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Title: A Voyage to Establish a Colony at Port Philip in Bass's Strait
       On the South Coast of New South Wales, in His Majesty's Ship
       Calcutta, in the Years 1802-3-4
Author: James Hingston Tuckey (1776-1816)
* A Project Gutenberg Australia eBook *
eBook No.: 0801331.txt
Language: English
Date first posted: November 2008
Date most recently updated: November 2008

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Title: A Voyage to Establish a Colony at Port Philip in Bass's Strait
       On the South Coast of New South Wales, in His Majesty's Ship
       Calcutta, in the Years 1802-3-4
Author: James Hingston Tuckey (1776-1816)

* * * * *

Longman, Hurst, Rees and Orme. London, 1805

* * * * *

To Sir F. I. Hartwell, Kt.
One of the Honourable the Commissioners of his Majesty's Navy.

Dear Sir,

In dedicating the following Narrative to you, I am aware that I shall be
suspected of a great share of personal vanity; and, perhaps, in this
instance, not of more than I really possess: for to be honoured with
your friendship may well be a source of pride to the most humble.

To you, Sir, I feel it necessary to account of the barrenness of
professional information, which may be remarked in this Narrative. The
Calcutta's voyage, though comprising the circumnavigation of the globe,
was never intended to be a voyage of discovery; and from the undeviating
route which she pursued, it was particularly barren of events which
could lead to scientific observations: indeed, this track has, of late
years, been so often traversed by the ablest navigators and men of
science, that the most attentive diligence can scarcely glean any thing
that has not already been the subject of investigation. In appearing
before the Public under these disadvantages, I am at least certain of
deriving one very high gratification, that of gratefully acknowledging
the continued kindness I have received from you, Sir, since I first
launched upon the world's wide waves; and should it ever be my good
fortune to be engaged in any future project of discovery, I trust I
shall, at least, have a just claim to diligence and perseverance.

I have the honour to be,
Dear Sir,
Your faithful and
obliged humble Servant,

* * * * *


The Author presumes to claim the indulgence of the Public towards the
literary faults, which he fears are too numerous in the following pages.
He trusts it will be recollected that a sailor's life affords few
moments of "learned ease;" and that he is fitted, both by education and
habit, more for action than for thought. Connected arrangement, and
logical deductions, are the offspring of retired meditation; but
meditation, pensive nymph, "shuns the noise of folly," or flies before
the mirth of thoughtlessness: hence it will scarcely be expected to find
a correct work produced amidst the interruptions of active service, or
the continual calls of subordinate duty.

With respect to information, the author hopes some will be found new,
and the whole not entirely uninteresting. Some part of it is necessarily
derived from the information of others; and for its correctness the
Author can only state his own belief, as being received from persons
capable of judging, and who could have no interest in misrepresentation.
For the paucity of nautical observations, he conceives no apology is
necessary. On this head he has confined himself to a few notes upon
points which he considered most interesting to navigation. A minute
detail of winds, weather, and all the common occurrences of a ship at
sea, he suspects would neither amuse nor instruct the majority of his
readers; and to those who find entertainment in "ditto weather, employed
occasionally," he recommends the logbook publications of some recent

* * * * *



Motives which induced Government to employ King's ships in transporting
Convicts to New South Wales.--Intention of establishing a Colony in
Bass's Strait.--Calcutta appointed to convey thither the first
establishment.--Passage from England to Teneriffe, and the Cape Verd


From the Cape Verd Islands to Rio de Janeiro.--North Atlantic
Ocean.--St. Sebastian.--Population.--Manners, Climate, and Disseases.


Rio de Janeiro.--Productions, Trade.--Slaves, Indians.--Police and
Courts of Justice.--State of Defense.--Political Situation.


From Rio de Janeiro to the Cape of Good Hope.--Islands of
Tristan d'Acunha.--Cape Town.--Simmon's Town.--Dutch.--Departure from
the Cape.--Island of St. Paul.--Arrival at Port Philip.


Transactions at Port Philip from the arrival to the sailing
of the Calcutta.--Survey of the Port.--Natives.--Communication with
Port Jackson.--Determination to remove the colony.--Examination of
Western Port.



Currents of the Oceans


List of Plants found at Port Philip, October, November, and December, 1803.


Meteorological Journal for the Months of October, November,
and December 1803, at Port Philip.


Observations on the various kinds of Timber found in New South Wales.


Observations respecting the selection of Convicts for transportation,
and on the means of preserving health on the voyage.

* * * * *



Motives which induced Government to employ King's ships in transporting
Convicts to New South Wales.--Intention of establishing a Colony in
Bass's Strait.--Calcutta appointed to convey thither the first
establishment.--Passage from England to Teneriffe, and the Cape Verd

The motives, which, in the year 1802, induced Government to employ
King's ships in transporting convicts to New South Wales, appear to have
had their foundation, not only in principles of economy, but also in the
union of many other advantages, which promised to be the result. Until
this period, merchant ships had always been chartered to convey their
victims of vice and folly to the place of their destination: independent
of the expence of these vessels, which was a dead loss to Government,
the abuses disgraceful to humanity, that too frequently took place on
board of them, called aloud for correction. By employing King's ships on
this service, a number of officers and seamen would be provided for, who
might otherwise emigrate to foreign services, and be totally lost to
their country; and again, it must naturally be supposed, that the
Officers, having neither pecuniary nor commercial interest in the
voyage, would conduct it upon principles very different from those of
mercenary, and perhaps illiterate traders; at the same time that the
former would be enabled to keep the convicts in a better state of
discipline, and also be more careful of their health, by that constant
attention to cleanliness, which characterizes the British navy. To these
obvious and immediate advantages, was added another, which, though
merely speculative, promised, if successful, to exceed them all. It was
known, that timber, supposed to be peculiarly adapted to naval uses,
might be procured at New South Wales with little difficulty or expence,
and in the present time of its encreasing scarcity and great demand at
home, both for public and private service, this was an object of the
first national importance[1]: it was therefore determined to try the
experiment, when, by the conclusion of peace, the nation began to
breathe, after the late long and arduous contest. The ships of the navy
best calculated for this purpose, were decidedly those built for the
East India Company, and purchased into the King's service during the
war; and accordingly, the Glatton sailed for Port-Jackson in September,
with 330 male, and 170 female convicts.

[1. See the letters between the Court of Directors of the East India
Company, and the Commissioners for the Affairs of India.]

The Calcutta, another ship of the like class, was intended to pursue the
same route and was commissioned in Asiatic Register, July 1801.

October following[2]; but while fitting out, a material change was made
in her destination. Since the discovery of Bass's Strait[3], it had
entered into the contemplation of Government to establish a settlement
at its western entrance, as well from commercial, as political motives.
In the first respect, it would give the greatest encouragement to the
speculations carried on for seals, and sea-elephants, to the islands in
the Straits, to have a secure port in their vicinity, where the produce
might be collected until ready for exportation: in the next place, this
measure would prevent any rival nations from establishing themselves on
this coast, who might become troublesome neighbours to our colony at
Port Jackson, which must no longer be considered as a contemptible part
of the British dominions; and to which, the possession of Bass's Strait
would give us a less tedious and circuitous access. Port Philip[4], on
the north shore of the Straits, which was reported to be an excellent
harbour, seemed, from its geographical position, to possess all the
advantages required in the proposed settlement. To carry this project
into execution, several necessary alterations took place in the
equipment of the Calcutta; and the command of her was conferred on
Captain Daniel Woodriff, an experienced naval officer, who had before
visited New South Wales, as Agent of Transports. As the Calcutta was
found insufficient to convey the necessary stores for the new
settlement, the Ocean, a merchant ship of 500 tons burthen, was
chartered for the purpose, and was afterwards to proceed to China, for a
cargo of teas: on board her were embarked the civil, and part of the
military officers, and settlers; together with a the greater part of the
stores, provisions, and implements of agriculture; while the Calcutta
conveyed a detachment of marines, the whole of the convicts, their wives
and children, and the remainder of the stores, as well as a considerable
quantity for Port Jackson[5].

[2. The Glatton and Calcutta were fitted exactly alike. They were armed
en flute, having only 18 guns on the upper deck; rigged as 56 gun ships,
with a compliment of 170.]

[3. Bass's Strait separates New Holland from Van Diemen's Land, in lat.
39S.; it was discovered by Mr. Bass, surgeon of his Majesty's ship
Reliance, in an open whale boat, in the year 1799. It was afterwards
surveyed by Mr. Bass and Mr. Hinders, second lieutenant of the Reliance,
and found to be from 100 to 130 miles in breadth, affording a clear
passage from the South Sea into the Indian Ocean.]

[4. Port Philip was discovered by Acting Lieutenant John Murray, in his
Majesty's armed brig Lady Nelson, and by him named Port King; which was
afterwards changed by Governor King to Port Philip, after Captain Arthur
Philip, the first Governor of New South Wales.]

[5. The following was the Establishment for the New Colony.]


1 Lieutenant Governor, 480L. per ann.
1 Deputy Judge-advocate<+>, 10s. per diem.
1 Chaplain, 10s.
1 Deputy Commissary, 7s. 6d.
1 Surgeon, 10s.
2 Assistant Surgeons; 1st, 7s.6d.--2nd, 5s.
1 Surveyor, 7s. 6d.
1 Minerologist, 7s. 6d.
2 Superintendants of Convicts, each 50L. per ann.
4 Overseers, each, 25L.
1 Superintendant of Artificers, 45L.

<+ This Officer remained in England.>


1 Captain Commandant. (Lieut. Governor.)
2 1st Lieutenants.
1 2d ditto.
3 Serjeants.
3 Corporals.
2 Drums.
39 Rank and File.
5 Women, and 1 child.
307 Male Convicts, with 17 of their wives; and 7 children.]

The Calcutta arrived at Portsmouth, from the River Medway, in the middle
of February 1803, where she waited the junction of the Ocean, which was
protracted until the 8th of April. The first weeks of this month the
winds had been constantly from the eastward; but various trifling
causes, which commonly retard expeditions of this nature, prevented our
taking advantage of them, and when these obstacles were removed, the
winds, as if determined to shew their contempt for the ambitious, and
too often short-sighted views of man, suddenly changed to the westward,
and blew with a degree of violence that left no hopes of succeding,
should we attempt to beat down Channel. Perhaps no situation can be more
irksome than this to a sailor; when his mind is made up for departure,
every delay that impedes it, is felt as a misfortune; and yet such is
the contradiction in the mind of man, that while he wishes, he fears the
removal of these impediments, and would still linger out another day, to
accomplish something which is yet undone, or perhaps to take another
last farewell of friends, to whom he has already bidden fifty times
adieu. The first moment of a favourable wind we took advantage of, and
quitted St. Helen's on the morning of the 26th; but on the evening of
the next day, the wind again veering to the westward, and blowing hard,
obliged us to run through the Needles, and take shelter in Yarmouth
Roads. The following morning with a strong breeze from the northward, we
again put to sea, and cleared the Channel on the 29th. This part of a
foreign voyage, though a mere point as to distance, is reckoned by
sailors the most material and difficult; for the English Channel is so
situated, that the prevailing westerly winds make the egress from it
extremely precarious, particularly in winter.

In bidding farewel to England, it may naturally be supposed, that the
feelings of our motley crew would be as various as their situations,
their prospects, or their characters; yet the general sentiment seemed
to be that of entire indifference: a few women alone, whose birth and
education had promised them a far different fate, were affected by this
heart rending, though voluntary, exile from their native country; and

"Shudd'ring still, to face the distant deep,
Return'd, and wept, and still return'd to weep."

Among the convicts on board, were some who, by prodigality, and its
attendant vices, had degraded themselves from a respectable rank in
society, and were indebted to the lenity of their prosecutors alone for
an escape from the last sentence of the law. Some of these men were
accompanied by their wives, who had married them in the sunshine of
prosperity, when the world smiled deceitfully, and their path of life
appeared strewed with unfading flowers; in the season of adversity, they
would not be separated, but reposed their heads upon the same thorny
pillow; and as they had shared with them the cup of joy, they refused
not that of sorrow. Those alone who know the miserable and degraded
situation of a transported felon, can appretiate the degree of connubial
love, that could induce these women to accompany their guilty husbands
in their exile. The laws can only make distinction in crimes, while the
criminals, whatever may have been their former situation in life, must
suffer alike for crimes of the same nature: it therefore entirely
depended on us to ameliorate their condition, and grant such
indulgences, as the nature and degree of the crime, and the otherwise
general character and conduct of the prisoner seemed to deserve. To
these helpless females, all the attentions that humanity dictated, and
that the nature of our service would admit, were extended, but still it
was impossible to separate their situations entirely from their guilty
husbands, they were consequently far, very far, from being comfortable;
and one of them, borne down by the first hardships of the voyage, which
she felt with redoubled force from being far advanced in her pregnancy,
fell a victim to her misplaced affection before our arrival at

The ships anchored before Santa Cruz on the 17th of May, and having
completed their water, and procured a supply of wine, sailed again on
the 21st. While laying at Santa Cruz, fresh beef was served throughout
the ship, and as a slight indication of scurvy was observed in some of
the prisoners, a large quantity of vegetables and lemons was laid in for
sea store. The free use of fresh water was also permitted to wash the
convict's clothes; an indulgence, the beneficial effects of which cannot
be too highly valued. In voyages of this nature, where a great number of
people are crowded together, to whom it is not always possible to permit
such exercise as is necessary to health, cleanliness is the only
preventative of disease; and, independent of any other necessity, it
will always be eligible to put into any convenient port for that purpose

It would appear, that the island of Teneriffe deserves the high
character it has received for salubrity of climate. We attended the
funeral of a native, who had lived 26 years beyond the common life of
man, "after which all is but labour and trouble." His brother, who
attended the funeral, was 94, and seemed to put his own mortal destiny
at a distance.

The thermometer stood between 70 and 72, a temperature, perhaps, more
congenial to human life, than any other.

The celebrated Peak has by no means the grand appearance that the
traveller is taught to expect, but its apparent altitude is much
diminished, by the general height of the circumjacent mountains: indeed,
the appearance of the eastern side of the island gives a very
unfavourable impression of its value; a confused assemblage of rocky
hills, heaped upon, and crossing each other in every direction, present
themselves to the eye, like the waves of the ocean disturbed by the fury
of contending winds and currents. These precipices are bare of
vegetation, except where a starved brush-wood insinuates its roots
between the rugged masses of volcanic matter, or in a few spots where
the industry of man has conquered the sterility of nature, and raised a
scanty crop of barley or maize: as we recede from the sea-coast,
however, the country improves, and affords many prospects of romantic
grandeur, and luxuriant fertility. The town of Santa Cruz is built with
tolerable regularity, on a gentle acclivity, on the west side of the
Bay: the landing-place is defended from the sea, by a projecting rocky
point, and a good stone pier. Being merely a King's port, it derives but
little advantage from commerce, which is entirely carried on from the
port of Orotava, on the west side of the island. Teneriffe has no
manufactures of any consequence, except its wine, nor does it produce
corn enough for its own consumption; for this, and also for poultry, it
depends upon the other islands, particularly the Grand Canary, with
which their is constant intercourse by boats. The importation of foreign
linen, or cotton manufactures, is prohibited, and consequently those of
the English looms bear a high price, and are universally worn; which
proves, that great restraints laid on any articles of merchandize, serve
but to enhance their value, to make them be sought after with more
avidity, and to encourage their clandestine importation. It was found,
that the friars and women, whose persons were held free from scrutiny,
smuggled on shore great quantities of these goods; and in consequence,
neither are now permitted to go on board any vessel, without express
leave from the Governor. The importation of tobacco, by private traders,
is also forbidden, Government drawing part of its colonial revenue from
the exclusive sale of this article.

Santa Cruz has but three churchers; rather a small number for the
religion of its inhabitants, which teaches, that to "give to the church,
is to lend unto God;" and that, being buried in the sacred vestements of
a religious order, ensures a favourable reception from St. Peter, who
more readily opens to them the portal of everlasting life. In visiting
places of public worship in Roman Catholic countries, we cease to wonder
at the deeply imprinted superstition of the people; children, before
they can scarce speak, are taught to set a sacred value on the
ridiculous grimace of devotion, and a father brings his boy, not three
years old, to lisp his ave maria, and count his little rosary before the
altar. This early impression it is impossible can ever be erased;
imitation, at last, becomes a second nature; in maturer years, reason,
in vain, attempts to pull down the firm bulwark of superstition, and
narrow-minded bigotry becomes the characteristic of the man. Toleration
of religious opinions has not yet reached this island, and, whatever may
be his real persuation, every person residing here must conform to the
external ceremonies of the established church: a heretic is still denied
the boon of a consecrated grave, and his hapless ghost must be contented
with a mansion in the unpurified bosom of his mother earth, unless it
prefers a more extensive sepulchre in the ocean. The bodies of those who
die in the faith, are usually interred in the churches; the coffins have
no cover, and are filled up with quick-lime, which decomposing the
flesh, the bones are afterwards removed to a general charnel-house. This
example deserves to be universally followed, but the prejudices of
education, which teaches us to consider disturbing the dead as a species
of horrid sacrilege, still wars against our better judgment, and
perpetuates the noisome and acknowledged evil of crowded churchyards.

It appears to be a custom of ancient origin throughout Europe, (perhaps
antecedent to heraldic achievements,) to denote the death of any member
of the family, by some symbol affixed to the house of the deceased; at
Teneriffe, a branch of the palm-tree is placed over the door or
window[6] for this purpose.

[6. The veneration paid to the mortal remains of our ancestors is
generally dignified with the appelation of natural affection; it however
may more properly be deduced from pride of birth, united with religious
superstition. In Europe, it appears to be almost the last spark from the
dying embers of fuedal government. In China, where every beggar can
trace his pedigree to one of the three hundred families, the dead are
objects of more care than the living; feasts are held in honour of them,
and their graves are continually adorned with silken streamers, and
strewed with fresh flowers.]

The manners of the inhabitants in general are those of the mother
country; a few families, of which the Lieutenant Governor's is the
chief, adopt the French customs in dress and society; and the vivacity
and liberal manners of the latter afford a striking contrast to the
austere gravity, and prudish reserve, of the former. The return of peace
has not yet brought back to the island the English, who were driven from
it by the war; and the necessary business of any British vessels that
touch here, is at present transacted by Mr. Armstrong, a native of the

In its present state, Santa Cruz could scarce make a successful defence
against a well-conducted _coup de main_; the fortifications are in ruins,
and the garrison consists of a miserable rabble, who, to appearance,
would verify the old adage about running away. The pier is, however,
defended by a battery, which might annoy the invaders, and which ought,
therefore, to be immediately silenced; for this purpose, one line of
battle ship would be fully sufficient. A shot from this battery pursued
its too unerring course, and deprived the Navy of the brave Bowen, at
the same time that it took off the arm of Nelson. In the church of
Neustra Senora de Constantia, is suspended the union flag, left behind
by Nelson in his unsuccessful attack on the island in 1799. It was
pointed out to us with every mark of national pride by our conductor,
who, after a long harangue on the courage of their troops, was drily
requested by an English officer to be particularly careful of this
trophy of their prowess, for that Nelson might probably one day return,
and call for it.

The water here has a soft, soapy taste, and I believe a slight purgative
quality; it is conducted from the mountains to a stone fountain, which
throws up three _jets d'eau_. The island produces a species of pine-tree,
which is used in the construction of the houses, and in small vessels;
we were here too early for the fruits of the island, which are those
peculiar to the tropics. Vegetables were plenty, onions in particular
are remarkably good; and as they are not to be procured at Rio de
Janeiro, it is advisable to lay in a large stock of them here: fowls
cost about half a crown each: sheep are scarce, and bad; and hogs
neither cheap nor good. The only fish we saw, were large mackarel, vast
shoals of which come into the bay at this season; they are caught with
hook and line, and attracted towards the boats by fires of the dried
pine, which gives a bright blaze, and of a serene evening the bay
presents the appearance of a magnificent marine illumination.

Between England and Teneriffe we lost four convicts by death; two of
these had been embarked in the last stages of consumption, vainly hoping
that a warmer climate might restore their healths.

From Teneriffe, we pursued our course towards the Cape Verd Islands, and
on the 25th of May made the Isle of Sal, along which we coasted at a
distance of six or seven miles, without seeing any thing that could
induce[7] a stranger to land on it from choice; not a trace of
cultivation, nor of inhabitants, was to be seen; nor did a single shrub
enliven the dreary brown of the parched soil. This island has but few
stationary inhabitants, but is frequented for the salt which is
collected on it, with which it supplies America, and the West Indies.

[7. Beef is about 4d. per pound. The price of Teneriffe wine has
increased within a few years; the best is now 20L. a pipe, and that of
inferior quality.]

On the morning of the 26th, we stood close in for St. Jago, the largest
of the Cape Verd Islands, and ranged along its S. E. side at from one to
two miles distance. This side of the island is broken, and uneven, in
some places bound by projecting shelves of rock, the lower parts being
excavated by the continual action of the water; in other spots are small
sandy coves, defended by reefs on which the sea beats with violence.
This island affords an agreeable prospect to the distressed mariner; the
sides of the more gently ascending hills are covered with a verdant
carpet, upon which numerous herds of cattle are seen grazing, and in the
vallies are groves of cocoa-nuts and bannanas surrounding the
habitations of the natives. The harbour of Praya, laying on the south
side of the island, is, during the regular N.E. trade-wind, perfectly
secure, but it is exposed to the tornadoes, which in the months of
August and September often blow from the southward. The natives appeared
desirous of our landing, by waving their handkerchiefs on the rock as we
passed along: hoping some of them might be induced to come on board with
fruit, we stood close into the bay, but not a canoe was to be seen, and
it was not an object of sufficient consequence, to suffer any delay by
sending a boat on shore. The town, from which we were distant about five
miles, is the seat of government; to appearance it consists of a few
wretched clay huts adjoining the fort, which alone is white-washed. A
lucrative trade is carried on from this island to America and the West
Indies in mules: by breeding these animals, and by supplying ships with
refreshments, the inhabitants support themselves. The mother-country
feels so little the importance of these islands, that scarce any
precautions are taken for their defence: a Creole is often
governor-general: and the inferior islands are sometimes governed by

A thick haze always obscures these islands, and prevents their being
seen at the distance that might be expected from their altitudes: this,
I suppose, proceeds from the exhalations arising from the Salt lakes,
and this haze is much thicker and more opake when the sun is in the
Northern tropic.


From the Cape Verd Islands to Rio de Janeiro.--North Atlantic
Ocean.--St. Sebastian.--Population.--Manners, Climate, and Diseases.

June. From the Cape Verd Islands to the vicinity of the line, the N.E.
trade-wind continued to impel us forward with undeviating celerity. In
this space, it is impossible not to mark, with emotions of pleasure, the
beautiful atmospherical pictures which the evenings afford: in the
direction of the setting sun, the Heavens are seen glowing with orange
and purple, blended into the greatest variety of tints, and melting
imperceptibly into the pure ether of light cerulean blue; in which, the
first stars of evening shine with the most brilliant silvery lustre;

----Who can paint
Like Nature? Can imagination boast,
Amidst its gay creation, hues like her's:
Or, can it mix them with that matchless skill,
And lose them in each other?

This beautiful appearance of the Heavens is confined to the Northern
Tropic: in the Southern, the air is commonly loaded with gloomy and
dense vapours, that, descending to the horizon, constitute that kind of
atmosphere to which is given the epithet, hazy.

The Northern tropical seas are the peculiar residence of the Dolphin,
the Bonetta, the Albacore, the Skip-jack, and the Flying-fish; the
latter is often seen winging its transient flight, to escape the swift
pursuit of the dolphin, while the voracious shark waits its descent;
when, exhausted by the want of moisture, its wings refuse to bear it
aloft, and it falls helpless into his devouring jaws. The shark is the
hereditary foe of sailors; and the moment one is spied, the whole crew
are instantly in arms; often, the day's allowance of meat is sacrificed
to bait the hook intended to entrap their hungry adversary; while
grains, harpoons, and every missive weapon, are pointed at his devoted
head. When success attends their operations, and the deluded victim is
dragged on board, no pack of hungry fox-hounds can be more restless,
till they receive the reward of their labours, than the sailors to tear
out the bowels, and examine the stomach of the shark. Here they often
recover the pieces of meat used to bait the hooks, which his sagacity
had extricated; and after cutting off his fins,[1] saving his jaws as
objects of curiousity, and reserving a few slices from the tail to eat,
the carcase is again committed to the watery element.

[1. The silvery fibres of sharks' fins are manufactured into artificial
flying fish, for catching dolphins, &c. These fins also form a
considerable article of trade between India and China; the Chinese
putting them into their soups.]

The peculiar property of tropical atmospheres in corroding iron, is well
known: it is almost impossible to keep any article of that metal from
rusting, even for an hour, without the application of oil. The copious
vapours exhaled from the earth and sea, in tropical climates may produce
this effect, which is found to decrease as we recede from the equator,
either north or south.

In latitude 6 North, we lost the N.E. trade-wind, and for a few days
experienced the usual equinoctal calms, and squalls, with heavy rains,
and strong easterly currents. The line was crossed in the longitude of
25 W.,[2] with the usual visit from Mr. Neptune, his wife, and child. This
ceremony, though ridiculous enough, is, when ably executed, sufficiently
amusing: the ugliest persons in the ship are chosen to represent
Neptune, and Amphitrite (but the latter name being rather too hard of
pronunciation, is always familiarized into Mrs. Neptune); their faces
are painted in the most ridiculous manner, and their heads are furnished
with swabs well greased and powdered: Neptune's beard is of the same
materials; while a pair of grains, or a boat hook, serves him for a
trident: a triumphal car is constructed with chairs fixed on a
gun-carriage, or wheel-barrow, in which they are seated, and drawn from
the forecastle to the quarter-deck, by a number of sailors representing
Tritons. After enquiries respecting the ships's destination, saluting
their old acquaintances, and making the Captain some ridiculous present,
such as a dog or a cat, under the name of a Canary-bird, they are again
rolled foreward, and the ceremony of shaving and ducking their new
visitors commences. A large tub of salt water is prepared, with a stick
across it, on which the visitor is seated; Neptune's barber, after
lathering his face well, with a mixture of tar and grease, performs the
operation of shaving with a piece of rusty iron hoop, and when clean
scraped, which is not accomplished without many wry faces, he is pushed
backwards into the tub, and kept there until completely soaked.

[2. Navigators differ in their opinions respecting the most eligible
meridian to cross the line on; but agree, that it ought to be between
the longtitudes of 20 and 25 W.; but by crossing it so far to the
eastward as 20, calms of long continuance, and strong easterly
currents, setting into the gulph of Guinea, will commonly be met with;
by crossing it to the westward of 25, strong westerly currents are
found setting into the immense bight between Cape St. Augustine and
Florida; the meridian of 23 W. on the line, seems to be the boundary of
these different currents. In the various opinions upon this subject,
sufficient regard has not been paid to the season of the year. When the
sun is far in the northern tropic, the winds to the southward of the
line, incline more southerly, and, during the contrary season, they
incline more northerly than the regular course of the trade-wind.
Intending to touch at Rio Janeiro, between the months of March and
September, I would prefer crossing the line in 26 W.; and between
September and March again in 28. But if it is not intended to touch at
Rio, I would, during the first season, cross the line in 23; and during
the latter, in 25: crossing the line from the southward, I look upon
27 to be the best meridian, as being not only less liable to calms, but
also for the probability of meeting the trade well to the eastward, and
perhaps, even to the southward of east. When the sun is in the northern
tropic, I would recommend keeping on the last meridian till to the
northward of the Cape Verd Isles; for, by coming nearer to these islands
at this season, you will most probably meet with calms, and baffling

The vicissitudes of the weather on the line are greater than any where
else on the surface of the globe. In a moment, from an atmosphere
glowing with the fierce rays of a vertical sun, the storm is seen
brooding in the horizon, which soon becomes of a pitchy blackness; the
dark volume silently and slowly approaches; not a breath ruffles the
glassy surface of the main, until, in an instant, it bursts in all the
fury of elemental strife. Thomson has so happily painted these
equatorial squalls, that I cannot help transcribing the passage:

----In blazing height of noon,
The sun, oppress'd, is plung'd in thickest gloom.
Still Horror reigns, a dreary twilight round,
Of struggling night and day malignant mix'd,
For to the hot equator crouding fast,
Where highly rarefy'd, the yielding air
Admits their stream, incessant vapours roll,
Amazing clouds on clouds continual heap'd;
Or whirl'd impetuous by the gusty wind,
Or silent borne along, heavy and slow,
With the big stores of steaming ocean charg'd.
Meantime, amid these upper seas condens'd

* * *

And by conflicting winds together dash'd,
The Thunder holds her black tremendous throne:
From cloud to cloud the rending Lightnings rage;
Till, in the furious elemental war
Dissolv'd, the whole precipitated mass
Unbroken floods, and solid torrents pours.

These squalls are, however, short as they are violent, and the sun soon
bursts forth again in all his former fervour. The S.E. trade met us two
degrees to the northward of the line, and accompanied us to 20 South,
where it was succeeded by winds blowing from every point of the
compass[3]. Our arrival at Rio de Janeiro was greatly retarded by the
Ocean, whose rate of sailing was much inferior to the Calcutta's. We
reached that Port the last day of June, and immediately commenced the
necessary refittal of the ship, to enable her to encounter the long
succession of stormy weather, which the season of the year taught us to
expect in the remainder of our passage to New Holland. The small Island
of Enchardos, about two miles from the town, was hired with permission
of the Viceroy[4], for the purpose of repairing our water-casks, and
landing the women to wash; a dilapidated monastery affording them and
the marine guard a comfortable mansion:

[3. It is a general principle in the theory of winds, that the S.E. trade
is found to blow in all the southern seas, between the latitudes of 5
and 25S. This is, however, subject to very great irregularities in the
South Atlantic Ocean, within 200 leagues of the American coast, which
doubtless proceed from the great elevation of this continent.]

[4. At 1L. a-day.]

The entrance of the harbour of Rio de Janeiro is narrow for about a
quarter of a mile; it thence widens into a secure basin, which at the
town is five miles in breadth, and extends inland beyond the reach of
the eye: several fruitful islets are scattered on each side, which,
covered with loaded orange-trees, almost realize the fiction of the
gardens of the Hesperides.

The shores which surround the harbour are vastly mountainous, forming
abrupt and craggy precipices of the most wild and extraordinary shapes.
Nature seems to have sported in the formation of this her last work, and
to have combined all the fanciful forms, which she scattered
more sparingly over the old continent. The entrance of the harbour is
pointed out by a towering cliff, on the South side, rising
perpendicularly from the sea; while, at the head of the Port, the
mountains rise into higher elevations, and present forms more strikingly

Rocks rich with gems, and mountains big with mines,
Whence many a bursting stream auriferous plays,

are here seen, now faintly peeping from behind the intervening clouds,
and now presenting their dark blue summits above the flaky vapours that
roll along their sides.

These mountains consist entirely of granite, forming an adamantine
barrier to the waters of the Ocean. They are clothed in every part where
the least soil can remain, with trees and shrubs of various kinds; and
even to the naked rock, vegetables are seen to adhere, which appear to
derive their nourishment from the moisture of the air alone. Here are
many picturesque vallies, narrow, but winding along the base of the
mountains, from the shores of the harbour to some distance inland. These
glens are supereminently fruitful, from the combined causes of superior
heat and moisture; the first proceeding from the reflected heat of the
sun, confined in a narrow space, and the latter produced by the
condensation of the vapours, attracted by that heat, or driven by the
winds against the mountains' sides. The numerous little coves at the
entrance of these glens, are bordered with beaches of the finest sand,
where fishermen have erected their dwellings, and which, viewing them
from without, have all the apparent neatness of our best English
villages; but too soon we find on entering them, that this is the mere
effect of white-wash, and that within, they are the habitations of sloth
and nastiness. The town of St. Sebastian is built entirely of granite,
which appears to be the only stone found here, except a species of black
and white marble. From the Bay, the appearance of the town is not
inelegant, but the deception vanishes on a nearer approach. The streets,
though straight and regular, are narrow and dirty, the projecting
balconies sometimes nearly meeting each other; the houses are commonly
two stories high, independent of the ground floors, which are occupied
as shops or cellars; they are dirty, hot, and inconvenient; the
staircases are perpendicular, and without any light; and in the
arrangement of the rooms, no regard is paid, either to a free
circulation of air, or to the beauty of prospect. The furniture of the
houses, though costly, disgusts the eye used to elegant plainness, by
its clumsiness and tawdry decocations; while the spider weaves her web,
and pursues her sanguinary trade in uninterrupted security, upon the
walls and ceiling. In the houses of the rich, the windows are glazed,
which only serves to increase the the reflected power of the sun, and
render them intolerably hot; but the generality of houses are furnished
with shutters of close latticework, behind which the women assemble in
the evening; and while their own persons are concealed, enjoy the
passing breeze, which is not, however, always very aromatic. In the
English Settlements within the tropics, art is exhausted to correct or
mitigate the ardour of the climate, and to render a burning atmosphere,
not only supportable, but pleasant to a northern constitution. In the
Brasils the defects of climate are increased by the slothful and dirty
customs of the inhabitants. The cause of this difference is to be
ascribed to the climates of the mother-countries; the climate of
Portugal approaching to that of Brasil, the Europeans who emigrate
hither feel little inconvenience from the change; in our tropical
Settlements, the climate of their old differing so much from that of
their new residence, the emigrants leave no means unemployed to mitigate
the fervour of the sun, whose ardent blaze is found to derange the
nervous system, enervate the body, and render the mind a prey to
listlessness and insanity.

There are eighteen parish churches, four monasteries, and three convents
in the town of St. Sebastian, besides several smaller religious
buildings on the islands, and in the suburbs. Upon these edifices no
expence is spared to attract the imagination of the weak and ignorant,
by a profusion of gilding, and other tawdry decorations. The "Hospital
de Mieseracordie" is also a religious institution, which receives
patients of every denomination, and is principally supported by private
benefactions. To these may be added a Penitentiary-House, where the
incontinent fair are secluded from the world, to weep for, and atone
their faults in solitude and silence; hither jealous husbands, or cross
parents, send their too amorous wives and daughters, and doubtless,
often upon no better foundation, than "trifles light as air." The
admission to the nunneries is expensive; and I have heard a fond mother
regret her want of fortune, only because it prevented her dedicating
some of her beloved daughters to God. The clergy possess immense
property, in land, houses, and specie: when it was proposed to lay an
impost of ten per cent upon the income of the church, the Benedictine
monks offered to commute their part of the tax, by paying 40,000 crowns
annually. Their pious desire for the conversion of heretics still glows
with all the ardour of bigotry, and the recantation of one protestant is
considered of more value, than the conversion of 100 pagans; as in
heaven there is more joy over one sinner that repenteth, than over
ninety and nine just persons. An unfortunate foreigner of this
persuasion, who by sickness, or other causes, is obliged to remain here
after his ship sails, is continually plagued by the impertinent
intrusion of a dozen of these pious fathers, who, if he can find no
means of leaving the country, in general tire his patience out in a few
months, and for quietness sake he consents to be saved according to
their receipt[5].

[5. In the library of the Autonian monks, we were shewn an English book,
presented by Thomas Muir, with the following lines in a blank leaf:

Ordinis, Sancti Antonii Fratrum
Observantiae suae
Thomas Muir de Hunters-hill
Gente Scholus, Anima Orbis ferrarum Civis

O Scholia! o longum felix, longumque superba
Ante alias patria, Heroum sanctissima tellus
Dives opum fecunda viris, laetissima campis
AErumnus memorare tuas summamque malorum uberibus:

Quis queat, et dictus, nostra aequare dolores
Et turpes ignominias, et barbara jussa
Et nos patriae fines, et dulcia linquimus arva,
Et cras ingens iterabimur aequor.

Civitate Sancti Sebastiani 23 Julii 1794.]

No foreigner is allowed to reside here, unless he subsists by some
mechanical trade, or is in the service of the state; and if it appears
that any idlers are inclined to remain in the colony by stealth, after
sufficient warning and opportunities to get away, they are arrested and
confined on Cobras Island, and either put on board their own country
ships that may touch here, or sent to Lisbon as prisoners.

Besides the religious buildings, the other public edifices are the
Viceroy's palace, which forms one side of a flagged square, fronting the
landing-place: contiguous to this, and nearly adjoining each other, are
the opera-house, the royal stables, the prison[6], and the mint. The
opera house, which holds about six hundred persons, is open on
Thursdays, Sundays, and most holidays: the pieces performed are,
indifferently, tragedies, comedies or operas, with interludes and
after-pieces: the dialogue is in Portuguese, but the words and music of
the songs are Italian. The house is wretchedly fitted up, the scenes
miserably daubed, and where foliage is required, branches of real trees
are introduced; so that while the artificial scenery wears the gay
livery of summer, the natural sometimes presents the appearance of
autumnal decay. The viceroy is expected by the populace, to shew himself
at the theatre every night: on his entering the house, the audience
rise, turn their faces towards his box, and again sit down. In private
companies, no person sits while he stands, unless at his request; thus
unsocial formality is the price that greatness every where pays for
vulgar admiration.

[6. In passing the prison, strangers are disgusted with the sight of half
starved and naked prisoners, with iron chains extending from their necks
to the prison door, sufficiently long to admit their coming to the foot
path of the street, for the purpose of begging.]

The town is supplied with water from a hill by a lofty aqueduct, of two
tier of brick arches, built in a light, and not inelegant style. The
public garden, which contains between three and four acres of ground, is
situated on the seaside; the walks run in straight lines, and are shaded
by mangoe trees, whose foliage is extremely luxuriant, and by its dark
hue peculiarly calculated to refresh the eye, pained by the constant
glare of the sun. At the extremity of the garden next the beach, is a
flagged terrace, and a room hung with views of the country, and other
curiosities; a fountain, which throws up a jet d'eau, waters the garden,
and cools the air. In the winter, the garden is entirely deserted; the
ladies then keep constantly in their houses, and the men, wanting that
first inducement, the charms of female society, feel no inclination for
a barren promenade, but, following the example of the fair sex, pass
their time in listless indolence, and, like the swallow, remain in a
state of torpidity till the return of spring.

Those gradations of fortune, which exist in, and indeed appear to be the
necessary consequences of a well-regulated society, are not to be found
in the Brasils; the only distinction is the rich and poor; the former
are proud though ignorant, and ostentatious though avaricious; and the
superabundance of all the mere necessaries of life alone, prevents the
latter from being indigent beggars. Those who can acquire half a dozen
slaves, live in idleness upon the wages of their labour, and stroll the
streets in all the solemnity of self-importance. In their general
expences, the rich are penurious, and the marriage of their children
alone seems to thaw their frozen generosity: on these occasions, they
run into the contrary extreme, and ridiculous extravagance becomes the
order of the day. I have seen a bridal chemise, the needle-work of which
had cost fifty pounds, and the rest of the marriage paraphernalia was in
the same proportion of expence. Their entertainments are profuse in
proportion as they are rare, but seldom possess any title to elegance,
and sometimes want even common cleanliness to recommend them to an
English appetite[7]. The carriages in use among the rich are cabriolets,
drawn by mules, and chairs curtained round, in which they are carried
through the streets by Negro slaves; the latter are also female
conveyances. Gaming, the peculiar vice of idleness, is prevalent among
the men. Pharaoh is their favourite game, and the fickle Goddess is here
pursued with as much avidity as at Brooks's or Almack's; it is but
justice to the Brasilian ladies to say, that they bear no part in this
destructive vice, but whether from want of inclination, or from
restraint, I cannot take upon me to say.

[7. In describing the manners of the Brasilians, it will, I trust, be
recollected, that I speak generally: divested, as I hope I am, of
national prejudice, I suppose the existence of an universal standard of
social manners, which, though very far from being arrived at by any
nation in the world, is more nearly approached by some than by others,
and is perhaps already reached by a few more happy individuals of every
nation. Among the Brasilians, though the general mass stand very low
upon the fcale of refinement, the proportion of these superior minds is,
perhaps, equal to what any other country can boast; and I am happy in
bearing testimony, that at Rio de Janeiro, refined hospitality, elegant
taste, and politeness, devoid of formality, are the conspicuous
characteristics of several individuals.]

The manners of the Brasilians are, however, gradually converging towards
that liberal system, which appears to be continually gaining ground
throughout the world, and which will probably be one day universally
established, in exact proportion to the peculiar physical and moral
attributes of man in the climate he inhabits. The usual dress of both
sexes is adopted from the French; swords and cocked hats are entirely
out of fashion, and clokes are now only worn by the vulgar. The men who
have had any intercourse with the English, adopt their customs, even to
minuteness; hence, cropped heads, round hats, and half boots, have
ceased to be considered a foreign costume. The women wear their waists
very short, their bosoms much exposed, and their head-dresses and naked
arms covered with a profusion of sparkling stones[8], which are of little
value here; the ladies, however, as well as the men, seem to prefer
attiring themselves _a la mode d'Angleterre_, when it is in their power.
An English milliner who stopped here, on her way to India, performed
greater metamorphoses on the external form of some young ladies, that
can be equalled in the pages of Ovid.[9]

[8. Topazes, aqua marinas, amethysts, and chrisolites, &c.]

[9. The amorous precepts of this author are well followed
by the Rio ladies;

If snowy-white your neck; you still should wear
That, and the shoulder of the left arm, bare;
Such sights ne'er fail to fire my am'rous heart,
And make me pant to kiss the naked part.
--Art of Love, translated by Congreve.

But they should recollect, that this voluptuous author addressed himself
to Italian women, and that the "Parian marble," to which their skins
were compared, is by no means applicable to Brasilian complexions.]

The features of the females can in no instance that I saw, claim the
title of beautiful, and even very few deserve the epithet of pretty:
however, their black eyes, large, full, and sparkling, give a degree of
brilliancy to their dark complexions, and throw some expression into
their countenances; but it is too generally the mere expression of
animal vivacity, untempered by the soft chastising power of tender
sensibility. Their eyebrows are finely arched; their eye lashes long and
silken; their hair is long, black, and coarsely luxuriant; and if we may
judge from the frequent application of the fingers, is not always
without inhabitants. In their persons, they are unacquainted with that
delicate properte, from which our countrywomen derive so large a portion
of their power over the other sex, and for which they are conspicuous
over all the nations of Europe. Among other habits of the Brasilian
ladies, which, separately considered, are perhaps trifling, but when
combined, form a powerful opposition to the empire of female charms, is
that of continually spitting, without regard either to manner, time, or

The young ladies who are educated in the Convents, are permitted
to converse even with strangers at the gate, and often shewed
their partiality for our countrymen, by the interchange of
pocket-handkerchiefs and other trifles. There is something so
interesting in the silvery tones of a secluded damsel, when two rows of
iron bars intervene to prevent a near approach, something so Pyramus and
Thisbe like[10], that the heart of a true-born Englishman cannot fail
being captivated.

[10. Here Pyramus, there gentle Thisbe strove, To catch each other's
breath, the balmy breeze of love. Ovid. Met.]

"'Tis distance lends enchantment to the view," and while he repeats the
swelling names of Magdelina, Antonia, or Seraphina, he depracates the
hell-invented barrier, that precludes him from imprinting the
impassioned kiss on the hand of the sweetly pensive recluse. For the
encouragement of my enamoured countrymen, who might otherwise give way
to despondency, and pine in hopeless love, I cannot help informing them,
that the iron bars of the convents are not quite so hard as adamant, nor
the walls so high as to render an _escalade_ impracticable; and that the
watchful eye of the dragon, who guards the Hesperian fruit, has more
than once been eluded by British ingenuity, or lulled to sleep by
Brasilian gold.

The custom of dropping _bouquets_ upon the heads of passengers, as signals
to assignation, is no longer to be found at Rio, and as we have no
reason to doubt the veracity of the gentlemen[11] who were thus
favoured, we ought not to pass over this alteration in the manners of
the Brasilian women, without endeavouring to account for it. Former
travellers have always complained of the difficulty they found in even
getting a transient view of women of condition; this is, however, far
from being the case at present: indeed, we generally found the manners
of the ladies, (particularly the unmarried ones) approaching nearer to
the easy familiarity of the English, than to the prudish reserve which
is said to be the exterior characteristic of Portuguese females. As the
manners of a people improve, jealous restraints give way to delicate
attentions towards the females: men begin to place confidence in women;
and the latter feeling their own importance, soon acquire that proper
pride which is the great support of female virtue; and enjoying the
liberty of doing as they choose, they think only of doing as they ought.
Thus secret assignations become less necessary, as jealousy and scandal
cease to fetter the social intercourse of the sexes; for experience
proves the truth of the remark, that virtue will ever be displeasing,
when she exhibits herself only in the disguise of harshness, caprice, or
some other replusive quality.

[11. See Capt. Cook's Voyage.]

In music and singing the Brasilians of both sexes may be said to excel.
These are arts peculiarly congenial to luxurious climates, for there the
wants of man, being supplied by nature almost spontaneously, he has
leisure to cultivate the soft impressions which the surrounding scenery
creates, and by observing the harmonies of nature, he becomes a poet and
musician. Dancing is a very favourite amusement, in which the ladies
perform with extraordinary grace; besides national and English country
dances, the native dance of the Indians is sometimes performed, the
figures and motions of which are very little superior, in point of
delicacy, to those of the Otaheitean timoradee.

The estimated proportion of the sexes at Rio is eleven women to two men;
this may be attribured to physical as well as moral causes; for it is a
demonstrable fact, that in warm climates more females are born than
males[12]; and secondly, the females leading a life of seclusion and
temperance, and employed only in domestic offices, are entirely free
from the dangers, and but little subject to the diseases which destroy
the other sex. While the men are occupied in the hazardous pursuit of
honour or of fortune in distant countries, from whence they are often
doomed never to return, the women are born and die without ever quitting
their paternal roof.

[12. Speculative writers have either doubted or denied this assumption,
but the observation of those who have resided many years in Asia, fully
authorize our stating it as a "fact capable of demonstration."]

In the females of Brasil, as well as of other countries in the torid
zone, there is no resting time between the periods of perfection and
decline; like the delicate fruits of the soil, the genial warmth of the
sun forces them to a premature ripeness, and after a momentary bloom
sinks them towards decay: at fourteen they become mothers, at sixteen
the blossoms of their beauty are full blown, and at twenty they are
withered like the faded rose in autumn. Thus the lives of three of these
daughters of the sun are scarce equal to that of one European; among the
former the period of their bodily perfections far precedes that of their
mental ones, in the latter they accompany each other hand in hand. These
principles, doubtless, influenced the wise law-givers of the East in
their permission of polygamy; for, in the torrid zone, should a man be
circumscriced to one wife, he must pass nearly two thirds of his days
united to a disgusting mummy, useless to society, else the depravity of
human nature, joined to the irritation of unsatisfied passions, would
lead him to get rid of the incumberance by clandestine means. This
confinement to a single wife, in the European settlements of Asia and
America, is one of the principal causes of the unbounded licentiousness
in the men, and the spirit of intrigue in the women. In the Brasils, the
licentious intercourse of the sexes perhaps equals what we are told
prevailed in the most degenerate period of Imperial Rome. The primary
cause of this general corruption of manners, must be referred to
climate, which acts forcibly in giving strength to the physical
properties of love. In proportion as the passion for enjoyment is
excited, the fear of losing the object which confers it is increased,
and hence proceeds the constitutional jealousy of men in warm climates.
In the Brasils, the moment a girl is betrothed she becomes subject to
all the restraints imposed by this rankling passion; and should the
absence of her intended husband be unavoidable, previous to the nuptial
ceremony, he often causes her to be immured within the walls of a
convent till his return. By such suspicions he too often creates the
evil he complains of, and then punishes the crime he has provoked; and
while he thus becomes the arbiter of his own fate, he accuses Nature of
causing all his sufferings. Unmarried females, being allowed much
greater liberties than wives, are by no means anxious to be married, and
consequently neglect all those minute delicacies in their common
intercourse with the other sex, which forms the basis of mutual love,
considered as a refined passion. But the climate operating upon the fair
sex more forcibly in proportion to their superior delicacy of
organization, enervates the system, and induces a kind of restless
indolence, to which is attached a boundless desire for variety, when it
can be procured without much exertion: hence, while the mind is lulled
into inactivity, and the eye of prudence sleeps, the bosom is
"tremblingly alive" to the soft sensations of love, and the bulwarks of
female innocence lie exposed and defenceless to the attacks of the
watchful seducer. The public opinion is not, however, so depraved as to
sanction this laxity of morals, and hence pregnancy is too often
concealed by procuring abortion, which repeated, perhaps, several times,
assists in bringing on a premature old age, and sinks the victim to the
grave loaded with guilt and disease.

Quod neque in Armeniis tigres secere latebris
Perdere nec foetus ausa Leaena suos.
At tenerae faciunt, sed non impune puellae
Saepe, suos utero quae necat, ipsa perit.
--Ovid. Amor. l. 2.

The punishment of adultery is transportation of both the offenders to
different places on the coast of Africa; but the injured hufband may
revenge himself by the instant death of both parties, if he finds them,
"nudus cum nuda, solus cum sola."

The city of St. Sebastian, from being surrounded by hills, which prevent
the free circulation of air, is more unhealthy than the other
settlements on the coast; and the dirty customs of the inhabitants tend
to increase the defects of situation. The diseases most prevalent are
fevers, dysentry, and hydrocele. Fevers, if not entirely generated, are
undoubtedly multiplied by the noxious effluvia arising from the
unremoved filth in the streets; for here the windows give a nightly exit
to all the vile accumulation of the day.[13]

[13. For an exact description of St. Sebastian's in this respect, we beg
leave to refer our readers to Mrs. Winifred Jenkins, and shall only
remark, that whoever walks under the windows at ten o'clock at night,
will probably have occasion to cry, "Lord have mercy upon me!"]

Dysentries may probably proceed from their method of living, or their
common kinds of food, of which fish, fruit, and sweetmeats, form the
principal articles. The chief animal food of the lower-class is salted
pork not half cured, or jerked beef, both brought from Rio Grande; and
their beverage is a deleterious and ardent spirit, which from its
cheapness comes within the reach of their scanty finances. The causes of
the hydrocele, which often renders those afflicted with it the most
pitiable objects, may, perhaps, with equal reason, be traced to
themselves; for by the continual use of tepid baths, they increase the
naturally great relaxation, which pervades the system in a warm climate.
In our English settlements, where cold bathing is daily practised, such
a disease is almost unknown.[14]

[14. I know of but two other parts of the world where this disease is
greatly prevalent: at Cochin on the Coast of Malabar, and in the island
of Barbadoes.]

During the winter the thermometer seldom rises above 74, and sometimes
falls to 65. At this season heavy dews descend during the night, and
the mornings are enveloped in thick fogs, but soon

----The potent sun
Melts into limpid air the high rais'd clouds,
And morning fogs that hover'd round the hills,
In party colour'd bands,

leaving the atmosphere pure and serene. The land and sea breezes are
tolerably regular: the former commences towards morning, and is commonly
very light. The sea breeze may be seen curling the surface of the ocean
at noon, but it seldom reaches the town before two o'clock: it is
generally moderate, cool, and refreshing.

The Creoles, at this season, seem to feel all the effects of rigorous
cold; while we were melting in the lightest clothing, they muffled
themselves up in their cloaks, and sat shivering, with their doors and
windows closed. The rainy season commences in August; and for six weeks
or two months, a continual torrent pours down, with a close and
suffocating atmosphere. To the rains succeed the dry and parching months
of November and December, when the Creoles are again re-animated; and
awakened by the ardent blaze of the sun, from the lethargic torpidity of
winter, renew their occupations or amusements.


Rio Janeiro.--Productions, Trade.--Slaves, Indians.--Police and Court of
Justice.--State of Defence.--Political Situation.

The chief vegetable productions of the district of Rio de Janeiro are
sugar, coffee, cotton, cocoa, tobacco, and indigo; of these, sugar is
alone indigenous, and was found growing wild by the first colonists. The
tobacco raised in the Brasils is consumed there in segars and snuff; and
the cultivation of indigo has been much neglected, since the East Indian
indigo has rivalled it in the European markets. The soil is every where
so rich, that it requires all the labour of the farmer to check the too
luxuriant vegetation, and keep the ground free from brush-wood and
shrubs; a few months' neglect covers the soil with a tangled under-wood,
bound together and rendered impenetrable by creeping vines. Twelve
different kinds of oranges are cultivated here, and all other tropical
fruits grow almost spontaneously; the soil has also been found friendly
to the spices of the East, and pepper is already cultivated with some
success; in short,

Whatever blooms in torrid tracks appear,
Whose bright succession decks the varied year,
These here disporting own the kindred soil,
Nor ask luxuriance from the planter's toil.

The horses of Brasil are small, and incapable of much labour; in the
interior they run wild in vast droves, and are of so little value, that
they are merely caught to perform a journey; and when tired, or the
journey is over, are again turned loose. The mules, which graze in
flocks about the town, are the chief beasts of burthen, and are
particularly adapted to the precipices of the country. Oxen are brought
in from Rio Grande, where they are worth about eight shillings each, and
where they are slaughtered merely for their hides and tallow; on their
arrival at Rio Janeiro, though wretchedly impoverished by the journey,
they are sold for fifty shillings to four pounds a-head. The farms are
fenced by lime-bushes and oranges trees, intermixed with various
flowering shrubs, equally beautiful and aromatic. At night, the trees
appear illuminated by myriads of fire-flies, which play among the
branches, for here

----On every hedge
The glow-worm lights his gem, and through the dark
A moving radiance twinkles.

The district of the mines commences about sixty miles from Rio; their
produce is conveyed thither on mules, escorted by detachments of
cavalry, of which there is a regiment stationed at Minas, the Capital,
which is said to be large and populous; this province extends to the
borders of the Spanish settlements in Paraguay. The journey to Matto
Grosso, the farthest Portuguese station, is by Rio Grande, and is said
to take up to six months in contending against the stream, but the
return is made in about three months; from hence comes the sarsaparilla
and balsam copaiba. The most minute precautions are taken to prevent the
concealment of diamonds, by persons of every description coming from the
mines; they are not only stripped naked, and minutely searched, but even
their horses and mules are purged: this strict scrutiny sets ingenuity
to work to evade it, and the attempts are often successful. A Friar
coming from the mines has been known to conceal three superb diamonds,
in the waxen figure of the Virgin, which he carried in his pocket; the
superstition of his examiners held the divine Image sacred, and kissing
it with greater devotion, than they would probably have felt for the
lovliest female of mere flesh and blood, returned it to the holy Father

The King's tenth of the gold is taken from the ore at the smelting
house, where it is cast into ingots, which are stamped, and then become
a legal tender in payments; if the owner wishes to have it coined, it
pays two and a half per cent at the mint. The colonial gold currency is
in pieces of four millres, or twenty-five shillings sterling; these are
greatly alloyed, to prevent their exportation from the Colony. Most of
the gold sent to Portugal is coined into half joes (2L.); and the
exportation of uncoined gold is forbidden, upon pain of transportation
for life to the coast of Guinea.

The Viceroy's salary is only about 2,600L. a-year, but, by perquisites,
his usual income amounts to between 15 and 20,000L.: these arrive
chiefly from the sale of offices, which are all invested in the Viceroy,
and of which he is said commonly to retain the third part of the annual
profits. His office properly lasts only three years, but he is generally
continued until he has realized a handsome fortune, for it is usually
the poor Grandees who are appointed to this lucrative government. The
present Viceroy is of the family of Valencia, and related to the throne
of Portugal, by the house of Braganza; he is a man of information,
liberal and polite in his manners, and apparently attached to the
English nation. The vice-regal state is by no means equal to that of our
Indian Governor General, though their supposed incomes are nearly the

That jealousy of foreigners which prevailed at Rio de Janeiro some years
ago, appears no longer to exist. We always found ourselves at perfect
liberty to make excursions as far as we chose, either on foot, or on
horseback, unattended by any guard. This indulgence however, appears to
proceed from the liberal sentiments of the Viceroy, and was only
extended to officers in the King's service; and as the regulations
respecting foreigners are not abrogated, they may be at any time put
into execution with all their force. Upon the eastern side of the
harbour, we were allowed to cut brooms, and wander over the country in
quest of game, without meeting the most distant interruption. Here, had
any of us[1] possessed botanical knowledge, or taste, we might have
been abundantly gratified by the examination of plants, "beyond the
power of Botanist to number up their tribes."

[1. See Cook's Voyage.]

The improvement of the district of Rio de Janeiro, though it certainly
does not equal what it might have been, if colonised by a nation of more
persevering industry, may be looked on as rapid, under the torpidity of
Portuguese indolence. Portugal has, however, possessed great advantages
above all other nations of Europe, who have colonized America, in having
factories on the opposite coast of Africa, whence her colonists procure
an easy, and continual supply of slaves. The mother-country is so
jealous of the rivalship of the Colonies, that the introduction of the
most trifling manufactures is forbidden; the casting bells for the
churches, in particular, is laid under severe penalties, lest the
colonists should one day learn, that bells and cannon might be made from
the same materials.

None but professed merchants ever think of turning their money to any
account, by interest, &c.: many old misers are known to have very large
sums lying dead in their coffers, which, for want of banks, they keep in
their own houses, and live upon the wages of their slaves. The trade of
Rio de Janeiro, although it has to contend with monopolies,
prohibitions, and a heavy duty of ten per cent, but above all, with the
unconquerable indolence of the Portuguese, is by no means trifling, and
is annually increasing. It is confined entirely to the mother-country, a
direct trade with foreigners, or by foreign ships, being strictly
prohibited. The fleets employed in the commerce of Brazil, are confined
to the ports of Lisbon and Oporto, whence they sail and return annually,
in three fleets; the great disadvantage of this method, however, begins
to be seen by the merchants, and single ships are at present allowed to
sail from Europe, without confinement to any particular season. All
foreign vessels attempting to trade on the coast, are liable to
confiscation; and a ship of the line, and two brigs of war are stationed
at Rio, to support these commercial regulations.

The annual exports from the port of Rio Janeiro, are, from good
authority, said to be as follows:

EXPORTS.   QUANTITY.                             PRICE AT RIO TOTAL VALUE.

Sugar       13,000 chests of 15,00 cwt. each.     4d. per lb.    325,000
Rum[a]       5,000 leaguers of 150 galls. each.  15d. per gall.    46,875
Coffee[b]  800,000 lb. wt.                        6d. per lb.      40,000
Gold       400,000 half joes                      2L. each        800,000
Silver[c]  700,000 Spanish dollars                5s. each        175,000
Raw Hides[d] 3,000 tons                           --               90,000
Rice           500 tons                          25L. a ton         7,500
Cotton         800 tons                           1s. per lb.      89,600
Indigo   trifling, perhaps                        --               10,000
Cocoa[f] variable, perhaps                        about            30,000
Dye wood
                                       Total value of Exports, 1,613,975

* * *


a. 200 leaguers are sent to Angola for the purchase of slaves.

b. In the year 1794, 40,000 lb. of coffee only was exported.

c. This is sent to China and India. The Brasils have no silver mines, but
procure it from the Spanish settlements in dollars: part is recoined
into crown pieces for Colonial currency.

d. Brought from Rio Grande.

e. Procured from the Spanish settlements on the Rio Plata.

f. increasing.

* * *

About fifty ships, from three hundred to eight hundred tons each, sail
annually from this port to Europe: these vessels are mostly built in the
Brasils, the timber of which is said to equal the oak in durability. The
imports are woollens, printed cottons, hard ware, cutlery, and wines,
and generally, all the articles necessary to the domestic economy of
Europeans. The trade with Africa employs twenty-five ships, from one
hundred and fifty to four hundred tons, who, in return for rum,
gunpowder, arms, coarse cottons, and trinkets, import slaves, wax, and
ivory, the latter of which, is re-exported to Europe. Corn and flour are
brought from Rio Grande: one hundred and thirty vessels, from fifty to
one hundred tons, are constantly employed in this trade, and in
smuggling from the Spanish settlements; for the Spanish government at
home, equally jealous with the Portuguese, strictly prohibits all
foreign communication with its American colonies; hence arsies (by the
mutual connivance of the colonial governments) an extensive contraband
trade, which, while it enriches individuals, diminishes the public
revenue of both countries.[2]

[2. The English East Indiamen and Whalers, who put into Rio Janeiro for
refreshments, find a ready market for their private trade in
piece-goods, hardware, hosiery, hats, porter, butter, and cheese. The
Custom-house officers, and officers of the guard-boats, who constantly
attend foreign merchant ships, conduct this trade with great ingenuity
and address.]

Every article of merchandize, or consumption, whether the produce of the
colony, or imported, pays to the crown a tenth part of its value,
previous to its being exposed for sale. These duties are generally
farmed; and that on fish alone produces 18,000 crowns annually. The
farmers of the revenue are authorized to demand the assistance of the
military, if any resistance is made to its collection. The whole amount
of revenue raised in the district of Rio Janeiro, is nearly four
millions sterling.

The annual importation of negro slaves, is said to amount to between ten
and twelve thousand; their value is thus estimated: a full grown man 40L.,
a woman 32L., a boy 20 L.; their value is much increased, by their having
had the small-pox. The food of the slaves, is Cassada bread, and Indian
corn roasted, and on the sea-coast some fish. In the country, the owners
are at no expence for their diet: they allot them a small piece of land,
and a day in the week to cultivate it, and from it they are obliged to
derive a subsistence for themselves and families. The plantation negroes
are entirely naked; but in the towns, their owners have more regard to

On the importation of a cargo of negroes, they are christened previous
to their sale; for this purpose, they are marched to a church-yard, and
separated into as many groups, as there are different names to be given:
the priest standing in the middle of each group, flourishes a broom
dipped in holy-water over their heads, until they are all well
sprinkled, and, at the same time, bawls out to them, what their name is
to be.

Most of the imported negroes are sent to the mines to replace those who
have fallen victims to their insalubrious atmosphere; many of them die
shortly after their arrival, from change of climate and food, and a few
from mental despondency, which is here degraded by the name of
sulkiness. Arguing from the experience of two centuries, we shall be
almost induced to adopt the opinion of Voltaire, that a physical cause
can alone produce so extraordinary an effect, as an immense tribe kept
in a state of the most abject slavery by a handful of foreigners, not
amounting to the tenth part of their own numbers. All the false
reasoning upon this subject may be deduced from this fallacious maxim,
"that to judge correctly of the feelings of others, we should suppose
ourselves in their situations;" but by placing ourselves thus, we do not
judge of their feelings but of our own, and assume for granted what is
contrary to nature, that man is every where the same. We do not consider
that what to our constitutional energies and cultivated minds would
appear the acme of misery, may, to others of a different temperament, be
a state of comparative enjoyment; for the perceptions of every
individual being, create a standard of happiness in his own mind, and
nature has given to no two the same capacity of enjoyment. If the negro
inherited from nature the intellectual capacity of the Europeans, why
have we not seen him improve in the arts of civilization, by the force
of natural ingenuity, or, at least, by the adoption of some of the
knowledge of the latter, Here it may be said, that his tyrannical
masters deny him the means of acquiring that knowledge; but to answer
this objection we need only enquire by what means many other people
arose from barbarism, and we shall find ourselves obliged to trace back
the road of improvement to original genius. The leaders of the negroes
in St. Domingo may be adduced as instances of brilliant talents and
unconquerable spirit in the sons of Africa; but rules are sometimes
proved by their exceptions. A civil war, or a revolution in a state,
opens an unbounded theatre for the exhibition of talents, and gives to
native genius the power of distinguishing itself: we accordingly see it
rising superior to all obstacles from want of education or political
oppression. In the tumults of the West Indies, a few leaders may be
found, who appear among their countrymen, a kind of lusus naturae, that
more forcibly point out their general degradation; in fine, we may as
well affirm, that education would give to the cart-horse the spirit of a
courser, or to the cur the sagacity of the hound, as that it would give
to the negro the talents and abilities of the European. But though
nature may deny to the sons of Africa the degree of mental light which
illuminates the western world, she has not totally forbidden them a
participation in its benign influence. Nature surely never intended to

----Wretches born to work and weep
Explore the mine,

or, in short, to become the absolute property of other men; though she
has not raised them to the standard of man in temperate climates,
neither has she sunk them to the level of brutes; hence, although they
are fitted to be more easily reduced to a state of subjection, they are
not absolutely incapable of understanding the value of liberty, or
ignorant of the means of both aquiring and preserving it. The negro is
not always devoid of that courage and fortitude, that marks the
superiority of his European tyrant: he suffers pain with the most
stoical indifference, and often dares his master to punish him by
inflicting tortures on himself. Many negroes retreat to the fastnesses
in the mountains, where they form a body of implacable marauders, and
warm with revenge, commit unceasing depradations upon the neighbouring

A short time previous to our arrival, an instance of heroism was
exemplified in a native negro, for which ancient Rome would have erected
him a statue next to that of Virginius; and although my pen is greatly
incapable of doing justice to the story, it would be still greater
injustice to suppress it.

The law obliges a master to give freedom to his slave, if the latter can
procure the sum, at which he may be fairly estimated; and this is almost
the only boon granted to this degraded race.

Senor D. was a wealthy planter in the district of the mines, and among
his numerous slaves was one called Hanno, who had been born on the
estate, and whose ingenuity had increased his value much beyond that of
his fellows. Scarce had Hanno arrived at that age when every zephyr
seems the sigh of love, ere his fondest wishes centered on Zelida, a
young female of his own age, and a slave to the same master; in her his
partial eye perceived all that was beautiful in person, or amiable in
mind; the passion was mutual, it had "grown with their growth, and
strengthened with their strength;" but Hanno, though a slave, possessed
the feelings of a man, and his generous soul revolted at the idea of
entailing that slavery upon his children, which was the only birth-right
he inherited from his fathers. His mind was energetic, and his
resolutions immutable: while he fulfilled his daily task, and was
distinguished for his diligence and fidelity, he was enabled, by extra
labour and the utmost frugality, to lay by something, without defrauding
his master of his time; and at the end of seven years, his savings
amounted to the estimated value of a female slave. Time had not altered
his passion for Zelida, and they were united by the simple and
unartificial bonds of mutual love. The absence of Senor D. for two years
prevented the accomplishment of Hanno's first wishes, the purchase of
Zelida's freedom, and in that time she had presented him with a boy and
a girl. Though slaves from their birth, Hanno was not chagrined, for he
had now added to his hoard a sufficient sum to purchase their liberty
likewise. On the return of Senor D. Hanno anxiously demanded a
compliance with the law, but well aware of his master's sordid avarice,
cautiously affirmed, that a kind friend was to advance him the money.
Senor D. agreed to receive the price, and a day was fixed to execute the
deeds before a magistrate. On that day Hanno fled upon the wings of hope
to his master's house, while it may be supposed the most heartfelt joy
animated his bosom, on the prospect of giving immediate liberty to those
his soul doated on. He tendered the gold--it was seized as the stolen
property of Senor D.; and Hanno being unable to bring forward the
supposed lender, was condemned, and the cruelty of his master was
exhausted in superintending his punishment. Still bleeding from the
scourge, he returned to his hut, which, though the residence of slavery,
had till now been cheered by the benign influence of love and hope. He
found his wife suckling her infant daughter, while his son, yet unable
to walk, was amusing her with his playful gambols upon the bare earth.
Without answering Zelida's anxious enquiries, he thus addressed her: "To
procure your liberty, more dear to me than my own, I have, since the
moment of our acquaintance, deprived myself of every comfort my state of
bondage allows; for that perpose, I have laboured during those permitted
hours of relaxation, which my fellows have employed in amusements; I
have curtailed my scanty meal of cassada, I have sold my morsel of
tobacco[3], and I have gone naked amidst the burning heats of summer,
and the pinching colds of winter[4]. I had accomplished the object of
all my cares, and all my deprivations, and this morning I tendered to
your owner the price of your liberty, and that of your children; but
when the deed was to be ratified before the magistrate, he seized it as
his own, and accusing me of robbery, inflicted the punishment of a crime
my soul detests. My efforts to procure your liberty are abortive; the
fruits of my industry, like the labours of the silkworm, are gone to
feed the luxury of our tyrant; the blossoms of hope are for ever
blighted, and the wretched Hanno's cup of misery is full. Yet, a way, a
sure, but dreadful way remains, to free you, my wife, from the scourge
of tyranny, or the violation of lust, and to rescue you, my children,
from the hands of an unfeeling monster, and from a life of unceasing
wretchedness." Then seizing a knife, he plunged it into the bosom of his
wife, and while reeking with her blood, buried it in the hearts of his
children. When seized and interrogated, he answered with a manly tone of
firmness, "I killed my wife and children to shorten a miserable
existence in bondage, but I spared my own life to shew my brutal tyrant
how easy it is to escape from his power, and how little the soul of a
negro fears death or torment. I expect to suffer the utmost tortures
that your cruelty can devise, but pain I despise thus, (staking his arm
on an iron spike, and tearing it through the flesh,) and death I desire,
that I may rejoin my wife and children, who have, ere this, a habitation
prepared for me in the land of our forefathers, where no cruel white man
is permitted to enter." Even the proud apathy of the Portuguese was
roused by this appeal to their feelings; the slave was pardoned and
granted his freedom; Senor D. severely fined, and the unworthy
magistrate, who seconded his villany, degraded from his office. I trust
this digression will plead its own excuse, and shall conclude it with
the hope, that the time is not far distant,

Till the freed Indians, in their native groves,
Reap their own fruits, and woo their sable loves.

[3. Tobacco is esteemed the greatest luxury next to rum by the negroes.]

[4. The province of Brasil rises from the sea till it reaches the summits
of the Cordilleras, and the cold necessarily increases in proportion to
the ascent. The district of the mines produces European fruits, and is
subject to frost.]

The new negroes have an idea, that their priests can render them
invulnerable to the weapons of their enemies; and hence arise the most
bloody contests between the different tribes, which the severest
punishments cannot suppress. National hatred is one of the strongest
principles in the minds of the ignorant, and a real John Bull as
heartily despises a Frenchman when fellow-prisoner as when at liberty.

The native Indians in the district of Rio Janeiro are few; the
Portuguese accuse them of aversion to any kind of labour, and only
employ them on the water as boatmen. They are declared by government
entirely free, and their conversion to Christianity is strictly ordered
to be attempted by persuation alone. The missionaries are numerous, and
have so far succeeded in their spiritual labours, that several towns of
baptised Indians are established in the district of the mines.

The harbour of Rio Janeiro is well defended by forts and batteries on
every commanding position, which are garrisoned by about 4,000 regular
troops, who make a very respectable appearance, and seem to be extremely
well disciplined. The whites of every description, amounting to 10,000,
are enrolled in a militia, and exercised once a month. From this motley
group, however, little service could be expected in the hour of attack,
and we might justly exclaim,

'Twas not the spawn of such as these
That dar'd the elements on pathless seas,
And made proud Asian monarchs feel
How weak their gold was against Europe's steel;
But soldiers of another mould,
Rough, hardy, season'd, manly, bold.

With respect to the political relations of the colony and the mother
country, we may safely assert, that the bonds of dependence have been
drawn so tight that they are almost ready to break. The restraints on
trade, the income-tax of ten per cent. levied with the greatest rigour,
(a tax unknown in the English colonies,) and the venality of those in
office, are glaring evils, which absolute mental blindness could alone
prevent the Brasilians from seeing. The spirit of discontent, which had
been long silently fermenting, openly shewed itself a few months ago,
upon an attempt to introduce a stamp act into the colony: this measure
met with universal resistance from the colonists, who, to avoid the
penalties arising from non-compliance, transacted all their money
concerns viva voce, and upon honour[5]. Should the irritated colonists
be driven to extremities, the mother-country will probably find too
late, that though a disease at its commencement may be removed by gentle
remedies, it will, by neglect, soon grow too powerful for the most
desperate. The spirit of revolution which, like the element of fire,
seems to pervade the habitable globe, at the present moment, is rapidly
gaining strength in these trans-atlantic regions. The philosophy of
Helvetius, Voltaire, Rousseau, and Volney, has here its admirers and
supporters, who only wait the favourable moment to kindle the latent
sparks into flame. These principles are chiefly circulated and extended
by a masonic society; which neither the despotic power of the civil
government, nor the denunciations of the church, have been able to
suppress or control. In 1803, this society consisted only of twenty-five
brethren; in 1804, their numbers have increased to one hundred. Several
officers of the inquisition have been sent from Portugal, to suppress
it, but without effect; and the presence of these spiritual jackalls,
creates but little uneasiness, as they possess no temporal authority,
and can only send the culprits to Europe upon proof of their guilt. The
French republic, which seems to neglect no means of revolutionising
every part of the globe, and to which force and intrigue are indifferent
in this pursuit, have not forgotten the Brasils, where their emissaries
are sufficiently active in their cause of anarchy and confusion. The
mother-country, aware of the slippery tenure by which the colony is
held, with all the fears of a weak despot, prohibits the erection of a

[5. This act has since been carried into effect.]

Should the Brasils revolt from their allegiance to the parent state,
which in the course of national events is by no means improbable, and to
which present appearances would authorize the fixing no very distant
period; the immense regions of Spanish America will doubtless pursue
the same steps. This region of the globe appears, from its geographical
position, to be peculiarly adapted to the growth of powerful states;
while its natural divisions, and external aspects, are eminently
favourable to the preservation of liberty: for though, in its extent, it
occupies the whole of the torrid zone, from its great elevation it
enjoys a more temperate climate than the southern provinces of Europe,
and is consequently more congenial to freedom. Had South America been
colonized by a northern people, who would have cherished the freedom
they conveyed thither, it would have at this day presented a very
different appearance.


From Rio Janeiro to the Cape of Good Hope.--Islands of Tristan d,
Acunha.--Cape Town.--Simmon's Town.--Dutch.--Departure from the
Cape.--Island of St. Paul.--Arrival at Port Philip.

1803, July. On quitting the American coast under the tropic of
Capricorn, the seaman takes leave of summer seas and gentle breezes for
the rest of his voyage through the southern hemisphere; his care then
consists in preparing his vessel to encounter the turbulent elements he
is to meet with. But the storm which terrifies the landman into
repentance, and vows of amendment, is welcomed by the experienced
sailor, as expediting his passage; for he never considers how strong the
wind is, while it continues fair, and his bark is able to run before it;
or, if it is foul, he consoles himself from day to day with the
certainty, that the longer it has continued so, the nearer it is to a
change. At this season the prevailing winds, south of the parallel of
36 S. are westerly, which often blow with unabated violence for months
together. The southern polar ices, which in summer are often found
floating in large detached islands, as far as the latitude of 37, are
in the winter bound together or chained to the Antarctic rocks, and thus
they withstand the force of the winds and currents; their neighbourhood
is, however, evinced by the degree of cold which gradually increases
from the tropic, till in the latitude of 40, where the thermometer
falls to 50, with showers of sleet and hail.

Quitting Rio Janeiro the 19th of July, with the wind at E. N. E. we
shaped our course to the southward, in order to get into the region of
westerly winds, which came on gradually till they fixed in strong N. W.
gales. It was now found impossible to keep company with the Ocean,
without running under bare poles, which strained the ship violently, and
we therefore parted company near the Islands of Tristan d'Acunha; the
largest of which we made on the 2d of August. The preceeding evening it
had blown a heavy gale, with a mountainous sea; but as we approached the
island, the wind moderated to a fine breeze, the billows subsided, and
the clouds clearing away, shewed the full-moon suspended in the clearest
ether: by her friendly light, at about four o'clock we saw the land, at
six leagues distance. As the dawn arose, the horizon becoming hazing,
concealed it from our sight; but at sun-rise, the vapours again
dispersing, left us a clear view of it till noon, when it was fourteen
leagues distant.

The effect which the sight of the smallest spot of land, or even a bare
uninhabited rock, has in breaking the tedious monotony of a long sea
voyage, is easier felt than described. After passing a long succession
of weary hours, with no other objects of contemplation than a world of
waters, bounded only by the extent of vision, where it unites with the
world of clouds, the sight of land acts like a talisman, and
instantaneously transports us into the fairy regions of imagination. We
compare the spot we are viewing with one rendered inestimably dear to
us, by the remembrance of its beloved objects, and the tender
recollection of past happiness. We pass over, as points in time or
space, the years or seas that separate us; and by a cherished delusion,
find ourselves arrived at the moment of re-union, cheered by the embrace
of friendship, or locked in the arms of love and beauty.

The Island of Tristan d'Acunha, and the circumstances attending our view
of it, brought forcibly to mind the beautiful apostrophe to Hope in Mr.
Campbel's poem.

Angel of life, thy glitt'ring wings explore
Earth's lonliest bounds, and ocean's wildest shore.
Lo! to the wintry winds the pilot yields
His bark careering o'er unfathom'd fields.
Now on Atlantic waves he rides afar,
Where Andes, giant of the western star,
With meteor standard to the winds unfurl'd,
Looks from his throne of clouds o'er half the world.
Now far he sweeps, where scarce a summer smiles
On Behrring's rocks, or Greenland's naked isles;
Cold on his midnight watch, the breezes blow
From wastes that slumber in eternal snow;
And waft across the waves' tumultuous roar,
The Wolf's long from AEonalaska's shore.

Poor child of danger, nursling of the storm,
Sad are the woes that wreck thy manly form;
Rocks, waves, and winds, the shatter'd bark delay,
Thy heart is sad, thy home is far away.

But hope can here her moon-light vigils keep,
And sing to charm the spirit of the deep;
Swift as yon streamer lights the stary pole,
Her visions warm the watchman's pensive soul.
His native hills, that rise in happier climes,
The grot that heard his song of other times,
His cottage home, his bark of slender sail,
His glassy lake, and broom-wood blossom'd vale,
Rush on his thought; he sweeps before the wind,
Treads the lov'd shore he sigh'd to leave behind,
Meets at each step a friend's familiar face,
And flies at last to Helen's long embrace,
Wipes from her cheek the rapture speaking tear,
And clasps with many a sigh his children dear!
While long neglected, but at length caress'd,
His faithful dog salutes the smiling guest,
Points to his master's eyes where'er they roam
His wistful face, and whines a welcome home.

These islands were discovered by the Portuguese in their first voyages
towards the Cape of Good Hope; they are three in number, the largest
being that which we passed at the distance of two miles; it is almost
bare of vegetation, but in one small spot on the north side, from whence
a stream of water was observed precipitating itself into the sea: except
in this place the north side of the island rises abruptly to a peak, the
summit of which was at this time veiled by the clouds[1]. These islands
abound in sea-elephants, whose oil is more valuable than that of any
other amphibious animal; and their tongues, when salted, affords no
despicable resource in a scarcity of provisions.[2]

[1. When the wind is from the northward, the swell it must throw in on
this side of the island, will hardly permit ships to anchor, or boats to
land, without imminent danger. Its latitude we found to be 37 9' S.,
and longitude, by three chronometers, and a series of lunar observations
(agreeing within ten miles), 11 29'30" E.]

[2. This animal, to which sealers have given the name of sea-elephant,
appears to be the same as the sea-lion of Anson, &c. The oil of the sea
elephant, by a simple preparation, is found to answer the purpose of
linseed oil in painting. To twenty gallons of the oil, when boiling, add
"a quarter of a pound of white copperas, two pounds of litharge or red
lead, and half a pint of spirit of turpentine;" after it has boiled half
an hour let it grow cold, pour the oil off from the sediment, and it is
fit for use.]

From Tristan d'Acunha a short run of eleven days brought us off the Cape
of Good Hope, which we were in hopes of passing with a continuance of
our favourable wind; in this, however, we were disappointed, as it
suddenly veered to the S. E. and obliged us to run to the northward and
make the land. Upon mature deliberation it was thought better, under
these circumstances, to run into the Cape, than endanger the present
high health of the ship's company and convicts, by keeping the sea in
this stormy season; and we accordingly cast anchor in Simmon's bay.

So much has already been written of the Cape of Good Hope, by travellers
of every description, that little remains to be gleaned by the most
piercing observation. Different persons, however, view the same objects
in different points of view, according to variety of disposition, or the
temper of the moment; and what may escape the general observer in the
wild field of nature, or be deemed too trifling for the philisophic
enquirer, falls to the lot of the humble gleaner; and it is, indeed, by
minute and familiar description alone, that we can point out to others
the scenes that we ourselves have viewed.

Cape Town is one of the handsomest colonial towns in the world; the
streets, which are wide and perfectly straight, are kept in the highest
order, and planted with rows of oaks and firs. The houses are built in a
stile of very superior elegance, and inside are in the cleanest and most
regular order. They are not, however, sufficiently ventilated, to
dissipate the stale fume of tobacco, which is peculiarly offensive to a
stranger. The play-house is a neat building, erected by the English,
where French and Dutch plays are acted alternately twice a week by
private performers.

The public garden, in which was formerly a menagerie, well stocked with
all the curious animals of Africa, was entirely neglected by the
English. Within the garden is the government-house, a neat convenient
building, without any appearance of grandeur, and perfectly consonant to
the plain and frugal manners of the old Batavians. The torrents which
descend from the Table-hill in the wet season often overflow the town;
to carry the waters off, canals are cut through the principal streets,
communicating with the ditch of the fort, and thence with the sea.

Table and False Bay are separated by an isthmus, which has evidently
been covered by the sea at no very remote period, for it is a plain of
fine sea-sand mixed with shells, but little elevated above the level of
the sea. The S. E. wind, which blows with great fury, forms this sand
into hills, which are in some places bare, and in others bound by
flowering shrubs, and heaths of various kinds; the distance between the
two bays by land is twenty-four miles. Quitting Simmon's town, the road
to Muisenbourg (a small post about six miles from it) sometimes runs
along the beach which is flat, and on which the sea flows with gentle
undulations; at others, it winds round the feet of craggy hills, which
are covered with masses of stone suspended almost in air, that seem
nodding, and ready to be displaced by the least impulse; even the
reverberation of sound, one would think, might dislodge them. The sides
of these hills are covered with heath and shrubs, which throw out
blossoms of every colour in the spring, and they abound in deer and
other game. Regiments of baboons assemble on them, and, screened behind
the impending rocks, roll down the loose masses on the passing
traveller; wolves also descend from them in large troops, and "burning
for blood; bony, and gaunt, and grim," seize as their prey the strayed
oxen or wandering goats. A few scanty and turbid rills, apparently
impregnated with iron, steal down the mountain's sides; but scarce a
stream deserving the name of rivulet is to be found here. At Muisenbourg
the road crosses a salt lake about half a mile wide, which is always
fordable. From hence to within eight miles of Cape Town, the road lies
over a flat heavy sand, where the path is distinguished only by the
tracks of waggons; on either side the sand is covered with an
innumerable variety of flowering heaths and shrubs, whose blossoms
impregnate the air, with the most balmy odours. The remainder of the
road to Cape Town is formed of the iron-stone, which abounds here, and
is kept in excellent order. Neatly elegant country houses embellish it
on each side, while lofty oaks growing out of the fences, and clumps of
firs within them, in some parts, give it the appearance of an English
avenue. The entrance into the town is over a down, rising on the left
side to the Table mountain, and on the right descending to a fertile
valley, with several neat farm-houses and wind mills scattered over it.
The sides of the hills are variegated with patches of the silver-tree,
contrasting their glossy leaves with the brown heath and barren rocks.

The sensations which possessed our minds on entering this beautiful
town, fresh from sea, acquired the most vivid colours from contrast. The
evening before we were confined to the narrow limits of a ship,
surrounded and buffeted by the boisterous waves, and almost beaten down
by the torrents of rain, mingled with the continual sprays of the sea;
now the loud winds rending the sails, and whistling through the cordage,
employed all our exertions to secure our vessel against its utmost fury;
now incessant peals of thunder rattling above our heads, while after
every vivid flash the eye felt a temporary suspension of sight, and the
mind for a moment shuddered at the doubt of its total extinction, and
recollected that a frail plank alone was the barrier between mortal
existence and eternity. Now view the contrast in a few short hours; our
vessel rides in safety where,

Smooth flow the waves, and zephyrs gently play,

while the danger and the fatigue past are drowned in oblivion; and now
we tread the verdant turf, and breathe the balmy atmosphere of
odoriferous flowers, while, as we approach the town, parties of
equestrian ladies attract our eyes, attended by their beaux, whose
happiness we might envy, did not the call of honour, and the voice of
patriotism, render us less vulnerable to the charms of beauty, or the
blandishments of love.

Simmon's Town is situated on a small bay of that name, and contains
about one hundred and fifty well-built houses; the inhabitants chiefly
subsist by supplying ships with refreshments, during the months they are
unable to lay in Table Bay. The English built a small block-house, with
a battery enbarbet, to the eastward of the town; the post of Muisenbourg
has also a small battery, and the beach, in places of easy access, is
guarded by a few guns. The road to Muisenbourg has several difficult
passes, which might be defended against very superior numbers. A
detachment of three hundred troops are stationed at Simmon's Town, who
would in the event of an enemy's landing, retreat to Cape Town, which is
garrisoned by three thousand troops, chiefly Swiss, particularly the
regiment of Waldeck, which having served under the English banner in the
American war, remembers with partiality the food and pay of its old
masters, both of which, in the Dutch service, are wretched enough.

The English, during the short period they were masters of the Cape,
raised the price of every consumable commodity 200 per cent. but the
Dutch government is again endeavouring to reduce things to their former
level, and by the strictest economy to make the colony pay its expences.
These measures are exceedingly unpopular, and have already caused
upwards of one hundred real or fictitious bankruptcies. Hence the
partiality with which the English are viewed here. Their return is
openly wished for, even by those who were formerly their greatest foes.
In fact, the Dutch government at the Cape, as well as at home, is
entirely under French influence; and it is probable that in the
boundless ambition of the Corsican usurper, he considers the Cape of
Good Hope as one of the steps by which he intends to mount the Asiatic

The Dutch, as well as the English, who have any floating property in the
colony, are anxious to remit it to England, and therefore bills bear a
premium of from 30 to 35 per cent. for paper money, which is the only
currency here, and which rises from 6d. to 100 rix-dollars[3]. A
quantity of copper pennies were put into circulation by the English, but
finding it difficult to adjust their intrinsic value to the currency of
the colony, without confusion on the one hand, or loss to the importers
on the other, it was determined to double the nominal value, by which
government gained 60 per cent. at the same time their private
importation was made penal.

[3. This was in August 1803.]

In Simmon's bay the water is supplied to ships by cocks, at a wharf
where boats may lay at most times. Firewood is the scarcest article
here: this is owing to the parching S. E. winds preventing the growth of
timber, except the silver-tree and pollard oak. The carriage between the
two towns is by waggons with fourteen or sixteen horses, the hire of
which is thirty-five rix-dollars (6L. 2s.); the horses are small, but
hardy, and bear much fatigue. Oxen are also used to draw the heavy

The women of the Cape, when young, are often pretty, but whether from
their sendentary lives, or peculiar gross food, in a few years they grow
unweildy, and delicacy of shape is sunk beneath a load of fat. Their
dress is English, and in this respect the severe sentence of Ovid on the
fair sex in general, is particularly applicable to the Cape ladies;

Pars minima est, ipsa puella sui.

The contrast between a gay, attentive, and well-dressed English officer,
and a grumbling, coarse, and phlegmatic Dutchman, was too obvious not to
strike the Batavian fair ones, and their partiality was so openly
expressed, that our countrymen could not well avoid taking advantage of
it, and in pure compassion, preventing them from "wasting their
sweetness on the desert air." But, in this respect, public opinion seems
to be at present the only criterion of right and wrong, and as that
opinion is entirely governed by the conduct of the majority, such venial
trespasses are considered with mutual charity, and the damsel who takes
an annual trip to the country for the benefit of mountain air, returns
in about two months, and receives the congratulations of her friends
upon the restored bloom of her complexion, with the modest air of a
vestal "as chaste as unsunned snow."

In contemplating the manners and opinions of different nations, we are
often apt to attribute to the caprice of the human mind, effects which
proceed from natural causes alone, over which man can scarcely be
allowed to possess any influence. The cleanliness and industry of the
Dutch form a striking contrast with the dirt and indolence of the
Portuguese, but are not more opposite than the climates of Holland and
Portugal. The religious sentiments of these two nations are not less
different than their external manners, and may, perhaps, be ultimately
deduced from the same cause. At Rio Janeiro, the lofty spires of
innumerable churches arise in every point of view; the streets are
crowded with priests of every denomination and habit; the air
continually reverberates the solemn sounds of the cloyster bell, while
the harmonious notes of the vesperal hymn, chaunted in slow cadence,
breaks the silence of the evening, and forces reverence from the bosom
of levity itself. At the Cape of Good Hope, two churches and two
clergymen are enough for the inhabitants, and at Simmon's Town there is
no trace of the peculiar appropriation of the sabbath to religious
duties; all here are employed in making money. Money is the supreme
divinity of a Dutchman, for which he would renounce his religion, sell
his wife, or betray his friend.

The slaves at the Cape are either Mosambique negroes or Malays from the
eastern Archipelago, and we must do their masters the justice to say,
that they are more humane in their treatment of them than any other
European nation. When in fear of punishment, the slaves often retire to
the Table mountain, and give much trouble to the police.

Having secured the continuance of our people's health, by the daily
supply of fresh beef and bread, and having received on board five cows,
one bull, and twelve sheep for the new Settlement, we put to sea on the
25th, with a fine breeze from the N. W. to the expected continuance of
which we trusted for an expeditious passage to the coast of New Holland,
and accordingly steered to the southward, to get into the supposed range
of its greatest strength. In these southern seas, we were continually
surrounded by whales, and were even sometimes obliged to alter our
course to avoid striking on them. They often visit the bays about the
Cape, and while they sport on the surface, the winds and waves carry
them so near the beach, that all their exertions are insufficient to
extricate themselves, and they perish on the shore. Their blubber is
removed and converted into oil by persons who farm this prerogative from
government. Flocks of albatrosses, and various kinds of peterals, follow
the whales, and feed on the oily substances which they exude.

On quitting the Cape, it was natural for the reflecting mind to recur
back to the history of the first adventurous navigators who passed this
formidable barrier to ancient navigation. Comparing our own situation
and views with those of De Gama and his followers, we are led to
appreciate, as it deserves, their perservering boldness, while our
admiration is excited by the progress of human invention and
improvement, so peculiarly exemplified in the art of navigation.

The stormy seas which wash the southern promontory of Africa, (to which
was then given the appropriate name of "Cap de las Tormentos,") are
despised by the British seamen, whose vessel flies in security before
the tempest, and while she "rides on the billows and defies the storm,"
he carelessly sings as if unconscious of the warring elements around
him. In the revolution of all sublunary affairs, when the past and the
present are alike sunk in the oblivious abyss of time, when De Gama is
no more heard of, and a faint tradition alone records the doubtful power
and opulence of the British isles, then shall some other transcendent
genius arise, who, braving this foaming ocean with equal difficulty and
equal glory, shall claim the honour of a first discoverer.

----Venient annis
Secula seris; quibus oceanus
Vincula rerum laxet, et ingens
Pateat tellus, Typhisque novos
Deteget orbes; nec sit terris
Ultima Thule.


Scarce had we cleared the land, ere the favourable wind left us, and
veering to the eastward, continued to blow from that quarter for eleven
days; but by the assistance of strong easterly currents[4], we were
enabled to preserve our distance from the land. The constant wet and
cold weather which now prevailed, required every care and attention to
obviate its evil effects upon the convicts, many of whom, through mere
carelessness when in fine weather, were now literally naked; the taylors
were, therefore, employed in making up jackets and trowsers, from the
materials sent on board for that purpose, which were distributed to
those most in want. Slight dysenteries were for some time prevalent, but
by the unremitting care of the surgeon, and the most minute attention to
keeping the prisons well aired and dry, as well as to the personal
cleanliness of the convicts, one man only fell a victim to this disease.
The inclement weather had a more fatal effect on the colonial cattle,
three of the heifers dying shortly after we left the Cape.

[4. Vide Addenda I.]

It was our intention to make the island of St. Paul's, in order to
verify our chronometers[5], which were at this period no less than six
degrees a-head of the reckoning, but night having overtaken us, and the
wind blowing fresh and fair, we ran past them in the dark; our vicinity
was, however, evinced in the morning, by large patches of rock-weed, the
leaves of which were very broad, and resembled in shape those of the

[5. The chronometers on board were constructed by Mr. Mudge, N 8, and N
12. The rate given in England continued without variation to Tristan
d'Acunha, but in the run from thence to the Cape we found an error of
half a degree of longtitude, that is, a loss of two minutes of time. On
the 29th of August, N 8 stopped without any apparent cause, and the
next day resumed its going; this prevented any dependence being placed
on it for the rest of the passage. At Port Philip and Port Jackson, the
rates were again ascertained by daily observations, and they continued
to agree until a few days after leaving Port Jackson, when N 8 again
stopped. N 12 agreed perfectly with the landfall of Cape Horn, but on
our arrival at Rio Janeiro we found an error of 75 miles of longitude to
the westward; being a loss of five minutes of time from Port Jackson to
Rio, for the given longitude of Cape Horn could not be depended on.]

[6. The confounding the names of the islands of St. Paul and Amsterdam,
which has been the case since Capt. Cook's voyage, as well as the
uncertainty of their relative situations, must cause some uneasiness to
the navigator in passing them of a bad night. A Dutch Captain at the
Cape asserted, that they were only twelve miles distant north and south
of each other (but I presume he must have meant Dutch miles, equal to
English leagues). Malham's Naval Gazette of 1801 places St. Paul's in
latitude 37 56', longitude 77 22', and makes Amsterdam in 36 40'; 75
15'. To make this agree with the other calculations, there must be an
error of the press of two degrees in the latter latitude, which would
then be 38 40'; that is 44' difference. Mr. Bowdich, who is in general
the most correct in the latitudes and longitudes of places, takes the
mean of Capt. Blighs's and Sir Geo. Staunton's observations, and makes
the islands in the same longitude, viz. 77 11' and St. Paul's in
latitude 37 52', and Amsterdam in 38 42', 50' difference. Mr.
Maskelyne, in his requisite tables, says, St. Paul's (meaning, I
suppose, the Amsterdam of the others,) is in latitude 38 44', longitude
77 18'. Hamilton Moor makes St Paul's in latitude 37 31', and
longitude 77 56', and Amsterdam in 38 15', and 78 00'. Upon the whole
it appears, that the northernmost island is about the latitude of 37
55', and the southernmost 38 40'.]

From the island of St. Paul to the Coast of New Holland, the winds were
commonly between the N. W. and S. W. and our track was confined to the
parallels of 38 and 39; with the wind from the northward, we always
found the sea remarkably smooth, but when the southerly wind prevailed,
the heavy swell, even in light breezes, evinced the long fetch of the
waters, and demonstrated the general tempestuous weather in the high
southern latitudes. These circumstances alone would be almost sufficient
to refute the opinion of a southern continent, did not the voyages of
Capt. Cook put it beyond a doubt.

From the longitude of 125 E. the oceanic birds, which before flitted
over the waves in vast numbers, began to decrease, and in 137 scarce
one was seen. This being the spring of the southern hemisphere, they,
doubtless, now retire to the rocks, to deposit their eggs and raise
their young.

On Saturday, October 10th, we at last made King Island[7], in the
entrance of Bass's Straits, which we had anxiously looked out for the
two proceeding days; the wind being from the N. E. obliged us to stand
within three miles of the island, which through the haze we observed to
be moderately high and level, with three sandy hills nearly in the
centre. The increasing breeze and lowering sky, which portended a coming
gale, prevented our examining the island more minutely. Fortunately we
stood off in time to gain a sufficient offing before the gale commenced,
which during the night blew a perfect hurricane between the N. W. and S.
W. This night of danger and anxiety, was succeeded by a morning
beautifully serene, which shewed us the southern coast of New South
Wales. From the total want of information respecting the appearance of
the land on this coast, we were doubtful as to our situation, and
approached the shore with cautious diffidence; at length the break in
the land, which forms the entrance of Port Philip, was observed, but a
surf, apparently breaking across it[8], created, at first, some mistrust
of its identity, until the man at the mast-head observing a ship at
anchor within, which was soon recognized for the Ocean, removed all
doubt, and without farther hesitation we pushed in for the entrance. A
fair wind and tide soon carried us through; and in a few minutes we were
presented with a picture highly contrasted with the scene we had lately
contemplated: an expanse of water bounded in many places only by the
horizon, and unruffled as the bosom of unpolluted innocence, presented
itself to the charmed eye, which roamed over it in silent admiration.
The nearer shores, along which the ship glided at the distance of a
mile, afforded the most exquisite scenery, and recalled the idea of
"Nature in the world's first spring." In short, every circumstance
combined to impress our minds with the highest satisfaction for our safe
arrival, and in creating those emotions which diffused themselves in
thanksgiving to that Almighty Guide, who conducted us through the
pathless ocean, to the spot of our destination.

[7. Named after P. G. King, Esq. the present Governor of New South

[8. This we afterwards found was occasioned by the rapidity of the ebb
tide, counteracted by the wind, which created a breaking sea, that must
destroy the best constructed open boat.]


Transactions at Port Philip from the Arrival to the Sailing of the
Calcutta.--Survey of the Port.--Natives.--Communication with Port
Jackson.--Determination to remove the Colony.--Examination of Western

The week following our arrival at Port Philip was occupied in searching
for an eligible place to fix the settlement. As it was of the first
consequence that this should be of easy access to shipping, the shores
near the mouth of the port were first examined. Here, to our great
mortification, we observed a total want of fresh water, and found the
soil so extremely light and sandy as to deny all hopes of successful
cultivation. As it was, however, determined to land the people, a small
bay, eight miles from the harbour's mouth, was pitched upon for that
purpose, where, by sinking casks, water of a tolerable quantity was
procured, and here the camp was pitched; and on the 16th of October, the
marines and convicts were landed, while the ships immediately began to
discharge their cargoes.

On the first days of our landing, previous to the general debarkation,
Capt. Woodriff, Colonel Collins, and the First Lieutenant of the
Calcutta had some interviews with the natives who came to the boats
entirely unarmed, and without the smallest symptom of apprehension;
presents of blankets biscuits &c. were given to them, with which, except
in one instance, they departed satisfied and inoffensive. The wash
streak of the boat striking one of their fancies, he seized it and threw
it behind some bushes; to shew him the impropriety of this, the blankets
which had before been given them were taken away, and they were made to
understand, that they would not be restored until the board was brought
back by him who conveyed it away: this, after some delay and much
reluctance, was at last done.

Though the vicinity of the harbour's mouth afforded no situation
calculated for the establishment of the colony, it was naturally
expected from the extent of the port, (its extremes being sunk in the
horizon,) that convenient spots might be found; and the First Lieutenant
of the Calcutta, with two boats, was directed to ascertain this material
point, by as careful a survey of the port as time would permit. From the
reports of this survey, made to Capt. Woodriff, the following
descriptive particulars are extracted.

Port Philip lies in the bottom of a deep bight between Cape Albany Otway
and Point Schank. Coming from the westward, the Port may be known by a
single bluff head-land without trees, rising from low land, thickly
wooded, about four leagues to the westward of the entrance, to which we
gave the name of Whale-head, from its resemblance to that fish. The
prevalence of southerly winds renders Port Philip easily accessible, but
in the same proportion the egress is difficult, for Point Schank bearing
S. E. and Cape Otway S. W. it is obvious that with the wind at south a
ship would not clear either, and the heavy swell that constantly tumbles
on the coast between Port Philip and Western Port, will often render it
impossible (particularly in light winds) to keep off the shore, which
here presents a continued barrier of rock, that denies the smallest
hopes of escape to those dashed upon it.

The face of the country bordering on the port is beautifully
picturesque, swelling into gentle elevations of the brightest verdure,
and dotted with trees, as if planted by the hand of taste, while the
ground is covered with a profusion of flowers of every colour; in short,
the external appearance of the country flattered us into the most
delusive dreams of fruitfulness and plenty.

The soil (except in a few places where marle is found mixed with
vegetable mould,) is invariably sandy, and its blackness proceeds from
the ashes of the burnt grass, which has everwhere been set fire to by
the natives. The proportion of sand varies, and in some spots the soil
may be sufficiently strong to produce vegetables, and, perhaps, Indian
corn; but it may safely be asserted, that (excepting a few acres at the
head of the port) no spot within five miles of the water will produce
wheat or any other grain that requires either much moisture or good
soil. On some of the highest elevations an arid sea-sand is found,
giving nourishment to no other vegetable than heath and fern. The bases
of the hills consist of very coarse granite, which is here found in
every stage of formation, from grains scarcely adhering, and crumbling
into sand between the fingers, to the perfect stone which almost defies
the chissel.

The great scarcity of water is one of the greatest disadvantages the
port labours under. In the narrow glens between the hills, the marks of
watercourses are visible, but at this time (October) they are mostly
dried up; pools of fresh water are found scattered about the port, but
they are merely drains from swamps, and from their stagnation are
strongly impregnated with decayed vegetable substances.

On the eastern side of the port, twenty-eight miles from the entrance, a
stream of fresh water empties itself into the port. This stream runs
through an extensive swamp, and appears to be a branch from a large
river, at the northern extremity of the port, which the shortness of
time and badness of the weather prevented our examining. The bed of this
stream is covered with foliaceous mica, which our people at first
conceived to be gold dust, and thence expected they had discovered an

On the west side of the port is an extensive lagoon, the water of which
is too shoal to admit even small boats but at full tides; and in several
places salt lagoons are found, generally closed by the beach, where
ducks, teal, and swans are found in abundance.

The timber, within five miles of the beach, is chiefly the she-oak,
which is only fit for cabinet word; the trees are open, and the country
is entirely free from underwood, except in the swamps, which are always
covered with an impenetrable brush. The other kinds of timber trees are
very thinly scattered within the above limits; they are the blue-gum,
stringy-bark, honeysuckle, box, and a kind of pine; of these the three
first grow to a large size, and when sound, would probably be useful in
shipbuilding. From the lightness of the soil, as well as its want of
depth, the trees shoot their roots horizontally, and having no hold of
the ground, are blown down in great numbers by every strong wind.

Of potable vegetables, wild celery, wild parsnip, scurvy grass, and
samphire, were found in great abundance, and several other kinds were
eaten by our people[1]. The only fruits we found were the cone of the
she oak, which, when green, has a pleasantly acid taste, and a small
berry, called by the colonists the Port Jackson cherry.

[1. Vide Addenda II.]

The kangaroo is the largest animal yet discovered in New Holland; it
inhabits the neighbourhood of Port Philip in considerable numbers,
weighing from 50 to 150lb.; the native dog, the opossum, flying
squirrel, and field-rat make up the catalogue of animals we observed.

Aquatic birds are found in abundance on the lagoons, and are black
swans, ducks, teal, black and pied shags, pelicans, gulls, red-bills (a
beach bird), herons, curlows, and sand larks; the land birds are eagles,
crows, ravens, quail, bronze-winged pigeons, and many beautiful
varieties of the parrot tribe, particularly the large black cockatoo;
the emue is also a native of this part of the country, its eggs having
been found here. Three varieties of snakes were observed, all of which
appeared to be venomous. The species of insects are almost innumerable:
among them are upwards of one hundred and fifty different kinds of
beautiful moths; several kinds of beetles the animated straw, &c. The
swamps are inhabited by myriads of musquitoes of an extraordinary size;
but the common fly, which swarms almost beyond belief, possesses all the
offensive powers of the musquitoe, its sting creating an equal degree of
pain and inflammation. Wasps are also common, but no bees were seen.

Fish, it may safely be asserted, is so scarce that it could never be
depended on as a source of effectual relief in the event of scarcity.
Several varieties of the ray were almost the only ones caught, with
sometimes a few mullet, and other small fish; in general, a day's work
with the seine produced scarcely a good dish of fish. The number of
sharks which infest the harbour may occasion this scarcity of small
fish. The rocks outside the harbour's mouth are frequented by seals and
sea elephants. The shell-fish are oysters, limpits, mussels, escalops,
cockles, sea-ears; and very large cray-fish are found among the rocks.

Deeming minerals, as well as limestone, coal, and clays, of the greatest
consequence to the colony, particular attention was paid to searching
for them; the only appearance of minerals was in large masses of
iron-stone, in some specimens of which, the shape, colour, and weight
seemed to authorise the conclusion of its richness[2]. Lime-stone was
found in many places, but the search for coal was fruitless. Several
kinds of clay fit for pottery, bricks &c. were found in abundance, but
always, more or less, mixed with sand; indeed, after displacing a thin
covering of sand and ashes, the bottom, in most places, was found to be
a soft, friable sand stone of a yellowish colour.

[2. From this stone, when pulverised, the natives, I suppose, procure the
red earth with which they paint their faces.]

With respect to climate, we had not sufficient time to judge of its
effects on the human constitution; the vicissitudes of heat and cold are
very great, the thermometer varying from 50 to 96, between sun-rise
and noon of the same day; and on the 19th and 21st of October it froze
pretty smartly at the head of the port. The N. W. winds, which come on
in violent squalls, have all the disagreeable effects of the sirocco of
the Levant, but seldom last more than an hour, when the wind returns to
the S. W. with thunder, lightning, and rain.[3]

[3. Vide Addenda III.]

The N. W. side of the port, where a level plain extends to the northward
as far as the horizon, appears to be by far the most populous; at this
place, upwards of two hundred natives assembled round the surveying
boats, and their obviously hostile intentions made the application of
fire-arms absolutely necessary to repel them, by which one native was
killed, and two or three wounded. Previous to this time, several
interviews had been held with separate parties, at different places,
during which the most friendly intercourse was maintained, and
endeavoured to be strengthened on our part, by presents of blankets,
beads, &c. At these interviews they appeared to have a perfect knowledge
of the use of fire-arms; and as they seemed terrified even at the sight
of them, they were kept entirely out of view. The last interview which
terminated so unexpectedly hostile, had at its commencement the same
friendly appearance. Three natives, unarmed, came to the boats, and
received fish, bread, and blankets. Feeling no apprehension from three
naked and unarmed savages, the First Lieutenant proceeded with one boat
to continue the survey, while the other boat's crew remained on shore to
dress dinner and procure water. The moment the first boat disappeared
the three natives took leave, and in less than an hour returned with
forty more, headed by a chief who seemed to possess much authority. This
party immediately divided, some taking off the attention of the people
who had charge of the tent, (in which was Mr. Harris the surveyor of the
colony,) while the rest surrounded the boats, the oars, masts, and sails
of which were used in erecting the tent. Their intention was to plunder
was immediately visible, and all the exertions of the boat's crew were
insufficient to prevent their possessing themselves of a tomahawk, an
axe, and a saw. In this situation, as it was impossible to get the boat
away, every thing belonging to her being on shore, it was thought
advisable to temporise, and wait the return of the other boat, without
having recourse to fire-arms, if it could possibly be avoided; and for
this purpose, bread, meat, and blankets were given them. These
condescensions, however, seemed only to increase their boldness, and
their numbers having been augmented by the junction of two other
parties, amounted to more than two hundred. At this critical time the
other boat came in sight, and observing the crowd and tumult at the
tent, pushed towards them with all possible dispatch. Upon approaching
the shore, the unusual warlike appearance of the natives was immediately
observed, and as they seemed to have entire possession of the tent,
serious apprehensions were entertained for Mr. Harris and two of the
boat's crew, who it was noticed were not at the boat. At the moment that
the grapnel was hove out of the Lieutenant's boat, to prevent her taking
the ground, one of the natives seized the master's mate, who had charge
of the other boat, and held him fast in his arms, a general cry of
"Fire, Sir; for God's sake, fire!" was now addressed from those on shore
to the First Lieutenant. Hoping the report only would sufficiently
intimidate them, two muskets were fired over their heads; for a moment
they seemed to pause, and a few retreated behind the trees, but
immediately returned, clapping their hands, and shouting vehemently.
Four musquets with buck shot, and the fowling-pieces of the gentlemen
with small shot, were now fired among them, and from a general howl,
very different from their former shouts, many were supposed to be
struck. This discharge created a general panic, and leaving their cloaks
behind, they ran in every direction among the trees. It was hoped the
business would have terminated here, and orders were, therefore, given
to strike the tent, and prepare to quit the territory of such
disagreeable neighbours. While thus employed, a large party were seen
again assembling behind a hill, at the foot of which was our tent: they
advanced in a compact body to the brow of the hill, every individual
armed with a spear, and some, who appeared to be attendants of others,
carrying bundles of them; when within an hundred yards of us they
halted, and the chief, with one attendant, came down to the tent, and
spoke with great vehemence, holding a very large war spear in a position
for throwing. The First Lieutenant, wishing to restore peace if
possible, laid down his gun, and advancing to the chief, presented him
with several cloaks, necklaces, and spears, which had been left behind
on their retreat; the chief took his own cloak and necklace, and gave
the others to his attendant. His countenance and gestures all this time
betrayed more of anger than fear, and his spear appeared every moment
upon the point of quitting his hand. When the cloaks were all given up,
the body on the hill began to descend, shouting and flourishing their
spears. Our people were immediately drawn up, and ordered to present
their musquets loaded with ball, while a last attempts were made to
convince the chief that if his people continued to approach they would
be immediately fired upon. These threats were either not properly
understood, or were despised, and it was deemed absolutely necessary for
our own safety, to prove the power of our fire-arms, before they came
near enough to injure us with their spears; selecting one of the
foremost, who appeared to be most violent, as a proper example, three
musquets were fired at him at fifty yards distance, two of which took
effect, and he fell dead on the spot, the chief turning round at the
report saw him fall, and immediately fled among the trees; a general
dispersion succeeded, and the dead body was left behind.

Among these savages, gradations of rank could be distinctly traced,
founded most probably upon personal qualities and external appearance.
In these respects the chief far excelled the rest; his figure was
masculine and well-proportioned, and his air bold and commanding. When
first he was seen approaching the boat, he was raised upon the shoulders
of two men, and surrounded by the whole party, shouting and clapping
their hands. Besides his cloak, which was only distinguished by its
superior size, he wore a necklace of reeds, and several strings of human
hair over his breast. His head was adorned with a coronet of the
wing-feathers of the swan, very neatly arranged, and which had a
pleasing effect. The fases of several were painted with red, white, and
yellow clays,[4] and others had a reed or bone ran through the septum of
the nose, perhaps increasing in length according to rank, for the
chief's was by far the longest, and must have measured at least two
feet. Ornamental scars on the shoulders were general and the face of one
was deeply pitted as if from the small-pox, though that disease in not
known to exist in New Holland[5]. A very great difference was observed
in the comparative cleanliness of these savages; some of them were so
abominably beastly, that it required the strongest stomach to look on
them without nausea, while others were sufficiently cleanly to be viewed
without disgust. The beards, which are remarkably bushy in the former
were allowed to grow, while in the latter they were cut close,
apparently by a sharp instrument, probably a shell.

[4. In viewing the manners of man in his most savage state, in which a
cultivated mind sees only disgusting images of wretchedness, we yet
cannot fail to notice that universal principle, which seems to act with
equal force upon the refined courtier of Europe and the wandering savage
of the desert. The Parisian beau cannot take greater pains in adjusting
his hair, or perfuming himself with the odours of the East, than the
savage does in bedaubing his face with clays, or anointing his skin with
the blubber of the whale. To carry the proof yet farther, we find that
savages who are unaquainted with the adventitious ornaments of dress
have recourse to various methods of altering the natural forms of the
limbs or features, or to marking the body with scars, punctures, &c.
which they deem highly ornamental. Among some tribes the head is
flattened, among others it is rendered more convex, but the nose and
ears are the chief objects of their personal vanity, and among all the
savage tribes I have seen, they undergo some kind of distortion. As
these operations are performed in infancy, when the parts are flexible,
and capable of taking any form, we are often led to conclude, that to be
the natural configuration, which is only the effect of artificial

[5. Two attempts have been made to convey the vaccine matter to New South
Wales, one by the Glatton, and the other by the Calcutta, but both
failed of success. Are we certain that any advantage would have accrued
from the introduction of such a disorder into the colony? Hear what a
celebrated writer says on this subject: "Distempers, local in their
origin, become more formidable when transplanted, than in their native
soil; the small-pox, so little feared in Europe, almost depopulated
America, and the plague is much more inveterate when it invades Europe,
than in its native East. This is easily accounted for; the human frame
is prepared by custom and by climate for the admission of the native
disease, which is not the case where it is transported." What opinion
would we form of an attempt to introduce a new disease into England,
merely to prevent the evils attending the possible introduction of the

The only covering they make use of, to preserve their persons from the
winter's cold, is a square cloak of opossum skins, neatly sewed
together, and thrown loosely over their shoulders; the fleshy side,
which is worn inwards, is marked with parallel lines, forming squares,
lozenges, &c. and sometimes with uncouth human figures in the attitudes
of dancing.

Their arms are spears, used with a throwing stick, like those of Port
Jackson; their shields are made of a hard wood and neatly carved; their
war spears are barbed with pieces of white spar, of shark's teeth,
fastened on with red gum, and within a certain distance must be very
dangerous offensive weapons. Their fish-gigs are pointed with the bone
of the kangaroo, and with them they strike the rays which lay in shoal
water. We saw no fish hooks, no other implements for fishing in deep
water, nor any appearance of canoe, or other water conveyance[6]. Their
food consists chiefly of shell-fish, and their ingenuity in procuring
more substantial aliment, seems confined to the construction of a rude
trap, upon the projecting points of the harbour, where the water-fowl
lighting at night are entangled and caught. The scarcity of food must at
times reduce them to great extremities. If they ever quit the vicinity
of the water, their sole subsistence must be on lizards, grubs, and the
few opossums they may be able to kill; for the kangaroo, both by its
activity and wariness, I should suppose to be out of reach of their
weapons, or their ingenuity. The skins of these animals having never
been seen with the natives corroborates this opinion, and it is
probable, that the bones with which their fish-gigs are pointed, are
those of animals which have died a natural death. That they scruple not
to eat lizards and grubs, as well as a very large worm found in the
gum-trees, we had ocular demonstration; indeed the latter they seem to
consider a very great delicacy. Bread, beef, and fish, which they
received from us, they devoured with great eagerness, swallowing large
pieces without chewing, as if afraid of its being taken from them, but
in no instance could we get them to drink. Spirits they appeared to
dislike from the smell alone, and sweet punch they would taste and spit
out again with disapprobation. They chew the green leaves of various
plants, several of which had a slight astringent taste, and an aromatic

[6. I have since been informed, that canoes were found on the river at
the head of the port.]

The huts merely serve the purpose of temporary shelter from the weather.
They are constructed of branches of trees placed slanting and open on
one side, which is always to leeward; if a fallen tree is near, it
usually serves to support the hut, and sometimes when coarse grass is
convenient, it is interwoven with the branches. Their fires are made at
the very entrance of the huts, and if the wind shifts must be
immediately removed. We had no opportunity of observing their method of
first kindling a fire, as the parties we saw had always a fire-brand
with them, by which, and a little dry grass, they soon made a "roaring

The only traces of society we could observe, was in a cluster of five
huts, near which a well of brackish water was probably the only
inducement to so close a neighbourhood. How they supply themselves with
water in general we were at a loss to guess, for, upon the closest
examination, none was found within several miles of the place where
they had constructed their huts.

We had a sufficient proof of their burying their dead, by finding a
human skeleton three feet under ground, while digging for water; its
decayed state evinced its having been in the ground long before the
arrival of any European at this port.

The only domestic utensil observed among them was a straw basket, made
with tolerable neatness. Their cookery is confined to broiling, in which
they are not very delicate; for the fish they sometimes received from us
were put on the fire, and devoured without the useless preparation of
gutting, cleaning, &c. Blankets they received with much satisfaction;
but though several to whom they were given paid us visits afterwards,
their blankets were always left behind, and they presented themselves
shivering with cold. This manoeuvre might probably have been intended to
induce a repetition of the gift, unless we suppose them to have been
given to their women, which would argue a degree of civilization, from
which they are immeasurably removed. Though in our first interviews they
seemed to be stupidly devoid of curiosity, and viewed our persons and
boats with the most perfect indifference, yet their latter conduct
shews, that many of our conveniences appeared valuable, and fear was at
last found much more powerful in deterring them from approriating those
things to themselves, than any idea of right or wrong.

The natives of this part of New South Wales appear to differ very little
from those in the vicinity of Port Jackson; the same cast of features
bespeaks the same origin; their arms, their ornaments, and their dances,
are much alike, and they seem to differ only in language, and in the
ceremony of knocking out a front tooth of every male, those of Port
Philip having their jaws perfect. One woman only was seen, who retired
by desire of the men on our approach, and one boy paid us a visit, from
whose conduct we could not infer the existence of a great degree of
subordination, founded on difference of age; this youngster was more
loquacious and troublesome than the men.

Nothing could offer a more perfect picture of reposing solitude, than
the wilds of Port Philip on our first arrival. Here Contemplation, with
her musing sister Melancholy, might find an undisturbed retreat. Often
at the calm hour of evening I have wandered through the woods,

Where the rude ax with heaved stroke
Was never heard the nymphs to daunt,
Or fright them from their hallow'd haunts.

The last hymn of the feathered choiristers to the setting sun, and the
soft murmers of the breeze, faintly broke the death-like silence that
reigned around; while the lightly trodden path of the solitary savage,
or the dead ashes of his fire, alone pointed out the existence of human
beings. In the course of a very few weeks the scene was greatly altered;
lanes were cut in the woods for the passage of the timber carriages; the
huts of the woodmen were erected beneath the sheltering branches of the
lofty trees; the "busy hum" of their voices, and the sound of their
axes, reverberating through the woods, denote the exertions of social
industry, and the labours of civilization. At other times, sitting on
the carriage of a gun, in front of the camp, I have contemplated with
succeeding emotions of pity, laughter, and astonishment, the scene
before me. When I viewed so many of my fellowmen, sunk, some of them
from a rank in life, equal to or superior to my own, and by their crimes
degraded to a level with the basest of mankind; when I saw them naked,
wading to their shoulders in water to unlade the boats, while a burning
sun struck its meridian rays upon their uncovered heads, or yoked to and
sweating under a timber carriage, the wheels of which were sunk up to
the axle in sand, I only considered their hapless lot, and the
rememberance of of their vices was for a moment absorbed in the
greatness of their punishment; I exclaimed with enthusiasm,

'Tis liberty alone that gives the flower
Of fleeting life its lustre and perfume,
And we are weeds without it.

When, on the other hand, I viewed the lively appearance of the camp, the
employments of the women, and the ridiculous dilemmas into which they
were every moment thrown by the novelty of their situations, I smiled,
and inwardly admiring the pliability of mind, which enables us to
accomodate ourselves to the vicissitudes of fortune, confessed that the
pride of independence, and the keen sensibility of prosperity, like
marks imprinted on the sand, are soon effaced by the current of adverse
circumstances. What once seemed more valuable than life itself, even
female virtue, grows weaker by degrees, and at last falls a sacrifice to
present convenience; so true is the poet's exclamation, that "want will
perjure the ne'er touch'd vestal."

And now again, when I consider the motives; when I contrasted the
powers, the ingenuity, and the resources of civilized man, with the
weakness, the ignorance, and the wants of the savage he came to
dispossess, I acknowledged the immensity of human intelligence, and felt
thankful for the small portion dispensed to myself. These thoughts
naturally led to the contemplation of future possibilities. I beheld a
second Rome, rising from a coalition of banditti. I beheld it giving
laws to the world, and superlative in arms and in arts, looking down
with proud superiority upon the barbarous nations of the northern
hemisphere; thus running over the airy visions of empire, wealth, and
glory, I wandered amidst the delusions of imagination.

The unfavourable account given of Port Philip, by the First Lieutenant
of the Calcutta, immediately presented the necessity of removing the
colony to a more eligible situation, but from a total want of knowledge
respecting any recent discoveries, which might have been made on the
neighbouring coasts, it was deemed necessary to receive instructions on
this head from the Governor in Chief at Port Jackson. The Ocean
transport, being now discharged, was to proceed on her voyage to China,
and could not, therefore, be detained without a heavy expence to
government. Thus the only means left of communicating with Port Jackson
was by an open boat; a six oared cutter was accordingly fitted for the
purpose, in which Mr. Collins (who came out on a sealing speculation)
undertook to convey the Lieutenant Governor's dispatches. After being
nine days at sea, and encountering much bad weather, he was picked up by
the Ocean (who sailed six days after him), within sixty miles of Port
Jackson, and by her conveyed thither. Governor King, from a correct
survey of Port Philip, made by Mr. Grimes, the Surveyor General of the
Colony, was already convinced of its ineligibility for a settlement, and
immediately chartered the Ocean to remove the establishment, either to
Port Dalrymple, on the north side of Van Diemen's land, or to the river
Derwent, on the south coast of the same island, where a small party from
Port Jackson was already established.

As the farther detention of the Calcutta, after the removal was finally
concluded on, would greatly retard the principal object of her voyage,
the conveying a cargo of ship timber to England, without any adequate
advantage to the Colony, she quitted Port Philip on the 18th of
December, leaving the Colonists preparing to re-embark on board the

While the Calcutta remained at Port Philip, besides the necessary duties
of the ship, the crew were actively employed in collecting such
specimens of ship-timber as the place afforded; and about one hundred
and fifty pieces of compass timber, chiefly honeysuckle, were

[7. Vide Addenda, No. IV.]

During the period of uncertainty, between the sailing of the boat, and
the return of advices from Port Jackson, the First Lieutenant of the
Calcutta, with several other officers, and a party of convicts to carry
provisions, proceeded by land to examine Western Port[7a.], and ascertain
the correctness of the description given of it by the first discoverers,
particularly with respect to coal, in which it was said to abound. From
the camp we proceeded across the peninsula to where the ridge of
Arthur's Seat descends to the sea. This peninsula is formed entirely of
sand, thrown up into round hillocks, and covered with coarse grass in
tufts; the only trees here are the she-oak, which are small and open.
After passing the ridge of Arthur's Seat we proceeded in a direction due
east, nearly Parallel to the sea-shore, of which we sometimes came in
sight, until we reached a point projecting into the sea, which we
supposed to be Cape or Point Schank; in this space the land continues to
rise, and forms in larger and steeper hills, separated by narrow glens,
but the soil is still very sandy, and no water is to be found, even by
digging in the hollows several feet deep. After passing Cape Schank, the
country immediately assumes a quite different appearance; the soil
changes to a stiff clay; the she-oak gives place to the blue-gum, and
two strong runs of water fall into the sea immediately under the Cape.
Here we halted for the night, and, following the example of the natives,
erected a hut, and made a fire within a few feet of its entrance. This
point we supposed to be twenty five miles distant from the camp. At
day-light we again commenced our march, guided by a pocket-compass; and
keeping at the distance of between three and five miles from the sea at
noon reached Western Port, about two miles from its entrance. From Cape
Schank the country is varied by hills and vallies, the soil of the
former being a stiff clay, with very lofty gum-trees; and of the latter,
a rich black mould several feet deep, except in a few spots where a
black peaty earth was found. The grass in these vallies is extremely
luxuriant; some of them are over grown with under-wood, while others
possess scarce a single shrub. In this track are several small runs of
water, emptying themselves into the sea by deep ravines.

[7a. Western Port was discovered by Lieutenant Flinders, in 1799.]

Our examination of Western Port was unavoidably confined to the space of
a few miles on the western shore; this was principally owing to the man
who carried the whole of our bread, having absconded soon after quitting
the camp, and to our being deceived in the extent of the Port, as well
as the distance to it; which we found much greater than we had any idea

We were provisioned only for four days, at short allowance; for trusting
to our guns for an addition to our fare, we employed most of our party
to carry water, being ignorant whether any was to be found in our route.

From the entrance of the Port for about twelve miles along the western
shore, there is but one place of commodious landing for boats; the beach
being either a black plate rock, or a flat sand running out a quarter of
a mile; upon which a long and dangerous surf continually breaks. There
are three good runs of water in this space, which falling from the
hills, form pools at their base, and are absorbed by the soft sand of
the beach. We found these pools covered with teal of a beautiful
plumage, and, what was to us of much more importance, of a delicious

As our track to Western Port had never diverged more than five miles
from the sea, it was determined, on returning, to endeavour to penetrate
through the country in a N. W. direction, which we supposed would bring
us to Port Philip at about twenty miles distance from the camp. We
accordingly set off at daylight of the third day, from our night's
station, which was about five miles from the entrance of Western Port,
and had scarce walked a quarter of a mile when we came to an immense
forest of lofty gum-trees. The country here becomes very mountainous: in
the vallies or rather chasms between the mountains, small runs of water
trickle through an almost impenetrable jungle of prickly shrubs, bound
together by creeping plants. After passing eight of these deep chasms in
six miles, which was accomplished with infinite difficulty in four
hours, we found the country grows still more impenetrable, vast fields
of shrub as prickly as furze arresting our progress every moment.
Several of our people who carried the water, being unable to bear the
fatigue any longer, we were obliged to give up our intention; and after
a short rest, we shaped our course to the S. W. in order to approach the
sea, where the country becomes open and less hilly. In this direction we
found the country well-watered, the soil very rich, and in many places
meadows of from fifty to an hundred acres, covered with grass five feet
high, and unincumbered with a single tree. At sun-set we reached the sea
at Cape Schank, and, halting for the night, arrived at the camp in the
afternoon of the next day.

Our search for coal, which we were given to understand abounded at
Western Port, was fruitless; but our examination was too circumscribed
and superficial to authorize any positive assertion respecting it.

The coast between the ridge of Arthur's Seat and Western Port is bound
by rocks of black stone, which was found to burn to a strong lime. The
projecting points of land are high, bluff, and perpendicular, presenting
a barrier to the sea which breaks against them, even in the finest
weather, with violence, denying shelter by anchorage, or safety by
running on shore for the smallest boat.

Besides herds of kangeroos, four large wolves were seen at Western Port.
Very beautiful bronze-winged pigeons with black and white cockatoos, and
innumerable parrots, inhabit the woods.

Though this excursion added but little to the knowledge of the country,
it is hoped it will not be entirely devoid of utility. In those spots
which appeared best adapted to the purpose, seeds from Rio Janeiro and
the Cape were sown, viz. oranges, limes, melons, pumpkins, Indian corn,
and several kinds of garden seeds.

But two huts were found in our track, and not a native was seen; indeed
the kangaroo seems to reign undisturbed lord of the soil, a dominion
which, by the evacuation of Port Philip, he is likely to retain for

Several convicts absconded from the camp soon after their landing, led
away by the most delusive ideas of reaching Port Jackson, or getting on
board some whaler, which they ignorantly believed occasionally touched
on this coast; some of them were brought back by parties sent after
them, and others returned voluntarily, when nearly famished with hunger.
Two only of these unfortunate beings were never heard of after leaving
the camp, one of these was George Lee, a character well known to several
persons of respectability in England.

After the Calcutta quitted Port Philip, a vessel was sent to examine
Port Dalrymple; the accounts brought back not being so favourable as was
hoped for, it was finally determined to remove the Colony to the river
Darwent, which was partly accomplished before the Calcutta sailed from
Port Jackson. The name of Hobart was given to the Settlement, and the
most flattering accounts were received from the Lieutenant Governor, of
the situation, soil, and climate. Speaking of the climate, he says, that
it may be considered the Montpelier of New South Wales.

The remainder of the Calcutta's voyage was almost totally barren of
incident, either to amuse or instruct. She sailed from Port Philip the
18th of December, and passing through Bass's Straits, without
experiencing any difficulties, arrived at Port Jackson the 26th. Here
she took in a cargo of ship timber (about six hundred logs) and sailed
again on the 17th March 1804; passed to the southward of New Zealand,
which was seen on the 29th; doubled Cape Horn on the 27th April, and
arrived at Rio de Janeiro the 22d May; thus accomplishing a voyage round
the world, discharging and receiving a cargo, in eleven months.

In the long navigation between New Zealand and Cape Horn, scarce a
single incident occurred either to interest the seaman, or the
naturalist. Throughout this navigation, the wind seldom deviated to the
northward of N. W. or to the southward of S. W. with strong gales, which
enabled us to make an average of one hundred and eighty miles a-day for
twenty nine days.

The variety and numbers of austral oceanic birds, which followed our
track, was very great; and it was remarked, that they were seen in
greatest numbers during stormy weather. It is probable that the winds at
those times disturbing the waters to their utmost depths, may bring
blubbers and other substances, upon which these birds feed, to the
surface in greater quantities. In fine weather they probably retire to
the rocks[8], where such food may then be most plentiful.

[8. The existence of many undiscovered islands, rocks, and shoals in the
southern ocean, may be inferred from several circumstances. The patches
of sea-weed met with many hundred leagues from any known land is one of
them, and the frequent temporary smoothness of the sea without any
apparent cause is another. The Bounty Islands, in the latitude of 47
32'S. and longitude 179 10'E. were accidently discovered by Captain
Bligh; and an island was found in latitude 4919'S. and longitude 179
20'E. by Captain Water-house, to which he gave the name of Pen-antipode.
Neither of these islands were examined. Would it not be an object worthy
of the attention of the British government, to employ a vessel in
traversing these seas during the summer months, in order to acquire a
greater certainty on this head?]

Among these birds we chiefly noticed the albatross, black shear-water,
sooty petrell, pintado birds, Port Egmont hens, small grey gulls, and
mother Cary's chicken.

On the 3d April, in latitude 48S. and longitude 186E. at 9 P.M.
a bright orange glow was observed in the heavens to the southward; it
rose from the horizon to the altitude of thirty degrees, having the
appearance of the western sky, when the sun in summer illuminates it
after setting. This appearance lasted about an hour, and gradually sunk
into the surrounding obscurity.

The Calcutta passed between the islands of Diego Ramirez and the
Hermits, and at about six miles distance from the former. The strength
of the wind prevented our sounding here, but from the muddiness of the
water we judged it could not be above thirty fathoms deep: here we
found a very strong current setting to the S. E. Diego Ramirez, which is
laid down in several charts as one island, on the contrary consists of
two detached groups of rocky islets, bearing N. by W. and S. by E. from
each other. The passage between the groups is about three miles wide,
and (as I was informed by the master of a whaler) is clear of danger.
Scarce any vegetation is found on them, the naked rock being everywhere
visible. Cape Horn we passed at the distance of four leagues, and
observed several patches of snow on its sides; the wind was at west, and
the thermometer as high as forty-eight, with very pleasant clear
weather. From the appearance of the Hermit's islands we conjectured that
they must afford many good harbours. The day after rounding Cape Horn,
we passed Staten Land, of which we had a complete view from end to end,
than which nothing could appear more desolate and unfriendly.

Off the coast of Patagonia three land-birds lighted on board, and were
caught; the body resembled that of the crow, its length eighteen inches,
the bill one inch and a half, the feathers of the head forming a bunch
over the forehead, the plumage a beautiful snowy white, the legs and
claws black. When caught, they almost immediately became domesticated,
and fed on meat. They lived about six weeks, and appeared to be killed
by the excessive heat of the weather.[9]

[9. These appear to be the birds described by Captain Cook. Addenda]

After passing Cape Horn, the sea was at times covered with luminous
blubbers about nine inches long, which emitted a light equal to that of
a wax candle; it was observed, that the appearance of these blubbers
always foretold the approach of stormy weather.

At Rio de Janeiro we recruited our water, and sailed again on the 1st of

We now once more turned our thoughts towards the shores, which custom
and reason bid us hail as the happiest of our globe. Blest isle! where
liberty is the birth-right of man; where the laws are the protectors,
not the oppressors, of freedom; where beauty is crowned by modesty, and
love is refined by delicacy! And shall that freedom bow to the yoke of
Gallic slavery? Shall those laws be changed for the arbitrary dictates
of Gallic despotism? Shall that beauty be polluted by the unhallowed
touch of ferocious invaders? and that love be degraded into the sensual
appetite of brutes? No! the arms of Britons will be nerved with tenfold
strength, for the protection of such inestimable blessings, and the
insatiate foe will at last be convinced that

Britons never will be slaves.

* * * * *


Addendum No. I.


Though the currents of the ocean have long occupied the attention of
scientific men, no general theory has yet been found to answer under all
circumstances. It may, I think, be assumed that oceanic currents depend
upon principles as fixed as those to which we refer the currents of air;
and also, that heat and cold operate in like manner upon both; to these
causes may be added the influence of the heavenly bodies, and it is
therefore to be regretted, that navigators have never thought of
comparing with accuracy the changes and courses of currents with the
revolutions of the sun and planets. Colonel Capper observes, that "the
currents in the northern Indian ocean, the gulf of Sind, and the bay of
Bengal, almost invariably take the same course as the wind. The cause of
this connection between the wind and water seems almost to speak for
itself; from the vernal to the autumnal equinox, that is, during the
S.W. monsoon, the lower current of air, and also the waters of the
southern hemisphere are put in motion, to fill up a vacuity, caused by
the rarefaction of the atmosphere, and the evaporation of the waters of
the northern atmosphere, both of which are increased near the land. And
on the contrary, from the autumnal to the vernal equinox, when the sun
is on his return to the tropic of Capricorn, the atmosphere being
rarified over every part of the southern hemisphere, the wind and water
operated on by the same causes, will move in a contrary direction from
the N.E. to the the S.W. As a confirmation of this hypothesis, currents
are always found in proportion to the strength of wind, and both the
winds and currents grow weaker towards each equinox." The currents
running to the northward in the Indian ocean, between the vernal and
autumnal equinoxes, may also be strengthened by the fusion of the
southern polar ices, during the southern summer solstice; and this will
operate, though in a dimishing ratio, until the sun reaches the equator
on his return to the southern hemisphere. See St. Pierre's Theory of
Currents in "Les Etudes de la Nature."

Addendum No. II.


Lesser Celandine.
Everlasting, several varieties of.
Indigo. Indigo fera ulatissima. Lin.
Thistles, several species of.
Devil's bit Scabious.
Plantain Rebwort.
Trefoil, several species of.
Veronica Spike, a variety of, bearing white flowers.
Geranium, several species of.
Heaths, several beautiful species and varieties.
Wild Parsley.
Vetchling, several species of.
Samphire, several species of.
Hottentot Fig.
Kangaroo Grass.
Quake Grass, and several species found in England.
Oxye Daisy.
Black Knapweed.
Wild Parsnip.
---- Celery
---- Raspberry.
Fern, several varieties of.

Addendum No. III.


[NOTE: In the book, details of daily cloud cover and winds are also
       provided. They have not been reproduced in this ebook.]

Date   Thermometer.
     Sun-rise.  Noon.

11    68        70
12    74        76
13    59        65
14    59        59
15    64        64
16    66        66
17    72        76
18    58        64
19    74        80
20    68        70
21    66        66
22    74        74
23    76        76
24    76        76
25    60        64
26    59        60
27    71        71
28    67        67
29    69        69
30    73        74
31    --        --

1     70        76
2     72        75
3     69        80
4     68        81
5     70        74
6     76        78
7     68        69
8     65        70
9     66        70
10    70        74
11    73        75
12    75        75
13    69        71
14    58        74
15    64        70
16    59        72
17    58        62
18    60        74
19    57        64
20    59        64
21    77        80
22    64        70
23    57        60
24    72        76
25    74        74
26    76        78
27    70        76
28    69        71
29    70        74
30    70        72

1     58        59
2     58        76
3     74        78
4     74        76
5     74        78
6     60        90
7     77        80
8     75        77
9     69        75
10    70        74
11    60        70
12    59        61
13    61        73
14    68        72
15    70        76
16    70        75
17    58        59

Addendum No. IV.


New South Wales produces a great variety of timber trees, to some of
which the colonists have given names descriptive of their qualities, and
others they call by the names of those trees which they most resemble
either in leaf, in fruit, or in the texture of the wood. Among the
former are the blue, red, and black butted gums, stringy and iron barks,
turpentine and light wood; and among the latter are the she-oak,
mahogany, cedar, box, honeysuckle, tea-tree, pear-tree, apple-tree, and
fig-tree. These trees shed their bark annually at the fall of the year,
and are always in foliage, the new leaves forcing off the old ones.

The blue and red gums are nearly of the same texture; they are very
tough and strong, and in ship-building are adapted to framing; the best
size is from two feet to two and a half, for when larger, the timber is
generally unsound in the heart. The blue gum, while standing, is subject
to be pierced by very minute worms, which make innumerable holes scarce
visible to the naked eye.

Black butted gum and stringy bark differ very little either in quality
or appearance; they are much tougher and stronger than English oak, and
are particularly adapted to planking. They will also answer for lower
masts or lower yards, for beams, or any other purpose where straight
timber is required. If intended for spars, they ought to be procured as
near the size wanted as possible, for the toughness lies in the outside,
and the wood at the heart is generally decayed. Iron bark is not so
tough as the two former, but is extremely strong and hard, and runs good
from two to four feet; in ship-building it would answer for framing,
beams, &c. In New South Wales it is chiefly used in house building and
common furniture. Turpentine is a small wood of no service but in
flooring houses. Light-wood grows to twenty inches, and from its
buoyancy (whence its name), is proper for building small craft and

The oak is distinguished according as it grows either on the hills or
swamps; the former runs to between twelve and eighteen inches, and when
larger is always shaken in the heart, the grain is short and cross, and
the wood is apt to fly and warp; it is used chiefly in cabinet work,
particularly vineering. The swamp oak is the same size, and differs from
the other in having a more uniform grain, and being consequently much
tougher; in ship-building it would answer for scantling. Of both these
woods the paling and shingles are made in New South Wales.

Mahogany runs good to three feet, and by its texture can scarcely be
known from the mahogany of Jamaica. In ship-building it answers well for

Cedar nearly resembles the mahogany of Honduras in its grain, and might
be applied to the same purposes. When growing, it resembles the mountain
ash, both in its leaves and berry.

Box (so called from its leaves) is a sound and very tough wood; its size
about two feet and a half, and would answer for any purpose of

Honeysuckle (named from its leaf) is a soft wood, fitter for joiners'
work than ship-building. At Port Jackson its size does not exceed two
feet, but at Port Philip it is found good to four feet; its limbs are
crooked, and perhaps it might be advantageously used in the upper works
of ships, for knees, &c.

The tea-tree has its name from the leaf also, it is small and very
curly; and far as I know, it has never been used in building, but from
its appearance, while standing, I should think it might answer in small
craft and boats.

The pear-tree is so called from its bearing a fruit resembling a pear in
shape, but of the hardness of wood; it grows straight, its largest size
sixteen inches, and is only fit for joiners' work.

The apple-tree takes its name from the leaf, the limbs are large and
crooked, and running from two feet to two and a half, might probably
answer for framing and kneeing ships, but has never been tried.

The fig-tree is the banyan tree of the East Indies, well known for its
branches striking downwards and taking root; the wood of it is entirely

It may be remarked, that all the large timber trees of New South Wales,
except those growing in swamps, are unsound in the hearts; this probably
proceeds from insufficiency of moisture, as well as from the continual
firing of the grass in the forests, which must dry up the sap of the
young trees. It also deserves to be noticed, that several of the gums,
iron, and stringy bark, mahogany and box trees, which were felled at the
first establishment of the colony, are now perfectly sound and hard,
though exposed to the weather for fifteen years.

From the foot of the Blue Mountains[1] specimens of three or four kinds
of timber, unknown at Port Jackson, have been brought, which, it is the
opinion of shipwrights, would be very valuable in ship-building: one
kind in particular cannot be known from the beech.

[1. This is an elevated ridge running in a direction between the E. N. E.
and E. and not more than five leagues from the banks of the Hawkesbury
at Richmond Hill. All beyond this ridge is literally a terra incognita,
for though several attempts have been made to pass them, not one has yet
succeeded; but it is probable these failures have proceeded more from
want of proper method, or of common perserverance, than from any
obstacles presented by the mountains themselves, for the highest part of
the ridge does not appear to equal the common mountains of Wales and
Ireland. Upon this subject (as well as upon others of the colonial
system) we may apply the remarks of a learned writer, "Projects thought
desperate in days of ignorance have, in more enlightened times, been
brought to a successful issue;" and "individuals have often failed in
their attempts for want of public encouragement, and public enterprizes
from want of concurrence among individuals."

Weight of a cubic foot of the timber of New South Wales.

Wt. when cut down, Jan. 1804.   Wt. at the present time Aug. 1804.
Gum, red                        79
---- blue                       68
---- black butted               71
Bark, stringy                   67
---- Iron                       74
Mahogany                        66
She-oak                         65
Box                             77
Tea-tree                        69]

Addendum No. V.


Upon the proper selection of convicts to be transported to a new colony,
its improvement must almost totally depend. The advice of Lord Bacon
upon this subject is worthy of attention. "The people wherewith you
plant," says his Lordship, in his essay 'on Plantations,' "ought to be
gardeners, ploughmen, labourers, smiths, carpenters, joiners, fishermen,
fowlers, with some few apothecaries, surgeons, cooks, and bakers." How
little such a selection is attended to in the transportation of convicts
to New South Wales, was sufficiently exemplified on board the Calcutta,
where, out of three hundred and seven convicts, there were but eight
carpenters and joiners, three smiths, one gardener, twenty labouring
farmers, two fishermen, nine taylors, and four stone-masons. The
remainder may be classed under the heads of gentlemen's servants, hair
dressers, hackney-coachmen, chairmen, silk-weavers, calico-printers,
watch-makers, lapidaries, merchant's clerks, and gentlemen. It requires
no argument to demonstrate the little use such trades are in an infant
colony, where agriculture is the chief pursuit, and where manual labour
is infinitely more necessary than ingenuity. It is true a watch-maker
deals in metals as well as the smith, but we doubt whether, with all his
exertions, he could make a hundred nails in a day. With respect to
gentlemen convicts, they are worse than useless, for they are invariably
troublesome, as the present government of New South Wales can
sufficiently attest. The education and the manners of such people will,
in most instances, prevent their being employed in manual labour; they
will always find advocates in the feelings of those who hold the rank
which they once held, and this will prevent their being confounded with
the common herd of convicted felons: but, although by their crimes they
have lost the reality of their original rank, the shadow of it remains,
together with a portion of the feelings which constituted their former
character; hence they contemplate their degradation with impatience
bordering on phrenzy; they are guilty of indiscretions (particularly in
language) which must create continual disturbance to the administration,
where coercion is the only engine of government, and where consequently
jealousy is continually on the watch to anticipate insurrection.

The method of selecting the convicts sent out in the Calcutta might
certainly be improved. A list of four hundred convicts was sent to the
surgeon of that ship, from which he was to choose three hundred. In this
selection, he, of course, regarded merely health and age, for he was to
receive 10l. for every convict landed in health in New South Wales. Of
their characters he could have no knowledge, and he had no instructions
respecting peculiar trades, in preference to other.

The dreadful mortality which has, in several instances, taken place
among the convicts on board transports going to New South Wales must
proceed chiefly from a want of attention to cleanliness, both in persons
of the convicts and the ship herself; for, in every instance where
proper precautions were taken, no such mortality has taken place. The
convicts, in general, being equally indolent and careless, as well as
unused to a ship, will in many instances be found so negligent of
themselves, that severity is sometimes necessary to prevent their
becoming the most disgufting objects from vermin and dirt. In passing
through the warm latitudes in particular, the most rigid attention to
cleanliness can alone prevent disease; the following precautions, if
strictly followed, will, as far as it is in the power of man, prevent
the admission of sickness, or effectually check its progress, in the
most crowded ship. When the prison is on the orlop deck, where the air
has but a scanty admission, it should never be wetted, the dirt should
be scraped off every morning, and the deck afterwards scrubbed with
bibles[2] and dry sand.

[2. These are blocks of wood a foot long, and six inches deep and wide.]

Every part of the prison should be clean, so that no receptacle for
bones or other filth could be found; and should it be necessary to stow
any articles whatever in the prison, the space they occupy ought to be
bulkheaded round. Particular care is requisite that no wet cloaths are
hung up or left about the prison.

Every convict should be supplied with a hammock[3], a very thin
mattress, and one blanket, care must be taken that every man hangs his
hammock up in his proper birth, else laziness will induce the greater
number to spread it on the deck even in the wet; in dry weather the beds
should be aired as often as possible, (if every day, the better,) and
the hammock scrubbed once a month.

[3. This was done on board the Glatton and Calcutta, but on board hired
transports fixed bed-places are usually erected for the convicts, from
which it is probable their bed things are never removed while they are
on board.]

If the ship touches at Teneriffe or Madeira, or if not, after she has
passed those islands, the beds, blankets, jackets, stockings, shoes, and
every kind of woolen clothing, should be taken from the convicts, else,
from the total want of fore-thought, the greater part of them will be
lost, before they again feel the want of them in the high southern
latitudes. The flocks in the beds should be taken out, and, after being
exposed to the sun, remade; all the woolen-clothing well-washed (if the
ship touches at the islands, in fresh water, if not, in salt), and
afterwards dipped in lime-water, and dried without wringing. The
fumigations, by means of devils composed of wetted gun-powder, are
perhaps often carried to too great an excess, and, in fact, this kind of
fumigation is liable to many and great objections, particularly in cold
or wet weather, when it is most commonly practised; the cold air,
rushing into the fumigated apartments when opened, immediately condenses
the vapour that remains, and leaves a degree of dampness that must be
unwholesome. In wet weather it is impossible to let a sufficient
quantity of air into the apartment after fumigation, without, at the
same time, admitting a proportionate quantity of moisture; hence the
people often return to it before the vapour is evaporated, and inhale a
considerable quantity, which must affect the lungs. In all weathers,
fires of sea-coal (for charcoal is liable to the same objections as
fumigations with gun-powder) will be found infinitely more effectual in
clearing the prisons of foul air, than any kind of fumigation. As to
fumigation by acids, it is usually performed on so small a scale, that I
cannot conceive it productive of any advantages, if any such are
inherent in it.

In passing through the warm latitudes, I would strongly recommend, that
the convicts be obliged to bathe, at least, twice a week. This might be
so regulated as to give but little trouble, a certain proportion bathing
every day, and if performed under the superintendence of a medical man,
no danger could arise from it. In short, it will be found, that
wholesome diet, sufficient exercise, and proper attention to
cleanliness, are the most effectual preventatives of disease on long
voyages. The first, the Government of England supplies with a liberality
peculiar to itself; but the two latter must be left to the care of the
person to whom the charge of so many of his fellow creatures is


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