nor do I know any one purpose for which it will answer except
for fire-wood; and for that it is excellent: but in other respects it is the
worst wood that any country or climate ever produced, although some of
the trees, when standing, appear fit for any use whatever, masts for
shipping not excepted. Strange as it may be imagined, no wood in this
country, though sawed ever so thin, and dried ever so well, will float.
Repeated trials have only served to convince me that, immediately on
immersion, it sinks to the bottom like a stone.

The stone of this country is excellent for building, could any kind of
cement be found to keep it together. There is not any limestone (I believe)
in New South Wales. The governor, notwithstanding that he had collected
together all the shells which could be found, for the purpose of obtaining
from them the lime necessary to the construction of a house for his own
residence, did not procure even a fourth part of the quantity which was
wanted. The foundation stone of a private house for him has been laid, and
a plate of copper, with the following inscription engraved on it, is to be
placed in the wall:

Captain General in and over his Majesty's Territory
of New South Wales, and its Dependencies;
Arrived in this Country on the 18th Day of
January, 1788, with the first Settlers;
And on the 15th Day of May, in the same Year,
the first of these Stones was laid.

The Supply tender returned from Norfolk Island, where, with great
difficulty and danger, the stores sent with Lieutenant King were landed, on
account of the rockyness of its shore, and the violence of the surf that
almost continually beats upon it. In her passage there she fell in with an
island, in lat. 31°36'S. long. 159°4'E., never before discovered, to which
Lieutenant Ball, who commanded the Supply on this occasion, gave the
name of Lord Howe's Island. On her return to this port she stopped at it,
and found the landing nearly, if not quite, as difficult as at Norfolk Island.
The shore in many places was covered with excellent turtle, eighteen of
which were brought here, and proved a seasonable supply to the convicts
afflicted with the scurvy, many of whom were in a deplorable situation.

The smallest turtle brought from Lord Howe's Island did not weigh less
than 150 lb. They also found on it, in great plenty, a kind of fowl,
resembling much the Guinea fowl in shape and size but widely different in
colour, they being in general all white, with a red fleshy substance rising,
like a cock's comb, from the head, and not unlike a piece of sealing wax.
These not being birds of flight, nor in the least wild, the sailors, availing
themselves of their gentleness and inability to take wing from their
pursuits, easily struck them down with sticks.

There were also many birds of the dove kind, as tame as the former,
and caught with equal facility. Some of them were brought alive to this
place. Besides these, the shore abounded with sea birds of several
species. The island is very barren, and not more than twenty miles in

25th March.
The Scarborough, Lady Penrhyn, and Charlotte, transports, being
cleared of government stores, were discharged from the service, and are
shortly to depart for China in order to load home with tea, they being
chartered by the East India company for that purpose.

15th April.
His excellency, attended by Lieutenant Ball of the navy, Lieutenant
George Johnston of the marines, the judge advocate, myself, three
soldiers, and two seamen, landed in Manly Cove (so called from the
manly conduct of the natives when the governor first visited it), on the
north side of the entrance into Port Jackson harbour, in order to trace to
its source a river which had been discovered a few days before. We, however,
found this impracticable, owing to a thicket and swamp which ran along
the side of it.

The governor, anxious to acquire all the knowledge of the
country in his power, forded the river in two places, and more than up to
our waists in water, in hopes of being able to avoid the thicket and swamp;
but, notwithstanding all his perseverance, we were at length obliged to
return and to proceed along the sea-shore, a mile or two to the northward.

At the end of this we fell in with a small salt-water lagoon, on which we
found nine birds that, whilst swimming, most perfectly resembled the rara
avis of the ancients - a black swan. We discharged several shots at them,
but the distance was too great for execution. Our frequent firing, however,
caused them to take wing, and they flew towards the sea, which was very
near, in the order that wild geese generally preserve, the one before the
other. Had we not raised them, we should certainly have concluded that
they were black swans, but their flight gave us an opportunity of seeing
some white feathers, which terminated the tip of each wing; in every other
part they were perfectly black. Their size appeared not equal to that of an
European swan, but the shape exactly corresponded, except about the
wings, which seemed rather small for the body.

We not long after discovered the great brown King's Fisher, of which a
plate is annexed. This bird has been described by Mr. Latham in his
General Synopsis of Birds, vol. ii., p. 603, nearly to the following
purport:--The length eighteen inches; the bill black above and white
beneath; the feathers of the head narrow and pretty long, so as to form a
kind of crest. They are of a brown colour, streaked with paler brown; the
back and wings in general brown; the lower part of the back and rump pale
blue-green; the outer edges of the quills blue; within and the tips black; on
the wing coverts is a patel of glossy blue-green; the tail is barred with
ferruginous and steel-black, glossed with purple, the end, for one inch,
white; the under part of the body is white, transversely streaked with dusky
lines; legs yellow, claws black.

[Colour plate of 'Great Brown Kings Fisher']

This bird is not uncommon in many islands of the South Seas, being
pretty frequent at New Guinea, from whence the specimen came from
which Mr. Latham took his description: it is also an inhabitant of New
Holland, from whence several have been sent over to England.

We rounded this lagoon, and proceeded four or five miles westward,
along the banks of a small fresh-water river, which emptied itself into it
and had for its source only a swamp or boggy ground. After we had passed
this swamp we got into an immense wood, the trees of which were very
high and large, and a considerable distance apart, with little under or brush
wood. The ground was not very good, although it produced a luxuriant coat
of a kind of sour grass growing in tufts or bushes, which, at some distance,
had the appearance of meadow land, and might be mistaken for it by superficial

Here we pitched our tents (without which the governor never travelled)
for the night, near a swamp, out of which we were supplied with water,
not, indeed, either of the best or clearest kind. The night being cold,
and a heavy dew falling, we kept up a large fire before the tents,
which, though in one respect an excellent precaution, far from chasing
away seemed to allure the musquitos, which tormented us inexpressibly
during the whole night.

We this day discovered the Banksian Cockatoo. This species was first
described by Mr. Latham, in his seventh volume or supplement to the
General Synopsis of Birds, and the one in the plate annexed differs
from that in some few particulars. In Mr. Latham's figure the general
colour is dusky black, the feathers of the head longer than the rest,
forming a crest; and each of those on the head, back of the neck, and
major part of the wings has a spot of buff-colour at the tips; the
under parts of the body barred with narrow bars of buff-colour; the tail is
black at the bottom and ends of the feathers, but the middle of a fine red,
barred irregularly with black. In our specimen, the general colour of the
bird is olive, or rusty black; the head feathers pretty long, and about the
sides of the head and top of it is a mixture of fine yellow; but none of the
feathers are marked with buff at the tips, nor is the under part of the body
crossed with buff-colour. In the tail it differs scarcely at all from Mr.
Latham's figure.

These birds have been met with in several parts of New Holland.

[Colour plate of 'Banksian Cockatoo']

We likewise saw several Blue-bellied Parrots. This is a very beautiful
bird, and Mr. Latham, whose leave we have to copy the account of it, from
his Syn. vol. i., p. 213, No. 14. B., describes it thus: "The length is fifteen
inches; the bill is reddish; orbits black; head and throat dark blue, with a
mixture of lighter blue feathers; back part of the head green; towards the
throat yellow green; back and wings green; prime quills dusky, barred with
yellow; breast red, mixed with yellow; belly of a fine blue; thighs green
and yellow; tail cuneiform; the two middle feathers green; the others the
same, but bright yellow on the outer edges; legs dusky."

[Colour plate of 'Blue Bellied Parrot']

This bird is a very common species in various parts of New Holland, and
in great plenty both at Botany Bay and Port Jackson. It is found to differ
much in plumage, several other varieties having been met with, which are
natives of Amboina and others of the Molucca Islands.

16th April.
We pursued our route westward, proceeding many miles inland
without being able to trace, by a single vestige, that the natives had been
recently in those parts. We saw, however, some proofs of their ingenuity in
various figures cut on the smooth surface of some large stones. They
consisted chiefly of representations of themselves in different attitudes, of
their canoes, of several sorts of fish and animals; and, considering the
rudeness of the instruments with which the figures must have been
executed, they seemed to exhibit tolerably strong likenesses. On the stones,
where the natives had been thus exercising their abilities in sculpture, were
several weather-beaten shells. The country all around this place was rather
high and rocky, and the soil arid, parched, and inhospitable.

In the evening, after a long and fatiguing march, we fell in with the
north-west branch of Port Jackson harbour. Here the two seamen,
overcome with fatigue, and having their shoes torn from their feet through
the ruggedness of the road along which we had travelled, could proceed no
further. This circumstance induced the governor to consign them to the
care of Lieutenant Ball and a marine, supplying them with provisions
sufficient to last them till they reached the ships. His excellency, with the
rest of the party, pushed on to the westward, by the water side, in hopes of
finding better land and a more open country.

About four o'clock in the afternoon we came to a steep valley, where
the flowing of the tide ceased, and a fresh-water stream commenced.
Here, in the most desert, wild, and solitary seclusion that the
imagination can form any idea of, we took up our abode for the night,
dressed our provisions, washed our shirts and stockings, and turned
our inconvenient situation to the best advantage in our power.

Saw this day the Anomalous Hornbill, of which a plate is annexed. This
bird is so very singular in its several characteristics that it can
scarcely be said to which of the present known genera to refer it. In the
bill it seems most allied to the hornbill, but the legs are those of a
toucan, and the tongue is more like that of a crow than any other.
It must therefore be left to future ornithologists or determine the
point, resting here satisfied with describing its external appearance.

[Colour plate of 'Anamolous Hornbill']

The size of the body is not much less than that of a crow: the bill is very
large and bent, particularly at the tip of the upper mandible; the nostrils and
space round the eyes are bare and red; the head, neck, and all beneath, are
of a pale grey, crossed over the thighs with dusky lines; the back and wings
dusky lead-colour, with the end of each feather black; the tail is long and
wedgeshaped, the feathers white at the ends, near which is a bar of black.
The bill and legs are brown; the toes are placed two before and two behind,
as in the parrot or toucan genus.

This singular bird was met with at New Holland, from whence three or
four specimens have found their way to England, but whether it is a
numerous species has not been mentioned.

The next morning we hid our tents and the remains of our provisions, and,
with only a little rum and a small quantity of bread, made a forced
march into the country, to the westward, of about fourteen miles, without
being able to succeed in the object of our search, which was for good land,
well-watered. Indeed, the land here, although covered with an endless
wood, was better than the parts which we had already explored. Finding it,
however, very unlikely that we should be able to penetrate through this
immense forest, and circumstanced as we were, it was thought more
prudent to return. We, accordingly, after an expeditious walk, reached the
stream from whence we had set out in the morning, and, taking up the tents
and provisions which we had left, proceeded a little farther down, to the
flowing of the tide, and there pitched our tents for the night, during which
it rained very heavily, with thunder and lightning.

The Wattled Bee-eater, of which a plate is annexed, fell in our way
during the course of the day. This bird is the size of a missel thrush
but much larger in proportion, its total length being about fourteen
inches. The feathers on the upper part of the head, longer than the
rest, give the appearance of a crest; those of the underpart are
smooth; the plumage for the most part is brown, the feathers long
and pointed, and each feather has a streak of white down the middle;
under the eye, on each side, is a kind of wattle, of an orange colour; the
middle of the belly is yellow; the tail is wedge-shaped, similar to that of
the magpie, and the feathers tipped with white; the bill and legs are brown.
This bird seems to be peculiar to New Holland, and is undoubtedly a
species which has not hitherto been described.

[Colour plate of 'Wattled Bee Eater']

18th April.
We began our progress early in the morning, bending our course
down the river. Some places along the shore, where the tide had flowed so
as to obstruct our passage, we were obliged to ford, and at times we were
under the necessity of climbing heights nearly inaccessible. At length, after
undergoing much fatigue, we were agreeably surprised, and cheered, with
the sight of two boats, sent by Captain Hunter to meet us, and just then
coming up with the tide. By them we learnt, that Lieutenant Ball, with his
enfeebled party, had arrived safe at the ship the day after they had
quitted us.

We all went on board the boats, and fell down the river till we got to a
pleasant little cove, where we dined, with great satisfaction and comfort,
upon the welcome provisions which were sent in the boats by the
governor's steward. After having refreshed ourselves, we again embarked,
and about six o'clock in the evening arrived in Sydney Cove.

[Colour plate of 'The Wattled Bee Eater, Female']

We were likewise able, during this excursion, to take one of the Goldwinged
Pigeons, of which a plate is annexed. This bird is a curious and
singular species, remarkable for having most of the feathers of the wing
marked with a brilliant spot of golden yellow, changing, in various
reflections of light, to green and copper-bronze, and, when the wing is
closed, forming two bars of the same across it. The general colour of the
bird otherwise is brown, changing to vinaceous red on the breast, in the
manner of our domestic species. The fore part of the head and chin are buff
colour, with a streak of brownish red passing on each side through the eye.
The quills and tail are darker than the rest of the plumage, but all the
feathers of the last, except the two middle ones, incline to lead colour, with
a bar of black near the tip. The bill and legs are of a dull red.

This species is a native of New South Wales, several of them having been sent
from Port Jackson.

[Colour plate of 'Golden Winged Pidgeon']

22d April.
On the morning of this day the governor, accompanied by the same
party, with the addition of Lieutenant Cresswell of the marines and six
privates, landed at the head of the harbour, with an intention of penetrating
into the country westward, as far as seven days provisions would admit of;
every individual carrying his own allowance of bread, beef, rum, and
water. The soldiers, beside their own provisions, carried a camp kettle and
two tents, with their poles, etc.

Thus equipped, with the additional weight of spare shoes, shirts,
trowsers, together with a great coat, or Scotch plaid, for the purpose
of sleeping in, as the nights were cold, we proceeded on our destination.
We likewise took with us a small hand hatchet in order to mark the
trees as we went on, those marks (called in America blazing) being
the only guide to direct us in our return. The country was so rugged
as to render it almost impossible to explore our way by the assistance of the

In this manner we proceeded for a mile or two, through a part well
covered with enormous trees, free from underwood. We then reached a
thicket of brush-wood, which we found so impervious as to oblige us to
return nearly to the place from whence we had set out in the morning. Here
we encamped, near some stagnant water, for the night, during which it
thundered, lightened, and rained. About eleven o'clock the governor was
suddenly attacked with a most violent complaint in his side and loins,
brought on by cold and fatigue, not having perfectly gotten the better of the
last expedition.

The next morning being fine, his excellency, who was rather better,
though still in pain, would not relinquish the object of his pursuit;
and therefore we proceeded, and soon got round the wood or thicket
which had harassed us so much the day before. After we had passed
it, we fell in with an hitherto unperceived branch of Port Jackson harbour,
along the bank of which the grass was tolerably rich and succulent, and in
height nearly up to the middle, interspersed with a plant much resembling
the indigo.

We followed this branch westward for a few miles, until we came to
a small fresh-water stream that emptied itself into it. Here we took
up our quarters for the night, as our halts were always regulated by fresh
water, an essential point by no means to be dispensed with, and not very
abundant or frequently to be met with, in this country. We made a kettle of
excellent soup out of a white cockatoo and two crows, which I had shot, as
we came along. The land all around us was similar to that which we had

At night we had thunder, lightning, and rain. The governor, though
not free from pain, was rather recovering.

24th April.
As soon as the dew, which is remarkably heavy in this country, was
off the ground, we proceeded to trace the river, or small arm of the sea.
The banks of it were now pleasant, the trees immensely large, and at a
considerable distance from each other; and the land around us flat and
rather low, but well covered with the kind of grass just mentioned. Here the
tide ceased to flow; and all further progress for boats was stopped by a flat
space of large broad stones, over which a fresh-water stream ran.

Just above this flat, close to the water-side, we discovered a quarry of
slates, from which we expected to derive great advantage in respect to
covering our houses, stores, etc., it being a material beyond conception
difficult to be procured in this country; but on trial it was found of no
use, as it proved to be of a crumbling and rotten nature. On this fresh-water
stream, as well as on the salt, we saw a great many ducks and teal, three
of which we shot in the course of the day, besides two crows and some

About four in the afternoon, being near the head of the stream, and somewhat
apprehensive of rain, we pitched our tents before the grass became wet,
a circumstance which would have proved very uncomfortable during the
night. Here we had our ducks picked, stuffed with some slices of salt beef,
and roasted, and never did a repast seem more delicious; the salt beef,
serving as a palatable substitute for the want of salt, gave it an agreeable

The evening cleared up, and the night proved dry. During the latter,
we heard a noise which not a little surprised us, on account of its
resemblance to the human voice. What it proceeded from we could not
discover, but I am of opinion that it was made by a bird, or some animal.
The country round us was by no means so good, or the grass so abundant,
as that which we had passed. The water, though neither clear nor in any
great quantity, was neither of a bad quality nor ill-tasted.

The next day, after having sowed some seeds, we pursued our route for
three or four miles west, where we met with a mean hut belonging to some
of the natives, but could not perceive the smallest trace of their having
been there lately. Close to this hut we saw a kangaroo, which had come to
drink at an adjacent pool of stagnated water, but we could not get within
shot of it. A little farther on we fell in with three huts, as deserted as
the former, and a swamp, not unlike the American rice grounds.

Near this we saw a tree in flames, without the least appearance of any
natives; from which we suspected that it had been set on fire by lightning.
This circumstance was first suggested by Lieutenant Ball, who had remarked, as
well as myself, that every part of the country, though the most inaccessible
and rocky, appeared as if, at certain times of the year, it had been all on
fire. Indeed in many parts we met with very large trees the trunks of which
and branches were evidently rent, and demolished by lightning. Close by
the burning tree we saw three kangaroos.

Though by this time very much fatigued, we proceeded about two miles farther
on, in hopes of finding some good water, but without effect; and about half
past four o'clock we took up our quarters near a stagnant pool. The ground
was so very dry and parched that it was with some difficulty we could drive
either our tent pegs or poles into it. The country about this spot was much
clearer of underwood than that which we had passed during the day. The trees
around us were immensely large, and the tops of them filled with loraquets
and paroquets of exquisite beauty, which chattered to such a degree that we
could scarcely hear each other speak. We fired several times at them, but
the trees were so very high that we killed but few.

26th April.
We still directed our course westward, and passed another tree on
fire, and others which were hollow and perforated by a small hole at the
bottom, in which the natives seemed to have snared some animal. It was
certainly done by the natives, as the trees where these holes or perforations
were, had in general many knotches cut for the purpose of getting to the top
of them.

After this we crossed a water-course, which shews that at some seasons
the rain is very heavy here, notwithstanding that there was, at present,
but little water in it. Beyond the chasm we came to a pleasant hill,
the top of which was tolerably clear of trees and perfectly free from
underwood. His excellency gave it the name of Belle Veüe.

From the top of this hill we saw a chain of hills or mountains, which
appeared to be thirty or forty miles distant, running in a north and south
direction. The northernmost being conspicuously higher than any of the
rest, the governor called it Richmond Hill; the next, or those in the
centre, Lansdown Hills; and those to the southward, which are by much
the lowest, Carmarthen Hills.

In a valley below Belle Veüe we saw a fire, and by it found some chewed
root of a saline taste, which shewed that the natives had recently been
there. The country hereabout was pleasant to the eye, well wooded, and
covered with long sour grass, growing in tufts. At the bottom of this valley,
or flat, we crossed another water-course and ascended a hill, where the
wood was so very thick as to obstruct our view. Here, finding our
provisions to run short, our return was concluded on, though with great
reluctance, as it was our wish, and had been our determination, to reach the
hills before us if it had been possible.

In our way back, which we easily discovered by the marks made in the
trees, we saw a hollow tree on fire, the smoke issuing out of the
top part as through a chimney. On coming near, and minutely examining
it, we found that it had been set on fire by the natives; for there
was some dry grass lighted and put into the hole wherein we had supposed
they used to snare or take the animal before alluded to. In the evening,
where we pitched our tents we shot two crows and some loraquets, for
supper. The night was fine and clear, during which we often heard,
as before, a sound like the human voice, and, from its continuance
on one spot, we concluded it to proceed from a bird perched on some
of the trees near us.

27th April.
We now found ourselves obliged to make a forced march back, as
our provisions were quite exhausted, a circumstance rather alarming in
case of losing our way, which, however, we met with no difficulty in
discovering by the marked trees. By our calculation we had penetrated into
the country, to the westward, not less than thirty-two or thirty-three miles.

This day we saw the dung of an animal as large as that of a horse, but it
was more like the excrement of a hog, intermixed with grass.

When we got as far back as the arm or branch of the sea which forms the
upper part of Port Jackson harbour, we saw many ducks, but could not get
within shot of any of them. It was now growing late, and the governor being
apprehensive that the boats, which he had ordered to attend daily, might be,
for that day, returning before we could reach them, he sent Lieutenants
Johnston and Cresswell, with a marine, a-head, in order to secure such
provisions as might have been sent up, and to give directions for the boats
to come for us the next morning, as it then appeared very unlikely that all
the party, who were, without exception, much fatigued, could be there soon
enough to save the tide down. Those gentlemen accordingly went forward, and
were so fortunate as to be just in time; and they returned to us with a
seasonable supply of bread, beef, rum, and wine.

As soon as they had joined us, we encamped for the night, on a spot about
the distance of a mile from the place where the boats were to take us up
in the morning. His excellency was again indisposed, occasioned by a
return of his complaint, which had been brought on by a fall into a hollow
place in the ground that, being concealed by the long grass, he was unable
to discern.

We passed the next day in examining different inlets in the upper part of
the harbour. We saw there some of the natives, who, in their canoes,
came along-side of the boat, to receive some trifles which the governor
held out to them. In the evening we returned to Sydney Cove.

1st May.
James Bennet, a youth, was executed for robbing a tent,
belonging to the Charlotte transport, of sugar and some other articles.
Before he was turned off he confessed his guilt, and acknowledged that,
young as he was, he had been an old offender. Some other trifling thefts
were brought before the court at the same time, and those concerned in
them sentenced to receive corporeal punishment.

The Supply tender sailed for Lord Howe's Island to fetch turtle; as did the
Lady Penrhyn transport for China. The Scarborough dropped down the
harbour; she was followed the next day by the Charlotte, and they sailed in
company for China.

Some of the natives came along-side the Sirius, and made signs to have
their beards taken off. One of them patiently, and without fear or distrust,
underwent the operation from the ship's barber, and seemed much delighted
with it.

21st May.
William Ayres, a convict, who was in a state of convalescence, and
to whom I had given permission to go a little way into the country, for the
purpose of gathering a few herbs wherewith to make tea, was, after night,
brought to the hospital with one of the spears used by the natives sticking
in his loins. It had been darted at him as he was stooping, and while his
back was turned to the assailant. The weapon was barbed, and stuck so
very fast that it would admit of no motion. After dilating the wound to a
considerable length and depth, with some difficulty I extracted the spear,
which had penetrated the flesh nearly three inches.

After the operation, he informed us that he received his wound from
three of the natives, who came behind him at a time when he suspected
no person to be near him except Peter Burn, whom he had met a little
before, employed on the same business as himself. He added that after
they had wounded him they beat him in a cruel manner, and, stripping
the cloaths from his back, carried them off; making signs to him
(as he interpreted them) to return to the camp. He further related
that after they had left him he saw Burn in the possession of another
party of the natives, who were dragging him along, with his head
bleeding, and seemingly in great distress, while he himself was so
exhausted with loss of blood that, instead of being able to assist his
companion, he was happy to escape with his life.

[Colour plate of 'Port Jackson Thrush']

The Port Jackson thrush, of which a plate is annexed, inhabits the
neighbourhood of Port Jackson. The top of the head in this species is
blueish-grey; from thence down the hind part of the neck and the back the
colour is a fine chocolate brown; the wings and tail are lead colour, the
edges of the feathers pale; the tail itself pretty long, and even at the end;
all the under parts from chin to vent are dusky-white, except the middle of the
neck, just above the breast, which inclines to chocolate. The bill is of a dull
yellow; legs brown.

25th May.
The Supply arrived from Lord Howe's Island without a single turtle,
the object for which she was sent: a dreadful disappointment to those
who were languishing under the scurvy, many of whom are since dead, and
there is great reason to fear that several others will soon share the same
fate. This disorder has now risen to a most alarming height, without any
possibility of checking it until some vegetables can be raised, which, from
the season of the year, cannot take place for many months. And even then I
am apprehensive that there will not be a sufficiency produced, such are the
labour and difficulty which attend the clearing of the ground.

It will scarcely be credited when I declare that I have known twelve men
employed for five days in grubbing up one tree; and, when this has been
effected, the timber (as already observed) has been only fit for fire-wood;
so that in consequence of the great labour in clearing of the ground and the
weak state of the people, to which may be added the scarcity of tools, most
of those we had being either worn out by the hardness of the timber or lost
in the woods among the grass through the carelessness of the convicts, the
prospect before us is not of the most pleasing kind.

All the stock that was landed, both public and private, seems, instead of
thriving, to fall off exceedingly. The number at first was but inconsiderable,
and even that number is at present much diminished. The sheep, in particular,
decrease rapidly, very few being now alive in the colony, although there were
numbers, the property of Government or individuals, when first landed.

26th May.
Two men of the Sirius were brought before the criminal court and
tried for assaulting and beating, in a cruel manner, another man belonging
to the same vessel, while employed on an island appropriated by the
governor to the use of the ship. They were sentenced to receive five
hundred lashes each, but could not undergo the whole of that punishment,
as, like most of the persons in the colony, they were much afflicted with
the scurvy.

28th May.
Captain Hunter, his first lieutenant, and the surgeon of the Sirius
went to the point of land which forms the north head of Port Jackson. In
going there they discovered an old man, with a little girl about five years of
age, lying close to the ground watching their motions, and at the same time
endeavouring to conceal themselves. The surgeon had his gun with him,
the effects of which he let the old man see by shooting a bird, which fell at
his feet. The explosion at first greatly alarmed him, but, perceiving that
they intended him no ill, he soon got over his fears. The bird was then
given to him, which (having barely plucked, and not more than half broiled
it) he devoured, entrails, bones, and all. The little girl was much frightened,
and endeavoured to hide herself behind the old man, to escape the least

30th May.
Captain Campbell of the marines, who had been up the harbour to
procure some rushes for thatch, brought to the hospital the bodies of
William Okey and Samuel Davis, two rush-cutters, whom he had found
murdered by the natives in a shocking manner.

Okey was transfixed through the breast with one of their spears,
which with great difficulty and force was pulled out. He had two
other spears sticking in him to a depth which must have proved mortal.
His skull was divided and comminuted so much that his brains easily
found a passage through. His eyes were out, but these might have been
picked away by birds.

Davis was a youth, and had only some trifling marks of violence about him.
This lad could not have been many hours dead, for when Captain Campbell
found him, which was among some mangrove-trees, and at a considerable
distance from the place where the other man lay, he was not stiff nor very
cold; nor was he perfectly so when brought to the hospital. From these
circumstances we have been led to think that while they were dispatching
Okey he had crept to the trees among which he was found, and that fear,
united with the cold and wet, in a great degree contributed to his death.

What was the motive or cause of this melancholy catastrophe we have not
been able to discover, but from the civility shewn on all occasions to
the officers by the natives, whenever any of them were met, I am strongly
inclined to think that they must have been provoked and injured by the

We this day caught a Yellow-eared Flycatcher (see annexed plate). This bird
is a native of New Holland, the size of a martin, and nearly seven inches
in length; the bill is broad at the bottom and of a pale colour; the legs
dusky; the plumage is mostly brown, mottled with paler brown; the edges of
the wing feathers yellowish; the under part of the body white, inclining
to dusky about the chin and throat; the tail is pretty long and, when
spread, seems hollowed out at the tip; beneath the eye, on each side,
is an irregular streak, growing wider and finishing on the ears, of a
yellow or gold colour.

[Colour plate of 'Yellow Eared Fly Catcher']

Early the next morning the governor, Lieutenants G. Johnston and
Kellow, myself, six soldiers, and two armed convicts, whom we took as
guides, went to the place where the murder had been committed, in hopes,
by some means or other, to be able to find out either the actual perpetrators
or those concerned. As most of their clothes and all their working tools
were carried off, we expected that these might furnish us with some clue,
but in this we were disappointed. We could not observe a single trace of
the natives ever having been there.

We then crossed the country to Botany Bay, still flattering ourselves that
we might be able to discover, among a tribe at that place, some proof that
they had been concerned, as the governor was resolved on whomsoever he
found any of the tools or clothing to shew them his displeasure, and by
every means in his power endeavour to convince them of his motives for
such a procedure. In our route we saw several kangaroos, and shot a very
fine teal.

A little before sun-set, after a long and fatiguing march, we arrived
at Botany Bay. When we approached the bay we saw eleven canoes, with two
persons in each, fishing; most of them had a fire in their canoe, a
convenience which they seldom go without at any time or season, but
particularly at this as the weather was very cold. Here we pitched
our tents, for (as I have before observed) we never travel without
them, and kindled large fires both in front and rear; still, however,
the cold was so very intense that we could scarcely close our eyes
during the night. In the morning the grass was quite white with a hoar
frost, so as to crackle under out feet.

After breakfast we visited the grave of the French abbé who died whilst
the Count de Peyrouse was here. It was truly humble indeed, being
distinguished only by a common head-stone, stuck slightly into the loose
earth which covered it. Against a tree, just above it, was nailed a board,
with the following inscription on it:


As the painting on the board could not be permanent, Governor Phillip
had the inscription engraved on a plate of copper and nailed to the same
tree; and at some future day he intends to have a handsome head-stone
placed at the grave. We cut down some trees which stood between that on
which the inscription is fixed and the shore, as they prevented persons
passing in boats from seeing it.

Between this and the harbour's mouth we found forty-nine canoes hauled
upon the beach, but not a native to be seen. After we had passed them, we
fell in with an Indian path, and, as it took a turn towards the camp, we
followed it about two miles, when, on a sudden, in a valley or little bay to
the northward of Botany Bay we were surprised at hearing the sound of
voices, which we instantly found to proceed from a great number of the
natives, sitting behind a rock, who appeared to be equally astonished with
ourselves, as, from the silence we observed, they had not perceived us till
we were within twenty yards of them.

Every one of them, as they got up, armed himself with a long spear,
the short stick before described, used in throwing it, a shield made
of bark, and either a large club, pointed at one end, or a stone hatchet.
At first they seemed rather hostilely inclined, and made signs, with
apparent tokens of anger, for us to return; but when they saw the governor
advance towards them, unarmed, and with his hands opened wide (a signal
we had observed among them of amity and peace), they, with great
confidence, came up to him, and received from him some trifles which he
had in his pocket, such as fish-hooks, beads, and a looking-glass.

As there appeared not to be less than three hundred of them in this
bay, all armed, the soldiers were ordered to fix their bayonets, and to
observe a close, well-connected order of march, as they descended the hill.
These people (as already mentioned) seem to dislike red coats and and
those who carry arms, but on the present occasion they shewed very little
fear or distrust; on the contrary, they in a few minutes mixed with us, and
conducted us to a very fine stream of water, out of which some of them
drank, to shew that it was good.

The women and children kept at some distance, one or two more forward
than the rest excepted, who came to the governor for some presents.
While he was distributing his gifts, the women danced (an exercise
every description of people in this country seem fond of), and threw
themselves into some not very decent attitudes. The men in general
had their skins smeared all over with grease, or some stinking, oily
substance; some wore a small stick or fish-bone, fixed crossways,
in the division of the nose, which had a very strange appearance;
others were painted in a variety of ways, and had their hair ornamented
with the teeth of fish, fastened on by gum, and the skin of the kangaroo.

As they conducted us to the water, a toadstool was picked up by one of our
company, which, some of the natives perceiving, they made signs for us to
throw it away, as not being good to eat. Soon after I gathered some woodsorrel,
which grew in our way, but none of them endeavoured to prevent
me from eating it; on the contrary, if a conclusion may be drawn from the
signs which they made relative to the toadstool, they shewed, by their
looks, that there was nothing hurtful in it.

We halted but a short time with them, as it was growing late and we had
a long way to walk. Before we parted from them the governor gave them
two small hand-axes, in exchange for some of their stone axes and two of
their spears. As we ascended a hill, after our departure from them, eight of
them followed us until we had nearly reached the top, where one of those
who had been most familiar with us made signs for us to stop; which we
readily complying with, he ran to the summit and made a strange kind of
hallooing, holding at the same time his hands open above his head.

As soon as we came up to him, we discovered another large body of them in a
bay, about half a mile below us. Our new friend seemed anxious to carry us
down to them, but, it not being in our way, we declined his offer. Seeing us
take another direction, he halted and opened his hands, in order, as we
supposed, to put us in mind that he had received nothing from us; upon
which we presented him with a bird, the only thing we had, with which he
returned, to appearance, fully content and satisfied.

We now proceeded towards the camp, where we arrived about sun-set.

This was the greatest number of the natives we had ever seen together
since our coming among them. What could be the cause of their assembling
in such numbers gave rise to a variety of conjectures. Some thought
they were going to war among themselves, as they had with them a
temporary store of half-stinking fish and fern-root, the latter of
which they use for bread. This we remarked as several of them were
eating it at the time we were among them. Others conjectured that some
of them had been concerned in the murder of our men, notwithstanding we did
not meet with the smallest trace to countenance such an opinion, and that,
fearing we should revenge it, they had formed this convention in order to
defend themselves against us. Others imagined that the assemblage might be
occasioned by a burial, a marriage, or some religious meeting.

The Tabuan Parrot, one of which was observed here, and of which a
plate is annexed, is a bird about eighteen inches in length, and bigger than
the Scarlet Lory. The head, neck, and under parts are of a fine scarlet; the
upper parts of the body and wings are of a beautiful green; across the upper
part of the wing coverts is an oblique bar of yellowish green, more glossy
than the rest; the lower part of the back and rump is blue; there is also a
small patch of blue at the lower part of the neck behind, between a scarlet
and green, dividing those colours; the tail is pretty long, and of an olive
brown colour; the bill is reddish; the legs deep brown, nearly black.

[Colour plate of 'Tabuan Parrot']

The female is mostly green; the head, neck, and under parts olive brown;
belly red; rump blue; tail, on the upper surface, green, beneath dusky.

The above inhabits Botany Bay, and seems much allied to the Tabuan
Parrot described by Mr. Latham in his Synopsis of Birds; but in that the
head, neck, and under parts incline to purplish or chocolate colour; both
quills and tail are blue, more or less edged with green, and a crescent of
blue at the back part of the neck; it has also the under jaw surrounded with
green feathers. It is probable, therefore, that our bird is only a variety of
the Tabuan species.

[Colour plate of 'Tabuan Parrot, female']

4th June.
This being the anniversary of his Majesty's birth-day, and the
first celebration of it in New South Wales, his excellency ordered the Sirius
and Supply to fire twenty-one guns at sun-rise, at one o'clock, and at sunset.

Immediately after the King's ships had ceased firing, at one o'clock, the
Borrowdale, Friendship, Fishburne, Golden Grove, and Prince of Wales
fired five guns each. The battalion was under arms at twelve and fired three
vollies, succeeded by three cheers.

After this ceremony had taken place, the lieutenant-governor, with
all the officers of the settlement, civil and military, paid their
respects to his excellency at his house. At two o'clock they all met
there again to dinner, during which the band of musick played "God
save the King" and several excellent marches. After the cloth was
removed, his Majesty's health was drank with three cheers. The Prince of
Wales, the Queen and royal family, the Cumberland family, and his Royal
Highness Prince William Henry succeeded. His Majesty's ministers were
next given; who, it was observed, may be Pitted against any that ever
conducted the affairs of Great Britain.

When all the public toasts had gone round, the governor nominated the
district which he had taken possession of, Cumberland County; and gave it
such an extent of boundary as to make it the largest county in the whole
world. His excellency said that he had intended to have named the town,
and laid the first stone, on this auspicious day, but the unexpected
difficulties which he had met with, in clearing the ground and from a want
of artificers, had rendered it impossible; he therefore put it off till a
future day. Its name, however, we understand, is to be ALBION.

The day was passed in cheerfulness and good-humour; but it was a little
damped by our perceiving that the governor was in great pain, from a return
of his complaint. Though his countenance too plainly indicated the torture
which he suffered, he took every method in his power to conceal it, lest it
should break in upon the festivity and harmony of the day.

His excellency ordered every soldier a pint of porter, besides his allowance
of grog, and every convict half a pint of spirits, made into grog, that
they all might drink his Majesty's health; and, as it was a day of general
rejoicing and festivity, he likewise made it a day of forgiveness,
remitting the remainder of the punishment to which the sailors of the
Sirius were subject, and pardoning Lovel, Sideway, Hall, and Gordon,
who had been confined on a little sterile island, or rather rock,
situated in the harbour, until a place of banishment could be found.

This act of lenity and mercy, added to many
others which the governor had shewn, it is to be hoped will work some change
on the minds of these men. Indeed some good may be expected from Hall and
Gordon, who, since their sentence, have appeared penitent; but from Lovel
and Sideway very little change for the better can be expected, because
they seem so truly abandoned and incorrigible.

At night every person attended an immense bonfire that was lighted for the
occasion, after which the principal officers of the settlement, and of the
men of war, supped at the governor's, where they terminated the day in
pleasantry, good humour and cheerfulness.

The next morning we were astonished at the number of thefts which had
been committed, during the general festivity, by the villanous part of the
convicts, on one another, and on some of the officers, whose servants did
not keep a strict look-out after their marquees. Availing themselves thus of
the particular circumstances of the day, is a strong instance of their
unabated depravity and want of principle. Scarcely a day passes without an
example being made of some one or other of these wretches, but it seems
to have no manner of effect upon them.

10th June.
John Ascott and Patrick Burn, two convicts, were brought before
the criminal court and prosecuted by Lieutenant G. William Maxwell of
the Sirius, and Mr Kelter, the Master of the same ship, for having, a few
nights before, in a riotous manner, with many more of the convicts,
attacked some seamen belonging to the men of war, and behaving in an
insolent and contemptuous manner to them. After a long and judicious
hearing, the prisoners were acquitted, as the charge brought against them
was by no means substantiated.

26th June.
About four in the afternoon a slight shock of an earthquake was
felt at Sydney Cove and its environs. This incident had so wonderful an
effect on Edward Corbett, a convict, who had eloped about three weeks
before, on a discovery being made of his having stolen a frock, that he
returned and gave himself up to justice. A few days antecedent to his return
he had been outlawed, and was supposed to have driven off with him four
cows, the only animals of this kind in the colony. This, however, he
declared himself innocent of, but confessed his having committed the theft
laid to his charge.

The strictest search was made, but in vain, after the cows. It is probable
that they have strayed so far off, in this endless wild, as to be
irrecoverably lost.

Previously to the return of Corbett he must have suffered very severely
from hunger; his eyes were sunk into his head and his whole appearance
shewed that he had been half starved. While he was absent, he says,
he frequently fell in with the natives, who, though they never treated
him ill, did not seem to like his company. He informed us that, in
a bay adjacent to that where the governor and his party had met with
so many of the natives, he saw the head of one of the convicts lying near
the place where the body had been burnt in a large fire. This, in all
likelihood, was Burn, who was carried off at the time Ayres was wounded,
as he has not been heard of since.

The natives of this country, though their mode of subsisting seems to be
so very scanty and precarious, are, I am convinced, not cannibals. One of
their graves, which I saw opened, the only one I have met with, contained a
body which had evidently been burned, as small pieces of the bones lay in
the bottom of it. The grave was neatly made, and well covered with earth
and boughs of trees.

The Pennantian Parrot (of which see plate annexed) was about this time
first noticed. The general colour of the body, in the male, is crimson; the
feathers of the back black in their middle; the chin and throat blue; the
wings blue, with a bar of a paler colour down the middle of them; the tail is
long, and blue also, and all but the two middle feathers have the ends very

Colour plate of 'Pennantian Parrot']

The female differs in having the upper parts of the neck and body of a
greenish colour; the top of the head red, and a patch of the same under each
eye; the chin and throat blue; lower part of the neck and breast red, as are
the rump and vent; the middle of the belly dusky green; tail dark blue,
fringed with chestnut; shoulders blue; the rest of the wing the same, but
darker; bill and legs as in the male.

[Colour plate of 'Pennantian Parrot, female']

24th June.
The governor revoked the decree by which Corbett was outlawed,
and he was tried by the criminal court simply for the theft he had
committed, and sentenced to be hanged.

Samuel Payton, a convict, likewise received the same sentence,
for feloniously entering the marquee of Lieutenant Fuzer, on the
night of the fourth of June, and stealing from thence some shirts,
stockings and combs. His trial had been put off to the present time
on account of a wound in his head, which he had received from Captain
Lieutenant Meredith, who, on his return from the bonfire, found Payton
in his marquée. When brought to the hospital, in consequence of the
wound which he had received, he was perfectly senseless. During the
time he remained under my care, I frequently admonished him to
think of the perilous situation he then stood in, and to make known
the accomplices whom he was supposed to have; but he firmly and
uniformly denied his guilt and disclaimed his having any knowledge
of, or concern in, robbing Lieutenant Fuzer.

He further said that he did not recollect how he came to Captain
Lieutenant Meredith's tent, or any circumstance relative to it.
However, since he received his sentence he has confessed that he
robbed Lieutenant Fuzer, and gave him information where to find
the articles he had been robbed of; he at the same time acknowledged
that he entered Mr. Meredith's marquee with an intention to rob him,
doubting not but he should be able to make his escape undiscovered,
as every one seemed so fully engaged on the pleasures of the day.

When he and Corbett were brought to the fatal tree, they (particularly
Payton) addressed the convicts in a pathetic, eloquent, and well-directed
speech. He acknowledged the justice of his sentence, a sentence, which (he
said) he had long deserved. He added that he hoped and trusted that the
ignominious death he was about to suffer would serve as a caution and
warning to those who saw and heard him. They both prayed most
fervently, begging forgiveness of an offended GOD. They likewise hoped
that those whom they had injured would not only forgive them, as they
themselves did all mankind, but offer up their prayers to a merciful
REDEEMER that, though so great sinners, they might be received into that
bliss which the good and virtuous only can either deserve or expect.

They were now turned off, and in the agonizing moments of the separation
of the soul from the body seemed to embrace each other.

The execution of these unhappy youths, the eldest of whom was not
twenty-four years of age, which seemed to make a greater impression
on the convicts than any circumstance had done since their landing,
will induce them, it is to be hoped, to change their conduct, and to
adopt a better mode of life than, I am sorry to say, they have hitherto

The principal business now going forward is the erecting huts for the
marines and convicts, with the cabbage-tree. We have been here nearly six
months and four officers only as yet got huts: when the rest will be
provided with them seems uncertain, but this I well know, that living in
tents, as the rainy season has commenced, is truly uncomfortable and likely
to give a severe trial to the strongest and most robust constitution.

The trees of this country are immensely large, and clear of branches to an
amazing height. While standing, many of them look fair and good to the
eye, and appear sufficient to make a mast for the largest ship, but, when cut
down, they are scarcely convertible to any use whatever. At the heart they
are full of veins through which an amazing quantity of an astringent red
gum issues. This gum I have found very serviceable in an obstinate
dysentery that raged at our first landing, and still continues to do so,
though with less obstinacy and violence.

When these trees are sawed, and any way exposed to the sun, the gum melts,
or gets so very brittle, that the wood falls to pieces, and appears as
if the pieces had been joined together with this substance. How any kind
of houses, except those built of the cabbage tree, can be raised up, the
timber being so exceedingly bad, it is impossible to determine.

I have already said that the stone of this country is well calculated for
building, could any kind of cement be found to keep them together. As for
lime-stone, we have not yet discovered any in the country, and the shells
collected for that purpose have been but inconsiderable. From Captain
Cook's account, one would be led to suppose that oyster and cockle shells
might be procured in such quantities as to make a sufficiency of lime, for
the purpose of constructing at least a few public buildings, but this is by no
means the case. That great navigator, notwithstanding his usual accuracy
and candour, was certainly too lavish of his praises on Botany Bay.

The peculiarity I have mentioned relative to the wood of this place is
strange. There are only three kinds of it, and neither of them will float on
the water. We have found another resin here, not unlike the balsam Tolu in
smell and effect, but differing widely in colour, being of a clear yellow,
which exudes from the tree. This, however, is not to be met with in such
quantities as the red gum before mentioned, nor do I think that its
medicinal virtues are by any means so powerful.

A kind of earth has been discovered which makes good bricks, but we still
are in want of cement for them as well as for the stone.

What animals we have yet met with have been mostly of the Opossum
kind.² The Kangaroo, so very accurately delineated by Captain Cook, is
certainly of that class, and the largest animal seen in the country. One has
been brought into camp which weighed a hundred and forty-nine pounds.
See plate annexed.

The conformation of this animal is peculiarly singular. Its hinder
parts have great muscular power, and are, perhaps, beyond all parallel
out of proportion when compared with the fore parts. As it goes, it
jumps on its two hind legs, from twenty to twenty-eight feet, and keeps the
two fore ones close to the breast; these are small and short, and it seems to
use them much like a squirrel. The tail of these animals is thick and long;
they keep it extended, and it serves as a kind of counterpoise to the head,
which they carry erect, when bounding at full speed.

The velocity of a Kangaroo as far outstrips that of a greyhound as that
animal exceeds in swiftness a common dog. It is a very timid, shy,
and inoffensive creature, evidently of the granivorous kind. Upon
our first discovering one of them, as it does not use its fore feet
to assist it in running, or rather jumping, many were of opinion that
the tail, which is immensely large and long, was made use of by them
in the act of progression; but this is by no means the case. Had it
been used in such a manner, the hair would probably have been worn
away from the part which, of course, must be applied to the ground.

The tail, from its size and weight, seems to serve it for a weapon
both of defence and offence; for it does not appear that nature has provided
it with any other. Its mouth and head, even when full grown, are too small
for it to do much execution with the teeth; nor is the conformation of either
at all calculated for the purpose. Indeed, its fore feet, which it uses, as a
squirrel or monkey, to handle any thing with, and which assist it in lying
down, are too small and out of proportion, as are all the superior parts, to
admit of its either possessing or exerting much strength.

It has been reported by some convicts who were out one day, accompanied by a
large Newfoundland dog, that the latter seized a very large Kangaroo but could
not preserve its hold. They observed that the animal effected its escape by
the defensive use it made of its tail, with which it struck its assailant in a
most tremendous manner. The blows were applied with such force and
efficacy, that the dog was bruised, in many places, till the blood flowed.
They observed that the Kangaroo did not seem to make any use of either its
teeth or fore feet, but fairly beat off the dog with its tail, and escaped
before the convicts, though at no great distance, could get up to secure it.

The female has a pouch or pocket, like the Opossum, in which she carries
her young. Some have been shot with a young one, not larger than a
walnut, sticking to a teat in this pocket. Others, with young ones not bigger
than a rat: one of which, most perfectly formed, with every mark and
distinguishing characteristic of the Kangaroo, I have sent to Mr. Wilson, of
Gower Street, Bedford Square.

There is a peculiar formation in the generative parts of this animal. Of its
natural history we at present know little, and therefore, as we are so
unacquainted with its habits, haunts, and customs, to attempt particular and
accurate descriptions of it might beget error, which time, or a fuller
knowledge of its properties, would directly contradict. As to mere
conjectures (and such too often are imposed upon the public for
incontestible facts), it cannot be improper to suppress them.

Every animal in this country partakes, in a great measure, of the nature of
the Kangaroo. We have the Kangaroo Opossum, the Kangaroo Rat, etc. In
fact every quadruped that we have seen, except the flying squirrel, and a
spotted creature, nearly the size of a Martin, resembles the Kangaroo in the
formation of the fore legs and feet, which bear no proportion to the length
of the hind legs.

The scarcity of boats will prevent our being so well supplied with fish as
otherwise might be expected. Fish is far from abounding at the cold season of
the year, but, in the summer, judging from the latter end of the last, we
have every reason to conclude that the little bays and coves in the harbour
are well stored with them. The fish caught here are, in general, excellent,
but several of them, like the animals in some degree resembling the
Kangaroo, partake of the properties of the shark. The land, the grass, the
trees, the animals, the birds, and the fish, in their different species,
approach by strong shades of similitude to each other. A certain likeness
runs through the whole.

8th July.
A party of the natives came to the place where the Sirius's boat
had been to haul the seine, and, having beaten the crew, took from them by
force a part of the fish which they had caught. It is a great misfortune to us
that we cannot find proper wood in this place wherewith to build a boat,
particularly as fish is not only so very plentiful in the summer but the only
change from salt provisions which we can procure, there being neither wild
nor domestic animals fit for food.

Here, where no other animal nourishment is to be procured, the Kangaroo is
considered as a dainty; but in any other country I am sure that such food
would be thrown to the dogs, for it has very little or no fat about it,
and, when skinned, the flesh bears some likeness to that of a fox or
lean dog.

A few days since a civil court of jurisdiction (which consisted of the
judge advocate, the Reverend Mr. Johnson, and myself), was convened, by
his excellency, to hear a complaint made against Duncan Sinclair, master
of the Alexander transport, by Henry Coble and Susannah his wife (the
Norwich convicts who so much excited the public attention), for the
non-delivery of a parcel sent on board the Alexander, by Mrs. Jackson of
Somerset Street, containing wearing apparel, books, and other things, for
the use of the said Henry Coble, his wife, and child, value twenty pounds.
The parcel was proved (and this even by the acknowledgment of the
master) to have been received on board; and it likewise appeared in
evidence that, on moving it from one part of the ship to another, the
package had broken and the books had fallen out, which books the convict
said had been delivered to him.

The court, after deducting five pounds (the value of the books received),
gave a verdict in favour of the couple, in whose cause the world had
seemed so much to interest themselves, and in consequence of the authority
unto them granted by Act of Parliament, in such cases made and provided,
they adjudged the master of the transport fully to compensate the loss
of the convicts, amounting to fifteen pounds.

Sinclair considered it as oppressive to be obliged to pay for that on account
of which he had not received any freightage, but this objection had no
weight with the court, as the ship was in the service of government and
paid for the sole purpose of conveying these people, and the little property
which they possessed, to this country.

13th July.
The Alexander, Friendship, and Prince of Wales transports,
with the Borrowdale victualler, sailed for England. His Majesty's brig the
Supply sailed at the same time for Norfolk Island, with provisions, etc. for
the people there.

21st July.
I went down the harbour, with the master of the Golden
Grove victualler, to look for a cabbage tree as a covering for my hut. On our
return, we fell in with three canoes that had been out fishing. We rowed
towards them, when the natives in them suddenly appeared intimidated,
and paddled away with all possible dispatch. Willing to convince them that
they had nothing to dread from us, we rowed after them, in order to present
them with some trifles which we had about us. When we approached the
canoes, an old woman in one of them began to cast her fish overboard, in
great haste; whether it was for fear that we should take them from her, or
whether she threw them to us, we could not ascertain. However, when we
came along-side, our conduct soon convinced her that her alarms, with
respect to us, were groundless.

She had in the canoe with her a young girl, whom, as she wore a complete
apron, we could not help considering as such an instance of female
decency, as we had not at any other time observed among the natives.
The girl did not betray the least sign of apprehension, but rather
seemed pleased at the interview. She laughed immoderately, either at
us or at the petulance shown by the old woman, who, I believe, was more
terrified on the girl's account than on her own.

After this we left them fully satisfied that we did not mean to offer them
any injury.

[Colour plate of 'New Holland Creeper']

We discovered the New Holland Creeper (see plate annexed). The
general colour of the bird is black, spotted in various parts with white: the
bill is dusky, growing paler towards the tip; the neck, breast, belly, and
sides are more or less streaked with white; over the eye is also a white
streak, and the sides of the neck and beginning of the back have likewise
some streaks of the same. The quills and tail feathers are marked with
yellow on the outer margins; the last are rounded in shape, and two or three
of the outer feathers spotted within, at the tip, with white; legs dusky; is
about the size of a nightingale, and measures seven inches in length. It is
probably a non-descript species.

A party of convicts, who had crossed the country to Botany Bay to gather
a kind of plant resembling balm, which we found to be a good and pleasant
vegetable, were met by a superior number of the natives, armed with spears
and clubs, who chased them for two miles without being able to overtake
them; but, if they had succeeded in the pursuit, it is probable that they
would have put them to death, for wherever persons unarmed, or inferior in
numbers, have fallen in with them, they have never failed to maltreat them.

The natives had with them some middling-sized dogs, somewhat
resembling the species called in England fox-dogs. A servant of Captain
Shea being one day out shooting, he found a very young puppy, belonging
to the natives, eating part of a dead Kangaroo. He brought it to the camp,
and it thrives much. The dog, in shape, is rather short and well made, has
very fine hair of the nature of fur, and a sagacious look. When found,
though not more than a month old, he showed some symptoms of ferocity.
It was a considerable time before he could be induced to eat any flesh that
was boiled, but he would gorge it raw with great avidity. (See plate

23rd July.
The blacksmith's shop, which was built of common brush wood,
was burnt down. Very fortunately for us, the bellows and the other tools
were, through the exertion of the people, saved. To effect this was no easy
point, as in the course of three or four minutes, the wood being very dry,
every part of the shop was in flames.

29th July.
One of the convicts was met by some of the natives, who wounded
him very severely in the breast and head with their spears. They would
undoubtedly have destroyed him had he not plunged into the sea, near
which he happened to be, and by that means saved himself. When he was
brought to the hospital he was very faint from the loss of blood, which had
flowed plentifully from his wounds. A piece of a broken spear had entered
through the scalp and under his ear, so that the extraction gave him great

Their spears are made of a kind of cane which grows out of the tree
that produces the yellow gum; they are ten or twelve feet long, pointed, and
sometimes barbed, with a piece of the same cane or the teeth of fish. These
they throw, with the assistance of the short stick already mentioned, which
has a shell made fast to the end of it with the yellow gum.

With this gum they likewise fasten their barbs to their spears and fish-gigs.
The latter of these differ from the former by having four prongs, and being
always barbed, which is not generally the case with the spears.

Their spears, the only weapon they are ever seen to have that may be considered
in any degree as dangerous, they throw thirty or forty yards with an unerring
precision. When equipped for any exploit, they are also armed with a
shield made of the bark of a tree, with which they very dexterously ward
off any thing thrown at them. An humble kind of scymitar, a bludgeon, or
club, about twenty inches long, with a large and pointed end, and
sometimes a stone hatchet, make up the catalogue of their military implements.

We this day shot a Knob-fronted Bee-eater (see plate annexed). This is
about the size of a blackbird; the plumage mostly brown above and white
beneath; the head and upper part of the neck are sparingly covered with
narrow feathers, almost like hairs; but the fore part of the neck and breast
are furnished with long ones, of a white colour and pointed at the ends; the
tail is pretty long, and the feathers tipped with white; the bill is about one
inch in length, and pale; but, what is most remarkable, on the forehead, just
at the base of the bill, is a short blunt knob, about a quarter of an inch in
length and of a brownish colour; the tongue is nearly of the length of the
bill, and bristly at the end; the legs are brown. This inhabits New South
Wales, and is supposed to be a non-descript species.

[Colour plate  of 'Knob-fronted Bee-eater']

This day three canoes, with a man and woman in each, came behind the
point on which the hospital is built, to fish. I went over to them, as did two
other gentlemen, my assistants, without their shewing any fear at our
coming; on the contrary, they manifested a friendly confidence. We gave
them some bread, which they received with apparent pleasure, but did not
eat any of it while in our presence. We likewise presented them with a
looking-glass, but this they received with indifference, and seemed to hold
in no kind of estimation.

I gave one of the women a pocket handkerchief, which she immediately
tied round her head, and shewed great satisfaction. She had a young
child between her knees in the canoe (the way in which they always
carry their infants), for whom she solicited something, in the
most suppliant tone of voice I ever heard. The only thing I had about me
was a narrow slip of linen, which I gave her; and, trifling as it was, she
appeared to be perfectly satisfied with it, and bound it round the child's
head. She would not come out of the canoe, though along-side the rocks;
but the man quitted it, and shewed us some wild figs that grew near at
hand. Such as were green and unripe he did not pull; but, after some
search, having found one that was tolerably ripe, he made me pluck it and
put it into his mouth. He eat it with an apparent relish, and smacked his
lips, after he had swallowed it, to convince us how good it was.

At some little distance from the place where we were a sheep lay dead.
As soon as he had discovered it, he took it by the horns, and, as well as we
could understand him, he was extremely inquisitive and anxious to know
what it was. When his curiosity was satisfied, he went into the canoe,
where the woman had been waiting for him.

About ten or twenty yards from the shore, among the long grass, in
the shallow water, he struck and took with his fish-gig several good
fish; an acquisition to which, at this season of the year, it being
cold and wet, we were unequal. While he was engaged in watching for
them, both he and the woman chewed something, which they frequently
spit into the water; and which appeared to us, from his immediately
striking a fish, to be a lure.

While they were thus employed, one of the gentlemen with me sung some
songs; and when he had done, the females in the canoes either sung one
of their own songs, or imitated him, in which they succeeded beyond
conception. Any thing spoken by us they most accurately recited, and
this in a manner of which we fell greatly short in our attempts to
repeat their language after them.

While we were thus amicably engaged, all on a sudden they paddled
away from us. On looking about to discover the cause, we perceived the
gunner of the Supply at some little distance, with a gun in his hand, an
instrument of death, against which they entertain an insuperable aversion.
As soon as I discovered him, I called to him to stay where he was, and not
make a nearer approach; or, if he did, to lay down his gun. The latter
request he immediately complied with; and when the natives saw him
unarmed they shewed no further fear, but, returning to their employment,
continued alternately to sing songs and to mimic the gentlemen who
accompanied me.

[Colour plate of 'Sacred Kings Fisher']

We this day shot the Sacred Kings-Fisher (see Plate annexed). This bird
is about the size of a thrush, and measures nearly ten inches in length: the
top of the head is blue, and crested; sides of the head, and back part of it,
black; over the eye, from the nostrils, a rusty-coloured streak; the chin, the
middle of the neck, all round, and all the under part of the body, buffcolour,
more or less inclining to rust; the upper part of the plumage chiefly
blue; but the beginning of the back is black, as are also the quills and tail
feathers within, being blue only on the outer edges; the bill is large and
black, but the base of the under jaw is whitish; the legs are brown. This
bird is subject to great variety, several of them being mentioned by Mr.
Latham in his Synopsis. The present seems to come nearest his Var. C. See
vol. ii, page 622, of that work.

12th August.
Celebrated the Prince of Wales's birthday. The men of war
fired a royal salute, and all the officers in the colony, civil and military,
dined with the governor. The evening was spent in making bonfires, and
testifying such other demonstrations of joy as could be shewn in this
country. The weather is now very wet and cold, and has been so for the last
six weeks. Several mornings we have had a hoar frost, and a few distinct
pelicles of ice were formed on shallow spots of water; the thermometer
frequently as low as the freezing point.

16th August.
A convict who had been out gathering what they called sweet tea,
about a mile from the camp, met a party of the natives, consisting of
fourteen, by whom he was beaten, and also slightly wounded with the
shell-stick used in throwing their spears; they then made him strip, and
would have taken from him his clothes, and probably his life, had it not
been for the report of two musquets; which they no sooner heard than they
ran away. This party were returning from the wood with cork, which they
had been cutting, either for their canoes or huts; and had with them no
other instruments than those that were necessary for the business on which
they were engaged, such as a stone hatchet, and the shell stick before
mentioned. Had they been armed with any other weapons, the convict
would probably have lost his life.

That which we call the sweet tea is a creeping kind of vine, running to a
great extent along the ground; the stalk is not so thick as the smallest
honey-suckle; nor is the leaf so large as the common bay leaf, though
something similar to it; and the taste is sweet, exactly like the liquorice
root of the shops. Of this the convicts and soldiers make an infusion which
is tolerably pleasant, and serves as no bad succedaneum for tea. Indeed,
were it to be met with in greater abundance it would be found very
beneficial to those poor creatures whose constant diet is salt provisions. In
using it for medical purposes, I have found it to be a good pectoral, and, as
I before observed, not at all unpleasant. (See plate annexed.)

We have also a kind of shrub in this country, resembling the common broom,
which produces a small berry like a white currant, but in taste more similar
to a very sour green gooseberry. This has proved a good antiscorbutic; but I
am sorry to add that the quantity to be met with is far from sufficient to
remove the scurvy.

That disorder still prevails with great violence, nor can we at present
find any remedy against it, notwithstanding that the country produces
several sorts of plants and shrubs which, in this place, are considered
as tolerable vegetables, and used in common. The most plentiful is
a plant growing on the sea shore, greatly resembling sage. Among it
are often to be found samphire, and a kind of wild spinage, besides
a small shrub which we distinguish by the name of the vegetable tree,
and the leaves of which prove rather a pleasant substitute for vegetables.

22nd August.
His Excellency Governor Phillip, Lieutenant George Johnston, his
Adjutant of Orders, Lieutenant Cresswell of the Marines, myself, and six
soldiers, landed in Manly Cove, in order to examine the coast to Broken
Bay. At a short distance from the shore, we saw sixteen canoes, with two
persons in each, and in some three, employed in fishing. They seemed to
take very little notice as we passed them, so very intent were they on the
business in which they were engaged.

On our landing, we saw sixty more of the natives, about two hundred yards
distant from us. Some of them immediately came up to us, and were very
friendly. A black man who carried our tents gave two of them a stocking
each, with which they seemed much pleased; and, pointing to the naked leg,
expressed a great desire to have that also clothed. The morning was so
cold, that these poor wretches stood shivering on the beach, and appeared
to be very sensible of the comfort and advantage of being clothed.

We sent back our boats, and proceeded northward along the coast about
six miles, where we were forced to halt for near two hours, until the tide
had run out of a lagoon, or piece of water, so as to admit of its being
forded. While we were detained here an old native came to us, and, in the
most friendly manner, pointed out the shallowest part of the water we had
to cross; but the tide ran with too much rapidity at that time for us to
attempt it.

After we had waded through, one of our company shot a very fine duck,
which we had dressed for supper, on a little eminence by the side
of a cabbage tree swamp, about half a mile from the run of the tide.
Here the whole party got as much cabbage, to eat with their salt provisions,
as they chose.

While we had been detained by the tide, several natives were on the
opposite side, who also pointed out to us the shoalest water, and
appeared, by their signs and gestures, to wish us very much to come over;
but, before the tide was sufficiently low, they went away. One of them
wore a skin of a reddish colour round his shoulders.

Near the place where we pitched our tent, we saw several quails exactly
like those in England. I fired four or five times at them, but without
success, as my shot was too large.

23rd August.
As soon as the dew was off the grass, we began our march, and
about twelve o'clock fell in with the south branch of Broken Bay: but
finding the country round this part very rugged, and the distance too great
for our stock of provisions, we returned to the sea shore, in order to examine
the south part of the entrance into the bay. This, like every other
part of the country we have seen, had a very indifferent aspect.

From the entrance of Port Jackson to Broken Bay, in some places from fifty
to a hundred, in others to two hundred yards distant from the sea, the coast
indeed is very pleasant, and tolerably clear of wood; the earth a kind of
adhesive clay, covered with a thick and short sour grass.

All along the shore we met the natives, who seem to have no fixed
residence or abode, but, indiscriminately, whenever they meet with a hut,
or, what is more common, a convenient excavation or hole in the rocks,
take possession of it for the time.

In one of their huts, at Broken Bay, which was constructed of bark,
and was one of the best I had ever met with, we saw two very well
made nets, some fishing lines not inferior to the nets, some spears,
a stone hatchet of a very superior make to what they usually have,
together with two vehicles for carrying water, one of cork, the other
made out of the knot of a large tree hollowed. In this hut there were two
pieces of coarse linen, which they must have obtained from some of our
people, and every thing about it bespoke more comfort and convenience
than I had observed in any other.

A little way from it we fell in with a large party of natives, whom
we supposed to be the proprietors; they were armed with spears and
stone hatchets. One of the latter they very earnestly wished to exchange
for one of ours. Though we would readily have obliged them, it was
not in our power to comply with their wishes, as we had only a
sufficient number wherewith to cut wood for our own fires. However,
notwithstanding our refusal, they parted from us without appearing at all

As we proceeded along the sandy beach, we gathered some beans, which
grew on a small creeping substance not unlike a vine. They were well
tasted, and very similar to the English long-pod bean. At the place where
we halted, we had them boiled, and we all eat very heartily of them. Half
an hour after, the governor and I were seized with a violent vomiting. We
drank warm water, which, carrying the load freely from our stomachs, gave
us immediate relief. Two other gentlemen of the party ate as freely of them
as we had done, without feeling the smallest inconvenience or bad effect.
About this place we got some rasberries; but they had not that pleasant
tartness peculiar to those in Europe.

24th August.
We returned by the same passage, along the coast, without seeing
any objects worth notice, until we came to a convenient spot to encamp for
the night, where there was great plenty of cabbage trees and tolerable
water; a circumstance, as I have already observed, not generally to be met
with in this country except on the sea coast, and even there by no means in

While soup was making of some birds we had lately killed (which proved
very good), and every thing was getting ready for the night, the
governor, the two other gentlemen, and myself, took our guns and ascended a
hill just above us. From this eminence we saw the southern branch of Broken
Bay, which ran far into the country.

During our return, we picked up, in the distance of about half a mile,
twenty-five flowers of plants and shrubs of different genera and species,
specimens of which I have transmitted to Mr. Wilson, particularly the
Red Gum Tree (see Plate annexed). On the spot where we encamped the grass
was long, dry, and sour, and in such abundance, that we set it on fire
all around, for fear the natives should surprise us in the night by doing
the same, a custom in which they seem always happy to indulge themselves.

25th August.
We set off early in the morning to look at the branch of Broken Bay
which we had seen the evening before, and were led to it by a path not very
much frequented. At the head of this branch we found a fresh-water river,
which took its rise a little above, out of a swamp. Such is the origin and
source of every river we have yet discovered in this country, though few,
when compared to those in any other part of the world. It is very
extraordinary that, in all this extensive tract, a living spring has not yet
been explored.

On this river we saw many ducks and teal. Mr. Cresswell shot one of
the latter, and I shot one of the former. They were both well tasted,
and good of their kind. At the head of this branch we found the
country rough and impassable. Having followed the course of the river to
its origin, we that day returned to Manly Cove, where we surprised two old
men, an old woman, a grown-up girl, and thirteen children, in a hut.

When the children saw us approach, they all gathered themselves closely
together around the girl; they cried, and seemed much terrified. The old men
showed such dislike to our looking at them that the governor and the rest of
the party withdrew to some little distance to dine. Some of the children, on
seeing all the party gone but myself and another gentleman, began to
laugh, and thus proved that their fears had vanished. When we joined the
rest of the party, the old man followed us in a very friendly manner, and
took part of every kind of provision we had, but he ate none of it in our

The women and children stood at some distance, and beckoned to us
when the men, of whom they seemed to stand in very great dread, had
turned their backs.

As soon as we had dined, and refreshed ourselves, the governor, by
himself, went down to them, and distributed some presents among them,
which soon gained their friendship and confidence. By this time sixteen
canoes, that were out fishing, came close to the spot where we were, and
there lay on their paddles, which they managed with wonderful dexterity and
address; mimicking us, and indulging in their own merriment.

After many signs and entreaties, one of the women ventured to the governor,
who was by himself, and, with seemingly great timidity, took from him
some small fishing lines and hooks, articles which they hold in great
estimation. This made her less fearful; and in a little time she became
perfectly free and unrestrained. Her conduct influenced many others who
came on shore for what they could procure. Many of them were painted
about the head, breast, and shoulders, with some white substance. None of
those who were thus ornamented came on shore, till by signs we made
them understand that we intended to offer them some presents; and even
then only one of them ventured.

To this person Lieutenant Cresswell gave a white pocket handkerchief,
with which she seemed much pleased. Every gentleman now singled out
a female and presented her with some trinkets, not forgetting, at the
same time, to bestow gifts upon some of her family, whom she took
considerable pains to make known, lest they should fall into the hands
of such as did not belong to her.

It was remarked that all the women and children, (an old woman excepted)
had the little finger of the left hand taken off at the second joint,
the stump of which was as well covered as if the operation had been
performed by a surgeon.

While we were thus employed among the women, a body of men came
out of the woods with a new canoe, made of cork. It was one of the best we
had observed in this country, though it fell very short of those which I have
seen among the American or Musquito-shore Indians, who, in
improvements of every kind, the Indians of this country are many centuries
behind. The men had also with them some new paddles, spears, and fishgigs,
which they had just been making. They readily showed us the use of
every thing they had with them. Indeed they always behave with an
apparent civility when they fall in with men that are armed; but when they
meet persons unarmed they seldom fail to take every advantage of them.

Those females who were arrived at the age of puberty did not wear a
covering; but all the female children and likewise the girls wore a slight
kind of covering before them, made of the fur of the kangaroo, twisted into

While we went towards the party of men that came out of the woods
with the new canoe, all the women landed, and began to broil their
fish, of which they had a large quantity. There seemed to be no harmony or
hospitality among them. However, the female to whom I paid the most
attention gave me, but not until I asked her for it, some of the fish which
she was eating. She had thrown it on the fire, but it was scarcely warm.

Many of the women were strait, well formed, and lively. My companion
continued to exhibit a number of coquettish airs while I was decorating her
head, neck, and arms with my pocket and neck handkerchiefs, which I tore into
ribbons, as if desirous of multiplying two presents into several. Having
nothing left, except the buttons of my coat, on her admiring them, I cut
them away, and with a piece of string tied them round her waist. Thus
ornamented, and thus delighted with her new acquirements, she turned
from me with a look of inexpressible archness.

Before the arrival of the boats, which was late, the natives pointed to a
hawk, and made signs to us to shoot it. It had alighted upon an adjoining
tree, and the governor desired that I would bring it down. The report of the
gun frightened them very much. Some ran away; but on perceiving that no
harm was intended against them, they returned, and were highly pleased to
see the hawk presented by the governor to a young girl, who appeared to be
the daughter of the most distinguished amongst them.

While the boats were preparing for our reception, an old woman,
perfectly grey with age, solicited us very much for some present; and, in
order to make us comply, threw herself, before all her companions, into the
most indecent attitudes.

The cocks wain of the boat informed us that while he was waiting for our
return, the day before, two parties of the natives met, and commenced
hostilities against each other. The man thus described the manner in which
this encounter was carried on. A champion from each party, armed with a
spear and a shield, pressed forwards before the rest, and, as soon as a
favourable opportunity offered (till which he advanced and retreated by
turns), threw his spear, and then retired; when another immediately took
his place, going through the same manoeuvres; and in this manner was the
conflict carried on for more than two hours.

The boats crew and two midshipmen, who saw the whole of the proceeding,
perceived that one of the natives walked off with a spear in his side.
During the engagement, the women belonging to them, who stood at some
distance, discovered strong marks of concern, and screamed loudly when
any of the combatants appeared to be wounded.

As the boat was returning close along shore, a spear was thrown at the
people by some of the natives, who were lurking behind the trees and
rocks. It was hurled with such force, that it flew a considerable way
over the boat, although we were between thirty and forty yards from
the shore.

It was late in the evening before we arrived in Sydney Cove; and as soon
as the governor landed he was informed that a gold mine had been
discovered, near the entrance of the harbour, by a convict.

During his excellency's absence, the convict had made this discovery known
to the lieutenant governor and the judge advocate; for which he said that he
hoped and expected to have his freedom, and a pecuniary reward. The
gentlemen to whom he applied answered that they could not promise to grant
his request until he should have put them in possession of the mine;
but that they were well assured that the governor would bestow on him a
proper recompence, after sufficient proof of the discovery. A boat was, in
consequence, ordered from the Sirius, to carry him and Captain Campbell
down to the place where he declared that the mine was situated. At their
landing, he begged leave to withdraw a little, on some necessary occasion;
when, instead of returning to Captain Campbell, he went back to the camp,
and, waiting on the lieutenant governor and judge advocate, asserted that
he had put Captain Campbell in possession of the mine, who had
dispatched him over land for another officer and a proper guard.

His account not being doubted, he was well fed and treated; and Lieutenant
Paulden, with a guard and all necessary articles, was ordered to attend him
to the place. But, before they could set out, to the great astonishment of all
Captain Campbell arrived, and unravelled the whole of this extraordinary
deception. This produced an unexpected revolution. Instead of receiving a
reward for his golden discoveries, the impostor was immediately taken into
custody, with two others, supposed to be concerned in carrying on the
artifice. The next day he was examined, with great privacy and strictness;
but, no satisfactory elucidation being obtained from him, he was ordered to
be severely whipped.

Subsequently to this punishment, of which he was prepared to expect
a weekly repetition, between the intervals of hard labour, and to be
loaded incessantly with heavy irons, during the time of his remaining
in the colony, he most audaciously persisted in endeavouring to maintain
the delusion, and declared that if an officer was sent with him he
would show him the mine; adding that he was heartily sorry for what
had happened.

Accordingly, he was suffered to accompany Lieutenant G. Johnston,
the Governor's Adjutant of Orders, to the place in question. Before
the boat had reached its destination Mr. Johnston argued with him,
yet not without protesting that if he either attempted to deceive him as he
had imposed upon Captain Campbell or presumed to move five yards from
him and his party, he would instantly order him to be shot. Finding that this
officer was not to be trifled with, but seemed determined, he acknowledged
that it was unnecessary to proceed any farther; that he was ignorant of the
existence of any such mine, and that the specimens shown by him were
only a composition of brass and gold, which he had filed down and melted.

Mr. Johnston brought him back, when he was again examined, and ordered
to be punished. It is needless to add that no further discovery was made. He
is now at liberty. He is, however, obliged to wear a large R on his back.
The man, whose name is Daily, appears insane; yet others cannot be
persuaded that he is a lunatic, but are rather of opinion that he is a
designing miscreant, and that time will disclose a deep-laid scheme, which
he had planned for some purpose hitherto undiscovered.

For my own part, I freely confess, that I cannot coincide with their
sentiments. He was so artful as to circulate a report that he had sold
several pounds weight of the ore to the master of the Golden Grove,
and some of his seamen. This rumour was received with such credulity that,
in consequence of the impression which it made, none of the sailors
were suffered to leave the ship after a certain hour in the evening.

In a word, so many ridiculous circumstances attended this affair, that
to attempt a complete enumeration of them would prove not less difficult
than uninteresting.

26th August.
The Supply arrived from Norfolk Island, after a long and rough
passage. She had landed, but neither in apparent safety nor with facility,
the stores which she carried to that place: and, upon the present occasion, I
am sorry to add, that the hazard of landing and embarking from this little
island is so very great that Mr. Cunningham, a midshipman of the Sirius
(who resided on it with Lieutenant King, the superintendant), was lost,
with three seamen, in a boat that was swamped by the surf, which on every
part of the coast runs high, and beats against the shore with great violence;
so that I much fear, from the difficulty of access, and its situation, it never
will prove of any great consequence, although it promised some
advantages, particularly in furnishing us with pine trees, which grow here
to a size nearly equal to those of Norway.

In the whole island there is not a harbour capable of admitting even
so small a vessel as the Supply, and the anchorage on every part of the
coast is equally bad.

The island produces a kind of gladiolus luteus, or iris palustris, of which,
as may be seen by the specimens sent Mr. Wilson, exceeding good hemp is
to be made, and which is to be procured in any quantity, the plants growing
in great abundance throughout the whole island. The foregoing articles,
were the island larger and more easy of access, with even a tolerable
harbour, might, in any other country, be of the first consequence to a
maritime nation. But, from every information which I have gained from the
officers and crew of the Supply, the procuring of this beneficial acquisition
is at present somewhat doubtful.

The people settled upon it, when they can venture out, get great plenty
of fish and, at certain seasons, turtle. In the island also are pigeons,
as tame as domestic fowls; and the soil seems well adapted for the growth
of all kinds of grain and vegetables. It produces a wild banana, or
plantain tree, which, by cultivation, may assist the settlers as a
succedaneum for bread: and I am not without hopes that we shall be
able to make some additions from thence to such necessaries of life
as may in time be produced here.

A few days since the natives landed near the hospital, where some goats
belonging to the Supply were browsing, when they killed, with their spear,
a kid, and carried it away. Within this fortnight, they have also killed a
he-goat of the governor's. Whenever an opportunity offered, they have seldom
failed to destroy whatever stock they could seize upon unobserved. They
have been equally ready to attack the convicts on every occasion which
presented itself; and some of them have become victims to these savages.

I have already observed that they stand much in fear of a musquet, and
therefore they very seldom approach any person by whom it is carried; and
their apprehensions are almost equally great when they perceive a red

5th September.
About half after six in the evening, we saw an aurora australis, a
phaenomenon uncommon in the southern hemisphere.

2nd October.
His Majesty's ship the Sirius sailed for the Cape of Good Hope, for
a supply of flour, it being discovered that our stock of this article
bore no proportion to the salt beef and pork.

The same day the Golden Grove sailed for Norfolk Island, with a
reinforcement of male and female convicts; two free men, as gardeners; a
midshipman from the Sirius to fill up the vacancy occasioned by the death
of Mr. Cunningham; a sergeant, corporal, and six privates; and a supply of
necessaries for eighteen months.

4th October.
A convict, named Cooper Handley, who went out with an armed
party of marines to collect wild vegetables and sweet tea, strayed from
them, and was afterwards met by the natives, who murdered and mutilated
him in a shocking manner. The natives were so near our men that they
heard them very distinctly shouting and making a great noise, yet were
unable to overtake them in the pursuit. In the evening, a party of soldiers
and convicts were sent out to bury the deceased.

10th October.
A general court martial was convened by warrant from the
governor. When the members, with the deputy judge advocate, were
assembled, they gave it as their opinion that, notwithstanding the governor
has full power and authority to grant and hold court martials among regular
troops, yet, as a corps of marines, under the influence of a particular code
of laws, and instructions from the Admiralty, and only amenable to that
board, they could not proceed to trial, the board of Admiralty not having
delegated any part of their authority over the marine corps, particularly that
of holding court martials, to the governor; neither did any part of the act of
Parliament for forming a colony in New South Wales contain directions
relative to that subject.

The marine instructions, with respect to court martials, state that
no general court martial can be ordered but by the Lord High Admiral,
or three commissioners for executing the office; nor any sentence
be carried into execution until approved of by him or them, unless
the marines, as in America, should be, by act of Parliament, considered as a
part of the army, which is not the case here.

They are truly and literally governed and regulated by the same rules
and instructions as the marine divisions at Chatham, Portsmouth, or
Plymouth; and, consequently, their proceeding to trial would not only
be illegal, but a direct insult to the governance and power of the Board
under which they act, and to whom every appeal from them must come,
unless an act of Parliament, in that case made and provided, otherwise

28th October.
A marine went to gather some greens and herbs, but has not returned;
as he was unarmed, it is feared that he has been met and murdered by
the natives.

31st October.
A sergeant and four privates, who had been missing three days,
returned. They were sent by the commanding officer to look for the
marine, and lost themselves in the woods. In the evening of this day we
had very loud thunder, and a shower of hail; many of the hail-stones were
measured, and found to be five-eights of an inch in diameter.

2nd November. This day more hail; the weather dark and gloomy, with
dreadful lightning. The mercury during the whole of the day stood between
66 and 68.

7th November.
A criminal court sentenced a convict to five hundred lashes for stealing
soap, the property of another convict, value eight pence.

10th November.
The Golden Grove returned from Norfolk Island with a few spars,
and some timber for the governor. While she lay there, she was obliged to
cut her cable and stand to sea, there being (as before observed) no harbour
in the whole island where a ship can ride in safety. The master of the ship
was swamped in the surf and nearly lost, with his boat and crew.

11th November. Thomas Bulmore, a private marine, died in consequence of the
blows which he received during a battle with one of his companions, who is
to be tried for his life, on the 17th instant, by a criminal court. So small
is our number, and so necessary is every individual who composes it, for
one purpose or another, that the loss of even a single man may truly be
considered as an irreparable disadvantage!

The preceding is all the account I am able at present to send you of the
territories of New South Wales, and its productions. The unsettled state in
which you must naturally suppose every thing, as yet, to remain, will not
permit me to be as copious as I could wish; but, by the next dispatch, I
hope to be able to send you no inconsiderable additions to the Natural
History, and at the same time such further information concerning our
affairs here as during the interim shall have occurred.



The Different Species of Banksia

[Colour plate of 'The Banksia Serrata in Bud.']

The finest new genus hitherto found in New Holland has been destined
by Linnaeus, with great propriety, to transmit to posterity the name of Sir
Joseph Banks, who first discovered it in his celebrated voyage round the
world. It is indeed one of the most magnificent genera with which we are
acquainted, being nearly allied to Protea and Embothrium in habit and
botanical characters, but sufficiently distinguished from both by its fruit.

Four species of Banksia are described in the Supplementum Plantarum of
Linnaeus, specimens of which we have seen in his Herbarium now in the
possession of Dr. Smith of Marlborough Street; and we have deposited
with the same gentleman specimens of all the plants we are about to
describe in this work. Dr. Gaertner, in his admirable book on fruits and
seeds, has figured the fruit of several Banksias, some of them described by
Linnaeus. Having had his plates, with the names, engraved before he saw
the Supplementum of Linnaeus, his nomenclature differs from that of the
last-mentioned author; but he quotes his synonyms in the letter-press. We
mention this that he may not be accused of wantonly changing Linnaean
names, and that for the worse, as it would appear to any one uninformed of
this circumstance.

[Colour plate of 'The Banksia serrata in Flower.']

The character of the genus is very badly made out in Linnaeus. Gaertner
has greatly corrected it, but it is still a doubt whether the flowers are
constantly monopetalous or tetrapetalous, nor have we materials sufficient
to remove this difficulty. All we can say is, that Banksia is next in natural
arrangement to Protea, from which it is essentially distinguished by having
an hard woody bivalve capsule, containing two winged seeds, with a
moveable membranous partition between them. It is strangely misplaced in
Murray's 14th edition of Systema Vegetabilium, being put between
Ludwigia and Oldenlandia!

Mr. White has sent imperfect specimens and seeds of four species of
Banksia, which we have endeavoured to settle as follows:

[Colour plate of 'The Banksia Serrata in Fruit.']

1. B. serrata. Linn. Supp. 126.
   B. conchifera. Gaertn. 221. t.48.

This is the most stately of the genus. Its trunk is thick and rugged. Leaves
alternate, standing thick about the ends of the branches on short footstalks,
narrow, obtuse, strongly serrated, smooth and of a bright green colour
above, beneath opaque and whitish, with a strong rib running through their
middle. A very large cylindrical spike of flowers terminates each branch.
Most of the flowers are abortive, a few only in each spike producing ripe
seed. The form of the capsules may be understood from the figure, which
represents a whole spike in fruit, about half the natural size. The capsules
are covered with thick down. Another plate of the plant in flower shews the
curved position in which the style is held by the corolla; the increase of the
former in length being greater and more rapid than that of the latter.

2. B. pyriformis. Gaertn. 220. t. 47. f. I.

This species was unknown to Linnaeus; and as Gaertner has given no specific
character of it, we beg leave to offer the following:

B. floribus solitariis, capsulis ovatis pubescentibus, foliis lanceolatis
integerrimis glabris.

Banksia with solitary flowers, ovate downy capsules, and lance-shaped
entire smooth leaves.

The capsules are larger than in any other known species. In the figure
they are represented somewhat smaller than the life, but the seed is given
as large as life.

[Colour plate of 'The Banksia pyriformis.']

3. B. gibbosa. B. dactyloides Gaertn. 221.t. 47. f. 2.?
   B. floribus solitariis, capsulis ovatis gibbosis rugosis, foliis teretibus.

Banksia with solitary flowers; ovate, tumid, rugged capsules; and
cylindrical leaves.

We suspect this to be the Banksia dactyloides of Gaertner; but, if so, his
figure is by no means a good one; as he is generally very accurate, we are
rather inclined to believe ours a different plant, and have therefore given it
a new name. The leaves are very peculiar, being perfectly cylindrical,
about two inches long and one line in diameter, pale, green and smooth.
The flowers we have not seen.

[Colour plate of '1. The Banksia 2. The Banksia gibbosa']

Fig. 1 of the same Plate represents the capsule of another Banksia,
belonging to those which bear the flowers in spikes, but we cannot with
certainty determine the species. The capsules are smooth, at least when ripe,
and a little shining. We think this is neither the B. serrata, integrifolia,
nor dentata of Linnaeus, nor probably his ericifolia; so that it seems to be a
species hitherto undescribed. The leaves and flowers we have not seen.

An Eucalyptus obliqua, L'Heritier Sert. Angl. p. 18?
(See Plate annexed.)

[Colour plate of 'The Peppermint Tree']

This tree grows to the height of more than a hundred feet, and is above
thirty feet in circumference. The bark is very smooth, like that of the
poplar. The younger branches are long and slender, angulated near the top,
but as they grow older the angles disappear. Their bark is smooth, and of a
reddish-brown. The leaves are alternate, lanceolate, pointed, very entire,
smooth on both sides, and remarkably unequal, or oblique, at their base;
the veins alternate and not very conspicuous. The whole surface of both
sides of the leaves is marked with numerous minute resinous spots, in
which the essential oil resides. The foot-stalks are about half an inch in
length, round on the under side, angular above, quite smooth. The flowers
we have not seen.

What Mr. White has sent as the ripe capsules of this tree (although not
attached to the specimens of the leaves) grow in clusters, from six
to eight in each sessile and conglomerated. These clusters are supported
on angular alternate footstalks, which form a kind of panicle. Each
capsule is about the size of a hawthorn berry, globular, but as it were
cut off at the top, rugged on the outside, hard and woody, and of a dark
brown colour. At the top is a large orifice, which shews the internal part of
the capsule divided into four cells, and having a square column in the
center, from which the partitions of the cell arise. These partitions extend
to the rim of the capsule, and terminate in four small projections, which
look like the teeth of a calyx. The seeds are numerous, small, and angular.

The name of Peppermint Tree has been given to this plant by Mr. White
on account of the very great resemblance between the essential oil
drawn from its leaves and that obtained from the Peppermint (Mentha
piperita) which grows in England. This oil was found by Mr. White to be
more efficacious in removing all cholicky complaints than that of the
English Peppermint, which he attributes to its being less pungent and more
aromatic. A quart of the oil has been sent by him to Mr. Wilson.

The tree above described appears to be undoubtedly of the same genus as
that cultivated in some greenhouses in England, which Mr. L'Heritier has
described in his Sertum Anglicum by the name of Eucalyptus obliqua,
though it is commonly called in the gardens Metrosideros obliqua; but we
dare not assert it to be the same species, nor can this point be determined
till the flowers and every part of both be seen and compared; we have
compared the best specimens we could procure of each, and find no
specific difference.

The Eucalyptus obliqua has, when dried, an aromatic flavour somewhat
similar to our plant. We have remarked indeed innumerable minute white
spots, besides the resinous ones, on both surfaces of the leaves in some
specimens of the garden plant, which are not to be seen in ours, and the
branches of the former are rough, with small scaly tubercles. But how far
these are constant we cannot tell. The obliquity in the leaves, one side
being shorter at the base than the other, as well as somewhat narrower all
the way up, as in the Begonia nitida of the Hortus Kewensis, is remarkable
in both plants.

The figure represents a branch of the Peppermint Tree in leaf: on one
side of it part of a leaf separate, bearing the gall of some insect; on the
other the fruit above described.


This is a small shrub, very much branched. The bark full of longitudinal
fissures, and easily separated from the branches. Leaves on short footstalks,
alternate, lanceolate, pointed, entire, about three-quarters of an
inch in length, smooth on both sides, marked with three longitudinal ribs,
and reticulated with transverse veins; they are also full of resinous spots,
the seat of an aromatic essential oil. The flowers we have not seen, nor can
we determine with certainty the genus of this plant. It most nearly
approaches the Leptospermum virgatum of Forster, referred by the younger
Linnaeus, perhaps improperly, to Melaleuca.

At least it may safely be determined to belong to the same genus
with the Melaleuca virgata Linn. Supp. though a distinct species. The
specific difference between them is, that the leaves of our plant have
three ribs, whereas M. virgata has leaves perfectly destitute of ribs
or veins. Hence we judge the figure and description of Rumphius,
Herb. Amboin. V. 2. t. 18., to belong rather to our Tea Tree than
to M. virgata; and if this conjecture be right, the plants are still
further distinguished by the inflorescence, which in M. virgata is
an umbel, whereas in the figure above mentioned the flowers are solitary.

a. Represents a leaf slightly magnified.


This is a tree or shrub whose leaves only we have seen, but from them we
judge it to belong to the genus Smilax. For want of the stem we cannot
settle its specific character. These leaves are about two inches long,
ovatolanceolate, pointed, entire, marked with three longitudinal ribs, and many
transverse elevated veins, smooth and shining above, glaucous beneath,
with a thick cartilaginous edge of the substance of the ribs. The leaves have
the taste of liquorice root accompanied with bitter. They are said to make a
kind of tea, not unpleasant to the taste, and good for the scurvy. The plant
promises much in the last respect, from its bitter as a tonic, as well as the
quantity of saccharine matter it contains.

Leaves of this plant are represented on the same plate with the Tea Tree.
A. is the front, B. the back of a leaf.

[Colour plate of 'The Tea-Tree of New South Wales']

Floribus pedunculatis, calyptra conica acuta
(See Plate annexed.)

This is a very large and lofty tree, much exceeding the English oak in
size. The wood is extremely brittle, and, from the large quantity of resinous
gum which it contains, is of little use but for firewood. Of the leaves Mr.
White has given no account, nor sent any specimens. The flowers grow in
little clusters, or rather umbels, about ten in each, and every flower has a
proper partial footstalk, about a quarter of an inch in length, besides the
general one. The general footstalk is remarkably compressed (anceps), and the
partial ones are so in some degree. We have perceived nothing like
bracteae, or floral leaves.

The flowers appear to be yellowish, and are of a very singular structure.
The calyx is hemispherical, perfectly entire in the margin, and afterwards
becomes the capsule. On the top of the calyx, rather within the margin,
stands a conical pointed calyptra, which of the same colour with the
calyx, and about as long as that and the footstalk taken together.
This calyptra, which is the essential mark of the genus, and differs
from that of the Eucalyptus obliqua of L'Heritier only in being conical
and acute, instead of hemispherical, is perfectly entire, and never
splits or divides, though it is analogous to the corolla of other plants.
When it is removed, we perceive a great number of red stamina, standing in
a conical mass, which before the calyptra was taken off, were completely
covered by it, and filled its inside.

The Antherae are small and red. In the center of these stamina is a
single style or pointal, rising a little above them, and terminated
by a blunt stigma. The stamina are very resinous and aromatic. They
are inserted into the margin of the calyx, so that the genus is properly
placed by Mr. L'Heritier in the class Icosandria. These stamina and
style being removed, and the germen cut across about the middle of the
calyx, it appears to be divided into three cells, and no more, as far as we
have examined, each containing the rudiments of one or more seeds, for
the number cannot with certainty be determined.

Whether the calyptra in this species falls off, as in that described by
Mr. L'Heritier, or be permanent, we cannot tell. From one specimen sent
by Mr. White, the latter should seem to be the case; and that the calyx
swells and rises around it nearly to the top, making a pear-shaped
fruit, with the point of the calyptra sticking out at its apex; but as
this appears only in a single flower, and none of the others are at all
advanced towards ripening seed, the flower in question may possibly be
in a morbid state, owing to the attacks of some insect. (See fig. g.)
Future observations will determine this point. We have been the more
diffuse in our description on account of the singularity of the genus,
and the value of the plant.

[Colour plate of 'The Bark of the Red Gum Tree']

On making incisions in the trunk of this tree, large quantities of red
resinous juice are obtained, sometimes even more than sixty gallons from a
single tree. When this juice is dried, it becomes a very powerfully
astringent gum-resin, of a red colour, much resembling that known in the
shops by the name of Kino, and, for all medical purposes, fully as
efficacious. Mr. White administered it to a great number of patients in the
dysentery, which prevailed much soon after the landing of the convicts,
and in no one instance found it to fail. This gum-resin dissolves almost
entirely in spirit of wine, to which it gives a blood-red tincture. Water
dissolves about one-sixth part only, and the watery solution is of a bright
red. Both these solutions are powerfully astringent.

The plate represents a portion of the bark of the Eucalyptus resinifera, with
the fructification annexed.

a. Is a bunch of the flowers the size of nature.
b. The flower, its calyptra, or hood, being removed.
c. Calyx.
d. Stamina.
e. Pistillum.
f. Calyptra separate.
g. The enlarged flower, which we suspect to be in a diseased state.


This is about the size of an English walnut tree. Its trunk grows pretty
straight for about fourteen or sixteen feet, after which it branches out into
long spiral leaves, which hang down on all sides, and resemble those of the
larger kinds of grass or sedge. From the center of the head of leaves arises
a single footstalk, eighteen or twenty feet in height, perfectly straight and
erect, very much resembling the sugar cane, and terminating in a spike of a
spiral form, not unlike an ear of wheat. This large stem or footstalk is used
by the natives for making spears and fish gigs, being pointed with the teeth
of fish or other animals, some of which are represented, in the plate of
implements, from originals now in Mr. Wilson's possession.

But the most valuable produce of this plant seems to be its resin, the
properties of which vie with those of the most fragrant balsams. This resin
exudes spontaneously from the trunk, the more readily if incisions are made
in its bark. It is of a yellow colour, fluid at first, but being inspissated
in the sun it acquires a solid form. Burnt on hot coals, it emits a smell very
much resembling that of a mixture of balsam of tolu and benzoin,
somewhat approaching to storax. It is perfectly soluble in spirit of wine,
but not in water, nor even in essential oil of turpentine, unless it be
digested in a strong heat. The varnish which it makes with either is very
weak, and of little use. With respect to its medicinal qualities, Mr. White
has found it, in many cases, a good pectoral medicine, and very balsamic.
It is not obtainable in so great abundance as the red gum produced by the
Eucalyptus resinifera.

The plant which produces the yellow gum seems to be perfectly
unknown to botanists, but Mr. White has communicated no specimens by
which its genus or even class could be determined.


I cannot regard this bird in any other view than as a variety of the
Psittacus cristatus of Linnaeus, or large white cockatoo, which has been
described by almost all ornithologists, and figured in several works of
Natural History. The bird seems liable to great variation both as to size and
colour; the white in some being of a much purer appearance than in others,
and the yellow on the crest and tail more predominant. All the varieties yet
known agree in having the beak and legs blackish. The individual
specimen here figured seems of a somewhat slenderer form than usual. The
colour not a pure white, but slightly tinged on the upper parts, and
particularly on the neck and shoulders, with dusky. The feathers on the
front white, but the long lanceolate feathers below them, which form the
crest, of a pale jonquil-yellow. The tail white above, and pale yellow
beneath, as are also the wings.

[Colour plate of 'The Crested Cockatoo']


Fulica alba, rostro fronteque rubris, humeris spinosis, pedibus flavis?
Corpus magnitudine sere gallinae domesticae. Humeri spina parva
incurvata. In specimine exsiccato pedes flavi; sed fortasse in viva ave
rostro concolores.

White Fulica, with the bill and front red, shoulders spined, legs and feet
yellow. The body is about the size of a domestic fowl. The shoulders are
furnished with a small crooked spine. In the dried specimen the legs and
feet are yellow, but, perhaps, in the living bird might have been of the same
colour with the beak.

This bird is the only species of its genus yet known of a white colour.
The birds of this genus rank in the order called by Linnaeus Grallae,
and most of the species frequent watery places. To this genus belongs
the wellknown bird called the Moor-hen, or Fulica chloropus; as also a very
beautiful exotic species called the Purple Water-hen, which is the Fulica
porphyrio of Linnaeus, and which in shape much resembles the White
Fulica now described.

[Colour plate of 'The White Fulica']


M. cinera, subtus flava. N.B. Gula fere albida.

Ash-coloured Motacilla, yellow beneath. N.B. The throat inclines a little
to whitish.

It is not perhaps absolutely clear whether this bird should be referred to
the genus Motacilla, or Muscicapa: the probability, however, is in favour
of Motacilla.

The bird is about the size of the Motacilla flava of Linnaeus, or yellow
wagtail, but seems of a stouter make. The beak is of a pale colour, and the
legs brown. The two middle tail-feathers have the very extremities slightly
marked with white.

The genus Motacilla is extremely numerous, and it is not easy to fix
upon a proper or expressive trivial name. Such names should, if possible,
convey some idea either of the colour or some other circumstance relative
to the manners or habits of the animal; but in new species, whose
history is unknown, this is impracticable. The trivial name, therefore, of
Australis may be allowable, though it cannot be regarded as sufficiently

[Colour plate of 'The Southern Motacilla']


The female Bee-eater is stouter in the body and in the legs, more brilliant
in the plumage, the bill more curved: and the tail cuneated and tipped with
white, but shorter than in the male. The feathers on the head are small, each
tipped with white, and somewhat erected: it has no wattles, but on the chin
the feathers are dark, long, and hang diffusely.

The general colour of the bird is a blackish chocolate, lighter on the
breast, and towards the vent; darker on the abdomen and towards the tip of
the tail. The feathers on the neck and breast have each a streak of white
through the middle. On the wing the outer long feathers are slightly edged
with whitish, those of the middle region round-ended and tipped only; and on
the upper part of the wing each feather bears a streak down the middle,
suddenly dilating at the tip.

The legs yellower than those of the male; claws blackish.


C. cinereo-fuscus, subtus pallidus, remigibus caudaque fasciis pallidis
numerosis, vibrissis utrinque erecto-cristatis. Corpus supra punctis
minutissimis subalbidis irroratum.

Cinereous-brown Goat-sucker, pale beneath; with the long feathers of the
wings and tail sprinkled with numerous pale fasciae, and the vibrissae (or
bristles on the upper mandible) standing up on each side, in the manner of
a crest. The body on the upper part is sprinkled with very small whitish

The birds of this genus are remarkable for the excessive wideness of the
mouth, though the beak is very small; in their manner of life, as well as
general structure, they are very nearly allied to the genus Hirundo, or
swallow, and indeed may be regarded as a kind of nocturnal swallow. They
feed on insects, particularly on beetles. The name Caprimulgus, or Goatsucker,
was given to this genus from an idea that prevailed amongst the
more ancient naturalists of their sometimes sucking the teats of goats and
sheep; a circumstance in itself so wildly improbable that it would scarce
deserve to be seriously mentioned were it not that so accurate a naturalist
as the late celebrated Scopoli seems in some degree to have given credit to

[Colour plate of 'The Crested Goatsucker']


This lizard comes nearer to the Scincus than any I am acquainted with,
but is still a distinct species.

In the two specimens sent over by Mr. White, one had a process on the
upper part of the tail, near the top, almost like a supernumerary or forked
tail, but which I rather conceive to be natural; and as this one was a male I
am inclined to think that this is peculiar to that sex, which would in some
degree have been more clearly made out if the other, which had not this
process, had proved a female; but as its being gutted and stuffed before I
saw it prevented my examination, this remains still to be proved: but what
makes the conjecture very probable is that it is mentioned by Mr. White
that some are without and some with this process. Now if it was a monster,
arising either from accident, or originally so formed, it would hardly be so
common as to be taken notice of. The tail is longer than that of the
Scincuses, and not so taper; the animal is of a dark iron-grey colour, which
is of different shades in different parts, forming a kind of stripes across the
back and tail. The scales of the cuticle are strong, but not so much so as
those of the Scincus. Its legs are short and strong, covered with the same
kind of scales as the body, but the scales of the feet are not. On the cuticle
are small knobs, as if it were studded.

[Colour plate '1. The Skinc-formed Lizard, 2. Eggs, 3. The Egg as broken,
 4. The Young.']

The toes on each foot are pretty regular; the difference in length not
great, and the same on both the fore and hind foot; which is not the case
with the Scincus, it having a long middle toe.

There are small short nails on each toe; on their upper surface they are
covered with a series of scales, which go half round, like a coat of mail.

Just within the verge of the external opening of the ear on the anterior
edge is a membrane, covering about one-third of it, which is scolloped on
its loose or unattached edge; this can hardly be called an external ear, nor
can it be called the reserve, viz. a valve; but if it is an assistant to
hearing, which it most probably is, it should be considered as the external

The teeth are in a row on each side of each jaw, becoming gradually larger
backwards. They are short above the gum, and rounded off, fitted for
breaking or bruising of substances more than cutting or tearing.


L. cauda tereti longa, corpore griseo, squamis carinatis mucronatis.
Corpus supra fasciis tranversis fuscis; subtus pallidum. Valde affinis
Agamae et Calotae.

L. with long rounded tail, body greyish, scales carinated and sharp
pointed. The animal on its upper part is fasciated with transverse dusky
bars, and is pale beneath. This species is very nearly allied to the L. Agama
and Calotes.

This species measures somewhat more than a foot in length. The general
colour is a brownish-grey, and the whole upper part of the animal is
marked with transverse dusky bars, which are most conspicuous on the
legs and tail. The tail is very long; the scales on every part of the animal
are of a sharp form, and furnished with a prominent line on the upper
surface; toward the back part of the head the scales almost run into a sort
of weak spines; the feet are furnished with moderately strong, sharp claws.

[Colour plate of '1. Snake, 2. Muricated Lizard.']


L. laevis, cauda tereti longa, corpore supra taeniolis albis nigrisque,
subtus albo. Affinis L. lemniscatae. Crura supra albo nigroque striata:
digiti unguiculati: aures conspicuae: squamae totius corporis laevissimae,
nitidissimae, cauda vix distincte striata, subferruginea.

This is a very elegant species. The length of the animal is about six
inches and a half; and is distinguished by a number of parallel stripes, or
bands of black and white, disposed longitudinally throughout the whole
upper part of the body, except that on the tail the bands are not carried
much above the base, the remainder being of a pale ferruginous colour. In
some specimens a tinge of this colour is also visible on the back; the lower
part of the body is of a yellowish-white; the tail is perfectly round, of a
great length, and gradually tapers to the extremity.

[Colour plate of '1. Ribbon Lizard. 2. Broad-Tailed Lizard.']


L. cauda depresso-plana lanceolata, margine subaculeato, corpore
griseo-fusco scabro. Ungues quasi duplicati. Lingua brevis, lata,
integra, seu non forficata; apice autem leniter emarginato.

L. with a depressed lanceolate tail, almost spiny on the margin; the body
of a dusky grey colour, and rough. The claws appear as if double; the
tongue is short and broad, not forked, but slightly emarginated at the tip.

This Lizard is strikingly distinguished by the uncommon form of its tail,
which is of a depressed or flattened shape, with very thin edges, and
gradually tapers to a sharp extremity. This depressed form of the tail is
extremely rare in Lizards, there being scarcely more than two other species
yet known in which a similar structure takes place. One of these is the L.
caudiverbera of Linnaeus, in which the tail appears to be not only
depressed, but pinnated on the sides. Another species with a depressed tail
has been figured by the Count De Cepede, in his History of Oviparous

The present species is about four inches and a half in length. The head is
large in proportion; and the whole upper surface of the animal is beset with
small tubercles, which in some parts, especially towards the back of the
head and about the tail, are lengthened into a sharpened point. The lower
surface is of a pale colour, or nearly white.


R. caerulea, subtus griseo-punctata, pedibus tetradactylis, posterioribus
palmatis. Magnitudo Ranae temporariae.

Blue Frog, speckled beneath with greyish; the feet divided into four toes;
the hind-feet webbed.
Size of the common frog.

[Colour plate of 'Blue Frog']

[Concerning Plate A]
Plate A. annexed represents a production of which Mr. White has sent no
description, nor can we give any satisfactory account of it. This is said to
come from the root of the Yellow Gum Tree, and is a congeries of scales,
cemented, as it were, together by the gum. Whether they are the bases of
the leaves of that tree, or part of a parasitical plant growing upon it, future
observations must determine. The latter supposition seems to be
countenanced by the appearance of fibrous roots at the base of this singular

[Colour plate of 'Plate A.']

Falco-albus, rostro nigro, cera pedibusque flavis.

White hawk, with black beak, cere and legs yellow.

This species, in shape and general appearance, seems very nearly allied
to the bird called in England the Hen-Harrier, which is the Falco cyaneus
of Linnaeus. It is very nearly of the same size, and the legs and thighs are
of a slender form, as in that species.

The whole plumage is white, without any variegation.

[Colour plate of 'The White Hawke.']


Corvus niger, remigum rectricumque basi apiceque caudae albis.

Black Crow, with the bases of the wing and tail feathers, and the tip of
the tail, white.

This bird is about the size of a Magpye, and in shape is not much unlike
one, except that the tail is not cuneated, but has all the feathers of equal
length. The bird is entirely black, except the vent, the base of the tail
feathers, the base of the wing feathers, and the extremity of the tail, which
are white. The small part of the white base of the wing feathers gives the
appearance of a white spot when the wings are closed. The beak is very strong;
the upper mandible slightly emarginated near the tip, and the lower
mandible is of a pale colour towards the tip. The capistrum reversum, or
set of bristles, which are situated forward on the base of the upper
mandible in most of the birds of this genus, is not very conspicuous in this
species; but the whole habit and general appearance of the bird sufficiently
justify its being regarded as a species of Corvus.

[Colour plate of 'The White Vented Crow.']


Procellaria fuliginosa, rostro albido.

Fuliginous Peteril, with whitish beak.

This is probably nothing more than a variety of the Procellaria
Æquinoctialis of Linnaeus. Its size is nearly that of a raven. The whole bird
is of a deep sooty brown, or blackish, except that on the chin is a small
patch of white running down a little on each side from the lower mandible.
The beak is of a yellowish-white.

[Colour plate of 'Fuliginous Peteril.']

[Plate 24]

Lacerta cauda longa carinata, corpore maculis transversis variis.

Lizard with long carinated tail, the body transversely variegated.

This Lizard approaches so extremely near to the Lacerta monitor of
Linnaeus, or Monitory Lizard, as to make it doubtful whether it be not in
reality a variety of that species. The body is about 15 inches in length, and
the tail is considerably longer. The animal is of a black colour, variegated
with yellow marks and streaks of different shapes, and running in a
transverse direction. On the legs are rows of transverse round spots, and on
the tail broad alternate bars of black and yellow. In some specimens the
yellow was much paler than in others, and nearly whitish.

[Colour plate of 'The Variegated Lizard.']


Chaetodon albescens, corpore, fasciis septem nigris, spinis pinnae
dorsalis sex, tertia longissima.

Whitish Chaetodon, with seven black stripes on the body. Six spines on
the dorsal fin, the third very long.

This appears to be a new and very elegant species of the genus
Chaetodon. The total length of the specimen was not more than four
inches. The colour a silvery white, darker, and of a bluish tinge on the
back; the transverse fasciae, or bands, of a deep black; the fins and tail of
a pale brown. The third ray or spine of the first dorsal fin is much longer
than the rest.

[Colour plate of '1. The Pungent Chaetedon. 2. Granulated Balistes.']


This variety chiefly differs from that represented in a preceding plate, p.
244, in having the head less distinctly acculeated and the scales on the
body not so strongly carinated.

Figure I. in the above-mentioned Plate is a small Snake, about a foot in
length, of a white colour, tinged with ferruginous; the body marked by
distant black bands, and each scale on the back marked with a small black

[Colour plate of 'Muricated Lizard']


Motacilla nigra, remigibus fuscis, abdomine albo, fronte genisque

Black Warbler, with the long feathers of the wings brown; the belly
white; the forehead and cheeks blue.

This beautiful species is generally found in the state described in the
specific character; but it appears to be subject to great variety, two of
which are exhibited; the lower and largest specimen having not only more
blue on the head than usual, but also a patch of brilliant blue on each side
of the back and a mark of reddish-brown or orange near the shoulders.

The upper specimen is considerably less than that beneath, and has still
more blue upon the head; the beak and legs smaller in proportion, darker in
colour, and the latter almost black. The head is crowned with a small crest
of bright azure; the cheeks and upper part of the back and wings are of the
same colour; the lower parts of each brown. The outer feathers of the wing
whitish, near the shoulder marked with brown. The head, neck, and breast
deep black; abdomen white, faintly tinged with dusky. Tail black, highly
cuneated. In this bird the blue is most lucid, composed of short, stiff
feathers, resembling fish-scales, with shining surfaces; but it has not the
beautiful scapulary of prismatic violet-colour found in the other. Legs, feet,
and claws black, and extremely slender.

[Colour plate of 'Superb Warblers']


M. fusca, subtus pallida, cauda prope apicem fascia fusca.

Brown Warbler, pale beneath, with a band of brown towards the tip of
the tail.

This little bird is about the same size with the Superb Warbler, and has
evidently some affinity with that species, but (exclusive of the difference in
colour) the tail is not in the least cuneated, but even at the end.

[Colour plate of 'Motacilla']


The species of Serpents are much less easily ascertained than those of
most other animals; not only on account of the great number of species, but
from the innumerable variations to which many of them are subject in
point of colour. Amongst those lately received from New Holland, the
following are the most remarkable.

SNAKE No. 1, about three feet and a half in length, of a bluish ashcolour,
coated with scales rather large than small, and having nearly the
same general proportion with the common English snake, or Coluber natrix
of Linnaeus.

[Colour plate of 'Snake No. 1']

SNAKE No. 2, nearly three feet in length, slender, and of a tawny
yellowish colour, with numerous indistinct bars of dark brown, and
somewhat irregular, or flexuous, in their disposition.

[Colour plate of 'Snake No. 2']

[Colour plate of 'Snake No. 5']

SNAKE No. 5, upwards of eight feet in length, of a darkish colour,
varied with spots and marks of a dull yellow: the belly also is of a
yellowish colour. The scales are small in proportion to the size of the
animal; the tail gradually tapers to a point.

SNAKES. See Plate containing Two Figures.

No. 1. Small, about fourteen inches in length, coated with very small
scales, and varied with irregular markings of yellow on a dark brown or
blackish ground. It is probably a young snake. No. 2. Small, about
fifteen inches in length, and fasciated with alternate bars of black
and white.

None of the above Serpents appear to be of a poisonous nature: they
belong to the Linnaean genus Coluber; yet No. 5 has some characters of
the genus Anguis.

[Colour plate of 'Snakes']


The insects received from New Holland are:

No. 1. The large Scolopendra, or Centipede (Scolopendra morsitans
Lin.). The specimens seemed of a somewhat darker colour than usual. See
plate of large Scolopendra, etc. annexed.

No. 2. A smaller Spider, of a dark colour; with a small thorax and large
round abdomen, and with the joints of the legs marked with whitish.

No. 3. A small species of Crab, or Cancer, of a pale colour, and which
should be ranked amongst the Cancri brachyuri in the Linnaean division of
the genus.

No. 4. A Caterpillar, beset with branchy prickles, and consequently belonging
to some species of Papilio or butterfly.


With the specimens of Lacertae, several eggs were received. They were
of an oval shape, and of a livid brown colour, whitish within and not much
larger than pease. On opening them the young lizards were extracted,
perfectly formed, and in all respects resembling the Scincoid Lizard,
except that the tail was longer in proportion. See plate of the Skinc-formed
Lizard, Fig. 2, 3, and 4, which are given of the natural size. Fig. 1
represents the eggs in the proportion they bear to the adult specimen.

[Colour plate '1. Large Scolopendra, 2. Spider, 3. Crab, 4. Caterpillar.']


Psittacus submacrourus viridis, capistro rectricumque basi rubris.
Cauda subtus flavescens, basi rubra. Remiges latere interiore fuscae.
Magnitudo Psittaci Porphyrionis. Rostrum subflavescens, seu
fuscoflavescens Pedes subfusci.

Green Paroquet, with somewhat lengthened tail; the feathers round the
beak, and the base of the tail feathers, red. About the size of the
violet-coloured Otaheite Paroquet. The beak is yellowish, or brownish-yellow.
The feet dusky. The tail feathers yellowish beneath, and red at the base.
The wing feathers dusky on the interior margin.

[Colour plate of 'The Small Paroquet']


Psittacus macrourus viridis, rectricibus basi ferrugineis, humeris subtus

Long-tailed Green Parrot, with the tail feathers ferruginous towards the
base, the shoulders blood-red beneath.

This species, which appears to be new, is of that sort generally termed
Paroquets. It is about ten inches in length: the general colour of the bird a
fine green: the outer edge of the wing, near the shoulders, blue: the edge of
the shoulders deep red; the under part the same. On the sides of the body a
patch of red: round the beak a few red feathers: long feathers of the wings
of a deep blackish-blue, edged slightly with yellow: tail deep ferruginous
toward the base, each feather becoming blue at the tip: bill and feet pale

[Colour plate of 'Red Shouldered Paroquet']


Labrus corpore albescente.

Labrus with whitish body.

The length of this fish was about six inches; the colour whitish; scales

From the bad condition of the specimen it was not possible to make so
accurate an examination of its characters as might have been wished.

[Colour plate of '1. Cyprinaceous Labrus. 2. The Hippocampus or Sea-Horse']


Lophius nigricans, subtus pallidus.

Blackish Lophius, pale beneath.

This fish was about six inches in length; its general colour a very deep
brown, almost black; the mouth extremely wide, and furnished with several
rows of slender sharp teeth. On opening it many ova were found, which
were very large in proportion to the fish.


Cottus albidus, capite aculeato, corpore fasciis transversis lividis.

Whitish Cottus, with aculeated head, body marked with transverse livid

This fish did not exceed four inches in length, and is sufficiently
described in its specific character.

[Colour plate of 'The Doubtful Lophius']

[Colour plate of '1. The Southern Cottus. 2. The Flying Fish']


Sparus? Argenteus, compressus.

Sparus? Of a silvery colour, the body much compressed.

The specimen figured was nearly six inches in length; the colour a silvery
white; scales of a moderate size, and the body much compressed. It seemed
to possess the characters of a Sparus, though they could scarce be
determined with sufficient certainty, from the bad condition of the


Mullus subflavescens, fasciis longitudinalis fuscis.

Pale yellowish Mullet, with longitudinal brown bands. Length about five
inches: scales large.

[Colour plate of '1. Fasciated Mullet. 2. Doubtful Sparus.']


The Non-descript Animals of New South Wales occupied a great deal of
Mr. White's attention, and he preserved several specimens of them in
spirits, which arrived in England in a very perfect state. There was no
person to whom these could be given with so much propriety as Mr.
Hunter, he, perhaps, being most capable of examining accurately their
structure, and making out their place in the scale of animals; and it is to
him that we are indebted for the following observations upon them, in
which the anatomical structure is purposely avoided, as being little
calculated for the generality of readers of a work of this kind.

It is much to be wished that those gentlemen who are desirous of obliging
their friends, and promoting the study of Natural History, by
sending home specimens, would endeavour to procure all the information
they can relating to such specimens as they may collect, more especially
animals. The subjects themselves may be valuable, and may partly explain
their connection with those related to them, so as, in some measure, to
establish their place in nature, but they cannot do it entirely; they only give
us the form and construction, but leave us in other respects to conjecture,
many of them requiring further observations relative to their oeconomy.

A neglect in procuring this information has left us, almost to this day, very
ignorant of that part of the Natural History of animals which is the most
interesting. The Opossum is a remarkable instance of this. There is
something in the mode of propagation in this animal that deviates from all
others; and although known in some degree to be extraordinary, yet it has
never been attempted, where opportunity offered, to complete the
investigation. I have often endeavoured to breed them in England; I have
bought a great many, and my friends have assisted me by bringing them or
sending them alive, yet never could get them to breed; and although
possessed of a great many facts respecting them, I do not believe my
information is sufficient to complete the system of propagation in this

In collecting animals, even the name given by the natives, if possible,
should be known; for a name, to a Naturalist, should mean nothing but that
to which it is annexed, having no allusion to any thing else; for when
it has, it divides the idea.

This observation applies particularly to the animals which have come
from New Holland; they are, upon the whole, like no other that we
yet know of; but as they have parts in some respect similar to others,
names will naturally be given to them expressive of those similarities;
which has already taken place: for instance, one is called the Kangaroo
Rat, but which should not be called either Kangaroo or Rat; I have
therefore adopted such names as can only be appropriated to each
particular animal, conveying no other idea.

Animals admit of being divided into great classes, but will not so distinctly
admit of subdivision without interfering with each other. Thus the class
called Quadruped is so well marked that even the whole is justly
placed in the same class. Birds the same; Amphibia (as they are called) the
same; and so of fish, etc.; but when we are subdividing these great classes
into their different tribes, genera, and species, then we find a mixture of
properties, some species of one tribe partaking of similar properties with a
species of another tribe.


This animal (probably from its size) was the principal one
taken notice of in this island; the only parts at first brought home were some
skins and sculls; and I was favoured with one of the sculls from Sir Joseph
Banks. As the teeth of such animals as are already known in some degree point
out their digestive organs, I was in hopes that I might have been able to form
an opinion of the particular tribe of the animals already known to which the
Kangaroo should belong; but the teeth did not accord with those of any one
class of animals I was acquainted with, therefore I was obliged to wait with
patience till I could get the whole: and in many of its other organs the
deviation from other animals is not less than in its teeth.

In its mode of propagation it very probably comes nearer to the Opossum
than any other animal; although it is not at all similar to it in other
respects. Its hair is of a greyish-brown colour, similar to that of
the wild rabbit of Great Britain, is thick and long when the animal
is old; but it is late in growing, and when only begun to grow it
is like a strong down; however, in some parts it begins earlier than
others, as about the mouth, etc. In all of the young Kangaroos yet
brought home (although some as large as a full-grown cat), they have
all the marks of a foetus; no hair; ears lapped close over the head;
no marks on the feet of having been used in progressive motion. The
large nail on the great toe sharp at the point; and the sides of the mouth
united something like the eye-lids of a puppy just whelped, having only a
passage at the anterior part. This union of the two lips on the sides is
of a particular structure, it wears off as it grows up, and by the time
it is of the size of a small rabbit, disappears.

[Colour plate of 'A Kangaroo']


The teeth of this animal are so singular that it is impossible from them to
say what tribe it is of. There is a faint mixture in them, corresponding to
those of different tribes of animals.

Take the mouth at large, respecting the situation of the teeth, it would
class in some degree with the Scalpris dentata; [* This tribe includes
the Rat, etc.] in a fainter degree with the horse, and ruminants;
and with regard to the line of direction of all the teeth, they are
very like those of the Scalpris dentata. The foreteeth in the upper
jaw agree with the hog, and those in the lower, in number, with the
Scalpris dentata; but with regard to position, and probably use, with the
hog. The grinders would seem to be a mixture of hog and ruminants; the
enamel on their external and grinding surfaces rather formed into several
cutting edges than points. There are six incisors in the upper jaw and only
two in the lower; but these two are so placed as to oppose those of the
upper; five grinders in each side of each jaw, the most anterior of which is

The proportions of some of the parts of this animal bear no analogy
to what is common in most others. The disproportions in the length
between the fore legs and the hind are very considerable; also in their
strength, yet perhaps not more than in the Jerboa. This disproportion
between the fore legs and the hind is principally in the more adult; for in
the very young, about the size of a half-grown rat, they are pretty well
proportioned; which shews that at the early period of life they do not use
progressive motion.

The proportions of the different parts of which the hind legs are composed
are very different. The thigh of the Kangaroo is extremely short, and the
leg is very long. The hind foot is uncommonly long; on which, to
appearance, are placed three toes, the middle toe by much the largest
and the strongest, and looks something like the long toe of an ostrich.
The outer toe is next in size; and what appears to be the inner toe is
two, inclosed in one skin or covering.

The great toe nail much resembles that of an ostrich, as also the nail of
the outer toe; and the inner, which appears to be but one toe, has two small
nails, which are bent and sharp.

From the heel, along the under side of the foot and toe, the skin is
adapted for walking upon.

The fore legs, in the full-grown Kangaroo, are small in proportion to the
hind, or the size of the animal; the feet, or hands, are also small; the skin
on the palm is different from that on the back of the hand and fingers. There
are five toes or fingers on this foot, the middle rather the largest; the
others become very gradually shorter, and are all nearly of the same shape. The
nails are sharp, fit for holding. The tail is long in the old; but not so long,
in proportion to the size of the animal, in the young. It would seem to keep
pace with the growth of the hind legs, which are the instruments of
progressive motion in this animal; and which would also shew that the tail
is a kind of second instrument in this action.
The under lip is divided in the middle, each side rounded off at the

It has two clavicles; but they are short, so that the shoulders are not
thrown out.


The species of Spiders, unless seen recent, and in the utmost state of
perfection, are not easily distinguished. The present species is most
remarkable for the lucid surface of its thorax and legs, which latter are
furnished with several long moveable spines, that may be either elevated or
depressed at the will of the animal: this, however, is not peculiar to the
present species, but is seen in some others. The eyes are eight in number,
and are arranged in the same manner as those of the great American
Spider, or Aranea Avicularia of Linnaeus.

The colour of this Spider is a clear chestnut brown, except the body,
which is a pale brown, with a very deep or blackish fascia on its upper
part, reaching about half-way down. The orifice at the tip of each fang
is very visible by so slight a magnifying power as that of a glass of
two inches focus: this Spider is therefore of the number of those which
poison their prey before they destroy it.

The Plate exhibits the back and front view, of the natural size. A. the
order in which the spines are placed. The lesser a. two spines enlarged,
shewing the bracket on which they turn, and the groove or niche they shut
into when closed. C. the fangs magnified.

[Colour plate of 'White-Jointed Spider']


This animal is about the size of a racoon, is of a dark grey colour on the
back, becoming rather lighter on the sides, which terminates in a rich
brown on the belly. The hair is of two kinds, a long hair, and a kind of fur,
and even the long hair, at the roots, is of the fur kind.

The head is short; the eyes rather prominent; the ears broad, not peaked.

The teeth resemble those of all the animals from that country I have
hitherto seen.

The incisors are not continued into the grinders by intermediate teeth,
although there are two teeth in the intermediate space in the upper jaw, and
one in the lower. The incisors are similar to those of the kangaroo, and six
in number in the upper jaw, opposed by two in the lower, which have an
oblique surface extending some distance from their edge, so as to increase
the surface of contact.

[Colour plate of 'Wha-Tapoau Roo']

There are two cuspidati on each side in the upper jaw, and only one in the
lower; five grinders on each side of each jaw, the first rather pointed, the
others appear nearly of the same size, and quadrangular in their shape, with
a hollow running across their base from the outside to the inner, which is of
some depth; and another which crosses it, but not so deep, dividing the
grinding surface into four points.

On the fore foot there are five toes, the inner the shortest, resembling, in
a slight degree, a thumb. The hind foot resembles a hand, or that of the
monkey and opossum, the great toe having no nail, and opposing the whole
sole of the foot, which is bare. The nails on the other toes, both of the fore
and hind foot, resemble, in a small degree, those of the cat, being broad
and covered; and the last bone of the toe has a projection on the under side,
at the articulation. Each nail has, in some degree, a small sheath, covering
its base when drawn up.

The tail is long, covered with long hair, except the under surface of that
half towards the termination, of the breadth of half an inch, becoming
broader near the tip or termination; this surface is covered with a strong
cuticle, and is adapted for laying hold.


This animal is a variety of the dog, and, like the shepherd's dog in most
countries, approaches near to the original of the species, which is the wolf,
but is not so large, and does not stand so high on its legs.

The ears are short, and erect, the tail rather bushy; the hair, which is of a
reddish-dun colour, is long and thick, but strait. It is capable of barking,
although not so readily as the European dogs; is very ill-natured and
vicious, and snarls, howls, and moans, like dogs in common.

Whether this is the only dog in New South Wales, and whether they have
it in a wild state, is not mentioned; but I should be inclined to believe they
had no other; in which case it will constitute the wolf of that country; and
that which is domesticated is only the wild dog tamed, without having yet
produced a variety, as in some parts of America.

[Colour plate of 'Dog of New South Wales']


This animal is the size of a rat, and has very much the appearance of the
martin cat, but hardly so long in the body in proportion to its size.

[Colour plate of 'A Tapoa Tafa']

The head is flat forwards, and broad from side to side, especially between
the eyes and ears; the nose is peaked, and projecting beyond the teeth,
which makes the upper jaw appear to be considerably longer than the
lower; the eyes are pretty large; the ears broad, especially at their base, not
becoming regularly narrower to a point, nor with a very smooth edge, and
having a small process on the concave, or inner surface, near to the base.

It has long whiskers from the sides of the cheeks, which begin forwards, near
the nose, by small and short hairs, and become longer and stronger as they
approach the eyes. It has very much the hair of a rat, to which it is similar
in colour; but near to the setting on of the tail, it is of a lighter brown,
forming a broad ring round it.

The fore feet are shorter than the hind, but much in the same proportion
as those of the rat; the hind feet are more flexible. There are five toes
on the fore feet, the middle the largest, falling off on each side nearly
equally; but the fore, or inner toe, is rather shortest: they are thin
from side to side, the nails are pretty broad, laterally, and thin at
their base; not very long but sharp; the animal walks on its whole palm,
on which there is no hair. The hind feet are pretty long, and have five
toes; that which answers to our great toe is very short, and has no
nail; the next is the longest in the whole, falling gradually off to the outer
toe; the shape of the hind toes is the same as in the fore feet, as are
likewise the nails; it walks nearly on the whole foot. The tail is long and
covered with long hair, but not all of the same colour.

The teeth of this creature are different from any other animal yet known.
The mouth is full of teeth. The lower jaw narrow in comparison to the upper,
more especially backwards, which allows of much broader grinders
in this jaw than in the lower, and which occasions the grinders in the upper
jaw to project considerably over those in the lower. In the middle the
cuspidati oppose one another, the upper piercers, or holders, go behind
those of the lower; the second class of incisors in the lower jaw overtop
those of the upper while the two first in the lower go within, or behind
those of the upper.

In the upper jaw, before the holders, there are four teeth on each
side, three of which are pointed, the point standing on the inner
surface; and the two in front are longer, stand more obliquely forwards,
and appear to be appropriated for a particular use. The holders are a little
way behind the last fore teeth, to allow those of the lower jaw to come
between. They are pretty long, the cuspidati on each side become longer
and larger towards the grinders; they are points or cones placed on a broad

There are four grinders on each side, the middle two the largest, the last
the least; their base is a triangle of the scalenus kind, or having one angle
obtuse and two acute. Their base is composed of two surfaces, an inner and
an outer, divided by processes or points: it is the inner that the grinders of
the lower jaw oppose, when the mouth is regularly shut. The lower jaw has three
fore teeth, or incisors, on each side; the first considerably the largest,
projecting obliquely forwards; the other two of the same kind, but smaller,
the last the smallest.

The holder in this jaw is not so large as in the upper jaw, and close to the
incisors. There are three cuspidati, the middle one the largest, the last the
least; these are cones standing on their base, but not on the middle, rather
on the anterior side. There are four grinders, the two middle the largest,
and rather quadrangular, each of which has a high point or cone on the
outer edge, with a smaller, and three more diminutive on the inner edge.

It is impossible to say, critically, what the various forms of these teeth are
adapted for from the general principles of teeth. In the front we have what
may divide and tear off; behind those, there are holders or destroyers;
behind the latter, such as will assist in mashing, as the grinders of the lion,
and other carnivorous animals; and, last of all, grinders, to divide parts into
smaller portions, as in the graminivorous tribe: the articulation of the jaw
in some degree admits of all those motions.


Another animal of the same species; only differing from the Tapoa Tafa
in its external colour, and in being spotted.

[Colour plate of 'A Tapoa Tafa']


The head is flat sideways, but not so much so as the true Scalpris
dentata. The ears are neither long nor short, but much like those of a
mouse in proportion to the size of the animal.

The fore legs are short in comparison to the hind. There are four toes on
the fore feet, the two middle are long, and nearly of equal lengths, with
long narrow nails, slightly bent; the two side toes are short, and nearly
equal in size, but the outer rather the largest. From the nails on the two
middle toes, one would suppose that the animal burrowed. Their hind legs
are long, and it is in their power to stand either on the whole foot, or on the
toes only.

[Colour plate of 'A Poto Roo']

On the hind legs are three toes, the middle one large, and the two side
ones short. The tail is long. The hair on the body is rather thin; it is of two
kinds, a fur, and a long hair, which last becomes exterior from its length.
The fur is the finest, and is composed of serpentine hairs; the long hair is
stronger, and is also serpentine, for more than two- thirds of its length near
to the skin, and terminates in a pretty strong pointed end, like the quill of a
hedge-hog. It is of a brownish-grey colour, something like the brown, or
grey, rabbit, with a tinge of a greenish-yellow.

It has a pouch on the lower part of the belly, the mouth opens forwards,
and the cavity extends backwards to the pubis, where it terminates; on the
abdominal surface of this pouch are four nipples or two pair, each pair
placed very near the other.


This animal is of the size of a small rabbit: it has a broad flat body, the
head a good deal resembles that of the squirrel: the eyes are full, prominent,
and large: the ears broad and thin: its legs short, and its tail very
long. Between the fore and hind legs, on each side, is placed a doubling of
the skin of the side, which when the legs are extended laterally is as it were
pulled out, forming a broad lateral wing or fin, and when the legs are made
use of in walking, this skin, by its elasticity, is drawn close to the side of
the animal and forms a kind of ridge, on which the hair has a peculiar
appearance. In this respect it is very similar to the flying squirrel of

[Colour plate of 'Hepoona Roo']

It has five toes on each fore foot, with sharp nails. The hind foot has also
five toes, but differs considerably from the fore foot; one of the toes may
be called a thumb, having a broad nail, something like that of the Monkey
or Opossum: what answers to the fore and middle toes are united in one
common covering, and appear like one toe with two nails; this is somewhat
similar to the Kangaroo; the two other toes are in the common form, these
four nails are sharp like those on the fore foot. This formation of the foot is
well calculated for holding any thing while it is moving its body, or its fore
foot, to other parts, a property belonging (probably) to all animals who
move from the hind parts; such as the Monkey, Mocock, Mongoose,
Opossum, Parrot, Leech, etc.

Its hair is very thick and long, making a very fine fur, especially on the
back. It is of a dark brown-grey on the upper part, a light white-grey on the
lower side of what may be termed the wing, and white on the under
surface, from the neck to the parts adjacent to the anus.


The feathers of the New Holland Cassowary are of a remarkable
construction; and may, perhaps, be more easily delineated than described.
The specimen is figured of the exact size, and consists of two long slender
shafts, extremely flaccid, issuing from one small quill. The feather at the
base of each shaft is closely set, soft, and flossy, widening and growing
harder gradually to the tip, resembling the texture of a dried plant.

The colour brownish-ash, whitening towards the quill.

It seems incapable of resisting water, or of holding air. This circumstance
in the feather, added to the great pliability of the shaft, is a most admirable
provision for a bird whose safety is entrusted solely to its feet.

[Colour plate of 'A. Fish Hooks of New South Wales' and 'B. A Feather
of the Cassowary']


Fig. A. represents a hook of the same size, formed of a hard black
woodlike substance, neatly executed, and finished with a small knob to assist
in fastening it to the line; it is well mounted: the line consists of two
strands very evenly laid, and twisted hard; made with a grassy substance
dark in colour, and nearly as fine as raw silk: the length of it is shewn by
the top of the rod being broken off.

Fig. B is a hook of mother of pearl, formed by an internal volute of some
spiral shell, assisted by grinding it a little on one side only: the point of
this hook, as well as of the former, seems, to an European, to turn so much as
to render them almost useless.


AA. is a War Spear, formed of a light reed-like substance produced
by the yellow gum tree, vide p. 235, which if the ends marked with
the letters were joined together would shew its full length: the
long pointed head is of hard wood, of a reddish colour, and is fastened into
the shaft in the firmest manner by a cement of the yellow gum only.

B. is a Stick, at one end of which is a small peg fastened with the same
cement, and forming a hook: the other end is ornamented with the shell of
the limpet or patella, stuck on with the gum; and, thus constructed, it is
used to throw the spear--in this manner: The shell end of the stick being
held in the right hand, and the spear poised in the left, the end of the hook
at B. is inserted into a hollow at the foot of the spear at D. and thus thrown
with a force similar to that of a stone from a sling: this is shewn more
particularly in a reduced figure at the upper part of the Plate, a. b.

[Colour plate of 'Implements of New South Wales']

CC. is a Spear or Gig, of a substance similar to the former, for striking
fish in the water: the true length of which will be known by supposing the
parts joined together at the lettered ends: the shaft consists of two pieces, a
large and a small one, joined by the gum: and the head is composed of four
sticks inserted into the shaft with gum, and tied together above with slips
of bark, which are afterwards tightened by little wedges, driven within the
bandage: each of these sticks is terminated by the tooth of a fish, very
sharp, and stuck on by a lump of the gum cement: the shaft of this
instrument is punctured in many places with very small holes, to the pith in
the centre, but for what purpose is not known.

H. is a Hatchet, of which the head is a very hard black pebble stone,
rubbed down at one end to an edge; the handle is a stick of elastic wood,
split, which being bent round the middle of the stone, and the extremities
brought together, is strongly bound with slips of bark, and holds the head
very firmly, as smiths' chissels are held by hazel sticks in Europe.

S. is a kind of blunt Sword, of hard wood, like the head of the spear A.

F. seems to be an instrument of offence; it is a stick of the natural
growth, with the bark on; the root of which is cut round into a large knob;
the end F. is made rough with notches, that it may be held more firmly in
the hand.

R. is a Basket, formed by a single piece of a brown fibrous bark. This
separated whole from the tree is gathered up at each end in folds, and
bound in that form by withes, which also make the handle. The Basket is
patched in several places with yellow gum, from which it appears to have
been sometimes used for carrying water.

These implements are drawn from exact measurements, and fitted to a
scale of three feet, inserted at the foot of the Plate.


This fish is so well known to naturalists, and is so frequently seen in
every voyage, that it is unnecessary to give a particular description of it.
See Plate page 266.


This animal, like the Flying-fish, being commonly known, a description
is not necessary. It is the Syngnathus hippocampus of Linnaeus. See Plate
page 264.


Balistes pinna dorsali anteriore biradiata, corpore granoso. Valde affinis
B. Papilloso Linnaei. Corpus albido-cinerascens, papillis parvulis
aspersum. Thorax velut in sacculum productus.

Balistes with the anterior dorsal fin two-spined, and the body covered
with granules.

This fish is extremely nearly allied to the Balistes papillosus of Linnaeus.
The body is of a whitish ash-colour, and covered with small papillae. The
thorax as it were produced into a Sacculus beneath. See Plate page 254.


Au vere distincta ab A. hepseto Lin.? A. pinna ani radiis
sedecim. Corpus subferrugineum. Cauda forsicata. Fascia lateralis nitidissima.

Doubtful whether really distinct from the A. hepsetus of Linnaeus.
Atherine with the anal fin furnished with sixteen rays. The body is of
a subferruginous cast. The tail forked. The lateral line extremely bright.


This fish is so well known, that a particular description need not be
given. It is the Fistularia tabacaria of Linnaeus.


This fish, like the preceding, does not require a particular description; is
met with in most seas, and possesses powerfully the faculty of adhesion, by
the top of the head: frequently to ships' bottoms, whence it is named

[Colour plate of '1. The Atherine, 2. The Tobacco Pipe Fish, 3. The Remora']


The general colours of the female are the same as in the male, but less
vivid; nor has it the white markings on the front of the head and over the
eye, but on the cheeks only. The back and breast are black without white
interspersions. The abdomen black, streaked with dusky white; the yellow
on the wings and tail inclining to an olivaceous green, the feathers in the
latter obtusely pointed. A scapulary of brown adorns the shoulders,
terminating in a lanceolate shape half way down the back.

In this bird the bill is longer, and the legs and general form stouter than
the male.

[Colour plate of 'New Holland Creeper, Female']


On the Passage

Marines 1
Marines' Wives 1
Marines' Children 1

After the Landing

Marines 3
Marines' Children 2

Total 8

On the Passage

Male Convicts 36
Female Convicts 4
Convicts' Children 5

After the Landing

Male Convicts, including two murdered 22
Female Ditto 8
Convicts' Children 9

Total 84

Executed, by a sentence of the Criminal Court 4
Condemned to death by the Court, but pardoned by the Governor 6
Missing, including one Female 9



ARTHUR PHILLIP, Esq., Governor in Chief, Captain General etc. etc.
ROBERT ROSS, Esq., Lieut. Governor, and Commander of the Troops.
ANDREW MILLER, Commissary, and Secretary to his Excellency.
DAVID COLLINS, Judge Advocate.
JOHN WHITE, Surgeon.
D. CONSIDEN, First Assistant Ditto.
THOMAS ARNDELL, Second Ditto Ditto.
WILLIAM BALMAIN, Third Ditto Ditto.
WILLIAM BREWER, Provost Marshal.
H. T. AUGUSTUS ALT, Esq. Surveyor of Lands.


Captains           JAMES CAMPBELL.
                   JOHN SHEA.
Capt. Lieutenants  MEREDITH.
                   WATKIN TENCH.
First Lieutenants  G. JOHNSTON.
                   JOHN CRESSWELL.
                   ROBERT KELLOW.
                   JOHN POULDEN.
                   JOHN JOHNSTON.
                   JAMES MAITLAND SHAIRP.
                   THOMAS TIMMINS.
                   THOMAS DAVY.
Second Lieutenants CLARKE.
                   WILLIAM FEDDY.
                   JOHN LONG, Adjutant.
First Lieutenant   JAMES FURZAR, Quartermaster.
First Lieutenant   JAMES MAXWELL,
Second Lieutenant  COLLINS
[Maxwell and Collins] Returning to Europe for the recovery of their


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