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Title: Journal and Letters of Daniel Southwell
Author: Daniel Southwell
A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook
eBook No.: 1204411h.html
Language: English
Date first posted: December 2012
Date most recently updated: December 2012

Produced by: Ned Overton

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Production Notes:

The drawbacks to assimilating this work are its spelling and abbreviations, by which means Southwell's letters home contain the maximum information, given the size of a sheet of paper then. Neither the spellings nor the abbreviations have been modified here in any way. The reader must decide whether "w'r" means "weather", and so on. The punctuation has been simplified in a few places. The first footnote has been entitled Introduction.




By Daniel Southwell



APPENDIX D. [pp. 661-732.]













Projection of a Column raised as a mark for Shipping at the South Head of Port Jackson by his Excellency Governor Phillip 1790


Daniel Southwell left England, with the First Fleet, in H.M.S. Sirius, in the capacity of midshipman, but prior to sailing had passed the examination necessary to qualify him for a lieutenancy. After leaving the Cape, he was promoted to a vacancy caused by one of the mates of the Sirius (Mr. Sealey) remaining behind at Rio de Janeiro. He continued on the Sirius until the end of February, 1790, when, apparently much against his inclination, he was ordered to take charge of the look-out station on South Head, while the Sirius and Supply were absent at Norfolk Island. It was on this voyage that the Sirius was wrecked. Southwell appears to have remained at the look-out station until ordered home with the crew of the Sirius in the Dutch snow Waaksamheyd. Vol. i. part 2. pp. 466 and 475.

The journal and letters, now published for the first time, are preserved in MS. form in the British Museum. The journal and the major part of the letters are in Southwell's own handwriting. A few of the latter are copies—in the handwriting of his uncle, the Rev. Weeden Butler, of Chelsea, to whom many of them were addressed. The papers are printed in the form of an Appendix on account of their non-official character, and also because they belong to a period anterior in date to that to which this volume properly belongs, viz., 1792-5. Several lacunæ occur; in some instances it is impossible to fill them; in others, the missing words or letters are obvious, and have been inserted in brackets [ ]. Copies of some of the letters, taken by the Rev. W. Butler, have been of service in supplying defects in the originals.

Attached to the original correspondence is the following note, unsigned, and in an unknown hand:—"Daniel Southwell belong'd to the Ocean 6 months, from May till Nov'r 13th, from which time till the 20th of March, 1782, he belonged to ye Monkey, cutter, under the command of Lieut't Glasford, formerly 1st Lieut't of ye Ocean; then from ye 20th Nov. till 2nd of October, 1782, he belong'd to the Perseus (A.B.); from thence to the Orpheus (A.B.) till 10th Jan'y, '83; then to ye Aurora (Mid.) till 12th May, when p'd off and put out of commission; was with Capt'n Dacres in ye three last-mention'd ships; in the Aurora was rated midshipman during the time I belonged to her." From Southwell's petition to the Admiralty, dated May, 1792, post, p. ——, it is evident that the year in which he joined the Ocean was 1780. No information in regard to his movements after his return to England is available, except an entry in the Admiralty books of his promotion to the rank of lieutenant, 11th February, 1794.


[NOTE.—The opening pages of the Journal, in which the voyage from England is chronicled, and also a number of entries of later date, are omitted, partly on account of the space they would require, but principally because the same information is given in a better form in the letters which follow on pp. 668 to 732.]

H.M.S. Sirius, Botany Bay.

1788, Jan'y 20th.—At — p't 7 let go the b't bower in — f. — Found riding here H.M. brigg Supply (Capt. A. Phillip, Lieut. Ball, commander); also the Alexander, Scarborough, Friendship, who, as formerly mention'd, when off the Cape G'd Hope, parted company under the command of G.A.P.,* who left the Sirius to proceed on in the Supply for the sooner arriving at B.B., and the better forwarding the service of establishing the intend'd settlement at this place.

[* Governor Arthur Phillip.]

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Hoisted all the boats out, and sent one on shore to cut grass for the cattle. Unbent the storm miz. and main staysail, unslung l. yard, hook'd top tackels, unstow'd the booms to get at some spars for diff't purposes. Emp'd getting forehold clear for w'r** boat on shore. The inhab's are often seen on the coast, and are not as shy as might be expected.

[** Water-boat.]

21st, P.M.—Got the sheet anchor over the side and all clear for letting go. Officers and party of men on shore seek'g a good water'g-place. A b't return'd with grass and some water. At sunset down t. g. y'd.

21st.—Boat emp'd on shore for water and other occasions. People on b'd emp'd in the hold getting cases of saws, hatchetts, bill-hooks, scythes, and other necess'y implements to hand. The comander and officers surveying the neighbouring part of the coast, called Broken Bay; the party have taken 3 days' provisons, some tents, &c., &c. Emp'd making seine-poles and getting the fishing geer to hold.

22nd.—Boats on shore for water. Emp'd on board getting up empty casks. Sent a party on shore, and haul'd the seine. An officer and some men away felling trees and searching for good water. Overhaul'g the store-room. Airing stores of var's kind that are in need of it. A.M.—At 4 sent a party to haul the seine. Boat on shore upon the above services. Loosed sails to dry.

23rd.—M'derate and fine w'r. P.M.—Furled sails. People on b'd repairing the seine, airing the stores, &c. Block the t. g. y'ds. Boats on shore on the duties above mention'd.

24th, P.M.—Fine clear w'r. People emp'd on the usual duties. This day finish a saw-pit, and at 7 p.m. the shore parties were advis'd to desist from these operations, to bring away all the t[imber], and to repair on b'd. At 4 p.m. we were order'd on shore to break up the pit and bring away the principal frame timber of it, and I carred them on b'd the Supply; this in consequence of a much better harbour being discov'd about ——— miles to the ———, being in many respects ju'g'd more eligible by the Commodore, who, with C.H.,*** &c., examined it during the 3 days they had been absent. While on these dutys I had opportunity of observing that the country was woody. Tho' the soil is sandy, not very deep, it lay immead'ly upon a bed of rock, and they appear in many parts of the country, and here and there rise to a good height even when far from the seaside. There were several miserable huts along the seaside, and at no dist. from the landing-place. They were wholly destitute of furniture, and had had fires in or near them lately. There were sev'ral fish hanging on the branches of some of the thick trees, wich seem'd to have been there a considerable time. They were of a sort unknown to us.

[*** Captain Hunter.]

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

The natives of B.* Bay are of the middle size; they have much beard on the face, with grow far out on the cheek-bone, so as to near the eye. Their women are seldom seen; indeed, we have reason to think they were dispatch'd away into the c'ntry on our first app'g on ye coast.

[* Botany Bay.]

The features of this people are by no means pleasing; they go perfectly naked, but by some gestures which pass'd between us and them on that h'd they did not seem to be ignorant of the prop'y of our decorum, for one of them readily made the itended use of the flap of an old jackett that was given him, and another sailed into the bushes, and shortly return'd from the thicket, furnish'd with a rural imitation of his comrade's finery, with this difference, that his had the most pleasing effect, and cou'd claim the honor of the longest invention. They seldom appear in numbers exceeding 20 or 30, but once or twice 50 at least were in a company, but at a good dist'e. The shore everywhere by the seaside are plentifully covered with the shells of g't variety, particularly oyster, and many of them very large. Most of them have evidently been clear'd of their contents by the natives, who, we judge, procure them by diving, or some better method than we have got, for those within our reach are of a paltry size, but when got near low-water mark are very well-tasted and of a good quality. This place affords much fish. The land seem destitute of animal (quad's). There are many birds, such as paroquetts, cockattoos, a species of a black bird, and many whose name we are not accquainted with.   *   *   *   *   *

The moskitos are very troublesome, and insects of almost every kind are here in g't number. The large ant, both black and brown, when they attack us give g't pain, tho' of no long duration, and is not attend'd with so tedious an itching as the bite of the small one occasion, who are almost as much to be fear'd as the muskitos.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

At the spot where we are emp'd clearing away the trees from the ground is a stream of good water, which makes its way in to the bay just by the place where we land, a short ½-mile from P't Solander. A small pit was likewise dug by some of our people, and it soon fill'd; but the stream was prefer'd because the other did not run, but remain'd at something below the surface of the pit or hole, which, however, tho' much was taken out, still seemed to be supplied.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

There seems to be little in vegitable way fit for food, and no fruit upon the place but a kind of berries, wich may perhaps be good at some season, but what we have venterd to taste are not very agreable; there are, however, g't variety of trees, shrubs, plants, and other kind of vegitation, and we doubt not when better accquainted with the country useful and comfortable articles of diet may be obtained. We may form some judgement of the quality of the soil by the immense quantity of wood it produces.

The lances of these people generaly termin'e in 4 prongs, each pointed with something that appears much like a fishes tooth. They are fast'ned in with gum, and each prong is nearly 2 foot in length and cem'ted strongly with gum, and bound with some fibre of a plant near the place where they begin to divide from the main handle or long p't of the lance. Another sort of these weapons they have with only one point, but in other respects the same as the above. The first sort we think is chiefly used in striking fish, which is, indeed, a principle part of their subsistance; the latter their war-lances, and barbed with a tooth in a contrary direction. Some of these, however, are jagged with many in a very curious and destructive manner. They have targets of an oval form of sufficient sise to cover the whole body; they daub them over with some white kind of colouring, and frequently ornament it with a cross of red, the points of which terminate in the circumference. At some distance these look very well, and exhibit some appearance of design.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Wednes'y, Feb. 5-6.—This day 2 of the natives app'd in the camp without testifying any mistrust or indeed curiosity, and tho' they cou'd not have came there inadvertently, yet the novelty of such a scene seem'd in a g't measure to pass unnoticed by them, tho' p't of their behaviour would set aside the appearance of any particular motive that might induce them to pay a visit which was somewhat extra, as till now the inhabitants had ever since our arrival at P't Jack'n kept at so g't a distance as never to be seen but by our boats when empl'd in the survey of harb'r by C.H. (Captain Hunter) and the 1st lieut., or when hauling the seine, which is usually done at 2 leagues from the ship.

There is something odd in their never being seen but in small [numbers], except by accident, tho' there is every reason to suppose they are numerous. Since our arrival at Port Jackson, during a survey of the harb'r, a body of near a hundred were seen drawn up with an unexpected degree of regularity, having something the app'ce of discipline; and on this occasion, tho' they did not altogether seem intent on mischief, their behaviour was in some respects irritable and capricious, which, however, a[re] qualities common to the savage. 'Tis true they may not be capable of much policy, hut time may shew whether our settling on the coast did not in some manner alarm them, or at least engage their attention.

Feb'y 7.—This day the commission for the Gov'r, Lieut't-G'r, &c., &c., were read in public on [a] place for a parade near the camp, in the hearing of the principle officers, both navy, marines, and shore establish't. The convicts were placed in a proper situation by themselves, and certain officers and others were station'd nigh them to keep order. Immeadiatly as the commiss's were opened and everything rightly disposed for the occasion, the convicts were commanded to sit down, and the marines discharde their pieces over them 3 times. By this posture, I presume, was prescribed them as being suited to their situations as criminals. It also enabled them the better to hear and see what was about to be done. C. Collins, Judge-Advocate, then began with reading the Gov'r's commiss., by which he (Gov'r) was furnish'd with g't and full powers. After the commissions were read, the laws for capital cases laid down, and a jury named, consisting of navy, marine, and civil offic'r, 3 voll'y were again fired and silence command'd. The Gover'r add'd the criminal p't of the audience in the foll'g purpose:—

"You have now been particularly inform'd of the nature of the laws by which you are to be gov'd, and also of the power with which I am invested to put them into full execution. There are amongst you, I am willing to believe, some who are not perfect'y abandon'd, and who, I hope and trust, will make the intend'd use of the g't indulgence and lenity their humane country has offer'd; but at the same time there are many, I am sorry to add, by far the great'r p't, who are inate villains and people of the m. abandon'd principles. To punish these shall be my constant care, and in this duty I ever will be indefatigable, however distress'g it may be to my feelings. Not to do so would be a piece of the m't cruel injustice to those who, as being the m't worthy, I have first nam'd; for shou'd I continue to pass by y'r enormity with an iljudged and ill-bestowed lenity, the consequence would be, to preserve the peace and safety of the settl't, some of the more deserving of you must suffer with the rest, who might otherways have shewn thems's orderly and useful members of our community. Therefore you have my sacred word of honor that whenever ye commit a fault you shall be punish'd, and m't severely. Lenity has been tried; to give it further trial would be vain. I am no stranger to the use you make of every indulgence. I speak of what comes under my particular observation; and again I add that a vigorous ex'n of the law (whatever it may cost my feeling) shall follow closely upon the heels of every offender."

After some other words tending to this effect, they had liberty to disperse, and Gov. after pass'd up and down thro' the diff't company of marines upon the parade, and being saluted by them with the due honors, he, together with the principle officers, went to partake of a cold repast that had been purposely prep'd at the marquee. During all the ceremony at intervals the band played, and "God Save the King" was perform'd after the commis's were read.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

May 27th, 1788.—Having been on shore to hear the tryal of 2 of our men for an assault made upon a 3'd while residing on Garden Island, on coming from the court I saw M. Ross'es gamekeeper, or rather game-catcher, bring in the largest congaroo [kangaroo] yet taken. This was, indeed, the first I have seen complete. However, he was dead, and had been shot about 2 leagues from the h'd-quarters. [Here follows a lengthy description of the kangaroo.]

At Port Jackson they are very shy and hard to be got at, frequently rendring the repeated efforts of the vigilant sportsman vain an[d] abhortive. The congaroo that was bro't in on this day weighed 96 pounds.

[Here follows a retrospective entry in which the voyage from the Cape of Good Hope, and all events up to the arrival of La Perouse at Botany Bay, are described.]:—Soon after these anch'd, we got under way and sail'd for P't J[ackson]. It must be obs'd that [the] Gov'r had push'd out the day before in the Supply, but this, tho' easily, done by a single ship, was not adviseable for the whole convoy of merchant ships, with every circumstance in their favor. However, the w'r being fine and a good breeze, they all turn'd out very well, and by — o'clock they were clear of the bay and standing after us. We soon after had sight of the harbour, and at four were well within the heads that form the entrance, and in the ev'g we all came too in cove, where the Supply was riding, and which is now known by the name of Sydney Cove. 'Tho the party who had made the prior visit to this place were so warm in their praises as to draw upon themselve the charge of exaggeration, it must be acknowledged they did no more than justice to its merits as a harbour. 'Tis perfectly landlock'd, has sev'ral capital arms, and is furnish'd in every p't with more coves, where whole fleets may lay perfectly landlock'd and in g't safety; indeed nothing can be conceived more picturesque than the app'e of the country while running up this extra[ordinary] harbour. The land on all sides is high, and cover'd with an exuber'n of trees; towards the water, craggy rocks and vast declivity are everywhere to be seen. The scene is beautifully height'ed by a number of small islands that are dispers'd here and there, on which may be seen charm'g seats, superb buildings, the grand ruins of stately edifices, &c., &c.,* which as we pass'd were visible, but at intervals the view being pr'ty agreably interrupted by the intervention of some proud eminence, or lost in the labyrynth of the inchanting glens that so abound in this fascinating scenery. 'Tis greatly to be wish'd these appearances were not so delusive as in reality they are. If blest with fertility, thanks to the goodness of the climate, the soil generally speaking is not to be said much for; however, the more we penetrate the better it appears, and well inland there are some good spots of tolerable ext'n. The soil nigh the sea is at best but indiff't, and noth'g can be more strange than to see so much vegitation, and that of the larger sort, on a soil that one would think cou'd hardly afford nutriment for underwood.

[* Southwell, at this part of his narrative, inserted the word "vista" between the lines.]

We meet with no thing that is deserving of the name of fruit, and its quad's are scarcely to be classed above vermin. There are no rivers of water, and we are indebted to the frequent rain that supply the little runs that furnish us with this article. Not to dwell too long on worst side, let us take another better view, as it affords upon inspection and exp'e. The above is chiefly con'd to this place, where the settlement is fixed, not but that thro' industry it now wears some app' of cultivation, and every day furnishes some new discovery or species of intelligence that raises our opinion of the land, 'tho our Canaan flow not with milk and honey. Thus, we find many salutary herbs that make wholesome drink, and of g't use to our sick. Balm is here in plenty, and sev'ral vegitables have been lately found that are of the same kind, tho' not so good, as at home. Here is spinach, parsley, a sort of b'd beans, sev'ral wholesome unknown vegitables. Many of the productions of the country are aromatic, and have medicinal virtues, and it yields a variety of things proper for foementa and other exteral application; a sort of green berries, that are pronoun'ed a m't excell't antiscorbutick, are gathered in abundance, and a specie of sorrel, &c., all of a peculiar fine acid. By those who have gone far inland we learn that g't spots of ground of tolera[ble] extent are to [be] met with, and the trees growing at the dist. of fourty or fifty yards from one another. Their largest quad, is [the] kangooroo; in add'n to these are oppussum, w. rats, called so on acc't of the shorness of their forelegs, a kind of rackoon, flying-squirrel, flying-fox.

There are also large snakes, two y'ds and a half long, beautifully chequer'd, with a variety of colours, and scaled all over.

Most or the quad's of this place are handy with their paw, and 'tho not to be pronounced of the monkey kind, are monk'h in their manners; and were it not that we meet with no regular gent of that class, sho'd suspect there was a dist. grad'n as links in the chain which naturallists affirm is insensibly continued from one order to another. 'Tis seen that this obtains not only with the beasts, but among the paroquet is a leading genus, as is also the shark among the fish. Each in their kind furnish some charactstic to a g't variety of species more or less general or partial, 'tho each is perhaps essentially diff't from the perfect or leading genus.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

We have vast variety of fish, but the shark is here to be discerned to take lead not only in power but in many variation[s] of genus.

No country can boast a more charming race of winged inhabit's. The paroquet is seen to take a lead among these, for there seem to be an endless variety of them; indeed, those in other p'ts, from the acct. of our m't expd. voyagers, can in no wise vie with the variegated, lively, and brilliant plumage of these beautiful birds.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

1789, May 24th.—This day 2 of the natives passing by in their cano's a nearer dist. than usual, we made signs to invite them on b'd, and which by degress they did, but in a wary and undetermin'd mann'r, sometimes laying on they oars and drifting with the tide; then, pulling slowly, they would alternately incline the h'd of the canoes towards and from the ship. On their near approach they gave a few of as complacent glances as their uncouth vizages cou'd allow of, mixed, however, with an appear. of stifled apprehension and a something supplycating, with now and then a forced laugh and an look of astonishment at all they saw, under which 'twas easy to see they were still attentive to observe our gesture and proceedings. However, at length, fully satisfy'd we meant them no hurt, they came alongs side and held on by a rope we gave them; the holding out some worthless shreds of cloth, pieces of parper, and such nonsense, no do[ubt] control'd them to us. They were most supprized at seeing a little girl of 12 mo. old, which one of the gents held out. Only one perceiv'd this at first, but shortly made the other accquai'ed with it by the loudest confounded gutteral roaring that can be imagined. They also saw the mother of it (the first white woman I suppose they ever saw), which occasion'd a 2d peal, in which one would have thought they were certain'y proving their lung, to jud'e of their quality and powers, as they do all the guns at Woolwrich, by such an extra charge as might reason'y be expected to burst them if not of the first qual'y.


Correspondence—Daniel Southwell to his mother, Jane Southwell,
and his uncle, the Rev. Weeden Butler.


19th May, 1787.   

WITH much pleasure, my d. mother, do I embrace this expected opportunity of letting you know how we are situated, and how we come on. When I wrote you my last,* in which I mentioned we were unmooring, we actually did get under way, but from some untoward delay among the transport ships, were obliged to drop our anchor again. However, on the next day (Sunday) we weigh'd at 3 o'clock in morning, and have constantly since then been encreasing our distance from beloved Old England; but I am happy to say, on my own part, in rare spirits, and with the sincerest and oft-repeated self-congratulations that my destination is now effectually and happily determined. Thrice happy am I, my dear mother, much for your sake and satisfaction, to assure ye that from the time of my coming on b'd till now I have been recov'ring in a manner that has much surpass'd the warmest expectations I cou'd entertain, and that (set aside the peculiarity of my habit, which do, and, indeed, will, in all probability, remain for a time) I might safely tell you I am well. I have to add that on coming on b'd, after so long a cessation from duty, I thought it would look better not to sue for any indulgence in that respect, and, indeed, was so much mended that there was no very g't merit to me on that acc't. Accordingly, I kept the deck, and acted in my station, but for very few hours, for we had hardly got the anchors up before the Governor told me by no means to keep watch or to expose myself to the w'r till I found myself fully recovered in health and strength, for he cou'd perceive I was much reduced and very different from when he saw me in town. This was very kind and considerate, and I made my best acknowledgements; and as I really thought a few nights' recess would ensure the matter and compleate my health, I told him I would make use of the indulgence for a few nights, but he most obligingly told me to lay by both day and night till I felt myself perfectly well, and that I need only come on deck when I thought I might derive advantage from air and exercise. Following day I dined with him, and he behaved with the greatest affability, and those kind little attentions as to what I eat, and what he thought good for me, &c. He frequently asks me how I do, and has desired me to want for nothing that he has on b'd, and to send to his steward for it without ceremony, for that anything he has is quite at my service, and he shou'd be happy it would do me good. I am the more particular on this head, as I know it will be of a pleasing savour to y'r affect'e solicitude for my welfare—indeed, he is very kind to all, and we are very happy in our worthy commander. For all this I am very thankful, for tho' my disorder is not eradicated, yet my present good situation affords a happy prospect of once again enjoying good health in its former fulness. We have had prosperous gales, tho' latterally rather of the freshest, and are going on prosperously. The ship has now a very g't deal of motion, but she rolls very easy, has many good properties, and is what we call an excellent sea-boat. Tho' not exactly in the Bay of Biscay, we are tumbling about in its swell, and many a good sailor sea-sick; but notwithstanding 'tis pretty well four years since I was at sea in any weather, I only find it rather set a keen edge to my appetite. I have received no letter from you since I emb'k'd, tho' I judge you might have wrote one: that is, this will be the 3d since the last I had of you. I took the opportunity of writing to d. un. R'd after dropping our anchor, owing to the delay, and am very happy I at last paid the long intended tribute due to his kind's and affection just as we sail'd. I received a l'r from my d'r Jane, and wrote to dear Betsy, and pray give my best love to both. Till yesterday I did not know how much I am indebted to Cousin D. Dawes and Mr. Harper for their kind mention of me to the purser of our ship, Mr. Palmer, when it came out in accidental discourse. Pray make my love and best returns to both, with love to all their family. My best resp's to Mrs. Lane, who has kindly assured me she shou'd always be glad to hear of our wel-doing; indeed, I consider myself under the greatest obligation to her friendship for a situation in every respects m't eligible in its nature, and rendered doubly so in the worthy d'r [director] of it, who takes pleasure in adding to the happiness of those about him.

May 20.—I call'd the opportunity expected because uncert. when the Hyena* would part co. with us; however, I have just been told she goes from us to-night, so shall conclude this now. Pray remember me to my ever good friends at Chelsea. Little Dan's ship is one of the best sailers, and frequently alongside of us. I nod and wave to him at times, and he seems brisk and hearty. One opportunity I had of enquiring after him since we sail'd, and sent him by the same a present from our Dr. E. Timbrel, which came to my hand with a variety of others for myself.

[* The Hyena was the man-of-war which escorted the fleet out of the Channel.]

Please to commend my best wishes to all friends, and never be uneasy a moment for me, but rather congratulate me on my good fortune in this destination, which is highly agreeable to me in many respects, and may be advantageous, for I rely on the Governor's good offices; and now with wishing you every good wish and best love to all my dear brothers and sisters, believe me ever, my dearest mother, your very affectionate and dutiful son,


At sea, lat. 47.47 N., on b'd Sirius.


H.M.S. Sirius, moored off Santa Cruz, 4th June, 1787.   

I AM again happy, my dear mother, in having another opportunity of writing. The circumstance is lucky, for we did but arrive here last night, and the packett is to sail to-morrow for England. We have had a tolerable good run, and a very pleasant one, and are all well and healthy on b'd; and, indeed, throuought the fleet. For my own part, I can asure [you] that I now have a prospect of wearing thro' my destination with comfort and satisfaction, a matter render'd the more truly pleasing as I cou'd not, even in spight of hope, but have my doubts of, nor does my worthy captain abate anything of his kindness—indeed, owing more to his indulgent injunction than to any real indisposition, I have not as yet entered upon regular duty, but am to do so upon my own application [as] soon as we leave this port, which is intended after a week's stay, for he is so very good as to desire me repeatedly not to keep the deck till a perfect reinstatement is compleated. I judge from your tender anxiety, on account of my health, how grateful this will be to ye, and I prize the opportunity more on this account than any other, for all I could say in regard to duty and love you would be sure I should entertain. The Governor is certainly one of a thousand, and is very considerate in every thing, and extraordinary clever in every contrivance and method to render the ship healthy and airy. The new scene is vastly pleasing and agreeable to my turn, for here the natives of the place come off in boats, and bring on b'd a variety of fruits and other articles to us before unknown; and then the land is so mountainous, or rather hugely rocky and cloven in the most surprizing manner. As yet I have not fed my curiosity with a sight of the famous Pick or Peak, for that since our arrival has been constantly envelop'd in the clouds. This puts me in mind of the picture which used to be over the parlour mantle, by us term'd the Peak, tho' by the by I think erroniously, for I believe 'twas meant the representation of an Egyptian Pyramid.

As yet I have not been on shore, but mean to see the place tomorrow. The town is not regular, but appears well to look at. The houses are generaly white-fronted and regular in themselves, but stragling in their situation. The w'r, to us who have always lain farther northward, is very warm. It agrees with me extreamly well, and I begin to like our trip more and more. 'Tis very pleasing to see new places, and this voyage promises much variety. Shou'd I see the place before I send this, I may tell you more about it; if not, you'll stay till I come back. I am no g't hand at description, but still these little particulars will from me be acceptable. I could allmost tell you all before I go that perhaps I may crack a bottle of Teneriff (which is not so strong as pleasant; 'tis with us sailors the staple commodity, and is very cheap), and look at a church or two and walk about the town. We made the Island of Madeira in our way, but did not touch there. I just mention by way of letting you know how we stand on b'd, and to avoid being more sanguine than is altogether consistent, that there are several potent recommendations in our ship, whom modesty obliges me to rank as before me on the road to success. At all events, advantage may be received by it, and to be easy concerning these matters is better than to be disappointed. All I have to do is to be attentive and make the most of it, and I have everything I believe to trust in C.P.'s [Captain Phillip's] inclination to serve me. I must add that I know of no one situation in the marine line I would take in preference to this; and I will not doubt but that Providence may in his leadings give me according to my merits and deserts. The name of the chief town is Santa Cruz, and the people, being Spanish, speak a lingo of which I must understand it before I presume to judge. However, the novelty of the scene is entertaining, such as the comical gestures and vain attempts they make use of to be understood, joined to the sea-jokes, &c., that the tars play off among them. The mountains are stupendous, and the Peak is computed much above 2 miles in perpendicular hight. As we were coming along the shore towards the harbour, we perceived a number of goats playing upon the eminences; and before we had got in and come to an anchor the captain of the fort came off in his boat, and we learn'd they had expect'd us a long time. We did not salute, as is usual, as we wished to go on a œconimical plan; and it happen'd apropos, for the chief occasion of this officer's coming on b'd was to inform us that their guns at the fort were dismounted, and consequently cou'd not have return'd bur salute. Little Dan Butler is very well, and I have sent to him to come on b'd. However, I must mention only to you that I find by one of our gents, who came good part of the v[oyage] in the P[rince of] W[ales], that his situation is not altogether as he represented it, for h[e is] quite the servant and bang'd about (I think) by the mate, so I propose going on b'd to say as much as is consistent, if, on enquiry, I find it is not wholly my kinsman's fault, which may be the case, for we are all apt to judge partially, and his being in the most perfect dishabille seems to militate against him. The youn' gent I mention has an uncle on b'd the P.W., to whom I recom'd D.B. most earnestly, and he is a good character and a principle officer on the B.B. establishment, and I promise some good may come of it; and his nephew, my brother-officer, on b'd has bound himself to give him a nudge every now and then upon Dan's behalf. The gentleman's name is Alt, and has the place of Surveyor-General of New Holland. I suppose you received my last by the Hyæna, and I promise you I'll write wh'ever I can. So far, we have gone on happily and well; and I pray God's blessing on ye all, which concludes me with best love to d'r brother and s's my much honour'd mother, your truly affectionate son,



Rio Janeiro, Thursday, 2 August,* 1787.   

[* Should be September. The fleet did not arrive at Rio until 6th August. See Vol. i, part 2, p. 114.]

Honoured Sir,

I feel an heartfelt satisfaction in having a conven't opportunity when so far off to forward my duty'l and affectionate best wishes to yourself and much-loved family; the chance is truly acceptable, but would [not] have offer'd itself perhaps had not some of our well-respected shipmates been necessitated to return on account of their several indispositions.* From this circumstance I derive a reflection which is indeed pleasing to myself, and may be agreable to you. Your friendship and affectionate inclinations for my service, at a time when you cou'd not fully advise, undoubtedly led you to place things in such a point of view that it remain'd with me to consider and make the decision. On this occasion I eyed the ballance with as much of that steady attention you enjoined, as I was capable of; and if I felt an influence in that situation which savor'd as much of duty as of freewill in the attention paid by me to it, I must say I am well satisfied with my determination. Indeed, I think I have been very fortunate, for tho' much indisposed at coming on board, I met with great indulgence. My captain** allow'd, or rather commanded, me to lay by during the passage to Teneriff, and was in other respects very good. From that time to the present my health has been daily encresing, and the warm climates agree with me very well. We left the above place the 10th of June, after a week's stay, and arrived at Rio Janeiro on July 6th,*** all safe and in good case, having had a very pleasant passage. This is a Portuguese settlement; is situated on the continent of South America. Its chief produce is rum, sugar, and wine: is very fruitful, and seems a place of g't importance. It is governed by a Viceroy, whose powers are great; he lives in splendor, and does not go abroad but with g't attendance. The military here are well dis'plined; their dress has a martial appearance; their horses are good and well-train'd, and they have many mules. Oxen are chiefly used for burthen, but the beef of this country bears no comparison with that of England. The blacks are very numerous, and many of them are slaves. The streets are laid out with tolerable regularity, and the appearance of the houses uniform; 'stead of windows they have lattice-work, which is here well suited to the climate. Their churches are richly ornamented, and some truly splendid. The convents and nunneries are many in number, and the paintings generally on religious subjects are full of expression, and frequently very superb.

[* See Vol. i, part 2, p. 115.]

[** Governor Phillip.]

[*** An error. The fleet arrived at Rio on 6th August. Vol. i, part 2, p. 114.]

Oranges are in vast abundance; and a great variety of fruit, with whose names I am unacquainted, are in plenty. This place sends much gold and precious stones to the mother country; they are produced in the inland parts. The people are affable, and all ranks very polite among themselves, but particularly so to strangers. They are partial to the English, but their dislike to the Spaniards so great that they can't bear to hear them named. The land is very high and mountainous and cover'd with wood, but the trees are generally small.

The place where the shipping lay is very commodious and safe. From morning till evening the weather is very warm, and in summer must be almost insupportable was it not for the sea-breezes, which are very refreshing, and set in with much regularity. 'Tis now the winter season, but even in the night hardly to be call'd cool. The days are hot, and the natives themselves feel it so, consequently the winter at this place is trifling. The next port we touch at is the Cape of Good Hope, and from thence we are to proceed to Botany Bay. The passage to the former may be five or six weeks, and the run from the Cape to the place of our destination we judge will take three months. We came in here for refreshment, and we are now nearly compleated. We get fresh beef every day, and vegitables are plenty. Wine, rum, and rice are the principal articles our fleet have taken in; of these we have received a great quantity, for which they have bills upon Government. Indeed, our supplys had need be capital, for our party is large, and where we go there is none to be got; and what we have must last long. The convicts are more tractable than might be expected; when they are not, discipline is not neglected. The Commodore's conduct has endear'd him to most of them, and, indeed, I believe few could have been found better calculated for the occasion than our commander. He is a man who has seen much of the service and much of the world, and has studied it. He is possess'd of g't good sense, well inform'd, indefatigable upon service, is humane, and at the same time spirited and resolute; for of his courage, fame allows him to have given honorable proofs on former occasions.

I may tell by way of information that our squadron consists of the Sirius, a brig* wearing a pendant and commanded by a lieutenant, and eight transports, the major part of which have convicts, the rest merely stores and provisions for the proposed settlement. At sea Dan Butler had been very ill, but is now quite well, and has been on b'd to see me. I have let him know of this opportunity of writing, and he is to send his letters on board whenever they are ready. I see him frequently one way or other; he grows fast, and is a fine lad. His captain is a worthy man, and I believe my kinsman may do very well.

[* Note in the MS.:—"Called the Supply".]

All I can do at present is to hope and trust you are all well; my prayers are for it, and one day I may be satisfied in this particular. There will, I dare say, be some opportunity hereafter, and I can promise myself this satisfaction at your hand.

Cou'd I point out any particular or immeadiate prospect of advantage to myself I would, knowing how much you interest yourself in my well-doing; but at present all I can say to it is, that there are one or two who I fancy may reasonably expect to preceed me if promotion takes place. However, much of this is not likely, and it seems there are other ways of serving us, and I firmly believe he has genuine inclinations to do so whenever he can*; and as I have heard him observe that at all events if we return unprovided for, this voyage will constitute a recommendation indeed in a manner amounting to a claim.

[* The reference is evidently to Governor Phillip.]

We expect to proceed in three days, and as the time to send my letters is arrived you may take it for granted my best duty to my dear aunt and love to cousins, with earnest wishes for your good health and theirs, concludes this. In good hope to see you all happy and well when we return,

I am, &c.,         


[** Addressed to "Mrs. Southwell, No. 21, Nicholas-lane, Cannon-street, London."]

Table Bay, Cape of Good Hope,         
11th November, 1787.   

Dear Mother,

We are still lucky you perceive in having opportunitys of letting you hear from us, and happy in embracing them, and the more so as we are to inform you of our continuing to go on successfully.

We left Rio de Janeiro on the 5th day of Sept'r, nearly as was expected. Have had no very bad and a good deal of good weather, so there is no reason to complain of our passage, which was indeed a fine one, and tolerably expeditious, considering we had to keep company with a convoy of vessels, and that tho' some sail but indifferently we must not leave them behind.

The fleet have been much more healthy than one cou'd reasonably expect. There are but few deaths and several births, and many more of these, it is presum'd, are soon to take place; so you see we are altogether in a thriving way. This, as the last port we touch at in our way to the new settlement, has been a time of constant bustle; indeed it is right to take every advantage of it, for the leaving behind any of the many articles that are requisite and necessary would be now irreparable; this has therefore kept us constantly employ'd in getting the ships supply'd with water and all the species of provision that are proper. Grain of various kinds, some for immediate consumption, some for sowing, &c.: much will be necessary for the use of the live stock: these are to consist of cows, bullocks, sheep, hogs, horses, and almost every domestick animal, and the quantity of water they will require is so great that we are to make the best of being at an allowance for ourselves. However, from these inconveniences we promise future advantages, and those who cannot combat with the former shou'd not have shaped their course for Botany Bay. Were you to take a view of our ship below you would be apt to take it for a livery stable of note, for there are a number of partitions all along the between decks, and racks for the provender; nor do we want pig sties, hog troughts, and all the necessary apparatus. Among the stock are many of the feathered kind, and also plants of various sorts. These all together will take up much room, and the ship is lumber'd. The people, considering the number, are much crouded, for the cattle are to occupy a deck which till now was theirs. This is a disagreeable part of it, but we hope to get over it without much sickness; some must be expected. The voyage, it is thought, may be reckon'd at near three months, which, as we are situated, will most likely be trying to many of the passengers. For my own part, I can eat my allowance with ease, and have continued to maintain a place in the cook's list, which is better, you'll say, than being in the doctor's report; while I go on so there is little fear of me, and I have every reasonable presumption for it, as these climates seem very friendly to my constitution.

Thus far you see things have succeeded beyond expectation, and so we shall proceed with double satisfaction, trusting to a well compleating of our undertaking.

There is hardly a day but I am ashore on duty, and by that means have been able to make none but general remarks. The place belongs to the Dutch, is under a Governor. The people dress much like the English. Their houses are very neat, and adapted to the climate, which is warm. There seems to be something of the Chinese taste in their building, which I suppose is owing to their particular connection with India and all that quarter.

There is plenty of most things that are necessary, but the inhabitants seem to make a markett of it; for all things are very dear, washing by no means reasonable, &c.

The beef and mutton are very good, the latter particularly so. The sheep of this place are famous for their having enormously large tails, weighing from 12 to 20 pounds, being entirely fat. Of these they make good advantage, for 'tis far preferabble to butter in the making of pastry and for frying fish, &c. They have here, as in most foreign places, many slaves, and the white people in general are oppulent and keep up a genteel appearance. Allmost all have a smatt'ring of English, and many of them speak it well.

The Ranger, E.I. Company's packett, Capt'n Buchannon, has just arrived, but only two officers in the fleet got letters; she left the Motherbank two months after we did.

I hope my next will be more agreable than this, for in that we shall have something new to talk about, but how soon I may, cannot now say, or by what method of conveyance; and I can fully rely on receiving a favour from you by the first chance that can be met with. Indeed, a good letter from home wou'd be a most grateful treat, and I know you too well to doubt of it when in your power to forward one. At present I view the thing at such a distance that I scarce allow myself to think of it; but let's hope 'twill read the better when it comes. I expect much news, but I must not anticipate; may it contain the agreable accounts of your well doing, and that will be all I wish. Pray give my best love to d'r Jane when you see her; the rest of the much-loved lads and lasses will have it immeadiately you know!

We arrived here the 14th of October, and expect to leave it about the 12th instant, but I will date as late as possible.

Now to particularize all those friends whom I hold in the kindest remembrance would be both formal and tedious; you may safely asure them they are faithfully thought of and mentioned too if you think 'twill do them good, and there is no fear of being dettected; 'twill only be a white one, and excusable with those who may be so good as to feel disappointed without; 'tis very good of me, you'll say, to furnish you with these provisos, which may after all be unnecessary, but the lad means well enough too!

Cousin Dan Butler still continues well; tells me his captain is a good man and behaves kindly, which makes his situation agreable to him. He begs his duty and love to you all. I have had the pleasure to see him sev'ral times on b'd the Sirius since our arrival, and he frequent'y comes alongside in their boat as one of the crew, and is quite a clever little tar.

The Commod're is still the same good man, and it is whisper'd, and I believe with some probability, that I am to be rated one of the mates of the ship in room of Mr. Sealey, who left us at R. de Janeiro. It has not been authenticated to me from his own mouth as yet, and it seldom is for a good while, at least 'till the books are made up; but it will be known for certain when he comes on b'd, which will not be till the day we sail. However, shou'd this not happen I shall not feel myself hurt or disappointed, for there are sev'ral on b'd who may possibly have better pretentions to it. I know I can rely on his will to serve me at every proper opening, and that is a satisfaction. Mr. Miller sends you his best respects. I intend writing to Unc. Butler, Mrs. Everitt, and Mrs. Lane. The Comm'd'e ask'd me a few days since if I had written to the two latter. We are to sail very shortly, so must conclude with asuring you I am, d'r mother,

Your, &c.,          

I have compleated my letters to all my other correspondents.


H.M.S. Sirius, Sidney Cove, Port Jackson, 5th May, 1788.   

THESE presents, my dear and much honour'd mother, come greeting from your ever dutiful son, with the most affect'e best wishes to yourself, my much loved brothers and sisters, near relations, and kind remembrance of all particular friends, and others my acquaintance in general.

This premised, I proceed to inform you, and by that means them (for by this conveyance I write to none other), that we left the Cape of Good Hope on the 13th Nov'r, 1787, and were plagued for some time with perverse currents and contrary winds; this, however, was not of long continuance, and what next occurs material is that on the 25th do. the Governor left the Sirius, at sea, and re-embarked on b'd the Supply brig, for the purpose of arriving at the intended settlement with greater expedition, and preparing for the remain'g part of the convoys better reception. She then parted company, and took three more with her, viz., the Alexander, Scarborough, and Friendship.

Our passage from this time was by no means to be complain'd of, and we then stood on with good success under the command of our 2d. Capt'n (Hunter), with the remain'g ships all in good order and spirits, in the hope of again meeting all together at the destined haven. Many things occur'd of course during the long run from hence to the Cape of New South Wales,* such as seeing vast numbers of great whales, as is usual with those that go down to the sea in ships; also other strange fish of astonishing size and strength; also as curious birds at great dist'e from any land, seaweed pass'd by, and a variety of things that the plan of this letter won't admit a detail of. The above-mentioned South Cape was made at 2 o'clock on the 8th of January, p.m., much as was expected by the reckonings, but the lunar observations were and all the voyage have been accurate to an astonishing nicety, and reflect much credit on the abilities of Captain Hunter, Mr. Bradly, and Lieut. Dawes of the marines. From this part, likewise call'd Van Dieman's Land, we stretched away for Botany Bay, the place of rendesvous, and lost sight of it in two days. Soon after this we luff'd up in a hard squall, and shook it out, as we term it, but were in luck that it did not shake or blow all the sails from the y'ds or the masts over the side; 'twas some time before we could take the canvass in, and being of long continuance it press'd her down in good faith to her best bearings, and she look'd for some time as tho' she did not mean to right. Our ship perhaps was a little crank; however, we sustained but trifling damage. Some of the convoy split their topsails, some their courses, and some both; other were seen with staysails blown away. Our m. staysail was the only thing of consequence that gave way, and it we recover'd, tho' something the worse for wear and tare. Cousin Dan's ship, P. Wales, among other things, lost a man from the main yard,** and the sail split to ribbands. The merchantmen, as is their usual way, wore round or put before it; but we, as I said, shook it out, or, in other words, presented her ship's head to the wind; 'tis a point much contested among seamen which is best. I have only to say we had the best of the breeze this time. Capt. Hunter, who is a very clever and experienc'd officer, gave good reason for this management, and his opinion where each method becomes eligible, but as you are not much of a sailor, tho' well enough in your own way, and a very good mother, I shall not here adduce them.

[* Note in MS.:—"South Cape of New Holland; vide Vandieman's Land."]

[** Note in MS.:—"This accident belongs to another day." See the extract from the logbook of the Prince of Wales, ante, p. 405.]

On Jan'y 19th, 6 a.m., we again made land, bearing W. by N, In the even'g, having kept the shore on b'd, had sight of the desired port, and could have got in had we been by ourselves, but the convoy, whom we were obliged to stay by, detain'd us, so we stood off and on during the whole pleasant moonshiny night, and in the morn'g we all got in, and to our satisfaction found the Sup'ly and the other three ships all in good order.

Soon after our arrival we haul'd the seine and caught a quant'y of fish, which was a comfortable change. This diet is now very usual with us, and being partial to it I do not yet grow tired, tho' many do. Indeed, I impute the full establishment of my true health in part to it. You positively did not see me so stout and robust at any time while last at home; for this I am truly thankful, and by a continuance of the blessing I hope to see you a better man than ever you knew me, and trust with God's good will that we shall not in this or other respects have cause to repent of the determination that cost all parties so much ere 'twas fixed. I often consider my dear good uncle Butler as a chosen instrument on the occasion. During the short stay we made here there was much timber fallen and a sawpit sunk, but the Governor, who with some of the principal officers had been with a party of men and sev'ral boats on a three days' expedition, return'd with the agreable news that they had accomplish'd the intended object—that of finding some more eligible place for a settlement and shipping. This was on the 24th Jan'y, and a stop was put to further operations on shore. The frame of the sawpit was taken up, and being a thing of special use and much trouble to form, sent on b'd the Supply, who proceeded the first opportun'y to the new port. About this time, to our g't surprise, we saw two strange sail in the offing plying to windward to gain the harbour. However, a current that set them bodily to ye south'd, together with contrary wind and being baffl'd with calms, kept them from coming in till the 26th. We sent our boat on b'd; they proved the Boussoile and Astrolabe; the command'g officer, Mons'r De La Perouse; 2d in comm'd, Mons'r Cleonard, of the last-mention'd, came on b'd, and we learn'd that when at Kamskatka* the former capt'n, Mons'r De Langle, together with a whole boat's crew and most of the officers of the ship, were massacrer'd by the savage inhabitants of that inhospitable coast. Soon after these anchor'd we weigh'd for Port Jackson, and came to there the same evening with the convoy in as snug a place as London river. 'Tis about 10 miles to the n'd of B'y Bay, and nothing can be conceived more picturesque than the appearance of the country while running up this extraordinary harbour. The land on all sides is high, and cover'd with an exuberance of trees; toward the water craggy rocks and wonderful declivities are everywhere to be seen. A no. of small islands that are dispersed here and there add much to the piece, some lying in the middle of the streamed, and channels for ships on either side, and, altho' extremely rocky, cover'd with trees, most of which are evergreen. The white sides of the stony eminencies, with very little help from fancy, have at distance the app'e of grand seats, superb palaces, and sumptuous pavilions. The natives, too, form'd a pt in the 'scape, for some of them had posted themselves on the overhanging cliffs here and there, as thou' to dispute our passage up, brandish'd their lances with a variety of anticks more like monkies than warriors. Indeed, their chattering, thou' something more sonorous, put one in mind of those gents. We run them up nigh 2 leagues, and came to a place call 'd Sidney Cove. Here the settlement is fixed, and the place wears some app'e of cultivation. The soil near the sea is at best but midriff, and nothing can be more strange than to see so much vegetation, and that of the largest sort, on a soil that one would think scarcely aforded nutriment for underwood.

[* This is an error; the massacre occurred not at Kamtchatka, but at Maouna, one of the Navigator Isles. In modern maps the island is given its native name—"Tutuila". The circumstances of the massacre are narrated at length in Pérouse's Voyage Round the World, vol. ii, pp. 128-148.]

It yields no vegitable for which we have a kitchen name, but there are sev'ral green things we make use of that are not unwholesome, and in eating endeav'r to think them better than they are. 'Tis extraordinary that no good fruit or that might be made so by management is here. Some berries of the lowest order, bastard figs, and such, are now and then to be met with. Indeed, thus the coast in general appears, and you may travel from Dan to Beersheeba "and cry, 'tis all barren". In the excursions they now and then make into the country they find, however, that the trees are farther apart, and here and there some tolerably good spots compared to that where we are fixed; so it had need, but still 'tis nothing compar'd to the arable pasture of our own dear shore. There is much gard'ning set on foot, and, as might be expected, some things come up well, some indiff., and some not at all. Yams** succeed among the best, and are an excellent substitute for potatoes. 'Twill be long ere any g't benefit accrues from these labours, except to individuals. The largest quad'e yet seen is the congaroo, being the size of a large dog. There are vast numbers and variety of birds, but they, too, are hard to be got at. When we do we eat both these and the former; "all is fish that comes into the net". The place is tolerably off for water, but 'tis procured with difficulty, being rather drains than springs, and we seem indebted to the rains for them. The best run yet seen was at Broken Bay, about 20 miles from where the Gov'r, &c., examin'd a good harbour, and a fall of water that had something the appearance of a cascade, but a dry season would no doubt greatly impair this mimick. Ligh'g is here violent, and soon after our coming seven sheep and a hog were roasted alive by it; and much as a fresh meal might be desired, I can venture to asert that no one took a single joint to his table. This happen'd in the middle of the camp, but these unhappy animals were the only people hurt. In all this time only two men have been hang'd, tho' sev'ral have been condem'd, and many deserv'd it.

[** Note in the MS.:—"Yams' reign of short continuance; they dropped off suddenly after."]

Lieut. King, our 2d. officer, was despatched soon after our arrival to fix a settlement at Norfolk Island, some few days' sail from hence, for the purpose chiefly of rearing hemp and flax,* and which 'tis said will succeed here, and is an object of consequence. He is in qualy. of Governor. He has with him some of inferior rank, and a party of men and women. They sail'd in the King's tender Supply, and in their way discovered a new island, which Lieut. Ball, the command'r of her, call'd in honor of the First Lord of the Admty., Ld. Howe's Id.** They did not touch at it in their way, but on their return from the colony at New Norfolk they did; 'tis small, has much tall timber, and is a fine place, having many birds so tame as to be caught by hand; but, above all, they turned and secured several turtle, which are here in abundance, and bro't in sufficient to give most of us a good meal; so you perceive we lived (I don't say live) like aldermen; nor was it any of your mock, sham work. She, the Supply, is expected to sail very soon with the ships*** by which I send you this. The Charlotte is the one I write by, the Scarborough and Lady Penrhynn are the other two, so we look for another supply of this delicious article. This charming island is estimated at ½ way between here and Norfolk; how providential that it is not twice as far t'other side of it!

[* Note in the MS.:—"The latter only, I believe".]

[** Note in the MS.:—"And in and about it are Ball's Pyramid, Mount Ligdberd, and Mount Gower, &c., &c."]

[*** Note in the MS.:—"Viz., Charlotte and Lady Penrhyn".]

The natives are not fond of coming nigh our place of abode, and yet we have frequent intercourse with them when on the diff't excursions, and also by the boats which go at some distance to fish. Their manner of living is very rude, and their language is most uncouth to the ear. They are chearfull, nor is their disposition unfriendly, but extremely fickle and irritable; they are very incurious, and it takes much to engage their attention, or, more properly, to fix it. Their chief employ is to fish.

'Tis perfectly uncertain when we set sail, but 'tis expected when we do 'twill be among the Is. Otahieta, &c., &c., and those islands as mention'd in Cook. The Governor was so good as to rate me mate, as soon as the former one quitted the ship at R. de Jan'o, and, accordingly, I do duty as such; this brings with it some addition to my income, being £2 0s. 0d. pr. mt., before £1 9s. 6d. This is, I am satisfy'd, as much as the situation of things allow of; and I believe him to be much my friend, thro' the warm instances of those others whom we so much love and respect; and I am happy in never having given him dissatisfaction; but on this I claim no g't merit, as he casts none off who maintain the least pretensions to his favor. 'Tis possible you in England will best know how things can be sent out here; and, if it shou'd come easily in your way, some materials for making six pr. shoes, some very plain second cloth, for making a working-jacket, and two or three dozen small bell mids. buttons, one pair of blue duffel trowsers, two coarse hatts, round, six pr. coarse thread, and four pr. of worsted stockings would be usefull; this is, however, left to you, with a full assurance that, if not done, I shall make the best of it cheafuly, and be contented. It remains now to tell you that this is not considered as a full letter, but only sent for fear of accidents. The Alexander is the ship that carries home the dispatches, and in every probability she will be home before this letter, for, when she sails, which will be in two m't's, she will make all speed for home. Now, the Charlotte goes to China, and this letter is what we seafaring folk call a preventer.* This is the apology you will please to make to all my correspond's in case this first comes to hand; tho' I shou'd expect those I write by the Alexd'r will be the first received by them and you. Mr. Miller, being wholly a resident on shore, I seldom see him, but can assure you of his good wishes. To hear from you would be highly agreable, and we flatter ourselves that letters are on the way. In this all are thought of, they may believe me, tho' few are mention'd. Cuz. D.B. is a fine, good lad, and, if he behaves well, may, perhaps, bear ye a l[etter] from me when he sails, which will be with the Alex'r, &c. So, with earnest good wishes, and praying God's blessing to you all, I am, d'r much loved and ever honor'd mother,

Yr. very affect'e son,          

[* Note in the MS.:—"i.e., in case the others fail. Sea phrase."]


[Note.—Extracts from letter of the same date as the preceding, of which it is for the most part a duplicate, forwarded by the Charlotte.]

5th May, 1788.   

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

IN the morning we all run into B. Bay (20/1/88), and to our satisfaction found the Supply and the three ships lying there all in excellent condition. It was about 7 o'clock in the day when, having entered the port, the locks were taken off the scuttle butts and free license given for all to drink as much water as they liked, and it was odd to see the people soon after washing their worst garments in a profusion of that liquid which they often had wished for in vain to moisten a mouth parch'd with the irritating effects of a salt diet and a sultry climate.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

What I have formerly express'd concerning our good command's abilities for his station cou'd be little more than opinion. He has, however, fully veryfied all, for the proof is now present, and his conduct, join'd to the most indefatigable attention to such a vast variety of avocations, is truly to be admired.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

P.S.—In case this only shou'd come to hand, I will just mention a few more particulars. The principal disorder we suffer by here is the fever and flux, jointly. This has carried off several; these chiefly convicts. 'Tis frequently fatal, but with good care much oftener not so. There are various opinions about the cause, some attributing it to the water, some to the humidity of the ground, others to the season, others to the peculiarity of constitution, and that either of these causes may produce it in many, while others, equally in the way of all, continue to escape intirely. On b'd the ships the fish diet has been suspected to occasion it, if not timely desisted from, and this, with the known peculiarity of my habit, may account for its salutary effects upon my constitution. From the water too, that has ill effects on some, I experience not the least.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Most of the chiefs in our colony have thatch'd houses built, but the convicts are still mostly in tents; they are now going on fast with building wooden barracks for the soldiers, and when they are housed the rest will be served. By this 'tis hoped good health may be secured, and the constitutions by that means gradually naturalized to the climate. However, all things consider'd, we have not been very sickly. The Governor has a house; the frame came out in one of the ships; 'tis very compact, and I have had the honor to make one at the table sev'ral times with his Excellency, and that by his own friendly invitation,—"Southwell, come and take a bit of dinner with me. "There is plenty of stone for building, but will not be much used 'till for the public buildings, courts, &c., and this will be a work of time. I don't imagine the plan of the town is yet wholly made out. The attain'g a competent knowledge of the lunar observation is a matter of the first consideration with a naval officer, and 'tis certain there is nowhere so fine an opp. as with us. Capt'n Hunter is a most worthy man, and ever ready to communicate instruction; judge then how unpardonable it would be for me to return ignorant of them! Wholly so, I am not; but I most sensibly feel the want of the necessary books and tables for that purpose. If there is any certain way of sending them out, above all things do it. Let them be calculated for the ensuing year, '89, and further on till '92 or 3. Mr. Harper, or any of our sea acquaintances, would undertake to procure them; they consist of necessary tables, nautical ephemeris, &c. I believe they are to be purchased in the Strand; 'tis an object of consequence. But all this will depend, of course, on the accounts you hear from the ships that may arrive concerning how long we shall stay out, &c. I think if you cou'd find any way of having me recommended from home to Capt'n Hunter it would be a good job done; he is already inclin'd to be partial to me. He's a man devoid of stiff pride, most accomplish'd in his profession, and, to sum up all, is a worthy man, and will be my chief when the Gov'r is not, for you must remember that the Gov'r C.P. is entirely on shore, and that much will now depend on C. H'r's interist. Mr. Pike knows him (the hatter), but I cou'd wish for some greater recommend'n than his; thro' his means you, may be, may get one. I think my first friend, Mr. Glassford,* knows him. A word to Uncle Butler will be more than enough (if there is no picque between them; of this, I think, I have a faint remembrance, but you can try). His goodness of heart, I know, would lead him to wave that (if it subsists); but you have penetration, and if you discern that it is so wave it, and that at once, for 'twould be unhand'e to lay him under obligations that would not set easy on him. I have to add that this l'r is an extract from my principal one, and that you must not consider one as a grating repitition of the other; 'tis done much for your satisfaction, and if a copy from the other you must put up with it.   Adieu.

[* Lieutenant on the Ocean, Southwell's first ship. Ante, p. 661 (note).]


Transcriber's Note:—Extracts of a copy of a letter, entitled, in volume of copies by the Rev. W. Butler, "Copy of a Letter from my nephew, Daniel Southwell, to his mother, dated and closed 12th July, 1788, giving his account of Botany Bay, Sidney Cove, Port Jackson, &c." (of which pp. 27-32 inclusive are blank.) Original not found.

IT may be proper before we take our departure from the Cape of Good Hope to mention something concerning the various supplies we received there. The things we took in for present consumption and ship use were—fresh beef, excellent mutton, and indifferent veal, of which article they do not kill much, vegetables of most sorts, though in no great profusion, soft bread of a tolerable quality, and an inferior sort of Cape wine. All the aromaticks and spices are here in plenty, and such as chose to procure themselves these articles of private convenience could do it at a reasonable rate. Sugar sells at a high price, as might be expected, but they who had not fully furnished themselves with their intended stock on leaving England found an opportunity of compleating it when at Rio de Janeiro, where it is in great abundance and at a moderate rate.

Soon after our arrival a Danish Indiaman from China came in, and from her we procured tea, silk handkerchiefs, nankeens, etc., tho' at rather an advanced price considering where we were. There were also some other ships from whence in this way, and with coffee we were likewise supplied.

For the particular use of the colony were such seeds as afforded any prospect of yielding increase, and many young plants were taken from the ground with a reasonable presumption that they might thrive in our soil, as our climate is nearly parallel with theirs. In this business we were kindly assisted by Col'l Gordon, Commander-in-Chief of the Military—a gentleman allowed to be an ornament to his profession, possessed of a scientifick genius, a larger share of botanical knowledge than usually falls to the lot of those who are not professed students, a great lover of natural history, and indefatigable in these his favourite and laudable pursuits.

Mr. Mason,* the King's botanist, happened to be there, and most willingly joined his endeavours to be of service in this respect by furnishing some necessary hints relative to cultivation, &c. The colonel also, in addition to his former civilities, favoured several of our gentlemen with some very curious communications. To Mr. Dawes, who is our principal in astronomical matters, he gave several interesting particulars concerning a comet that he himself saw, but which was invisible to those in Europe.

[* Mr. Francis Masson. See Vol. i, part 2, pp. 506, 522.]

With reference to the Supply, &c., leaving the rest of the fleet and sailing on ahead, 25 Nov'r, 1787, Mr. King, 2d lieut. of the Sirius, Lieut. Dawes, of the marines, our astronomer, and several inferior officers were also removed into the Supply, and a number of workmen, particularly sawyers and carpenters, were put on board. They also took the timekeeper, the same which Cook carried round the world, with them on this occasion.

Several other necessary alterations took place amongst the officers, and everything being settled, Capt'n Phillip parted company, his little squadron consisting of the Supply, armed tender, the Alexander, Scarborough, and Friendship, snow. It was generally understood that the Supply was to push on with all speed, and that the principal intention of removing Lieutenant Shortland, the agent for transports, from the Fishbourn, victualler, into the Alexander, was that he might follow with the rest and keep them together. *   *   *   *   *

There now remained three victuallers and three transports, under the command of John Hunter, Esq., our worthy and much-esteemed second captain in the Sirius, whose amiable conduct made the absence of our universally beloved and respected commander-in-chief the less to be regretted.

After passing South Cape, 18 Jan'y, 1788:—

*   *   *   *   *   *   The country appeared high, broken, and mountainous, thick with wood, which at this distance exhibited an appearance of the most charming verdure; and though the eye only was feasted, yet there was something satisfactory and charming in it, as proving that we had shortened the distance towards the place we were seeking.

During the night we observed great fires along the coast, which gave rise to various opinions whether the natives had made them for an alarm, as a protection from the attacks of wild beasts, for the dressing of their food, or other such purpose.

Were it not for the express mention which Cook makes of their total want of curiosity, and of the little notice they took of such extraordinary visitations, I should readily have concluded that the appearance of seven such canoes as the Sirius and her convoy might naturally excite their attention, if not fill them with anxiety. However, since our further acquaintance with these gentry, this character has been pretty well verified, and we find it much easier to catch their attention than to fix it, for on the first sight of any new thing they express their wonder by the most grateing shouts and extravagant gestures, but in two minutes after are perfectly regardless of the recent prodigy, which childlike fickleness is, I believe, peculiar to all savages, to all these children of nature, wherever they are met with.

In sight of this coast we saw a remarkable bird, mentioned in "Cook" by the name of Motacilla cyanea, which is admired for the neck and part of the head being of a beautiful yellow. It is much the size of a gull. They hover about the water as sea-birds do, tho' in the work above mentioned they are supposed to reside wholly on the shore. Future observation may shew whether they are the same he means, and, perhaps, that at certain seasons they forsake the land, or at least frequent the water. There was much of the small fry of fish about the ship at this time, which we considered as an earnest of the abundance we might expect to find near the shore of the intended settlement.

Vast quantities of things that appeared very bright and luminous passed the ship in the night, so as to render the wake of the vessel quite glittering with light. Of these we saw much while in latitudes near the Line, and I have sometimes amused my curiosity in catching them with a wicker basket thrown over the stern. It seems chiefly occasioned by the little nautilus and the sperm of fish.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

We perceived (on entering Botany Bay, 20 January, 1788) some of the natives on the shore, and could hear them chattering to each other with the greatest vociferation.

At times they evidently directed their noise to us, accompanied with a variety of anticks. You may conclude all hands were upon the look-out for the Supply and the rest of the runaways, and that it well pleased us to see them all safe in the port before us. Before us they were, 'tis true, but not a fortnight or more, as was proposed; for immediately on seeing us an officer was dispatched to us from the Governour, with orders to stay with us till we came to; and by him we learned that the Supply had been in but two days, and the transports but one. This, as they pursued a different track, may be accounted for by their not having fallen in with such favourable winds, and being, perhaps, impeded by currents which we stood clear of. However, they were all, he said, in good condition, and added that they had had some interviews with the natives.

As our first interview with the inhabitants took place while at Botany Bay, I shall just give you a rough sketch, by which you may form an idea of the nature of them in general.*

[* Lieutenant King, who was present when this meeting with the natives took place (Southwell was not), gives a somewhat more detailed account. Ante, p. 539.]

When the Supply arrived here it was about 2 in the afternoon. They dropp'd anchor, and at 4 the Governour, attended by several officers, went in a boat, mann'd and armed, towards a place where the natives still were, for on her first coming in a party of these people had saluted them in much the same manner as they did us. But, as soon as they saw the Supply was gone to sleep, and did not move, they went and light a fire at no great distance, sitting round it with as much apparent unconcern as if nothing new had happened. However, on the near approach of the boat they seemed somewhat disturbed, and two of them, advancing along the beach, spoke with great eagerness and very loud. Their manner had more of the appearance of expostulation and earnest advice to desist from landing than of menace, and, tho' they did not seem terrified, it was easy to discover their uneasiness at our persisting in the intention of coming to the shore.

As to get water was a principal part of the errand, one of our people made signs that we wanted some. This was indicated to them by dipping a hat over the boat's side, and then putting it to the mouth, as if drinking with avidity. They quickly caught the meaning, and, pointing repeatedly to westward, signified that we should steer that way. This we did, and soon discovered a small run, which discharged itself into the sea, and upon tasting found it good, which was expressed by our people clapping on the stomach, and often putting it to their mouths. This was also quickly repeated by our new acquaintance—for they are all perfect masters in the art of mimickry—and with every shew of satisfaction that they had been of service to us. Indeed, the readiness they manifested upon this occasion savoured much of fellow-feeling and humanity.

When our people landed, the two men before mentioned retreated a little, and at length joined their companions, who by this time were at no great distance. Every method taken to convince them that our intentions were friendly for a long while proved ineffectual, till at length the Governour himself hit upon the following: Desiring those who were with him to keep behind, he took with him but one person, and advanced pretty near. "When almost close to them he delivered his arms to the man who attended him, and then held out some baubles, intimating that if they would come forward they should have them. This conduct gave them confidence, but not till after much deliberation, and their seeing that the Governour frequently waved his hand to his own people still to retire. At length one of the oldest among them came forth, and having likewise given his lance to a young man who was with him, he made him retire to his own black party. He was now but few paces from our commander, who continued by the above-mentioned means to solicit his nearer approach; but the sooty sage, still wary and distrustful, made very intelligent signs that he wished those presents to be laid upon the ground. This was immediately complied with, and the Governour, as finding it would be agreeable, stood at a greater distance. The doubts before entertained of our sincerity being thus in a great measure removed, the old man ventured to advance and take up the valuables, which at first he examined with great appearance of satisfaction; but he soon, however, began, as is the custom, to adorn himself, and hastened to rejoin his party. This not being altogether what we wanted, his Excellency again held out some irresistibles; and one, a little bolder than the rest—tho' all, no doubt, were envious of their companion's acquisitions, soon came up and expressed a desire that he might receive a few ornaments upon the same terms with the former. This, however, was not agreed to, and the Governour, with much address, stole a march upon our hero, and with a deal of complacency in his countenance presented him with several trinkets, and whilst receiving them managed to adorn him with a shred of scarlet cloth, to the two ends of which a tape was fastened, so that when over the head it lay upon his breast, somewhat like a gorget; yet very becoming, and having, in his opinion doubtless, an extraordinary fine effect. After this more of them ventured nigh, and received some princely present or other. The women kept far off, which the men took good care they should do; and tho' many signs were made, and many fine allurements held out, they, for this and at various other succeeding times, proved abortive. Thus much being done, our gentlemen took leave, and repaired on board the Supply.

One day some of our gentlemen of the Sirius having, by their liberalities and friendly manner, secured the good opinion of a party of these people whom they had fallen in with, at last prevailed on them to let one of the fair sex come nigh and receive some finery, which, by-the-bye, was repeatedly refused to the men, who continued to offer their services of acceptance. So one of the party, an elderly man, satisfied, I suppose, that decorum would be observed, and stepping a little aside, called, in a voice of authority, to one of the ladies to come forth, upon which, after some hesitation, a wood-nymph appeared, and 'twas in the garb of native innocence, which as a veil it seemed had reference only to the intellectual organs of vision.

It would be doing the lady an injustice not to observe that her manner was highly expressive of embarrassment, which some, however (beshrew their manners!), attributed to fear only, never considering, till myself put them in mind, that her complexion could not admit of that captivating suffusion which on similar occasions adds such graces and so enhances the charms and many attractions of the fair in our far-happier climes.

Their persons, generally speaking, are not very engaging to an European eye; some of them, however, are fine figures, and have faces which custom might render not wholly unpleasing, at least to a son of Neptune. But these, how unfortunately, like the kangaroo, are deuced shy, and we have only to live in hope that we shall be very good friends upon longer acquaintance. The men have much beard on the face, which grows far up the cheek so as nearly to reach the eyes. Their features are by no means pleasing. They live in small whigwhams, very poorly constructed. Of these miserable habitations I have seen several; they are chiefly near the water, for the convenience, no doubt, of catching fish, the principal part of their subsistence. This they manage to do with a pronged spear, pointed with the teeth of some animal. They make better lines of the fibres of plants than might be expected, and work nets with much regularity and neatness.

Their war-spears have only one point, and that curiously jagged, so as to be very destructive. This they are seldom without, and they have a method of throwing it with great velocity by the help of a short stick. They are, upon the whole, harmless and inoffensive; they are volatile, merry as beggars, and laugh heartily at the little fooleries we practise to please them. In some cases they have been found irritable and capricious, which, however, are qualities common to savages. It is more to be wondered at that where the conception is so cramped they are not more given to revenge, for on several occasions they have shewn themselves not altogether implacable.

Much care, indeed, is taken not to offend them, and they grow, of course, more familiar every day. They one day killed two convicts, who were cutting rushes for thatching, at several miles off,* but 'tis hard to say, or indeed to suppose, that this was done entirely thro' cruelty. Their behaviour, so far as it has come under our observation, does not warrant such an opinion; but it is true they stand much in awe of our firearms, and when not influenced by this dread 'tis possible they may unmask.

[* See Vol. i, part 2, pp. 148, 167, 171.]

[After a lacuna of five pages, the copy begins again, apparently in the midst of a description of the animals found at Port Jackson.]

*   *   *   *  also opossums—a kind of raccoon, flying squirrels, flying foxes, &c., &c. Large snakes are sometimes brought in, beautifully chequer'd with a variety of colours, and scaled all over.

Most of the quadrupeds of this place are handy with their paws. Though not of the monkey kind, they are monkeyish in their manners, and were it not that we nowhere meet with any of those gentry, I should almost suspect these to be distant relations.

[Transcriber's Note.—Here follows a detailed description of the kangaroo.]

Amongst the birds, the perroquet must be allowed to take the lead. For beauty and plumage they are, perhaps, unequall'd, and there is an astonishing variety of this species, from a bird larger than the common parrot down to some that are less than a sparrow. To enumerate the many kinds of birds which are here would be tedious. Suffice it to say that of those with which we are acquainted there are several of the most charming feather, that scarcely can be deemed ordinary, and that many we find in England are also here, such as hawks, crows, cranes, quails, wild ducks, pelicans, herons, &c., &c. Here is, likewise, a very large bird of the ostrich kind, which they call the amue's, or emue's, and swans exactly like ours, but that they are entirely black. I must now take a look at our operations in the colony, and inform you of their progress. The first grand object, after landing the convicts and pitching the tents, the ground being in some measure clear'd, and the spot for the camp fixed, was to build houses for the reception of the stores. This, though it occasioned many very necessary matters to go on but slowly, was yet indispensably requisite. For the ships, tho' excellent storehouses in themselves, were to be discharged as soon as practicable, because any long detention of them here must create a great expense to Government. The clearing of the ground was a work of vast labour, and to shape timber for the purposes of building, an object of immediate concern. The Governour's house was soon erected, as the complete frame, &c., were brought out in the fleet. This, as a temporary matter, was convenient enough, but another to be built of stone is now on foot, and if one may judge by the foundation will be a decent structure. The Lieut.-Governour, who lives on the west side of the cove, has also one raising of the same materials. For some time, all lived in marquees and tents, but many of the officers have long contrived to have compact huts; and some of the industrious, even in low stations, have also secur'd to themselves similar conveniences.

As our winter approached—which, however, is very moderate compared to yours—barracks were begun for all the soldiers, and are now in good forwardness. They made a point of hutting the married folks first, and no doubt in twelve months more, great progress will be made in a more permanent style of building, &c., &c. At somewhat less than a league from the camp there is plenty of good clay, and capital brick-kilns are here established, and this, tho' a scanty village, is, I assure you, a much frequented and pleasant walk. Add to this gardening, farming, and a thousand other things are carrying on with all possible expedition. The difficulty of getting forward with so many concerns at once, and all equally necessary, can be easier imagined than described. Having never been conversant with a rural life, I know but little of agriculture except by hearsay, which reports that, as might be expected, some things come up well, some indifferently, and others not at all. In some cases the deficiency of the soil often balks the expectations that arise from similarity of climate. However, cabbages, turnips, and the best vegetables thrive pretty well, and tho' the ground is none of the best for wheat, our husbandmen promise themselves much from the assistance of art.

Various courts of justice are established here, composed of officers in the civil, marine, and naval lines, and several executions have taken place. The Governour has power in most cases to pardon after condemnation, but finding by repeated experience that lenity has no other effect than to encourage their malpractices, and that this abandoned crew were lawless and incorrigible, he has avowed a determination of letting them abide by the just rigour of the law, since to do otherwise did but favour the bad to the great detriment of the better inclined.

Soon after our arrival, when the affairs of the colony were in some measure adjusted, the commissions for the Governour, Lieut.-Governour, &c., were read in publick, on a place for parade near the camp.* The soldiers on this occasion were drawn up, and the band at intervals performed several pieces suited to the business. The convicts were placed by themselves, and after the reading was over, by which they were assured of his great power and prerogatives, his Excellency addressed them in a very well-delivered and energetick piece of oratory, in which, tho' he promised the deserving every possible encouragement, and that all their crimes, till again made manifest by renewed bad conduct, should no more be thought of, and, in short, that he would consider them as beginning anew, yet still he acquainted them with his firm intention that when lenity failed of its proper effect rigour and severity should constantly be the reward of every incorrigible offender. After more to this purpose they had permission to disperse.

[* 7th February, 1788. See Vol. i, part 2, p. 122.]

The Governour, passing through the different companies of marines upon the parade, was saluted with due honours, and at the conclusion of this ceremony repaired to his marquee to partake of a cold repast, attended by the principal officers in each department.

June 23d, at 4 p.m. per log, there was felt the gentle shock of an earthquake, and the appearance of the country warrants an opinion that it has been subject to very severe ones. The King's birthday was celebrated with great state and solemnity, and large bonfires—we had plenty of wood—were burning all night. The ships saluted at sunrise, noon, and sunset, which must have frightened the warra warras, for so we call the blacks, from their constant cry of "warra warra" at everything they see that is new.

For the most part we have extraordinary fine weather, but during the winter, of which we are now about the middle, we have rains of several days' continuance, and almost without intermission. Throughout this our cold season it has never amounted to fair frost or snow. We have had hail, and the lowest that the thermometer has really given was at noon 50° 00'. On our first coming here, however, in the hot weather, shifts to an amazing number of degrees were announced by that instrument, and no doubt might greatly contribute to sickness, which was then much more frequent than at present.

I must add that Capt'n Hunter and Mr. Bradley have taken several actual surveys of this harbour,* and these, with many other particulars, will be seen in print before we shall arrive in England to inspect them.

[* See the large map with soundings of Port Jackson in Hunter's Historical Journal, p. 160.]

The name given to the country round about is Cumberland, in honour of that family. The plan of a town is laying out, in which I believe the ingenious Mr. Dawes is particularly engaged. Whether the name is yet determined on I cannot tell, but have heard Albion mentioned upon this occasion.**

[** Note in the MS.:—"Sydney was the name decided upon."]

The Lady Penrhyn, Scarborough, and Charlotte sailed from hence the 7th of May, 1788. The two latter are bound for China; the former, it is supposed, on a speculative plan, concerning which they were very close. We judge some kind of trade to be the object, and their reasons for secrecy no doubt are good. They mentioned their intentions of going to China, but the major part of the letters, I believe, were put on board the others.

All through this narrative I have mentioned things as they have happened per log, which makes it proper to observe that our sea day begins at noon, so that 1 o'clock on Tuesday the 19th, by your reckoning, if after noon, is by ship account 1 p.m. on Wednesday, just commencing the 20th.

This day,* George Graves, one of our seamen, died, being the first since our leaving England.

[*Note by Mr. Butler:—"The date, I suppose, 12th July, 1788."]

Two of the transports, Golden Grove and Fishbourne, cannot sail hence 'till we have storehouses, and leisure to clear them. 'Tis even supposed that one or both of them may go with us when we sail, for the purpose of bringing supplies for the colony.

[Transcriber's Note.—Southwell concludes his letter by inquiring what is the opinion held in England of the writings of Emmanuel Swedenborg, some of whose works he has read on board.]


H.M.S. Sirius, Table Bay, Cape of Good Hope,
19th February, 1789.     

AS I have already written, my dr. mother, soon after our arrival at the Cape, you will excuse me not being altogether so circumstantial in this. However, I shall mention that as no supplys were received, or cou'd indeed in the nature of things be reasonably expected, at the colony, it was judged expedient to send the Sirius for a temporary supply of provision, of which flour seems to have been the most wanted. Of this article we have taken much; and what with the public, join'd to our private comissions, which were many, we are, as you may suppose, perfectly full.**

[** In a log-book of this voyage, kept by Southwell, the provisions taken on board the Sirius for the settlement are given as:—Flour, 182,632 lb.; biscuits, 7,000 lb.; soft bread, 2,700 lb.; salt beef, 15,360 lb.; salt pork, 2,869 lb.; raisins, 2,860 lb.; fresh beef, 6,727 lb.; rice, 15,350 bushels; caravances, 246 bushels; Cape brandy, 3,098 gallons; Cape wine, 1,183 gallons; vinegar, 489 gallons.]

We left Pt. Jackson 2d of Octr., 1788, and pursuing our passage by way of Cape Horn, met with much cold and disagreable wr. We saw an astonishing number of ice islands; many of these were remarkable both for peculiarity of appearance in point of colouring as well as for their extraordinary height and magnitude. 'Twas lucky that while in the thickest part of this almost endless group we were much favour'd with a fair wind. Had this been otherwise 'twould have rendered our navigation not only tedious but dangerous to a degree. Of these we had not the pleasure to take leave till in the lat. of 49° S.; our highest lat. by observation was 57° 37' S., but we have reason to think that we have at intervals been a few miles farther to the southward. By making this passage we have performed the circumnavigation of the Globe, and by continually sail'g to the east'd have gain'd a whole day, for it happen'd that on the 25th December we by obs'n crossed the opposite meridion to Greenwich, whence the reckoning for longitude begins. This made it necessary to call that day over twice, so we had two Christm's Days, and both were celebrated with as much festivity, &c., as the nature of things cou'd admit of, The scurvy, soon after we left Port Jackson, began to attack us, and toward the end very severely. We had but three men die, and many on our arrival were in sad condition. Of these, all have recover'd but one poor man, who is to go for England in the Alexander. At this port there is plenty of refreshment, and the effect of these on our weather-beaten crew was rapid and surprising, even in spight of the imprudent excesses of many, who, one might have thought, were striving to finish what the scurvy, fatigue, and hard living had almost effected.

We got into Table Bay January 2d, and all the sick were sent on shore as soon as proper accommodations cou'd be procured for them. In my other letters, both to my hon'd uncle and yourself, I have mentioned some particulars concerning the fate of the transports of our fleet, &c., but for this and all the many particulars relative to the Alexander in particular I refer you to my worthy and intelligent friend Mr. Shortland. 'Twas my own opinion for some time passt that we shou'd have the satisfaction to see her 'ere we sail'd, and it has happened accordingly. He can best relate his long tale of hardship himself, and I shall only observe that he came last from Batavia, from which place, as I inform you in a former letter, they were to be expected. To that port they got, but with great difficulty, and were forced in their passage thither to sink their consort, the good snow Friendship,* not having hands left sufficient to work both vessells. We are now in expectation of sailing immeadiatly for P't J'n, and conclude 'twill be a passage of two months. When we left that place we left a man to look after a kind of kitchen-garden, situated on a small island in the harbour, and appropriated to the service of H.M.S. Sirius.** Shou'd this succeed and yield encrease twill prove of good use, and worth the labour it has cost. But tho' we may, at our arrival, be longing for refreshments of this nature, yet, for my own part, I will not be sanguine, for not only our black, but our still more barbarous neighbours, the convicts, may have despoil'd or destroyed it. With respect to our future destination 'tis impossible to speak with certainty, but 'tis probable we shall next take a trip among the Friendly Islands, make a visit to Norfolk Island, &c., &c. I must not omit to tell you that during the whole of our voyage, tho' rather trying, I was never so much indisposed as to be forced to lay by. My constitution, I am thinking, is getting more robust, and the situation I am in, and the footing I am upon, is altogether as good and agreeable as may be.

[* The Friendship was scuttled on the 28th October, 1788, in consequence of the number of hands being so reduced by death as to be unequal to the work of navigation.]

[** Garden Island.]

Mr. Palmer, our purser, has always continued to manifest a friendship for me on sev'ral occasions—I shou'd say many. His cabbin, by a pressing and friendly invitation, is ever at my service; and I find it frequently, when I have something particular to do, or a desire to be retired, a very desirable retreat. Shortly after our arrival he made a voluntary offer of assisting me with his purse. Of this I accepted, but with more moderation than he prescribed. This, as 'twas only to be considered between us as one friend lending to another, appeared to me much shorter and better than troubling my captain to endorse a bill, which (by-the-bye) is a g't favour, and my demands wou'd have been almost too trifling to have troubled him so much, or justify me in the obligation.

There were other reasons which (as things have turned out) we will not now explain. I must only beg you will give my love and best thanks to my cousin, Daniel Dawes, who, on the strength of former acquaintance with Mr. P., first paved the way for the friendly understanding that subsists b'een this gent'n and myself.

I have written, as I mention'd, to my d'r friend Uncle Butler. The conveyance was by Mr. Bynfield, a gentleman (Nabob) on his return from India, who politely promised to forward any letters for England that should be entrusted to him with all possible expedition.

For particulars not in that mention'd I beg to refer him to this; and to this, you, my dear mother, can add what more information you may receive from Mr. Shortland, who has a tale of vast variety to relate, if you can be so happy as to secure an hour or two of his good company. He is rather modest or shy, which is an amiable falt, but your affabilitie and a short acquaintance will make him communicative and agreable. I am not yet sure wether I write to Mrs. Everett or Lane; if not, you can present best respects, &c. Mr. Miller,* at P't J., was well when we came away, and is, I believe, a worthy man, but is rather yea and nay—or can you comprehend—chip in pottage. Indeed, his inattention would appear unpardonable, did I not know it was natural and without meaning.

[* Mr. Andrew Miller, the Commissary. He resigned in 1790, from ill-health, and died on the passage to England.]

I need not assure you that all my friends and relations are now remember'd and ever frequently thought of [here follow messages to them]. 'Twould give me satisfaction to hear from you, but when to look for that I know not—most of us here are in the same way—few having read letters from home, but let's hope 'twill be the more agreable and good when it comes.

Jn. Hearne, the man my friends Mr. Smith and uncle Timbrell recom'd to me, if any little opportunity of serving him shou'd occur, is on b'd the Alex'r, having left the Friendship, snow, with the rest. I shall observe that this has been altogether out of my way, and 'tho he once claim'd my services in the course of the passage out, on an occasion in which 'twould be the hight of absurdity for me to interfere. In short, he with sev'ral sailors were b't on b'd accused of some misdemeanour, and punish'd by Cap'n Phillip's direction. H———, from what I can learn, is not a bad man at heart, 'tho rather unsteady in his conduct.

Pray, when you write, let me have all the particulars of poor Dan's hard cruise in the Prince of Wales; in other letters to you from the Cape I have dwelt upon our intelligence rec'd concerning her, but for all this I now refer you to Mr. S. And now accept my ever constant prayers for the well-doing of ye all, &c., &c.

Ever your, &c.,          

EXTRACT of a copy of a letter from D. Southwell to the Rev. W. Butler, dated 12th July, 1788, from Sydney Cove, of which the original has not been preserved.

DIVINE service is regularly perform'd when the weather will permit, for as yet there is no house finished for that purpose. I will just close with an account of one of our most remarkable fish, of which we have a great variety, but the shark is here observed to take the lead, not only in power, but in many variations of genus. Of these principals we have taken four since our arrival in the cove, and tho' certainly sharks, they are not of that established kind so common to the coast of Guinea and the West Indies. It differs from these in having more fins. The mouth, instead of crossing the under-part of the head in almost a right line, is in the form of an half-oval. The teeth are individually of another make, and the general arrangement of them is different. There are many sets of these destructive weapons, fixed in the upper and under jaw in such order as alternately to suit or coincide, which must not a little contribute to the dread purposes which they are so well calculated to execute. The largest of these measured 13 feet 6 inches in length, and 9 feet 4 inches in circumference. The breadth between the eyes, 2 feet, and a middling-sized person might pass through the jaws without difficulty. The liver furnish'd 25 gallons of oil for the lamps. He had seven or eight rows of teeth standing up, yet, as is usual with the young of the shark species, there were still several prostrate rows, which in that situation are not effective. Of these, it is said, one row becomes erect every year, which must be allowed to furnish a reasonable presumption that this formidable bully of the waters had not yet attained his full growth. When these gentry are in the harbour few fish are to be caught, they so frighten and make such havock among them. This hero had half a dozen hooks in his jaws, and I now recovered one I had lent, and which he had made off with a fortnight before. From these, I presume, he felt as little inconvenience as an African from his boney pendant or nasal ornament, for upon hoisting him in, which we did with the yard tackles, he gave proof that he was strong, in good order, powerful, and ravenous to a degree.

[A copy in the handwriting of the Rev. W. Butler.]

A LIST of such words used by the natives of New Holland in the district of Port Jackson, New South Wales, as could be gathered from them, and expressed as nearly as possible according to their mode of enunciation, to which are added the words in English that most closely correspond to them:—

Man's Name.  {  Bĕn-nă-long.
Bī-goŏ-roō  {  Moo-roo-bărah.
Cotty's (?) Wife, Gnaring-ă  [  Yuwarry, Man
 [            his wife.
Woman  [  Ca-rung-ă-rung; also pretty.
Father, Bé-anga  { 
Beé-an-ga, or Be-āna.
Wife of Bennālong   Bă-rangŏoroo.
Wife, Tunnal   Bar-an-goo-noo
Kié-marlie-ti.  [ 
Tunnal! Wife of       } Mooroo-
Kié-marté, 2d Wife }     baroh
Rin-mah-lé               }
Mother Wy-an-ga, Wy-ang-a.
Brother or Friend, used synonimously  { 
Baa-bā-na, Bār-bā-na.
Coo-mal, Coo-mal.
Ko-wál-gang, Kowal-gāng.
Sister  [ 
D' toŏ-goŏ-roo.
Male Child, Boy, youngster pretty
   well grown
Cabieary, Cabeary or Cabieré,
D'yumal, d'yumal; also signifies a
          neibé, a Boy
Woong-ă-ră, a youngster stripling.
Moorooboroh's Daug'rs Name  {  Bă-răn-gān.
   {  Carro, Caroo or Cā-roo.
Female Child, Girl  {  O-ring-gnouey g'nouey.
Child Boy of Yuwarry  {  Wo-orow-ay Wee-rouey,
   {  a young girl.
Woman Dhiu Din, Dtheen Din.
Man Mulla.
Child Eye!
Two young Females in Comp.  { 
Worgin; also a Crow.
People. E-o-rāh.
[* Note in MS.:—"Mooroobara's child".]
The Ground Bé-mul or Pé-mul.
Day Bré-ang.
Night No-en.
Thunder Mara-ong-al, Ma-roong-al.
Lightning Wad-tă.
Fire Guee-ung.
Water Bar-do.
Hot, or heat Cardălung.
Cold Teg-goo-ra, Tug-gŭrah.
A Canoe or a Boat Noé or Nou.
Sun Co-in.
Moon Yănă-dă.
Victuals, or Eating, i.e., Food or
Pă-tā-lia (suppos'd).
Fish-gig  { 
A Child's Fish-gig  [ 
Fishing Line Cara-d'yung.
Fish Hook Bur-ra.
Fish Mau-gro, Maugra, or Mau-grah.
The Snapper Fish Wŏā-la-mī.
A Hawk D'yumal-d'yumal.
A Crow Wergin.
A Fly Mī-an-ga, Mi-ang-a.
A Snake Bō-lă-da.
Large spotted Lizard Mā-gă-dun.
A Louse Boo-roŏ-dāh.
A sort of Wooden Sword Y-ā-rāh.
A Stick or Club Wad-di or Wad-dty.
A Shield Il-le-mong.
Implement used to fend off blows; a
   Weapon of Defence
A Spear Car-mīt.
A Road or Path Moo-roo.
A Stone Re-bah, Kee-bah.
Talk, Discourse, or to Talk Pī-a-ta, Pi-ăt-tă.
Hair of the Head Ko-nutt, Ko-nut.
Beard Yāh-răn.
Eye-brow Nar-ran.
Eye-lash E-nă-dă, or Yé-nă-dă.
Eye Mi.
Nose Nō-gă-ra.
Ear Go-reé.
Lip Dā-lin.
Chin Wā-loo.
Mouth Whā-lăn.
Teeth D' Tar-ra.
Bosom Mor-bal, Maar-bul, Mor-bou.
Breasts of either Sex Nar-bon.
Thumb Wī-an-gă-ră.
Finger-Nail Kă-rung-ān.
A Vein Kī-ang.
Navel Moon-rŏ-ŏh.
Posteriors Bong.
Pudendum Virile Ga-dyé.
The Look-Out Woo-lā-ră.
Any Sand or Beach Mā-răng.
Inner South Head Burra-wă-rā.
The Green Point Mit-tă-lā.
The Mid-Rock Ba-rab-bă-ră.
North Shore District Gom-mă-ree.
Good Bai-ăl or Bei-āl.
Good, Handsome, Comely, Pretty Boó-gĕ-reé.
Bad Wee-rĭĕ.
Hot Cardălung
Great, much, many Murry,     } di-ool-oo
or Murry } di-ŏo-loo
Small, little, few Ngă-rang.
More Curra.
More Water "Curra-Bar-do".
Dead  { 
Ill, indisposed, not well Moo-laā-ly.
Better Mu-ton.
One-eyed Moor-boo-ra.
To come Coo-sé, Cō-cé, Cō-eé, Cō-é.
To strike Fish with a Gig D'oo-ra.
To change names in token of
D'ā-mŏ-lī, as if D'ā-mŏ-ligh.
To dance Că-rāb-bă-ră.
To drink Wi-dah.
To eat Pā-tă.
To sleep Nan-gă-ră.
To beat Pi-é.
To go to stool Cō-ning.
To make water E-lā-vē.
To paint Tā-bŏ-ré.
To see Na-a.
To sing or singing Be-ria, or Bă-ree-oŭ.
To sweat or be in heat En-rie-gŏ, or Eu-ré-go.
To dive Bō-gie.
To bring.  { 
Gnā-ré, Gna-rei.
Gnā-re, or Ngai-ri.
To walk Yen.
To weep Toong-a.
To speak or talk Pī-ă-la.
Well! I am off  } 
Must I go?
Shall I go?
Am I to go?  } 
I am going, name, lake Yen-mou, Dā-mŏ-lī.
I am going, or walking, or will go Yen-mou.
I will eat, I want to eat Patta-boa.
I will beat Pié-bow.
I have beaten Pié-d'oway.
There are four common interrogations:—
1. What? Mee.
2. What do you say? Ki-ă.
3. What? Mén? this rather uncertain.
4. What this? as Med-éah Rira Med-é-ah.
What do you call this or that?  {  Med-ee-ah.
What? as Ngaan Rira  {  And 5 Nān or
What is the name of this?  {  Ngaan.
What do you call this thing? i.e.,
   what is the name
Ngaan-de-Riără, Rĭra.
Nearly all of the same signification as
   those above
Nan-dira, Nān-dé or die-ă.
This or what, this  { 
One's own, own self Niă.
His Nĭ.
I am full Brŭck.
Mine; that's mine D'ā-nī, as Dā-nigh.
Yours Ti-nin-gi, Yie-ning-i, Yé-ning-ī
What do you say? Kai.
Here I am; here I come D'iamŏ, or D'a-mou.
Walk away; go, or get away  { 
Yen-mā?, or Woó-roo-woo-roo-ou,
I am hungry or empty Eu-rō.
Sit down, as a guest or a (illegible)
Na-lau-ra, Nă-lă-wă.
I have struck.  { 
No, no Bei-yal or Bey-al.
Yes and No E-é, Ee, Bi-ăl, as if Bee-āl.
By-and-bye; presently Gua-go.
Bring, fetch, carry hither Ngai-ri.
Go thither, take a walk that way.  { 
So, thus, in this manner Eyērie, or E-a-rè.
I have bathed, or have been bathing  { 
Bogiè d'oway. These were Colby's
   words on coming out of the water.
They have paddled or rowed; they
   did paddle
Ba-ung-a d'oway.
Psha! Have done! Let me alone!
   Don't you! Away; or No-no!
Go-gŏ-gŏ, three times.
It was Willa-mi-ring speared Gov'r Ph., and Pé-mul-wire speared M'Intire.

The following account of an engagement which took place amongst the natives of New Holland, in Manly Bay, near Port Jackson, fell under the eye-witness of the writer, and is here inserted, as he finds the incidents are so very slightly and imperfectly narrated in the publication of Gov'r Phillip's voyage, given by Mr. Stockdale in 1789. See that work, chap. xiv, page 134.*

[* Governor Phillip alludes to this circumstance in his despatch to Lord Sydney of 28th September, 1788, Vol. i, part 2, p. 191. See also White's Journal, p. 207.]

This morning about 7 we went in the large cutter to land some of the Governor's party; the rest were with him in his own boat. At 9 we landed in Manly Cove, so named by the Governour at our first coming, from the people being numerous, more hale and robust than the generality, and showing a sort of fearless conduct, &c. So soon as we reached the shore, the natives assembled round us to the number of seventy or eighty, and we have reason to think there were more, with many women and children, at no great distance. They affected a deal of good humour and unconcern; but 'tis believed they do not much like our coming amongst them. The watchful eye they keep upon our people's musquets is very likely the effect of fear; but it also seems expressive of disappointment, and leads to a doubt of their sincerity if not thus overawed.

Nothing more, however, than usual occurr'd; and having received my orders from the Governour to wait on him the following Sunday, by 4 in the afternoon, I went on board.

On the day appointed* we accordingly went down the harbour to Manly Cove, accompanied by the Governour's boat and two marines in each. When there, we came to a grappling two boats' length from the beach, having received an injunction not to land on any account, but to wait there till sunset.

[* The 24th August, 1788. See White's Journal, p. 207.]

The people were now more numerous than usual, upwards of two hundred, as I judge, being in sight. The major part of them were sitting in the long grass a little inland from the sandy beach; and this either by way of sunning themselves, or to view the Europeans and their canoes. We were sufficiently near to talk with them; and several of them came close by the waterside under the stem of our boats. A good while was spent in telling them the names of a variety of things, many of which, it is no less true than remarkable, they pronounced with as much ease and propriety as ourselves, and were mightily well pleased to see us so completely foiled, as we often were, in attempting to master some of their "throttlers" or gutturals. They wanted us much to come on shore, which was impracticable. Indeed, so intent seemed they on persuading us to it that after several waggish intimations from our people that a sight of their ladies would be very agreeable, they caused about twenty of them to pass close by us, to which, indeed, they seemed not at all averse. They were preceded by [an] ill-favoured old Beldam of so disagreeable an aspect that we could not determine whether a short harangue she made on the occasion was a kind invitation to land, or a sarcastick volley of abuse, for what she might take it in her head to deem our idle curiosity. Some of the young damsels looked well enough, all things considered. They were quite facetious, and so far as our slender knowledge of their dialect extended, kept up a very warm, animated, and amorous discourse. However, they did not forget now and then to give a side glance at their countrymen, with whose grand foible they were no doubt well acquainted; and when they retired seemed to do it rather from a fear of giving them offence than from any inclination of their own.

After this, when all had for some time been quiet and still, sitting quite hush[ed] in the grass, we were not a little surprized to hear a great tumult which proceeded from some who sate farther back among the trees. At first the noise was simply that of men's voices wrangling with the most barbarous dissonance and savage agitation; but now the clashing of spears and the strokes of lances against the target was very distinctly heard. Looking that way, therefore, we saw several of them engaged in warm combat, darting at each other with true savage fierceness. All now ran and seized their weapons, which, by the way, must have been deposited in the grass, as till now they had kept them out of our sight, and a scene of great noise and confusion ensued on all sides.

The women, who hitherto had all huddled together a little way from our boats' station, came running down with every appearance of terror, and calling to us repeatedly. Some staid behind, anxiously looking out from between the trees as if to observe the event and wait the decision, and the children everywhere were clinging to them and squalling pitiably. What those females meant who thus precipitately came down to us I am at a loss to conclude, but they seemed to supplicate our assistance. The battle continu'd long, and was now and then interrupted with noisy expostulations, in the midst of which the contending parties would, however, frequently lanch a spear at each other with all the rage of madmen. They are dexterous to a degree in the use of the target, and during the affray, which lasted an hour, I did not see one of them completely disabled, tho' frequently forced to quit the field. I mean not by this to say there was really no execution done, but the thickness of the trees greatly impeded our view. Four of our people affirmed that they saw one man carried off the field with a lance fast in his side. It is hard indeed to suppose but that during so long a contest some must be wounded, and in fact we see few of these people anywhere, or of any age, but have many scars and marks of weapons on their bodies.

'Tis odd that the warriors in question would frequently all at once desist from the attack, and talk together as though nothing at all had happened, and some others of the multitude would come down and gaze at us just as before. The women were less discomposed, and many of the men, though a part of their corps were still as warmly engaged as ever, came down on the shore to discourse with us in the usual way, and apparently regardless of what was going on among the rest.

I must not omit that in one of their expostulations, in which the women now and then endeavoured to assist, our old Jezebel, the matron, to use an homely sea phrase, "got herself capsized heels over head", a sign, perhaps, that they pay no great respect to the decisions of the ladies, at least on such occasions; and I rather took it as a rude mode of suggesting a hint that they deemed the business she had engaged in as impertinent and officious—in short, no concern of hers.

But, in truth, the whole proceedings of this afternoon were so equivocal as to leave me, I must confess, incapable of giving any positive opinion concerning the variety of their manoeuvres. It strikes me, however, that one of the following conjectures may be right:—

1. It is possible, when any of these uncivilized beings happen to fall out, that instead of deciding the matter by fistycuffs, as with us boxing Britons, they instantly obey the first dictates of passionate resentment, aiming for the time at nothing less than the life of their immediate antagonist;

2. As they seem much to dread our decisive superiority to them in arms, they might perhaps hope to impress us with formidable sentiments of their native savage bravery by thus making a fierie display of prowess in a sharp engagement, acted to the very life, in which, therefore, the most bitter animosity and every corroborating appearance of cruelty was most artfully managed, as I have above attempted to show; or

3. Lastly, the whole exploit might be a stratagem to draw us on shore at any rate, whether by the supposed invincible attraction of female blandishments, or by the repeated shew of terror and distress so naturally exhibited, as I have observed, by the women and children.

I have only to add that, when seemingly tired either with the reality or the strong semblance of fighting with each other, they took it into their heads to begin with us by throwing several spears from behind the trees that fell little short of our boats. I was unwilling to exert the power we had over these poor wretches, and finding they still continued to lurk behind the trees with every appearance of hostility, I thought proper, the sun being just on the horizon, to haul farther out from the beach, contenting myself with now and then presenting a musket when I perceived any of them preparing to aim from behind the thicket. This never failed to strike them with a panick, and sent them off with all the heel they had. But still, so depraved are their sentiments (if I may thus hazard that respectable word), or so little do they reflect on motives or effects, that forbearance, instead of having the use intended, only led them to despise our seeming imbecillity. On going away they came down and hooted, as, I presume, in contempt of our menaces. Whenever their spears were thrown a barbarous yell was raised in applause, as I concluded, of the warrior; and in this horrid exclamation the voice of the sooty sirens was very distinguishable, who not long before had endeavour'd to allure us to their inhospitable beach in vain.


Outpost, Port Jackson,          
14th April, 1790.   

Ever Honor'd and D'r Sir,

My warmest and most affectionate good wishes are herewith bound to yourself, my much-loved aunt and cousins. Glad I am of an opportunity of conversing with friends I so much esteem, but you will join with me in thinking the circumstances that furnish it untoward.

Bless God, tho' unfortunate, we have enough to be thankful for; but before I mention the grand catastrophe I will lead by the steps that led to it. We have here long waited in anxious expectation of receiving a supply of provisions, &c., from England, but nothing has as yet arrived; the consequence is that the allowance has for ½ a year past been diminished from time to time, and lately to such a degree as to be most sensibly felt by all. Were we at a full quantity, our food, from being so long in store, affords but little nutriment. We are now at less than ½ allow., and some articles of diet are deficient, having been consumed. We are now on the brink of going three upon one man's dividend, and a few weeks must, if nothing arrives, put us at a quarter allow'e. The consequence of this we will not dwell on, but 'tis certain that any moderate man on full, especially if laborious, has but little left when provis'n becomes due. After waiting so long that the general hopes began to diminish, the Governor thought proper in this emergency to send Maj. Ross, command. of marines, with many officers, privates, and common people of both sexes, to Norfolk Island, with a proportionable part of the remaining provisions; this, I believe, was done because of the more thriving soil at Norfolk, and on account of fish being there in greater plenty.

We have for near three m's had a lookout kept here for ships toward the sea.* The flagstaff is situated on very high land, being the south head of the harbour, just by the entrance, and the hutts where we reside just adjacent. For the first four or five weeks a commission, officer and mid'n were station'd here with a party of men, but on the ships** being order'd for sea (or rather before that), his Excellency was pleased to direct that this charge shou'd devolve upon myself and the gunner jointly. As my wish was to see what was to be seen while abroad, and sev'ral of the young men had seen Norfolk Island, I waited on C'n Hunter to apply for one who was willing to stay in my room, and observed that 'twas a particular service (for 'tis a hazardous business landing so many people and provis's in a tremendous surf), and that, as being a mate (of which there are only three) it was rather matter of surprize. He took this (I spoke it with some appearance of dissatisfaction) as I meant he should, viz., that it had rather the appearance of undervaluing my intended services, but he soon relieved me by giving me such reasons for the Governor's choice as occasioned me to acknowledge myself honor'd by it; and indeed the attention he pays to me while here and approbation of my conduct seem fully to warrant what was said. I, nevertheless, intended to have prefer'd the matter to G'r Ph.; but reflecting with myself that as I shou'd be the only naval offic'r here, and that in case of a fleet coming with stores, &c., he might find me useful, and possibly have look'd on to such an event to serve me, I e'en let the matter rest, determined to be satisfied.

[* See Tench's Complete Account, p. 38.]

[** The Sirius and Supply.]

But to proceed—When all things were adjusted they embarked on b'd the Sirius and Supply. They left this port on the 6th of March, 1790, and I from the flagstaff followed them with my eyes 'till out of sight. Nothing more of these were seen 'till April the 5th, when the man who takes his station there at daybreak soon came down to inform me a sail was in sight. On going up I saw her coming up with the land, and judged it to be the Supply, but was not a little surprized at her returning so soon, and likewise being alone my mind fell to foreboding an accident; and on going down to get ready to wait on the Gov'r, I desired the gunner to notice if the people mustered thick on her decks as she came in under the headland, thinking in my own mind, what I afterwards found, that she* was lost.

[* The Sirius.]

The Supply bro't an account that on the 19th of March about noon the Sirius had in course of loading the boats drifted rather in with the land. On seeing this, they, of course, endeavour'd to stand off, but the wind being dead on the shore, and the ship being out of trim and working unusually bad, she, in staying—for she would not go about just as she was coming to the wind—tail'd the ground with the after part of her keel, and with two sends of the vast surf that runs there was completely thrown on the reef of dangerous rocks call'd Pt. Ross.** They luckily in the last extremity let go both anchors and stopper'd the cables securely, and this, 'tho it failed of the intention of riding her clear, yet caused [her] to go right stern-foremost on the rocks, by which means she lay with her bow opposed to the sea, a most happy circumstance, for had she laid broadside to, which otherwise she would have had a natural tendency to have done, 'tis more than probable she must have overset, gone to pieces, and every soul have perish'd. We see in this one instance how a gracious Providence can by means undesined on man's part, and seeminly accidental, bring about effectual preservation where little was to be expected but inevitable death. "Thy way is in the sea, and thy path in the great waters". And a subject for thanksgiving, sure that it is so; for here all skill, all human knowledge, would have been rendered abhortive without this Providential interference.

[** Note in the MS.:—"Through misinformation, I have said in my letter to my Uncle Butler 'Lost on Point Ross', which rectify throughout." Collins (vol. i, p. 103) states that the Sirius was wrecked on the "reef off the S.W. end of the Bay" (Sydney Bay). See also Lieutenant King's account, ante, p. 657.]

Her bottom bulged immeadiately, and the masts were as soon cut away, and the gallant ship upon which hung the hopes of the colony was now a complete wreck. They bro't a few of the officers and men hither; the remainder of the ship's co., together with C'n Hunter, &c., are left there on acc't of constituting a no. adequate to the provision, and partly to save what they possibly can from the wreck. I understand there are some faint hopes, if favor'd with extraordinary fine w'r, to recover most of the provision, for she carried a great quantity there on the part of the reinforcement. The whole of the crew were saved, every exertion being used and all assistance received from the Supply and colonists on shore. The passengers fortunately landed before the accident, and I will just mention to you the method by which the crew were saved. When they found that the ship was ruin'd and giving way upon the beam right athwart, they made a rope fast to a drift buoy, which by the surf was driven on shore. By this a stout hawser was convey'd, and those on shore made it fast a good way up a pine-tree. The other end being on b'd was hove taut. On this hawser was placed the heart of a stay (a piece of wood with a hole through it), and to this a grating was slung after the manner of a p'r of scales. Two lines were made fast on either side the heart—one to haul it on shore, the other to haul it on board. On this the shipwreck'd seated themselves two or more at a time, and thus were dragged on shore thro' a sad dashing surf which broke frequently over heads, keeping them a considerable time under water, some of them coming on shore half-drowned and a good deal bruized. C'n Hunter was a good deal hurt, and with repeated seas knock'd off the grating, in so much that all the lookers on fear'd greatly for his letting go, but he got on shore safe, and his hurts by no means dangerous. Many private effects were saved, the sea driving them on shore when thrown overboard, but 'twas not always so courteous. Much is lost, and many escaped with nothing more than they stood in. I luckily let nothing of mine of any consequence go to sea, reflecting that no ship that leaves a port can answer for her return. I was a little rallied by my young friends on b'd for my foresight, and in answer wished good luck, tho' I told them I cou'd by no means insure it. It was intended but for this ill-hap to have sent the Sirius to China immediately on her return for provision. The Supply, however, is getting ready with all expedition for sea. She is, if convenient, to touch at Norfolk in the way to receive the 1st Lieut't, who is to have the charge of bringing hither whatever vessels may be taken up, but not for this or any other purpose to make any long delay, for the errand she goes upon is, you perceive, of the last importance. Batavia is the port first bound to, and the Commissary, Mr. Millar,* goes to transact this business, being in his way to England, wither he wishes to return on acc't of ill-health. If he cannot get a ship or ships here he will proceed to China or the Cape,** possibly both, and if at the latter he hears no news of any that have sailed on their way to New Holland, or if he shou'd, and has reason to judge from the time, &c., that something fatal has befallen them, he must then take up a very capital concern on Govern't account, which at this rate must exceed six m's, but we must hope for something sooner, or this may come too late! Lieut. P. G. King, who I formerly mentioned as commad't at Norfolk, came from thence in the Supply, and is going to England, I believe, with the Governor's dipatches. Mr. Palmer, late purser of the Sirius, is to be Comiss'y in lieu of the above-mentioned Mr. M[iller]. Pr. favor of the latter I send my packett, which, if affairs detain him abroad, he will forward. It is one satisfaction in the present gloomy state of things to see prudent measures pursued to avert as much as possible the present and impending evils. Private stock (of which by-the-bye there is but little) is purchased on the public acc't at a price and served in lieu at the store. Seed and every proper encouragem't is now given to those [who] will industriously cultivate the ground. There are sev'ral spots laid out for rearing vegitables, and these are designed for a public concern. I am sorry to observe that the most useful productions, such as grain, thrives very indifferently, but they have some spots at a little settlem't up the harbour call'd Rose Hill, where things thrive tolerably well, but altogether quite inadequate to purpose of public subsistence. 'Tis true most of the settlers have each a cultivated spot, but vegitables, if put wholly to it, are but a flimsy diet, and here are by no means in lavish abundance. The boats, let who will own them, are all sent fishing for the community, fish being served out as pork, only a larger proportion, by way of making the provis's hold out. People are also appointed to go in the woods after cangooros, but this is rather a precarious supply, and seldom turns to much acc't; but all helps, and if 'twas less 'twere worth the trying for.

[* Note in the MS.:—"I since understand Mr. Millar is not to be so emp'd, being merely for home."]

[** Mr. Miller died on the passage from Batavia to Mauritius. See Vol. i, part 2, p. 428. 1790]

The duty of the people is, by the Governor's consideration, lessened in proportion to their stinted allowance, and they have every afternoon to themselves to attend to the main concern—how to subsist. His Excellency has kindly taken those of officers who were shipwreck'd into his mess, and his disinterested conduct in sharing the publick inconveniences merits evry encomium. Here, as in every other commonwealth, are enough to reprobate and condemn the public measures. When times are bad and replete with misfortunes it makes men peevishly look where to lay the blame. About this there are various opinions, and the parties which are alternately consider'd as culpable are as far apart as from hence to England. For my own part I confess myself incompetent to pronounce upon this head, being perplexed with a variety of conjectures, but able to conclude nothing. I earley and late look with anxious eyes toward the sea, and at times, when the day was fast setting and the shadows of the evening strch'd out, have been deceived with some fantastic little cloud, which, as it has condensed or expanded by such a light, for a little time has deceived impatient imagination into a momentary idea that 'twas a vessel altering her sail or position while steering in for the haven, when in a moment it has assumed a form so unlike what the mind was intent upon, or become so great'y extended, as fully to certify me of its flimsy texture and fleeting existence. Surely our countrymen cannot have altogether forgotten us, or been vainly led from any silly, sanguine representations hence to trust we cou'd make it out tolerably well without their assistance. The difference here between our [word underlined and erased] is a subject I dare not pronounce upon.* You possibly may have heard more of it at home than we, for 'tis generally concluded here that each parties' representa'ns have or will become matter of full investigation in England.

[* The reference is doubtless to the disputes between the Governor and Major Ross.]

I will now say a word or two concerning our passage when coming from the Cape of Good Hope. When I last wrote to you, having taken in our cargoe, the principal which was six mo. full allowance of flour for the colony and twelve mo. provis's for the ship, we sail'd again for New Holland, and had a very narrow escape from shipwreck, being driven on that part of the coast call'd Tasman's Head,** in thick weather and hard gales of wind, and embay'd, being twelve hours before we got clear, the ship forced to be overpressed with sail and the hands kept continually at the pumps, and all this time in the most distressing anxiety, being uncertain of our exact situation and doubtful of our tackling holding, which has a very long time been bad; for had a mast gone or topsailsheet given way, there was nothing to be expected in such boistrous weather but certain death on a coast so inhospitable and unknown. And now to reflect if we had not have reach'd the port with that seasonable supply, what cou'd have become of this colony? 'Twould have been a most insupportable blow; and thus to observe our manifold misfortunes so attemper'd with the divine mercy on these occasions seems, methinks, to suggest a comfortable lesson of resignation and trust that there are still good things in store, and 'tis a duty to wait in a moderated spirit of patient expectation for them. 'Tis worthy of remark, the following day (for we cleared this dreaded land about 2 in the morning, being April 22d, 1789), on examining the state of the rigging, &c., some articles were so fearfully chafed that a backstay or two actually went away or broke. 'Tis also to be noted that the Sirius had, just before she sailed for Norfolk Island, undergone a long repair, particularly her sides were greatly strengthened with large pieces of timber call'd upper and lower riders. These are strongly bolted to her sides within, and her holding together when thrown upon the reef in that roaring surf is chiefly imputed to that repair, which, so far as that is the case, has answard a great purpose.

[** See Lieutenant Fowell's account, Vol. i, part 2, pp. 374, 375.]

The Governor has long had sev'ral natives in the camp; one, named Araboonōō, died of the small-pox on the 18th May, 1789, being nine days after our arrival with our cargoe, as before mentioned. He had become very tractable, and was at length allow'd to go where he pleased; but he was so attach'd he would not forsake us. There is now another on the same footing (being the Governor's guest), named Woolarawery Ocultroway Benallon,* with whom was taken also another, called Kebada Colby, who, however, notwithstanding his being well entertained and keeping the best company in the place, contrived to get away about ten days after he was taken. Sev'ral officers and a party of men were emp'd by the Governor to take these people, with a view to take away that fear and prejudice which they have continued to show ever since our first misunderstanding with them. Here is also a boy named Nanbarry, and a girl call'd Abooroo; both these were taken at a time when the small-pox made sad havock with them, and all three seem now wholly reconciled to their situation. Some curious particulars are learned, no doubt, of their manner of living, &c., but their progress in attaining English is but slow; but their parts are tolerable, and understanding by no means despicable. Benallon relates, with a deal of humour (chiefly by gestures and signs), the manner of his being caught—for he was decoyed with a fish—and says "beial, beial"—very good, very good; and so it was, for he gets plenty without the trouble of spearing them now. His appetite is extraordinary, but he rather stands a chance of being somewhat curtail'd soon; 'tis certain he can manage the share of six men with great ease at one meal. As for religion, it cannot be decided whether they have any. 'Tis known they burn, as well as bury, their dead, and 'tis thought they sometimes do neither. There is something mysterious, or rather superstitious, when in trying, by pointing to the heaven, or sun, and moon, to strike them with some idea of reverance—or, more properly, to see if they have any—but to all this they generally say "weirié, weirié", which is as much to say it's bad, and that, as it seems to me, rather as if they thought their influences bad, than that there was any impiety in pointing at them. I have heard from good author'y that they have names for the most remarkable constellations, and that they make intelligible signs; that they are of use to them in crossing the country or going upon the water during the night. 'Tis said that this man, on being shew'd the grave of Araboonōō, who he knew well and was formerly in friendship with, alternately pointed to the ground and to the clouds in such a manner as plainly shew'd they believe in the existance of the living principle as seperated by the death of the body. Indeed, I have few opportunities of making any observations on these people myself; but I intend, as my stay is likely to be somewhat protracted in this country, to gather what I can concerning their manners, &c., that is any way interesting, and reduce it into some sort of order for my friends, if likely to be worth their trouble to peruse.

[* Bennilong.]

[Transcriber's Note.—Then follows a statement of his private affairs and chances of promotion.]

I must pray you, my dear uncle, to excuse the many defects of this tedious long letter, both in matter, form, &c. 'Tis written in a situation, as you will perceive (from whence dated), where I want many little conveniences. My mind is likewise taken up with many things, and I have several large accounts to write to other correspondents in England, and also some to Norfolk Island, and the notice for the brig's sailing short, and my opportunity of gaining information not frequent, the occasions that call me to town being only sometimes to draw provisions, which is done weekly. On these occasions I generally dine out, for in visiting it has long, long! been the custom to put your bread, at least, in your pockett; and 'tis the customary form of invitation, "Will you bring your bread and come and see me?" The Governor, too, on whom I always wait when up at camp, usually detains me to dine with him.

To conclude, &c., &c.,          


[Transcriber's Note.—From a copy in the handwriting of the Rev. W. Butler, the original of which is apparently lost.]

Out-post or Look-out, Port Jackson,          
14th April, 1790.   

ONE (friend) I cannot but mention, and I am sure you will esteem him for my sake, and that is a Mr. Dawes, lieutenant of marines, and also astronomer, whose abilities in that science are such that he is under the direction of the Board of Longitude for the purpose of making some singular observations while in this country, to effect which he has a valuable sett of instruments, and an observatory is erected. To give you his character in few words, he is a most amiable man, and though young, truly religious, without any appearance of formal sanctity. He is kind to everyone; but I am speaking of his many affabilities to myself, which are such that more could not be looked for from a relation. He has a great share of general knowledge, studious, yet ever cheerful, and the goodness of his disposition renders him esteemed and respected by all who know him.

Here, at the Look-out, where I am stationed, we have a garden, but in its infancy. However, the ground is tolerably good, and we are now and then supplied with a few greens from a garden that was intended for the ship's use. A boat is also allowed us, and we have good opportunities to try our luck at fishing. There are likewise musquets and ammunition for the defence of the place, and the situation, though so retired, has its advantages.


[* The original is torn and imperfect. Where possible, the blanks have been filled in from a copy in the handwriting of the Rev. W. Butler]

27th July, 1790.   

YOUR very welcome letters [came to my hands the 1st instant, rendered] doubly acceptable from the very long [time that had elapsed since I last heard of your] welfare.

[Transcriber's Note.—Here follow private messages.]

[We have lately been cheered with the arrival of five ships] in Sydney Cove—a most refreshing [sight, as it has greatly changed our late] clouded prospects. We were rather put to it, [as you already know if you received my last] letters by the Supply—sent to [Batavia for the relief of our] alarming wants; these Mr. Millar, [the former Commissary, had the care of, and] I'll hope all came to hand. [However, we have] now a comfortable and sufficient quantity of such [food as is furnished by the] ships and situation, the far greater part come———— ** of for vegitable, and this we eat in an awaken'd thankfulness in [hope]s of enjoying in due time these and other good things in the endearing society of friends and connections in our native land.

[** Blank both in original and copy.]

Of this our prospects are bro't considerably nearer by the loss of the Sirius, at Norfolk, the particulars of which are amply stated in my last. It seems we were likely to have continued here at least three years in addition to those past, but as matters now stand it is intended for all her officers and men to sail for England [as] soon as possible, and 'tis at present next to certain that the Gorgon, shortly expected here (at daily look-out for her), will be the ship that is to convey us and the marine battallion hence. I might here make reflections how strangely, and to us unaccountably, things unexpected are bro't about; but much wiser men than myself in all ages have remark'd it, and the result of their cogitation seems to be that finitude cannot comprehend infinity, and for [aught] I know [this] maxim that "whatever is, is right", consider'd in its [due latitude, is the best way] of summing up our reasonings upon the subject.

We have had little or no intercourse with the natives for a long time past, and Woolaraveray Bennalon [Bennilong], from whom we hoped so much, effected his escape, May 3rd, at a time when he was supposed to be well reconciled to his situation.

He laterally slept in the same room with the Gov'r's steward, and before it was light he pretended suddenly to be disordered, upon which the other open'd the door, not doubting but he would soon return; at last, tired with waiting, he thought proper to go and see how and where W.B. was. Not finding him, and after calling repeatedly, soon concluded what had happen'd, and accordingly went to the Governor's room with the unwelcome news. 'Twas in vain to look after the runaway, who, it is conjectured, had keenly remark'd an empty butt which had been left in the yard near to the wall, and by the help of which he is thought to have scaled it. We sometimes see a few of the natives, and I have known them laugh heartily at our calling out after the above-mentioned hero, and it is more than probable they have understood us. The very day I rec'd your letter, another and myself walk'd up,* not having a boat [to convey us, and] in Rose Bay fell suddenly in with eight or nine of them about their fire, which they precep'y left and hid in the thicket. I call'd repeat'y to them "Coe" (which signifies come hither), and made the aforement'd enqu', but they did not chuse to answ'r. There was a new canoe on the beach and several bundles of spears, fishing tackle, &c.; but, set'g aside any danger that might have attended a seizure of them, I cou'd not, from principle, have made a seizure—indeed, it must be a heavy loss to these people when deprived; and there is much reason to conclude that the rage for curiosity, and the unjust methods made use of to obtain them, have occasioned much of that misunderst'g that has hitherto subsisted between us and them. We had a gun and amun', without which it is by no means advisable to go about the country, especially along shore, as our course mostly lay on this occasion.

[* i.e., walked from the Look-out Station at South Head up to Sydney.]

Since our first [arrival] in this country four young gent., my brother-officers, have by death and accident been call'd hence. The first was Mr. Sam'l Rotton [Wrotten],** who was inva[lided] for an hernia whilst at R. de Janeiro (we have since learned the ship Diana in her way home sprung a leak, and being forced in distress to bear up for the West Indies), and falling much worse died on the passage. The next, Mr. Jas. Cunningham, also a good young man, who met his fate at Norfolk Island in a m't dangerous surf, the boat being swallowed up; himself and sev'ral others were drowned.*** This happen'd prior to our voyage to the Cape for provis's. Then Mr. Hill, nephew to Mr. Dyson, solicitor to the Adm'y, having been on leave to see some friends in camp, Syd'y Cove, the ship lying in Careening Cove to repair, and knowing that duty req'd he shou'd be on b'd in the morning, not meeting the opportunity of a boat, he made the attempt (having been landed on the North Shore) to walk down. He went Friday, the 6th November, 1789, and has never since been heard of. We conclude he either lost his way, or (being unarmed) was slain by the natives. 'Tis most generally thought the latter. Parties were sent in search, boats rowing up and down in all the coves, guns fired frequently, but to no purpose.**** My next tale of woe is, alas! a recent one, and render'd to us doubly distressing, the situ. of two survivors at this recluse place. Having long been without a boat (which by-the-bye is cruel), we are at times glad to meet with a conveyance up to Sydney Cove. How pleasant and shining was the day when our much-esteemed and sadly-regretted companion and messmate, Mr. Jno. [James] Ferguson, as we wanted provision, took the opport. of a boat which had been down the harbour fishing! He also had with him Jno. Bates (a marine), a man who from his good conduct had deservedly become a favorite with us; and I reflect with peculiar complacency that at my last seeing him I had in the course of express'g my satisfaction of his behaviour signified my determination of repeating my good opinion where it might be of service. His character lay under a stigma; the charge cou'd never be proved, tho' investigated by the process of a severe examinat. He steadily denied it. We found him strict[ly] honest, nor was he that I find ever till then suspected. He was regularly acquited, but it lay heavy on his mind, and seem'd to bow it down. He was ever industrious, but seldom cheerful. It was Friday, the 23rd, when, having breakfasted here, these two got into a little flat-bottom'd boat originally calculated for shuting in shoal water (call' by us a pont). Besides these were two marines who had been trying their luck all night, and call'd in here, as we had given them leave (for they were good lads) any time to do. They had not got above one 3d of the way, being a short mile below P't Bradley, and nearly in the mid-streme, when a great whale app'd (for the first time since we have been here) in the harbour, spouting and dashing about in their usual manner. This monstrous creature, either thro' being mischievous or playful, no sooner espied the boat than he pursued and never left her till he had overturn'd and sent her to the bottom. For more than ten minutes were these unfortunes a prey to inexpressible anguish and horror. At first, in rising, he haff fill'd the b', and with their hands against the whale did they bear the boat off. In vain they thro' out their hats, the bags for our provis's, and the fish they had caught, in hopes to satisfy him or turn his attention. It seem'd bent on their distraction, and with one sudden and tremendous gamboll consigned three of their number to their hapless fate and an endless eternity. Neither of those I've ment'd by name cou'd swim; the survivor's comrade cou'd, even the best, but thro' being heavily clad went down, after having sev'ral times complain'd of his inability to hold up, the other affect'y encour'ing him, but in vain; they were friends, and greatly attach'd.

[** See Vol. i, part 2, pp. 115, 116.]

[*** Vol. i, part 2, p. 401.]

[**** Vol. i, part 2, p. 378.]

One gain'd the rocks a small dist. below Rose Bay, with much diffi'y, and returning to the Look-out related this afflicting circumstance.***** The poor fellow was sadly affected, and indeed disorder'd, but such little assistance as cou'd here be given him, he by next morning was able to return to camp in a boat which came down with two officers, the masters of these unlucky soldiers grown uneasy by their unusuall stay. Some boats were in chase of the whale higher up, and frequently wounded him with harpoons all the same day, but were ignorant as yet (so were all the persons in Syd. Cove) of his fatal instrumentality in this sad accident; and strange as it may seem, these gent'n have carried the first acc't of this extraordinary and heartrending catastrophe near thirty hours after it happened. I myself had been in town and knew it not till by this opport'n of returning hither, and had been long looking at Whabro, little imagining that he had deprived us of a friend and messmate, two as worthy veterans as the battalion cou'd boast. Poor James was a fine young lad nearly seventeen y's; he was sensible, given to reflection, possess'd of the firmest principl's, such as are equally applicable to morality or honor—in short, to sum up a cha'cter, which a deserved partiality must in justice give as a tribute to his regretted memory, he was amiable; and here, to a mind naturally given perhaps to too intense reflection on the sad uncertainty of this world's affairs, and the mysterious dealings of Providence, a trying kind of mental oppression, by reason of insufficiency, will obtrude itself. He was among the miraculously saved at Norfolk Island, and now, by a most unthought of event, number'd with the dead; but these are ever violently check'd by a strong internal suggestion that in this there is little of christian resignation. The prospects clear presently, and I generally begin and end with a firm persuation that if even so insignificant a thing as sparrow falls not to the ground without the cog'ance of Infinite mercy, much less shall man in whom was breathed the breath of lives. He was son to Lieut.-Governor Ferguson, of G'h [Greenwich] Hospital, a veteran officer of noted ability and integrity. I feel great'y for the shock this will give to the aged father. His hopes, I fear, hung chiefly on this boy, whose situation as a candidate for naval promotion he might fondly suppose might one day or other enable him bravely to imitate the prowess of his father, and make him seem to live when gone. And you, my d'r uncle, who I know can feel for another's woe in a situation that comes not home by any parity of circumstance, will here truly sympathize with the afflicted parent of my friend. It has struck me, but you can best judge of the propriety (I like not this word, and have not a better) of writing a consolitary letter (for none can better speak consolation), or waiting on the unhappy gent.; it might be some satisfaction to know that your nephew was his son's companion. I need not dwell any further on what I have offer'd, and your more competent judgment will inform you how to act. J.F. has long been without a mother, but has one b'r and one sister.

[***** This occurrence is briefly reported in Phillip's letter to Nepean, 24th July, 1790, Vol. i, part 2, p. 365. See, also, Collins, vol. i, p. 129; O'Hara's History of New South Wales, p. 112; and Fowler's Sydney in 1848, p. 48.]

He piously sat up most of the last night he ever lived writing to his F., and what he had written went down with him. The copies of his letter I have seal'd in a cover under the name of private papers. These and some acc'ts may go hence thro' other means, but I judge they may not be altogether circumstantial.

[Transcriber's Note.—Here follow some lines on Swedenborg and his own religious opinions. The part which follows is much damaged, and is not included in the copy made by Mr. Butler.]

*   *  that are here and have been since 3rd June last, cheer'd with the sight of ships coming in *   *  h succession, cannot but feel for the apprehension *   *  this occasions various opinions, but those in power shou'd know best; it is well for them that when boats can venture out they generally get plenty of fish. There are a vast many people on the island,* and much it seems depended on what provision they might save from the wreck of the Sirius, which was altogether uncertain. The soil there is good, here it is not; and Indian corn and most vegitables yield good encrease. The difficulty of landing there in safety is a matter of regret, nor is it thought practicable to remedy this by raising a pier, tho' an ingenious man, formerly a domestick of the Gov'r, I am inform'd, had made a proposal which with proper assistance (whether then to be had or no I can't say) he had little doubt shou'd succeed. This place has been the scene of sev'ral accidents, and many conclude it not so worthy of attention as has been represented. Flax was the expected staple, but as yet has turned to little acc't, for want, as it is said, of managers. Its famous pine is a neat-grain'd wood, but has baulk'd the expectation of its utility for naval purposes.** There are a few bananas and plaintains at Norf. I'd, but no other fruit of any consequence, or animals. About twenty months*** ago they felt a tremendous gust of wind of sev'ral hours' continuance, which at times wheling round with the utmost violence tore up trees of astonishing dimensions by the roots—indeed no known place is fam'd for larger or more st[ately] pines. [These tower to an amazing height, and are frequently strait] as an arrow. The damage done to the low cultivated produce was less than might have been expected, but while it lasted it fill'd every one with astonishment and consternation.

[* Norfolk Island.]

[** Vol. i, part 2, pp. 400-429.]

[*** Ante, pp. 612, 613.]

At Port Jackson, as I have formerly mentioned, our little settlem't, call'd Rose Hill, is the most flourishing, and is intended to be the principal seat. Here is to be the chief town, and here they are planning out a church, a house for the Gov'r, principal officers, petty officers, &c., &c., &c. Down by Sydney Cove the brick manufacture seems a concern of great utility, and succeeds exceeding well; the earthenware, from causes arising here from want of some certain ingredients, has not hither-too succeeded; they glaze nothing here, and the ware is soft and also brittle; its quality, I have heard, is fine. Of this and several other trifles as may fall within my reach I propose to bear away a few, no otherwise acceptable but as little mem's to my friends that I have been here, and while here recollected you were such.

Our infant garden at this place exhibits a pleasing prospect of vegitation. Seven or eight thousand head of green, and daily planting some bed of turnip, radish, &c., have reward'd our little labour, which, when first pursued, we sowed not expecting to reap; however, unlook'd for accident have detained us here, and we unexpectedly eat the fruit of disinterested industry.

Our numbers lately were eleven; my companion, self, and seven men, are all upon this little settlement; one man looks out for the expected Gorgon, and is relieved in turn at every four hours between the dawn and setting of the day. Mr. Harris and myself occasionally go up thither when led by hope or inclination to walk. It is up a craggy eminence about a mile from this spot, where are the houses, or rather whitewash'd cottages, in a valley adjoining to the garden, and near the bech. The ground for a good space about here is unusually clear, with here and there a shrub, and at a dist. in passing looks like a pleasant lawn. We have a rill of fresh water at a stone's throw on each hand, and if our situation was but seconded with more attention and civilty we might feel less solicitous for our return hence. Indeed we are consider'd as much negl'd by many kind friends who now speak with reserve, and who on their return will probably speak with less. In the meantime I shall pursue such a conduct as my best judgem't can suggest, in short (G—— P——) is universally censur'd, and that by many cool, nay charitable gents, and I begin to regard him as a reed of Egypt.

I like much to coincide with those whose jud'm't I honor and esteem, but your expectation of many advantage[s] to accrue from our colony are rather the effusions of phylantrophy than positively express'd opinion. The vast difficulty of clearing this craggy country, the very bad prospect of cattle of all descriptions; this last is of a g't object, and if we shou'd, of which at present there are no signs, be vigorous supplied in that way as the cost will be enormous and the loss attend, the conveyance g't. The Romans had these and ma[ny] other good thin[gs at hand, and in a coun]try famed for its luxuriance. 'Tis not only libberal but truly Christian to trust that these outcasts, or at least their descendants, may by a parity of reasoning improve and furnish good members to society. But after all, men of estimable and weighty judgem't fail not to say that this scheme seems to hold out no other than prospects of long-continued heavy expence to the m'r country, a meer burthen, and that 'twould have been only candid, not to say noble, had this plain statement of the case been made, and not one of a contrary tendency; indeed, this is here so generally the opinion that it may be call'd an universal one.

However, at lenghth we have found rivers of tolerable note. One falls into Broken Bay,* a large inlet to the northw'd; the other lays inland at no great dist. from Rose Hill.** Was long since discov'd by that worthy officer and affable gent., C'n Tench. As yet something has prevented their ascertaining where is its source, or where it disembouges itself. A little private expedition is now in agitation for that purpose. That in Broken Bay is of considerable ext., and runs up towards Prospect Hill, an eminence of vast height, much inferior, however, to the Blue Mountains, which are a great chain directly inland at the dist. of 40 or 50 miles from the sea. I am in expectation of procuring the opportunity of taking copies with mine own hand of these two above-ment'd harbours and Botany Bay, and shou'd think the poor performances when done greatly honoured hereafter by a birth in a certain mansion at Chelsea.*** I often regret my want of skill at the pencil and sev'ral other useful accomplishments. What I have mentioned to you in my last concerning some distant notion I once had of the possibility of my making a stay in the country by choice is, of course, done away. Indeed, I spoke of it as a very undetermined thing, and my inclination is now decisively for going home. My much esteemed friend, who I then mentioned, will, I doubt not, likewise return.

[* Sole in the MS.:—"The Hawkesbury".]

[** Note in the MS.:—"The Nepean or Hawkesbury".]

[*** Southwell's uncle, the Rev. W. Butler, to whom this letter was addressed, resided at Chelsea.]

I hope you will pardon the insipidity of this letter, for I am not supplied with much new matter to entertain you. Death has made sad havock amongst the convicts who have last come out. Many have died since their arrival, many on the passage, and those that are likely to survive are not reckoned to amount to above 2-3d of the no. that left England.

This place,* we learn from Nanbarry, is fam'd for great engagements, and here are some graves of their dead. It is remarkable that at the first establishm't of the Look-out this young lad, being here for a few days, after dark express'd a dislike to stir from the hut, and plainly intimated his superstitious fears of seeing some of the departed. Their battles, from our imperfect information, are sometimes concerning the right of fishing or dwelling in some particular cove, and frequently about the fair sex, for we learn that parties of the men at times come suddenly on the women, and while their husbands are probably in the canoes at a distance or otherwise emp'd they fail not to take the most unpardonable liberties.   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

[* The signal-station at South Head.]

*   *   *   *   *   *   This man [Nanbarry] is reckon'd a chief, was taken in the same snare with Benallon, and effect'd his escape long before him. They are very partial to the sex, and Benallon spoke in raptures of a fam'd charmer (Odooroodah), greatly admired by himself and many of his countrymen; indeed, 'tis more than probable that his reasons for leaving us were not uninfluenced by some such inducem't.

[Transcriber's Note.—Here follows a second account of Ferguson's death.]

Here where I reside the stone is now shaping for a look-out to be built on the high land by the flagstaff; and to command a good view of the offing, we have lately had a couple of little hutts built for selves and people, and there [are] some vegetables in the ground coming on very well. The situation, however, flags upon too long and close aquaintance, and we look out sharply for the Gorgon (44), daily expected here. It is intended for that ship to convey us hence, and 'tho sufficient to acc'date the marine batallion and their increased familys and effects, &c., now relieved by the new company, must no doubt be much crouded by the addition of our late ship's Sirius's company.

[Transcriber's Note.—Southwell here discusses his chances of promotion.]

Mortality has raged amongst the last freight of prisoners, many of them dying on the passage, and not a few immediately on landing; to these it is thought many would have been added had it not been for that well-contrived and readily-erected temporary hospital brought out with them and put up imediately on their arrival. This does honor to the projectors; so much cannot, it seems, be said in favor of those who had either the management of sending or bringing out the miserables, the inhabitants of this health-restoring mansion.

The no. of natives seem to be greatly diminished; the small-pox is known to have made g. havock among them about eighteen m's ago, and many, it is conjectured, have retreated farther along the coast, ill-pleased with their new neighbours. We now have very little intercourse with them, and if we now and then do converse it is at a distance.

[Transcriber's Note.—Bennilong's escape again detailed, and the letter ends abruptly without signature.]

[Enclosure to Daniel Southwell's letter to the Revd W Butler 27th July 1790.]

Projection of a Column raised as a mark for Shipping at the South Head of Port Jackson by his Excellency Governor Phillip 1790

Endorsed in the handwriting of Daniel Southwell:—

"This projection by the hand of his Excellency Governor Phillip done at the Look out Post Port Jackson."



Outpost, Port Jackson, 27-30 July, 1790.   

I GAVE your respects and thanks to Mr. Dawes and Mr. Palmer. If you received my letters by Mr. Millar, late Commissary, dated April, 1790, you will there have found something in confirmation of C't'n Gilbert's account of the state of my friendships. Indeed, Lieutenant Dawes is my most esteem'd friend and confidant, and to his kindness and advice I am much indebted; my acquaintance, however, is somewhat encreas'd a long time among the officers, and there are among them many sensible agreable men.

And as it is only between you and me, and I know you like such little fid-fad, I will name a few. C't'n Campbell, the comm'd'g officer of marines, and when here Major Ross; the author of the printed narrative,* C't'n Tench, polite and sensible; sev'ral others lieutenants, Mr. Worgan our surgeon, &c., are all very kind, and sometimes, when I can, I visit them; the last ment'd is not the least in favor. He intends to bring his nightcap here and stay with me and my lonely companion, in a solitude render'd rather tiresome by its long duration.

[* A Narrative of the Expedition to Botany Bay, by Captain Watkin Tench, of the Marines, London, 1789. Tench's Complete Account was published in 1793.]

I hurry if possible to get my letter closed for a ship immediately to sail. One has just gone in which I wish'd to have sent my packett to my uncle, but cou'd not, thanks to this out of the way situation, 3 leagues from camp and no boat here.** What might not happen which from such a want might be attended with irreperable mischief! My surviving friend, Mr. Harries, and seven people form this little settlement call'd the Look-out. These were lately eight, but one of these, and he likewise a favourite—poor fellow—went down with my friend. I think, had that accident (as it did not) have happen'd here, and our people cou'd even have managed to bring them on shore, how still they might have died thro' our inability to give or send for assistance immediately to camp. However, tho' I committed a capitall offence in sev'ral times expressing my dislike to the situation greatly—indeed wholly on this account—yet I have just heard that a certain truly pompous personage (as Mr. S—,*** the a'g't justly call'd him) has graciously signified an intention of sending her down. He, with much ill-nature and little reason, took her away long since, and this I only reckon one of those after-claps which frequently take place with people whose ill-nature sometimes gets the better of their understanding, or perhaps it may proceed from some such a reflection as mine upon the subject, and a thought that it may become a general one.

[** The Justinian sailed on the 28th July, 1790, and the Surprize on the 1st August.]

[*** Probably, the reference is to Mr. Shortland, the Naval Agent. The "pompous personage" was evidently Governor Phillip.]

Indeed, if the prospect of my seeing you were further off, I shou'd, rather than tell you these things, grin and bear it, as we say, but I know the joy you will affectionate'y take in this thought, and the relyance you have in my conduct, will not allow you to fret at it; for my part, I know I have done nothing atrocious, and I also know that most who know me—I may say us—agree in concluding us very indifferent'y treated. Indeed, the Gorgon will be a shipload of trumpeters. The theme, however, will not be praise. Many here, my friends, scruple not to speak of his conduct in terms of the highest disgust, and they do, it must be confess'd, bring much in support of the assertion. I am rather vex'd at myself for being so very lavish of my encomiums formerly, but while a shadow of appearance remain'd that cou'd justify my sending pleasing accounts, I chose to do it for your sakes. We are deceived, for many of much greater consequence in the scale of affairs are in the same predicament.

Thes' things, however, although I think as do those particular friends who know what has pass'd, which was only some little miffs about the boat, too great confinement to the spot, &c., &c., that my conduct merits not so much haughty pointed inattention; but say they, is not this universally the case? After all it is disagreable, and it almost puzzles me to know how to write to Mrs. L— and Mrs. E—, which, however, I believe I shall do in a vague manner, saving little, by which, if they please, they may form a jud'ement.

I am not a little concerned what opinion my unc. B. may entertain upon what may appear so sudden a reversion of sentiment. It may fasten upon me the obliqy of a childish instability of judgm't or an unsound heart; I had rather the former than the latter. A specious conduct often extorts unmerited encomiums, and then to retract these may for a season bear the appearance of detraction.

I have once said we are deceived; I repeat it. Judge from the following circumstance, this little story, of many that may hereafter—nay, will be told.

I refer to my last by Millar. You will there find a story related relative to our shipwreck'd young gent'n that does honor to a certain person's humanity, generosity, &c., &c., &c., &c., &c.****

[**** The letter to which reference is here so obscurely made is apparently that of the 14th April. See the concluding paragraph on p. 707, ante.]

*   *   *  The vessel had scarcely clear'd the heads of the harbour which convey'd mine, and I find near 10,000 eulogiums, but down came the boat with my shipwreck'd late partakers of noble munificence, and from that moment commenced my fellow-prizoners, for as little better are we treated. My poor J——F——, who now lays cold on the rocks, the food, perhaps, of fishes, had a most kind invitation from C'n Campbell to make his house a home, for that the G——must be crouded. When he carried the polite proposal to our noble patron, was desired to inform C——C—— that there was no necessity, for that there was plenty of room.* All this is well known, and there are few who make not severe comments upon it.

[* Note in MS.:— "And this from no more liberal motives than because a picque subsisted between C—— C—— and himself."]

It is even the opinion of some that knowing little has been done for me, tho' something might by those at home be expected, and things now coming to a crisis something must be offer'd, but I hope not my poor [word illegible] conduct to stand the brunt.

What a letter of letters was that I received from my uncle. I was charmed with excellence in every line, cheerfull presages of future good, charitable forbearance, and allowances for human frailty. A Christian spirit breath's in every part throughout. How grieved I was at the impossibility of sending him back what would no doubt have been a most gratefull report to assure him that here the friendly-express'd wishes of a heart, the seat of phylanthrophy, were budding forth into the smiling forms of realized existence. But this neither truth nor candour cou'd allow me say; 'twould be contradicting the united voice of a great majority. Our colony is generally reckon'd a most unpromising concern, partly from natural unavoidable circumstances, and partly from the want of more salutary regulations. In all this I suspend my own judgem't, and am led by those many, among whom there are some of, I doubt not, unbiass'd sentiments.

I have been alone two days and nights, but Harris, my tender-hearted companion and brother in the late affliction, is just now come with the boat, and ½ a doz. of porter from our dear Dawes. H. and myself have just now drank to all our relations, and you in particular. You call it your supporting, and I (if as full of my gibes and jeers as I sometimes am) could add, transporting porter. At such a distance it is a great luxury and kind present."


Sydney, Port Jackson,          
7th August, 1790.   

My Dear Honor'd Mother,

I shall begin this letter with observing to you that a more copious one has lately set off in the Surprize for your perusal. Nothing can be more uncertain than which of these may come first to your hand. I think if either of my epistles, especially the former, shou'd not reach you, how unintelligible the others must appear. In that I have mentioned my opinion of the pompous despot (as the Agent* justly stiled him), and also sent you the copy of a letter I had in agitation to send him. This, by the kind delay of friends, for whose approbation I had shewn it, is to be yet delay'd till the Neptune, our latest ship, sails; it seems, in their opinion, to require consideration, and I expect to give you account of the issue by the ship as mentioned above.

[* Note in MS.:—"Now C't'n Sh——t—nd." Evidently Captain Shortland. Southwell quotes this same remark of Shortland in his letter of the 27-30 July (ante, p. 720). The "pompous despot" was Governor Phillip.]

Our austere Govr's behaviour alters not for the better, and, can assure you, am not disposed to speak in his praise.

Till my tiff with him is over, I shall not write to Mrs. L——e or Mrs. Ev——tt, unless it is determined by my good advisers to delay the presentation of my letter till the Gorgon arrives; if so, I shall write by the Neptune in a vague manner (to them), as I said in mine by the Surprize of the 27-30th July, 1790, to you.

I have again to tell you, my d'r mother, that, in my opinion, and that of most who know me, I have not behaved (tho' by him used) ill, and, if you will only remain quiet, I expect, in course of a very few mo. after you receive this, to explain everything. I have observed in my largest letter, and now again repeate it, that if I thought the confidence I now place in you wou'd make you uneasy I cou'd rather grin and bear it (a phrase with us); but, while I am not dissatisfied with myself, I hope you, my dear, will not. And if my, wish'd on my part, and long'd for on your part, return does not suit you, why, I can set off again. I know your fortitude, and I know your affect'n; the first assures me a trifle (for so I esteem unmerited inattention) will not cast you down, and the latter tells me you will be ever ready to receive me while untainted with any other stigma than a fickle man's caprice. This, however, is, as yet, uncertain, and I only mention it as knowing him capable of anything!

I am, at this moment, at Mr. Palmer's, Commiss'y, at 11 o'clock at night, in his house by myself, and not the heave of a biscuit off of G. P's. I come up to make sure of my packett, of which this, to you, is one; and he had the conscience to order me down immediately I mentioned my having miss'd the Justinian by being in that out-of-the-way situation at the Lookout, and that I humbly hoped he would allow me to make sure of the Scarborough. It was stuck to with modest warmth on my part, and at last carried much 'gainst his will. He had no better resource than the sly pretence of fearing my being in camp might be prejudicial to my morals: "What did I want with wh—es and rogues?" My answer was, warmly, being nettled, "Nothing!" and that I was certain he cou'd have nothing of that kind to bring against my conduct. To this he could say nothing, tho' I might, with reason, have asked, "Why so afraid of my conduct?" which I knew no one cou'd impeach (and I 24-25 years old!), and yet not feel one anxious thought about his minion, his young lt., his favorite, his darling, at least six or seven years younger, and—here in camp at his full range!

But this would have been construed insolence, and I wish not to give him a plea. How cruelly provoking would it have been to be sent down after coming up here merely for this purpose; so intently bent on it that, notwithstanding my severe cold, and having been rap'd up about the head for this week past, I have ventur'd hither with a flannel stock on, and my head in a silk handkerchief. This I would not tell you if I was not well housed by a good fireside, the keys of Palmer's well-stored lockers in my possession, my head secured, and, thanks to this kind friend, a good bed to go to, which I shall soon as I have made a glass of warm grog, the first I have drank this week. As for my poetical stuff, 'tis mere small beer—nasty stuff.

[Here follow private messages.]

In mine to Unc. B., I have glanced at the Gov'r by what he may conclude a bold figure.* This goes to him by Mr. Beyer, surgeon of the Scarborough. It has been long written and intended for the Justinian, but I was vexatiously disappointed. The method of this going to you is not yet certain, wether by Dr. Beyer, by C't'n Marshall in person, or forwarded as a parcel. This, as long as you get it, won't matter much. I draw the week's provision (this being Saturday, 7 inst't, 2 o'clock), and shall call in my way down on b'd the Scarboro'.

[* Note in MS.:—"Reed of Egypt".]

Apropos, the G——r has this forenoon graciously sent me an invitation to dine, a thing quite out of date a long time; but as I was to eat some kid with Mr. P., I sent word I was indisposed (he saw my flannel stock), but much obliged, &c., of course, and also going down to the Lookout to lay by a little. Observe, was it anything worse than a common cold I wou'd not say anything about it in this to you; but I truly assure you that is all, and I am a careful codger.*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *



Dated "Port Jackson, Lookout House, 20th August, 1790."

N.B.—Mr. Alt, who probably may give you these, was till now a shipmate, but never a particular, for reasons. He, however, does us a great favor, and so deserves a kind reception.

[After recapitulating the contents of several previous letters.]

However, a more agreable turn has taken place lately in affairs, and his disagreable restrictions are taken off.* He treats us with more affability, and is all at once so polite as to beg of my only companion, Mr. Harris, and self, whenever we come to camp, to let him have our co., and I am to-morrow (having been long a stranger) to wait upon him by particular invitation, sev'ral times repeated and hitherto declined upon account of a cold, and being; perhaps a little sulky or so.

[* The reference is to Governor Phillip.]

But it is adviseable not to kick, and I speake it much for your satisfaction that I shall neglect no proper methods of courting his good graces. Nor do I mean to investigate how far this sudden change may be the effect of reflection, caprice on his part, or amendment on ours. If the latter, I must own he is very good to perceive a thing so much in my favor that I remain insensible of. But if I go on at this rate, you will think I am either saucy or uncharitable, so I will leave you to judge of the true causes from the deal that I have said in my other letters upon this head, and if you there see anything concerning after-claps, etc., and it sho'd lead you to honor my great penetration, why thank ye.

Those I consult and myself have concluded it better, as matters now stand, not to address the Agent's pompos** in writing, at least as yet, and if at all (which will depend on future aspects) to do it just as leaving hence for good. In former letters you have the copy of address to G.P. alluded to, which, of course, if ever now delivered, must undergo suitable alterations, as I do by this conveyance write to Mrs. Everett and Lane, and enclosed I send you what I have said to each respecting my situation and prospects, express'd with more moderation than I once did intend, for shou'd things, as they may now, go on more smooth and glibly, why I might wish I had said less, as it cou'd in fact do no good; or, shou'd they turn out as bad or even worse than I then thought for, why then I can explain it with equal effect.

[** The allusion is to Governor Phillip. See Shortland's remark quoted by Southwell in previous letters. Ante, pp. 720 and 722.]

If you do not receive my other two epistles you will certainly be puzzled to conceive what all this means.

I must own, after fagging so long as mid, I shou'd much rather not have to wear out many more mid's coats. 'Tis likely that many are forced tho' to do so, and better fellows too. But, however, I shan't too easily give up my hopes. Has not there been ½ starvation, and, I was going to say (but it is worse than), decimation,*** among us mids, dragged round the world, made shake in our shoes off Tasman's Head,**** and at length deprived of our poor old bark at Norfolk Island.

[*** Note in MS.:—"Alluding to the Roman method of punishing mutiny in the military by death of every tenth man."]

[**** See a lengthy account of the incident by Fowell. Vol. i, part 2, p. 374.]

To be sure, merit and good abilities are a better plea, but if there are any worthy considerate old codgers at the helm they will, it is to be hoped, let a little of this suffering hardship go into the scales to make up. "Well, everything happens as it falls out", as I heard a man of wonderful sagacity remark. And who knows what may be the event.




[* Only those parts of the letter in which reference is made to Colonial affairs have been printed.]

Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, Sunday, 30th January, 1791.   

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

When, a few days since, I talked with Sir Joseph Banks about colony matters, he shewed me some very good ears of corn, grown with you or at Norfolk Island. I own they surprized me, for their quality was very promising, and beyond my hope, from a soil so recent and unmanured. He is by no means disposed to despond of the success of vigorous cultivation, and when a deposit of live stock, and a good supply of stores, is established, in all other respects I cannot but continue to think, as I have always done, that a firm, flourishing, and advantageous settlement will be the result of so many arduous and combined exertions. "While the grass grows"—however, you know the rest. But neither Rome nor New Albion can be built in rapid equality to our natural mother of comfort and indulgence. Sir Joseph's last note to me does you justice, for on returning me what of your correspondence I submitted to his inspection, he adds, with many thanks for the perusal of it, "The letters are written with intelligence, but, as is naturally to be expected, contain little of information not to be met with in the Governor's dispatches. It is, indeed, surprizing that he who lives at an out-post, and makes few visits to the camp, should have gained so much, and the more so as by his own account he is more given to contemplation than to company," &c.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

I have not the happiness nor the honour of knowing your Governour, but I never shall forget the expression of my friend Captain John Faithful Fortescue, on talking about the new administration under such good care: "Upon my soul, Butler," said he, "I do think God Almighty made Phillips on purpose for the place, for never did man better know what to do, or with more determination to see it done; and yet, if they'll let him, he will make them all very happy." Such a compliment, and from an officer of like rank, was too striking to escape my remembrance. I have quoted it fifty times, and don't doubt it has been verified a thousand.


Batavia Roads,* 12th October, 1791.   

[* Southwell sailed from Sydney on the 28th March, 1791, in the Waaksamheyd, with Captain Hunter and the shipwrecked crew of the Sirius. Vol. i, part 2, pp. 466, 475, and 616-18. An account of the voyage will be found in Hunter's Historical Journal, p. 214, et seq.]

Mrs. Southwell, No. 19, Nicholas Lane, Cannon Street, London,—   

My ever honoured and dear Mother,

You have received I trust some or each of my sev'ral packets (3) which were sent you by the ships which brought so seasonable a relief to the colony of New South Wales. By these you were inform'd that thro' the pressing necessities of that unpromising settlem't the Supply had sail'd for Batavia, from whence I am to tell you she returned 19th Oct'r, 1790, her arrival being followed on 18 Dec'r by the Waaksaamheidt, snow, also from that place, laden with provisions. The last of our ships from England had sail'd (viz., Neptune, and by which I sent you letters) many days prior to the coming of either.

The Supply, brigg, in due time was sent to Norf. I'd for the crew of the Sirius, and the Governor took up the snow in the meantime on acc't of Governm't to carry us all to England. His bargain, however, in the general opinion, appears to have been injudicious, and indeed next to ridiculous in every respect; we, indeed, have felt its many inconveniences with a vengeance. I, myself, in the earliest instance, had so great an objection to the ship herself, as considering her ill-calculated, &c., that notwithstand'g the impatience with which I long'd to be sailing towards ye, and the little reason I had (of which I sufficiently told you) to relish my situation there, I cou'd gladly have staid behind for another chance, which I often and often said while there, having then I cou'd almost imagine a sort of presentiment of what was to happen. But a much better judge, viz., C't'n Hunter, entertained a similar opinion, and I understand express'd it in the strongest manner; but reason was in this, as in many other instances, probably overruled by other motives. It is a charitable construction, which, however, can suit but one, that the indecent manner in which we appear'd to have been ship'd off might proceed from the fear of again having many mouths and little to feed them; nor might the panic be altogether unfounded, for when we sail'd nothing more had arrived—no Gorgon! the long-expected, and a short time must bring them to the old discipline of short allow'e. But what we most complain of in this admired contract is that in every respect the advantage lyes on the side of the Dutchman (C.S.) [Captain Smith], in a manner most degrading to the dignity of our capt'n. Here it is stipulated that in every operation we shall assist, and only vaguely provided that he (Smith) is to perform the engagement of conveying us to England; thus C.H. is left to have his opinions, but without the power in any case to enforce them—of this I believe he has often felt and deeply regretted the inconvenience—however, there are those who consider him (C.H.) as having himself chiefly to thank for having too tamely engaged in a situation of which he seems to have been, or might have been, sufficiently aware. The Gov'r, who perhaps considered getting us away at any rate as the grand object, and only one worth securing, contented himself with accepting the flattering but insecure assurances of C.S. how he meant to conduct himself, and instead of securing all by written articles,* contented himself (G.) with as readily transmitting this idle nonsense to C.H., when he ought to have reflected on the many previous instances he had had to convince him of the unamiable character of the man who in the universally-express'd opinion of all at P't Jackson was void of principle, and in every sense a sordid D'hman, and sway'd by every narrow motive of self-interest.

[* Note in the MS.:—"Of these there are many, but on the right wrong side."]

However, on the 29th of March we sailed,** and were to have call'd at Norf. Island, but were prevented by contrary winds, which they probably regret on acc't of there l's [their letters], and we also, as we might probably have got sev'ral useful articles from the old ruined ship*** which might have been of signal use to us in this. We next saw the Isle of Pines on the 23rd April, 1791, which not being able to weather occasion'd us to bear up, running down the coast of New Caledonia; how'er, in the evening we perceived we had fallen into a very foul and dangerous bay, full of scatter'd shoals, and reefs, and small islands. The w'r was now moderate, and we immediately haul'd our wind. It freshened, however, to a gale during the night, and thus were we continued flying about under a press of sail, in great uncertainty, until daylight, which only gave us sight of the greatness of our danger, and thereby confirmed the reality of what anxiety had but too faithfully imaged during night; however, we had the good fortune to w'r this reef, which is 30 miles in extent, being at times only 2 miles from it. The ship is a most miserable sailer, works very bad, and had not this shole providentialy somewhat alter'd its direction, which enabled us to clear it, we must inevitably have gone!**** It was fearful to see the high foaming breakers how they rose, while the spray raised by its raging hover'd above like smoak. In our way from hence to New Ireland we met with several shoals and islands, most likely before unknown. Our intention was to have water'd in Carteret's or Gower's Harbour on that coast, but unfortunately we fell in with the land to leward of the latter, and to our great mortification we overshot the former; there appears to have been some error in the printed chart. Our wants would not allow of our quitting the place without that very necessary article, and after sev'ral fruitless attempts, both on this and New Britain, we at length found a convenient inlet on the Duke of York's I'd, lying nearly in the middle between them, in St. George's Channel, after having sounded round great part of it, and almost desp'd of finding anchoring ground; indeed, the shores of all three are remarkably steep. What delightful tracts are here! especially New Brittain, a country charming in appearance beyond description, abounding in excellent fruits and roots, and no doubt indented with excellent harbours if closely examined. Every way how much more eligibly circumstan'd for a colony than that with which poor England is so sadly and expensively engaged!

[** According to Hunter, the vessel sailed on the morning of the 28th March.—Historical Journal, p. 215.]

[*** The Sirius.]

[**** Note in MS.:—"How near the anniversary of our memorable escape of Tasman's Head!"]

While watering at this island we saw, amongst other things, that it produced plenty of cocoanuts, bananas, plantains; the bread-fruit was seen, and sev'ral of which we know not the name; they also had swine and the common breed of fowls domesticated; their canoes were of neatest workmanship, the weapons, slings and stones, and spears. They had an idea of estate and property, by their little spots being surrounded with fence-work. We were here but little more than three days; before we completed our water, a skirmish with the natives took place, in which, as 'tis said, they were the aggressors. We had a stout party arm'd, part on shore, immediatly on the spot where water was filling, and part lay off in a boat to cover the rest while at work. They never seem'd to like our operations from the first. I lament to think what sad execution probably took place, for, as tho' the muskets, of which were near a score, were not sufficient, this inhuman Hollander continued playing upon them with round and grape shot from the ship till every one that had a spark of anything human in his breast cried shame on it. Many of these he fired on them, tho' in the act of aiming at a reconciliation, which, however, his madness would not allow to take place till late next day, when these poor persequeted beings came down unarm'd, bearing a peace-making present, composed of something of almost every production they had. The morn'g we sail'd being May 27—many canoes were on b'd, and we parted in a friendly manner.* About the middle of June we began to be sensible of the influence of a most extraordinary current, which for six-and-twenty days continued obstinately setting us to the eastw'd, and here, to our inexpressible disappointment, we continued between the parallels of 3.00 N. and 6° 30' N., and nearly in the same longitude, viz., 140° 00' E, tho' continually going to the westward by the log account, which was a flattering deception, and detected by the lunar observations, to whom, tho' they certifyed us of a disagreable truth, we are much indebted, as they shew'd us our true place, from which our reckoning wou'd have been very wide; the sum of this unwelcome delay amounting to considerably more than 600 miles. The consequence was that C.H. held a consultation, in which it was deem'd necess'y to go to half-allow'e (being before at little more than two-thirds), and also to bear up and run for China; with this C.S. was officially acquainted by letter, which he accordingly did and agreed to, tho' probably never designing really to do so. It was now 12 July, and for a short time we were flatter'd with tolerable winds. It presently pleased him to change his mind for Manilla, as being the nearest port, which also was relinquish'd after a tedious tryal, in which both bad w'r and perverse currents combin'd to keep us from approaching nearer than within 60 leagues of Cape Espirito Sancto. Provisions now run very short, and the prospect of gaining any port to recruit very precarious; the ill qualities of our ship very discouraging, especially as our track must lay thro' latitudes plagued with calms; the climate, too, very hot, and water scarce, tho' rice formed a principal part of our meagre diet! All this, with our many subsequent disappointments and delays, cou'd not, as you may imagine, but cause uneasiest reflections. August was now begun, and now we run to the southward, and in a few days it transpired that we shou'd touch at Mindanao, and try to get water and obtain a little rice. This we made 6 Aug't. Spoke a canoe, 10th, from whom (with our usual luck) we learn'd they had but little rice. They, however, ask'd for and rec'd a letter to the rajah or prince. They belong'd to Hummock Island, lying 4, or 3, or 5 leagues to southw'd of Mindanao, and we came too off this place the next day at noon. Here, however, we made but a wretched addition to our stock of rice; in water we succeeded better while here. Tho' the stay so short, yet it must be confess'd the refreshment was great, not permanent. Choice fruits and fowls were in abundance. The afternoon we sail'd, for we were here but three days, I lament to tell you we had a sad quarrel with these worthy people (for such in every respect they seem'd to be). C.S. had, with his usual injustice, from the time of our first arrival, hinted that if he found any difficulty in getting what he wanted he would make the rajah a prisoner, and thus extort it. This is quite sufficient as presumtive evidence to determine all (whatever he may say) in my breast as to what followed. Suffice it to say, the rajah, on coming on b'd, and having no doubt seen enough of S. to raise his suspicions, refused to go below, but took a chair on deck. C.S. speaks their tongue well, and (as one of the rajah's attendants half-drew his cross) I doubt not utter'd some threat'ning speech. The rajah, however, with much prudence and moderation, check'd this effusion of loyalty; but S., void of either, instead of forwarding that accomodation which might doubtless have taken place, loudly call'd for arms. (I am assured that previously to the squabble he had sent for cutlasses before the rajah's face!) These were too soon emp'd, I fear, in the most destructive manner. All retreated over the quarter into the State prowe, and even those out of the canoes who were engaged in traffick in her, therefore must have been near an 100, and upon these unhappy men did our savage, true to his charter, continue firing, willingly assisted too by some of my no less barbarous countrymen. The usual doses of round and grape shot were also liberally administer'd upon the occasion. Wretched sporting with human lives! and for what? a quarrel—too like'y entirely of his own making. Why pursue them too with such inveterecy? Not one of us hurt, and they only seeking how to escape. Indeed, had the rajah's bravery been but seconded some of us would no doubt have had our deserts, for no sooner had he gain'd his boat and found how irretrievably things were situated than he threw a launce or two (shock'd, no doubt, and fill'd with horror and resentment at behaviour which must appear so full of cruelty, villany, &c., &c., &c.—they had also bows and arrows formidable and sure), and immediate'y himself took an oar, and through't was seen nobly endeavoring to recall the spirits of his people, no doubt very panick-struck at such an unexpected and undeserved attack. This much-injured and very unfortunate man at length got out of our reach, round that part of the i'd whence he came, and I hope unhurt, tho' I fear that is next to impossible. Indeed, I feel the deepest regret when I consider our obligations to his goodness in readily issuing his permission for his people to trafick, and in readily assisting us in getting our water fill'd, &c., &c. But clear of all this there was something in his carriage full of mildness and goodness.** I must now leave him to inform you of our further progress. In two days we made the most south'y of the Phillipines, and shaped our course for the N.W. p't of the large Island of Celebes, between which and the great Island Borneo lyes the Straits of Macassar. In seventeen days after seeing the former we were all but through, having nearly fetch'd the south end of Borneo, which forms the extremity of the strait; and this clear'd we had the pleasing prospect of immediately falling in with the monsoon, which being a prevailing and fair wind would soon run us in with Java; but disappointment had not yet done with us, and the beggarly want of being a mile or two more to windward occasioned no less than a week's delay. Our poor success at Mindanao caused us soon to go upon a yet more reduced allowance, and our continual cravings were but heightened by the tantalizing pictures of former plenty and profusion which in these cases will forcibly intrude. Maugre all the rules of the sages who, in the midst of plenty, have said and written such excellent things upon the virtue of rigid abstemiousness, never let me hear again of the boys finding fault with the ***sop or pop, as they saucily call'd it, when not just to their liking. I tell you that even now, and often and often, I would go mast-high for one of those cans of it.

[* This account does not agree with that given by Hunter. See his Historical Journal, pp. 230-233.]

[** Hunter gives a fuller account of this transaction in his Historical Journal, pp. 251-255.]

[*** Note in MS.:—"N.B.—Our usual breakfast when youngsters at home."]

[Here follow three pages on Southwell's state of health, and his prospects of success if he enters, as advised, on another profession.]

The rest of our run from Straits of Macassar was pleasant and expeditious, consider'g; and excepting being somewhat in danger from sev'ral waterspouts, whose very near approach obliged us to fire sev'ral guns at them, we met with nothing very worthy of note. This dreadful and extraordinary phenomenon is well described in Cook's voyage by Mr. Forster, but they had only one to keep them in tribulation, we had sev'ral, and also whirlwinds; and, tho' within very few leagues of Batavia at this time, there is little doubt had they taken us but a sad catastrophe would have finish'd our so long unprosperous career. There has lately been a sad sickness here, and here are many fine ships in want of hands to carry them to Europe. One or more of these, we understand, will convey us hence, there being a particular clause which prevents the snow (being country-built) from coming into our seas. This we think no misfortune, as we probably may now enjoy something like free air, room, and convenience. We arrived 26 Sept'r, '91, with more healthy follks on b'd than lately was in their city. Mr. Worgan has not yet determined wether the shore or on b'd will better further my almost recovered health in this state of convalescence, the latter most likely at such a season. In other respects the place is excellent, yielding a thousand refres'm'ts. My appetite is, probably, in too good order, and I shall exert my prudence in that and I trust every other species of temperance; it is here peculiarly essential.

I cannot sufficiently exp. my approbation of your good sense in forbidding those who perused to publish my insignificant narrative; or my chagrin at their improper conduct who have, notwithstanding, taken the liberty to do so. I saw it, being the concluding part, in the Hampshire Chron. and Portsmo. and Chiches'r Journal, Sept'r 7, 1789. Mr. W.,* since we were at sea, came across it, and from peculiarity of stile immediately recognized it, as did most of our principals on b'd. I add that I am vex'd at it for sev'ral reasons, and pray you to take care who you honour with a sight of my cobweb productions, if this is the way they honour them. Apropos! that date is the anniversary of the Governor's misfortune of the year 1790,** when he was spear'd by a native in Manly Bay, in a manner which savours much of imprudence next to folly. Bennalon, as I said in my letters, had made his escape, and this was the first interview since that incident. It, however very near fatal, proved by no means so, as he soon recover'd, and it was followed by the fullest intercourse with these people, insomuch that they eat, drink, and sleep in the camp with the most perfect sang froid; and some of their dames, like too many of ours, gladly forego the d'r pleasure of nursing their own bratts, and leave them in perfect security to the care of sever'l of the convict women, who are suitably rewarded by the Governor.

[*Mr. Worgan.]

[** Note in MS.:—"Our ships had then all sailed, the Neptune last; Mr. Alt with my packett."]

Since here we have learn'd that the two French ships on discovery have not been further heard of since our seeing them in Botany Bay, a poor young fellow having been on b'd to enquire after them; his brother was an officer in one of them. His ship left France but thirteen mo. since, and is now bound to the Isle of France or Maurittias. We have heard of England's respectability in the scale of politicks, fine times in the Navy, and we out of the way; also we learn that Mr. King was lately at the Cape with six or eight transports bound for New Holland,*** and that poor Miller, the Comiss'y, died on his way home on b'd the packett. It must be observed that my letters, both to my uncle and yourself, are only concise abridgements, tho' nothing material is omitted. I, however, keep a private account of remarkable occurrences in which I am more copious, which, whenever it pleases God Almighty I should return, I'll shew ye. The Governor, at leave-taking, after a few encomiums on my prudent deportment, good sence, parts, &c., lamenting it had not been in his power effectually to serve me, &c., concluded with recommending it to me to quit the Line—they are all you see in a story—happy no doubt at the app'e (for it is but an appearance) of so easily acquitting himself. He had he said hinted as much to Mrs. Everett in his letter. I gave him no reason to think that I felt myself obliged by that part of the story, and only answer'd him by begging he would recollect my time lost in the service, my connection by no means affluent, and other difficulties. In reply I had a repetition of stale comp'ts, abilities very equal to something respectable in some other way, and wound all up by saying with some warmth (it may be genuine) that shou'd he return, and the gleam of any possibility of his serving me offer, he would most heartily and gladly do it in any part of the world or situation whatever.

[*** King was on board the Gorgon on his way to Norfolk Island, of which he had been appointed Lieutenant-Governor. The transports referred to by Southwell were the Active, Albemarle, Admiral Barrington, Atlantic, Britannia, Queen Matilda, Mary Ann, Salamander, and William and Ann.]

[Here follow messages from private friends.]

My letter to Uncle B. has been sent about ten days, since which time we have been refitting at a place call'd Onroost, for the snow is still to be our vessel, the contract money being so great an object that the owner (who is a Grandee) cares not what they do with her when she is gone Praying God ever to bless and keep you, I remain, &c.

Yours, &c.,          


[* Rough draft of memorial sent to the Admiralty.]

To the Right Hon'ble and Hon'ble the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty.

The humble memorial of Daniel Southwell respectfully sheweth,—

That your Lordships' memorialist has for several years (12 save about 3 weeks) belonged to his Majesty's Royal Navy, and went out as midshipman, being early in the passage out appointed master's mate of his Ma'ty's ship Sirius, Arthur Phillip, Esqr., commander, and Jno. Hunter, Esqr., 2d captain, to Port Jackson, in New South Wales.

That previous to his setting out on that voyage your memorialist passed his examination in due form and with success, as to his qualifications for lieutenant in his Ma'ty's service, whenever it shou'd please your Lords's to confer that honour upon him.

That during the said voyage of almost five years out and home, fill'd with a variety of trying and distressing circumstances, your memorialist humbly trusts his conduct, as also his professional abilities, will on inquiry be found to have been such as may render him in your Lordships' judgment not unworthy of your Lordships' patronage and favour.

Which your memoralist very humbly begs leave to submit to your Lordships' consideration. And for your Lordships' great indulgence to his request will think himself ever bound to express his utmost gratitude.

May, 1792.                    ————————                     D. SOUTHWELL.


Soho Square, 13th May, 1792.   

Rev'nd Sir,

I am sorry I was so much engaged when you did me the honor of a call on Saturday as not to have it in my power to wait upon you, and still more so that [was under the necessity of setting out for Windsor so early yesterday morn that I had not time to prevent your nephew from the trouble he had, I hear, in calling upon me as he intended.

Had I, sir, any pretentions to interfere with the department of Admiralty deriv'd from Parliamentary interest, or, rather, had I a sufficient share of influence to be able to provide for those who from having sail'd in the same ship with me, or from their fathers having done so, have a founded claim to the little protection I have it in my power to afford, I should willingly have undertaken the cause of your nephew, altho' I have not the honor of being known to him; but as such is my case, that having nothing but a little private friendship with those who guide the department to offer as a reason for my making applications, several of my own old shipmates are not at this moment in the situation in which I wish to see them, and to which their services, in my opinion, fairly entitle them.

Under these circumstences, I hope you, sir, will excuse me for declining the charge of your nephew's memorial—indeed, were I to take it, I should not venture to hope that my name in the business would be of much avail; but, sir, was I to ask a boon at this time of the Admiralty, it would be in favor of Cpt. Cook's son, who, tho' his father's name stands higher in the opinion of the nation than that of any former youngster has ever done, is still a lieut. of many years' standing.

Believe me, &c.,          


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